Tackling the Gas Shortage
A gas shortage that began last November remains unresolved and has swept through over 20 provinces so far. This incident exposed shortcomings in various links of the domestic natural gas industry. The widely reported demand increase caused by large-scale coal-to-gas conversion in North China and decrease in imports from Central Asia are indeed important factors behind the gas shortage, but the root cause is that the reform of the oil and gas system has been slow-going.
Going forward, gas shortage will become the norm rather than the exception unless we resolve the bottleneck of gas storage facilities, charge the same price for gas used by households and non-households, ease downstream price controls, introduce more market players, and increase investment in exploration and development.
Rise and Fall of Anxious Bitcoin Betting
Betting on virtual currencies is quite similar to speculating in the stock market, only that no stock market rivals Bitcoin’s frequent and big price moves. Once you invest in virtual currencies, numerous stories of getting rich quick would make you extremely anxious. Most veteran players have cashed in big; while ordinary users gained nothing.
Since he entered the bitcoin industry, Lin Xiahong did not miss a single bullish run. As a result, he achieved financial freedom and became a player in the tide of blockchain start-ups. Lin feels like he has experienced several once-in-a-decade financial crises during his past seven years investing in bitcoin.
Squeezing Out Bubbles in AI Industry
Caijing found that by mid-2017, more than 1,000 artificial intelligence (AI) companies had registered at the domestic industrial and commercial authorities. Many of these companies use external AI technologies. Several AI investors and observers predicted to Caijing that the first batch of shutdowns would appear in the AI industry in 2018, making it more difficult for this industry to raise funds.
The AI industry has passed the phase of selling technological concepts, and entered the phase of implementation. Companies that win out will be those that can quickly solve problems in the real economy, improve industry efficiency, and even disrupt traditional business models.
Downward Pressures on Economy in 2018
It has become mainstream market expectation that China’s economic growth in 2018, though slightly lower than in 2017, will remain above 6.5 percent. Instead of enumerating stabilizing factors, this article will buck the trend and elaborate on possible downward pressures on investment and consumption in 2018.
Actual quarterly investment grew by -1.1 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2017, which was the first negative growth recorded in more than a decade. Downstream industries, faced with soaring costs, lacked enthusiasm to invest; while the investment momentum in emerging industries was also worrisome. Other factors that merit our attention include the fact that rising household leverage ratio affects consumption and the funding and subsidies for technological innovation may become a drag on investment if they decline.
China Has to Reassure the World
Sino-U.S. relations moved along an M-shaped curve in 2017: Donald Trump’s aggressive remarks in early 2017; then Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump met at Mar-a-Lago, dispelling some of the dark clouds; later in mid-2017, the China-US Economic Dialogue was fruitless, and Trump launched a Section 301 Trade Infringement Investigation into China; Trump’s subsequent visit to China, however, once again brought the bilateral relations to a high point; ultimately, Trump ended the year by naming China a rival power in his first national security report.
In an exclusive interview with Caijing, Jia Qingguo, dean of the School of International Relations at Peking University, talked about qualitative changes in bilateral relations, regional power struggle, and how China should rethink reassuring the outside world about the peaceful nature of China’s rise.