China Business Digest: China Ramps Up Border Control to Combat Virus; Fed Adds $2.3 Trillion of Aid
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China toughens control measures at borders to contain virus as global cases top 1.5 million. More chartered flights are dispatched to bring home overseas students. The Fed rolls out another $2.3 trillion of aid to bolster the U.S. economy, while Boris Johnson is out of ICU.
— By Guo Yingzhe (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Han Wei (email@example.com)
** ON THE CORONAVIRUS
China cracks down on virus at borders
China’s Politburo, the top decision-making body, called for stricter disease control measures at borders to contain Covid-19 cases from overseas. At a Thursday meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, leaders required strengthened scrutiny of people entering via land borders and reduced nonessential travel to control the disease. China will cooperate with neighboring countries to fight the virus, the meeting said (in Chinese).
More chartered flights to bring back overseas students
China’s embassy in Spain said it will arrange (in Chinese) commercial chartered flights to assist Chinese students in the country to return home. Students who stayed in Spain without parents and confirmed to not be infected are qualified for the flights. They will pay for their own tickets.
The evacuation comes as China has drastically cut the number of flights to and from China by domestic and foreign airlines. Two chartered flights have been sent to the U.K. to bring back students, and other flights to the U.S. are expected to depart soon.
Fed rolls out new $2.3 trillion aid package
The U.S. Federal Reserve announced Thursday a $2.3 trillion relief plan to bolster local governments and small and mid-sized businesses. The move followed a series of extraordinary relief measures over the past week to bolster the virus-hit economy. U.S. stock markets climbed following the news.
A total of 6.61 million Americans filed jobless claims in the week ended April 4, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday.
U.S. coronavirus vaccine developer partners with Chinese company
A Chinese company has applied to carry out clinical trials in China of a U.S.-developed potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus, Caixin has learned (link in Chinese).
The vaccine candidate INO-4800 has been given the green light by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to start clinical trials, according to developer Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. Beijing Advaccine Biotechnology Co., which agreed to work with Inovio on the vaccine candidate back in January, has filed an application to begin trials with China’s medical products regulator.
Chinese president urges preparation for long-term external uncertainty
President Xi Jinping said Wednesday the nation should make preparations to deal with long-term changes in the external environment, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
At a top leaders’ meeting, Xi said China is facing rising pressure from imported Covid-19 cases. He said “new difficulties and challenges have emerged for China’s work resumption and economic and social development” as the global pandemic spreads, creating downside risks for the world economy.
Shanghai to reopen schools
Shanghai will begin onsite classes for students in their final year of middle and high schools starting April 27, after the start of the spring semester was delayed by more than two months due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to (link in Chinese) the city’s education commission.
These students are preparing for high school and college entrance exams, the latter of which have been pushed back one month to July.
Over 50,000 residents leave Wuhan on Wednesday
Some 52,000 residents left Wuhan, the city where China’s coronavirus outbreak began, via railway, flight and highways between midnight and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the first day after the city ended its lockdown, official data showed (link in Chinese).
Other virus news
• U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken out of intensive care and moved back to a main hospital ward for continued treatment, a Downing Street spokesman said Thursday.
• Global infections reached 1.49 million worldwide as of Thursday afternoon, with the death toll passing 89,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
• Chinese companies have exported about 18,000 ventilators since the coronavirus epidemic began, according to government data (link in Chinese). An official said that China accounts for less than one-fifth of global production capacity of invasive ventilators, and that it is unrealistic to expect them to fully meet global demand.
• China reported 92 confirmed new Covid-19 cases (link in Chinese) on Wednesday and two additional deaths. Forty of the cases were imported (link in Chinese) into the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, which is a major gateway for arrivals from Russia.
• The Chinese government has issued a guideline for increasing scrutiny of asymptomatic Covid-19 cases.
• China’s Ministry of Education said it has stopped accepting applications (link in Chinese) from Chinese mainland students to go to Taiwan’s higher education institutions this year due to the “coronavirus outbreak and the current cross-strait relations.”
Caixin’s coverage of the new coronavirus
** TOP STORIES OF THE DAY
Supreme court finds Chinese firm violated rights to NBA legend Jordan’s name
China’s supreme court ruled that Qiaodan Sports Co. Ltd., a Chinese sports-products maker, violated the name rights of NBA legend Michael Jordan, in its final judgement in a long-running infringement case.
But Qiaodan Sports said (link in Chinese) on Wednesday the judgment only covered one trademark out of the 78 in dispute, so it will have no impact to the company’s business. Jordan first sued Qiaodan Sports, whose name sounds like the Chinese name for Michael Jordan, back in 2012.
Regulator gives green light to Ping An’s consumer finance arm
A new consumer finance arm of financial conglomerate Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. has won regulatory approval to start operation.
Ping An Insurance’s move to establish a consumer finance company could be related to the transformation of Lufax. Caixin has previously reported that the new company might take over some of Lufax’s P2P lending business.
China markets edged up
China’s major stock markets edged up on Thursday. While Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index closed down slightly, South Korea’s Kospi Index went up.
** OTHER STORIES MAKING THE HEADLINES
• China’s finance ministry has decided to review enterprises that have obtained low-interest loans meant for companies actively engaged in the battle against the coronavirus, in a bid to clamp down on abuse of the funds.
• According to a Caixin survey (link in Chinese), the median forecast of new social financing, a broad measure of credit, is 3.9 trillion yuan for March, over four times the February figure.
• General Electric Co. obtained a license from the U.S. government on Tuesday to sell engines for China’s new homegrown C-919 passenger plane. (Reuters)
• China’s car market recovery is slowly gathering pace, with customers returning to dealerships, even in the city of Wuhan where the outbreak began. (Bloomberg)
** AND FINALLY
Love in the time of coronavirus
Young couples have started to take wedding photos around China’s scenic spots once again, as spring has sprung and travel restrictions have been loosened.
A couple takes wedding photos in Beijing on April 8. Photo: IC Photo
Contact reporter Guo Yingzhe (firstname.lastname@example.org) and editors Yang Ge (email@example.com) and Joshua Dummer (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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