On a budget in Beijing
Oct 20, 2017 (WiC 384)
“There will be no sea cucumber and prawns”

Wang Lilian, director of delegate hospitality for the 19th Party Congress, promised “non-fancy” cuisine at this week’s political gathering. “In past editions (of the Congress), delegates and staff would have fruit in their rooms. There will be none of that this time,” he warned. The more “prudent” arrangement this year will mean delegates will no longer get complimentary tailoring, free haircuts and facial treatments.

Imperfect competition
Oct 6, 2017 (WiC 383)
“The US is actually the least protectionist of any major country, and China is one of the most protectionist”

America’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told media in Hong Kong that restrictions were to blame for the $347 billion US trade deficit with China. He also complained that 360 out of 400 Chinese robotics companies received subsidies last year, although on the upside he said “good personal relations” between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump “could help resolve differences”.

Yet more burger choices
Sep 29, 2017 (WiC 382)
“We were really intrigued by the opportunities in China, and think that it’s the future”

Jamie Richardson of the US fast food chain White Castle talks to the Wall Street Journal about the decision to open its first Chinese outlet in Shanghai. Founded in 1921 the chain is famous for its smaller ‘slider’ burgers and in Shanghai offers a spicy version made from mapo tofu. A combo of three sliders with fries and a drink is priced at Rmb42 ($6.30), versus a McDonald’s combo meal that starts at under Rmb30. The China business is a JV with local private equity firm ClearVue Partners.

Business is in his DNA
Sep 22, 2017 (WiC 381)
“A lot of rich people in China cannot sleep well because they did too many wrong things but I never made any dirty money ever, so I can sleep well” founder Liu Qiangdong describes to the Financial Times the origins of his business. He started an electronics stall in Beijing and said he was the first in that marketplace to put price labels on items and “from day one never sold counterfeits so I soon had the best reputation”. He thinks he has business in his DNA: prior to 1949 his wealthy forebears were Yangtze River shipowners.