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China

Australia cuts off channel for China’s rich to shift assets offshore

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Australia has revoked its “golden visa” immigration program targeted at attracting wealthy investors, a move that marks one fewer option for China’s rich to escape with their assets from an increasingly difficult political and economic climate at home.

Australian media reported this week that the Labor government announced in December plans to scrap the program at the end of last year because it could not bring economic benefits to the country. Also, members of the Australian Values ​​Alliance – a group founded by Australians of Chinese heritage – pointed out that wealthy Chinese people have infiltrated politics.

The program will be replaced by a new immigration plan to provide more visas for skilled immigrants.

“It has been obvious for years that this visa is not delivering what our country and economy needs,” said Australian Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil in a statement Monday.

“The investor visa is one of many aspects of the system which are reforming to create a system which delivers for our country,” she added.

The Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP), commonly known as the “golden visa”, was launched in 2012. Unlike other visa programs, it did not require foreign immigrants to learn or master English, nor did it have age restrictions. It was only mandatory for foreign citizens to invest up to A$5 million (US$3.3 million) to obtain residence for five years.

Research by the Australian government has, however, shown that the average economic value contributed by the immigrants in this program to Australia in their lifetime is $600,000, which is just slightly more than a third of the $1.6 million generated by Australian citizens.

According to the Australian Department of Home Affairs, more than 100,000 overseas immigrants have used the program to obtain residency in the country since 2012, with 85% of successful applicants coming from China. Currently, about 26,000 people have successfully obtained permanent residence in Australia.

The visa subclass was even given the number “888”, as eight stands for prosperity and is auspicious in Chinese numerology. 

China’s rich – tools of CCP infiltration

Over the years, critics have argued that the plan created not just a fast path for China’s wealthy to immigrate but had served as a conduit for corrupt officials in authoritarian countries to “move illicit funds.”

Australian commentator Huanghu Jing told Radio Free Asia Cantonese that Chinese tycoon Huang Xiangmo, who was permanently banned from entering Australia for political donations in 2019, was a “golden visa” immigrant. The biggest problem with these wealthy Chinese immigrants, therefore, is not their inability to create greater economic value, but that they have become tools for the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) infiltration, she said.

“Australia eventually discovered it didn’t earn much [from the program], but lost more, giving the CCP considerable penetration opportunities. A substantial number of these investment immigrants were pushed out and packaged by the CCP for all-round infiltration. Huang Xiangmo’s political donation is a typical example.”

Huangfu Jing believes that the CCP, faced with economic difficulties, has nationalized assets of China’s rich through what it labeled as “public-private partnership” schemes. As a result, she said wealthy Chinese, stripped of their wealth, will certainly flee China but at the same time, Western countries are increasingly aware of the risks and shutting their doors early.

Former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin claimed that wealthy Chinese immigrants who landed in Australia also brought in a legion of unproductive people with no economic contribution to the country. He said they cause social havoc with bad Chinese cultural behavior and habits, including bribery and corruption that influences politics.

Still, Chen believes that the door should remain open for these affluent affluent businessmen.

“Moving their money out will hollow out China’s economy and prompt social change; there’s no downside, in fact only benefits,” Chen said.

Apart from Australia’s “golden visa”, the “golden passport and visa” of some European Union countries are also popular among China’s rich. Countries like Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria have issued “golden passports” to foreign investors, while Greece and Portugal granted “golden visas,” at investment prices ranging €1 million (US$1 million) to €5 million. 

As early as January 2019, the European Commission warned countries offering “golden visas” to foreign investors that their schemes may help organized crime groups infiltrate the EU and increase money laundering, corruption and tax evasion and other risks.

In February 2023, Ireland announced the closure of the “golden visa” program. Portugal followed suit and stopped a similar program in March of that year.

Translated by RFA Staff. Edited by Mike Firn and Taejun Kang.

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A Timeline of EU-China Relations Post-2024 European Elections

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EU-China relations are crucial in global business, with geopolitical shifts and technological competition shaping the dynamic. The recent EU Parliament elections have brought a political realignment, leading to a more assertive stance towards China. Strategic discussions and new working groups aim to navigate the evolving relationship.


EU-China relations play a crucial role in the global business landscape. The current circumstances, marked by geopolitical shifts, economic interdependence, and technological competition, contribute to the volatility and frequent adjustments in this relationship. In this timeline, we aim to capture key milestones and developments that shape EU-China ties.

The European Parliament elections, held between June 6 and June 9, 2024, have ushered in a new era for EU-China relations. The election results revealed a significant shift in the political landscape, with centrist parties losing ground to far-right groups like the Identity and Democracy (ID) and the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR). This political realignment is poised to influence the EU’s approach to China, introducing more varied and potentially conflicting perspectives on policy.

Traditionally, the EU has maintained a cautious stance toward China, epitomized by the 2019 publication of the EU-China Strategic Outlook, which framed the relationship as one of “partnership, competition, and systemic rivalry.” This tripartite approach was later reiterated in the European Council’s Conclusion on China. However, the narrative toward China has taken a decisive turn with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s speech delivered on March 30, 2023. This speech marked a shift towards a more assertive stance, further strengthened by the release of the European Economic Security Strategy in June of the same year.

In the aftermath of the 2024 elections, the increased fragmentation within the EU Parliament suggests a more complex and uncertain path to forming a cohesive strategy toward China. This uncertainty poses challenges for European companies conducting business with China, as well as Chinese and global businesses operating in Europe, who must now navigate a more unpredictable regulatory environment.

Amid these developments, the Chinese government is keenly observing the evolving dynamics within the EU. China aims to cultivate allies within the European bloc, and this intent was evident during President Xi Jinping’s recent European tour, which included official visits to France, Serbia, and Hungary. During his visit, President Xi reiterated the EU’s significance as China’s major trading partner.

As the new EU Parliament begins its work, strategic discussions have been underway to address key issues, including the EU’s technological and strategic autonomy. To manage different views and promote collaboration on shared interests with China, new cross-regional working groups have been established. These groups are focusing on sectors such as agriculture, aviation, artificial intelligence, energy, and finance, aiming to enhance resilience and foster dialogue.

In this article, we present a timeline of EU-China relations following the EU Parliament elections, reflecting the complexities and opportunities presented by this new chapter in bilateral relations.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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Economic Update: Consumption and Trade in China See Strong Recovery Despite Decrease in Industrial Output by May 2024

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Industrial output growth in China has slowed, with robust performance in some manufacturing sectors but an increase in consumption driven by services, retail sales, and imports. Despite a slowdown, equipment manufacturing has been crucial in stabilizing overall industrial growth. Certain high-tech and electronic equipment manufacturing sectors have shown strong performance, while the automobile manufacturing sector has decelerated due to falling domestic demand.


The data indicates a slowdown in industrial output growth, despite some manufacturing sectors still showing robust performance. In contrast, consumption is on the rise, driven by growth in services, retail sales, and imports. The uptick in these areas suggests a strengthening of domestic demand, spurred by a stabilizing global economic situation and the boost from the Labor Day Holiday at the beginning of May.

China’s foreign trade also continued to show marked improvement, reflecting the country’s strong export capabilities and increasing imports.

Year-on-year growth in China’s industrial sector slowed in May from the previous month but remained relatively strong. Total industrial value-added output grew by 5.6 percent year-on-year in May, a month-on-month increase of 0.3 percent but a deceleration from 6.7 percent year-on-year growth recorded in April. Value-added output of the manufacturing industry grew 6 percent year-on-year, a deceleration from the 7.5 percent year-on-year in April.

According to NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua, equipment manufacturing played a crucial role in stabilizing overall industrial growth. The sector’s added value increased by 7.5 percent from the previous year, contributing 2.6 percentage points to the growth of all industries above the designated size and accounting for 45.7 percent of the total growth. Within this sector:

Certain high-tech and electronic equipment manufacturing sectors exhibited particularly strong performance:

However, the automobile manufacturing sector decelerated significantly from a 16.3 percent year-on-year jump in April to 7.6 percent year-on-year growth in May, possibly due to falling domestic demand.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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Outlook for China’s Wine Market: Current Trends and Opportunities

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China’s wine market faces challenges like declining consumption and imports, but remains resilient. Adapting to consumer preferences, focusing on quality and sustainability, and using digital platforms for sales are key strategies. Despite setbacks, the market is promising for foreign producers.


Despite challenges such as declining consumption and import figures, China’s wine market remains resilient and promising. Strategic adaptation to evolving consumer preferences, emphasis on quality and sustainability, and leveraging digital platforms for sales are pivotal strategies for success in this dynamic and competitive landscape.

In recent years, China’s wine market has faced significant challenges marked by declines in key metrics such as consumption, imports, and domestic production. These difficulties were further compounded by the disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these setbacks, the market retains its allure, presenting opportunities for foreign wine producers and exporters who are willing to adapt and strategically engage.

As consumer preferences evolve and government policies increasingly emphasize quality and sustainability, understanding these complexities becomes crucial for stakeholders navigating China’s evolving wine landscape. By staying attuned to shifting trends and regulatory developments, stakeholders can position themselves effectively to capitalize on the market’s enduring potential.

The wine sector in China has experienced dramatic shifts over the last two decades, initially reflecting rapid growth and then gradually declining. In the early 2000s, China emerged as a lucrative market for global wineries seeking expansion due to soaring wine imports driven by rising consumer wealth and the perception of wine as a symbol of sophistication. However, per capita consumption peaked around 2012, and imports have since plateaued, with recent years showing significant market contraction. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these challenges, particularly affecting wine sales due to its association with social gatherings, which were restricted during lockdowns.

Following this trend, in 2023, China saw a significant decline in wine consumption, with a 24.7 percent decrease compared to 2022. According to the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), China’s wine consumption has been falling since 2018, averaging a loss of 2 million hectoliters annually.

Nevertheless, China remains the ninth-largest wine-consuming nation worldwide.

Looking forward to 2024, China’s wine market is poised for dynamic activity, delineated primarily by consumption settings: at-home and out-of-home. According to Statista, revenue from wine sales in supermarkets and convenience stores (at-home) is forecast to reach US$9.7 billion. In contrast, revenue generated from wine consumed in restaurants and bars (out-of-home) is expected to be substantially higher, totaling US$17.2 billion. This projects the total revenue from the wine market to reach US$26.8 billion by the end of 2024.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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