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China props up state-owned developer Vanke as property crisis deepens



China has asked 12 banks to provide financing to the beleaguered state-owned real estate firm, Vanke Group, just days after the housing and urban-rural development ministry vowed to let insolvent property developers go bankrupt.

The Chinese government’s support bucks its recent trend of letting indebted developers take their own downward course, which has compounded a spiraling crisis in the sector, once a major economic growth driver. 

Privately-held Evergrande Group and Country Garden Holdings were left to their own devices as their debts soared, leaving their creditors and homebuyers high and dry in trying to recover investments. The Hong Kong High Court issued a liquidation order for Evergrande in January. A similar fate looms for Country Garden which received a liquidation petition from one of its creditors in Hong Kong. Both companies are listed in Hong Kong.

In contrast, rescue efforts for Vanke, part-owned by the Shenzhen government, are being coordinated by the State Council, China’s cabinet amid Chinese President Xi Jinping’s policy of advancing state enterprises and a retreat of the private sector. 

The State Council has requested financial institutions to make swift progress and called on creditors to consider private debt maturity extension, according to a Reuters report on Monday, citing unnamed sources. 

Separately, the state-owned Cailian Press reported that the 12 institutions are expected to raise as much as 80 billion yuan (US$11.1 billion) for Vanke. But the report cited sources saying that the attitude maintained by each bank was conservative.

Shaky ground

Nonetheless, Vanke is likely to stay on shaky ground among investors after rating agency Moody’s lowered its credit rating to “junk.” 

“The rating actions reflect Moody’s expectation that China Vanke’s credit metrics, financial flexibility and liquidity buffer will weaken over the next 12-18 months because of its declining contracted sales and the rising uncertainties over its access to funding amid the prolonged property market downturn in China,” said Kaven Tsang, a Moody’s senior vice president in a statement this week.

The rating agency said it has placed all the ratings on review for downgrade, as it saw the company’s ability to recover sales, improve funding access, and maintain an adequate liquidity buffer to be worrying.

The government’s bid to save Vanke has aroused discussion online. Some netizens questioned the discrepancy between saving Vanke and abandoning Evergrande, while others worried that saving Vanke would reduce national resources at a time when the economy is growing at its slowest pace since 1990. There are also many posts rationalizing the government’s efforts to support Vanke.

A Vanke sign is seen above workers working at the construction site of a residential building in Dalian, Liaoning province, China September 16, 2019. (Stringer/File Photo/Reuters)

The blogger “Wuxinxinshuofang” believes that propping up Vanke is to ensure that the “hunt” for foreign capital won’t be disrupted by a Vanke-triggered real estate crisis. 

“The collapse of Vanke will bring about the debt crisis and liquidity crisis of all real estate companies. Efforts so far to prop up the market have only begun to show effects. Vanke can fail next year, but not this,” the blogger wrote.

Zombie developers to zombie banks?

Frank Xie, a professor at the University of South Carolina Aiken Business School, attributed Beijing’s support to Vanke’s state-owned background.

“The Chinese Communist Party cannot let Vanke fail, because the CCP [Communist Party of China] treats its own people and outsiders differently,” Xie pointed out. 

The failure of any state-owned assets would be “tantamount to the bankruptcy of national capital, questioning the Communist Party’s ability to run enterprises.”

Xie said that Chinese banks have accumulated a large backlog of mortgage loans involving real estate, and even assisting Vanke will only delay the explosion.

“As for other private companies facing the same problems as Evergrande, the CCP cannot save them, nor does it want to save them,” he added.

Beijing has also established a “white list” of approved property projects by distressed developers that banks and financial institutions should support in a stop-gap measure. Those deemed beyond rescue should go bankrupt.

A person walks past by a gate with a sign of Vanke at a construction site in Shanghai, China, March 21, 2017. Picture taken March 21, 2017. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Chen Songxing, director of the New Economic Policy Research Center at National Donghua University in Taiwan, said that the Chinese official statement of “bankruptcy should be bankrupt” is merely to show the outside world Beijing is unable to save real estate developers. 

Chen said the amount of rescue for Vanke this time was insufficient to solve the problem, given how intertwined the real estate and banking industries are. He warned this was only a delay tactic which could lead to a bigger crisis.

“China’s current financial situation actually does not have the ability to save the real estate industry, as this is just transferring the debts of real estate developers and local governments to banks. 

“If you continue to save these zombie real estate developers this year, it is very likely that banks will also become zombies in the future. It is very detrimental to China’s economic development,” Chen said.

Edited by Taejun Kang and Mike Firn. 

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China Unveils Plan to Upgrade Industrial Equipment



China unveiled a comprehensive action plan for upgrading industrial equipment, with a focus on driving technological innovation and economic growth. The plan, released on April 9, 2024, aims to enhance competitiveness and sustainability within the manufacturing sector through extensive investment and regulatory support.

China announced an ambitious action plan for industrial equipment upgrading, which aims to drive technological innovation and economic growth through extensive investment and regulatory support.

On April 9, 2024, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and six other departments jointly released a notice introducing the Implementation Plan for Promoting Equipment Renewal in the Industrial Sector (hereafter referred to as the “action plan”).

Finalized earlier on March 23, 2024, this comprehensive action plan addresses critical issues related to technological innovation and economic development. It reflects China’s proactive stance in enhancing competitiveness and sustainability within its manufacturing sector. The initiative underscores the recognition of industrial equipment upgrading as a top policy priority.

The scope of China’s action plan to upgrade industrial equipment in manufacturing, is extensive, covering various aspects such as:

In line with China’s ambitious goals for industrial modernization and sustainable development, the action plan outlines several key objectives aimed at driving substantial advancements in the industrial sector by 2027.

These objectives encompass a wide range of areas, from increasing investment to enhancing digitalization and promoting innovation, including:

The objectives and key actions proposed in the action plan are summarized below.

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

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China deepens engagement with new Indonesian president as top diplomat visits Jakarta



China’s top diplomat met the outgoing Indonesian president and his successor in Jakarta on Thursday, as Beijing deepened its engagement with future leader Prabowo Subianto, amid a competition for regional influence with the United States.

The meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was part of a joint commitment to advance the partnership between the two countries, said Prabowo, who visited Beijing in early April after his landslide win in the February general election.

“It is a great honor for me to welcome him [Wang] today. Thank you for the kind reception I received in Beijing a few weeks ago,” Prabowo said, according to an Indonesian defense ministry statement.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had invited Prabowo to visit, and the latter accepting the invitation raised eyebrows in Indonesia because no president-elect had made a foreign visit such as this one without being sworn in. China is Indonesia’s largest trading partner.

Wang, too, mentioned Prabowo’s Beijing trip, according to the same statement.

“We really appreciate and welcome Defense Minister Prabowo’s visit to China,” he said.

“We are committed to continuing to increase bilateral cooperation with Indonesia, both in the defense sector and other fields such as economic, social and cultural.”

Wang is scheduled to go to East Nusa Tenggara province on Friday to attend the China-Indonesia High-Level Dialogue Cooperation Mechanism, a process to support more effective bilateral cooperation. His Jakarta stop was the first of a six-day tour that also includes Cambodia and Papua New Guinea.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (left) and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi attend a press conference after their meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta, April 18, 2024. (Eko Siswono Toyudho/ BenarNews)

Prabowo and Wang discussed cooperation in the defense industry and sector, with potential measures such as educational and training collaboration, as well as joint exercises, said Brig. Gen. Edwin Adrian Sumantha, spokesman at the Indonesian defense ministry.

In fact, the ministry statement said that “China is Indonesia’s close partner and has had close bilateral relations, especially in the defense sector, for a long time.”

Of course, China has also invested billions of U.S. dollars in infrastructure projects in Indonesia, including as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative – the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train, which began commercial operations in October 2023, is one such BRI project.

The two countries have drawn closer during outgoing President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s two terms, and Beijing would like that to continue as the U.S. tries to catch up with China’s gargantuan influence in Southeast Asia, analysts have said.

Indonesia, China call for ceasefire in Gaza

Both Indonesia and China shared the same position on Israel’s devastating attacks on Gaza, said Wang’s Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi.

Israel’s air and ground strikes have killed more than 33,000 Palestinians following the Oct. 7 attack on the Jewish state by Palestinian militant group Hamas, which killed around 1,100 Israelis.

“We … have the same view regarding the importance of a ceasefire in Gaza and resolving the Palestinian problem fairly through two state solutions,” Retno told reporters in a joint press conference after meeting with Wang. 

“Indonesia will support full Palestinian membership in the U.N. Middle East stability will not be realized without resolving the Palestinian issue.”

For his part, Wang slammed Washington for repeatedly vetoing resolutions calling for Israel to end the attacks on the Palestinian territory it occupies.

“The conflict in Gaza has lasted for half a year and caused a rare humanitarian tragedy in the 21st century,” Wang told the media at the same press conference, according to the Associated Press.

“The United Nations Security Council responded to the call of the international community and continued to review the resolution draft on the cease-fire in Gaza, but it was repeatedly vetoed by the United States.”

The conflict in the Middle East offered a strategic opportunity for China to further expand its influence in Southeast Asia, said Muhamad Arif, a lecturer in international relations at the University of Indonesia.

“China is trying to strengthen its position as a key player in the region,” Arief told BenarNews.

China could present an alternative approach to the conflict in Gaza, he said, which may find approval in Southeast Asia’s largest country, Indonesia, and other Mulism-majority states in the region, such as Malaysia and Brunei.

BenarNews is an RFA-affiliated online news organization.

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New Publication: A Guide for Foreign Investors on Navigating China’s New Company Law



The sixth revision of China’s Company Law is the most extensive amendment in history, impacting foreign invested enterprises with stricter rules on capital injection and corporate governance. Most FIEs must align with the New Company Law by July 1, 2024, with a deadline of December 31, 2024 for adjustments. Contact Dezan Shira & Associates for assistance.

The sixth revision of China’s Company Law represents the most extensive amendment in its history. From stricter capital injection rules to enhanced corporate governance, the changes introduced in the New Company Law have far-reaching implications for businesses, including foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) operating in or entering the China market.

Since January 1, 2020, the Company Law has governed both wholly foreign-owned enterprises (WFOEs) and joint ventures (JVs), following the enactment of the Foreign Investment Law (FIL). Most FIEs must align with the provisions of the New Company Law from July 1, 2024, while those established before January 1, 2020 have bit more time for adjustments due to the five-year grace period provided by the FIL. The final deadline for their alignment is December 31, 2024.

In this publication, we guide foreign investors through the implications of the New Company Law for existing and new FIEs and relevant stakeholders. We begin with an overview of the revision’s background and objectives, followed by a summary of key changes. Our in-depth analysis, from a foreign stakeholder perspective, illuminates the practical implications. Lastly, we explore tax impacts alongside the revisions, demonstrating how the New Company Law may shape future business transactions and arrangements.

If you or your company require assistance with Company Law adjustments in China, please do not hesitate to contact Dezan Shira & Associates. For more information, feel free to reach us via email at


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

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