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  • 🔗 Tech & Economy Frontiers: US-China AI Unity, 5.3% GDP Boost & Luxury Secondhand Wave 📈

🔗 Tech & Economy Frontiers: US-China AI Unity, 5.3% GDP Boost & Luxury Secondhand Wave 📈

Weekly Insights: Unpacking China’s Economic and Technological Advances

2024-04-21 | sign up | homepage | read online

Welcome to this week’s edition of the China Insights Weekly newsletter! We've sifted through hundreds of sources to bring you the latest business and tech insights on China in under 5 minutes.

If you have any feedback or special requests, please let us know in a reply or in the comments online! Let’s jump right into this week’s top stories.

China’s economy grew 5.3% in the first quarter, beating expectations (link)

Gross domestic product in the January to March period grew 5.3% compared to a year ago — faster than the 5.2% expansion in the fourth quarter of 2023 and the 4.6% growth expected by economists polled by Reuters. Growth was driven in part by external demand, as export volume grew by 14% year on year.

Hong Kong again tops the busiest cargo airports (link)

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) handled 4.3 million tonnes of cargo in 2023. According to the latest data released on Monday by Airports Council International (ACI), it is the 13th time since 2010 that HKIA has been named the busiest cargo airport in the world.

2024 Kearney FDI Confidence index upgrades China's ranking from 7th to 3rd (link)

The 2024 Kearney Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index report released recently has upgraded China's ranking from seventh to third, just after the United States and Canada. Chicago, US-based Kearney includes an exclusive emerging market ranking for the second time in the 26-year history of the FDI Confidence Index. China ranks first on the 25-market list, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, India, Brazil, Mexico, Poland, and Argentina.

China on track to become the world’s largest luxury market (link)

PwC released its Mainland China and Hong Kong Luxury Market report at the fourth China International Consumer Products Expo. The report shows that the global personal luxury market is recovering steadily and is expected to reach US$464 billion by 2025; and further increase to US$606 billion in 2030, growing at an average annual rate of 6%. China is expected to replace the United States as the biggest market, worth US$148 billion.

Chinese shoppers are embracing the idea of purchasing and selling luxury handbags on the resale market, especially online. According to iResearch, China’s secondhand luxury market is tipped to grow to $30 billion (217 billion RMB) in 2025 from $8 billion (58 billion RMB) in 2020. Gen Z and millennials (under 40) together account for more than 80 percent of the total number of secondhand luxury consumers. Among them, consumers aged 26 to 30 and 31 to 35 account for the highest proportions of second-hand buyers and sellers, 24 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

Chinese tech giants Ant, Baidu, and Tencent partner with US AI firms on UN’s first global GenAI standards (link)

China’s Ant Group, Baidu, iFlytek, and Tencent joined US AI firms including OpenAI and Meta in working on two global GenAI and LLM-focused standards which were published by the United Nations on Tuesday. The two documents represent the first international standards released by a non-profit organization in the area of large models and signify collaboration between global AI companies on safety assessment and testing.

A report by Global Energy Monitor found that global net annual coal capacity grew by 48.4 GW, representing a 2% year-over-year increase. China alone accounted for about two-thirds of new coal plant capacity. China started construction on 70.2 GW of new coal-power capacity last year, nearly 20 times as much as the rest of the world’s 3.7 GW. The country also only retired about 3.7 GW of its coal capacity in 2023.

China increased forest coverage by 24 % leading all countries since 2001 (link)

Visual Capitalist this week visualized forest growth around the world, ranking countries by their forest area increases between 2001–2021, measured in square kilometers (km²). All of this data was sourced from the World Bank. China tops the list, expanding its forest area by nearly 425,000 km2 (roughly the size of Sweden) between 2001–21. This is more than the next 19 countries combined. Relatively speaking, China’s forests increased by almost one-fourth.

🎁 Bonus Story

International luxury brands take a bite of China’s bakery boom (link)

To celebrate the launch of its MK denim bag collection in Shanghai, American house Michael Kors eschewed the typical evening cocktails in lieu of something a little more wholesome. Cue a denim-clad patisserie created in collaboration with edgy pastry connoisseurs Basdban, filled with delicacies including croissants, eclairs, and Michael Kors branded coffee. And it’s working. For instance, the hashtag #MK丹宁显眼包 (or MK denim eye-catching bag), has already received over 1.3 million views on Xiaohongshu. Across the mainland, the communal, relaxed appeal of the country’s bakeries has whet luxury’s appetite.

Valentino's collaboration with Korean Butterful & Creamorous Bakery in Shanghai

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