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AssessmentsFeb 20, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
This photo shows workers at Dongfeng Motor's joint venture with Honda in Wuhan, China.
China's Virus Outbreak Has Dented Its Automakers' Bottom Lines
China’s deadly coronavirus outbreak has left few of its economic sectors unscathed, but the effects of shutdowns on its auto manufacturing operations have been -- and will continue to remain -- especially acute. Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, has asked companies not to restart shuttered operations until at least Feb. 21. Production for a number of auto companies outside of Hubei had already been delayed past the Lunar New Year holiday until Feb. 10, and in some cases, production still remains offline. Nevertheless, even once the outbreak subsides, Chinese consumer demand for automobiles will take a substantial hit this year, with estimates showing that demand could fall by at least 5 percent because of the economic slowdown associated with the coronavirus outbreak.
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AssessmentsJan 31, 2020 | 18:47 GMT
This photo shows a masked vendor and customers of his wares in an alley in Wuhan, China, on January 31, 2020.
Measuring the Economic Impact of the Coronavirus Outbreak
The coronavirus outbreak that has killed scores and sickened thousands is set to deliver a significant blow to China's already-weakening economy. Quarantines and travel bans put into place to limit the spread of the illness already have disrupted one of the country's busiest travel and spending periods of the year, the Lunar New Year holiday, which began Jan. 25. The lockdowns have created major supply chain disruptions in Hubei province, the key Chinese transit hub and major manufacturing center for automobiles, fiber optic cable and machinery where the outbreak started. Public transportation, including trains, planes and ferries in and out Hubei -- whose provincial capital, Wuhan, was the epicenter of the outbreak -- have been suspended, with the freedom of movement curtailed for some 60 million people. The disruptions are not limited to the province, however, as business and industrial activities across the nation, already substantially slowed or even suspended
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AssessmentsSep 24, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
A Chinese autoworker is pictured on an SUV production line for the BAIC Motor Corp. on Aug. 29, 2018.
U.S. Tariff Threats Give China All the More Reason to Reform Its Auto Sector
China's formidable but fragmented auto industry is ripe for a restructuring. As the world's largest auto producer, China now makes more cars than its market can handle. Yet China exports only a tiny fraction of the vehicles it produces. The Chinese National Development and Reform Commission recently proposed a plan to correct overcapacity and promote industrial consolidation. The initiative aims to consolidate the Chinese automotive sector to make it more competitive as the United States pushes for greater access to the domestic market -- and drives automakers elsewhere to look for new export destinations under the threat of increased U.S. tariffs. But the road to reform will be long and difficult.
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AssessmentsAug 24, 2018 | 16:35 GMT
Mahathir Mohamad, who served as Malaysia's prime minister from 1981-2003, celebrates his victory and return to power in the country's election in May 2018.
Back in Power, Malaysia's Prime Minister Moves Away From China
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's first state visit to China since returning to office in May went a lot like the seven state visits he made there during his first stint in power. On the trip, which ended Aug. 21, Mahathir reaffirmed his policy toward China and agreed with Beijing on several important issues, such as accelerating regional free trade and advancing multilateral negotiations over the South China Sea. He also toured the eastern city of Hangzhou and clinched a deal with Chinese automaker Geely to allow Malaysia's national car brand, Proton (a legacy of his time as prime minister in the 1980s) to assemble and market its cars in China. But compared with his earlier visits to China, and with the trip his predecessor Najib Razak made two years ago, Mahathir's latest jaunt produced few deals for investment and collaboration. The fate of three Chinese-funded projects planned for Malaysia under
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AssessmentsAug 9, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (C) and Chinese President Xi Jinping attend a summit at the Belt and Road Forum on May 15, 2017, in Beijing.
China's Belt and Road Initiative Finds Shaky Ground in Eastern Europe
As China expands its influence around the world, Europe has become a prime destination for Chinese investment and infrastructure projects. Chinese companies have poured over $300 billion into the Continent over the past decade, lately under the Belt and Road Initiative, to acquire strategic assets in Western Europe, develop energy and port infrastructure in Southern Europe and increase transport connectivity to Eastern Europe. Three former Soviet states – Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova – have emerged as an important part of this effort, offering China an overland corridor to access the European market. Because of their small economies and their geographic position between Russia and the West, however, the countries will present a challenge for China's Belt and Road Initiative.
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AssessmentsJul 5, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
As it makes changes to its economy, China is intent on ensuring greater control over the entire supply chain for lithium-ion batteries for years to come.
How China Is Muscling In on Lithium-Ion Batteries
From the salt flats of the Atacama Desert in Chile to the savannas of the Congo, the makers and users of the world's batteries are scrambling to secure the vital raw materials needed to produce the lithium-ion cells that will power electric vehicles around the globe. But no battery-makers are more aggressive than those from China, which is working to lock down the entire supply chain for its companies. Meanwhile, the United States will rely on economies of scale to compete in storage-cell manufacturing, turning toward North American raw material producers to ensure supplies whenever possible. Even then, the country will face stiff competition from Chinese investors -- to say nothing of European automobile companies, who will be compelled to increase their reliance on China. Buoyed by support from the highest levels of government, Chinese companies are likely to find few challengers over the next decade and a half as
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AssessmentsSep 15, 2017 | 12:22 GMT
Governments and automakers are charting the transition from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles to electric ones, though it will be decades before all fuel pumps go the way of the dinosaur.
The Automotive Market Switches Gears
Over the past several decades, numerous technologies have emerged that could rival and eventually replace the internal combustion engine and, with it, oil. Though vehicles powered by natural gas or hydrogen are gaining ground, particularly in Asia, electric vehicles -- both hybrid and fully battery-powered models -- are poised to give gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles the biggest run for their money. Falling costs and rising energy density stand to level the playing field between electric cars and their more traditional counterparts. By 2040, researchers project that fully electric vehicles and hybrids will account for more than half of all new automobiles purchased worldwide. Government initiatives will be crucial to incentivize and facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles, and countries such as France, the United Kingdom and China are doing their part to kick-start the transition.
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AssessmentsMar 23, 2011 | 12:51 GMT
China Security Memo: March 23, 2011
A TV news report exposes the use of a human asthma and performance-enhancing drug in pig feed, highlighting the lack of quality control in Chinese food production. (With STRATFOR interactive map)
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