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China's Economy....and Asian Technology

This blog has argued consistently that fears about China's economic slowdown have been overblown and that whatever challenges the Chinese and the world economy face, a global recession is still unlikely in 2019. In fact, senior leaders and executives in Asia remain reassuringly bullish about the prospects for their own companies and sectors.

So it is heartening to see Martin Wolf, the FT's economic guru, returning from a recent trip to China filled with renewed optimism regarding the mainland economy. According to Wolf, growth is stabilising at around 6-6.5% and almost all of the econmists, business people and policymakers he talked to were "surprisingly cheerful".

The hope for an imminent trade deal with the US is one factor behind this; but so is looser macroeconomic policy, in particular an expected reduction in value added taxes; and, finally, many Chinese sense an official pivot back in support of the country's private sector.

This, if true -- which is not yet clear -- would be a big deal. The private sector is responsible for most of China's growth, job creation and value added but has been under siege from President Xi Jinping's bias in favour of state-owned enterprises. The fact that senior government leaders, including Mr Xi, are making more references to private companies and the reforms of Deng Xiaoping is being taken as a significant and significantly positive indicator of a change of heart. 

Even if some of these hopes turn out to be false, a China that is growing more or less reliably at around 6% a year would be a boon for the global economy and for businesses everywhere else.

That the technology sector continues to grow, both in China and all around Asia cannot be doubted. To improve coverage of all that is going on in this area, the Financial Times has launched a new, weekly newsletter called Tech Scroll Asia, which we are delighted to bring you as part of your subscription to scoutAsia.

Tech Scroll Asia is partly original news and its first edition has a scoop on declining orders at Taiwan's FIH Mobile, which supplies smartphone components to Google, Xiaomi, Lenovo, Sharp and Nokia. Separately, the newsletter selects and summarises the 10 most important tech stories of the past week as well as highlighting signifcant opinion pieces. Finally, it gives short updates on significant job moves and regulatory changes. We hope you will find it a useful way to keep up to date with a critical industry.

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