China-UK News June 2018

US-China trade war escalates as Trump threatens more tariffs

Donald Trump’s trade war with China threatened to escalate this month after he vowed to add a further 10% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, something China quickly vowed to reciprocate.

China’s commerce ministry claimed that the US had initiated a trade war, violated market regulations and harmed “the interests of not just the people of China and the U.S., but of the world.”

Global stock markets, the US dollar and the Chinese yuan slumped on the news, which is the latest in a series of moves by the US which many fear will initiate a global trade war.

Another worry for many in the Trump administration is the growing presence of Chinese payment methods in the US, all of which bypass US banks, something US bankers are particularly wary of.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg this month published a report on the growing Chinese investments in Europe, many in the UK, details of which can be seen here.

Scotland struggles to source Mandarin speakers as Chinese tourist numbers increase

The first direct flight from China to Scotland arrived into Edinburgh Airport this month, just at a time when Scotland is facing a lack of Mandarin speakers to meet growing demand.

The four-weekly service is hoped to boost the number of Chinese visitors to Scotland, which is estimated to be 41,000 annually as it stands. But shops and hotels across the country are struggling to find Mandarin-speaking staff to accommodate the increasing number of Chinese visitors.

Given increasingly strict visa regulations for Chinese nationals working in the UK, the situation highlights the need for more Brits to study Mandarin, which was named in 2017 by the British Council as one of the UK’s ‘languages for the future’ – languages which must be prioritised so Britain can “understand and engage with people internationally.”

Visits from Chinese tourists are worth an estimated £36 million to the Scottish economy, with the average spend per day exceeding £70. Chinese visitors spend about £900 per visit across 12 nights.

Chinese to feature heavily at World Cup, but not on the pitch

You may not see the Chinese national team at the World Cup this month, but Chinese companies will be more prominent than ever on the advertising boards around the pitches.

The value of world cup sponsorship has dropped for this year’s event due to Fifa’s corruption scandal in 2015, but Chinese companies have stepped in to fill the gap left by departing sponsors, with Chinese commercial property company Wanda one of the event’s seven official partners.

Three of the tournament’s five sponsors are Chinese companies, whilst Mengniu, a Chinese dairy company, has exclusive rights to sell yoghurt drinks and ice creams in Russian world  cup stadiums, further demonstrating the importance of Chinese business growth on a global scale.

 

 

Meanwhile…

A publicity stunt during which a chairman Mao impersonator was hired backfired this month following a backlash on social media.

Xu Guoxiang, a little-known actor, was hired to impersonate Mao and opened a blockchain technology conference with the words “I sincerely hope this forum is a success. I thank you in the name of Mao Zedong!”

Many on Chinese social media denounced the stunt as “shameless”, with Mao still worshipped by many within the country as the founder of modern China.

The organisers of the events later apologised for the stunt.

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