Newsletter 158 - April 2, 2023
Welcome to the 158th edition of Trade War.
Jack Ma appears in China after a prolonged absence. E-commerce giant Alibaba to be broken into six separate companies. And China’s Reform and Opening era may be ending under Xi Jinping’s rule.
Signs of continuing economic rebound in March with record-breaking growth in services and construction. And He Lifeng, Liu He’s replacement and longtime Xi ally, given responsibilities over the troubled finance and property sectors.
Premier Li Qiang touts globalization at Boao Forum on Hainan. Peterson Institute’s Adam Posen explains “the fallacy of self-sufficiency.” U.S.-China decoupling hurting global innovation. And Beijing’s recentralization of control over shaky banking sector could cause more risks.
Two Takes on China:
“It’s not all about displacing the United States as global hegemon” - Keyu Jin
“Xi is now intensifying a decadelong campaign to break key economic and technological dependencies on the U.S.-led democratic world” - John Pomfret and Matt Pottinger
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Jack Ma resurfaces in China
After nearly a year outside China, Alibaba founder Jack Ma has reemerged, visiting a school in Hangzhou that he founded. Ma’s time away has been seen by many as a high profile example of how entrepreneurs now find China a less-friendly place, following Xi Jinping’s crackdown on private technology, education and property companies.
In a discussion with the school’s faculty on the future of education in an era of artificial intelligence, Ma noted that “we must use AI to solve problems, not to be controlled by AI,” adding that teaching was his favorite profession, and that he hoped to teach once again some day (Ma got his start as an English teacher before founding Alibaba.)
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