27 January - 09 February 2003

No 127

2002 Year End Results (preliminary1)

  • GDP up 8.0% (7.3%)2
  • Exports up 22.3% (6.8%), Imports up 21.2% (8.2%)
  • FDI up 12.5% (14.9%)
  • Industrial output up 12.6% (9.9%)
  • Fixed asset investment (Jan-Nov) up 23.4% (12.1%)
  • Tax revenue up 12.1% (13%)
  • Retail sales up 8.8% (10.1%), CPI down 0.8% (+0.7), Household savings up 17.8% (14.7%)

1) Final figures will be presented by the Government to the National People's Congress in March.
2) 2001 figures in brackets.

Preliminary figures suggest that the country's GDP reached CNY 10.2 trillion (USD 1.23 trillion) in 2002, an increase of 8.0% from the previous year.
China's total foreign trade was USD 621 billion last year, up 21.8% compared with the year 2001. Exports rose 22.3% to USD 325.57 billion and imports grew 21.2% to USD 295.22 billion. China's trade surplus stood at USD 30.35 billion, 34.6% more than last year. Machinery and electronic products led the growth in exports, and exports of traditional, labour-intensive products have also bounced back. Exports rose strongly as foreign firms shifted manufacturing to China, lured by a huge pool of cheap labor. China has also benefited from a weak US Dollar as the yuan is virtually pegged to the dollar which made Chinese goods cheaper in other currencies.
Actual foreign direct investment rose 12.5% to USD 52.74 billion, clearly slowing from the 22.6% gain seen in the first nine months. Pledged FDI rose 19.6% to USD 82.77 billion, better than 2001 (up 10.4%), but also slowing from the 38.4% growth in the Jan-Sep period. A total of 34'171 foreign-funded enterprises were approved last year (up 30.72%). By the end of December 2002, the total paid-in foreign investment in China reached USD 448 billion.
Fixed asset investment, China's benchmark measure of capital expenditure, rose 23.4% during the Jan to Nov period, year on year.
Tax revenue rose 12.1% to CNY 1.70 trillion in 2002, equivalent to 16.7% of China's GDP.
Value-added industrial output reached CNY 3.148 trillion up 12.6% year-on-year. Seven major industries, including electronics, telecommunications and transportation equipment manufacturing and the chemical industry accounted for 58.5% of that output.
By the end of November, outstanding broad money supply (M2) was CNY 17.97 trillion, up 16.6% from the same period last year. Outstanding narrow money (M1) stood at CNY 6.8 trillion, up 18.5%, while money in circulation (M0) was CNY 1.63 trillion yuan, up 10.6%.
The outstanding amount of bank deposits of all financial and banking institutions stood at CNY 18.3 trillion, up 18.1% from 2001. Bank deposits of Chinese residents totaled CNY 8.7 trillion, up 17.8% year-on-year. Bank deposits in foreign exchange reached USD 150.7 billion, up 7.5%. China ended 2002 with foreign exchange reserves of USD 286.4 billion, an increase of 34.9% over 2001. (source: PRC Government and media)

Swiss exports to China up 18.7%, January to November
From January to November 2002, trade between Switzerland and China was CHF 3.845 billion (+5.9%). Imports from China to Switzerland were CHF 2.045 billion (down 3.3%), while exports to China amounted to CHF 1.800 billion (up 18.7%). Machinery again took the lion share (61.6%) of total Swiss exports as it increased 15.3% to CHF 1.109 billion. Swiss exports to Hong Kong increased 10.0% to CHF 4.129 billion during the same period; imports from Hong Kong went up 22.2% to CHF 783 million. In total, Swiss exports to China (incl. Hong Kong) went up 12.5% to CHF 5.929 billion representing 4.7% of worldwide Swiss exports during the period. Total imports from China (incl. Hong Kong) increased 2.7% to CHF 2.828 billion. Swiss exports to Taiwan decreased to CHF 1.077 billion (down 12.1%) from January to November; imports from Taiwan went down to CHF 554 million (down 26.8%). (Embassy of Switzerland, 5 Feb)


Lunar New Year sets off a mass migration
In an annual phenomenon that makes peak travel seasons in other countries seem trifling, an estimated 430 million Chinese - a third of the country's population - have taken to land, sea and air over the past two weeks to visit family members or get away for the Lunar New Year. In all, some 1.8 billion individual trips will have been made in the 40 days surrounding the holiday. (WSJ, 6 Feb)

Top tourist destinations report rise in visitors
China's top tourist destinations are reporting robust business over the Lunar New Year holiday, with visitor numbers up significantly over the same period last year. Meanwhile, Hong Kong was no longer the preferred gateway to the world for Guangzhou's outbound travellers. Instead, 70% of travellers now chose to take direct flights from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport to their overseas destinations. (AFP, 5 Feb) Holiday economics at work.

Chinese consumers most optimistic in Asia Pacific
The latest Mastercard survey of Consumer Confidence revealed a cautious consumer outlook across many Asia/Pacific markets. However, consumers in China are bucking the trend, with consumer confidence in this market staying at very optimistic levels. (People's Daily, 30 Jan)

Migrant worker army gets bigger
The number of rural dwellers seeking jobs as workers in big cities grew last year by 5.2% to more than 94 million. (FEER, 30 Jan)

Chinese official urges closer ties with Taiwan
With China's economic strength growing, mainland officials are trying even harder to wrap Taiwan in an economic bear hug. Two-way trade between Taiwan and the mainland last year topped USD 40 billion, according to Chinese officials. China says more than 60% of Taiwan's investment overseas now goes to China. More than 300'000 Taiwan citizens live and work in and around Shanghai. (WSJ, 28 Jan)

China outstrips US as top exporter to Japan
Japanese exports to China jumped by 32%, while imports from China surpassed those from the US for the first time since 1961, when comparable data were first collected. The latest figures highlight the growing links between the two Asian giants and suggest that Japan's trade relationship with China will increasingly become the dominant concern for Japanese policymakers. (FT, 27 Jan)


New Commission to manage State firms
China will set up an independent commission to manage state assets of CNY 10 trillion and ensure state-owned enterprises operate along more commercial lines. The State-Owned Assets Supervision Commission will centralize management of state firms, duties currently spread over several ministries which "offer more interference than help". (FEER, 6 Feb)


Household savings jump to a record CNY 8.7 trillion
The mainland's household savings jumped 17.8% to CNY 8.7 trillion last year, with average per capita disposable income rising to CNY 7'500, up 10%. Urban household assets rose to an average CNY 228'000, while urban financial assets rose to an average CNY 80'000. Though the rise in household income helps the mainland's four large, troubled state banks - which hold most of the deposits - the increased savings also mean that consumers do not have investment alternatives other than putting money in the bank. (SCMP, 7 Feb)

Asset management firms set on aggressive loan disposal
China's four state-owned asset management companies have set out to collect CNY 29.5 billion in cash this year from the disposal of non-performing loans taken over from the four state-owned commercial banks. The management companies disposed of CNY 301.4 billion in bad loans, or just over 21% of the loans on their books, by the end of last year [well below a government target of 30%]. The firms had collected CNY 67.4 billion in cash from bad-loan disposal over the three years, representing a cash recovery rate of 22.3%. (SCMP, 6 Feb)

Taikang Life's premium income grows by 305%
Taikang Life Insurance says premium income more than quadrupled last year - the strongest growth rate posted by mainland insurers. Taikang ranks as China's fifth-largest life insurer taking 2.8% of China's total premium pool. China Life Insurance and Ping An Insurance collectively control about 80% of the life insurance market. In 2000, Switzerland's Winterthur Life and Pensions, Luxembourg's Bank Leu, Japan's Softbank and Singapore Investment bought a combined stake of 24.9% - the ceiling for foreign investors - in Taikang. (SCMP, 30 Jan)

Yuan interest rate to be stable in '03
The monetary policy committee of the People's Bank of China has reaffirmed the central bank's commitment to keeping both interest rates and exchange rates steady during 2003. The committee also said the bank will gradually move forward with reforms to China's interest rate mechanism to eventually allow the market to determine lending and borrowing rates. In 2002, China cut yuan lending rates to 5.31%, the first easing since mid-1999. (Dow Jones, 30 Jan)

20 cities' plans for new subway lines put on hold
Fearful of open-ended commitments that would increase its already large budget deficit, the government has frozen plans by 20 cities to build new subway lines and ordered a three-month review of construction plans. Official estimates show that it costs at least CNY 550 million to build one kilometer of subway, with the price rising to about CNY 800 million if high-quality imported equipment and technology is used. (SCMP, 28 Jan)

Clear-up due for China's securities market
China Securities Regulatory Commission has pledged to further reform and open up the securities and futures market. This work will focus on credit construction and internal risk control in brokerages and other securities intermediaries. A batch of new laws are expected to come out this year, including the Securities Investment Fund Law and an amendment to the Company Law and the Securities Law. By the end of 2002, China had 1'224 domestically listed companies, with a total market capitalization of more than CNY 3.8 trillion. The number of stock account holders in the country reached 68.8 million. (China Daily, 28 Jan)

Premium income of Chinese insurers up 44.7% in 2002
Chinese insurance firms reported CNY 305.31 billion in premium revenue for 2002, an increase of 44.7% from 2001. The premium income from life insurance operations rose by 59.8% on-year, and the companies' overall assets expanded by 41.4%. In 2002, CIRC approved 380 new branches of domestic insurance companies. It also granted 6 foreign insurers permission to enter the Chinese market and 16 business outlets of foreign-invested insurers to start operation. (ChinaOnline, 27 Jan)


ABB gets 2 orders totalling USD 17 million in China
ABB signed an USD 11 million contract with Zhejiang Provincial Electric Power Equipment & Materials Supply Co. to design, engineer, supply and install gas-insulated switchgear. Another contract, worth USD 6 million, was signed with Zhejiang Electric Construction Corp. and covers the design, engineering, supply, and site services of control systems for four Chinese-manufactured boilers and plant auxiliaries. (Dow Jones, 27 Jan)

China's outbound tourists rise 37%
More than 2.65 million Chinese went abroad on vacation in 2002, a rise of 37% compared with 2001. About 15% went abroad for family reunions, while two-thirds of the tourists went to countries bordering on the province where they live. (China Daily, 6 Feb)

Handset makers in China are looking to go global
More than 20 companies in China have entered mobile-phone manufacturing, raising their share of China's domestic market to 20% from nearly nothing in just three years. During 2002, their output more than doubled to 23 million phones. That explosive growth in China is set to overflow onto the world stage, threatening to thin margins and increase competition throughout the industry. (WSJ, 30 Jan)

Water-pricing reforms expected to bring bonanza to industry
China's water industry is flowing from a public-service sector into a highly profitable industry. The ongoing reforms will help China increase the annual output value of its water industry from CNY 60-70 billion to CNY 150-200 billion. China's water reforms must focus on establishing and popularizing a flexible water-pricing system in cities. (Business Weekly, 28 Jan)

Marriott to expand in crowded mainland
Marriott International is planning its biggest Asian expansion, adding six properties in China as analysts warn a looming oversupply may force five-star hotels to slash rates. Since 1997, the number of five-star hotels in China has risen to 282 from 57, while four-star hotels have doubled to 386. (SCMP, 27 Jan)


China raises oil price since Febuary 1st
China's State Development Planning Commission has announced a price increase for the country's oil products. The decision was made in accordance with the fluctuations in oil prices on the international market. The respective factory prices of gasoline and diesel oil will be increased by CNY 190 and 170 per ton. (Xinhua, 1 Feb)


Beijing urges public support for car project
Beijing officials have called on the public to buy the Sonata cars produced at a new joint venture factory in the north of the city, but analysts are sceptical it can achieve an ambitious target of 500'000 sales by 2010. "Beijing will follow the example of Shanghai and Wuhan, which only use cabs manufactured in their own city," said one taxi driver, who drives a car made in Tianjin. (SCMP, 6 Feb)

Beijing's GDP up 10.2%
In 2002, the GDP of Beijing reached CNY 313 billion, up 10.2% year-on-year. Investment in fixed assets rose an estimated 18% to CNY 180 billion last year, fueled by the city's preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games. 46.5% of the added value of the city's GDP was contributed by private businesses. The city's fiscal revenue amounted to CNY 53.4 billion, up 25.9% over 2001. (People's Daily, 5 Feb)

Beijing posts sharp increase in auto sales
Automakers in the Chinese capital registered CNY 10.5 billion in automobile sales in 2002, a dramatic increase of 50% over 2001. Last year, 180'485 motor vehicles were produced in Beijing, an increase of 34.6% over the previous year, and the number ofvehicles sold in the city last year was 180'531, a year-on-year rise of 32.2%. (People's Daily, 31 Jan)


Shanghai's foreign investment jumps by half
Shanghai's contracted foreign investment surged more than 50% last month, pulled in by a number of major projects in the shipping, vehicle and petrochemical industries. Leading the way were investors from Hong Kong, followed by the British Virgin Islands and Japan. Much of the Virgin Islands money is believed to have originated in Taiwan. (SCMP, 5 Feb)

Shanghai's GDP up 10.9%
Shanghai reported CNY 541 billion of GDP in year 2002, up 10.9% from the previous year. The city achieved an annual fiscal revenue of nearly CNY 220.23 billion, up 10.4% year-on-year. The city's annual local fiscal expenditure hit CNY 87.78 billion, up 20.9%. Value-added of the primary industry was CNY 8.82 billion, up 3%, value-added of the secondary industry hit nearly CNY 256.47 billion, up 12.1% and value-added of the tertiary industry topped CNY 275.58 billion, up 10% year-on-year. (People's Daily, 2 Feb)

Shanghai official denies city faces a property bubble
Shanghai's top statistician has denied the city's property market is creating a bubble, even as he announced the third year of strong growth in real estate investment and sales. Investment by property developers in residential buildings rose by 26.5% to CNY 55.6 billion last year. The city's overall property prices rose by an annual 7.3% last year, while residential prices jumped by 8.7%. (SCMP, 30 Jan)

Pearl River

Guangdong's GDP up 10.8%
Guangdong Province experienced economic growth of 10.8% last year, 1.2%age points higher than that of 2001. The province recorded CNY 1.17 trillion GDP. (Xinhua, 6 Feb)


Nation becomes world's fourth largest producer of condoms
The mainland is now the world's fourth largest producer of condoms. The mainland trails only behind Britain, the United States and Japan in terms of condom production and sales. The mainland has the capacity to produce more than three billion condoms annually, with more than 1'000 domestic brands. Annual consumption now stands at roughly two billion. More than 300 companies are producing or packaging condoms on the mainland, including seven key state firms. (SCMP, 28 Jan)

China says hiring foreign maids is illegal
The Chinese government denied reports that it would let expatriate families in southern China hire foreign maids. A Hong Kong newspaper reported earlier that a Chinese employment agency was recruiting maids from the Philippines to work for expatriate families in fast-growing Shenzhen. (Dow Jones, 27 Jan)

Weekly Market update  24 January 2003  30 January 2003
Shanghai A 1545.43 1567.29
Shanghai B 126.35 127.27
Shenzhen A 443.14 449.63
Shenzhen B 205.58 209.30
Hong Kong Red Chip  1051.19 1029.56
Hong Kong H 2135.30 2148.85
Source: South China Morning Post
The China share markets were closed
for the Lunar New Year holiday.
Trading will resume on February 10.

China Business Briefing is a random selection of business related news gathered from various media and news services covering China, edited by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices and other interested parties. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Upon request and depending on the resources available, the Embassy will provide further information on the subjects mentioned in the China Business Briefing.

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