China Economic Quarterly May 2017

What to expect from Made in China 2025 and China’s first Belt and Road Forum

The China Economic Quarterly is a market outlook prepared on a quarterly basis by PwC to share the latest economic and policy updates. In this third quarter update, the overview of China’s macro trends are followed by a summary of the main policy developments and hot topics of interest such as policy updates for a new economic zone Xiong’an New Area, insights into the “Made in China 2025” initiative and the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held in Beijing on 14 and 15 May 2017.

China’s economic growth in the first quarter of 2017 delivered a much better result than market expectations. GDP increased by 6.9% year-on-year – the highest growth over the past five quarters, thanks to more pro-active fiscal stimuli and continued expansionary monetary policies.

Here are some highlights of the report:

  • The primary, secondary and tertiary (services) industries all grew, with services as a share of GDP reaching a new high of 56.6% and contributing 61.7% to overall economic growth.
  • In the first quarter of 2017, China maintained its expansionary monetary policy. The increments of Aggregate Financing to the Real Economy (AFRE) were RMB 6.93 trillion, which was RMB 226.8 billion more than the same period last year.
  • In a bid to address severe traffic congestion and air pollution in Beijing, the Chinese government announced a historic plan on 1 April 2017 to create Xiong’an New Area, a new economic zone about 100 km southwest of Beijing, with an initial area of around 100 square km and eventually expanding to nearly three times the size of New York City.
  • “Made in China 2025” is China’s first ten-year plan for manufacturing expansion and upgrading and has attracted criticisms for being “problematic” with the potential to be used to “discriminate against foreign firms in favour of Chinese competitors”.

Download PDF

 

china_economic_quarterly_nov2016To read more, you can access the latest issue of China Economic Quarterly by clicking the following links:

China:           www.pwccn.com/ceq
Hong Kong:  www.pwchk.com/ceq

 

Business Review of Premier Li Keqiang’s Government Work Report 2017

March 2017

China recently held the 12th National People’s Congress in Beijing. Premier Li Keqiang announced a number of key policies and initiatives which sets the country’s economic direction. These changes will have profound implications on the business landscape in 2017 and beyond. As part of the Congress, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivered the Government Work Report which provides a review of:

I.   Government’s achievements in 2016;
II.  Government’s goals and priorities for 2017; and
III. Government’s plans and actions to improve quality and effectiveness of growth.

Key highlights of the Report

Economic growth rate

  • GDP growth rate for the coming year has been set realistically at “around 6.5%, or higher if possible in practice,” relative to the range of 6.5-7% for 2016.

Fixed and private investments

  • The government will invest 800 billion yuan in railway construction and 1.8 trillion yuan in highway and waterway projects in 2017 while continuing its massive investments in major state projects.
  • To encourage growth in private investments, the government plans to improve policies as well as public administration and promote Public Private Partnerships.

Emerging industries and investment hot-spots

  • The government plans to accelerate the R&D and commercialisation of new materials, artificial intelligence, integrated circuits, and bio-pharmacy and 5-G mobile communications.
  • The government has also set aggressive targets for environmental protection and plans to launch extensive ‘Fitness-for-All’ initiatives, creating business opportunities in education, elderly care, healthcare, tourism, e-commerce and creative services.

Pro-business reforms

  • The government plans to make service industries, manufacturing, and mining more open to foreign-invested firms (FIEs).
  • There are also plans to treat FIEs the same as domestic firms on applications, standards-setting and government procurement and allowing FIEs to enjoy the same preferential policies under the Made in China 2025 initiative.

Real estate sector

  • In 2017, the government will establish robust long-term mechanisms to promote steady and sound development of the real estate sector to restrict further investment and “speculative” purchases by residents and investors.

RMB exchange rate and bad debt

  • To address the rising non-performing loans, Premier Li has pledged to reform the financial regulatory system and work systematically to defuse major potential risks.

Leap ahead: 2016 China tax policy review and 2017 outlook

China Tax Policy Review and Outlook is a series of PwC China Tax annual publication designed to review key tax policy developments in China and discuss the trends and impacts to Chinese businesses from a forward-looking perspective. This 2016 China Tax Policy Review and 2017 Outlook is the second issue in the series.

2016 was a year of transition for China. It was also the first year of the 13th Five-Year Plan. The State Administration of Taxation has released a series of tax policies to support the transition of China’s economy. Turning eyes to the international taxation, China has voiced out her stance on international collaboration to foster growth, innovation and transparency, and her goal to establish a modern tax administrative system by 2020.

Highlights of the 2016 China Tax Policy Review and 2017 Outlook: 

  • Impact of the Business Tax to Value-added Tax Transformation Reform and outlook of the next phase of VAT reform
  • Innovation-driven tax incentives related to High-New Technology Enterprises, equity incentive plans, etc. and “green tax” initiatives (Resource Tax and Environmental Protection Tax)
  • Development of tax transparency (e.g. Country-by-Country Report and Common Reporting Standard) echoed by China’s digital administrative strategy (“Golden Tax III” and “Thousand Groups Project”) New trend of tax dispute resolution mechanism (e.g. tax administrative appeal and court litigation, Advance Pricing Arrangement, Mutual Agreement Procedure)
  • Key words for 2017 outlook, e.g. anti-tax avoidance, localisation of BEPS recommendations, details of Environmental Protection Tax Law, further cut in tax and government levies

With China’s increasing influence on the global economy and international taxation, we have more to expect in the years to come. As Mr. Wang Jun, the SAT Commissioner, commented, “The SAT will step up effort in 2017 to balance its focus on inbound and outbound taxation, and refine some of the existing rules to add more certainty and clarity.” Policies in the 2017 pipeline may include revised anti-avoidance rules related to Controlled Foreign Corporations, Thin Capitalization, etc.; rules to further implement the BEPS project recommendations regarding anti-treaty abuse; landmark reforms in terms of Individual Income Tax, Property Tax; the elaboration on the implementation of the Environmental Protection Tax Law; further cut in non-tax government levies; and what taxpayers are most earnestly waiting for, the new look of the Tax Collection and Administration Law.


Download the full report here.

 

2017 Telecommunications Trends

Choosing new strategic identities is essential

Senior executives at telecommunications companies around the world have heard for several years that their industry is approaching a tipping point. When it hits, they are told, their business might not survive the disruption. And yet they continue to do business. They might well think the warning from telecom industry specialists (including us) is overblown. Telecom customers are often locked into a long-term plan; many are loyal to their carrier. Doesn’t this suggest that the industry will continue as it is for some time?

To be sure, business upheaval often happens more slowly than people expect, and no one can predict exactly when the moment of truth will strike for any given company. But to judge from several trends that have roiled the telecom sector during the past few years, the time for preparation is over. You must now pick the businesses where you have a competitive edge and focus your strategy on them. Even if you think your current business model has several years of life left, you can’t be sure — and strategic focus will help you, no matter how far away the time of change.


Download PDF

 

The end of trust? Balancing privacy with profits in the digital world

Over the past 20 years, technology has penetrated our business and personal lives at a speed and on a scale that few would have predicted. Yet while technology creates enormous opportunities, it also exposes us to significant risks. We can now source goods and services from across the world with a couple of mouse clicks, but that convenience comes at a price. Many of us, myself included, worry that we’re unintentionally compromising our privacy and the security of our personal data by shopping online.

As our markets leader in Switzerland, I had the good fortune to be in Davos last month where we launched our 20th CEO survey to the global media. I can’t remember a time when trust has been more prominent than it is today. Although it wasn’t a focus area in the earlier years of our CEO research, it’s been steadily climbing up the agenda. And most, the financial crisis and the political focus on the tax affairs of multinationals have eroded both customers’ and other stakeholders’ trust in businesses. Our survey shows how heavily this erosion is weighing on CEOs. More than half (58%) were worried that a lack of trust in business would harm their business, a significant jump from 37% in 2013.

In some respects, technology has made us more trusting than before. This is best demonstrated by the sharing economy, where digital platforms connect strangers who are willing to share cars and homes. Overall, however, technology is acting as a drain on trust, especially where people believe they are dealing with ‘faceless corporations’ instead of someone like themselves. A never-ending stream of cyber attacks, system disruptions and phishing scams creates the impression – accurately, in many respects – that the internet is not a safe place. We increasingly have to differentiate ‘real news’ from ‘fake news’ and we fear that governments and companies are abusing our personal information. No wonder more than two-thirds (69%) of CEOs are firmly convinced that it’s getting harder for businesses to gain – and retain – people’s trust.

Customer data is a great asset to companies, which use it to influence purchasing behaviour. It will be an even greater asset still once the Internet of Things has expanded to include host of devices ranging from smart watches and heart monitors to refrigerators and cars. Understandably then, customer data is probably the most pressing trust issue for CEOs, with 91% saying that breaches of data privacy and ethics will have a negative impact on stakeholder trust in the next five years. Our research suggests they are right to hold this view since 84% of people we spoke to at the same time as we surveyed the CEOs confirmed that breaches do indeed undermine their trust in companies.

Of course, companies will want to use data generated by the Internet of Things to serve their customers better, but they must also avoid intruding on their customers’ privacy or allowing their customers’ data to fall into the wrong hands (and indeed new EU regulations in the form of the General Data Protection Regulation will come into force next year to help further protect individual’s personal data).

Another major challenge to businesses is cyber espionage, the modern-day equivalent of industrial espionage. This is the practice of using computers to gain access to confidential information held by another organisation. Furthermore, more than half (53%) of CEOs are afraid that trust will be undermined by global cyber warfare – where government-backed hackers target another nation’s crucial energy or security infrastructure, commercial assets or mass transport system.

CEOs recognise that trust is an opportunity as well as a risk. Significantly, 64% of those surveyed believe that how their firm manages data will be a differentiating factor in future. The businesses that flourish will balance getting and using data with the social consequences of those actions. They will actively engage with stakeholders and invest heavily in their IT security, risk and governance strategies. Ultimately, in an environment where the line of acceptability regarding data usage will be constantly moving, the ability to earn trust will be one of the greatest determinants of business success. Read more about what’s on the mind of the CEO in our 20th CEO Survey.

Asia: digitally diverse, economically attractive

Digitisation is in full swing in Asia, and is having an impact on both business and society. But the picture is mixed: while Asian countries are setting the trend and the pace in some areas, they need to catch up in others. As a leader in innovation and engineering, Switzerland will continue to play a key role in the economic and geocultural exchange with Asia.

Read more…

 

China Economic Quarterly February 2017

China announces new measures to attract foreign investment in 2017

The China Economic Quarterly is a market outlook prepared on a quarterly basis by PwC to share the latest economic and policy updates. In this fourth quarter update, the overview of China’s macro trends are followed by a summary of the main policy developments and hot topics of interest such as what China plans to do in 2017 and what’s next for the Renminbi.

Major economic indicators

pwc_china economic quarterly q4 2016

 

  • China’s GDP in the fourth quarter of 2016 increased by 6.8%, resulting in the overall GDP growth of 6.7% for the whole year over 2015.
  • Fixed asset investment remained a key driver for China’s economic growth, growing 8.1% over last year and accounting for 80% of GDP.
  • Massive money supply has exerted great pressure on RMB’s exchange rate, which fell from RMB 6.55 per dollar at the beginning of the year to RMB 6.92 per dollar at the end of 2016.
  • China’s manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) experienced the highest performance since 2012 in the fourth quarter of 2016, thanks to booming domestic demand, rising prices and growing activities in high-end manufacturing.

Policy update

  • China’s State Council announced on 17 January 2017 an unprecedented set of new measures to attract foreign investment. These measures aim to lower market entry restrictions on foreign investment in several sectors including banking, insurance, futures and others.
  • China has issued its 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) to strengthen the protection and utilisation of intellectual property rights (IPRs). The plan laid out 7 major tasks for the development of IPRs, such as improving the legal system and protection for IPRs, promoting industrial upgrading and international cooperation.

Download PDF

 

To find out more about the market outlook and its implications for businesses in China, please click this link:

China: www.pwccn.com/ceq
Hong Kong: www.pwchk.com/ceq

 

The Client onboarding process – how to provide state-of-the-art support

At first glance, client onboarding seems to be a simple and fast process. But apart from high client expectations and tedious internal processes, increasing regulatory requirements – such as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) or the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II) – have also turned it into a highly complex, customised process for every single prospective client. This could lead to banks spending weeks or even months running complex approval processes and having to let the client wait until an initial transaction can be made over the newly opened account. This leads us directly to the question of how customers, and even employees, can be supported during the process to enable a good customer experience on the one hand and efficiency gains within the company on the other.

Our clients in the banking industry have pointed out that implementation of a new client onboarding process is just one side of the coin (read our previous blog about client onboarding). The flip side is to come up with a support model that guides customers and employees through all upcoming questions during the onboarding process. Providing a consistent support model is also essential to improve the completeness and accuracy of account documentation.

PwC can support you in analysing your current support model, finding the gaps in comparison to best practice solutions, and in implementing an advanced support model into your existing, or new, client onboarding process.

In this blog, we will give you some insight into possible support solutions.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Marc Achhammer
PwC, Director Advisory
+41 78 850 66 66
marc.achhammer@ch.pwc.com

Sandro Ricklin
PwC, Assistant Manager
+41 58 792 20 01
sandro.ricklin@ch.pwc.com

亲爱的 朋友们, 女士们, 先生们!

Dear Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen!

The Chinese lunar year which just started is not just the Year of the Rooster – it is the Year of the Fire Rooster. One might think that an ordinary rooster already has quite a temper − so what should we expect from a Fire Rooster?

The Year of the Rooster 2017 is a very special one. It has 384 days and lasts for almost 13 months, from January 28, 2017 until February 15, 2018 – an event which takes place only every sixty years. Therefore, it contains two «Chinese springs» and is called a Fire Rooster Year.

Fortunately, the name of this animal is more fiery than its characteristics. And, in any case, a creature which appears only every sixty years may need some time to get up to full speed. As one might expect from an elderly animal, the fire rooster is more virtuous than temperamental, which is indeed an auspicious sign. He is well known for five virtues which are supposed to influence the New Year:  courage, perseverance, efficiency, generosity and punctuality.

While punctuality certainly has its advantages – who does not like people who stick to timelines and reliably deliver results – other animals like the monkey or the tiger think it smells a bit dusty. But the tiger is a leader who is not accountable to anybody, and the monkey somehow artfully masters any situation. Everybody else, especially the ones who get to work in a team, should profit from the Fire Rooster’s punctuality and sense of responsibility.

Courage comes in handily, too: talking straight, calling things by their name and getting things done lead to efficiency right away. A Fire Rooster does not like to waste time and makes the best use of its resources. Who in business doesn’t like this?

Combined with a healthy degree of perseverance, success is bound to happen. After all, only those who follow up on pending matters, refuse to lose and strive to achieve the defined goals with persistence will finally achieve their aims.

But what about emotions? Does the Fire Rooster also have a heart, or is he all about certainly virtuous, but rather business-oriented characteristics? Here, the Fire Rooster can help with his generosity. He is looking at the big picture, and at the same time he is overlooking small missteps in order to achieve the overall goal. He is mentoring the younger colleagues and generously makes place for the next generation.

All these virtues play well with an organization that wants to implement a new strategy or a big project, and they agree very well with the Swiss business culture. In this sense, I wish you a happy and successful New Year!

恭喜发财

May you have a prosperous New Year!

Year_of_the_Rooster_400x110