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E.g., 15-12-2017
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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The End Of The Preschool Boom

    China’s busy and ambitious parents have driven a huge boom in private preschools, with the number of students roughly tripling over the past decade. But the sector is now clouded by allegations of child abuse, which will only strengthen a shift to tougher regulation and public provision of preschools. For now, the private preschool boom is over.

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    The Chinese Consumer: Outlook & Trends 2017

    In our annual review of the Chinese consumer, Ernan outlines the short-term outlook and longer-term trends in household spending. This chartbook explains why consumption growth has been a bit disappointing in 2017, why the outlook for 2018 is better, what are the drivers of consumption upgrading, and how the transition to online is playing out.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Three Retail Takeaways From 11.11

    It was a busy weekend for China’s online retailers, who reported huge sales numbers for their November 11 promotional events. Alibaba’s aggressive strategy is helping uphold its dominance even as market growth slows, and online retail integrates with offline. In this piece, Ernan cuts through the wave of publicity with three simple points.

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    From Tianjin, Affordable Luxuries

    The surging population of affluent Chinese households is a key global market for all kinds of luxury goods. Foreign brands have done well in this boom, but the market is getting more competitive as local firms up their game. Thomas and Ernan report from Tianjin on two very different companies that are both succeeding in high-end niche markets.

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    Online Retail Is Maturing

    The red-hot growth of online retailing in China has cooled in recent years, but it heated up again in the first half of 2017. Ernan argues this is likely a blip, as the fundamentals show online retail is an increasingly mature market. Leading firms are now focusing on the convergence of offline and online retail as the next big opportunity.

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    Mortgages Take A Bite Out Of Consumption

    Despite the recovering economy, household consumption in China has slowed this year rather than accelerated. As Ernan explains in this piece, the culprit is the surge in mortgage debt, which has meant a sharp increase in the burden of mortgage payments on household budgets. While income growth is solid, less of the gains are available to spend.

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    The Lull In The Tourism Boom

    Chinese outbound tourism is having a rough 2017: growth in international travelers is down to about 6%, from 20%-plus growth in earlier years. So has something fundamental in the Chinese tourism story changed, or is this just a blip? In this piece, Ernan argues this slowdown is largely temporary, caused by events in key destinations in Asia.

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    The Peak In Home Appliances

    When you buy a house, you also buy things to go in it—yet the rebound in housing sales over the past 18 months has not done much for sales of major home appliances. As Ernan explains in this piece, Chinese demand for washing machines, refrigerators and televisions has now more or less peaked. The main exception is the humble air conditioner.

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    The Retreat From Steady Employment

    China’s troubled industrial sector shed 2.3mn jobs in 2016—but these losses were swamped by millions more new jobs created in services. The real issue in the labor market today is not how many jobs are being destroyed, but the quality of the jobs being created. Most new jobs are in small businesses that offer lower wages and less security.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Great Corn Crash

    China’s “supply-side reform” measures have helped drive a recovery in prices of industrial commodities. In agricultural commodities, the name is the same, but the results are very different: the price of corn fell 44% from its peak after the government removed price supports. Now that prices have adjusted, quantities will follow: imports will fall.

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    What Is Happening With The Tourism Numbers?

    China’s outbound tourism is clearly a big deal, but statisticians are having problems figuring out just how big: a huge upward revision has just been followed by a huge downward one. In this piece, Ernan cross-checks the numbers, and finds that Chinese foreign travel is growing rapidly, despite confusing revisions and falling travel to Hong Kong.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Sanctions With Chinese Characteristics

    Since South Korea decided to host a US missile-defense system, China has restricted tourism and closed local operations of Korean firms. The dispute will mean some economic pain for Korea, but no lasting damage. But China is ever more willing to use such “sanctions with Chinese characteristics” to disrupt trade with countries that displease it.

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    CEQ: Healthcare—Crisis Or Opportunity?

    China’s growing economy has brought its people longer lives, but also a new set of health problems. Though the government is trying to improve coverage, change is happening slowly. So there is a growing opportunity for private companies to fill the gap. This issue of China Economic Quarterly investigates the nation’s health problems, and solutions.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Relief For Workers Is Coming

    Premier Li Keqiang says pressure on employment is growing, so he has raised the government’s target for urban job creation in 2017. Ernan however disagrees with the premier: the pressure on China’s job market will actually ease somewhat this year, as the cyclical recovery in the economy means that companies have less need to cut jobs.

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    The Lost Promise Of Urbanization

    China’s government has been ramping up its focus on urbanization and rural land issues, promoting new policies as breakthroughs that will keep driving growth for decades to come. But for all the rhetoric, the new policies are not fundamentally liberalizing. And the incentives they create could slow rather than accelerate rural-urban migration.

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    Five Macro Questions For 2017

    For our first China research piece of the new year, we offer a guide to the economic outlook in the form of short answers to some big questions: Will China be as boring as consensus forecast imply? Will the central bank hike interest rates? Will the housing market correct sharply? Will it be a good year for Chinese equities? Will the labor market hold up?

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    The Chinese Consumer: Outlook & Trends 2016

    In our latest annual review of the Chinese consumer, Ernan covers the most important cyclical and structural trends. This chartbook summarizes the macro drivers of household income, saving and spending; explains what’s booming and what’s not within various consumer markets; and unpacks the fundamentals of the internet economy.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Behind The Curtain At "Double Eleven"

    Alibaba has grabbed headlines once again by racking up RMB120.7bn in online purchases during its one-day promotional event on November 11. But these enormous numbers are achieved through elaborate promotional schemes that distort consumer behavior, and no longer provide any real information about the China consumer story.

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Is Internet Growth Really Slowing Down?

    Often overlooked in the hype around China’s internet boom is the downturn in some key indicators: growth in internet users and in online retail has slowed. How to reconcile this with an apparently thriving internet economy—can the internet’s growth really be slowing down? The answer is yes, and no; it’s how the internet is growing that’s changing.

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    CEQ: Techno-nationalism 2.0

    China’s economy may be slowing, but its ability to cause technological anxiety has never been greater. Many are worried China could succeed in its ambition of becoming a global technology hub, at the expense of existing leaders. This issue of the CEQ focuses on how China is moving up the technology ladder, and the risk this triggers a backlash.

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