China-ASEAN Monitor: China-ASEAN trade totalled US$362 billion in the first seven months of 2020
TRADE, ECONOMY, AND INVESTMENT
China-ASEAN trade totalled US$362 billion in the first seven months of 2020
(18 August 2020) China’s trade with ASEAN stood at US$362 billion in the first seven months of 2020, up 6.6% year-on-year, according to data from the General Administration of Customs. ASEAN remained China’s largest trading partner during the same period, accounting for 14.6% of China’s total foreign trade volume. This was attributed to upgraded free trade area protocols and supply chain cooperation. Since the establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) in 2010, tariffs on 7,000 products have been cancelled. The trade volume between China and ASEAN countries grew from only US$54.8 billion in 2002 to more than US$600 billion in 2019.
Construction of China-Laos railway progresses with 14.5-km tunnel drilled
(17 August 2020) China State Railway Group Co., Ltd. announced that a 14.5-km tunnel has been drilled for the China-Laos railway. Also known as Kunming-Vientiane railway, the 1,000 km railway that connects Laos and China is scheduled to be operational by end-2021. The Duoji Tunnel was drilled in Mojiang County in Pu’er City, in southwest Yunnan province. The railway is a major project under the Belt and Road Initiative. By end-July 2020, over 90% of bridges and over 95% of the tunnels on the domestic section of the railway have been completed. According to Chen Yumou, deputy head of the Nanjing branch of China Railway Shanghai Group Co., the COVID-19 pandemic has reportedly boosted trade and railway transportation volume between China and ASEAN in 2020.
Temasek subsidiary and Bank of China establish community bank in China
(18 August 2020) Fullerton Financial Holdings (FFH), a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, and the Bank of China announced the establishment of the Bank of China-Fullerton Community Bank (BOC-Fullerton) in Xiong’An New District in China. Both companies will inject their existing equity interest in the community banks into BOC-Fullerton. The community bank is committed to supporting China’s “three rural” policy and small micro-enterprises through its financial products and business model. The bank will also aid the acceleration of the economic development of counties and villages through the adoption of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence. FFH had previously jointly invested in the building of community banks in China with the Bank of China, with the first community bank launched in 2011.
Chinese wealth management firm to set up online platform with Thailand’s Kasikornbank
(18 August 2020) Chinese wealth management firm Lu International will jointly operate and manage an online wealth management platform with Thailand’s commercial banking firm Kasikornbank. Lu International is a subsidiary of Chinese retail fintech firm Lufax Holding and will utilise Lufax Holding’s “cloud-exporting” model for the platform. Lufax Holding chief executive Greg Gibb said that the firm and Lu International have the technological capabilities and global experience to help address a gap in the Thai market. The announcement of the deal follows Lu International’s launch of a mobile app in Hong Kong, which provides a selection of Hong Kong dollar-based mutual fund products.
Joint petrochemical venture between China and Brunei awards scholarships to 23 students
(18 August 2020) Hengyi Industries Sdn Bhd, a joint petrochemical venture between China and Brunei, awarded scholarships to 23 students from Universiti Brunei Darussalam during a ceremony held on 18 August. The students will continue their studies at Zhejiang University in China where they would complete a year and half of academic studies and industrial training. Hengyi Industries is a joint venture between China’s Zhejiang Hengyi Group and Damai Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary under the Brunei government’s Strategic Development Capital Fund. The Chinese Ambassador to Brunei Yu Hong said that education cooperation is an important area of exchange between both countries under the Belt and Road Initiative.