China’s golden era – of interconnectivity

China's President Xi Jinping and Britain's Prince Philip review an honour guard during his official welcoming ceremony in London, Britain

China dominated the headlines in the UK this week. As its president, Xi Jinping, arrived in London with all the pomp of a state visit, the media turned its focus on how and why China was now being considered a strategic trade partner for the UK, with some £40 billion worth of deals signed during the visit.

Before Premier Xi’s visit, the UK Government keenly briefed journalists on the dawn of “a golden era” of cooperation between the two countries. And at a dinner at London’s Guildhall, where the Premier spoke warmly of Britain and its culture, I heard for myself a speech which contained more emotion and affection than the usual statesmanship expected of a visiting dignitary.

China is indeed entering a golden era, though not exclusively with the UK, and not perhaps in quite the way the Government intends. It is a golden era of interconnectivity, as the country creates myriad links to the world’s financial systems. For instance it was interesting how many delegates attended from Canada.

This interconnectivity includes information networks, of course, and just a few weeks ago I saw for myself in Shanghai how busily the financial sector was forging these vital connections. Such links will help them to attract foreign investment for their businesses and to import goods for their growing middle class, as well as maintaining their thriving exports. (more…)

Journalist spotlight: Kevin Yao on his rare interview with China’s central bank


Last week, China’s central bank offered Reuters a rare interview with one of its senior officials who said that the global stock market rout of the past week was sparked by concerns over a possible interest rate rise by the U.S. Federal Reserve and not by the devaluation of China’s yuan currency. The interview with Yao Yudong, head of the bank’s Research Institute of Finance and Banking, was conducted by Reuters Senior Economics Correspondent in Singapore, Kevin Yao. The official said the U.S. central bank should delay any rate hike to give fragile emerging market economies time to prepare. In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight, Kevin offers a behind the scenes look at the story.

Q. How did you land the interview?

A. The interview was unexpected, a windfall. It was prompted by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) reading my source-based story about how China, surprised by the global reaction to its currency devaluation on August 11, planned to put the yuan on a tight leash in the near-term to help ward off a global currency war. Comment had been sought from the PBOC before publication, but none was forthcoming. A few hours after the story landed, we got a call from the PBOC seeking me out specifically, saying they had read the story and wanted to give an interview. It is very rare for a PBOC official to do an interview with foreign press, and the great coordination and teamwork saw the bureau to get both TV and PIX to join the interview – a multimedia exclusive.

Q. What types of reporting/sourcing were involved? (more…)

Journalist spotlight: Pete Sweeney on the China short seller scoop


Last month, Reuters reported exclusively that China is pressing foreign and Chinese-owned brokerages in Hong Kong and Singapore to hand over stock trading records, extending its pursuit of “malicious” short sellers of Chinese stocks to overseas jurisdictions. China’s main share markets, both among the world’s five biggest, have slumped around 30 percent since mid-June. The markets regulator, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), wants the trading records to try to identify those with net short positions who would profit in case of further falls in China-listed shares, according to Reuters sources. In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, correspondent Pete Sweeney offers a behind-the-scenes look at how he and Michelle Price landed the scoop.

Q. How did you score this exclusive?

A. This story was an exclusive covering an issue critical to our readers, namely the degree to which China’s attempts to seize control of its collapsing stock markets would impact foreign investors and foreign financial institutions, which are already quite nervous about the nature of Beijing’s intervention. This report showed that the CSRC’s efforts to discover and dissuade short-sellers have moved abroad – which makes some investors holding entirely legal short positions against Chinese assets quite nervous. Other media subsequently attributed the Friday afternoon market correction in Singapore on concerns about this report. What helped us beat the competition was the integration of two reporting efforts. We saw a scoop from the Reuters Chinese language (RCN) service and, through further dogged investigation by Michelle Price in Hong Kong, revealed that in addition to probing Chinese brokerages (which while newsworthy was not startling by itself), the CSRC was also requiring information from foreign brokerages regarding perfectly legal investment behavior, and that this had become a hot topic among communities in Singapore and Hong Kong. Ultimately the Chinese regulator admitted our reports’ accuracy, albeit in a very sideways manner, in a press conference later in the day.

Q. What types of reporting/sourcing were involved?

A. Sourcing came from contacts inside the brokerage communities in Hong Kong and Singapore, both Chinese and foreign.

Q. What was the hardest part about reporting the story? (more…)

Journalist spotlight: Clare Baldwin on revealing special report


Last week, a Reuters Special Report detailed how Sony sanitized the new Adam Sandler movie “Pixels” to please Chinese censors. The Hollywood studio changed the film for global audiences by removing an attack on the Great Wall as well as other politically sensitive plot points, internal emails show. The goal: increase the film’s chances of being shown in the huge China market. The story, by Hong Kong correspondent Clare Baldwin and enterprise reporter Kristina Cooke, was widely cited by press, including, Gawker, Gizmodo, Chinatopix, Shanghaiist, among many others. In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, Clare offers a look at the reporting behind the story.

Q. How did you and Kristina get started on the story?

A. We are constantly looking for new ways to tell the China story. Movies are a good lens through which to look at it, as they are such a big part of popular culture.

Q. What types of reporting/sourcing were involved? (more…)

China’s corporate debt mountain – Graphic of the day

The world’s biggest corporate debt pile – $16.1 trillion and rising – is a growing threat to China’s slowing economy. Corporate China’s debts, at 160% of GDP, are twice that of the United States, having sharply deteriorated in the past five years. Today’s graphic is based on a Thomson Reuters study of over 1,400 companies showing China’s rising corporate debt mountain.

corporate debt

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China’s outbound M&A in the U.S. – Graphic of the day

China’s state-backed Tsinghua is preparing a $23 billion bid for U.S. memory chip maker Micron Technology, in what would be the largest Chinese takeover of a U.S. company. Chinese companies have spent close to $50 billion on U.S. acquisitions over the last few decades. Today’s graphic documents the increase in those types of deals.


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BRICS economic overview – Graphic of the day

Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa finally launched the group’s largest initiatives to date — a development bank and a currency pool. Today’s graphic is an economic overview of the BRICS economies, including charts comparing GDP, real effective exchange rate, interest and inflation rates.


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Blazing a trail to red: Things to know about the rising Renminbi


Last year Thomson Reuters witnessed a 350% increase in offshore trading of the Chinese currency on our FX electronic trading platform. More East Asian and other currencies track against the RMB now than the U.S. dollar or the Euro. And up to 60 governments now have the RMB in their domestic currency reserves.

The staggering growth and development of the currency over the past ten years and pending IMF “blessing” as a de facto global reserve, has raised hopes of a stronger and more balanced global economy, more diversification of financial portfolios, and greater competitiveness for foreign companies. At the same time there is deep concern, especially from the United States, of a more powerful China that can write its own macro-economic rules, be the leading voice on regulatory policy and exert far greater foreign policy influence.

President of our Financial and Risk business David Craig is on the steering committee of the new Renminbi Ascending report developed in partnership between Thomson Reuters, Standard Chartered, the City of London, and the Atlantic Council – where he is a board member.

In the video below, David speaks to Dr. Chris Brummer, C. Boyden Gray Fellow at the Atlantic Council and author of the report, about the challenges and opportunities arising from the internationalization of China’s currency and asks: “What will this multi-polar world look like in 5 years time?”

Renminbi ascending: The global rise of China’s currency


A new report from Thomson Reuters, Standard Chartered, the Atlantic Council and the City of London explores how China’s currency impacts global markets, foreign policy and transatlantic financial regulation

Being curious people and deeply involved and enabling the intersection of currencies, commerce, regulation and development, we asked ourselves:  “What does the rise of the renminbi (RMB) really mean for financial markets and centers, regulatory development, investment inside and outside and foreign policy?”.

Others too were interested in this question and we partnered with Standard Chartered, the Atlantic Council, and the City of London to jointly research and understand these questions and gain greater insight, awareness and profile for our businesses globally

Six months later we are proud to share the final report, which was released on June 22. (more…)

U.S. counterfeit goods seizures – Graphic of the day

More than 85% of counterfeit goods seized by U.S. customs and border officials last year originated in China and Hong Kong. Today’s graphic shows the value and number of seizures in the last two years.


Would you like infographics like this on your website, blog or other social media? Contact us and visit our Reuters Agency blog for insights and discussions on the changing media industry.