Business has turned ugly for multinationals and foreign businesses in general operating in China. After the financial crisis, many looked to China for salvation but the business climate for them has soured in the past couple of years. They have become an easy target for authorities looking to send a message to various industries, with a number of foreign firms such as GlaxoSmithKline and Danone swept up in a far-reaching anti-corruption campaign that is increasingly defining Xi Jinping’s presidency to date. Other firms to have received tough treatment include Apple, whose humiliating apology in 2013 for offering inadequate warranties I wrote about for Al Jazeera English. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 1st, 2015 | Tags: Al Jazeera, China, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, CNOOC, CNOOC 981, deepwater, energy, Haiyang Shiyou 981, oil and gas, South China Sea, territorial disputes | No Comments »
Since I wrote this for Al Jazeera English in March 2013, China’s growing deepwater ambitions have ratcheted up tensions in the South China Sea. Last year China’s main offshore energy explorer CNOOC launched its first deepwater natural gas project in the South China Sea, and then triggered a months-long maritime standoff with Vietnam by towing its biggest oil rig into Vietnamese waters.
CNOOC, owned and controlled by the Chinese central government, sees the underexplored, tempestuous deep waters of the South China Sea as a source of future oil and gas production growth. Its existing fields are mature and are in decline. Venturing further afield is the company’s best hope.
Posted: January 28th, 2013 | Tags: Africa, Al Jazeera, China, China Central Television, China Daily, China's state media, Martin Plaut, Mary Harper, media, positive reporting, press freedoms, Xinhua, Yu-Shan Wu | No Comments »
This piece for Al Jazeera English, published on 24 January 2013, examines how the growth of China’s state media in Africa is changing journalism and perceptions of the continent. Available after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 24th, 2012 | Tags: Al Jazeera, Alvin Lin, Breitling Oil and Gas, China, Chris Faulkner, CNOOC, Fortune Oil, fracking, freelance, John Barnes, Michael Jones, natural gas, NRDC, PetroChina, shale gas | No Comments »
Al Jazeera English published the following article on its website on 13 December 2012. It investigates the formidable array of environmental, technical and geologic challenges confronting widespread development of shale gas in China. The article after the jump.
Toothpaste, pet food and tyres are a handful of exports from China that have had their provenance questioned in recent years. Add to that list the country’s impressive GDP figures, which have telegraphed two decades of extraordinary economic growth. Read the rest of this entry »
The story after the jump was written by me and James Byrne for Interfax Natural Gas Daily, a digital publication that reports on the global gas industry. The story was published on 21 August 2012 (subscribers only) and looks at the setbacks to China’s latest auction of rights to prospect for shale gas, which is a form of natural gas found in shale rock deep underground.
China is believed to have the largest recoverable reserves of shale gas worldwide, enough to last nearly 200 years at the country’s rate of gas consumption in 2011, but the method of extracting shale gas – hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ – is environmentally contentious.
The Sunday Times published a story (paywall) on the weekend about China’s top 10 most powerful figures in the country’s state-owned business sector. The figures sit atop of a diverse range of business empires that have two major things in common: they are owned by the government, and hold a near monopoly in their industry. Several of the heads are also so-called princelings, the offspring of Communist revolutionaries that helped found modern-day China in the 1940s and whose families continue to wield enormous political power. In February 2011, Xinhua reported that the Chinese government directly controlled 121 companies worth roughly $3.65 trillion through the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.
As NATO continues to strike Gaddafi’s forces in Libya, behind the scenes lurks China with an altogether different show of strength. Pay attention to the microphone flags of news agencies attending this press briefing on Saturday. Read the rest of this entry »
Late on in The Matrix film, there is a scene when Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith theorises to the captured Morpheus that humans are a disease, a “cancer of this planet”. This is a tad much for Jonathan Watts, Asia environmental correspondent for the Guardian newspaper. He downgrades us to locusts instead. Read the rest of this entry »
Media reports this week of a new food safety scare has dealt a fresh blow to China’s food industry. Worries over the quality and safety of food grown in the People’s Republic are nothing new. Last year alone, Chinese shoppers dealt with painted oranges and toxic cowpeas. But the new fears concern the dairy industry, which is still recovering from a scandal in 2008 that killed six children and hospitalised thousands of others. Read the rest of this entry »