China resorts to state planning to stymie housing market volatility

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The top economic and financial news stories in the Chinese press as of 29 February, 2024

Ministry of Housing and Construction commits to preventing large-scale market volatility with government planning  (Securities Times

The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) recently issued the “Notice on Preparing Housing Development Planning and Annual Plans” (关于做好住房发展规划和年度计划编制工作的通知). 

The Notice requires that all local governments should do an effective job in the preparation and implementation of housing development plans and annual plans, and achieve the goal of setting housing levels on the basis of people, setting land supply levels on the basis of housing, and setting monetary amounts on the basis of housing.

[This will] promote balanced supply and demand in the real estate market, structural rationalisation, and prevent large-scale volatility. 

The Notice points out that housing development planning and annual plans are important starting points for establishing a linkage mechanism between the factors of “people, housing, land, and money”. 

All local governments must fully understand the importance of preparing and implementing housing development plans and annual plans, scientifically prepare plans, carefully organize and implement them, determine housing demand based on population shifts, scientifically arrange land supply and guide the allocation of financial resources based on housing needs. 

Rule of law is the key to rising capital markets: China’s securities regulator (Shanghai Securities Journal

On 27 February, Wu Qing (吴清), secretary and chairman of the Party Committee of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), convened a symposium on the development of the rule of law in capital markets, listening to opinions and suggestions on improving the basic system of the capital market and strengthening the protection of the rule of law. 

Wu Qing stressed that the regulatory demands of capital markets are extremely high, and the rise of the rule of law will lead to the rise of the market. 

CSRC will carefully study and consider the opinions and suggestions put forward by the participants, and work with relevant parties to improve the legal system, enhance the efficiency of law enforcement, strengthen judicial protection, and better employ the role of the rule of law in consolidating foundations, stabilizing expectations, and ensuring the high-quality development of the capital market

Female entrepreneurs arrested in Guizhou over 100 million yuan in unpaid government debts (Sina)

The Information Office of the Guizhou Provincial People’s Government issued the following statement on 28 February:

Recently, relevant media outlets published the article “Female entrepreneurs arrested for ‘picking quarrels and provoking troubles’ when asking for project funds – government only willing to repay 12 million out of 100 million yuan in debt.”

The situation was reported by the Information Office of the Shuicheng District People’s Government and has attracted widespread attention. 

Our province attaches great importance to this. In response to the problems reported online, an investigatory team led by the Provincial Procuratorate has been established to conduct a comprehensive review of the case, handle it strictly in accordance with the law, and maintain judicial fairness. 

Our province will equally protect the legitimate rights and interests of all types of business entities in accordance with the law; pursue strict accountability for any behaviour that infringes the legitimate interests of private entrepreneurs, and investigate and deal with the use of illegal means to seek improper benefit. 

How can China establish a tight-knit social security net? (People’s Daily

The Central Economic Work Conference held at the end of last year called for: “protecting, ensuring and securing the bottom line of people’s living standards” and “weaving a tight social security network.”

In 2023, various local governments and departments continued to strengthen inclusive, basic and comprehensive improvements to people’s living standards and continued to improve the multi-tier social security system.

As of the end of last year, the number of social security card holders nationwide was 1.379 billion, covering 97.7% of the population. The number of people covered by basic pension, unemployment, and work-related injury insurance increased by 13.36 million, 5.66 million, and 10.54 million respectively in year-on-year terms. 

Basic pension insurance for disadvantaged groups now essentially covers all people who need it, and the healthcare insurance participation rate for rural low-income people and those who have been lifted out of poverty has stabilized at over 99.9%.

In 2024, how can China further consolidate the social security network? Relevant senior officials from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the National Medical Insurance Administration stated that this year they will continue to increase investment in people’s living standards and accelerate the compensation of shortcomings. 

Cross-border wealth management connect upgrades to version 2.0, renminbi deposit rates rise to 6% (Sina Financial Research Institute

Implementation of the newly revised “Implementation Rules for the “Cross-border Wealth Management Connect” Pilot Scheme in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area officially commenced 26 February. Version 2 of the “Cross-border Wealth Management Connect” has officially come on line. 

Compared with 1.0, “Cross-border Wealth Management Connect 2.0” has been optimized and upgraded in terms of participating institutions, investor access, individual investor quotas, investment product range, and cross-border publicity and sales arrangements.

Bank of China Hong Kong, CCB Asia, ICBC (Asia) and many other banks have recently become active participants in the scheme, not only expanding the number of southbound financial products, but also recommending a number of southbound and northbound discount activities to customers. 

According to the official website of the Shenzhen Branch of the People’s Bank of China, since 2023, as many as 32 mainland banks have launched “Cross-border Wealth Management Connect” pilot projects in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

China establishes Shanghai Eastern Hub International Commercial Cooperative Zone (Xinhua

On 28 February, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) publicly released the “General Plan for the Development of the Shanghai Eastern Hub International Business Cooperation Zone” (上海东方枢纽国际商务合作区建设总体方案). 

GAC confirmed that the business cooperation zone will have the core function of promoting international business exchanges, satisfying the needs of foreign personnel for short-term stay business activities, and providing international business people with convenient access to business meetings, business negotiations and other activities.

The plan clearly states that the business cooperation zone will rely on the Eastern Hub Shanghai East Railway Station and Pudong International Airport The advantages of international and domestic passenger flow and the transfer passenger flow of Pudong International Airport create a highly convenient platform for international business exchanges and cooperation.

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