Global Updates: China

With the mid-year mark being reached for 2021 first half results have started to come out of China. along with numerous policy initiatives that are likely to have an effect on business trends in the region, we set out below a few thumb notes on key points that have come to our attention:

  • China’s Central Committee and State Council has released details of a development initiative to accelerate growth in the nationally underperforming central region of China, including the provinces of Shanxi, Anhui, Jiangxi, Henan, Hubei, and Hunan. Focus will be centred on increasing urbanisation, improving transport links, improving flood protections, increasing productivity of grain production and exports, and improving the manufacturing capacity with an emphasis on smart and green technologies.


  • China’s GDP is forecast by the World Bank to increase by 8.5% this year, slowing to 5.4% in 2022. This is off the back of a marked increase in trade by China in the first half of 2021 with trade levels up by 27.1%. Growth with global partners has increased across the board with highlights being an increase of 34.6% with the USA, 27.8% with ASEAN, 26.7% with Europe and 62.7% with India. Trade growth in the second half of the year is expected to continue to increase but at slower rates.


  • China has recently tightened policy to clamp down on the for-profit tutoring industry and online platforms for the tutoring of core school subjects. The impetus of this appears to be concern by the Chinese Government that unscrupulous, and unregulated providers are preying upon Chinese parents who are desperate to give their children an advantage in a highly competitive educational market. Additionally, there is a continued focus on the breaking up of large technological monopolies, such as the high-profile clamp down on Didi Global Inc (recently listed on the U.S. stock market) as China seeks to protect and maintain the integrity of the competitive market.


  • China has unveiled plans for the 2021-2025, 5-year plan to be focused on embedding a circular economy which promoted resource conservation and recycling, to protect resources security, and to assist with China’s decarbonisation pledge to peak carbon emissions by 2030 and become carbon-neutral by 2060. It is expected that this focus will boost the recycling industry in China which is forecast to reach 5 trillion yuan per annum (about £550bn) by 2025.


  • The Ministry of Justice of the People’s Republic of China has released a proposed revision to the PRC Arbitration Law for public consultation. This contains a number of ground breaking changes in the existing arbitration regime in Mainland China including: permitting foreign arbitration institutions to establish business operations in Mainland China to “conduct foreign-related arbitration business”, to allow ad-hoc arbitration, to formally recognise and enforce the ‘seat’ of arbitration clauses, to allow arbitrators to be able to determine their own jurisdiction over a claim and to provide arbitral tribunals with the power to grant interim measures.

Taken in the round, we read these developments as indicative of a concerted effort on the part of the People’s Republic of China to ready and make attractive the Chinese domestic market for an influx of foreign businesses. Increased attention to consumer protection, competitive initiative, high global growth markets, and standardisation of dispute resolution mechanisms with global norms for international trade all point in one direction.

Clearly, more than ever, China is a country to keep an eye on.

This article is written by Christopher MacQueen, a Director at Cardium Law Limited, in the Construction and Dispute Resolution Team. Should you wish to discuss any elements of this article or require any legal assistance please do not hesitate to contact Christopher at chrismacqueen@cardiumlaw.com or by telephone at +44 (0) 75 5382 4127.