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The Weekly Brief

Just a quick update in case you missed it.

Released on 01.12.2023

Shein’s IPO Plan to Fuel Scrutiny Over Cotton, China Roots

Fast-fashion retailer Shein has a lot of work to do to convince sceptics that the runway is clear for it to launch an initial public offering next year. The Singapore-headquartered company filed confidentially for a listing in New York, a person familiar with the matter has said, weeks after Bloomberg News reported that it could seek a valuation of as much as $90 billion in a first-time share sale. If it sold a 10 percent stake, raising about $9 billion at that valuation, it would be the fifth largest consumer company IPO of all time, just behind Porsche AG’s $9.1 billion 2021 listing, Bloomberg calculations show.

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China warns Taiwan ruling party presidential candidate not to seek independence

A spokesperson for China's Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council has issued a warning to Taiwan's ruling party presidential candidate not to seek independence. Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party is fielding Vice President Lai Ching-te for January's presidential election. Lai and New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih of the largest opposition party Kuomintang, and former Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je of the second largest opposition Taiwan People's Party, filed their candidacies last week. Spokesperson Chen Binhua on Wednesday held his first news conference since the Taiwan presidential election registries were closed.

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Xi Is Delegating More Authority in China to His Trusted No. 2

Chinese President Xi Jinping spent his first decade in office accumulating power at the expense of the Communist Party’s No. 2 official. Now that he’s installed a trusted loyalist as premier, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong is getting more comfortable delegating authority. Last week, state media revealed Chinese Premier Li Qiang is overseeing the Central Financial Commission created in March — surprising analysts who expected his boss to take the job. Xi — who has been called the “Chairman of Everything” for the sheer amount of titles he’s accumulated — leads all of the seven central commissions set up before he further consolidated power at a leadership congress last year.

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Australian Intelligence Report Identifies China as Major Backer of Cybercrime

The Australian Signals Directorate, or ASD, on November 15 released its cyber threat report for the past year. It stated that serious attacks on federal government agencies or critical infrastructure that led to the “extensive compromise” of sensitive data have increased from two to five in the past year. The ASD report identifies China as a major conspirator, followed by Russia and Iran. In the community, more Australians are reporting being targeted by cyber criminals. Almost 94,000 reports of cybercrime were made to law enforcement agencies by individuals and businesses across the country, a rise of 23 percent from the previous year.

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Despite risk, AI research is ‘entangled’ with China – Study

European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other European leaders have referred to ‘derisking’ relations with China, including research collaboration in the key field of artificial intelligence, but Europe is still ‘entangled with China’ when it comes to AI research, according to a new report. AI research collaboration between China and Europe has grown significantly in the five years from 2017 to 2022, despite temporary disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the report from the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) in Berlin. “


Goldman Sachs pares back ‘growth at all costs’ China strategy

Goldman Sachs chief executive David Solomon warned that tensions between Washington and Beijing could take years to resolve and that the Wall Street bank had moved away from a “growth at all costs” strategy towards the world’s second-largest economy. Goldman, which has had an office in Hong Kong for 40 years and opened its first office in China in 1994, has cultivated deep corporate ties there and is one of the most closely followed US companies in the country. Speaking with the Financial Times at the Global Banking Summit, Solomon said he was encouraged by recent dialogue between the US and Chinese governments but cautioned that the differences between the two sides were deep-rooted.

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China commission calls for stronger tech export controls

Congress must act to create a stronger system to stop the flow of technology that can aid Beijing’s military goals, according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. “U.S. export controls toward China have expanded substantially, though they now face significant obstacles to enforcement” because China’s civil-military fusion creates a seamless flow of technology between its commercial sector and military establishment, the commission said in an annual report released this month.

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