The IMF report comes as the Chinese locomotive runs out of steam. In 2019, GDP growth is at its lowest level for nearly thirty years.
Three bosses have just made the news in China. Three men whose statements and behavior say as much about the country’s economy as many statistics. First there was Jack Ma. The young retiree of Alibaba said at a conference on December 21, 2019, the day before he received five phone calls from friends asking him to lend them money. That the friends of the richest man in China, who are probably not themselves destitute themselves, cannot obtain bank credit is indicative of the financing difficulties encountered by Chinese entrepreneurs. On the contrary: far from lending, banks are putting pressure on their debtors. Ten other friends of Mr. Ma’s are looking to sell their property to pay off their debts. Conclusion of the founder of Alibaba: “The difficulties of 2019 are probably just the beginning.”
It is not Eric Xu who will contradict him. The current president – by rotation – of Huawei did not go there by four ways by presenting his wishes to the employees of the telecoms giant on December 31: “Surviving will be our first priority in 2020”, he declared . Clearly, Eric Xu has no illusions: the commercial truce concluded between China and the United States on January 5 will not put an end to the technological cold war waged by the two largest world powers and of which Huawei has become the symbol.
Remains a boss who has morale: Elon Musk. The founder of Tesla could not refrain from improvising a dance by inaugurating on January 7 in Shanghai his first factory outside the United States. It is true that the work had started less than a year earlier and that getting a car factory out of the ground at such a speed is unprecedented.
The problem is that the reversal of the Chinese market for new energy vehicles (NEV) is just as spectacular. After having jumped 62% in 2018, when Elon Musk made the decision to invest in Shanghai, it plunged by 4% in 2019. Nothing encouraging for an investor. But if, despite everything, Mr. Musk had a smile on January 7, it may be that he knew that four days later Beijing would make good news for the sector public. Finally, the premiums for the purchase of an electric or hybrid vehicle will be maintained in 2020. However, in the summer of 2019, accused of artificially keeping uncompetitive businesses afloat, they had increased from 50,000 (6,512 euros) at 25,000 yuan and each predicted their disappearance this year. But, faced with the drop in sales, Beijing has decided to leave the purse strings open for at least another year.