Throughout the past few weeks the Chinese banking regulators have intervened on several occasions to put a halt on some innovative products, including virtual credit cards provided by third-party providers and e-commerce companies. At the end of March, People’s Bank of China also announced that it would cap amounts the Chinese can spend using smartphone payment services.
While financial innovation from bank and non-bank actors can create new kinds of risks for consumers, it can also create huge opportunities for the financial sector to expand scale and reduce transaction costs. A recent CGAP report China: A New Paradigm in Branchless Banking? explores how China’s innovative payment ecosystem could significantly deepen financial access in the country, where more than one hundred million people live in poverty and over sixty percent of the poorest population segment has no access to formal banking services.
HONG KONG — Piles of unsold coal line rural roads in north-central China. Some iron ore mines near Beijing are operating at a fraction of capacity. Chinese farm products are even increasingly scorned by the Chinese consumer.
While China remains nearly self-sufficient in all these categories, it is importing more from other emerging markets. Economists and investors around the world have been fretting in recent days about the effects on smaller emerging markets if China’s economic slowdown worsens. Those concerns have driven down share prices and currencies from Jakarta to Istanbul to Buenos Aires, although emerging markets staged a partial recovery on Wednesday. They helped to prod the central banks of Turkey and India to raise benchmark interest rates unexpectedly on Tuesday.
Yet the most vulnerable producers these days may not be the coal mines in Indonesia, palm oil plantations in Malaysia or soybean farms in Brazil, but the farms and particularly the mines in China itself.
For the New York Times | By Jonah M. Kessel
In the winter of 2011, I visited the Foxconn factory in Chengdu, China, where many popular Apple products are made. However, I was not greeted with open arms. Foxconn denied any interviews and did not allowed us access to their facility. Employees of Foxconn we found outside the factory gates complained of grimm working conditions. (That report here: vimeo.com/35674511)
Over the year, the New York Times and other media outlets reported on this and Apple responded saying they would improve conditions for workers.
One year later, I returned to Foxconn with New York Times’ Hong Kong Bureau Chief Keith Bradsher as well as factories producing for Hewlett-Packard in Western China, to see what had changed since our initial investigations. This time around, Foxconn in Chengdu allowed us to interview employees as well as visit employee dormitories. Their reaction a year later showed a culture change. While at HP, manufactories there gave us full access to work areas, recreational areas, dormitories and eating facilities.
This video documents what we found.
see the video ..