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China’s outlook for 2015: The road ahead

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Christine Lagarde speaking at the world economic forum.

It’s been a tough year worldwide. There have been international conflicts emerging, shaking our hopes of progress in the globalized era. There was a sharp drop in oil prices that has still yet to take its toll on the global economy. There was the risk of Europe falling into another recession and the general slowing of Asian economies.

While we heard some murmers of “optimism” and “consolidation” from the IMF and the World Bank, we look forward towards 2015 with hopes of improvement.

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Aside from the worldwide problems that will have a knock-on effect on China’s largely interdependent economy, China also faces its own domestic challenges.

  1. GDP per capita must eventually rise, considerably. Currently China is on the 93rd place in the world of GDP per capita. This means for the country that it needs to rise 32% to meet the world average. It needs to triple to equal the European average.
  1. The huge environmental issue. Some reports state that China cannot use some of its domestic natural resources such as coal, iron and others because it’s too dirty. This is one of the main challenges in China as from a pollution perspective, for example Beijing is becoming one of the worst cities to live in.
  1. Increase of income leads to larger consumption. The evidence of that could be seen on “Single’s day” which broke all records of purchases across the globe. China has always been regarded as the world factory for international markets but now more and more is consumed domestically.
  1. A rise in income also raises the real estate price that has led to a housing boom. It is a transitional change from lower to middle class society but it’s something China has to deal with in short term as the gap between rich and poor increases.
  1. Rising income also puts more strain on an export economy. Workers are demanding bigger salaries and better living and working conditions which pushes up the cost of the end product.  Countries are already sourcing products which require more involved handwork to other countries such as Vietnam where labour is cheaper.  Meanwhile the government struggles to keep the value of RMB low for its export industry in a country that’s clearly experiencing a boom.
  1. Consumers are more and more concerned about what they buy. Companies that produce for the domestic market are used to selling poorer quality products leading to massive brand loyalty. Better quality means better production standards countrywide and it’s going to cost.

All those indicators show that the economy in an ongoing process of change and evolution. GDP growth will remain steady around the 7% mark, impressive even if not the quite glory years of 2010 and before. Currently this resembles the progress of Japan in the 60s and Korea in the 80s.

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A growth of 7.4% is expected for 2014

China is rapidly changing and there are many internal issues that will come to light in the coming years. But it is inevitable to have a couple of bumps along a long road. The positive indicators are still flashing everywhere. The infrastructure is booming all around from small villages to the big cities. China is consistently investing a lot in its infrastructure in order to facilitate moving people from the country and into the cities. The increase of incomes is establishing a consumer oriented economy for the future. Small cities are seeing 20 to 30% growth. Savings rates are still very high but the government is planning reforms about this matter. Efforts are being made to try to ensure growth will be sustainable in the future, the epitome of a truly successful economy and a lesson harshly learned in Europe.

No matter the slowdown, China will still remain one of world’s biggest lenders. The Chinese Yuan will gain stronger positions towards the USD and the Euro.

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Zhuhai’s economic development in figures

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The Free Trade Zone in Zhuhai is expanding every year. Established in 1996, the FTZ is one of the 13 active zones in China and the only one in the west bank of the country. It is becoming one of first class FTZ in the world by 2020.

It is estimated to have yielded 1.69 billion Yuan ($270 million) in GDP and 1.3 billion Yuan ($208 million) in value added output of industrial business above expected size in the first half of this year. The year-to- year rise is between 10% and 12% annually.

Recently after a reform in its management methods of settlement of foreign exchange capital investments, the FTW offers even friendlier environment for foreigners willing to invest. The new rules make sure that there is minimum loss when transferring foreign exchange capital. This system protects each investor from fluctuating exchange rates.

The zone is to become a comprehensive bonded new town combining an international trade exhibition platform, regional logistics hub, bonded processing base and bonded commercial housing base. The beginning has started with the 20 level Chiao Kuang Business Center in Zhuhai-Macao Cross-Border.

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Live Science Park to be created by Singapore in Zhuhai’s Free trade zone Doumen district.

A Singapore-headquartered fund management company will build a Singapore Life Science Park in the zone costing 12 billion to 15 billion Yuan ($1.92 billion to $2.4 billion) to cover a headquarters economy, medical treatment and health rehabilitation, medical R&D centre and other industries. The ground of the project will combine bio-pharmaceuticals, medical apparatus, massive health industry, medicine logistics and e-commerce in its territory.

AVIC International Holdings LTD will make the zone’s biggest aviation parts exchange centre in China. But this is not the only project in the city. Statistics show that the number of high-end projects since last year reached 179. These include a couple of Fortune Global 500 Companies and Top 500 Companies from China. The total investment exceeds 30 billion Yuan ($5 billion).

The expansion of the FTZ will include leading enterprises from the aerial maintenance and training sector, precision machining, electronic parts manufacturing, medicine and medical apparatus, warehousing and logistics.

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The Zhuhai-Hong-Kong-Macao bridge is almost done. It should be oppened by 2016.

Once the Zhuhai-Hong Kong-Macao Bridge is finished it will create a historic trade bond in the delta. The FTZ will become a Macao-facing logistic delivery centre taking advantage of its preferential policies – “free trade zone”, “24/7 customs clearance dedicated checkpoint” and “special export tax reduction policy”.

By 2020 Zhuhai will have one of the greatest environments in the world for investment. The bridge with Hong Kong will make sure that it takes no more than 30-40 minutes drive to one of the most important financial centers in the world. The special rules in the Free Trade Zone will encourage many of the biggest companies in the world to invest and create their centers of operation in this place. And this is just the beginning. With growth that keeps pushing  higher than 10 % each year, Zhuhai will become one of the most important points in China’s future economic development.

Internship Experience

Why is Zhuhai a good place for an internship?

When people think about China, the first cities that usually come to mind are, of course, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. If you know a little bit more about the country, you might think of Tibet, Canton, or even Nanjing and Xi’an. But if you have a limited knowledge and experience of China, it’s very likely that you’ve never heard of a city called Zhuhai.

Zhuhai, in the Southeastern province of Guangdong (where Guangzhou, or Canton, is also located), has a population of 1.5 million people. By Chinese standards, this can be considered a small city. So, why would a Westerner want to do an internship in Zhuhai?

To borrow the popular saying… “location, location, location”. Zhuhai is primely located in an area called the Pearl River Delta which, in geographical terms, is the area surrounding the Pearl River estuary. In economic terms, this area comprises several hugely important cities such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, to name a few. This region is considered an emerging megacity and is one of the main hubs of economic growth in China. Meaning: there are thousands of thriving businesses in the area and the number will only keep growing.


In 1980, Zhuhai was named a Special Economic Zone, due largely to its strategic location. This status has meant that the Chinese government is spending a great deal of resources to make Zhuhai a modern and leading city in terms of business, science, education, tourism and transportation. The amount of investment and the convenience of travel (you can walk across the border to Macau, take a 1-hour ferry to Hong Kong or the high-speed train to Guangzhou) has turned Zhuhai into a hugely attractive place for foreign capital. So, if you are a Western intern, it will not be hard to find a company that has business ties to your region of the world.


Now, we all know that an internship abroad isn’t just about the work experience. It is also about the chance to live in a place different from your own, have exciting adventures and learn about a new and exotic culture. Zhuhai is also the perfect place for this. While it is rapidly developing, it is still one of the smaller cities in the area and has not been affected by pollution, heavy traffic or crime. Here, you can relax on the beach after a long day of work and eat delicious traditional Cantonese food. If you’re homesick and longing for a bit of Western culture, you can hop over to Macau or Hong Kong for a day or a weekend.


So, as you can see, Zhuhai is arguably THE place to be when it comes to choosing an internship in China. The cherry on the cake? The Intern China family, ready to support you every step of the way and help make Zhuhai your home away from home.

Looking for the ideal internship location? Take full advantage of all that Zhuhai has to offer! Apply now or send us an email for more information.