After several months of relative quiet, Chinese solar panel makers are back in the headlines this week with another looming trade dispute in Europe. This particular story, and much of the industry’s woes over the last 2 years, stems from broader western allegations of unfair government support for Chinese panel makers. In this case china and the EU signed a deal a year ago to resolve their dispute, but now the EU is accusing several Chinese firms of violating the deal.
Today I’m grouping 2 headlines together that look quite different on the surface but seem to underscore a growing bias in china against foreign companies, despite Beijing’s insistence on no such prejudice. One headline has global consumer products giant Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) receiving what looks like a large and somewhat arbitrary fine for false advertising. The other has media reporting that beijing has moved its online government procurement platform onto servers operated by AliCloud, the cloud computing division of e-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE: BABA).
Global gadget leader Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) has been in the local tech headlines nonstop these last few days, wowing Chinese fans with a customized version of its new Apple Watch that will debut in China next month as part of its global launch. Pundits are mixed on how the watch will fare in China, but I expect it should do quite well thanks to inclusion of China’s hottest apps together with the company’s own strong reputation for well-designed, cutting-edge products.