The cry “There’s gold in them thar hills!” has been echoing through China, which last year became the world’s largest gold producer. Now we hear that the country’s largest gold producer, China National Gold, has told its prospectors to swing their picks even faster, to increase output by 12.5% next year.
Speaking of gold, we don’t really know if that big stimulus package announced Sunday has quite the value we were led to believe. No one’s saying that US$586 billion is chump change, but some analysts are wondering if a lot of that money was previously allocated – with some estimating that only a third of it is actually a new deal, to borrow a phrase from the Franklin Roosevelt era.
News of that stimulus package electrified stock markets around the world, and now some more electrifying news: Chinese officials are telling domestic automakers to cooperate to develop electric cars, or else move out of the fast lane. Developing hybrids will be a first step, but Shenzhen-based firm BYD has already accelerated past the competition with an announcement it would debut an electric car this month.
Maybe taxi drivers in Sanya on Hainan need a stimulus package of their own. They went on strike over monopolistic taxi companies, high rents for cabs and unlicensed competitors. They’re not the only ones with disagreements. There were other protests across the country Monday, set off by wage disputes and allegations of collaboration between local officials and organized criminals. The protests in Taiwan last week seem to have left China unflapped – a forum between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party in Shanghai will go on as planned in December.