As the world waits to hear updates on economic reforms expected at the forthcoming government meetings in the Chinese capital, one of last year’s other big reforms is already starting to have an impact. The corruption crackdown in which big bears claw at both tigers and flies has led to a huge fall in sales of fine foods and wines and handbags made from the skin of moon fairies. But wily officials continue to find ways to enrich themselves – Chinese management innovation at its best.
The central government announced a very generous reward pool of US$1.6 billion to regions that combat air pollution. It is understood that the bigger the improvement the bigger the share of the pie a city can earn. That explains why Beijing took the unusual step of announcing for the first time that extremely bad pollution is coming its way. The bigger the problem the more impressive the cleanup, and thereby the payoff. Now all that remains is for the air to be clean…
State-owned enterprises are aiming higher. Oil-driller and petrol-pump attendant Sinopec said that since state coffers are now off limits to executives seeking to fill their pockets, private investors will need to cough up the cash. A plan for doing so, namely selling part of its oil marketing unit, was approved by the board earlier this week. Conveniently, that was decided just as ICBC kicked off its whistlestop tour of the Middle East – a big place for oil – where it plans to grab more clients. Any guesses which institution will be lead bookmaker in a potential US$20 billion IPO for Sinopec’s retail unit?
The huge clampdown on prostitution that we reviewed last week is spreading more quickly that the STDs passed from vendor to client. Impeccably moral leaders in Beijing have ordered the campaign to go national. Reportedly, many clients and girls were caught live in the act – a testament to the effectiveness of bounce-rate monitoring systems installed in sofas and beds at hotels and massage parlors across South China. The technology was adapted from smart meters that track electricity usage, in which China is the now the world’s largest investor, new data show.