Recent events have kept us peering up through the haze with our eyebrows raised at the heights scaled by the China’s movers and shakers. Things kicked off early in the week with word of a close encounter between Chinese and American military planes in the skies above everyone’s favorite hotly disputed body of water, the South China Sea.
Narrowly averted international incidents are all well and good, but truth be told our gaze was glued to China’s air travel industry. Despite China’s own plane manufacturing sector struggling not to nosedive, Bank of China Aviation saw no reason to stay under the radar with its record purchase of 80 Boeing passenger planes, all of which will no doubt enjoy a relatively cushy gig spending most of their time idling at China’s airports, their flights delayed for reasons undisclosed.
If the fleet does ever leave the ground it might just carry Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to Beijing this month, a trip which the company assured the press was planned far, far in advance of any antitrust probes the company might be subject to in China. Or perhaps they’ll ferry big-spending Chinese abroad to enjoy their new US investor visas, of which they managed to snap up 85% this fiscal year, completely exhausting the supply. No worry, of course, as the next batch will be ready for the picking on the first of October.
But the extent of China’s aerial exploits reached above even BOC Aviation’s fleet, achieving orbit with news that security satellite Gaofen 1 had aided the Ministry of Public Security in spotting the largest known marijuana plantation in the country’s history, though officials later humbly suggested it might just be a really big hemp farm. Perhaps Gaofen 1 can see through all the smoke being blown to help authorities spot the mountainous cash reserves of China Resources Power’s president and his coal baron buddy, who this week were detained over the investment by the former in the latter’s coal mines for stratospheric prices.
Of course, not every bird can take wing, all the more so when its feet have been chopped off. Thus China’s chickens might have found brief relief in news that 30,000 tons of their feet destined for restaurants nationwide were seized due to unhealthy levels of hydrogen peroxide. Such a disincentive for demand was perhaps bad timing for private equity giant KKR, which that day announced its purchase of 18% of chicken producer Fujian Sunner.
Of course, Sunner could always try easing concerns about the industry by offering its consumers insurance, as Suning Commerce Group did this week for milk powder bought at its stores. We think that might fly.