Good Evening. Welcome to The Wire, a weekly digital news magazine focused on China’s economic rise. Every week, our award-winning journalists will bring you original, in-depth reporting on some of the biggest stories of our time. To learn more about us, who we are, and why we’re so passionate about covering China, check out our mission statement. Here is what’s featured in the first issue of the magazine.
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How China Became the World’s Medicine Cabinet
The United States is home to some of the most advanced pharmaceutical companies, and yet it no longer produces crucial drugs like penicillin or other antibiotics. Instead, China, a strategic rival, now dominates the world’s supply chain even despite its terrible record of producing counterfeit, substandard and tainted drugs. With a global pandemic and a fraught trade war further complicating America’s reliance on China for drugs, many are wondering if China’s pharmaceutical monopoly presents a national security risk. As one global health expert warned, “Medicines in the hands of an adversary can be weaponized.”
The Big Picture: Untangling China’s Antibiotics Dominance
Antibiotics travel through an opaque network of manufacturers, packagers, and distributors to get to the pharmacy. But behind that tangle of transactions, the ingredient that makes the drugs work — the active pharmaceutical ingredient, or API — was likely made in China. This week’s infographics show you China’s share of the most widely used antibiotics as well as some of the biggest players in China’s pharmaceutical industry.
In High-Stakes Chip Deal, China Has Regulatory Leverage
Nvidia’s pending $6.9 billion acquisition of Mellanox is not just noteworthy in the semiconductor industry. This is a key technology in U.S.–China economic competition, and because Nvidia is a U.S. company, the deal would further build the U.S. lead. But China has a regulatory card up its sleeve, and if it chooses to play it will tell us a lot about the ongoing technology war.
Essential New Reading on China
Our books editor, Alec Ash, looks at recent publications and gives his recommendations to expand your reading list. His top choice this month examines arguably the most important question to be asked of China right now: whether it can make the transition from growth led by manufacturing to a sustainable economy led by services and innovation. The answer to that question will affect not just investments but the world economy.
How Soon Can China’s Economy Rebound?
Our weekly roundup of China news surveys the wreckage left by the coronavirus pandemic. This week saw creative accounting, catering to foreign capital, the Central Bank’s emerging strategy, a potential default crisis, and the plight of smaller banks. The world’s second-largest economy could fall into its first quarterly contraction in at least 30 years. But signs of life are showing up.
A Q&A With Winston Lord
In the 1970s, Winston Lord sat in on some of the most crucial meetings that led to China’s opening to the West and later served as Ambassador to China. In this interview with David Barboza, he gets frank about why the problems with China pre-date Trump and how the U.S. can pursue smarter competition.
Illustration by Lauren Crow
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