Good evening. This week’s Q&A with historian Rana Mitter is a fascinating exploration of narrative and its importance to nation states. And while he is talking mostly about China’s use of World War II to foster a new sense of nationalism, it is a useful perspective for our cover story this week as well, which looks at how China’s state-owned aerospace behemoth was allowed to go on a U.S. buying spree after the 2008 financial crisis. It’s a story that raises critical questions for the future of U.S.-China relations, but how those questions are answered is still up for debate. That history, after all, is not yet written.
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AVIC, China’s aerospace behemoth, has been known to try to steal U.S. trade secrets. But it’s also been allowed to buy them. After the 2008 financial crisis, AVIC went on a U.S. buying spree, snatching up American aviation and engineering companies and partnering with others — all with the U.S. government’s blessing. Now, as China’s military has modernized surprisingly quickly, some say the string of acquisitions represents a grave mistake. Others maintain it was merely good economics during America’s time of need. As The Wire‘s Eli Binder and Katrina Northrop report, the messy reality may be a mixture of both.
China is reportedly preparing an antitrust case against Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, over its Android operating system, which has gained a dominant position in China’s mobile phone market. To casual observers this is yet another tit-for-tat act occurring between China and the U.S. over trade and technology, but in his column for The Wire, Steven Davidoff Solomon argues that the Chinese antitrust investigation also shows the nuances of this competition and how both countries are now looking for legitimacy under the cloak of the law.
The world closely watches rankings of the rich, whether because it is a reflection of a company’s health, an indication of the importance of an emerging technology, or merely a source of fascination. China’s decades-long economic boom has produced more billionaires than the United States, and this week, our infographics look at the wealthiest person in each province or major city while also putting them into perspective with billionaires around the world.
Rana Mitter is a Chinese history and politics professor at Oxford University, and the author of several books, including his most recent China’s Good War: How World War II Is Shaping a New Nationalism. In this week’s interview with The Wire’s Katrina Northrop, he talks about the legacy of World War II in China, how that legacy impacts China’s territorial disputes, and the evolving nature of UK-Chinese relations.
Illustration by Kate Copeland
This month, Miniso went public on the New York Stock Exchange, raising more than $600 million and attaining a valuation of $6 billion. The Chinese retailer has 2,500 stores in China and another 1,700 in more than 60 countries abroad, selling products from snacks to clothes and accessories to home goods. Yet some of Miniso’s practices have raised eyebrows, and as The Wire‘s Eli Binder reports, some analysts think that, despite its big ambitions, Miniso may face an uphill battle in building long-term success around the world.
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