torsdag 7. mai 2020

Coronavirus: Can live-streaming save China's economy?

"I'm a bit nervous," confessed Li Qiang, the deputy mayor of Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus was first reported late last year, as he awaited the start of his first-ever live-streaming event. It is not the kind of tone one often hears from a senior Communist party official. But in an effort to revive China's economy after the devastating epidemic, Mr Li was determined. He spoke fondly of his long appreciation of Wuhan's local delicacy, hot and dry noodles, and urged locals to frequent his favourite shop.

The two-month-long nationwide lockdown has taken a heavy toll on the economy. It shrank 6.8% in the first three months of 2020 - the first time the country's economy has contracted since the death of Chairman Mao in 1976. But unlike then, Chinese politicians are more pragmatic these days, particularly as the once fast-growing economy is entering uncharted waters.