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The Food Security Gene
These moves come after extreme weather events made 2023 a difficult year for agriculture in China. In the first half of the year, about 1.86 million hectares were affected by adverse rainfall, or about eight percent of China’s wheat land — an area about three times the size of Delaware. “It is likely that this influenced the decision to grant licenses for GMO wheat production,” says Kitty Smyth , CEO of London-based consultancy Jingpinou. “Imagine if extreme weather worsens and next year the crop yield is down two percent? The government has to hedge against this, and finally agreeing to license some GMO seed production is that hedge.”
China's Trade Halt with Lithuania
Kitty Smyth, head of China-focused UK consultancy firm, Jingpinou, said this pivot seems to be as much about Russia as about the US.
“Lithuania’s political leaders seem to be gambling that they will be better off under the protection of the United States. It is interesting and perhaps telling that they feel that way because it is likely that they had discussions with Poland and Germany via EU channels before coming to that conclusion.”
"The single biggest change to local diets is demand for fresh vegetables and salads, and meats that were not previously part of the Chinese diet such as beef and lamb," says Kitty Smyth, founder of strategic advisory firm Jingpinou. "These products are difficult to find and expensive to purchase."
"It (African swine flu) was a monumental crisis, says Smyth. "As a result, substantially more pork imports were needed, but it also had a ripple effect on the price of all protein sources, including beans, chicken and eggs." This has had a knock on effect on domestic food prices, consumer prices in general and has pushed up inflation over the past two years."
Another aspect of Haidilao's winning formula is its corporate culture. "People in the hospitality sector say that Haidilao was one of the first private companies to create a 'family' culture within the company, well before Alibaba, Zappos, and others started," says Kitty Smyth, founder of China strategic advisory firm Jingpinou. "Haidilao grew their managers from the bottom ranks up, and that gave the company stability and loyalty from employees, creating a solid foundation for expansion," says Smyth, who has supplied Haidilao with pork from the UK and Ireland.
How might China react to the UK's tough stance on Huawei and Hong Kong?
In the US, Canada and Australia, political elements have been critical of China for several years, while the UK is only now starting to push back against China's ambitions, said Kitty Smyth, the founder of Jingpinou, a UK consultancy specialising in China.
Therefore, China may be "more likely to want to build on those pockets of support, rather than erode all relationships with the UK entirely", she added.
Britain walks a tightrope opening trade talks with China
A new group has been formed to examine the UK’s China policy, and Ken McCallum, who has recently taken the reins at MI5, has signalled that China will be a key focus.
“This implies that Britain is likely to choose a path in which it engages closely with China, via a complex cat-and-mouse relationship structure based on less than complete trust,” says Kitty Smyth, founder of Jingpinou, a UK consultancy specialising in China.
Black Gold: Inside the Largest Caviar Factory in the World
The reason why China came to dominate the global caviar industry is because they got really lucky. The food trade in general is influenced enormously by political events. Since sanctions were imposed against importing Russian products in 2015, people are just not importing Russan caviar anymore. The market has shifted towards Chinese caviar not necessarily because of perception but because of market conditions, says Kitty Smyth, CEO of Jingpinou.
Wake Up to Money
China can send out products to the world on low tariffs, but they go into China on a much higher tariff, says Kitty Smyth of business advisor Jingpinou. There is a sense in China that this has to change - that they have got away with it for long enough.
What Jeremy Hunt's Japanese wife gaffe says about political messaging in the UK and China
The message is about China’s progress in building strategic alliances, crucial to the success of its Belt and Road Initiative. Britain has a similar political agenda: it needs to build partnerships across the globe. Both nations are on the brink of change. Every political PR knows an agenda needs a message. Without one, dialogue is led by events. In Beijing this week, we saw that happen. The worry isn’t so much that everybody went off message, but that there seemed to be no message to go off.