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Will the Trade War Harm China's Fintech Industry?

来源:中国日报    2018-09-07 11:00

        As the US-China trade war continues, reports of industries potentially damaged by the skirmish are rolling in. Many experts believe that the trade war will have a strongly negative effect on China's economy, which is facing an economic slowdown and high levels of debt. Industries that face higher costs due to US tariffs on China include the electronics, chemicals, and plastics industries. Chinese retaliation will raise costs for its consumers, especially in the areas of agriculture and steel products. So far, tariffs haven't been placed on any service sectors, but this doesn't mean that service sectors will go entirely unscathed. What might happen to the Chinese fintech industry as a result of the growing trade conflict?        随着中美贸易战的持续,这场冲突有可能让工业蒙受损失的报导纷至沓来。许多专家认为,贸易战将对中国经济产生严重负面影响,中国将面临经济减速和高负债。因为美国加征对华关税而成本上升的行业包括电子、化工和塑料,而中国的报复措施也会增加消费者的支出,特别是在农产品和钢铁产品方面。到目前为止,关税还没有指向任何服务行业,但这不意味着服务业会毫发无损。贸易冲突加剧对中国金融科技业有什么影响呢?
        China's fintech industry includes sectors like digital payments, consumer and small firm lending, online wealth management, and online insurance. The industry caters in large part to lower and middle class consumers that China's government is hoping will purchase more goods to make up for a declining export sector and waning fixed asset investment. The fintech industry, along with China's e-commerce and internet-related industries, is growing at a faster rate than the rest of the economy. Therefore, it is an important source of growth.        中国的金融科技行业包括电子支付、消费者及小企业贷款、网上理财、互联网保险等类别。该行业在很大程度上迎合中低层消费者的需求,而中国政府希望他们购买更多商品,弥补出口下滑和固定资产投资的下降。金融科技与中国的电子商务和互联网相关产业一样,正在以比其他产业更快的速度增长,是重要的经济增长点。
        Many Chinese shoppers purchase foreign goods online due to their better quality. Chinese cross-border online retail spending was estimated at about $100 billion in 2017, and Chinese cross-border online sales in total were estimated to be $140 billion. Online sellers and shoppers buying or selling goods in the tariff categories will see costs go up as the additional fees are imposed. This is likely to result in reduced sales for both buyers and sellers, and therefore fewer digital payment transactions with regard to foreign e-tail (electronic retailing) markets. While a survey by Paypal found that most Chinese shoppers may be more quality-sensitive and less price-sensitive in buying goods from the US, this doesn't mean they won't look to other sellers if they can purchase quality products elsewhere. It will certainly harm sellers of high-tech products.        许多中国购物者在网上购买外国商品,因为这些商品的质量更好。2017年,中国的在线跨境零售支出估计为1000亿美元,中国的在线跨境销售总额估计为1400亿美元。由于出现额外费用,网上买家和卖家在买卖被列入关税清单的商品时将面临更高的价格,这有可能导致买卖双方的交易额下降,在外国电子零售市场上的电子支付交易减少。Paypal的一项调查发现,从美国购买商品的时候,大多数中国消费者对质量更敏感,对价格却不那么敏感。但这不意味着一旦发现可以从其他渠道购买高质量产品,他们不会转向其他卖家,而这肯定会让高科技产品销售商的利益受损。
        In addition, there will be knock-on effects throughout China's economy from the trade war. Increased costs from tariffs will contribute to China's struggle to maintain economic growth and reduce corporate debt. These two factors, coupled with a regulatory push to deleverage high levels of debt, are likely to reduce liquidity in the economy. As a result, we can expect available loans to decline. It seems highly plausible that this would extend not only to the banking sector, but also to the online lending sector, which may start to channel funds from formal financial institutions or from other individuals and firms. As there is less money to go around, there will be fewer loans available to consumers and small businesses. Undoubtedly, this will negatively impact the sector.        此外,贸易战会给整个中国经济带来冲击。关税成本的上升将加大中国保持经济增长、减少企业债务的难度。这两个因素,加上监管机构推动高水平债务去杠杆,有可能让金融经济的流动性减少。因此,我们预计贷款的提供会减少,而且不仅银行业想必如此,贷款减少也会扩大到在线贷款领域,后者可能会着手从正规金融机构或其他个人及公司筹资。由于资金不足,可以提供给消费者和小企业的贷款也会下降。所以该行业无疑会受到负面影响。
        As people have fewer funds, they are also likely to invest less through online wealth management services. China's online wealth management services allow users to invest in assets like money market funds and funds of funds. For example, Alibaba offers Yu'e Bao for online shoppers to invest some of their leftover cash in a money market fund, while Creditease offers a fund of funds covering a variety of asset categories. These investment outlets have become increasingly popular, since China has few other investment outlets with stable and strong returns. Due to the negative effect of the trade war, available funds for private investment may decline.        人们手中的资金少了,他们投入网上财富管理服务的钱就会更少。中国的网上财富管理服务允许用户把他们的钱投向货币市场基金和组合基金。例如,阿里巴巴为网上购物者提供余额宝服务,好让他们把余钱投给一只货币市场基金;宜信公司的母基金则覆盖多种资产类型。这些投资渠道越来越受欢迎,因为中国几乎没有其他稳定、回报率高的投资场所。由于贸易战的负面影响,可以用来进行私人投资的资金或许会缩减。
        Online insurance is also likely to be affected, if overall economic activity slows. Online insurance companies like Zhongan Insurance have created products that are closely tied to online purchases. For example, Zhongan offers insurance covering e-commerce product returns as well as travel insurance that can be purchased through Ctrip, a travel website. As e-commerce is affected, companies like Zhongan Insurance will also be affected.        如果整体经济活动放缓,互联网保险也有可能受影响。众安保险等在线保险公司推出与网购密切相关的产品,例如众安的电商产品退货保险,以及通过携程旅行网购买的旅游保险。由于电子商务受影响,众安保险这样的公司也会受到波及。
        Even though China's services industry is not yet directly subject to tariffs in the US-China trade war, fintech services are likely to be adversely impacted due to a slowdown in cross-border business with the US and a worsened economic slowdown and credit crunch. The government is acutely aware of the ramifications of the trade war, however, and is attempting to help Chinese firms find alternative markets to source from and sell to. This is a prodigious task, as the tariff categories are numerous. As with goods that are traded via traditional means, China's e-commerce sector may end up turning away from American products and consumers and toward European or Asian markets. This process of switching markets will help to buoy China's e-commerce regime and reduce the negative effects felt by the fintech industry, which closely complements online activity.        尽管中国服务业在中美贸易战中还没有成为直接的征税目标,但由于与美国的跨境业务放缓、经济减速加剧以及信贷紧缩,金融科技服务也会受到不利影响。不过,中国政府已经敏锐地觉察贸易战的波及面,正努力帮助中国企业寻找采购与销售替代市场。这是一项艰巨的任务,因为关税种类实在太多。与通过传统方式买卖的商品一样,中国电商最终也可能离开美国的产品和消费者,转向欧洲或亚洲市场。这个转换过程将有助于中国的电子商务体系渡过难关,减轻与在线活动密切相关的金融科技行业受到的不利影响。
        In the short run, however, it seems there is no escaping the unfavorable effects of the US-China trade war. It is highly likely that the fintech sector, like many other sectors in China, will be adversely impacted by the conflict.        但从短期看,中美贸易战的不利影响似乎难以避免。与中国许多其他行业一样,金融科技很可能要经受这场贸易战的负面冲击。

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