China’s Small Businesses Are Hit Hard as Economic Recovery Falters
Kanebridge News
    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,635,570 (+0.09%)       Melbourne $990,779 (-0.14%)       Brisbane $1,002,534 (+0.89%)       Adelaide $899,189 (+1.63%)       Perth $853,385 (-0.01%)       Hobart $727,599 (-0.08%)       Darwin $665,330 (-2.24%)       Canberra $1,030,329 (+2.00%)       National $1,054,780 (+0.44%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $758,114 (+0.56%)       Melbourne $494,774 (+0.21%)       Brisbane $562,776 (+0.42%)       Adelaide $448,109 (+2.19%)       Perth $451,267 (-0.77%)       Hobart $504,603 (-1.31%)       Darwin $357,621 (+2.79%)       Canberra $496,414 (-0.41%)       National $532,600 (+0.26%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,429 (+70)       Melbourne 14,915 (+41)       Brisbane 7,933 (-18)       Adelaide 2,089 (-116)       Perth 5,787 (-101)       Hobart 1,241 (+4)       Darwin 244 (-2)       Canberra 988 (+18)       National 43,626 (-104)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,586 (+58)       Melbourne 8,221 (+87)       Brisbane 1,635 (+21)       Adelaide 372 (-9)       Perth 1,517 (-36)       Hobart 198 (-10)       Darwin 404 (-2)       Canberra 1,028 (+31)       National 21,961 (+140)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $820 (+$3)       Melbourne $600 (-$5)       Brisbane $650 ($0)       Adelaide $600 ($0)       Perth $680 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $750 ($0)       Canberra $680 (+$10)       National $676 (+$1)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $760 (-$10)       Melbourne $595 (-$5)       Brisbane $640 (-$3)       Adelaide $500 (+$5)       Perth $620 ($0)       Hobart $450 ($0)       Darwin $540 (-$10)       Canberra $550 (-$10)       National $596 (-$5)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,832 (+125)       Melbourne 6,113 (+155)       Brisbane 4,426 (+39)       Adelaide 1,506 (+63)       Perth 2,727 (+138)       Hobart 431 (+13)       Darwin 95 (-3)       Canberra 602 (+6)       National 21,732 (+536)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,046 (+377)       Melbourne 6,071 (+301)       Brisbane 2,272 (+28)       Adelaide 373 (+1)       Perth 740 (-4)       Hobart 143 (+14)       Darwin 136 (+6)       Canberra 746 (+30)       National 20,527 (+753)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.61% (↑)        Melbourne 3.15% (↓)       Brisbane 3.37% (↓)       Adelaide 3.47% (↓)     Perth 4.14% (↑)      Hobart 3.93% (↑)      Darwin 5.86% (↑)        Canberra 3.43% (↓)       National 3.33% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 5.21% (↓)       Melbourne 6.25% (↓)       Brisbane 5.91% (↓)       Adelaide 5.80% (↓)     Perth 7.14% (↑)      Hobart 4.64% (↑)        Darwin 7.85% (↓)       Canberra 5.76% (↓)       National 5.81% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 28.9 (↓)     Melbourne 30.3 (↑)        Brisbane 30.8 (↓)       Adelaide 25.4 (↓)     Perth 36.1 (↑)      Hobart 37.8 (↑)      Darwin 35.1 (↑)        Canberra 28.5 (↓)     National 31.6 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 29.6 (↓)       Melbourne 30.2 (↓)     Brisbane 29.6 (↑)        Adelaide 25.4 (↓)     Perth 38.3 (↑)      Hobart 30.1 (↑)        Darwin 46.7 (↓)       Canberra 38.0 (↓)     National 33.5 (↑)            
Share Button

China’s Small Businesses Are Hit Hard as Economic Recovery Falters

Beijing pushes banks to extend loans to small businesses, with limited success

By CAO LI
Mon, Jun 19, 2023 8:31amGrey Clock 5 min

China’s small businesses are cutting staff, struggling to pay off debt and nervous about the future. Their plight paints a grim picture of the country’s flagging recovery.

The country’s small and medium-size enterprises are crucial to the economy; they employed around 233 million people by the end of 2018, which was the last time this data was made public. But official data, recent disclosures from lenders and interviews with small-business owners show that many of these companies are suffering.

“The biggest problem for small and micro enterprises now is survival,” said Ji Shaofeng, the founder of a micro loan trade association based in China’s eastern Jiangsu province.

The struggles of China’s small businesses make clear how far the country has to go before it fully recovers from a series of lockdowns, which were part of Beijing’s strict response to the coronavirus.

When the government finally brought an end to its strict zero-Covid policy late last year, many economists expected a strong recovery. It hasn’t arrived. Consumer spending, factory orders and exports are among many indicators showing signs that the recovery is losing steam.

A recent survey of manufacturing purchasing managers in China showed a second consecutive month of contraction for small companies. China’s small-enterprise purchasing managers index is now at 47.9; a reading below 50 shows business activity is slowing.

Scott Yang, a wine and tea seller in Wenzhou, a city in China’s wealthy Zhejiang province, said many local business owners he knows are laying off employees and trying to cut costs, in response to a drop in factory orders.

Small enterprises started to add jobs at the end of the first quarter, when there was still some optimism about a recovery. But a PMI subindex showed employment at small enterprises was 48.7 in May, meaning these companies are either cutting staff or not replacing those who leave.

Huang Yiwen, who sells furniture online in Foshan, in southern China’s Guangdong province, said his business has been hurt by the weak property market, since new-home buyers are a reliable source of demand for furniture makers. Annual home sales fell to a six-year low in 2022, after a slump in the property sector that also led to debt defaults by some of China’s largest developers.

“It’s so hard to sell,” said Huang, regarding furniture.

Less than 40% of small and medium-size enterprises are operating at full capacity, which means producing all of the goods they can, according to the latest survey conducted by the China Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, which sends questionnaires to 3,000 SMEs in the country every month.

Economists warn that the problems facing small businesses can’t be isolated from the wider economy. Because small businesses are such a major source of employment, particularly in large cities, their struggles reflect—and could worsen—wider economic strains.

“If SMEs do not recover, it will be difficult for urban areas to create enough employment and income, which will have a significant impact on low- and middle-income families,” said Dan Wang, chief economist of Hang Seng Bank (China).

Chinese government officials are becoming uneasy about the economy and are planning a series of moves to stimulate growth, The Wall Street Journal recently reported. That could include billions of dollars of infrastructure spending and a loosening of rules in the property sector.

So far, Beijing’s attempts to prop up small businesses have focused mainly on making it easier for them to get funding. That has had limited success.

Since early 2020, Chinese regulators have pushed banks and other financial institutions to extend loans to small businesses that were hurt by the pandemic. In some parts of the country, local divisions of China’s central bank have sought to help small businesses by establishing teams to answer funding-related questions, as well as visiting factories and farms to assess their needs. The government has provided other targeted-relief measures such as tax exemptions and temporary rent reductions.

The total outstanding balance of loans to small and micro enterprises has been climbing, reaching the equivalent of $9 trillion at the end of March, according to data from China’s banking regulator.

Many small businesses in China don’t want to secure new financing unless it helps them clear previous debts. Yang, the wine seller, said that while financing is relatively cheap and easy to get, most local businesses he knows are borrowing only to stay afloat and not to expand.

Lufax, a Chinese internet-lending platform that caters mostly to small-business owners, said last month that about 5.7% of the total loans it facilitated were more than 30 days past due at the end of March. Its loan-delinquency rates, which are higher for unsecured loans, have risen for six consecutive quarters.

MYbank, an internet lender that serves small businesses, said in its latest annual report that the balance of its loans that were more than 30 days past due more than doubled last year. The company, an affiliate of the Chinese fintech giant Ant Group, said the impact of the pandemic and weak consumption last year caused many small- and micro-business owners to face continuous pressure.

Many commercial banks have given borrowers more time to repay their loans, extending their forbearance for small businesses to this year. Small businesses whose loans were due in the fourth quarter of 2022 will have until the end of this month to repay, according to a notice from the central bank and a group of regulators.

Chinese banks have allowed some small businesses to roll over their loans, but if these small businesses are unable to repay in the future, they will eventually have to be recognized as bad loans, said Jay Guo, a former banker and current dean at the Ningbo China Institute for Supply Chain Innovation.

“It only makes sense to extend loans if the economy rebounds and SMEs are able to sell their goods,” said Guo.

Ji, of the micro loan trade association, said that while some sectors such as tourism and catering have rebounded in the past few months, small businesses in manufacturing, trade and other industries are still under pressure as demand remains well below where it used to be.

Small businesses are falling victim to a vicious cycle that is affecting the wider economy, said Xiangrong Yu, chief China economist at Citigroup. The poor performance of some private companies is leading to a loss of confidence, and that low confidence is making it hard for those companies to do better, he said.

“Lack of confidence is both a symptom of the problem and the root cause of the problem,” said Yu.



MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

Related Stories
Money
A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now
By CALLUM BORCHERS 14/06/2024
Money
Apple Sued by Employees Alleging Unequal Pay for Women
By ERIN MULVANEY 14/06/2024
Money
The unexpected reasons Australians are retiring earlier than planned
By Bronwyn Allen 14/06/2024
A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now

Companies are eager to hire strong players who use hybrid work schedules to schmooze clients on the course

By CALLUM BORCHERS
Fri, Jun 14, 2024 5 min

Standout golfers who aren’t quite PGA Tour material now have somewhere else to play professionally: Corporate America.

People who can smash 300-yard drives and sink birdie putts are sought-after hires in finance, consulting, sales and other industries, recruiters say. In the hybrid work era, the business golf outing is back in a big way.

Executive recruiter Shawn Cole says he gets so many requests to find ace golfers that he records candidates’ handicaps, an index based on average number of strokes over par, in the information packets he submits to clients. Golf alone can’t get you a plum job, he says—but not playing could cost you one.

“I know a guy that literally flies around the world in a private jet loaded with French wine, and he golfs and lands hundred-million-dollar deals,” Cole says.

Tee times and networking sessions have long gone hand-in-golf-glove. Despite criticism that doing business on the course undermines diversity, equity and inclusion efforts—and the fact that golf clubs haven’t always been open to women and minorities —people who mix golf and work say the outings are one of the last reprieves from 30-minute calendar blocks

Stars like Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie West helped expand participation in the sport. Still, just 22% of golfers are nonwhite and 26% are women, according to the National Golf Foundation.

To lure more people, clubs have relaxed rules against mobile-phone use on the course, embracing white-collar professionals who want to entertain clients on the links without disconnecting from the office. It’s no longer taboo to check email from your cart or take a quick call at the halfway turn.

With so much other business conducted virtually, shaking hands on the green and schmoozing over clubhouse beers is now seen as making an extra effort, not slacking off.

Americans played a record 531 million rounds last year. Weekday play has nearly doubled since 2019, with much of the action during business hours , according to research by Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom .

“It would’ve been scandalous in 2019 to be having multiple meetings a week on the golf course,” Bloom says. “In 2024, if you’re producing results, no one’s going to see anything wrong with it.”

A financial adviser at a major Wall Street bank who competes on the amateur circuit told me he completes 90% of his tasks by 10 a.m. because he manages long-term investment plans that change infrequently. The rest of his workday often involves golfing with clients and prospects. He’s a member of a private club with a multiyear waiting list, and people jump at the chance to join him on a course they normally can’t access.

There is an art to bringing in business this way. He never initiates shoptalk, telling his playing partners the round is about having fun and getting to know each other. They can’t resist asking about investment strategies by the back nine, he says.

Work hard, play hard

Matt Parziale golfed professionally on minor-league tours for several years, but when his dream of making the big time ended, he had to get a regular job. He became a firefighter, like his dad.

A few years later he won one of the biggest amateur tournaments in the country, earning spots in the 2018 Masters and U.S. Open, where he tied for first among non-pros.

The brush with celebrity brought introductions to business types that Parziale, 35 years old, says he wouldn’t have met otherwise. One connection led to a job with a large insurance broker. In 2022 he jumped to Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates in Wellesley, Mass., which recognised his golf game as a tool to help win large accounts.

He rescheduled our interview because he was hosting clients at a private club on Cape Cod, and squeezed me in the next morning, before teeing off with a business group in Newport, R.I.

A short time ago, Parziale couldn’t imagine making a living this way. Now he’s the norm in elite amateur golf circles.

“I look around at the guys at the events I play, and they all have these jobs ,” he says.

His boss, Chief Executive Chip Gibson, says Parziale is good at bringing in business because he puts as much effort into building relationships as honing his game. A golf outing is merely an opportunity to build trust that can eventually lead to a deal, and it’s a misconception that people who golf during work hours don’t work hard, he says.

Barry Allison’s single-digit handicap is an asset in his role as a management consultant at Accenture , where he specialises in travel and hospitality. He splits time between Washington, D.C., and The Villages, Fla., a golf mecca that boasts more than 50 courses.

It can be hard to get to know people in distributed work environments, he says. Go golfing and you’ll learn a lot about someone’s temperament—especially after a bad shot.

“If you see a guy snap a club over his knee, you don’t know what he’s going to snap next,” Allison says.

Special access

On a recent afternoon I was a lunch guest at Brae Burn Country Club, a private enclave outside Boston that was the site of U.S. Golf Association championships won by legends like Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones. I parked in the second lot because the first one was full—on a Wednesday.

My host was Cullen Onstott, managing director of the Onstott Group executive search firm and a former collegiate golfer at Fairfield University. He explained one reason companies prize excellent golfers is they can put well-practiced swings on autopilot and devote most of their attention to chitchat.

It’s hard to talk with potential customers about their needs and interests when you’re hunting for errant shots in the woods. It’s also challenging if you show off.

The first hole at Brae Burn is a 318-yard par 4 that slopes down, enabling big hitters like Onstott to reach the putting green in a single stroke. But to stay close to his playing partners and keep the conversation flowing, he sometimes hits a shorter shot.

Having an “in” at an exclusive club can make you a catch. Bo Burch, an executive recruiter in North Carolina, says clubs in his region tend to attract members according to their business sectors. One might be chock-full of real-estate investors while another has potential buyers of industrial manufacturing equipment.

Burch looks for candidates who are members of clubs that align with his clients’ industries, though he stresses that business acumen comes first when filling positions.

Tami McQueen, a former Division I tennis player and current chief marketing officer at Atlanta investment firm BIP Capital, signed up for private golf lessons this year. She had noticed colleagues were wearing polos with course logos and bringing their clubs to work. She wanted in.

McQueen joined business associates on the golf course for the first time in March at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. She has lowered her handicap to a respectable 26 and says her new skill lends a professional edge.

“To be able to say, ‘I can play with you and we can have those business meetings on the course’ definitely opens a lot more doors,” she says.

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

Related Stories
Money
A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now
By CALLUM BORCHERS 14/06/2024
Property
It’s a slam dunk as a covetable $2m KDR site complete with basketball court hits the market in the Hills District
By KANEBRIDGE NEWS 18/04/2023
Money
Apple Sued by Employees Alleging Unequal Pay for Women
By ERIN MULVANEY 14/06/2024
0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop