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FirstFT: China to create new stock exchange

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China will create a new stock exchange in Beijing as part of an attempt to deepen the development of small and medium-sized businesses and its capital markets.

Xi Jinping, China’s president, told an international trade fair yesterday that the new exchange in the capital would be the primary platform for serving “innovation-orientated SMEs”.

The announcement marks China’s latest efforts in a long-running campaign to develop its onshore capital markets. Focus has been sharpened over recent months following rising regulatory scrutiny of offshore listings in both the US and China, which has cast doubt over the long-term future of Chinese companies listing on Wall Street.

The launch also comes as Xi’s government has rolled out a series of regulatory and policy reforms in recent weeks. A crackdown that initially targeted fintech lending and antitrust abuses has expanded to embroil companies across Chinese business sectors.

Xi has also signalled a sharp pivot toward wealth redistribution as part of a broadside against the powerful business elite. Alibaba yesterday pledged to give away Rmb100bn ($15.5bn), the equivalent of roughly two-thirds of its net income last year, to projects that support president Xi Jinping’s call for more “common prosperity” as it seeks to defuse Beijing’s scrutiny of the tech sector.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Have a great weekend. — Emily

Five more stories in the news

1. WhatsApp fined €225m over GDPR breach WhatsApp has been fined €225m for breaking the EU’s data privacy law by not telling its users how it was sharing their data with its parent company Facebook. It is one of the biggest fines relating to the General Data Protection Regulation to date.

2. China warns US that tensions threaten climate change fight China has warned the US that a “strategic miscalculation” in its relations with Beijing had stoked bilateral tensions that risked derailing high-level talks aimed at combating the global threat of climate change.

3. Supreme Court allows Texas anti-abortion law to stand Joe Biden has accused the US Supreme Court of unleashing “unconstitutional chaos” after it made a ruling that allows Texas, the second most populous state, to enact a law banning abortions after roughly six weeks of pregnancy.

4. Singapore places Binance on investor alert list The Monetary Authority of Singapore has said Binance may have breached local regulation, making the city state the latest global regulator to crack down on the international crypto exchange. 

5. UN warns of looming food crisis in Afghanistan Ramiz Alakbarov, the UN’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan, said most children younger than five faced severe malnutrition, while a third of the population was already going hungry. Read the rest of our Afghanistan coverage on FT.com.

The UN says more than half of children in Afghanistan ‘do not know whether they’ll have a meal tonight’ © AFP via Getty Images

Coronavirus digest

  • Asian nations were among the most effective at dealing with the first wave of Covid-19, but the Delta variant is now wreaking havoc in the region.

  • Millions of Indian children are returning to classrooms for the first time in 18 months, as schools closed since the beginning of the pandemic begin to reopen.

  • North Korea has turned down a batch of 3m Chinese-made vaccines.

  • Malaysia set a ceiling price in shops of RM19.90 (less than $5) for Covid-19 rapid antigen testing kits, the aim being to facilitate home-testing.

  • Two doses of vaccine halve chances of getting long Covid, a study finds.

Sign up to our Coronavirus Business Update email for a regular briefing on how the pandemic is affecting markets, global business and our workplaces.

The day ahead

Economic data Wall Street stocks ticked higher yesterday ahead of the US employment report due out today, while Europe is expecting retail trade figures. There is also a number of IHS/Markit services sector PMI reports due out today from China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US.

Biden visits Hurricane Ida-hit New Orleans US president Joe Biden will travel to Louisiana as it recovers from category 4 Hurricane Ida that slammed into the Gulf Coast at the weekend. (CNN)

FT Weekend’s live festival makes its in-person return this Saturday September 4 in the expansive grounds of Kenwood House in north London. For more inspiring conversations, in-depth storytelling, a bit of escapism and a lot of fundon’t miss our new FT Weekend podcast, hosted by Lilah Raptopoulos.

What else we’re reading

China’s crackdown is not the way to deal with video games The introduction of new technologies often sparks moral panics. To that list must now be added China’s crackdown on video games. But escapist entertainment can have real social and mental benefits if used wisely, writes John Thornhill.

How Angela Merkel shaped a generation — and Europe With Germany’s federal election this month, Merkel will step down after almost 16 years in power, marking a critical turning point in the country’s postwar history. What do the young people of Generation Merkel make of her legacy?

Young Germans have grown up in a country that, under Merkel’s leadership, became wealthier, more diverse, more economically powerful and more engaged in the world
Young Germans have grown up in a country that, under Angela Merkel’s leadership, became wealthier, more diverse, more economically powerful and more engaged in the world © Bonn-Sequenz/ullstein bild/Getty Images

Russia starts to sow seeds of ‘wheat diplomacy’ Russia is slowly making its way across Eurasia, Africa, and Latin America as an agricultural export powerhouse as it looks to reduce its reliance on oil, identify new markets and extend its global diplomatic reach. Some even anticipate Russian grain becoming the Kremlin’s new oil.

NFTs transform the art market for young novice buyers Digital tokens offer a way to buy and own shares in instantly recognisable works by bankable, international artists as NFT funds gain popularity, especially among wealthy young investors.

Brixton: the black Silicon Valley? “As a black founder, you’re more likely to get skin cancer than funding,” says Karl Lokko. The London-based investor and his partner want to help black-led start-ups access funding by creating Europe’s first venture fund group that is “led by black founders for black founders”.

Films

If you are looking for something to watch, then check out these six offerings. Danny Leigh reviews Annette, Shorta, Worth, Here Today, Wildfire and The Nest

Michael Keaton (left) as Kenneth Feinberg and Stanley Tucci as Charles Wolf in 9/11 drama ‘Worth’ © Netflix via AP

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