In China, it’s heads for a real estate win, or "rotten tails" — you lose

May 10, 2021
Owning property (or not) can determine your future in China. But it’s a gamble that doesn’t always pay off for those who have invested their life savings.
Singer Chen Peng looks on at an abandoned condo development where he has bought his first home. He is not sure if he will ever have a chance to live in it.
Charles Zhang/Marketplace

The human labor behind artificial intelligence

May 4, 2021
Behind every artificial intelligence project is lot of intensive human labor. Marketplace speaks to data labelers in central China.
Data labeling firms like this one in Henan province are the new factory floor of the digital age.
Charles Zhang/Marketplace

The U.S. is trying to reclaim its rare-earth mantle

Apr 30, 2021
The U.S. is in a quiet race driven by national and economic security to reestablish a domestic supply chain for rare earth elements.
The U.S. used to be a leader in mining and refining rare-earth elements into finished products. Above, a geologist points to monazite, which contains rare-earth minerals, in a South African mine.
Rodger Bosch/AFP via Getty Images

China's slow trains for the poor

Apr 20, 2021
There are 81 no-frills train routes left over from the Mao era to service far-flung areas. Who rides them?
A villager boards a slow train with a television strapped to his back in 2015. The train connected communities in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces that were not frequently served by China's modernized rail network.
Qian Haifeng

H&M affirms commitment to China amid consumer boycott

"Companies might have to choose a side," says our China correspondent Jennifer Pak, "use Xinjiang cotton or be locked out of the world’s second-largest economy."
The clothing retailer last year announced on its website that it would no longer source cotton from Xinjiang, a province where the U.S. and other governments accuse China of holding at least 1 million Uyghurs in forced labor camps, which China denies.
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Pandemic pushes big-city dreamers out of Shanghai

Mar 30, 2021
Workers from rural China came to Shanghai in search of better lives, a challenge even in good times. Then the COVID-19 lockdown hit.
Parents boast about their unmarried children's achievements on handwritten notes taped to umbrellas at Shanghai's People's Park. The ads bring China's urban-rural divide into sharp focus.
Charles Zhang/Marketplace

Global brands address forced labor in China, but risk alienating Chinese consumers

Mar 25, 2021
A number of companies, though concerned about treatment of Uyghurs, appear to have tried to appease widespread consumer anger.
Some companies have protested the reported abuse of Chinese Uyghurs but face a backlash in the Asian nation.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Former treasury secretary urges stronger response to China’s infrastructure program

Mar 23, 2021
Former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says the U.S. needs to mobilize around infrastructure at home and abroad.
China's Belt and Road Initiative is "as much about securing trade and supply lines as it is about expanding China's presence in the world," according to former U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Higher U.S. postage rates send vendors in China scrambling

Mar 9, 2021
The U.S. set higher postage rates last year. E-commerce sellers in China are still scrambling to deal with the change.
A seemingly small change like the U.S. raising postage rates for mail from abroad jolted Chinese firms that sell to Americans.
Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images

Industrial policy: If China does it, why can't we?

Mar 1, 2021
China is generous to its favored companies, and that has, at times, threatened industries elsewhere in the world.
Targeted subsidies for specific industries have long been part of China's strategic development. Solar energy is just one of the areas where this strategy has been used.
AFP via Getty Images