On June 12, 2015, the Shanghai Composite Index (SSE) jumped to 5,166 points while its US counterpart Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose to 17,898 points at an even more moderate pace.
Three-and-a-half years ago, therefore, it was on the Chinese side that investors were looking for strong growth potential, at least in the value of their quoted shares as the recovery of the US economy backed global growth.
Today, the cards have clearly changed hands since the situation is more or less reversed with the SSE which has fallen to 2,598 points, down 49.71 percent since its top of June 2015, and with the DJIA which despite entering the correction zone in October 2018, however, remains at a historically high level at 24,688 points, up 37.93 percent in the same period.
Against the backdrop, the gradual decline in Chinese economic growth and President Xi Jinping’s ambition to turn his country from the workshop of the world into a consumer economy have contributed to this sharp stock market depreciation of Chinese assets even though the peak of 2015 appears a posteriori as a typical buyer excess.
Considering the long-term potential of China and taking into account the ups and downs of its trade negotiations with the United States, it seems relevant to look now for possible good buying opportunities in the Chinese market, especially in the consumer and energy sectors.
For some time on the ground and more and more frequently in words, the main military concern of the United States as seen by its government and its Generals focuses on China.
Indeed, if the immediate threat from a cybernetic and political viewpoint originates from Russia, the real long-term threat against US interests would mainly originate from China, the sole country able to reach world leadership over the next decades.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly demanded more military funding from his European NATO allies considering that “the United States needs a very strong European pillar (because) in 15 years it is a very strong likelihood that we will be at war with China,” said US General Ben Hodges at the Warsaw Security Forum.
Now retired and a former commander of the US Army in Europe, Hodges believes that the United States will not have the ability to deal with both Europe and Asia at a same time.
In addition to the needed increase in their military capabilities, Europeans must also make sure to restore their sovereignty at home, said Hodges, emphasizing that China owns more and more companies and infrastructure including more than 10% of European ports.
According to French intelligence agencies and information from daily newspaper Le Figaro, more than 4,000 executives and employees have been “harpooned” by their Chinese intelligence counterparts, especially through professional social networks.
The preferred targets are often executives of ministries or companies specialized in advanced technologies contacted by their Chinese equivalents, at least in appearance, and who attract them with a good offer of collaboration.
In the end, if thousands of French citizens have ignored – or even some of them have understood – the maneuver, both domestic (DGSI) and foreign (DGSE) intelligence agencies assessed that several hundreds of individuals could have been compromised.
This large-scale social engineering operation allegedly led by the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSE) for several years is based on digital avatars – profiles – adapted to the sectors of activity specifically targeted and a significant number of such avatars would populate the LinkedIn professional social network.
The first step consists of establishing at least digital ties with predetermined individuals, this way accessing their list of contacts and growing the list of potential targets as a result. A relevant socio-professional geography of entire sectors is therefore drawn easily.
The second step consists of attracting duly selected targets to China by offering them professional meetings and / or a potentially fruitful collaboration, opening the path towards possible compromise.
Other countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States had already warned about the acuity of such a large-scale spying enterprise.