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HomeEconomyThis week’s covers | Jan 13th 2024 Edition

This week’s covers | Jan 13th 2024 Edition

Our covers this week looked at the challenge from China’s astonishing progress in electric vehicles (EVs) and the growing tensions on the high seas.

One cover is based on a Briefing that shows how rapidly China has come to dominate EVs. Just five years ago its motor industry shipped only a quarter as many cars as Japan, then the world’s biggest exporter. This week the Chinese industry claimed to have exported more than 5m cars in 2023, exceeding the Japanese total. By 2030 China could double its share of the global market to a third, ending the dominance of the West’s national champions, especially in Europe.

In the leader we wanted to focus on the reaction this is likely to provoke in the West. The “China shock”, when about 1m American manufacturing workers lost their jobs to Chinese competition, has been blamed for everything from rising deaths among working-class Americans to the election of Donald Trump. It is also one of the reasons politicians enthusiastically embrace industrial policy today.

The brief for our cover designers was to capture both sides of this story—China’s emergence, as well as the fear that the West is about to undergo a second China shock.

Inevitably, we began with pandas. An early sketch showed one of our furry friends lounging on the stripped-down chassis of an EV. Some of us loved this, but others remained confused. The problem is that it tells only half the story—that Chinese companies have made this technology their own. If anything, our cuddly panda obscures the reality of a looming trade war.


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