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China In-Focus — Shares down; Swedish court upholds ban on Huawei 5G gear; Heatwaves drive up power demand

BEIJING: Mainland Chinese shares ended lower on Wednesday, as extreme weather in some parts of the country added uncertainty to economic recovery from COVID-19 shocks, while signs of a fresh crackdown on tech firms and the platform economy hurt the Hong Kong market.

At the market close, the Shanghai Composite Index closed down 1.2 percent at 3,267.2 points, while the blue-chip CSI 300 index lost 1.27 percent to 4,270.62.

The financial sector sub-index edged down 1.48 percent, the consumer staples sector eased 0.54 percent, while the real estate index fell 1.65 percent.

Court upholds ban on Huawei sale of 5G gear

A Swedish appeals court on Wednesday upheld a ruling by a lower court that banned Huawei from selling 5G equipment in the country, in the latest setback to the Chinese telecoms company’s hopes of staging a comeback.

In 2020, Swedish telecom regulator PTS unexpectedly banned Huawei from supplying 5G equipment to Swedish mobile firms citing security concerns raised by Sweden’s security service, a decision the company challenged in the court.

A lower court last year confirmed that decision.

The issue arose after the US alleged that China could use Huawei equipment for spying and European governments followed suit by tightening controls on Chinese-built 5G networks. Huawei has denied being a national security risk.

Sweden had asked its telecom companies to remove gear made by Huawei and Chinese rivals from existing infrastructure and core functions before Jan. 1, 2025.

China heatwaves drive up power demand 

Heatwaves in northern and central China drove up electricity demand to record levels as millions switched on air conditioners to escape the sweltering conditions, while floodwaters in the south submerged villages and trapped city residents.

On Wednesday, China’s meteorological administration issued orange alert warnings for high temperatures in regions across the provinces of Shandong, Henan and Hebei.

Several cities in Shandong, China’s second-most populous province, have issued “red alert” high-temperature warnings, which have pushed up demand for air-conditioning among the region’s more than 100 million people.

Temperatures in the regions were expected to hit above 40 degrees Celsius this week, according to the state weather forecaster.

The maximum electricity load at Shandong’s grid hit 92.94 million kilowatts on Tuesday, passing the 2020 peak of 90.22 million kilowatts, setting a new record, state television said on Wednesday.

Loads in adjacent Henan province reached a peak of 71.08 million kilowatts on Monday, exceeding the previous day’s record of 65.34 million kilowatts, according to state media.

(With input from Reuters) 

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