SINGAPORE (Oct 8): In trying to illustrate the growth potential of tourism from China, DBS Group Holdings’ chief investment officer Hou Wey Fook brings up a fun fact: Only about nine out of every 100 Chinese currently own a passport. “Can you imagine, with an increase [in passport penetration] of just 1%, how many new tourists there will be? And the middle class is growing,” he remarks at a recent media briefing. 

Unlike Hou, many investors may find it hard to keep their eye on China’s long-term growth story when near-term trade war risks loom ever larger. US President Donald Trump has announced tariffs on US$250 billion ($345.2 billion) worth of Chinese goods, and threatened to target another US$267 billion worth. China has retaliated at each salvo from the US, most recently with tariffs ranging from 5% to 10% on US$60 billion worth of US goods. With the US having reached new trade deals recently with countries such as Canada and Mexico, Trump seems to have the bandwidth to now zero in on his trade war with China. 

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