Chinese economic data for March contained something for everyone. The bears could point to the weaker-than-expected gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate, the slowdown in property sales and dwelling starts, and the slow response of the authorities to the growth slowdown. By contrast, the bulls could point to signs that the authorities have already quietly eased up on monetary conditions and that this is evident in a pick-up in lending and money supply growth, and in demand growth later in the quarter. This divergence was refl ected in initial share market reactions. While Asian and Chinese markets leant to the bullish interpretation, US and European share markets initially fell. So what is really going in China – a hard or soft landing? And what does it mean for investors?