Also in this week’s issue

News roundup

  • Xi Jinping sent a message to Joe Biden on Wednesday congratulating him on his election as US president. Promotion of a healthy China-US relationship “meets the common expectation of the international community”, Xi said, according to Xinhua news agency. Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan sent a message to Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris to congratulate her as well.
  • Japan and China have agreed to allow business trips between their two countries without a 14-day quarantine period if visitors from either nation have tested negative for the coronavirus and submitted an itinerary for their visit. The agreement came after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Tokyo. It could come into force before the end of the month.
  • More Chinese provinces and cities have been setting up new warehouse management protocols for imported frozen foods, following recent cases of the coronavirus being detected on packaging. Shandong and Shanghai have both joined Shenzhen in imposing a centralised system of supervision in which frozen items are disinfected before undergoing nucleic acid testing.
  • Huawei won’t be making cars after selling its Honor handset business, but it will provide some of the technologies needed to build intelligent ‘connected’ vehicles, the newspaper CBN reports. The decision on staying out of carmaking will hold for three years, implying that Huawei won’t try to launch any brands of its own until 2024 at the earliest, CBN said (see this week's "Auto Industry").
  • The 7th World Internet Conference concluded in Wuzhen in Zhejiang province. Only 130 companies – compared with more than 600 last year – turned up in what was the “quietest” Wuzhen Summit ever, several guests told the South China Morning Post. Recently announced draft rules aimed at preventing monopolistic behaviour by internet firms won’t have improved the mood. Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang – one of the few of the more senior internet bosses who showed up – still described the proposed regulations as “timely and necessary”, however. Qualcomm chief executive Steve Mollenkopf and Cisco’s Chuck Robbins were the only senior speakers from major foreign firms at the conference, although both delivered video addresses as international attendance was hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Ruhnn, which describes itself as the leading facilitator of key opinion leaders (or KOLs) in China, says it has received a buyout offer from its three founders and major shareholders, valuing its American Depository Shares at $3.40 each. The company only went public on Nasdaq in April last year, raising about $125 million by selling shares at $12.50. The buyout offer was a 10% premium on the previous day’s closing price but the shares still slipped 5% as Ruhnn’s board said it would form a special committee to consider the bid.
  • Rmb42 million ($6.4 million) Tesla’s investment in a new factory to make electric vehicle chargers near its gigafactory in Shanghai. The facility, which Tesla expects to complete in February, will have capacity to manufacture 10,000 chargers a year, Reuters reported.
  • 475,000 square metres Area of the Xiong’an Railway Station, nearly six times that of the central train station in Beijing. With trains expected to start running in a month, a journey between Beijing and Xiong’an will take less than an hour. The line will also connect to Tianjin, about 100km northeast, and Xinzhou in Shanxi province, about 300km southwest.
  • Rmb5 million The maximum penalty for infringing China’s copyright laws, revised upward from the current Rmb500,000, thanks to the passing of an amendment which covers literary and artistic properties, as well as scientific works such as computer programs.
  • 20% Heavy machinery maker XCMG’s year-on-year increase in sales in China for 2020, versus the industry’s predicted average of 15%. “Our original forecasts were not for such high-speed growth especially since it’s the last year of China’s 13th Five-Year Plan,” XCMG’s chairman Wang Min said at the Bauma China Fair in Shanghai.

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