Also in this week’s issue

News roundup

  • Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan has invited Yoon Suk-yeol, the new South Korean leader, to visit President Xi Jinping in China. Wang made the invitation public after meeting with Yoon after his inauguration as president. Separately, Xi sent a congratulatory message to Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos on his election as president of the Philippines, saying that Beijing wanted to establish a good working relationship.
  • Bytedance has changed the name of its Hong Kong subsidiary from Bytedance (HK) Limited to Douyin Group (HK) Limited. Douyin is the name of the Chinese sister version of TikTok. The name change has spurred speculation that Bytedance is stepping up efforts to spin off Douyin in a megabuck IPO in Hong Kong.
  • About 1.2 million cars were sold in China in April, the lowest figures for the month in a decade, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said. Automobile output also slumped 46% to 1.2 million last month as the resurgence of Covid-19 took its toll on production.
  • Shanghai’s annual semiconductor conference has been postponed for the second time this year as millions of the city’s residents remain stuck in lockdown for the sixth week running. On Wednesday nearly 2,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases were reported, with most of the new infections coming from Shanghai.
  • Geely has agreed to buy a 34% stake in Renault Korea Motors for Rmb1.4 billion ($205 million). The French firm sold more than 10,000 cars in the first quarter in South Korea and nearly 6,000 overseas. The deal will enhance collaboration between the two automakers on future projects, Renault said in a statement. Renault and Geely announced the setup of a new automobile joint venture in China in January.
  • John Lee is set to replace Carrie Lam as Hong Kong’s leader on July 1 after winning the chief executive election on May 8 as the only candidate. The 65 year-old said that reopening the border with China and taming home prices ranked at the top of his policy agenda.
  • 74% Percentage of respondents in a survey from the American Chamber of Commerce in China agreeing that China’s stringent Covid-19 policies had affected their ability to attract or retain skilled foreign staff. A third also said that senior executives had declined China assignments because of the Covid-19 situation there.
  • 1.6 million Number of fatalities estimated by a model produced by Shanghai’s Fudan University if China abandoned its zero-Covid strategy and let Omicron spread unchecked. The researchers said there would be a “tsunami” of infections with 2.7 million intensive care admissions that could overwhelm the hospital system.
  • 24.23 billion Volume of items carried by express delivery services in the first quarter, a year-on-year increase of 10.5%.
  • 17% Year-on-year fall in domestic smartphone shipments in the first quarter, according to a report by Strategy Analytics. Brands like Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi all saw sizeable sales decreases.

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