Also in this week’s issue

News roundup

  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has been busy on the phone this week, including a conversation with his British counterpart Dominic Raab, Xinhua reported. Wang told Raab that China has always been “an opportunity rather than a threat” for the UK, following an increase in tensions between Beijing and London after the UK reversed course on allowing Huawei into its 5G network. The Chinese warned of retaliation but have so far refrained from taking action.
  • Shares in Qualcomm climbed more than 10% on Thursday after the US firm said it has resolved a patent dispute with Huawei. This will see the American chip designer collect catch-up payments of $1.8 billion from the Chinese telecom giant, as well as formalising future revenue streams.
  • Tesla’s sales in China climbed more than 100% on the year over the second quarter to $1.4 billion, according to an SEC filing. That means China now makes up 23% of Tesla’s total revenues. Meanwhile, Chinese EV maker Li Auto (known as Lixiang in China) is expected to raise up to $960 million in an initial public offering on Nasdaq, Bloomberg has reported. KE Holdings, a Chinese property platform known locally as Beike Zhaofang, is also planning to brave geopolitical tensions and raise $2 billion in the US.
  • A group of investors in TikTok’s parent company Bytedance led by fund houses Sequoia and General Atlantic have offered to take over the popular video app, valuing it at about $50 billion, Reuters reported. Bytedance is considering a range of options for TikTok in the face of political pressure in a number of markets to ban the app, which is wildly popular with teenagers.
  • Tencent surpassed Facebook to become the world’s most valuable social media firm on Tuesday. A 45% share price rally this year sent Tencent’s market value to $670 billion on Tuesday, as compared with Facebook’s $658 billion.
  • Two of China’s biggest three internet firms have clashed over smartphone payment gateways. Meituan Dianping recently dropped Alipay (operated by Ant Group, in which Alibaba has a major shareholding) from its popular all-in-one app, creating consternation. Meituan boss Wang Xing responded in a social media post pointing out that Taobao, which is owned by Alibaba, doesn’t support Tencent’s payment app WeChat Pay. Meituan had previously blocked Alibaba’s payment platform briefly in 2016 and 2018.
  • Wanda Hotel, a unit of Chinese property conglomerate Wanda Group, announced a deal to sell its 90% stake in Chicago’s hotel-residential complex known as Vista Tower for $270 million. The Hong Kong-listed firm’s share price spiked more than 80% at one point on Thursday.
  • Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou held his first livestream on Chinese video-sharing app Kuaishou. He performed a magic trick in his debut with 68 million viewers tuning in at one point.
  • $130 billion Purchases that China needs to make in the remainder of the year to honour a trade agreement signed with the US in January, Bloomberg calculates. China has only met 23% of the target in the first half, despite a recent increase in buying.
  • 5,111 The length in kilometres of the China-Russia East Gas Pipeline, according to PipeChina, a company created in December to take over the pipeline assets of the big three state-owned oil producers including CNPC and Sinopec. Construction has already started on the southern portion of the crossborder link, which is expected to be completed by 2025, delivering 18.9 billion cubic metres of natural gas to the Yangtze River Delta region.
  • Rmb100 billion ($14.3 billion) The fundraising target of another bailout fund for state-owned enterprises, Sasac has announced. Intended to help SOEs avoid bond defaults, it is being established by China Reform Holdings and 31 other centrally-controlled SOEs.
  • 19.5% The proportion of their time online that Chinese internet users spent watching short videos in June, estimates QuestMobile, a local research firm. Tencent commanded 39.5% of the total time spent online, with Bytedance second on 15.3%.

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