{"issues":[{"id":1766,"name":"Issue 611","date":"","title":"The end of zero-Covid?","tagline":"Soon to be a thing of the past? A member of the \u2018white guard\u2019 of health staff which have enforced China\u2019s zero-Covid policy","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/611.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/611-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":53556,"title":"Why China\u2019s Covid policy dramatically shifted this week","content":"You may be surprised to learn that \u2018goblin mode\u2019 has just been selected by English speakers as the \u2018word of the year\u2019. Referring to behaviour that is \u201cunapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations\u201d, it comfortably beat \u2018metaverse\u2019 in the annual ballot at Oxford University Press (OUP) to determine the most topical word of the last 12 months.\r\n\r\n\u2018Goblin mode\u2019 was first used on Twitter in 2009, OUP noted, but the term flooded social media in the second half of this year when Covid restrictions were eased in many countries. Interestingly, China\u2019s media has translated \u2018goblin mode\u2019 as tangping or \u2018lying flat\u2019 \u2013 a reference to a subculture of younger Chinese that prefers to opt out of the rat race (i.e. working long hours in search of riches) in favour of just doing enough to get by (see WiC544).\r\n\r\nTangping has also made its way into everyday conversations, even cropping up at press conferences held by senior officials. The interpretation and usage of the term is always shifting too. In recent days tangping has been repurposed as a label for China\u2019s modified approach to fighting Covid-19, for instance, after the government seemed to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/Testing-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":53562,"title":"Xi Jinping makes his long-rumoured Saudi visit","content":"When Joe Biden arrived in Riyadh in July, no Saudi minister welcomed him at the airport. The US president was cold-shouldered amid tensions between his administration and the Saudis over a range of issues that included oil production and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist. American intelligence officials had concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (popularly known as \u2018MBS\u2019) ordered the killing personally.\r\n\r\nBiden\u2019s visit didn\u2019t go as smoothly as American diplomats would have wished. Biden bumped fists with MBS but after his departure from Riyadh, he told journalists he had confronted Saudi\u2019s de facto ruler about his role in Khashoggi\u2019s murder.\r\n\r\nSaudi officials claimed that they \u201cdidn\u2019t hear\u201d Biden chastising MBS. Instead, they insisted that Washington should exert similar pressure on Israel over the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian reporter who was killed when covering a raid by Israeli forces in the West Bank in May.\r\n\r\nJust a few months after Biden\u2019s visit, OPEC+ (a grouping that comprises the oil cartel plus Russia) cut its oil output, much against Washington\u2019s wishes.\r\n\r\nThis week it was Chinese President Xi Jinping\u2019s turn to set foot in Saudi\u2008Arabia. The contrast between the receptions received was stark. The Chinese leader\u2019s plane…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/Xi-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"7"},{"id":53566,"title":"BYD establishes brand in upper tier of EV firms","content":"As a challenging year comes to a close for the Chinese economy, BYD Auto will look back on its own achievements with some satisfaction.\r\n\r\nDespite all the Covid-related disruption to supply chains, as well as the associated hit to consumer confidence, the Shenzhen-based carmaker has set sales records for nine months in a row since March.\r\n\r\nIn November it delivered another 230,427 pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars \u2013 or nearly 40% of new-energy vehicle sales in China in the period, says the China Passenger Car Association.\r\n\r\nIndustry insiders say that the slowdown in the economy may actually have helped BYD in persuading drivers to choose its brands over more expensive alternatives. BYD has also kept its supply chain moving through the paralysis of the pandemic better than its rivals, while its cars have been impressing consumers as desirable choices in the local market.\r\n\r\n\u201cBYD\u2019s vehicles running on its blade batteries are increasingly well received by Chinese consumers,\u201d Tian Maowei, a sales manager at a dealership in Shanghai, told the South China Morning Post this week. \u201cBYD is now a reputable car brand in China.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn the months ahead BYD will be trying to extends its own portfolio of vehicles, including the addition of at…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/BYD-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"8"},{"id":53570,"title":"Oil deals as China positions for Russia price cap","content":"Oil traders have been watching closely as China struggles to find ways of living with Covid-19, following nearly three years of strict controls and restrictions.\r\n\r\nNews of an increase in cases of the virus last month sent crude prices lower on fears that it made another round of lockdowns more likely, dampening hopes of a recovery in the Chinese economy. But this week expectations grew that Beijing is going to backtrack on its zero-Covid stance, despite the risk of a much wider surge in infections. Share markets rose across the Asia-Pacific region, following reports that the Chinese government had started to relax virus-testing rules nationwide (see page 1). The rollback was seen as a bonus for the global oil markets because of China\u2019s position as the world\u2019s largest oil importer.\r\n\r\nFutures for benchmarks like Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude logged gains on speculation about the turnaround in thinking, although trading was choppy, with prices sliding back into negative territory on concerns that the Federal Reserve isn\u2019t finished with rises in interest rates.\r\n\r\nThe uncertain outlook for oil also comes at the same time as the onset of new sanctions from the European Union on imports of Russian crude by sea, which came…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/Oil-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"9"},{"id":53573,"title":"Bosideng vies with Canada Goose in down jackets","content":"Canada Goose started out selling its signature gear to fans of winter sports \u2013 catering to those going skiing as well as mountaineers attempting to ascend Everest.\r\n\r\nOver time, the brand was coveted more as a fashion item, however, and even as something of a status symbol. Despite hefty price tags \u2013 some of its goose down jackets cost consumers more than $1,000 \u2013 the brand has also found a receptive audience in China.\r\n\r\nThe Toronto-based company now has over 20 retail outlets in the country, compared with just nine in its home market in Canada. It has just opened three new stores in Xi\u2019an, Qingdao and Tianjin, with another planned for Chengdu by the end of the year.\r\n\r\nIn early November Canada Goose announced that quarterly revenue to October jumped by just over 22% on a constant currency basis to C$277 million (around $206 million).\r\n\r\nBut sales in Asia-Pacific were disappointing, showing a decline of 4%.\r\n\r\nChief executive Dani Reiss said he was \u201cnot seeing the level of improvement we had assumed in China\u201d where mall closures and travel restrictions were curtailing the numbers of shoppers.\r\n\r\nIn comparison, homegrown down jacket giant Bosideng reported revenue of Rmb6.18 billion ($884 million) in the six months to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/Eileen-Gu-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"10"},{"id":53576,"title":"Can Cameron\u2019s new Avatar blockbuster save the Chinese box office?","content":"At the beginning of the pandemic cinema operators in China got creative in trying to repurpose their venues, which were largely closed to moviegoers.\r\n\r\nSome reopened their auditoriums as basketball courts, with players taking advantage of the high ceilings. Others leased out their premises for marriage proposals and wedding photos.\r\n\r\nOperators have continued to come up with new ideas as they struggle to keep the lights on. In November, a cinema in Chengdu had another unexpected proposal: the offer of a lunchtime nap.\r\n\r\nThe move made some sense. The cinema, equipped with plush leather seats and blankets, sits in the middle of an industrial district in Chengdu. The packages, which cost Rmb12.90 (basic) or Rmb18.90 (deluxe), don\u2019t even include a film. That\u2019s because the cinema wants to make sure that the room is quiet enough for patrons to get some sleep. The pricier option includes an eye mask and a hot drink.\r\n\r\nTactics like these haven\u2019t been enough to keep every cinema afloat. Hong Kong\u2019s Emperor Motion Pictures has announced the closure of seven of its venues in China due to the poor business environment. The country\u2019s largest chain Wanda Cinemas, a subsidiary of Wanda Films, has reported ticket sales of just Rmb4.9 billion…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/Avatar-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"11"}]},{"id":1460,"name":"China\u2019s Tycoons","date":"","title":"China\u2019s Tycoons","tagline":"Profiles of 150 top business leaders","pdf-link":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2016\/09\/WiC150Tycoons-final.pdf","image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoons-cover_2016.jpg", "articles":[ {"id":67777777, "title":"Profiles of China\u2019s most successful businesspeople and how they succeeded", "content":"One way to evaluate the economic circumstances of a country is to examine its most successful entrepreneurs. This is the third edition of China\u2019s Tycoons, a book which seeks to enlighten readers about the Chinese business elite. In this volume we profile 150 of the nation\u2019s top tycoons – that\u2019s up from the 125 featured in last edition.", "image":"\/images\/no_image.png", "category":"Introduction", "page":"6"}, {"id":70123000, "title":"Himin to Hanergy", "content":"Tycoons include Zhang Yue and Zhu Gongshan", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-1_Zhang-Yue.jpg", "category":"Alternative Energy", "page":"13"}, {"id":70123001, "title":"Geely to BYD", "content":"Tycoons include Li Shufu and Cao Dewang", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-2_Li-Shufu.jpg", "category":"Automotive", "page":"16"}, {"id":70123002, "title":"Tiens Group to Golden Meditech", "content":"Tycoons include Li Li and Sun Piaoyang", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-3_Li-li.jpg", "category":"Biotech and Pharmaceutical", "page":"23"}, {"id":70123003, "title":"Li Ning to Bosideng", "content":"Tycoons include Li Ning and Zhou Chengjian", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-4_Li-Ning.jpg", "category":"Clothing", "page":"31"}, {"id":70123004, "title":"Lenovo to Huawei", "content":"Tycoons include Liu Chuanzhi and Lei Jun", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-5_Liu-Chuanzhi.jpg", "category":"Computing and Tech", "page":"39"}, {"id":70123005, "title":"Wahaha to WH Group", "content":"Tycoons include Zong Qinghou and Wan Long", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-6_Zong-Qinghou.jpg", "category":"Food", "page":"51"}, {"id":70123006, "title":"Alibaba to Tencent", "content":"Tycoons include Jack Ma and Ma Huateng", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-7_Jack-Ma.jpg", "category":"Internet", "page":"60"}, {"id":70123007, "title":"Fosun to Anbang", "content":"Tycoons include Guo Guangchang and Wu Xiaohui", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-8_Guo-Guangchang.jpg", "category":"Investment", "page":"83"}, {"id":70123008, "title":"Amer to Shagang", "content":"Tycoons include Shen Wenrong and Huang Zelan", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-9_Shen-Wenrong.jpg", "category":"Natural Resources", "page":"102"}, {"id":70123009, "title":"Wanda to SOHO", "content":"Tycoons include Wang Jianlin and Pan Shiyi", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-10_Wang-Jianlin.jpg", "category":"Property", "page":"114"}, {"id":70123010, "title":"Suning to Sanpower", "content":"Tycoons include Zhang Jindong and Tang Yiu", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-11_Zhang-Jindong.jpg", "category":"Retail", "page":"131"}, {"id":70123011, "title":"Gree to Midea", "content":"Tycoons include Dong Mingzhu and He Xiangjian", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-12_Dong-Mingzhu.jpg", "category":"White Goods", "page":"141"}, {"id":70123012, "title":"Sany to Spring Airlines", "content":"Tycoons include Liang Wengen and Wang Wei", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-13_Liang-Wengen.jpg", "category":"Other Industries", "page":"144"} ] },{"id":1765,"name":"Issue 610","date":"Dec 2, 2022","title":"Gamble pays off","tagline":"What \u2018decoupling\u2019? American casinos retain their licences in Macau as need for job stability trumps Chinese urge for revenge in semiconductor war with US","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/WiC610.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/610-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":53526,"title":"US casinos retain Macau licences in spite of worsening Sino-US relations","content":"Macau\u2019s emergence as the world\u2019s casino capital was explosive once it opened up its gambling industry to new entrants in 2002. Five new casino firms sparked a transformation in the special administrative region on the coastal fringe of Guangdong province, which overtook Las Vegas in gaming revenues within four years.\r\n\r\nCommentators were still marvelling that by 2019 a city less than a tenth the area of its American rival was earning $36 billion in gaming revenues, or more than six times as much as Las Vegas.\r\n\r\nAll of that was before the pandemic, which has brought three years of disaster to Macau\u2019s economy, reducing its casino sector to a fraction of its former levels. At a similar time, the licences for the casino operators were coming up for review by the Macanese government, adding to the uncertainty about their prospects. But last Saturday a decision was finally made on their futures, with each of the current concessions holders granted the rights to carry on. Covid has ravaged their revenues, but might it also have protected their privileged position in Macau for the next 10 years?\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt was less of a shake-up than anticipated?\r\n\r\nThere had been talk for some time of a day of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/Casino-Macau-w.jpg","category":"China Tourist, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":53529,"title":"Zero-Covid policy sparks rare protests in key cities","content":"Assuming there was a mechanism in place to ask the question, now might be the time for the Chinese government to conduct a nationwide poll with the following query: \u201cDo you favour an end to zero-Covid if it means a return to a way of life you consider normal, but which might also mean the deaths of 5-10 million of your fellow citizens?\u201d\r\n\r\nA similar dilemma \u2013 without quite the same number of lives at risk, perhaps \u2013 gripped other governments in choosing to switch to a \u2018live with it\u2019 approach to Covid-19.\r\n\r\nIn most countries, the decision was taken to move beyond the strict lockdowns and restrictions that characterised the initial response to the virus. There was an end to mandatory wearing of face masks and the freeing up of restrictions that prevented people from gathering in public places.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe situation is very different for the Chinese, of course. The contrasting circumstances even sparked consternation among Chinese television viewers of live World Cup matches in Qatar, who have marvelled online at the absence of Covid-related restrictions inside stadiums. As a result, state censors are said to be trying to cut back on images of maskless fans enjoying the football (a difficult task,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/White-paper-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"7"},{"id":53537,"title":"Kuaishou\u2019s new businesses propel huge growth","content":"Recently, short-video platform Kuaishou added a new feature called \u2018Blind Date Corner\u2019. As the name implies, it\u2019s a livestream with an angle on matchmaking, where viewers can check out the other interested parties.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt seems that Kuaishou has captured the essence of \u2018blind date corners\u2019 in parks and brought it online. How it works is that the hosts of the livestreams are the \u2018matchmakers\u2019. And viewers can join the livestream by buying virtual gifts to incentivise the matchmakers,\u201d explains E-Commerce Toutiao. \u201cKuaishou acts as another intermediary, taking a cut from every transaction in virtual gifts.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s not only matchmaking that\u2019s new. The platform has also launched a dedicated channel for recruitment called Kuaizhaogong. And it has also made impressive headway in other livestreaming formats that help their users to buy and sell apartments.\r\n\r\nThe company first started dabbling in the property brokerage business in 2019, launching a dedicated channel called Kuaishou Ideal Home for real estate marketing.\r\n\r\nAs of this week, Kuaishou has listings from over 50 cities around the country and the platform is becoming an influential player in online property sales. In the first half of 2021, Kuaishou Ideal Home raked in Rmb285 million ($40 million) in transactions. During the Labour Day…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/Kuaishou-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"8"},{"id":53533,"title":"Nuclear deal reversed as Sino-UK ties worsen","content":"In testy remarks captured on camera at the G20 summit in Indonesia last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave Justin Trudeau a dressing-down, accusing the Canadian prime minister of leaking the details of a previous meeting to the media.\r\n\r\nBut at least Trudeau got some face time with Xi. Britain\u2019s new prime minister Rishi Sunak didn\u2019t get that chance at all in Bali, with Downing Street later explaining that a meeting between the two had been cancelled due to \u201cscheduling issues\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe failure to meet underlines the increasingly frosty relationship between London and Beijing, with Sunak also warning this week in his first major foreign policy speech since taking office that China poses a \u201csystemic challenge\u201d to British values and interests.\r\n\r\nThat challenge will grow more acute as the Chinese government moves in an authoritarian direction, he said, before attenuating that stridency by stating that \u201csimplistic Cold War rhetoric\u201d needs to be dropped in favour of \u201crobust pragmatism\u201d.\r\n\r\n\u201cLet\u2019s be clear, the so-called \u2018golden era\u2019 is over, along with the naive idea that trade would lead to social and political reform,\u201d he added.\r\n\r\nGeorge Osborne, a former chancellor of the exchequer in the British government, heralded this \u2018golden era\u2019 in relations when he visited Beijing…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/Sunak-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"9"},{"id":53525,"title":"Shockwaves as soccer star in corruption probe","content":"Argentina and Germany arrived at this month\u2019s World Cup in Qatar as two favourites to win the trophy. Yet both were beaten 2-1 \u2013 by Saudi Arabia and Japan, respectively \u2013 in the opening round of matches.\r\n\r\nThe shock results sparked a response in China, even though the country\u2019s own national team has not qualified for the finals in Qatar. Many were envious at how Asian teams were locking horns with football\u2019s more established superpowers. Others found consolation that the unexpected wins put some of China\u2019s own footballing failures in the qualifying competition in clearer context. \u201cWe shouldn\u2019t have blamed guozu [the \u2018national football team\u2019] for failing to qualify. They were in the same Asian group with Saudi and Japan, who are just so strong,\u201d one widely-forwarded weibo comment claimed (although China also suffered a humiliating defeat to Vietnam).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe national team has been the butt of jokes and frustration from local football fans for years. Even Tan Ruisong, the Party boss at aircraft giant AVIC, joined the crowd with a cheap shot at an airshow in Zhuhai last month, when he vowed that China\u2019s aviation industry would bolster national pride like the country\u2019s table tennis team, but not the guozu.\r\n\r\nAnother constant:…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/China-coach-Li-Tie-w.jpg","category":"Sport","page":"10"},{"id":53519,"title":"Celebrity divorce brings sales bonanza for star\u2019s former mother-in-law","content":"When it comes to messy divorces, Barbie Hsu and Wang Xiaofei\u2019s split must rank highly on the list of China\u2019s most high-profile partings. Since the two broke up a year ago \u2013 Hsu has since married her former lover South Korean singer DJ Koo Jun-yup \u2013 they have continued to provide an endless source of celebrity news and gossip.\r\n\r\nLast week, the Taiwanese actress filed a petition with a court in Taiwan alleging that her ex-husband had not paid any alimony since March. Wang quickly issued a statement on social media, claiming that he had been meeting his children\u2019s living expenses (the two share two kids, eight and six years-old) although he had stopped paying the home\u2019s electricity bills after Hsu remarried. He added that he had paid for the house where Hsu, their children and her new husband are living.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cI can ignore the fact that someone else is staying in my house, but can you please change the mattress which we used to share [more on this later], you useless being?\u201d Wang wrote on Sina Weibo. \u201cOn top of that, you want me to pay your electricity bills, and want to keep my kids there? They should come back to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/Barbie-Hsu-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"11"},{"id":53522,"title":"Canadian star jailed for 13-years after rape convictions","content":"When rape allegations against Kris Wu first surfaced in 2021, the Canadian-Chinese pop icon wrote on his weibo: \u201cIf there is behaviour of this kind, rest assured everyone, I will walk into the prison myself.\u201d\r\n\r\nWu didn\u2019t quite walk into prison as he\u2019d promised. But he will be spending the next 13 years of his life there (assuming he serves his full sentence).\r\n\r\nLast week, a court in Beijing\u2019s Chaoyang district published a statement saying that it had found Wu guilty of raping three intoxicated women at his home in 2020.\r\n\r\nAccording to the statement, in addition to the rapes he also engaged in \u201clewd activities\u201d at his home in 2018, involving two other women who were also under the influence of alcohol.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBesides receiving a lengthy jail term, the 32 year-old will be deported from China after serving his sentence.\r\n\r\nThe hearing for Wu\u2019s case was held behind closed doors, with the media denied access, although it was reported that officials from the Canadian embassy in China were present during the trial.\r\n\r\nZhu Yilin, a lawyer based in Shanghai, told Shanghai Observer that rape convictions are typically punishable by three to 10 years in prison. Wu\u2019s sentence seems especially severe, although Zhu reckons that it…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/12\/Kris-Wu-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"13"}]},{"id":1764,"name":"Issue 609","date":"Nov 25, 2022","title":"World Cup victories (off the field)","tagline":"Qatar defender Abdelkarim Hassan in the foreground; an ad for Chinese conglomerate Wanda in the background","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/WiC609.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/609-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":53506,"title":"Why China has emerged as the economic victor of Qatar\u2019s tournament","content":"The host nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were decided at the now infamous FIFA Congress in December 2010 (for gripping details on the gathering see the recently released Netflix documentary FIFA Uncovered).\r\n\r\nOutsiders were dumbfounded when the names of Russia and Qatar emerged as winners of the bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, beating favourites Britain and the US, both of which had vastly superior technical bids.\r\n\r\nAccording to the documentary, the French were also winners from the unexpected decision. Massive investment from Qatar a year later would transform Parisian club PSG into one of the most competitive in Europe, for instance. France would go on to win the 2018 tournament too, although Michel Platini, French football legend and a former UEFA president, was later caught up in an investigation into alleged corruption relating to UEFA\u2019s support for Qatar\u2019s bid for 2022.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThat tournament was underway as WiC went to press (it is usually held in the summer, not late November and December).\r\n\r\nAmid all the gossip about dealmaking between football\u2019s leading nations \u2013 as well as their ongoing obsession about winning the tournament \u2013 there is at least one notable absentee, of course. China failed to qualify for the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Stadium-w.jpg","category":"Sport, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":53482,"title":"Is China\u2019s zero-Covid policy here to stay or not?","content":"When President Xi Jinping started to travel outside China after a long period of international isolation, some analysts took it as a signal that years of Covid-induced constraints could be coming to an end.\r\n\r\nCoverage of a mask-less Chinese leader shaking hands with other world heads at the G20 and APEC summits this month were interpreted as another sign of a potentially new approach to the pandemic. Indeed hopes had flared even further a few days earlier after a series of changes were announced in how China\u2019s local governments should respond to the pandemic.\r\n\r\nMarkets reacted immediately, anticipating that the toughest controls could be coming to an end, breathing new life into the Chinese economy. Hong Kong\u2019s benchmark Hang Seng Index jumped 14% in the subsequent week, with a key index of Chinese stocks in New York doing something similar over the same period.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nYet reports of three Covid-related deaths in Beijing in recent days \u2013 the first to be linked to the virus since May \u2013 have dampened hopes of a change in approach.\r\n\r\nSchools in the capital have been closing and negative PCR tests are required once more to enter public venues or travel on public transport.\r\n\r\nIn fact, the number of deaths…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Swab-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"7"},{"id":53486,"title":"A successful 14-year Sino-US partnership in the gaming world \u2018decouples\u2019","content":"All good things must come to an end, and so has the 14-year partnership between NetEase and Activision Blizzard. Last week, the Chinese internet giant announced that it is calling a halt to the licencing deal with US game publisher, which covered hit franchises like Diablo, Overwatch and World of Warcraft in China.\r\n\r\nNetEase\u2019s chief executive Ding Lei said that while the internet company wanted to continue to represent Activision\u2019s titles in China, the negotiation process had been far more difficult than NetEase expected. The American firm\u2019s requirements were \u201cunacceptable\u201d on some key terms, he added.\r\n\r\n<ad>>\r\n\r\nAccording to the Wall Street Journal, one obstacle to renewing the deal was disagreement on how data on Chinese gamers would be collected and stored \u2013 an issue that is getting more complex in a number of industries because of geopolitical tensions between Beijing and Washington.\r\n\r\nIndustry insiders had not been hugely hopeful about the partnership, however, especially when Activision warned this month that \u201ca mutually-satisfactory deal may not be reached\u201d on extending the licencing agreement. Others pointed out that NetEase had also disbanded a team of more than 100 developers tasked with creating content for a World of Warcraft smartphone game that had been in the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Ding-Lei-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"9"},{"id":53495,"title":"Smaller rival lists in Hong Kong before SheIn","content":"The question of when SheIn is going to list on the stock market has been floating around for some time. Early this year, the ultra-fast fashion firm was said to be valued at $100 billion in a fundraising round. There were rumours too that its founder Chris Xu was considering Singapore citizenship to bypass the tougher rules for offshore IPOs in China.\r\n\r\nWhile SheIn waits for a more favourable moment to go public, its smaller rival Zibuyu has completed an IPO of its own in Hong Kong. It did so on November 11 \u2013 also known as Singles\u2019 Day in China \u00ad\u2013 raising almost HK$200 million ($26 million) in the initial public offering.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt was Zibuyu\u2019s third attempt at selling shares in Hong Kong after the first two efforts in June last year and March this year went nowhere. Even after pricing the offer at HK$7.86 \u2013 the bottom end of the range \u2013 its shares had dropped to HK$6.75 as of this Wednesday.\r\n\r\nZibuyu got its start in a dorm room. Founder Hua Bingru opened a virtual storefront on Taobao when he was a second-year student in Chaohu University in Anhui province, selling women\u2019s apparel and footwear. By the time he graduated,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Zibuyu-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"11"},{"id":53492,"title":"Hainan firm takes over Sinochem\u2019s rival unit","content":"China\u2019s interest in rubber, which is an irreplaceable ingredient in many industries including automotive and defence, follows much of the same logic as its pursuit of other commodities around the world.\r\n\r\nAlthough it is the world\u2019s biggest consumer of natural rubber, accounting for more than a third of demand worldwide, it produces a fraction of what it needs domestically.\r\n\r\nThat creates vulnerabilities, nowhere more so than tyre manufacturing, where Chinese firms are the world\u2019s biggest producers, exporting 40% of their output.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt also means that rubber companies are looking further afield for sources of supply, including working together to strengthen their position.\r\n\r\nHence the announcement last week that Hainan Rubber is buying a chunk of Sinochem\u2019s shares in one of the global leaders in the natural rubber business, with the encouragement of China\u2019s powerful planning agency Sasac (the State-Owned Assets and Administration Commission, to give it its full title)\r\n\r\nHainan Rubber is paying $181 million for 36% of the shares in Halycon Agriculture Corp (HAC), a Singapore-listed rubber producer. These were held previously by a subsidiary of the Chinese chemicals-to-fertiliser-to-oil giant Sinochem, which will maintain ownership of about 29% of the register, with the remainder held by other investors in HAC.\r\n\r\nThe investment has triggered a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Tyre-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"12"},{"id":53489,"title":"Regulators push private pension plan","content":"It\u2019s no secret that an aging population is a major concern for Chinese planners. But for the world\u2019s largest banks and insurers, China\u2019s creaking demographics are creating a \u2018sunrise industry\u2019 that few can resist.\r\n\r\nAccording to data from the seventh national census, which was published last year, people aged 60 or more now account for 18.7% of the total population, or 5.4 percentage points more than in 2010. That means 264 million people \u2013 more than twice the population of Japan \u2013 are at retirement age or close to it.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s why in the work report presented to the 20th CPC National Party Congress last month \u2013 where the political elite communicates its policy priorities to the lower ranks \u2013 there was mention of a \u201cmulti-tiered social security system\u201d, including coverage for older people.\r\n\r\nEarlier this month, several authorities including the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) and the Ministry of Finance also published an implementation plan aimed at pushing ahead with the development of the country\u2019s pension system.\r\n\r\nUnder the new rules, workers covered by the state pension system can also join private pension plans. Those who wish to do so would still need to register an individual retirement account with the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Chinese-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"13"},{"id":53498,"title":"Yang Mi\u2019s latest role falls flat with audiences","content":"The pairing of an older woman with a younger man is not a new phenomenon. Hollywood actress Demi Moore used to be married to Ashton Kutcher, who\u2019s 15 years younger. French President Emmanuel Macron is 24 years younger than his wife, who was once his teacher. In China such relationships are often called jie di lian, which literally means \u2018romance between an older sister and a younger brother\u2019.\r\n\r\nAs career women are gaining more financial clout, jie di lian has become increasingly common. According to a research report published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the number of older-woman-younger-man couples rose dramatically from 13.3% in 1990 to 40.1% in 2010.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTo that end, many TV shows are now cashing in on the demographic shift. Angelababy, 33, recently starred in a romantic drama series called Love The Way You Are with Taiwanese pop idol Lai Kuan-lin, who is 21. Last month, one of the most talked-about TV shows was Falling Into You. Starring Jin Chen, 32, and Wang Anyu, 24, the series dramatises a love story between a coach and her male student.\r\n\r\nAnd last week, one of China\u2019s most bankable stars Yang Mi, 36, released another new drama about jie di lian.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Yang-Mi-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"14"}]},{"id":1763,"name":"Issue 608","date":"Nov 18, 2022","title":"A trip to Bali","tagline":"Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan arrive at the G20 Leaders' Summit welcome dinner in Indonesia","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/WiC608.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/608-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":53448,"title":"As Biden and Xi meet in Bali it\u2019s another island \u2013 Taiwan \u2013 that looms large","content":"When Joe Biden won the US presidential election in late 2020, there was plenty of interest from the media in his personal relationship with Xi Jinping, The two men had not only met on a number of occasions in their careers but had lengthy, closed-door dinners together, with Biden once claiming to have spent more than 70 hours with Xi, on journeys of thousands of miles together across both China and the United States.\r\n\r\nToo much can be made of the impact of these ties, of course. During campaigning for the presidency in 2020 Biden had derided Xi as a \u201cthug\u201d and he bristled again at being talked about as a pal of the Chinese president after taking office. \u201cWe know each other well. We\u2019re not old friends. It's just pure business,\u201d he stressed to reporters.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nXi has been more circumspect in his views on Biden too, bar the occasional mention of him as an \u201cold friend\u201d \u2013 a stock phrase that implies a level of familiarity and (perhaps) even some trust in Chinese diplomatic-speak.\r\n\r\nIf the actual extent of their intimacy remains nebulous, few would doubt that their relationship is probably the most important among any two politicians on the planet right…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Biden-Xi-w.jpg","category":"China and the World, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":53451,"title":"Developers' shares boosted by 16-point plan","content":"Muddy Waters, a shortseller, first came to wider attention in 2011 for asking awkward questions about accounting standards at companies like Sino Forest.\r\n\r\nInvestors were shocked when ratings agency Moody\u2019s joined the chorus of concern about other Chinese firms, however. In a report it warned of \u2018red flags\u2019 at 61 companies, mostly from the private sector. China Evergrande was flagged seven times, for instance, on concerns ranging from weak cashflows to what Moody\u2019s deemed as a risky business model.\r\n\r\nGiven the untypical nature of the review \u2013 which didn\u2019t incorporate the agency\u2019s standard ratings structure \u2013 Moody\u2019s was reprimanded by Hong Kong\u2019s regulator and fined $1.4 million (after a lengthy legal row) for breaching the Securities and Futures Commission\u2019s code of conduct.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThat setback did little to sully the reputations of the three leading rating firms (made up of S&P and Fitch, alongside Moody\u2019s). Plenty of Chinese firms, including property developers cut off from local bank lending, lined up for their services, which were a prerequisite for issuing bonds to foreign investors.\r\n\r\nMore recently the Chinese property sector and the international rating agencies have taken diverging paths \u2013 in another \u2018decoupling\u2019, so to speak.\r\n\r\nAccording to Jiemian, a news website, at least 70 property clients…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Country-Garden-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"7"},{"id":53457,"title":"Chinese ire over jet engine firm\u2019s nationalisation","content":"The UK government has frozen more than \u00a318 billion ($21 billion) of assets belonging to 1,271 Russians since Vladimir Putin\u2019s invasion of Ukraine, according to the latest review from the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, which was published this week in Britain.\r\n\r\nThe freeze is a potent reminder for many billionaires that political upheaval can pose a threat to cross-border wealth, including that of some of the Chinese tycoons who have invested heavily overseas, perhaps. These broader fears were on the agenda this week too after the Ukrainian government said it had invoked wartime laws to take control of several companies, including aerospace firm Motor Sich, which is 56%-owned by Chinese firm Skyrizon.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSkyrizon reacted angrily to the nationalisation, lambasting Ukraine for \u201clooting China\u2019s foreign assets\u201d. In a statement posted on WeChat, Skyrizon\u2019s founder Wang Jing vowed to take \u201call legal means\u201d to protect the interests of his investors, whom he said had held a majority stake in Motor Sich since 2014.\r\n\r\nWang\u2019s attempts to complete a full takeover of Motor Sich had struggled for a while. The company ranks as one of the world\u2019s biggest jet engine makers and one of the few with end-to-end manufacturing capability. Motor Sich\u2019s chairman Vyacheslav Boguslayev…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Zelensky-w.jpg","category":"Aviation","page":"8"},{"id":53460,"title":"Singles\u2019 Day muted but \u2018Crazy Xiaoyang\u2019 is not","content":"With more than 147 million subscribers, Cocomelon has made a fortune from nursery rhymes and children\u2019s songs as the most popular English-language channel on YouTube. MrBeast \u2013 created by a man who specialises in stunts and challenges \u2013 is not far behind on YouTube with about 110 million subscribers.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s impressive: fewer than 10 YouTube channels have amassed more than 100 million subscribers, which would be a huge haul even in China, which boasts the largest netizen population in the world.\r\n\r\nIn fact, short-video app Douyin has only just celebrated its first v-blogger with more than 100 million followers (although state mouthpiece People\u2019s Daily and broadcaster CCTV both claim to have more than 150 million subscribers on Douyin).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nGoing by the name of \u2018Crazy Xiaoyang\u2019 (which means \u2018little Brother Yang\u2019), the 25 year-old in question is from Anhui and started producing short videos in 2015. While some of the most popular personalities on social media have been backed by production teams and even private equity investors, Xiaoyang \u2013 his real name is Zhang Qingyang and he operates the account with twin brother Kaiyang who is behind the camera \u2013 is very much a self-made star, not a pre-existing celebrity trying to profit from…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Mr-Beast-w.jpg","category":"Media & Gaming","page":"9"},{"id":53454,"title":"Goertek\u2019s stock slumps on loss of Airpods order","content":"Apple first released its AirPods Pro in 2019. At the time, the new wireless earbuds were considered an upgrade because they offered noise-cancelling technology. AirPods Pro 2 , which the tech giant unveiled in September, promise even more enhanced noise cancellation. The device comes with a new skin-detect sensor that can tell the difference between your ear and other surfaces, so the earbuds will not automatically begin playing when placed on tables or in pockets.\r\n\r\nThe company expects the new AirPods Pro to be a big hit during the festive season. But last week, one of its suppliers said that it had been told to suspend production.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe Shenzhen-listed audio components maker Goertek warned that \u201ca major overseas client\u201d had asked it to curtail making a \u201csmart acoustic product\u201d, a move that could reduce the company\u2019s revenue by Rmb3.3 billion ($455 million) in the fourth quarter.\r\n\r\nBefore long, speculation spiralled that the client in question was Apple.\r\n\r\nKuo Ming-Chi, an analyst at TF International Securities, confirmed that the suspension was \u201cmore likely due to production issues than demand issues,\u201d implying that the problem has to do with Goertek and not Apple.\r\n\r\nOther analysts chimed in, saying that the reason for the halt was because Goertek…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Apple-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"10"},{"id":53463,"title":"US brand offloads struggling Chinese operations","content":"Back in September, rapper Kanye West, who now goes by the name Ye, announced that he had terminated his partnership with Gap, claiming that the retailer had breached its agreement by not opening dedicated stores and failing to release apparel collections as planned.\r\n\r\nThe partnership \u2013 revealed to much fanfare back in June 2020 \u2013 was expected to last a decade and generate more than $1 billion in annual sales for the mass retailer. Still, the breakup didn\u2019t cause much of a surprise for many industry observers. Some say that Gap was so desperate to generate headlines and stimulate interest in its brand that it entered into the agreement with West too hastily, without working through the finer details. West was also recently dropped by another collaborator Adidas after he made antisemitic comments.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt was, however, another setback for the once iconic US apparel store as it struggles to turn its business around. Back in September, the Wall Street Journal reported that Gap planned to cut about 500 corporate jobs in the US and Asia to reduce expenses. In an effort to stem losses, Gap also announced last week that it has agreed to sell its money-losing Greater China businesses to Baozun,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Beijing-Gap-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"11"},{"id":53466,"title":"Nepotism debated as celebrated director\u2019s son finds fame in new hit drama","content":"For centuries, children born into rich and powerful families have enjoyed advantages in life, inheriting business empires, wealth and status. In some cases, those who have done well have gone on to surpass their parents\u2019 successes. And in the world of entertainment and show business, there\u2019s no shortage of what some call \u201cnepotism babies\u201d too \u2013 stars that, as talented as they might be, have got a head-start in their careers because of their family tree.\r\n\r\nIn China Chen Feiyu is arguably the best-known \u2018nepo baby\u2019 on the entertainment scene at the moment. The 22 year-old actor is the son of Chen Kaige \u2013 who directed the 1993 classic Farewell My Concubine \u2013 and of actress Chen Hong, who was a household name before she married the filmmaker and largely left the limelight in 1996.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThat pedigree means that Chen junior got his first acting gig when he was just 10, appearing in the film Sacrifice, which was directed by his father. By 17, he had won the lead role in Secret Fruit, which also starred actress-singer Ouyang Nana.\r\n\r\nThe 2017 movie did little to supercharge Chen\u2019s career, however, scoring a poor rating of 4.6 out of 10 on Douban, the TV series…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Chen-Feiyu-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"12"},{"id":53470,"title":"Hungarian skaters switch to China national team","content":"When freestyle skier Gu Ailing decided to drop out of the American team in favour of a new role representing China, she described it as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to help the sport she loved.\r\n\r\n\u201cThrough skiing, I hope to unite people, promote common understanding, create communication, and forge friendships between nations,\u201d Gu added, only 15 at the time.\r\n\r\nCritics in the land of her birth sniffed at the decision, however, ruminating that the reasons for Gu\u2019s departure were more commercial.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe San Francisco-born skier went on to become the most high-profile of the competitors at the Beijing Winter Olympics earlier this year, winning two gold medals and a silver, as well as millions more yuan in endorsement deals after choosing to compete for China.\r\n\r\nLiu Shaolin and his younger brother Liu Shaoang share a similarly cross-cultural background to Gu. Born in Budapest to a Chinese father and Hungarian mother, the duo were part of the Hungarian gold medal-winning team in the 5,000-metre speed skating relay at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. It was Hungary\u2019s first ever short-track Olympic gold and Liu Shaoang went on to claim another one in the men\u2019s 500-metre event in Beijing in February this year.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe go [to China] every…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Speed-w.jpg","category":"Sport","page":"13"}]},{"id":1762,"name":"Issue 607","date":"Nov 11, 2022","title":"A setting Sun?","tagline":"Echoes of Evergrande: Sun Hongbin, founder and chairman of property giant Sunac, is also facing a debt crisis","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/WiC607.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/607-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":53417,"title":"Questions aplenty as Rmb1.5 billion goes missing after raid on\u2008Sunac safe","content":"\u201cSometimes I think I am very lucky. I made mistakes when I was young, or at a time when I still had the chance to make amends,\u201d Sun Hongbin told Global Entrepreneur magazine in an interview in 2010. Then only 47, Sun added that the successful IPO of his property company Sunac wouldn\u2019t have been possible without the failure of Shunchi, his first venture in the real estate sector, three years earlier.\r\n\r\nOne of the earlier mistakes that Sun was referring to was the aggressive way he grew Shunchi. Founded in 1994, Shunchi had threatened to become China\u2019s biggest property firm in the subsequent decade \u2013 but much of that growth was fuelled by debt that was piling up at an equally rapid clip. Sun was also tipped for the title of China\u2019s richest man, after announcing his goal that Shunchi would overtake Vanke as China\u2019s biggest homebuilder. His ambition was stratospheric. The industry leader was making less than Rmb7 billion ($968.52 million) in sales a year in 2004 but Sun said that Shunchi could top Rmb100 billion in revenues by 2007.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBut Shunchi didn\u2019t make it that far. Several rounds of policy tightening created a liquidity crisis in the sector and…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Sun-Hongbin-w.jpg","category":"Property, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":53420,"title":"To keep selling chips in\u2008China, Nvidia is downgrading their speeds","content":"When the Biden administration announced another round of restrictions on exports of semiconductor chips to China last month the news put hundreds of millions of dollars of sales at risk.\r\n\r\nInvestors took fright, selling down the shares of US semiconductor firms in dramatic fashion.\r\n\r\nOne of the companies most affected: design giant Nvidia. It warned that it could miss out on $400 million of business involving sales of the processors that power supercomputers, artificial intelligence and high-end data centres.\r\n\r\nThe California-based company has already reacted to the threat to its sales, however, with chief executive Jensen Huang telling Caixin this week that it is offering alternative formats of its chip that won\u2019t breach the parameters of the ban.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSpecifically Nvidia is releasing the A800 GPU, a graphics processing unit that won\u2019t work with other chips at transfer speeds that exceed rates of more than 600 gigabytes per second, the threshold in Washington\u2019s embargo.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere are versions that are not going to be restricted and serve the needs of the vast majority of our market very comfortably,\u201d Huang explained as to how Nvidia is responding to the export hurdles.\r\n\r\nThe US\u2008regulations have banned the export of advanced microchips as well as the equipment that produces them to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Nvidia-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"7"},{"id":53423,"title":"US tech\u2008execs speak at China internet conference in\u2008Wuzhen","content":"After decades of keeping a low profile, aka \u2018hide your light and bide your time\u2019, China\u2019s diplomatic mantra has been rebooted to one about striving to build \u201ca community with a shared future for mankind\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe phrase first found its way into the Communist Party of China\u2019s (CPC) National Congress in 2007, as then leader Hu Jintao applied it to address the common interest between mainland China and the self-ruling island of Taiwan. It has since become a favourite saying whenever Hu\u2019s successor Xi Jinping talks about China\u2019s diplomatic objectives.\r\n\r\nUnsurprisingly, when President Xi gave his congratulatory message to the World Internet Conference this week, he again called for the delegates from different countries to build a \u201ccommunity with a shared future in cyberspace\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe World Internet Conference has been staged in the scenic town of Wuzhen in Zhejiang province for nine consecutive years. Since the Chinese government\u2019s crackdown on the internet industry in 2019, the event seemed to have lost its zest. Gone were the days when a plethora of internet tycoons would gather and take photos during group dinners. The last couple of conferences have bordered on boring.\r\n\r\nAll the same, the gathering this week seems more like a typical tech conference.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Pat-Gelsinger-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"8"},{"id":53426,"title":"China sticks to its stance on zero-Covid","content":"Like the disease itself, speculation that China\u2019s zero-Covid policy could be coming to an end has been feverish.\r\n\r\nThere was disappointment when the National Party Congress concluded last month with no sign of an end to lockdowns, mass testing and travel curbs any time soon. And if anything the economy has been heading in the opposite direction. Japanese bank Nomura estimates that just over a tenth of China\u2019s gross domestic product was under some form of lockdown as of Thursday last week, up from 9.5% last Monday.\r\n\r\nBy Monday this week the disruption was casting a shadow across 12.2% of the economy, according to Nomura\u2019s model. That included a seven-day lockdown at the world\u2019s biggest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou in Henan.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nYet the month had begun with hope that zero-Covid might be on its way out, after a completely unverified screenshot did the rounds on social media purporting to show that the government was preparing for reopening next March.\r\n\r\nThe result was a $450 billion rally in stock markets, with the Shanghai composite surging 5% and the Hang Seng Index (HSI) in Hong Kong doing even better with gains of well over 8% over the week.\r\n\r\nSome of the feel-good factor started to evaporate at…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Stock-Market-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"9"},{"id":53429,"title":" Lula\u2019s presidential win is welcomed in Beijing","content":"In a political comeback for the ages, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is Brazilian president once again. Just three years ago, the 77 year-old was serving prison time after a conviction for corruption. Now he\u2019s back at the helm of Latin America\u2019s largest economy.\r\n\r\nThe triumphant return gives Lula a third term in office just days after Xi Jinping himself notched three consecutive terms as leader of the Chinese Communist Party (Lula battled a rival candidate, of course, the outspoken Jair Bolsonaro).\r\n\r\nLula\u2019s experience as president is why his win has been welcomed in the Chinese media, with talk of how he met China\u2019s former president Hu Jintao on eight occasions, as well as becoming a key ally in efforts to forge the BRICS group of emerging nations as a geopolitical counterweight to Western nations. Lula was also the man in charge in 2009 when China took over from the United States as Brazil\u2019s leading trading partner.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAll of that made him China\u2019s preferred option in the presidential race, especially as Beijing\u2019s relationship with Brazil had cooled markedly since Bolsonaro became president in 2019. He had taken a populist line when he first ran for office, speaking admiringly of Donald Trump and slamming…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Lula-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"10"},{"id":53432,"title":"Why this year\u2019s Singles\u2019\u2008Day has targeted the \u2018silver\u2019 pensioner economy","content":"Since his return to Taobao Live in late September, China\u2019s biggest livestreaming personality Li Jiaqi has been making up for lost time. The e-commerce host, who disappeared for three months after having offended the country\u2019s censors, has been working hard every night since October 24, the first day of Alibaba\u2019s Singles\u2019 Day presales.\r\n\r\nIn previous Singles\u2019 Days, Li and his rival Viya were the two biggest headliners for the annual shopping bonanza. But Viya was nowhere to be found this year. She has been MIA since she got fined for tax evasion last December, leaving Li the solo \u2018star\u2019 act on Taobao Live, Alibaba\u2019s livestreaming platform.\r\n\r\nMind you, if the first day of this year\u2019s presale is anything to go by, Li\u2019s popularity seems to have only gone from strength to strength: the 30 year-old host reportedly set a new record of Rmb21.5 billion ($3.2 billion) in gross merchandise value (GMV). Even though his management company subsequently denied the figure, most industry observers reckoned that the real number couldn\u2019t have been too far off.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMovie stars and celebrities have been less in evidence during this year\u2019s extravaganza than in the past. It was notable, for instance, when actress Zhao Lusi popped up on…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Zhao-Lisi-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"11"},{"id":53435,"title":"Top science professor quits Princeton for Shenzhen","content":"When structural biologist Yan Nieng first announced that she was leaving Tsinghua University for Princeton in 2017, she explained her decision thus: \u201cI was afraid of being in an environment for too long that would make me ignorant without me even knowing it. Changing my environment [will] hopefully help me achieve new breakthroughs in science.\u201d At least that is what she told Guangming Daily at the time.\r\n\r\nAfter five years, Yan is on the move again, though this time round, she is going home. Last week, the 45 year-old biologist, who was also once described as \u201cthe youngest and prettiest professor\u201d at Tsinghua University, said she will resign from Princeton and move to Shenzhen to establish a medical academy.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cIn the near future, I will return to China full-time to assist in establishing a new research and development institution in Shenzhen, which is named SMART, integrating several functions including scientific research, transformation, student cultivation and financial support,\u201d the biologist declared at the Shenzhen Global Innovation Talent Forum last week, adding, \u201cShenzhen is the city of dreams, and I want to realise my next dream here.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe timing of her decision was interesting. In recent years, a lot of scientists of Chinese descent have…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Nieng-Yan-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"12"}]},{"id":1761,"name":"Issue 606","date":"Nov 4, 2022","title":"Dark times?","tagline":"A brutal week for Foxconn\u2019s management as media portrays an \u2018exodus\u2019 of workers at its giant Zhengzhou plant and what it means for Apple","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/WiC606.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/606-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":53382,"title":"Reports of an \u2018exodus\u2019 of workers shake Foxconn and its top client Apple","content":"Talk of \u2018peak globalisation\u2019, or the view that we have reached a high point in international trade and finance, started to find its way into academic journals such as the Harvard Business Review as long ago as 2010. In the same year cracks also started to emerge in the business model of Foxconn, one of the firms that epitomises the globalised world of business. After embedding itself in the supply chain of one of the world\u2019s most desired brands, the iPhone assembler was widely criticised as a \u2018blood and sweat factory\u2019 after a spate of suicides said to be linked to bleak working conditions in its factories.\r\n\r\nIn the aftermath of Foxconn\u2019s suicides crisis in mid-2010, Chinese provinces including export centres like Guangdong began to roll out policies on minimum wages and protecting workers\u2019 rights. The State Council stepped up the process of so-called \u2018income redistribution reform\u2019, which has been given new momentum by the Communist Party\u2019s mantra on \u2018Common Prosperity\u2019, which is supposed to bolster social equality.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nNo longer content with a reputation as \u2018the world\u2019s factory\u2019, manned by millions of low-cost workers, Guangdong has also responded to policymakers\u2019 calls that its businesses should climb higher in the value chain and…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Foxconn-Taipei-w.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":53385,"title":"Xi kicks off third term with a week of diplomacy","content":"It\u2019s been a hectic week for the protocol experts at China\u2019s foreign ministry, following a flurry of arrivals from foreign governments.\r\n\r\nPakistani President Shehbaz Sharif came to town on Tuesday, followed by Samia Suluhu Hassan, the President of Tanzania, a day later. Beating them both to it was Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of Vietnam\u2019s Communist Party, who arrived on Sunday as the first foreign head of government to meet Xi Jinping since he secured a third term as Chinese leader.\r\n\r\nGetting the most coverage was the arrival of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz today, the first EU leader to visit China for three years.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAlthough his visit was set to be a brief one \u2013 only a day in Beijing with an accompanying delegation of business leaders \u2013 it does the job for the hosts in showcasing their relationship with a key partner in trade and investment. It also signals an effort to counter some of the isolating experience of the zero-Covid policy over the last two years, as well as how the government has moved beyond the pageantry of last month\u2019s Party Congress, where Xi was confirmed as Party Secretary.\r\n\r\nThe boss of vaccine maker BioNTech was part of the German delegation, sparking…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Olaf-Scholz-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"7"},{"id":53391,"title":"How a copper firm outgrew Huawei to become Guangdong\u2019s top firm","content":"Taking first place in a government-backed poll of the Top 100 private enterprises in Guangdong \u2013 one of China\u2019s most industrious provinces and home to some of its most successful exporters \u2013 is something to celebrate.\r\n\r\nFor years Huawei has enjoyed first place in the ranking, although the latest holder of the title is Amer International Group (better known as Zhengwei locally).\r\n\r\nHeadquartered in Shenzhen and described as a new materials producer, Amer earns the award as the best-selling private company in Guangdong (as opposed to state-owned enterprises), reporting revenues of just under Rmb723 billion ($99 billion) last year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLocal media outlets picked up on the achievement, perhaps under encouragement to showcase the progress of private firms like Amer at a time when foreign media have portrayed President Xi Jinping\u2019s administration as steering key parts of the economy back under the direction of the state. But the changes at the summit also tell another story: how a firm focused on industrial metals has powered past better-known tech-focused brands like Tencent and Huawei, both of which have slipped from their previous peaks commercially.\r\n\r\nHuawei is struggling to weather Washington\u2019s block on the supply of key components and it also waved goodbye to a huge chunk…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Amer-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"8"},{"id":53394,"title":"Zijin Mining continues its acquisition spree","content":"Zijin Mining is in acquisition mode again. Much of its history is as a gold producer and it added another gold mine to its roster last month through the acquisition of the Rosebel mine in Suriname, with a proposed investment of $360 million.\r\n\r\nIn a busy few days it also celebrated the purchase of a 30% interest in the Shandong Ruiyin mine for Rmb3.98 billion, becoming the second-largest shareholder of the largest gold-only deposit in China.\r\n\r\nYet the Fujian-based firm now relies just as much on sales of copper, including a series of investments in new projects in Serbia, Tibet and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nZijin is following a similar path to mining majors like BHP and Rio Tinto in increasing its exposure to energy transition metals. It has actually been in expansion mode for some time, including international acquisitions that have seen its overseas copper and gold operations surpass their domestic equivalents in output and profit last year.\r\n\r\nBack at home in China it signed another Rmb5.91 billion deal in October with Anhui Jinsha Molybdenum to acquire an 84% interest in the world\u2019s largest molybdenum-only deposit.\r\n\r\nThe company seems well positioned for the ramp-up in demand from sectors such as electric vehicles…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Zijin-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"9"},{"id":53388,"title":"Why did Xi Jinping visit the little-known Red Flag Canal?","content":"When Xi Jinping was confirmed as the general secretary of China\u2019s Communist Party (CPC) in 2012, he made Shenzhen the destination of his first inspection tour outside Beijing. The visit, political analysts observed at the time, was made to pay tribute to Deng Xiaoping\u2019s southern tour in 1992, in which he signalled symbolic support for the country\u2019s economic reform process.\r\n\r\nXi was given a third term as the CPC\u2019s boss last month. His first inspection tour this time was not to an urban hub of market reforms but to the Red Flag Canal, a 1,500-kilometre waterway that was cut out from the mountainside in Henan province\u2019s Lin county.\r\n\r\nWhat\u2019s so special about the Red Flag Canal? From its name it\u2019s not difficult to deduce that it was built during the Maoist era. China\u2019s first homemade sedan car, produced in 1958, was also given the prestigious Red Flag brand, for instance.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe construction of the canal began during the Great Leap Forward. Before the irrigation project was completed, Lin county was little known in China although residents of the region had suffered from droughts for hundreds of years.\r\n\r\nAccording to the official tale, after a serious drought hit Henan again in 1960 (China was believed…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Canal-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"11"},{"id":53398,"title":"Investors underwhelmed by beauty firm Shanghai\u2008Jahwa\u2019s lost decade","content":"Formerly known as Kwong Sang Hang, Shanghai Jahwa was founded as a company in 1898 and is hailed as the oldest cosmetics maker in China. When Ronald Reagan, the former US president, visited Fudan University in 1984, the Shanghai government presented his wife with a set of Jahwa cosmetics as a gift, although the firm is probably best known historically for its Six God Floral Water, a signature product that claims to repel mosquitoes, reduce redness and even improve one\u2019s mood with its fragrance.\r\n\r\n\u201cApparently unaware of [its] mosquito-repelling function, foreigners use it in many different mind-boggling ways, including for headache or muscle pain relief, as perfume or aftershave, as a laundry sanitizer or even as a floor cleaner,\u201d the Global Times once marvelled of the spray\u2019s many benefits.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nA formerly state-owned firm, Shanghai Jahwa was acquired by a subsidiary of Ping An Insurance in 2011 for Rmb5.5 billion ($755 million). Other bidders were rumoured to include HNA Group and private equity firm Hony Capital but Ping An won the day with a restructuring plan that promised heavy investment. The takeover quickly turned acrimonious, however. Two years later, former chairman and chief executive Ge Wenyao, who had been credited with turning Shanghai…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Drug-store-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"12"},{"id":53401,"title":"Luckin Coffee founder starts a new cafe chain","content":"Tenacious is one of the many adjectives that might be used to describe Lu Zhengyao, a co-founder and former chairman of Luckin Coffee before the coffee chain was exposed for overstating revenues.\r\n\r\nThe entrepreneur, who started his first business when he was 25 trading telecoms parts, has founded a number of start-ups. And he takes setbacks in his stride, it seems. Soon after he was ousted from Luckin, Lu launched a noodle chain called Qu Xiaomian describing the venture as \u201cthe last battle\u201d of his career. The struggle didn\u2019t last very long: after three months, Qu Xiaomian\u2019s aggressive expansion plans were suspended after diners dissed the menu and complained about portion sizes. Lu then pivoted quickly into pre-cooked meals, which were hugely popular during the initial months of the Covid pandemic when people were stuck at home. There was an announcement that he planned to expand the business through a franchise model but interest from partners was subdued and the idea soon fizzled out.\r\n\r\nLu\u2019s entrepreneurial energies show no sign of dimming, however. Last week it was reported that the tycoon is back with another \u2018new\u2019 business idea: another coffee chain.\r\n\r\nThe company is called Cotti Coffee \u2013 inspired by the Italian biscuit…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Lu-Zhengyao-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"13"},{"id":53404,"title":"Female retirees cause a stir with their production of a much-loved drama","content":"Empresses in the Palace, also known as Zhen Huan Zhuan in Chinese, is one of the most highly acclaimed TV dramas from China in recent memory (Netflix purchased the streaming rights to the show for broadcast in the US back in 2015).\r\n\r\nThe historical series, which was first released in 2011, stayed popular long after its season finale and it was played repeatedly on other satellite networks and online video platforms.\r\n\r\nAfter Youku purchased the rights to the series from the now defunct LeTV in 2018, the drama drew a record 160 million views within the first week, surpassing other much-hyped rivals in the same year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMilk tea brand HeyTea was one of the latest companies to strike a commercial deal with the rights holder, launching themed drinks to celebrate the show\u2019s 11th anniversary.\r\n\r\nThe drama, set in the Qing Dynasty, follows the life of the innocent and kind-hearted Zhen Huan (played by actress Sun Li), who is chosen as one of the emperor\u2019s concubines. Along with her friends, Zhen learns how to survive the perils of imperial politics. In the end, she rises through the ranks to become the Empress Dowager.\r\n\r\nThe drama was once again in the news last week after a group…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/11\/Empress2-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"14"}]},{"id":1760,"name":"Issue 605","date":"Oct 28, 2022","title":"Man of the moment","tagline":"President Xi Jinping consolidated his power at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/605.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/605-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":53341,"title":"Who are the new guard at the top of China\u2019s political power structure?","content":"Donald Trump was one of the first world leaders to congratulate Xi Jinping on his \u201cextraordinary elevation\u201d after the Chinese leader tightened his grip on power in October 2017, with the Communist Party of China (CPC) even writing Xi\u2019s name and political theory into its constitution.\r\n\r\nThe former American president was quick to offer a congratulatory message a few months later when the Chinese government eliminated the two-term limit for the country\u2019s presidency, paving the way for Xi to hold the position for longer. \u201cHe\u2019s now president for life. And he\u2019s great,\u201d Trump told supporters at a fundraiser at the time. \u201cI think it\u2019s great. Maybe we\u2019ll have to give that a shot someday.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nDebate on the merits of China\u2019s political system has been the focus of the Anglo-American world again this month. Just a few days before Britain welcomed its second prime minister in as many months, Xi was formalising his third term as Party Secretary at the CPC National Congress. In the wake of an intensifying rivalry between China and the West, the question is also what Xi might do next, now that he\u2019s regarded as having unprecedented power to lead the world\u2019s second biggest economy for an unlimited period.\r\n\r\nWhat…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Pulitburo-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":53344,"title":"Sino-US business ties in focus yet again","content":"Monday was another disappointing day for Chinese firms in the stock markets with the Shanghai and Shenzhen benchmarks both losing about 2% of their value. But it was much worse in Hong Kong, where the bourse fell more than 6% in its worst day of trading since the global financial crisis. Mainland Chinese companies bore the brunt of the selling, with the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index \u2013 a benchmark for Chinese firms listed in the city \u2013 plunging 7.3%.\r\n\r\nNone of this merited much mention in the mainland media the following day, Bloomberg noted, apart from a brief story on page four of Shanghai Securities News, which didn\u2019t offer reasons for the declines.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe Hong Kong media was less inhibited, linking the situation to the reaction to the Party Congress, where government bosses had shown no sign of bringing an end to \u2018zero-Covid\u2019 measures. Foreign investors fuelled the slump by selling down mainland firms on concerns that the latest selections for the Politburo signal a move away from the pro-market stance of previous leaderships, including an acceleration of policy themes like Common Prosperity, which some investors regard as a drag on the economy (see Talking Point for more on events at…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Stock-market-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"7"},{"id":53370,"title":"China ally Pakistan looks for debt relief","content":"China and Pakistan have a \u201clips-and-teeth\u201d friendship, as diplomats from Beijing are fond of saying. Some of that closeness has come from a surge in Chinese financial support. But might that relationship end up biting both parties as Pakistan runs out of funds to repay its debts?\r\n\r\nIslamabad was already struggling to meet its commitments in its current fiscal year. The chances of making its repayments were worsened by flooding over the summer that killed 2,000 people and displaced millions more, bringing economic havoc.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe government turned back to its creditors to ask for another round of negotiations on a relief and restructuring plan. Yet although US Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded with a promise to support the flood relief effort, he indicated that Pakistan needed to sort out a restructuring of its debt to China, its single-largest creditor, before a wider deal could be addressed.\r\n\r\nThis triggered a swift reaction in Beijing, which is exasperated by allegations that it has loaded its partners in the developing world with unsustainable borrowing as part of a strategy of \u2018debt-trap diplomacy\u2019.\r\n\r\n\u201cInstead of passing unwarranted criticism against China-Pakistan cooperation, the US side might as well do something real and beneficial for the people of Pakistan,\u201d…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Shehbaz-Sharif-w.jpg","category":"Belt and Road","page":"8"},{"id":53347,"title":"Meituan backs serial entrepreneur\u2019s new augmented reality business","content":"After announcing that he was stepping away from social media in June to focus on his next venture, entrepreneur-turned-livestreamer Luo Yonghao surprised his fans by returning to screens on Monday. Also notable: he has ditched Douyin, with whom he had enjoyed an exclusive relationship since he started livestreaming in 2020, for rival platform Taobao Live.\r\n\r\nMore than 26 million people tuned in to witness Luo\u2019s debut on Taobao Live, which marked the first day of Singles\u2019 Day presales. During the broadcast, he focused mainly on consumer electronics, a category he knows well from his time as founder of Smartisan, a smartphone maker.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHowever, in terms of gross merchandise value (GMV), Luo\u2019s first outing on Taobao was underwhelming, analysts said, generating just Rmb210 million ($29.4 million). While that is no small sum, it didn\u2019t bear much comparison with the efforts of rival livestream host Li Jiaqi, who reportedly raked in Rmb21.5 billion on Taobao Live on the same day (although he later denied the figure).\r\n\r\nBut no matter, Luo has made it clear from the start that e-commerce livestreaming is a sideline to his day job. Last week, 36Kr reported that his latest start-up Thin Red Line has completed its seed round, raising nearly…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Luo-Yonghao-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"9"},{"id":53350,"title":"China looks to \u2018leapfrog\u2019 with photonics chip plan","content":"China\u2019s history of leapfrogging in technology was often the result of realities on the ground. Back in the 1980s it trailed other countries in rolling out copper wire for telephones, for instance. That meant that hundreds of millions of Chinese never got landlines, but jumped straight to cell phones instead. This would reverberate across the smartphone revolution, which set a faster pace in China than in Europe or the United States.\r\n\r\nSomething similar happened in credit cards, never a favourite for Chinese consumers, who skipped straight to the world of digital payments. These transitions weren\u2019t situations in which the Chinese had made scientific or technological breakthroughs. It was more a case of taking the lead in applying new standards at scale. And in other sectors or industries the Chinese have been hamstrung by dependence on foreign knowhow, nowhere more so than semiconductors, the foundation layer of so many technologies of the future. But might a leapfrog moment be ahead here as well?\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nCompanies in the US, South Korea and Taiwan are said to have a stranglehold on semiconductor production, especially at advanced levels. But the status quo isn\u2019t set in stone \u2013 consider the fact that none of the world\u2019s most advanced…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Photonic-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"10"},{"id":53353,"title":"Why the city of Hegang has become a hot topic","content":"Manchurian Tiger, an indie film released in 2021, was set in Hegang, a city in Heilongjiang province on the border with Russia. The black comedy follows the story of protagonist Xu Dong, a former high school teacher who works as a trucker to make more money. Xu is also forced to sell his beloved dog shortly before the birth of his son. While he hopes to find an owner who will take care of it, the buyer ends up cooking and eating the pet.\r\n\r\nMuch like parts of the plot, Hegang appears bleak and cold. Back in the 1990s it was a booming city before a collapse in coal prices, which saw large sections of Hegang abandoned. According to the most recent census, it had a population of just 890,000 in 2020.\r\n\r\nRecently though, Hegang has become a trending topic on social media after newspapers reported that apartments on average there were costing no more than Rmb15,000 ($2,100) to purchase.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cOn social media Hegang is portrayed like a heaven for young urbanites, who are priced out of the real estate market in first-tier cities and choosing Hegang to fulfil their dreams as homeowners. The reason? Home prices are cheap. Many can buy a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Hegang-w.png","category":"Property","page":"11"},{"id":53357,"title":"At 60, comedian Stephen Chow wants to crack the metaverse","content":"Last week, Warner Bros. Discovery announced that it has partnered with blockchain start-up Eluvio to launch the metaverse version of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.\r\n\r\nOfficially, the impending release is called \u201cThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Version) Web3 Movie Experience\u201d. Along with a digital copy of the original movie from 2001, buyers can indulge themselves with an interactive navigation menu modelled on locations from the JRR Tolkien novel (such as the Shire and Rivendell) as well as a number of hidden AR (augmented reality) collectibles, which will are viewable on smartphones and possibly tradable in the future.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSuch a Web3 experience sounds \u201can endeavour that makes less sense the more you hear about it\u201d, tech news site The\u2008Verge suggested. Yet more conventional movie makers are ready to join this new iteration of internet adventuring.\r\n\r\nHong Kong actor-director Stephen Chow is showing that he is also keeping up with the times. The 60 year-old has never maintained a social media presence. That\u2019s why his fans were shocked last week when Chow opened an Instagram account and announced in his first-ever post, and the only one so far, that he\u2019s looking to venture into…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Stephen-Chow-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"12"},{"id":53361,"title":"New TV show challenges the idea of motherhood","content":"In Maggie Gyllenhaal\u2019s film The Lost Daughter, Olivia Coleman plays Leda Caruso, a promising translator who deserts her young daughters for several years to pursue her career. The film challenges the idea of motherhood: that a mother should relish her maternal role and when a woman doesn\u2019t embrace it, something must be wrong with her.\r\n\r\nChinese actress Yao Chen, too, has chosen to challenge the same stereotype. In her new television drama Rock It, Mom, which is exclusive to streaming platform iQiyi, she plays Peng Lai, a rock-and-roll singer. When she finds out that her husband has been cheating with her best friend, the rock star leaves behind her six year-old daughter Bai Tian behind to go to the US to pursue her singing career.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBut Peng\u2019s career fails to take off. Instead, she makes ends meet by performing in Chinatown restaurants and at nursing homes. She also has no contact with her daughter.\r\n\r\nBut that all changes when her ex-husband dies from a heart attack and Peng becomes Bai\u2019s only living relative (Bai is played by Zhuang Dafei; see photo).\r\n\r\nThe show follows the mother and daughter as the two try to mend their testy and fragile relationship. It is not a conventional…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Yao-Chen-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"13"}]},{"id":1759,"name":"Issue 604","date":"Oct 21, 2022","title":"Berlin and Beijing at a juncture","tagline":"German leader Olaf Scholz will reportedly visit Beijing next month as debate rages at home between political and business leaders over economic links to China","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/604.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/604-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":53311,"title":"Sino-German relations come into focus after 50 years of formal ties","content":"Helmut Schmidt, the former German chancellor, was one of a small group of foreigners deemed to be \u201can old friend of the Chinese people\u201d (601 people from 123 countries were awarded the accolade between 1949 and 2010, the People\u2019s Daily says).\r\n\r\nIn the late 1960s when Schmidt was serving as defence minister of what was then West Germany, he already had an inkling that China would grow into a world power. He made a long tour of the Pacific hoping to see China from the perspective of the Japanese, the South Koreans and the Thais, Xinhua reports. One outcome of this trip was West Germany\u2019s eventual forging of formal diplomatic relations with China in October 1972 \u2013 nine years before the US would do so.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThree years later Schmidt visited Beijing as the German chancellor and met Deng Xiaoping. After some small talk about cigarettes \u2013 both men said they got through three packs a day \u2013 Deng told Schmidt that China supported the reunification of Germany. In exchange, Germany would support the \u2018One China\u2019 principle on Taiwan.\r\n\r\nIn 1985 Volkswagen became the first Western carmaker to open a plant in Shanghai. Sino-German relations prospered and trade between the two countries blossomed. Just…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Volkswagen-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China and the World, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":53314,"title":"Xi Jinping takes centre-stage at this week\u2019s National Party Congress","content":"The most important date in China\u2019s political calendar \u2013 the National Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party \u2013 arrived once more in Beijing this week for its 20th iteration at Tiananmen Square\u2019s Great Hall of the People.\r\n\r\nProceedings began on Sunday with President Xi Jinping\u2019s work report, outlining the progress of the previous five years and setting the goals for the five to come.\r\n\r\nDelegates then disappeared into a few days of closed-door gatherings before they\u2019ll re-emerge this weekend for a ceremonial vote on the work report and to approve changes in the 25-person Politburo and its Standing Committee (currently just seven people at the apex of political power under Xi, who is also the Party\u2019s General Secretary).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThese are carefully choreographed occasions and there were no real surprises in Xi\u2019s address, which returned to familiar themes around the rejuvenation of the nation, self-reliance in technology and the focus on creating a modern, socialist economy.\r\n\r\nAnalysts still spent time looking for the nuance in his remarks, however, including his 89 mentions of \u201csecurity\u201d or \u201csafety\u201d, an increase on 55 in 2017 Reuters reckoned, while references to \u201creform\u201d declined to 48 mentions from 68 five years ago.\r\n\r\nOthers were more intrigued by what Xi didn\u2019t…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/CCP-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"7"},{"id":53323,"title":"More restrictions on US chip exports to China","content":"The war of words in the semiconductor sector rumbled on this weekend when Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, promised to \u201cresolutely win the battle in key core technologies\u201d during his speech at the opening of the twice-a-decade National Party Congress in Beijing.\r\n\r\nBut it\u2019s his American counterpart Joe Biden that is taking the most action in the confrontation over chipmaking, with his administration tightening the screw again this month with the most aggressive measures yet to stop Chinese firms from matching their peers in the industry.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe US government has been broadening the controls on exports to China\u2019s semiconductor sector for years, including another round of instructions this summer. But the latest rules, which come into effect this month, are the most comprehensive yet in drawing these efforts together across a wider range of items from chips made by companies like AMD and Nvidia through to the equipment needed to manufacture them, much of it from US producers KLA, Applied Materials and Lam Research.\r\n\r\nUnder the regulations the Chinese can still import basic semiconductors that power items like household appliances and lower-grade computing. But any chip that exceeds new benchmarks set by the Bureau of Industry and Security at the US Department of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/AI-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"9"},{"id":53317,"title":"Soy sauce shoppers fume that the Japanese get a superior product","content":"Traditionally, soy sauce is a simple mix of soybeans and wheat, water and salt. The beans are soaked before being added to wheat flour. The mixture is allowed to ferment; salt and more water are added; and the resulting liquid is aged for months, although some recipes are left for several years.\r\n\r\nManufacturers can also opt for faster and cheaper methods to make soy sauce, however, churning out the product over a few days instead of months. But the trade-off is that the fragrance and flavour that comes from a longer fermentation is lost in the production process. To that end, much of the soy sauce sold in supermarkets contains extra colouring and flavour additives.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s biggest condiment maker Haitian has been making soy sauce for more than three centuries (it was formerly known as Foshan Jianyuan until a restructuring in 1955). But the company was recently embroiled in a row over what was being added to the condiment.\r\n\r\nThe controversy started in early October, when netizens realised that Haitian\u2019s soy sauce in Japan was made from natural ingredients \u2013 i.e. water, soybeans and wheat \u2013 while the Chinese version of the sauce included a number of flavour enhancers, preservatives and sweeteners.\r\n\r\nThe revelation…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Haday-Sauce-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"11"},{"id":53320,"title":"Furnishing giant turns to food strategy to boost store sales","content":"When Swedish furniture giant IKEA started selling food and drink it was seen more in terms of  a customer service strategy than a new product line. Founder Ingvar Kamprad thought that if consumers were hungry as they shopped, they would be distracted and spend less. As the food offering was not initially seen as a profit centre, the menu was cheap and simple. In China, it included soft-serve ice cream for Rmb1 ($0.14) and hotdogs for Rmb6.\r\n\r\nBut what started as a way to keep shoppers in stores now contributes as much as 5% of IKEA\u2019s revenues. In China, food has become a major part of IKEA\u2019s marketing strategy in bringing consumers to its physical outlets. Last week the retailer even launched an e-commerce livestreaming channel called the \u201cIKEA Flavour House\u201d on Douyin, the short video platform owned by Bytedance.\r\n\r\n IKEA has dabbled in livestreaming previously to sell furniture. This time round, however, the live channel is focusing solely on food products. There are videos on food presentation and cooking demonstrations (think of all the ways to mix a few Swedish meatballs into Chinese cuisine, perhaps). To attract viewers, the livestream is also offering big discounts: a plate of spaghetti bolognese costs…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Spaghetti-wjpg.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"12"},{"id":53326,"title":"Rice-counting homework stirs debate about China\u2019s educational ethos","content":"While it is hardly unusual for parents to help their children with homework, when a father from Jiangxi province posted a video of himself helping out his son last week, it turned into a media frenzy.\r\n\r\nIn footage that spread widely on social media, the father said his son\u2019s primary school maths teacher made the entire class count out 10,000 grains of rice. The clip shows the boy and several family members huddling around a table counting the individual grains. At one point his son turns to the camera, giving a theatrical grimace of defeat. \u201cThis is homework from school; to count 10,000 grains of rice, my God!\u201d the father also exclaims, adding that the effort lasted until midnight despite mobilising the whole family in support.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe family was systematic in its approach, accumulating tiny piles of five grains of rice on a desk at a time and then pushing them together to form a larger pile, all the time counting how many they had gathered in total.\r\n\r\nNetizens questioned more why children were being made to count the rice in the first place. Some queried why anyone would take such an assignment so seriously. \u201cI wish education experts would investigate whether homework…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Exam4-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"13"}]},{"id":1758,"name":"Issue 603","date":"Oct 7, 2022","title":"The redback in retreat","tagline":"The Chinese yuan has been falling dramatically against the dollar, despite efforts to soften its decline","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/603.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/603-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":53279,"title":"The yuan drops to its lowest level against the dollar for years","content":"\u201cOur currency, but your problem\u201d was the unsympathetic verdict from Richard Nixon\u2019s Treasury Secretary John Connally (or \u2018Typhoon\u2019 Connally as he was known by his Japanese contemporaries) in late 1971 at a meeting of finance ministers in Rome.\r\n\r\nThe comments were said to have astonished his counterparts and the brash remark is still seized upon today by those who warn against the dollar\u2019s dominance as a reserve currency.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBack then the greenback was collapsing as a consequence of Washington\u2019s decision to end its commitment that foreign governments could exchange their dollars for gold. But more than 50 years later the dollar is moving in the opposite direction against other currencies, hitting its highest levels since 1985 in trade-weighted terms, according to the Bank for International Settlements.\r\n\r\nCurrencies including the yen, the euro and the pound have all trembled in its wake, while the Chinese yuan has also fallen steeply this year, with no sign over the last few weeks that its slump is set to slow.\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s currency bosses are clearly concerned by the yuan\u2019s descent, with speculation that more action may be imminent as Beijing bids to bolster its currency against the domineering dollar.\r\n\r\nBut there are also limits to what policymakers can achieve…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Yuan-Dollar-w.jpg","category":"Rise of the RMB, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":53282,"title":"Can Feihe sustain local comeback in the milk powder market?","content":"The World Health Organisation has long advocated that babies under six months old should be fed breast milk because of its contributions in protein and calcium, as well as other benefits in boosting protections from disease. But breastfeeding remains unpopular in China. According to a study in 2019 by the China Development Research Foundation, only 29% of infants were breastfed, well below the global average of 43%.\r\n\r\nThis is partly because many Chinese believe that infant formula is more nutritious than breastmilk. \u201cThey [the mothers] were under the impression that it\u2019s not bad to feed babies with milk powders or that it\u2019s even more nutritious,\u201d Wang Zhixu, a professor from Nanjing Medical University, was quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe infamous melamine scandal in 2008, which saw 300,000 children poisoned by chemical adulterants in infant milk formula, sparked longstanding distrust of locally-made brands. Between 2008 and 2017, annual milk powder imports spiked more than seven times from 40,000 tonnes to 296,000 tonnes. The share of domestic alternatives imploded, falling from over 65% to less than 30% on a national level, and only 15% in first-tier cities where families are better able to afford more expensive foreign products.\r\n\r\nBut if…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Milk-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"7"},{"id":53286,"title":"JD boss Richard Liu settles case with accuser","content":"When JD.com boss Liu Qiangdong \u2013 better known as Richard Liu outside China \u2013 was accused of sexual assault in Minnesota four years ago, the share price of his New York-listed company tumbled. A picture of the founder of one of China\u2019s largest e-commerce platforms in orange jail garb soon went viral on social media. Prosecutors declined to file criminal charges, however, citing \u201cprofound evidentiary problems\u201d. Liu went back to China, while his wife headed for a study break at Cambridge University.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIf these were the darkest months of Liu\u2019s life, they are now finally over. Just 48 hours before a civil trial was set to begin in the United States this month, the billionaire and his accuser reached an undisclosed agreement. \u201cThe incident between Ms. Jingyao Liu and Mr. Richard Liu in Minnesota in 2018 resulted in a misunderstanding that has consumed substantial public attention and brought profound suffering to the parties and their families,\u201d the parties said in a joint statement, explaining that they had set aside their differences and settled the dispute in order to avoid further pain and suffering.\r\n\r\nLiu, who had been expected to testify at the trial, has consistently denied the allegations, saying the encounter was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Richard-Liu-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"9"},{"id":53289,"title":"Europeans snap up China-made electric blankets as winter looms","content":"\u2018Winter is coming\u2019 is the much-repeated warning on the hugely popular TV series Game of Thrones. For many in Europe, it seems like a very real concern this year. The winter months are increasingly dreaded, with worries about soaring prices for energy supplies, particularly natural gas, because of Russia\u2019s invasion of Ukraine.\r\n\r\nThe energy crisis is prompting the Europeans to plan ahead. Last week, social media in China was abuzz with news that shoppers from European countries have been snapping up China-made electric blankets in anticipation of the winter chill.\r\n\r\n\u201cIn this backdrop of an energy crisis and fears of an impending cold winter, Chinese electric blankets are suddenly worth their weight in gold,\u201d Beijing Youth Daily claimed.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn July, exports of electric blankets to the European Union from China reached 1.29 million units, an increase of 1.5 times from June. Many of them are made in the town of Xinle in Hebei, where 11,000 workers produce about 40% of national supply. \u201cI've been making electric blankets for 35 years and have never seen such a surge in orders,\u201d the founder of Beijiren, one of the leading brands, told Shanghai Daily.\r\n\r\nAnother electric blanket maker in Dongguan in Guangdong told ThePaper.cn that orders were…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Electric-Blanket-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"10"},{"id":53293,"title":"Genting tries again to get a casino licence in Macau","content":"Malaysian casino group Genting was the dark horse to win a gaming licence in Macau 20 years ago. The Macanese government was preparing to call a halt on casino mogul Stanley Ho\u2019s 40-year monopoly on the gambling business and three new licences were up for grabs. According to media reports in Hong Kong, Genting was sixth in the final shortlist but there was talk that the number of licences would be increased, giving it a chance of success.\r\n\r\nWhat happened next came as a bitter disappointment to the Malaysian group, when the winning trio of Stanley Ho\u2019s SJM, Wynn Resorts and Hong Kong-based Galaxy were allowed to sell three so-called \u2018sub-concessions\u2019 to Las Vegas Sands, MGM and Melco respectively.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe arrangement effectively expanded the number of gaming licences to six, but Genting didn\u2019t feature.\r\n\r\nTwo decades on, Genting is trying to get into Macau again with a surprise last-minute bid for a casino licence, as the clock ticks towards the expiry of the current gaming licences this year.\r\n\r\nAfter a lengthy period of public consultation, as well as a forceful crackdown on a few of the junkets in the city, the Macau government has decided to maintain the number of casino operators at six,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Genting-w.jpg","category":"China Tourist","page":"11"},{"id":53296,"title":"National Day cinema winner is another drama about China\u2019s reach overseas","content":"Wolf Warriors 2, the second highest-grossing movie in Chinese cinema history, celebrates how special forces troops help their Chinese compatriots escape a fictional African country caught up in a civil war.\r\n\r\nReleased in 2017, the film closes with an image of a Chinese passport and a short message: \u201cWhen you encounter danger on foreign soil, do not give up. Please remember, at your back stands a strong motherland.\u201d\r\n\r\nOne side effect of the stirring commitment is that Chinese tourists have been overplaying the patriotism card when they get into bother overseas. But the term \u2018wolf warrior diplomacy\u2019 has also circulated in the West to describe the more confrontational style adopted by many Chinese diplomats in response to perceived criticism of their country.\r\n\r\nHome Coming, the standout movie over this week\u2019s National Day holidays, goes back to a similar theme of an evacuation mission of Chinese nationals stranded overseas. But moviegoers anticipating an action-packed, flag-waving romp in Wolf Warrior style will be disappointed, however, as the movie sets out to portray a more nuanced expression of Chinese diplomacy overseas.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHome Coming tells the story of two diplomats ordered by the foreign ministry to bring home more than a hundred Chinese nationals after war breaks out…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/10\/Homecoming-poster-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"12"}]}]}