{"issues":[{"id":1625,"name":"Issue 474","date":"Nov 15, 2019","title":"Swift sales seen on Singles\u2019 Day","tagline":"Taylor Swift got Singles\u2019Day off to a flyer this week \u2013 we look at the homegrown celebrity KOLs Alibaba relied on to drive sales through live-streaming","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/474.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/474-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":44302,"title":"Streaming celebrities help Alibaba set another Singles\u2019 Day record","content":"China\u2019s princess of live-streaming is called Viya. Real name Huang Wei, she goes into overdrive during the run-up to Singles\u2019 Day. Starting her broadcasts in the early afternoon, she pitches her wares until well past midnight, selling everything from duck neck (a popular snack) to hand towels.\r\n\r\nIn a pre-sale event held just before this year\u2019s Singles\u2019 Day (which takes place each year on November 11) Viya had a special guest. Kim Kardashian, dialling in from California, loomed up on a large screen behind the online influencer to promote her new fragrance, which she was launching on Tmall Global for the first time. \u201cWhat\u2019s the inspiration for your perfume?\u201d Viya asked, twirling a lip-shaped perfume bottle. Afterwards she gave the product details and price, and counted down: \u201c5, 4, 3, 2, 1\u201d. All 15,000 bottles of the fragrance were sold within minutes. \u201cKim, you really need to give us more stock,\u201d she joked.\r\n\r\nSo Singles\u2019 Day was another sales spectacular?\r\n\r\nIt was a case of another year, another record \u2013 with Alibaba selling goods worth Rmb268 billion ($38.4 billion), compared with last year\u2019s Rmb214 billion.\r\n\r\nDespite the increase, Alibaba founder Jack Ma said that sales were below his expectations. \u201cThere are multiple reasons, one…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Viya-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":44310,"title":"Shi Yuzhu drops bid for Israeli gaming firm","content":"Circle of Friends (or COF) is one of the many attractions on WeChat, Tencent\u2019s social media app. Its primary function, as the name suggests, is helping friends to congregate online. For businesspeople their COF also serves as a network to exchange ideas and sway opinions.\r\n\r\nIn April this year, the COF frequented by Shi Yuzhu, the boss of gaming firm Giant Interactive, buzzed with speculation that he had been detained by police, pending an investigation by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).\r\n\r\nThe 57 year-old hotly denied he was under arrest. However, Shi also complained on his WeChat account that \u201cmany people have been bad-mouthing me at the CSRC\u201d, which stoked further rumours. Some suggested that Giant\u2019s longrunning attempt to take over Israeli gaming firm Playtika was the source of trouble.\r\n\r\nEvents since then have indicated there could have been some truth to the speculation, at least when it comes to the circle of friends involved in the ill-fated acquisition.\r\n\r\nIn a stock exchange circular this month, Giant said it was abandoning a plan to purchase Playtika from a consortium called Alpha Frontier, an entity backed by a group of investors including Shi and some of his acquaintances.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nPreviously listed in New York, Giant was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Shi-Yuzhu-w.jpg","category":"M&A","page":"7"},{"id":44284,"title":"Electric car pioneers keep sight of the longer term","content":"The old joke about why the chicken crossed the road is taking on new meaning in China. Within a decade, the main obstacle to getting from one side to the other could take the form of a high-speed egg on wheels. That\u2019s according to He Xiaopeng, founder of XPENG Motors, who told the Fortune Global Tech Forum in Guangzhou last week that car design is on the cusp of radical change. He believes that vehicles will start to take on a more egg-shaped design as autonomous driving transforms the relationship between car and driver. It should also become a lot safer for people to cross the road because \u2018assisted driving\u2019 will take the lead in 50 to 90 of every 100 driving hours.\r\n\r\nXPENG\u2019s forthcoming model, the P7, will encompass Level-3 autonomous driving (automated cruise control and parking) although He acknowledged that there\u2019s some way to go before fuller automation across the sector, which needs \u201chundreds of millions of kilometres of data to make this kind of machine-learning move forwards\u201d.\r\n\r\nFreeman Shen, the founder and CEO at rival start-up WM Motor, agreed that 5G will be a game changer for the auto industry in terms of data processing. But he also told…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/He-Xiaopeng-2w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"8"},{"id":44280,"title":"Jingye swoops for struggling British steelmaker","content":"When Mao Zedong launched the Great Leap Forward in 1957, the goal was to overtake the UK in steel output within 15 years. More than 60 years later a Chinese firm says that it wants to take control of much of what is left of the British steel industry, after Jingye Steel made a \u00a350 million ($64.39 million) offer for British Steel, one of the few local survivors in the sector.\r\n\r\nIn 1957 China\u2019s steel output was just 5.35 million tonnes, compared to the UK\u2019s 22 million, and it ended up taking 20 years to pass the UK in production (23.7 million tonnes to 20.4 million in 1977).\r\n\r\nBut in fact output at British steelmakers had peaked as far back as 1970 and the numbers today make for completely different reading: last year Jingye alone made more steel (11 million tonnes) than the UK\u2019s much reduced 7 million total.\r\n\r\nReactions to Jingye\u2019s bid in Britain have been mixed. First there is sheer relief that 4,000 jobs will be saved at the main plant in Scunthorpe and as many as 20,000 more in the wider supply chain. The Grimsby Telegraph, a newspaper from a town near the plant, reported how the news was welcomed…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/British-Steel-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"9"},{"id":44286,"title":"China\u2019s A-shares have had a much better year","content":"Bulls are auspicious in the financial world. But the animal at the Shanghai stock exchange \u2013 a copper sculpture \u2013 wasn\u2019t regarded as much of an omen. The beast was dismissed for being too thin, with a lowered head that imparted a sense of listlessness, and local investors have blamed it for the long-term underperformance of their domestic market. So this month the Shanghai bourse shunted a replacement animal into place at the Shanghai International Finance Centre. Standing tall, with its chest bursting upwards and outwards, the new arrival is winning applause, with fresh hopes it will bring good luck to the market.\r\n\r\nSo perhaps it is no coincidence that Chinese shares are poised to become the world\u2019s best performing equity class this year. The CSI300 index, which tracks the largest companies traded on the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses by market value, has climbed 30% year-to-date. (Factoring in the weakness of the yuan, the country\u2019s stock benchmark has still been up 28% this year in dollar terms.)\r\n\r\nThe rise \u2013 more than double that of Britain\u2019s FTSE 100 or Japan\u2019s Nikkei 225 indices \u2013 is a sharp contrast to its dismal performance last year, when the Shanghai Composite Index shed nearly a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Stock-market-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"10"},{"id":44289,"title":"Why Didi faced a backlash from female users","content":"A survey in the China Youth Daily found that over 50% of women had experienced some kind of inappropriate touching while using buses and trains.\r\n\r\nThe problem led to experiments with women-only buses and train carriages. And last week Didi Chuxing offered its own solution for safer travel for female customers of its shared-car service Hitch. Women, it said, would simply be prevented from booking rides after 8pm.\r\n\r\nInevitably, much of the response was an angry one. \u201cWhy should women be inconvenienced as result of male abuse?\u201d one woman asked. \u201cThis is discrimination,\u201d another fumed, noting that under the revised Didi rules men were permitted to use the service till 11pm.\r\n\r\nAs readers will remember, Didi Hitch was suspended in August 2018 after two female passengers were raped and murdered within a few months of each other. The service was then relaunched in a small group of cities last week after a year of testing of safety features.\r\n\r\nWhen the two women were killed last year it emerged that many of Hitch\u2019s safety protocols didn\u2019t actually work. For instance, one of the murderers had registered as a driver with his father\u2019s driving licence, but had still managed to pass the facial recognition test. It…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Jean-Liu-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"11"},{"id":44270,"title":"Signs of strain in Shenzhen\u2019s economy, despite solid foundations","content":"\u2018Shenzhen speed\u2019 is normally a positive expression, describing how the southern Chinese city gets things done at a rapid rate (the term was coined by Deng Xiaoping, who noted \u201cwhen they build houses they can finish a whole floor in a few days\u2019 time\u201d). But the latest data on the city\u2019s economy gives the impression that a downturn has been equally accelerated, casting doubt on its reputation as a pacesetter for the nation.\r\n\r\nShenzhen\u2019s growth rate in the first three quarters of 6.6% was substantially down on the same period last year, and a lot slower than the first six months of this year, implying that the economy barely grew at all between July and September.\r\n\r\n\u201cStrangely, there was no figure for the third quarter alone,\u201d the Hong Kong Economic Journal also noted.\r\n\r\nShenzhen is never going to grow at the same pace as before because its economy is already so huge (it overtook Hong Kong\u2019s last year, see WiC443). But any news that it has lost steam still seems ominous because it is home to some of the country\u2019s most dynamic companies and newest industries.\r\n\r\nHowever, the consensus in the local media is that the city is primarily a victim of external events.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Shenzhen-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"12"},{"id":44292,"title":"Why a ban on online sales of e-cigarettes is only partly health-related","content":"More than two months ago Donald Trump promised a crackdown on vaping. He said that e-cigarettes that weren\u2019t formulated to taste like tobacco were set to be taken off the market and that the minimum age for purchasing e-cigarettes could be raised from 18 to 21.\r\n\r\nTobacco firms are waiting for a final decision from the Trump administration amid intense lobbying from vaping firms and health groups alike.\r\n\r\nOver in China and regulators have been stepping up sales restrictions on e-cigarettes as well. One of the talking points, however, is the fact that the state-owned tobacco monopoly has a major say in making the changes.\r\n\r\nEarlier this month the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA), the tobacco regulator, and the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) jointly announced a directive aimed at banning the sales of e-cigarettes on internet platforms.\r\n\r\nIn order to protect adolescents from vaping, regulators said all websites and apps selling e-cigarettes would be shut down. Online marketing campaigns would also be banned.\r\n\r\nAbout 10 million Chinese are now using electronic cigarettes, Xinhua reported last week, and the vaping rate among people aged between 15 to 24 is the highest.\r\n\r\nThe two government agencies introduced a ban on selling vaping products to people under…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/eCigarettes-w.jpg","category":"Tobacco","page":"13"},{"id":44296,"title":"Shanghai drugs firm claims a breakthrough in Alzheimer\u2019s treatment","content":"Seaweed has been a long-term favourite as an ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The marine algae is trusted to treat skin disorders, reduce swelling, provide relief from bronchitis and inhibit the growth of some types of cancerous tumours. What\u2019s more it might even arrest the pace of degeneration from Alzheimer\u2019s disease, according to Shanghai-based Green Valley Pharmaceutical.\r\n\r\nIts newest drug, which harnesses seaweed, has just been approved to go on sale on December 29. Known as GV-971, it doesn\u2019t claim to work like its predecessors, which target beta amyloid, a protein that creates clumps of plaque blamed for interfering with neural signalling in the brains of Alzheimer\u2019s sufferers. Rather, its beneficial effects come from regulating microbes in a patient\u2019s guts.\r\n\r\nThe theory is that an imbalance in intestinal microbiota produces immune cells that infiltrate the brain and aggravate the neuroinflammation associated with Alzheimer\u2019s. Sodium oligomannate, a sugar derived from seaweed\u2019s brown algae, then remodels the gut\u2019s microbiology and reduces the accumulation of neuroinflammatory cells, according to a study published in September by Geng Meiyu, the chief inventor of the drug.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cTrial results demonstrated that oligomannate statistically improved cognitive function in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer\u2019s patients as early as week four and the benefit was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Seaweed-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"14"},{"id":44273,"title":"Angelababy lambasted by netizens over her latest reality TV outing","content":"Back in 2015, Angelababy, one of China\u2019s most prominent actresses and showbiz celebrities, sued a hospital in Beijing for defamation after it claimed that she had undergone plastic surgery there. To prove it, she went to another hospital for a facial examination to prove that she hadn\u2019t had cosmetic treatment. Nevertheless, over the years, debate about the star, whose real name is Yang Ying, never seems to stray too far from her looks. Wanting to prove that she has more depth than the press has given her credit for, she signed on for the reality TV series Adventure Life.\r\n\r\nThe documentary-travel show, which is exclusive to Tencent Video, talks about revealing the true personality of celebrities as they jet to remote parts of the world. In one episode, model Liu Wen travels to the Arctic Circle by boat. And in Angelababy\u2019s case, she spends six days cycling in Canada with the goal of reaching Vancouver in British Columbia from the city of Kamloops (a journey of roughly 420 kilometres). Travelling with her is a 72 year-old male cyclist, who acts as the guide, and the show\u2019s host Aya Liu.\r\n\r\nBut instead of winning admiration for the ride, what most viewers saw was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Angelababy-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"15"},{"id":44277,"title":"Month one: my Chinese cohort","content":"I\u2019m hunched over my laptop punching in the key words and concepts that my professor is spewing at an unholy speed. Then he leaps up mid-sentence to announce we\u2019re going to play a game. I glance at my neighbour who is equally startled, presuming this to be one of the many eccentric norms among Cambridge University professors.\r\n\r\nSince starting my Education Masters in Second Language Research a month ago, we\u2019ve blitzed through various topics. Today\u2019s discussion on \u201cinteractionist perspectives of second language acquisition: input, interaction and output hypothesis\u201d clearly hasn\u2019t been stimulating enough, hence the need for a game to be played.\r\n\r\nMy professor announces: \u201cAs the overwhelming majority in this class are Chinese (or indeed Chinese speakers), I want you to get into \u2018family groups\u2019. We will have Chinese parents (natives), Chinese siblings (those with some Chinese language skills) and babies (those with zero Chinese). Afterwards you will share your observations and reflections of \u2018baby talk\u2019 with your colleagues.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLuckily, I\u2019m designated as a sibling, yet immediately find myself upgraded to translator as my Chinese classmates try to teach an American friend nearby about objects such as \u201cApple laptop\u201d, \u201ctable\u201d and \u201cpen\u201d.\r\n\r\nThey giggle as she contorts the words through her nose in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/King\u2019s-College-chapel-w.jpg","category":"Education","page":"16"},{"id":44299,"title":"A school in Zhejiang tests \u2018brainwave\u2019 monitors","content":"Focus 1 is a wireless headband that claims to offer \u201creal-time brain wave visualisation\u201d.\r\n\r\nAccording to its website, the brand employs an \u201coptimised, NASA-inspired\u201d algorithm.\r\n\r\nWhether it is actually capable of monitoring concentration is one question. Whether it should be used in school classrooms is another.\r\n\r\nFocus 1 made headlines last month when the Wall Street Journal reported that the headband was being worn at a primary school in Zhejiang province to spot kids who weren\u2019t focusing on their studies.\r\n\r\nThe makers of the headband \u2013 BrainCO \u2013 say that the device analyses brain waves and notifies teachers if a child is tuning out. That allows the educator to step in and make sure the child has understood what is being taught.\r\n\r\nSome parents at the primary school seemed to think the headbands were a good idea. They even got a daily readout on their child\u2019s concentration span, delivered by WeChat. But others had serious reservations, as have parents at other schools that have experimented with artificial intelligence-based monitoring systems.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cWhen technology labels a lively child as \u2018distracted\u2019, can he claim otherwise? Rather than using technology to restrict kids, why not make the classes more interesting so they are more likely to hold a child\u2019s attention,\u201d…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Classroom-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]},{"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":1623,"name":"Issue 473","date":"Nov 8, 2019","title":"It\u2019s a 5G world","tagline":"How did local consumers react when mobile operators launched their 5G services exactly a week ago?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/473.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/473-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":44204,"title":"Huawei the big winner as China celebrates its commercial launch of 5G","content":"Almost 20 years ago, when European governments were selling 3G licences for tens of billions of dollars, China was just beginning to make its way in 2G telecommunications. Its government only gave out a trio of 3G licences a decade later, after regrouping its telecoms sector into three state-owned giants \u2013 China Unicom and China Telecom, alongside the dominant cellular player China Mobile.\r\n\r\nThe long delay was partly due to Beijing\u2019s insistence on developing a homegrown standard for 3G known as TD-SCDMA. China Mobile was tasked with achieving this national mission but as a latecomer to the 3G stage, Chinese firms ended up having to pay punchy royalties to patent holders abroad.\r\n\r\nMost of the industry standards had already been set by foreign firms: American chipmaker Qualcomm, for one, recouped a percentage of the price paid for each phone that used its CDMA patents (including TD-SCDMA). This so-called \u2018Qualcomm tax\u2019, industry analysts say, became an even costlier burden as China grew into the world\u2019s biggest telecom market. Today, Beijing doesn\u2019t want its telecoms firms to pay any more of these \u2018tuition fees\u2019. As the country enters the 5G era, domestic firms such as Huawei have been pushed to set industry standards of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/5G-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":44212,"title":"HSBC\u2019s latest trade survey showcases the rise of China\u2019s consumers","content":"Xi Jinping was back in Shanghai on Tuesday to open the second China International Import Expo, a major trade convention that promotes the country as a buyer of the world\u2019s goods.\r\n\r\nThe Chinese media championed the gathering, predicting more than 500,000 visitors over its six days, or more than twice as many as last year\u2019s inaugural session. However, the expo comes at a time when China\u2019s economy is growing at a slower rate and imports are dropping, worsened by a long-running trade row with Washington.\r\n\r\nXi addressed these tensions creatively in his opening remarks, describing them as the inevitable outcome of a more integrated world. \u201cDistances between countries are getting shorter, and interactions among countries are growing, hence the possibility of differences and frictions,\u201d he explained.\r\n\r\nTrade negotiators are said to be trying to finalise a \u2018phase one\u2019 agreement for Xi to sign with US President Donald Trump later this month, pressing pause on a tariff dispute that has dampened sentiment across the global economy.\r\n\r\nBut what about the wider mood on doing business with China? Also launched this week was the latest of the HSBC Navigator report, an annual survey of commercial sentiment across thousands of the bank\u2019s clients.\r\n\r\nWiC talked to Stuart Tait,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Stuart-Tait-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"7"},{"id":44216,"title":"AliExpress targets overseas sales, with big advances into Eastern Europe","content":"This Saturday marks the 30th anniversary since the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. That night, thousands of jubilant East Germans poured into West Berlin in search of the consumer freedoms they had only seen on their TVs. The influx was a very visible symbol of how communism was crumbling across Eastern Europe. The Cold War was almost over and the West thought it had won. As the French philosopher, Regis Debray, put it: \u201cThere was more power in blue jeans and rock-n-roll than the entire Red Army.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn the three decades since then there has been plenty of debate about the impact of the end of the Cold War era and whether the West has enjoyed much of a dividend. One aspect is that the former Soviet bloc countries have become wealthier, yet a cursory glance at the sales statistics shows that it is an e-commerce platform from a nominally communist country, China, that is benefiting most.\r\n\r\nThat entity is AliExpress, the global offshoot of Alibaba\u2019s all-conquering B2C platform.\r\n\r\nA recent Kantar survey showed that, across Europe as a whole, AliExpress stood second behind Amazon with 14% of cross-border online shoppers in 2018, compared to the American giant\u2019s 25%…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Cainiao-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"9"},{"id":44222,"title":"More arrests in fresh setback for Kingnet","content":"The online game developer Kingnet has always been a bit creative. For example, in 2015 when there was a freeze on new IPOs, it started trading on the Shenzhen stock exchange by exchanging shares with a shoe company already listed on the bourse \u2013 a move known as a \u201cbackdoor listing\u201d.\r\n\r\nSince then the firm has got more unorthodox, it seems; although not in the area of game development, according to unimpressed players.\r\n\r\nLast month a fifth executive at the company was arrested on what appear to be charges of insider trading. Jin Feng, 31, was elected chairman of Kingnet in March this year when its previous chair and founder Wang Yue was detained on similar charges.\r\n\r\nAt the heart of the case is an unusual share purchase in 2017: Kingnet bought 51% of Jin\u2019s company St Hero Network for Rmb1.6 billion ($229.4 million). But then it obliged St Hero to buy Rmb750 million in Kingnet shares, pushing up its stock price.\r\n\r\n\u201cIn essence this is a listed company using its own money to buy its own shares,\u201d a finance expert from Shanghai Jiaotong University told CCTV.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nKingnet was founded in 2008 and specialises in server-based games, which don\u2019t require software to be downloaded. Its…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Wang-Yue-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"11"},{"id":44224,"title":"SOHO China puts trophy assets up for auction","content":"Pan Shiyi, chairman of SOHO China, made a recent appearance in the TV series Back to the Field, a show that puts a group of celebrities on a farm. In the episode he impressed viewers with his carpentry skills, knocking together a coop for the farm\u2019s ducklings, as well as a table tennis bat for another of the guests.\r\n\r\nBack in his real job, Pan is selling assets. Last week news surfaced that SOHO is looking to offload another eight office towers in Beijing and Shanghai, worth about Rmb60 billion ($8.56 billion). Sovereign wealth funds and private equity groups are among those said to have expressed an interest.\r\n\r\nThe latest round of asset disposals started in June, when SOHO announced plans to sell individual floors in properties it holds for a combined Rmb7.8 billion. More recently it sold parking spaces under nine of its buildings for Rmb761 million and last month it was said to have sold a portfolio of 11 of its co-working centres to Shenzhen-based shared workspace provider Dream Star for an undisclosed amount too.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhat has caught the industry by surprise is the scope of the proposed sale of the office towers in Beijing and Shanghai. Back in 2017, Pan…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Pan-Shiyi-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"12"},{"id":44227,"title":"Despite threat from the Senate, Chinese companies still seek American IPOs","content":"The history of Chinese companies going public in the United States began in October 1992, when Brilliance China Automotive became the first of its kind to debut on the New York Stock Exchange.\r\n\r\nJiang Zemin, China\u2019s leader at the time, is said to have compared the feat to \u201ca pipeline connecting China with the financial world\u201d. Eventually the pipeline fractured: the minivan manufacturer from Shenyang delisted 15 years later, blaming declines in trading volume and a rise in administrative costs.\r\n\r\nBrilliance China\u2019s dalliance with the US market foreshadowed what many of its successors would later experience. And yet Chinese firms of all sorts still flock to the Big Apple\u2019s bourses. According to Dealogic, 18 Chinese companies have floated there this year ( of November 4), tapping a total of $2.8 billion in capital. Additionally, over a dozen companies are in the pipeline to make market debuts of their own, hoping to close their transactions this year, including passenger drone maker EHang (see WiC377), media-cum-co-working-space provider 36Kr, robotics company CloudMinds and even debt collector YX Asset Recovery.\r\n\r\nThe brisk activity in New York \u2013 which follows 36 IPOs last year raising $9.2 billion \u00ad\u2013 has struck some as counter-intuitive, especially after a bipartisan group…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/eHang-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"13"},{"id":44229,"title":"Why the management shakeup at Bitmain?","content":"Two years ago when Travis Kalanick was forced to step down as boss at Uber, he told people that he was simply \u201cSteve Jobs-ing,\u201d dropping a not-so-subtle hint that he would mount a triumphant return to the ride-hailing giant he founded. If he is to mirror Jobs, it could take him 12 years to start his second act at Uber.\r\n\r\nOver in China, Wu Jihan, who co-founded the world\u2019s largest integrated circuit designer for cryptomining alongside Zhan Ketuan (also known as Micree Zhan) , has been in firing mode too.\r\n\r\nIn an internal memo dated October 29, Wu announced that Zhan, his partner of six years, had been dismissed from Bitmain Technologies and that staff should ignore his commands and avoid any meetings he convened.\r\n\r\nWu also took over as the company\u2019s board chairman and executive director, replacing Zhan as the Beijing-based company\u2019s legal representative as well.\r\n\r\nThe news was a shock because two days prior to the memo\u2019s release Zhan had hosted the Bitmain launch of the SA5 server (equipped with the latest iteration of its artificial intelligence chip BM1684).\r\n\r\nAlthough both Zhan and Wu quit their positions as co-CEOs last November, Zhan had retained greater control over the company as its largest shareholder…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Bitmain-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"14"},{"id":44236,"title":"Hillhouse wins investment duel for Gree","content":"Strong leaders listen to good advice. That was what helped an illiterate peasant called Zhu Yuanzhang overthrow China\u2019s Mongol rulers and found the Ming Dynasty in 1368 from his base in Nanjing. The man who became the Hongwu Emperor took heed of a Confucian scholar called Zhu Sheng, who told him: \u201cBuild high walls, stock up on rations and don\u2019t be too quick to call yourself king\u201d.\r\n\r\nToday it\u2019s a favourite quotation of one of China\u2019s leading private equity investors: Zhang Lei, the founder of Hillhouse Capital. He says he often relays it to entrepreneurs when he invests in their firms.\r\n\r\nWiC wonders whether he\u2019s repeated it to another famous Nanjing native, Dong Mingzhu, chairwoman of Gree Electric. Dong, like the Hongwu Emperor before her, is renowned for her strong personality. Or as an editorial in Sina Finance concluded recently: \u201cIt\u2019s Dong\u2019s will that drives Gree\u2019s decisions.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nDong should be listening more to Zhang as Hillhouse has just become Gree\u2019s largest individual shareholder. This follows Zhuhai Sasac\u2019s decision to convene a beauty contest for the 15% stake it held in the air-con manufacturer, which Hillhouse won at the end of October (Sasac will retain a small percentage in Gree after the sale).\r\n\r\nHillhouse first…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Zhang-Lei-w.jpg","category":"M&A","page":"16"},{"id":44240,"title":"China\u2019s largest \u2018local\u2019 fast food chain expands","content":"The demobilisation of People\u2019s Liberation Army servicemen in the 1980s liberated a handful of major business talents. Among the military men to become business moguls: Huawei\u2019s Ren Zhengfei, Vanke\u2019s Wang Shi, Haier Group\u2019s Zhang Ruimin, Lenovo\u2019s Liu Chuanzhi and Dalian Wanda\u2019s Wang Jianlin.\r\n\r\nA less high profile member of this group is Shu Congxuan, whose Chinese-style fast food chain Laoxiangji (or Home Original Chicken) is a leader in its field. That\u2019s according to recent rankings by the trade groups the China Hospitality Association and the China Cuisine Association.\r\n\r\nThese ranked Laoxiangji fourth overall with annual sales of over Rmb3 billion ($429.42 million) across 800 stores, behind KFC, McDonald\u2019s and Burger King. But for some, its high ranking came as a surprise because the Hefei-based eatery \u2013 whose most popular dishes include steamed chicken wings with bamboo shoots \u2013 does not have much of a presence in tier-one cities. It only started operations in Shanghai this year and the majority of its restaurants are concentrated in provincial capitals closer to its home turf in Anhui province (Jiangsu\u2019s Nanjing and Hubei\u2019s Wuhan each have around 100 stores).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nA lot of diners have only become aware of the 19 year-old brand through marketing stunts, such as…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Laoxiangji-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"17"},{"id":44243,"title":"Why Chinese airlines are poaching Korean pilots","content":"When Yang Liwei became China\u2019s first astronaut in 2003 he was hailed as a national hero. But strangely he wouldn\u2019t have been allowed to operate at the time as a commercial airline pilot. At 168cm in height he wasn\u2019t tall enough for Chinese regulations, which specified a minimum of 170cm.\r\n\r\nForeign pilots contemplating careers in China have sometimes joked that the country\u2019s medical examination is more onerous than NASA\u2019s.\r\n\r\nThat said, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has made things slightly easier in recent years. Airlines are allowed to accept pilots of lesser heights (down to levels at which Yang would have qualified). Eyesight requirements have been lowered so that more people pass the entry test too. This is to combat a state of affairs that saw only 28% of applicants make the grade under the previous cockpit regimen.\r\n\r\nChina finds itself at the sharp end of a global pilot shortage, which is now so serious that the International Civil Aviation Organisation declared a state of emergency last year. As a result fast growing Chinese airlines have been willing to pay foreign pilots more to work there (the BBC reported salaries of $500,000 a year for some of the newcomers last year).…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Pilot-w.jpg","category":"Aviation","page":"18"},{"id":44247,"title":"In spite of almost no promotion a bitter drama dominates the box office","content":"Nobody likes a bully, although a film about bullying is proving pretty popular in China.\r\n\r\nThe response to Better Days, a coming-of-age-drama about violence at school, was so strong that the film has dominated the box office since the end of October, earning Rmb1.1 billion ($154 million).\r\n\r\nStarring boy band member Yi Yangqianxi, 19, and actress Zhou Dongyu, 27, the movie tells the story of high school student Chen Nian (Zhou), who witnesses a friend committing suicide after relentless harassment at school. The bullies turn their attention to Chen, but she finds protection after a chance encounter with petty criminal Xiao Bei (Yi). When her lead tormentor is found dead, the two are dragged into the ensuing murder investigation.\r\n\r\nCry Me a Sad River, released last year \u2013 an adaptation of a novel by best-selling writer Guo Jingming (see WiC471) \u2013 touched on a similar theme, concluding its run with Rmb400 million in box office takings.\r\n\r\nGiven that the producers got just three days notice from regulators that the film could be shown in its designated release slot, there was little time for marketing and promotion, an investor in Better Days admitted to WiC. As a result, it has had to rely more on…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Zhou-Donyu-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"19"},{"id":44251,"title":"Government orders safety review after building binge of glass bridges","content":"There are 2,300 of them across China: they\u2019re transparent, rather terrifying and, if the reports are to be believed, not totally safe.\r\n\r\nGlass-bottomed bridges \u2013 many of them suspended across scenic ravines \u2013 were supposed to be a terrific tourist attraction, generating income for the authorities that ran them.\r\n\r\nBut the bridge-building boom, which began about eight years ago, is now over, due to safety concerns.\r\n\r\nEarlier this year the Ministry of Tourism and Culture quietly issued a notice ordering a safety review of all glass bridges and walkways. Province by province the crossings have been closing as local governments try to work out how to evaluate their safety.\r\n\r\nPart of the problem, according to Jiemian, is that there is no national standard for the construction of these walkways.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSome are very probably dangerous; others simply have no way of proving that they are safe (short of asking the BBC to try them out; see WiC330 for the invitation that one of its correspondents received to sledgehammer a bridge\u2019s glass floor). Rather than take a risk, most have opted to shut down.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe government has asked us to rectify these structures but it hasn\u2019t provided any guidelines,\u201d confided an official in Hebei to the Beijing News.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Glass-bottom-Bridge-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"21"}]},{"id":1622,"name":"Issue 472","date":"Nov 1, 2019","title":"Ding\u2019s dramatic dinners","tagline":"Why NetEase founder\u2019s Wuzhen banquets pique netizens\u2019 interest \u2013 and what this year\u2019s meal says about conditions in the internet sector","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/472.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/472-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":44134,"title":"What an annual dinner in Wuzhen says about China\u2019s tech tycoons","content":"In China a business dinner is referred to as a fanju (\u996d\u5c40). The first character fan (\u996d) means rice and is straight forward enough. But the second, ju (\u5c40), has more complex cultural connotations.\r\n\r\nBreaking down the character logographically, you might be tempted to think that ju means \u2018putting one\u2019s foot into one\u2019s mouth\u2019 as it consists of two simpler characters with a \u2018mouth\u2019 (\u53e3) inside a \u2018foot\u2019 (\u5c3a).\r\n\r\nAlmost, but not quite. The second character doesn\u2019t stand for a body part but a unit of length. So the two pictorial components of ju really infer \u2018speaking within certain rules or limitations\u2019.\r\n\r\nTypically held in a private backroom, a fanju is seen as an important chance for businesspeople to unwind and build guanxi (relationships of trust). Business negotiations rarely take place during the meal itself but how one goes about talking during a fanju can swing the decision-making process.\r\n\r\nA good example is toasting with alcohol: intimidating for many but often a form of due diligence for business partners, who are sizing each other up through their wine glasses.\r\n\r\nIn recent years some of the most widely publicised fanju in China have taken place on the sidelines of the annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Internet-Conference-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":44144,"title":"Bytedance seeks Indian image overhaul","content":"The Chinese video sharing app TikTok has been variously accused of broadcasting pornography; spreading propaganda from the terror group ISIS; and also of stealing personal data from its users, many of whom are minors.\r\n\r\nSo it\u2019s not surprising that it is on a mission to improve its image, especially in India, its largest market outside China.\r\n\r\nIn late October TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based Bytedance, announced a new initiative called #EduTok \u2013 which will offer instruction in English, maths, science and career skills.\r\n\r\nTikTok has 120 million monthly active users in India and is massibly popular among people who don\u2019t speak English, many of whom live outside the first-tier cities. The number of customers there is second only to China, where its 500 million users know the app as Douyin. But TikTok has had a difficult year in India, with some regional governments trying to get the app banned.\r\n\r\nIn April it was temporarily removed from the Apple and Google app stores after a court in Chennai ruled that it had encouraged \u201cdegrading culture\u201d and could help \u201csexual predators\u201d to groom young victims. The app was reintroduced three weeks later when TikTok\u2019s lawyers successfully argued that the court didn\u2019t have the legal authority…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Tiktok-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"8"},{"id":44147,"title":"Xi Jinping talks up blockchain as China readies a digital currency of its own","content":"After a gap of almost a thousand years China is poised for another revolution that reshapes our understanding of what money means and, by definition, how we conduct our day-to-day lives.\r\n\r\nThe country that invented the concept of fiat money in the 11th century says it will be first to launch its digital equivalent in the 21st.\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s pacesetting role in the history of money, particularly during the Tang and Song Dynasties, is often overlooked in the West. In more recent times Europe and then the US has moulded more of the global financial system. But the Chinese government is determined to loosen the dollar\u2019s grip by leading the latest changes being driven by the digital era. The past week has been punctuated by a series of announcements and a piece of legislation that could bring that closer to reality \u2013 with China ahead of the rest of the world.\r\n\r\nAll of this was heralded by comments from President Xi Jinping last Friday that China should \u201cseize the opportunities\u201d afforded by blockchain. His pronouncement prompted a spike in internet searches as people tried to understand better what blockchain was. But it was also significant that the government was effectively endorsing a technology it…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Huang-Qifan-w.jpg","category":"Rise of the RMB","page":"9"},{"id":44154,"title":"China Literature inks deal with Disney for new online Star Wars novels","content":"One of the most popular TV series in China this summer was The King\u2019s Avatar, which was shown on the video streaming platform iQiyi. Based on an online novel of the same name \u2013 Quanzhi Gaoshou \u2013 the 40 episodes tell the story of a professional gamer (played by heartthrob Yang Yang) who gets kicked off his eSports team. In addition to the streaming success, Quanzhi Gaoshou has been adapted into a hard copy book, a comic series, an animation and a mobile game.\r\n\r\nWith that in mind, it\u2019s not hard to see why the hunt is on for the other novels to commercialise in the same way. But in the case of the country\u2019s largest online book platform \u2013 Tencent\u2019s China Literature \u2013 the strategy is to rely on an already famed sci-fi franchise to provide a surefire bestseller.\r\n\r\nLast month it announced a plan to team up with Disney to develop a new series of Chinese-language books based on the Star Wars story. In addition Disney will make 40 existing Star Wars novels available in Chinese for the first time on Tencent\u2019s digital reading platform, and at no cost for the first week.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nChina Literature says it has commissioned a science-fiction…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Star-Wars-w.jpg","category":"Section","page":"11"},{"id":44157,"title":"German eye clinic raises its China profile via IPO","content":"Jorn Jorgensen is an eye surgeon and a skilled marketeer. To celebrate the opening of his latest clinic in Beijing last month, he operated on his son Jannik, implanting ICL lenses, or what he called \u201cthe gift of visual freedom\u201d in a procedure that he also live-streamed as a means to promote his ocular services.\r\n\r\nMaking a bigger pitch for the world\u2019s largest ophthalmic market, he has also chosen to follow in the footsteps of Italian luxury fashion brand Prada and upscale French cosmetic maker L\u2019Occitane by debuting his company\u2019s shares on the Hong Kong bourse.\r\n\r\n\u201cOur future and growth will take place in China, and therefore we felt it very natural that we get listed in Hong Kong,\u201d said Jorgensen, the founder and CEO of Hamburg-based EuroEyes International.\r\n\r\nThe \u2018vision correction\u2019 provider priced its float in the middle of its indicative range, raising $75.9 million. In spite of the seemingly tepid pricing EuroEyes\u2019 stock ended up 47% on its debut trading day, defying the cautious market sentiment.\r\n\r\nIt is no secret that bad eyesight is a common scourge in China, with almost 90% of the country\u2019s 20 year-olds suffering from myopia. An intensive education system from an early age and little time for…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Eye-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance, Healthcare","page":"12"},{"id":44150,"title":"Top tycoon\u2019s son sees his fund\u2019s assets frozen by a Shanghai court","content":"Could Wang Sicong, the son of one of China\u2019s richest men, soon feature on the Supreme Court\u2019s list of bad debtors?\r\n\r\nThat was the question posed online after it emerged that a court in Shanghai had frozen the assets of Prometheus Capital \u2013 the $1 billion investment fund run by Wang.\r\n\r\nThe news followed hot on the tail of another Shanghai court ruling that froze $10 million of assets in companies belonging to Wang\u2019s Banana Culture Development Project.\r\n\r\nDetails of the court orders are scarce but the most recent one came into effect on October 15 and will last until October 14, 2022 unless it is rescinded.\r\n\r\nIt is not known if the freeze applies to the whole or part of Prometheus Capital\u2019s funds.\r\n\r\nLawyers interviewed by Chinese media said the embargo could have been ordered as a result of a financial dispute. \u201cThis probably means that Wang Sicong owes money to others who are trying to recover it and the freeze is a protective measure,\u201d advised a lawyer quoted by the financial news website Huxiu.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWang, 31, started his business career in 2009 with Rmb500 million ($70.98 million) given to him by his father, Dalian Wanda Group founder Wang Jianlin. The younger Wang was uninterested…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Wang-Sicong-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"13"},{"id":44160,"title":"Space scientist latest to face US visa problems","content":"As vice chairman of China\u2019s National Space Administration Wu Yanhua is used to technical challenges. During his time at the agency China carried out it longest manned space mission (33 days), launched its second space station and landed a probe on the dark side of the moon (see WiC436).\r\n\r\nBut that\u2019s nothing compared with the difficulties of getting a US visa, it seems.\r\n\r\nLike the heads of the world\u2019s other space agencies, Wu was meant to attend the International Astronautical Congress in Washington late last month. The annual event, organised by the International Astronautical Federation, is supposed to bring together space researchers from around the world. Yet, when sector specialists from Europe, India, Japan and Russia convened last Monday there was one noticeable absence \u2013 China.\r\n\r\nThe omission was so glaring that live polling of the audience for questions to the panel generated \u201cWhere is China?\u201d as the top result.\r\n\r\nEmbarrassingly the query was displayed on a huge screen behind the expert panel for much of its time on stage.\r\n\r\nWu eventually appeared for the final day of the conference but many delegates from Chinese space companies did not.\r\n\r\nSo what happened? Initially Wu\u2019s absence was passed off as a scheduling conflict, but it later emerged…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Wu-Yanhua-w.jpg","category":"China and the World, Space Programme","page":"14"},{"id":44167,"title":"Now a year old, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge needs more traffic","content":"Opening at about the same time as the high-speed railway line between Hong Kong and Guangzhou last October (see WiC429), the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge was long-delayed and heavily over budget. Backers of the world\u2019s longest bridge-and-tunnel crossing were still delighted by the linking up of the three jurisdictions in the Greater Bay Area: Guangdong province and the special administrative regions of Macau and Hong Kong. But just over a year later, how has the 55km crossing been faring?\r\n\r\nThe short answer is that it depends whom you ask. In the mainland Chinese press the anniversary was greeted with stories of faster travel times and newer flows of people and goods. Much of the coverage concentrated on how the bridge has been bringing neighbouring cities closer together \u2013 with traffic in the inaugural year seen as a \u2018foundation\u2019 for future success, Daily passenger flows averaged about 50,000 and spiked to double that in peak periods. Goods worth $8.4 billion had crossed the bridge as well.\r\n\r\nIn Hong Kong the feedback hasn\u2019t been quite as fulsome. Most of the newspapers have noted that the crossing is losing money, with traffic well below the original projections, even though it carried 14 million passengers. Daily flows…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Zhuhai-Bridge-w.jpg","category":"Rail & Infrastructure","page":"15"},{"id":44164,"title":"Shenzhen will build 1.7 million more homes, most of them public housing","content":"Shenzhen\u2019s past as a fishing village now seems like something from a different galaxy. But another of its titles \u2013 as China\u2019s biggest boomtown \u2013 still rings true, as does its reputation as a city of migrants. These newcomers have made it into the country\u2019s most creative hub, spawning some of China\u2019s most dynamic firms. But the question is whether Shenzhen\u2019s success is starting to make it harder for new arrivals to work there, as property prices surge to stratospheric levels.\r\n\r\nAverage home prices increased more than 10 times between 2005 and 2015, and Shenzhen was ranked as the fifth most expensive globally for property in May, according to real estate advisor CBRE, with average home prices of $726 per square foot.\r\n\r\nSecurities Daily, a local newspaper, calculated a few months later that the ratio of annual household incomes to home prices had risen to 30, meaning that an average couple has to save their combined salaries for nearly 30 years before they can afford a home of their own.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHouse price inflation has slowed a little since then with the statistics for September showing prices for new homes up 2% year-on-year, compared to more than 8% nationwide. The pace of gains was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Shenzen-Skyline-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"16"},{"id":44170,"title":"Lee Ang loses fans with film-shooting style; but Fosun is happy enough","content":"He has beaten Steven Spielberg twice as best director at the Oscars, first for the gay love story Brokeback Mountain in 2005 and then for the 2012 CGI fantasy Life of Pi. He has won two Golden Globes and two Baftas and many other prizes from film festivals around the world. Yet despite this impressive track record, Lee Ang\u2019s latest feature Gemini Man has struggled to win over audiences.\r\n\r\nMuch of the reason is the way that Lee has filmed the movie, deploying the same technique that he used in 2016\u2019s Billy Lynn\u2019s Long Halftime Walk, which was shot in a higher-frame-rate 3D format (120 frames per second, versus the customary 24).\r\n\r\nThe Taiwanese filmmaker went back to this approach in his latest offering, a frantic action thriller in which Will Smith plays an assassin hunted by his own younger clone.\r\n\r\nFilm critics weren\u2019t impressed: \u201cThe effect is like watching a Jason Bourne dinner-theatre production in the grip of a migraine. The performances feel slow and deliberate, and the hyper-clarity of the images undermines realism rather than enhancing it,\u201d AO Scott from the New York Times opined.\r\n\r\nEven in China, where Lee has garnered a large fan base \u2013 so large, in fact, that…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Ang-Lee-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"18"},{"id":44174,"title":"Arguing with his wife on the internet","content":"Back in February, Li Guoqing, the co-founder of e-commerce firm Dangdang, announced that he had resigned from the company he started with his wife Peggy Yu back in 1999. He wrote that he had given up his stake in the platform once touted as China\u2019s Amazon (see WiC87) to Yu and that he was setting up a book club instead.\r\n\r\nAll is not well between the couple, it seems. During an on-camera interview about his departure last month, Li lost his temper and hurled a glass of water at the floor. \u201cI will never forgive her just because she\u2019s my wife,\u201d he thundered, when asked about how Yu had forced him out.\r\n\r\nThe outburst was part of an exhausting divorce drama that has unfolded online. Last week Yu left a lengthy comment on Li\u2019s WeChat account in which she listed a series of allegations against her 55 year-old husband (the two have been married for 23 years). For instance, she claimed that he stole Rmb130 million ($18 million) from their joint bank account, which included some of her parents\u2019 savings. She also said she had endured years of domestic violence. \u201cHow many pots and pans have been smashed in our house? After…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Li-Guoqing-w.jpg","category":"World of Weibo","page":"19"},{"id":44179,"title":"Five hitmen sent to jail, following outsourcing farce","content":"Shrewd but ruthless, the hitman is typically an anti-hero in the cinematic world, spawning movies such as 1994\u2019s L\u00e9on: The Professional and 2007\u2019s No Country for Old Men.\r\n\r\nBut hired killers in the real world don\u2019t always conform to Hollywood stereotypes \u2013 and certainly not in Guangxi, where a stranger-than-fiction tale has come to light.\r\n\r\nIn 2013, a businessman surnamed Wei sued his partner Tan over a commercial dispute. Tan was afraid that the lawsuit would damage his investments and so he hired an assassin called Xi to kill Wei for Rmb2 million ($280,000).\r\n\r\nBut Xi did not want to do the job himself and he outsourced the role to another killer called Mok for Rmb1 million.\r\n\r\nSimilar to his predecessor, Mok tapped another assassin called Yang for Rmb270,000 and promised to pay an extra Rmb500,000 after the \u2018hit\u2019 was done.\r\n\r\nIt turned out that Yang didn\u2019t fancy doing the job himself either and he sub-contracted the kill out yet again, this time to Yang no.2 for Rmb200,000, with a promise of another Rmb500,000 once it was done.\r\n\r\nThen Yang no.2 shifted the contract killing onto someone else called Ling, pledging Rmb100,000.\r\n\r\nThis lowly rate proved unattractive to Ling, however, who came up with an alternate scheme.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Hitman-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1621,"name":"Issue 471","date":"Oct 25, 2019","title":"Shopping around","tagline":"Zhang Wenzhong has revived his retailing business since his release from jail \u2013 last week the tycoon inked a major M&A deal with Germany\u2019s Metro","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/471.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/471-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":44052,"title":"A supermarket deal sees an ex-con boss reinvent himself in \u2018new retail\u2019 era","content":"China enacted its Property Law in 2007 to give individuals the same legal protections over their property as the state. The decision was seen as a victory for economic reforms and the rule of law. Yet in a country ruled by a political party whose name in Chinese (gongchandang) translates literally as \u201cthe public property party\u201d, there is still scope for confusion about the boundaries between public and private ownership.\r\n\r\nThe People\u2019s Supreme Court dished out various interpretations of the Property Law in 2016 and a year later, in another effort to improve the public\u2019s \u201csense of wealth security\u201d and increase the \u201cimpetus for entrepreneurship\u201d, it ordered the review of two controversial cases involving prominent businessmen.\r\n\r\nBack then we reported that the two cases were seen as a signal of a fightback by private sector firms against the expansion of state capitalism (see WiC393). In fact, the convictions of both the jailed tycoons were subsequently overturned. However, the duo\u2019s comebacks were reported to be on very different paths this month.\r\n\r\nGu Chujun was one of China\u2019s richest men in the early 2000s \u2013 when his firms Kelon and Greencool were key players in the white goods sector \u2013 but his career prospects changed…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Zhang-Wenzhong-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":44064,"title":"Another drop in GDP growth rate to 6%","content":"The last time that China\u2019s GDP was growing at 6% was the third quarter of 1992. Because growth in the third quarter of this year was the same, journalists were soon reporting the story under headlines about the worst results for nearly 30 years.\r\n\r\nOf course, that overlooks the point that when the economy grew 6% in 1992 it produced $101.6 billion of GDP (at current exchange rates). In the most recent quarter the figure was $3.48 trillion (meaning the economy is roughly 35 times larger than back then). But with that caveat, it is certainly true that the \u2018rate\u2019 of GDP growth has been trending downwards. The third quarter\u2019s was a drop from 6.4% in the first quarter and 6.2% in the second, plus a fraction below consensus, despite expectations that the trade war with the United States was going to weigh on factory activity, exports and domestic demand.\r\n\r\nThere were, however, a few signs in the monthly data that the situation was stabilising in key areas. Industrial production picked up a little and the retail sales figures strengthened slightly, helped by a slower contraction in car purchases.\r\n\r\nProperty construction was another brighter spot, looking a lot more robust than other sectors.\r\n\r\nInvestment…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Construction-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"7"},{"id":44061,"title":"Germany says no to 5G ban on Huawei","content":"History students in Germany make a mandatory stop at the Stasi Museum. Here they learn how neighbours in the former East Germany spied on one another \u2013 even using hidden cameras in fake watering cans. The museum stands as a reminder of the eery surveillance state that operated for decades in East Germany (brilliantly depicted too in the Oscar-winning film The Lives of Others).\r\n\r\nTechnologically things have moved on since the Cold War. But fears about snooping persist and Germany now faces one of the most difficult choices of any European nation on the rollout of its 5G network.\r\n\r\nOn the one hand Angela Merkel\u2019s government is under intense pressure from the Americans to deny contracts to China\u2019s Huawei. The Trump administration is threatening to reduce cooperation in areas like intelligence-sharing if Germany ignores its advice.\r\n\r\nHowever, Germany\u2019s huge bilateral relationship with the Chinese makes it more vulnerable to retribution if it blocks deals with Huawei. It is one of few Western countries to run a trade surplus with China and car manufacturers like Volkswagen and BMW represent arguably the most successful Western industrial groupings there. As a result, German newspapers reported that Merkel intervened personally to remove a clause that would have…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Merkel-w.jpg","category":"Telecoms","page":"8"},{"id":44084,"title":"KOL incubator Ruhnn hit by American lawsuit over its Nasdaq IPO","content":"With 3.8 million people following her on weibo, Zhang Yuhan promised a sprinkling of sales magic for potential sponsors. So a Shenzhen-based entrepreneur paid Zhang and her agency, Hive Media, Rmb47,500 ($6,723) for a promotional vlog on his wearables brand Erbit.\r\n\r\nZhang\u2019s mojo seemed to work. Her endorsement garnered over 3.5 million views and a thousand comments. But all of this activity did not translate into a single sale. Erbit fumed that Zhang\u2019s popularity wasn\u2019t real and her audience numbers had to be fraudulent. Sina Weibo stepped in and suspended her account but the story took another turn when netizens discovered that the patent Erbit claimed for its products \u2013 a device said to provide relief from menstrual cramps \u2013 didn\u2019t actually exist. Netizens scoffed at both parties, framing the case as one of \u201cswindler versus swindler\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe rise of influencers or so-called key opinion leaders (KOLs) in China has its roots in widespread distrust in the quality of products sold via the country\u2019s e-commerce platforms. The KOLs have stepped into the breach by trialling the products on their streaming channels and endorsing them. The best of the promoters have tens of millions of followers who tune in to their infomercial-style broadcasts.\r\n\r\nIronically,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Zhang-Dayi-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"9"},{"id":44086,"title":"Moji app\u2019s IPO plans thwarted","content":"When information technology giant IBM announced that it was buying the digital assets of The Weather Company in 2015, some onlookers wondered why. What they didn\u2019t realise was that the deal, valued at around $2 billion, would help Big Blue tap into a range of industries that depend on accurate information on the weather to maximise their profits. Think insurance, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and public utilities, for instance. And by supplying some of the most searched-for items of weather data, the service also harvests information on its customers\u2019 locations through its mobile app, enabling sales to advertisers (this particular practice has now become a subject of a lawsuit by the Los Angeles city government).\r\n\r\nThe Weather Company\u2019s biggest counterpart in China is Moji. However, the crowd-sourced real-time information provider has hit a hurdle in its own financial transformation, failing to get approval for its Rmb339 million ($56 million) initial public offering on the A-share market, despite three years of preparation.\r\n\r\nAccording to Securities Times, regulators rejected the Beijing-based company\u2019s case on a number of grounds. Topping the list was its undiversified business model, which relies on advertising for a whopping 99% of its income. Additionally many of its main clients are affiliated to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/weather.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"10"},{"id":44092,"title":"Why young male celebrities are so sought after by cosmetics giants","content":"Back in 1996, Japanese beauty giant Kanebo broke with tradition by choosing Kimura Takuya, a pop singer, to appear in a lipstick campaign. In the TV commercial, the long-haired singer was shown applying the lipstick himself. His fans went crazy about the campaign, even stealing the advertising posters from subway stations. Thanks to Kimura, more than 3 million of the lipsticks were sold over two months, a record for the firm.\r\n\r\nThere\u2019s been a similar feel to another campaign in China this year where two of the stars from the TV series The Untamed have been tapped to endorse beauty brands in deals that would have usually gone to female celebrities.\r\n\r\nXiao Zhan, 28, who was already representing Olay, is now employed as the brand ambassador of Estee Lauder.\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, Wang Yibo, 22, already a global brand ambassador for Shu Uemura, added skincare brand Origins to his list of endorsement deals.\r\n\r\nAnother pop idol Li Xian, 28 \u2013 a hot commodity after appearing in the TV series Go Go Squid! \u2013 recently became a spokesperson for Estee Lauder\u2019s cosmetics and skincare business. Singer-model Kris Wu, too, was named the first Asia-wide brand ambassador for Lanc\u00f4me, joining the ranks of international stars Lily Collins, Zendaya…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Xiao-Zhan-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"11"},{"id":44094,"title":"Li Ning\u2019s turnaround story wins over fund managers","content":"In the world of fashion \u201cone day you are in, and the next day you are out,\u201d to quote Heidi Klum\u2019s catchphrase on the reality series Project Runway.\r\n\r\nBut as China\u2019s sportswear label Li Ning has demonstrated, what was once out can come back into fashion again.\r\n\r\nThe eponymous brand \u2013 founded by Olympic gymnast Li Ning \u2013 started losing ground after it expanded too rapidly and saw its inventories swell. It failed to convince younger consumers that a homegrown label could rival Western brands like Nike and Adidas. But its efforts at trendier designs also alienated many of its older customers, who accounted for over half of its customer base, noted Zhitong Caijing, a finance portal.\r\n\r\nThe company\u2019s shares, which are listed in Hong Kong, nosedived from HK$28.27 in 2010 to just HK$5 by 2016. But proving its long-time slogan \u201cAnything is Possible\u201d rings true, Li Ning is back to better days again, even being considered as something of a hipster brand.\r\n\r\nAfter enlisting the services of former Adidas executive Liad Krispin and Uniqlo\u2019s Kosaka Takeshi, the sportswear label hit Rmb10 billion ($1.5 billion) in sales last year. It maintained the momentum into the first half of this year, which saw sales up…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Zhang-Xinyu-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"12"},{"id":44067,"title":"Finnish tycoon turns to China for undersea link","content":"For decades those Estonians who make the weekly commute across the Gulf of Finland from Tallinn to Helsinki have dreamed of a faster option than the sea crossing (which can take two-and-a-half hours in bad weather). Their prayers seemed to have been answered when Finnish entrepreneur Peter Vesterbacka started to pitch a 100km tunnel that would cut travel times to just 20 minutes.\r\n\r\nAt nearly twice the length of the Channel Tunnel, the new rail link was always going to be a costly affair so Vesterbacka shopped around for options on constructing and financing his ambitious scheme.\r\n\r\nHis preference was help from China: a country that specialises in mega infrastructure projects and which Vesterbacka has been cultivating for many years.\r\n\r\nBack in 2017 social media giant Tencent was a rumoured bidder for Rovio, the company whose mobile gaming brand, Angry Birds, Vesterbacka had helped to turn into a global sensation. He subsequently told Forbes that creating mobile games and building tunnels isn\u2019t that different: \u201cThe key is to get things happening and bring the right people together.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn this case, the \u2018people\u2019 were Touchstone Capital, the London-based private equity group that co-sponsors Belt and Road projects with Chinese firms \u2013 including two giant state-owned…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Peter-Vesterbacka-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"13"},{"id":44071,"title":"New Tencent acting contest proves the latest reality TV hit with viewers","content":"In 2017 Zhejiang Satellite TV debuted the reality series The Birth Of An Actor, which pitted actors against one another in re-enacting scenes from famous films and TV series. Three coaches \u2013 including actress Zhang Ziyi and actor Liu Ye \u2013 gave their feedback. It was a big hit at the time, although often because of the bickering between the coaches.\r\n\r\nThe concept became so popular that the network was able to sell the format to Is Or Isn\u2019t Entertainment, a US entertainment firm founded by Lisa Kudrow (of Friends fame).\r\n\r\nEarly this month Tencent released a similar show called Be Ready. It pits 50 professional actors \u2013 such as Sung Yun-hua from Taiwan and mainlander E Jingwen \u2013 against each other but this time round there are four famous directors sitting in judgement. These include Chen Kaige \u2013 who hails from the arthouse end of the sector \u2013 the director (and actress) Zhao Wei, and the writer-filmmaker Guo Jingming.\r\n\r\nSince its release in early October, the series has become one of the most talked about topics on social media. Guo, who is now 36, has been generating most of the buzz. Although he has a reputation for making shallow, materialistic films like…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Sung-Yun-hua-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"14"},{"id":44081,"title":"The next Chinese writer who could possibly become a Nobel laureate","content":"Can Xue missed out on the Nobel Prize for Literature earlier this month (despite the award going to two winners this year) but local interest in her work has increased after speculation that she was in the running.\r\n\r\nWho is Can Xue?\r\n\r\nCan Xue \u2013 the author\u2019s pen name \u2013 has two meanings, the South China Morning Post reports: \u201csnow on top of high mountains\u201d and \u201cdirty snow that has been trampled on\u201d. Elliptically, the Hunan-born writer says she hopes her work can combine the two meanings.\r\n\r\nThe author, whose real name is Deng Xiaohua, did not receive much of a formal education, leaving school after primary level and subsequently working as a factory worker, tailor and barefoot doctor.\r\n\r\nShe says her style is \u201cexperimental literature\u201d. Totalling 7 million characters to date (an equivalent of about 17.5 million words), her extensive body of work has been translated into multiple languages. Its abstract style is sometimes considered difficult to read, although Goran Malmqvist, a Swedish sinologist (and until his recent death one of the Nobel judges), once praised her as \u201ca very special writer\u201d and the \u201cKafka of China \u201d.\r\n\r\nAmazon\u2019s Kindle store carries six English translations of her work, including Five Spice Street, Frontier and…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Can-Xue-w.jpg","category":"Red Star","page":"15"},{"id":44073,"title":"Henan school case puts spotlight on bullying teachers","content":"The Chinese media has a bleak expression to describe the methods employed by some of the country\u2019s 17 million teachers. Dama Jiaoyu literally means \u2018teaching by cursing and beating\u2019 \u2013 and reports of this pedagogical brutality appear all too frequently in the press.\r\n\r\nThe most recent example comes from a boarding school in the city of Zhoukou in central Henan province. In this case at least four boys were hospitalised after being ordered to eat rubbish as punishment for failing to empty their dormitory bin properly.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe waste included paper, plastic packaging, fruit peel and other things from the floor,\u201d a spokesperson for the local education department revealed.\r\n\r\nThe news quickly went viral on social media because safety at schools is a theme that taps a deep well of parental concern. Is my child being treated properly by teachers? Is the food they are being fed safe? Is my child being bullied? Is the school running track made of toxic material? Are the pupils protected from knife attacks? The list is a long one but the fear is based on a collective experience that makes educating kids one of the most stressful things that Chinese families have to deal with.\r\n\r\nAbuse from teachers is…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Teacher-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"16"},{"id":44101,"title":"French fashion house the latest to apologise for a faux pas in China","content":"In 1947 French fashion designer Christian Dior unveiled his first collection. It was noticeably different to the boxy, functional outfits worn by women at the time. The aesthetic was dubbed the \u2018new look\u2019 and such was its popularity that the label soon gained an unofficial catchphrase: \u201cJ\u2019adore Dior\u201d.\r\n\r\nFast forward 70 or so years to modern China, and Dior is facing a situation where it risks being abhorred rather than adored.\r\n\r\nOn October 17 the brand was forced to issue an apology after company representatives at a university recruitment event showed a map of China without the island of Taiwan (according to Beijing\u2019s One-China policy the island is a renegade province).\r\n\r\nStudents highlighted the gaffe on social media and LVMH, the company that owns the brand, was quick to make a fulsome apology. \u201cDior always respects and maintains the principle of one China; strictly maintains China's sovereignty and territorial integrity; and cherishes the feelings of the Chinese people,\u201d it said through its official Sina Weibo account.\r\n\r\nThe fashion house promised that it would \u201cprevent similar mistakes happening again in the future\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAs readers of Week in China will know, Dior joins a long line of international brands that have felt the need to apologise for…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Angelababy-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"17"}]},{"id":1620,"name":"Issue 470","date":"Oct 18, 2019","title":"Basket case","tagline":"What lessons to draw from the NBA\u2019s China debacle \u2013 and how does it relate to the trade war and the blacklisting of Chinese tech firms in the US?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/470.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/470-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":43749,"title":"The NBA\u2019s fallout with China comes at a time of trade and tech tensions","content":"Sport often plays a role whenever there\u2019s a rejigging in Sino-US relations. For instance, in August 1979 the Washington Bullets were the first NBA team to play in China \u2013 the same year that Beijing resumed official ties with Washington. When the Bullet\u2019s head coach held a teaching clinic during the trip, nearly 20,000 Chinese basketball coaches showed up. Hundreds of millions more watched on TV as the NBA champions beat a team from the People\u2019s Liberation Army in Beijing and another from Shanghai on their home courts. Playing in the second game was Yao Zhiyuan, the father of Yao Ming.\r\n\r\nHowever, the seminal moment for the NBA came 10 years after the Bullets first arrived. In 1989, according to a report by ESPN last month, the organisation\u2019s then commissioner David Stern waited almost an hour in the lobby of state broadcaster CCTV before clinching a deal to show NBA highlights on Chinese TV.\r\n\r\n\u201cI could say I was in the cold shivering, but it was summertime... But it was too good of a market to give up on,\" he recalled, explaining that he effectively gave the rights away for free in exchange for the exposure to the vast Chinese audience.\r\n\r\nThe NBA\u2019s…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/NBA-China-w.jpg","category":"China and the World, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":43758,"title":"Tanker rates soar as Cosco hit by US sanctions","content":"\u201cMy formula for success? Rise early, work late, strike oil,\u201d explained Jean Paul Getty, one of the wealthiest Americans who ever lived.\r\n\r\nBut the money being made in the oil industry this month is going to the people that carry the crude rather than the ones who find it, after the US Treasury Department sanctioned Chinese shipping giant Cosco for carrying Iranian oil and gas.\r\n\r\nTwo Dalian-based units of the state-controlled group were cited in the move at the end of September, alongside another four tanker operators from China.\r\n\r\nThe wider impact has been a boom in charter rates, especially for the largest oil tankers, which have skyrocketed in price from about $25,000 a day at the beginning of September to more than $300,000 as of the start of this week.\r\n\r\nThere are other factors driving up prices, including a blacklisting of vessels that have called at Venezuelan ports, as well as the loss of about 60 supertankers that are having their engines fitted with scrubbers in advance of the introduction of sulphur emissions rules at the end of December. However, it was news of the ban on the Cosco subsidiaries that supercharged the spikes, in part because brokers steered clear of Cosco contracts…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/VLCC-w.jpg","category":"Shipping","page":"7"},{"id":43760,"title":"Xi and Modi sidestep tensions in informal talks","content":"China and India both boast civilisations that can trace their origins back thousands of years. Yet even in that context, a century seems like rather a long time to sort out strained relations between the two nations.\r\n\r\nThat was the timeframe President Xi Jinping appeared to suggest for improving ties, during his informal summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi late last week.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe must hold the rudder and choose the course of China-India relations, map out a hundred-year plan for relations from a strategic and long-term perspective and work together to realise the great rejuvenation of our two great civilisations,\u201d he told his counterpart at the close of the meeting near the southern Indian city of Chennai on October 11.\r\n\r\nOf course, Xi\u2019s 100-year comment was intended as a declaration of sincerity and as a nod to the long histories of both nations \u2013 something both sides have cited as a shared feature and basis for better ties.\r\n\r\nOn the other hand, the grandiose line fell flat with plenty of people in Delhi, who were already annoyed that Beijing had only confirmed Xi\u2019s visit two days before he arrived.\r\n\r\n\u201cA 100-year plan? More like a 48-hour plan!\u201d remarked one veteran journalist.\r\n\r\nXi\u2019s foreign trips are…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Xi-and-Modi-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"8"},{"id":43764,"title":"China\u2019s electric vehicle brands in a battle to survive subsidy squeeze","content":"He was too emotionally invested to not fight for the project until the last,\u201d wrote Wired magazine of Sir James Dyson\u2019s \u00a32.5 billion ($3.15 billion) ambition to take on the likes of Tesla in the electric car industry.\r\n\r\nThe dream \u2013 supposedly seeded by the rejection of his cyclonic exhaust by the car industry in the early 1990s (long before his bagless vacuum cleaner became a global hit) \u2013 came to an end on October 10. In a letter to employees, Dyson said that his company \u201csimply cannot make it [Dyson\u2019s electric car] commercially viable\u201d and that no buyers had been found to take the project further \u2013 in spite of a driveable prototype of its first electric vehicle having already been built and the land for an assembly facility secured in Singapore (see WiC430).\r\n\r\nFrom initial excitement to rude awakening, Dyson soon grasped that competing in the crowded EV market burns a barrel-load of cash. Meanwhile the British inventor\u2019s bad experience is not an isolated case: in China a host of EV player are also having a bruising time. Analysts predict that as many as 80% of the estimated 486 players in the world\u2019s largest EV market will, like Dyson, pull…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Zotye-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"9"},{"id":43767,"title":"Why truckers are heroes for the economy but villains on the roads","content":"Initially it was thought to be another example of shoddy construction. But the case of a collapsing bridge in Wuxi \u2013 a city in eastern Jiangsu province \u2013 was actually caused by overloading, a preliminary investigation has suggested.\r\n\r\nThe 15 year-old flyover collapsed during evening rush hour on October 10. Video of the tragedy showed the overpass tipping to one side, and then crashing down, in one piece, on the cars below. Three people were killed, including a five year-old girl and her mother.\r\n\r\nWitnesses told Caixin Weekly that a truck carrying six industrial-sized steel rolls was crossing the overpass just before it collapsed. One of the steel rolls in question weighed nearly 30,000 kilograms, the magazine said, and the six rolls would have weighed nearly 180 metric tonnes. The legal load for trucks of that size is 49 tonnes and the maximum load that section of flyover was designed for was 64 tonnes, government regulations show.\r\n\r\nChina has long struggled with the problem of overloaded trucks. Between 2006 and 2016 they were the cause of 69 bridge collapses, according to the Ministry of Transport. In 2015, prior to a nationwide crackdown, there were 750,000 traffic accidents involving the so-called \u201coverweight killers\u201d.\r\n\r\nPart of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Infrastructure-w.jpg","category":"Rail & Infrastructure","page":"11"},{"id":43770,"title":"Frostier times ahead for Chinese IPOs in the US?","content":"When the US began to advocate tariffs to reduce its trade deficit in 2018, many thought it was a classic Donald Trump bargaining chip to get a better deal from China. Most still do.\r\n\r\nBut many now believe the trade war represents just the first great schism between the two countries as they jostle for global supremacy. In recent months, a new fault line has started developing and it worries the financial markets far more because it impacts them directly.\r\n\r\nThis concerns potential restrictions on US investor access to China\u2019s stock markets, as well as Chinese companies access to American ones. It portends a world where the capital markets face a financial \u2018iron curtain\u2019 dividing East and West.\r\n\r\nThat might sound apocalyptic but it reflects the tone of recent US legislative moves. Congressman Jim Banks, for instance, introduced a bill seeking to prevent the principal retirement plan of federal government employees from switching its index benchmark away from the developed markets to an emerging markets\u2019 one including China and Russia.\r\n\r\nIf the bill is passed, the risk is that other US state and federal investment plans, with a combined $5 trillion of assets under management, would follow suit.\r\n\r\nThen there\u2019s the EQUITABLE Act (Ensuring Quality…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Peter-Navarro-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"12"},{"id":43772,"title":"China wins another nuclear project in Europe","content":"For British astrophysicist Arthur Eddington the destination mattered less than the path, as it provided a beacon for breakthroughs along the way. This was the mentality that saw him work out that the sun\u2019s energy comes from the fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium. The Cambridge scientist\u2019s discovery laid the groundwork for the still-elusive goal of recreating similar energy on earth through nuclear fusion.\r\n\r\nFor the industry\u2019s critics (and there are many), it is a costly and ineffective journey towards a target that has always been a few decades out of reach. But Eddington \u2013 who died in 1944 \u2013 would almost certainly have approved of the world\u2019s largest nuclear fusion project: the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor Programme (ITER) in France. The multi-nation programme is massively over-budget (currently estimated at $22.5 billion) and taking years longer than expected to produce anything resembling a result. But it still holds the promise of replacing fission nuclear energy with a safer fusion alternative.\r\n\r\nIt has been enthusiastically embraced by the Chinese too and a consortium led by China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) has just been awarded ITER\u2019s Tokamak Assembly Contract 1 (TAC1) \u2013 sealing China\u2019s largest nuclear contract in Europe. The consortium will provide the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Tokamak-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"13"},{"id":43775,"title":"Is Suzhou going to get its own airport too?","content":"The summer months have been tumultuous ones for China\u2019s airport kingdoms. In the south, passenger numbers have dropped sharply in Hong Kong as scenes of unrest led TV coverage of the city. Across the border Shenzhen and Guangzhou have picked up some of the slack, luring travellers and prompting steep rises in the share prices of their airport operators.\r\n\r\nFurther north, the new Daxing International Airport has just opened in the outskirts of Beijing (see WiC469). Combined with the passenger traffic at the existing airport in the capital, it means that Beijing will take over from Atlanta as the world\u2019s busiest aviation hub next year. It will also surpass Shanghai\u2019s two airports of Pudong and Hongqiao, despite the opening of yet another huge new terminal at Pudong a few days before the first flights departed from Daxing.\r\n\r\nFurther down the food chain, there\u2019s airport status anxiety among Shanghai\u2019s neighbours, especially the city of Suzhou, which has completed a feasibility study in support of its ambition to build its own hub rather than relying on Shanghai\u2019s.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s not as if Suzhou is starved of access in air transport terms. There are three options and none of them are far: Hongqiao is 30 minutes away…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Pudong-Airport-w.jpg","category":"Aviation","page":"14"},{"id":43777,"title":"Why hyaluronic acid is big business in China","content":"Like a lot of young women, 19 year-old Xiaochen (a pseudonym) wanted a new look before heading back to college. After seeing an ad from a beauty clinic, the Chongqing-native opted for a filler injection. The lure: a price of just Rmb980 (about $150), down from the original Rmb19,560.\r\n\r\nWithout questioning the credentials of the person performing the procedure, Xiaochen was injected in the nose with hyaluronic acid \u2013 commonly known as dermal filler \u2013 to make her nose look straighter.\r\n\r\nBut after the procedure last month, she found that she was losing vision from one eye. She was rushed to the hospital and it was discovered that the injected matter had reached areas connected to the eye\u2019s blood vessels, leading to the blockage. The doctor explained that the damage was irreversible and she would never see from that eye again, reported Tencent\u2019s news portal.\r\n\r\nDespite this cautionary tale, dermal fillers are hugely popular in China. One prediction from a medical think tank is that by 2030, demand for cosmetic treatments like Botox and dermal fillers could reach Rmb500 billion, making China the world\u2019s largest \u2018aesthetic medicine\u2019 market.\r\n\r\nIt is against this backdrop that two local drug firms \u2013 Haohai Biological Technology and Bloomage…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Beauty-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"15"},{"id":43781,"title":"A studio wants to use AI to remove a controversial actress from a drama","content":"Back in 2007, a court in Shenzhen became embroiled in a bribery scandal. To rid the venue of bad luck, local officials hired a feng shui master. He noted that the eastern side of the building was facing a factory spewing black smoke. The entrance to the court also had an unlucky number of stairs, the Beijing Times reported at the time.\r\n\r\nFeng shui may strike some as a less than surefire way to end a losing streak. Scandal-prone Zhejiang Talent Television & Film, which has been buffetted by an array of bad luck, has decided feng shui may not suffice to solve it problems \u2013 which involve a long-delayed TV show \u2013 and is hoping new technologies will work instead.\r\n\r\nThe studio, which saw its share price drop from Rmb19.35 ($2.73) in March 2018 to Rmb6.20 this week \u2013 losing as much as Rmb5 billion in market value \u2013 is gambling that the release of its \u2018quarantined\u2019 drama Legend of Ba Qing could deliver the financial boost it needs. The series, also known as Win The World, is an epic historical period piece that stars actress Fan Bingbing and actor Gao Yunxiang. It chronicles the life of Ba Qing, the wealthiest…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Fan-BB-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"16"},{"id":43783,"title":"A bad week for Facebook","content":"Facebook\u2019s \u2018react\u2019 function allows its users to display sad, angry and shocked emoticons. And for the company\u2019s critics in China, they were all appropriate in the wake of the death of a Chinese national working for the social media giant last month, and the firing of another one shortly afterwards.\r\n\r\nQin Chen, a 38 year-old employee, jumped to his death from the fourth floor of Facebook\u2019s Menlo Park headquarters on September 19. A graduate of Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, he joined the company as a software engineer. In the days following Chen\u2019s suicide, individuals who claimed to have known him came forward to speculate on why he could have come to the decision to take his own life.\r\n\r\nSome of the reasons offered: workplace bullying, Facebook\u2019s \u2018intense\u2019 working environment, a poor performance review and visa concerns that had burdened him with family pressures.\r\n\r\nOne colleague who felt personally affected by Chen\u2019s suicide was Yi Yin, a 37 year-old Tsinghua University graduate who\u2019d worked as a software engineer at Facebook since July. \u201cThe more I found out, the more I felt (I could share) his experiences,\u201d he told media.\r\n\r\nAccording to Yi, a week after Chen\u2019s suicide, an estimated 500 people \u201cspontaneously gathered\u201d to shout…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Zuck-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"18"},{"id":43787,"title":"Why iQiyi\u2019s popular boy band broke up after barely a year together","content":"When British boy band One Direction announced that it would go on an indefinite hiatus, die-hard fans were heartbroken, even when the four members insisted that they weren\u2019t breaking up.\r\n\r\n\u201cLiterally retching at the fact 1D are splitting up, have never been this upset in all of my absolute life man. Never,\u201d one gutted fan wrote on Twitter.\r\n\r\nLast week, millions of fans in China shared that same sentiment when Nine Percent, the hugely popular boy band that was formed only 18 months ago, announced that its members were parting ways.\r\n\r\nThe group first rose to fame in 2018 on the hit TV singing competition Idol Producer (One Direction were discovered on The X Factor). Fans reportedly spent Rmb20 million ($2.82 million) to boost support for their idols on the competition. Cai Xukun, the most popular member of the group, has also become one of the biggest internet influencers in the country (for more, see our Top 30 Celebrity KOL list on our website).\r\n\r\nTo bid farewell to fans, the teen pop group hosted a concert in Guangzhou over the weekend. Demand for tickets was so strong that on second-hand platforms, a ticket with a face value of Rmb1,899 fetched Rmb4,500.\r\n\r\nNews about the split…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/BTS-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]},{"id":1619,"name":"Issue 469","date":"Oct 4, 2019","title":"Come fly with me","tagline":"As Beijing opens its gigantic, state-of-the-art second international airport what does it mean for the big three airlines?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/469.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/469-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":43479,"title":"How will a new airport reshape Beijing\u2019s aviation landscape?","content":"About 13 kilometres south of Tiananmen Square is Nanyuan (which means \u2018south garden\u2019 in Chinese). It was used as a military training ground by the emperors of the Qing Dynasty and in 1910 an aircraft shed was erected there as China\u2019s Manchurian leadership came to realise the importance of airplanes to modern warfare. Imperial China\u2019s final dynasty crumbled a year later, before it could establish its own air force. Yet what the Qing left behind turned into China\u2019s first airport.\r\n\r\nNanyuan has an influential history: it was the first aviation school in Asia and was thus the place that helped to train the first generation of Chinese pilots. After the Communist Party seized power in 1949, the first squadron of its air force took off from Nanyuan, flying over Tiananmen Square as part of the People\u2019s Republic\u2019s first military parade. When Henry Kissinger arrived in Beijing on a secret mission in 1971 \u2013 to prepare for Richard Nixon\u2019s groundbreaking visit \u2013 he also touched down at Nanyuan.\r\n\r\nNanyuan was turned into a civilian airport in 1984. Yet last week the 109 year-old facility closed its runway for good to pave the way for the opening of a new aviation behemoth on the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Daxing-Airport-w.jpg","category":"Aviation, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":43486,"title":"What were the main themes as China celebrated its 70th National Day?","content":"The Communist Party of China (CPC) loves the political ritualism in military parades. And messages were definitely not going to go amiss this week as the Party celebrated its 70th anniversary in power with its largest ever military cavalcade in Beijing.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe Chinese people have stood up,\u201d Mao Zedong proudly proclaimed on October 1, 1949 from Tiananmen Square when he declared a \u2018New China\u2019. Yet the military march that followed was trivial compared to what was on show on Tuesday. Apart from 2,344 of the Red Army\u2019s warhorses, hardly any of the equipment on display in Mao\u2019s parade was made in China. The airforce of the People\u2019s Liberation Army (PLA) consisted of just 17 warplanes, mostly seized from the defeated Kuomintang (KMT), which had fled to Taiwan. Few in number, the planes flew over Tiananmen twice to make the display more impressive \u2013 and they were fully armed in case KMT remnants staged a parade-crashing air strike from the northeast.\r\n\r\nFast forward seven decades and the current national (and CPC) leader Xi Jinping had mightier military hardware to showcase. All the same, he seemed keen to draw a direct line back to the Great Helmsman, dressing in a Mao-style suit. Another little…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Xi-Jinping-w.jpg","category":"China Ink","page":"7"},{"id":43490,"title":"China\u2019s social credit system adds 33 million firms","content":"In 2014 China\u2019s State Council set itself a target to promote \u2018social credit\u2019 rating systems across the nation. Different local governments and central authorities were encouraged to set up their own systems \u2013 in the hope one day they\u2019d interlock together nationally.\r\n\r\nLast month one of the larger scale initiatives \u2013 run by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) \u2013 announced that its first batch of 33 million businesses had been rated by the new National Public Credit Information Centre. These firms now have a chance to review their ratings \u2013 which range from excellent to poor \u2013 before they are made public, the NDRC says.\r\n\r\nEventually all companies in China, including foreign ones, will get a social credit score. The corporate ratings are created by blending a range of official information from different government agencies. In the case of a coal mining firm, for example, the credit centre would look at things like the mine\u2019s tax returns, its environmental scores and its safety record.\r\n\r\nIn theory, the system simply links up data from multiple sources to build up a picture of a company\u2019s trustworthiness. Of course, the crucial question is what is going to be included \u2013 or omitted \u2013 in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/George-Orwell-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"10"},{"id":43493,"title":"Does the trade war really spell the end for China\u2019s manufacturing base?","content":"The way that Donald Trump tells it, China\u2019s manufacturing sector is close to collapse, fatally wounded by Washington\u2019s tariffs on Chinese imports.\r\n\r\nLast month the American president was celebrating how China\u2019s supply chain was \u201cbreaking up like a toy because companies are moving out\u201d. A few days later he talked again about how Beijing was desperate to call a halt to the trade row. \u201cYou know why they want to make a deal?\u201d he crowed. \u201cBecause they\u2019re losing their jobs, because their supply chain is going to hell and companies are moving out of China and they\u2019re moving to lots of other places, including the United States.\u201d\r\n\r\nBut if Trump\u2019s tariffs really are designed to torpedo China\u2019s manufacturing base, he may have to think again.\r\n\r\nWashington will have announced levies on about $550 billion of Chinese goods, when the full tariff quotas come into effect at the end of this year. That could affect up to 5% of China\u2019s manufacturing capacity, according to calculations from Qu Hongbin and Jingyang Chen, two economists at HSBC.\r\n\r\nBut the impact of the tariffs isn\u2019t going to be the same across the manufacturing sector at large. Much depends on the type of goods being made. Lower-end, more labour…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Vietnam-Factory-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"11"},{"id":43496,"title":"What led to Laoganma\u2019s first TV commercial?","content":"Consumer products tend to bank on publicity. But not Sriracha. For 40 years, the chilli-garlic paste\u2019s maker Huy Fong has never paid a penny for advertising. And yet the company churns out 12,000 bottles per hour, with revenues reaching $154 million last year. Its cult following has spawned a vast array of souvenirs including bags, magnets, mugs and even tattoos. All feature a rooster, which is Huy Fong\u2019s trademark.\u2008It also happens to be the Chinese zodiac sign of its founder David Tran, a Chinese-Vietnamese immigrant who started selling hot sauces in Los Angeles\u2019 Chinatown in 1980 from his Chevy van.\r\n\r\nIn many ways, Tran\u2019s corporate doppelg\u00e4nger is Tao Huabi, who established China\u2019s best-known chilli sauce Laoganma \u2013 literally \u201cold and dry granny\u201d \u2013 in 1997 (see WiC143). Like Tran, Tao is in her seventies now and she has also steered clear of all forms of advertising \u2013 until last month, when the company released a commercial for a marketing campaign on Alibaba\u2019s group-buying platform Ju Huasuan.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAgainst an upbeat country song, the two-minute TV ad is dominated by a short-haired lady in a black dress and white apron, apparently impersonating Tao in her youth. The first half of the ad follows how…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Laoganma-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"13"},{"id":43499,"title":"Handset maker Transsion soars on STAR board","content":"\u201cWe penetrated deeper and deeper,\u201d Charles Marlow recollects of a journey into Africa. The fictional sailor appears in Joseph Conrad\u2019s 1902 novel Heart of Darkness, a critique of colonial exploration in Africa. Marlow\u2019s phrase might also be used to describe China\u2019s engagement with the same continent in the past two decades. Since the formation of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2000, the Chinese government, its banks and the nation\u2019s contractors have lent an estimated $143 billion to over 50 African states (as of 2017). But the Chinese involvement in Africa goes beyond roads, bridges, airports, power stations and railways. It is also supplying affordable consumer goods, such as mobile phones that are proving indispensable to the continent\u2019s burgeoning digital economy. This business is flourishing \u2013 so much so that a key industry player successfully listed on Shanghai\u2019s new STAR Market this week. Backed by NetEase and Singapore\u2019s sovereign wealth fund GIC, Transsion surged 64% from its offer price on its debut on Monday (we first mentioned the company in early 2018; see WiC402). Its market value is now Rmb46.2 billion ($6.5 billion).\r\n\r\nInvestors\u2019 enthusiasm for Transsion can be gleaned from its bookbuilding process, which saw its shares heavily oversubscribed. That…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Tecno-w.jpg","category":"Telecoms","page":"14"},{"id":43503,"title":"After the demise of Thomas Cook, Fosun\u2019s acquisition strategy is reassessed","content":"Restraint and moderation were two characteristics that came instinctively to Thomas Cook. The Victorian-era businessman built his travel empire on the foundations of the 19th century Temperance movement, which campaigned against the consumption of alcohol and which he wholeheartedly championed. Cook set up his travel company in 1841 after chartering one of Britain\u2019s newfangled steam trains to take 500 Temperance followers on a 12-mile journey from Leicester to a meeting in Loughborough. And he would (to coin a term that originated in the same century) be spinning in his grave on news that his creation had collapsed 178 years later under the weight of a heavy debt burden.\r\n\r\nThomas Cook\u2019s final descent into bankruptcy last month is a salutary tale about the consequences of debt-fuelled M&A (in this case the legacy of its \u00a32.9 billion merger with MyTravel back in 2007). It is also a lesson that the Chinese government has been hammering home for months in China.\r\n\r\nAs regular WiC readers will be aware, Fosun\u2019s founder, Guo Guangchang, built his conglomerate on the back of a debt-driven acquisition strategy too. That is until the Chinese government stepped in during the summer of 2017, telling the state-owned banking sector to rein in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Thomas-Cook-w.jpg","category":"M&A","page":"15"},{"id":43506,"title":"The world\u2019s first stainless steel futures are launched in Shanghai","content":"Steel has often been a symbol of might in modern China. The country\u2019s final liberation in the Second World War was marked by the recapture of the northeastern steel mills in Anshan and Benxi from Japanese rule in 1945. Under Mao Zedong\u2019s Great Leap Forward, steel was again a major focus, with Mao urging his rural workforce to raise smelter capacity past British levels within 15 years (a directive that led to widespread famine).\r\n\r\nToday steel still holds sway in large parts of China\u2019s economy, supporting heavy industries and real estate booms. National production has risen from 158,000 tonnes a year in 1949 to a record 928 million last year, representing just over half the world\u2019s output.\r\n\r\nChina wants to take its leadership further and it did so last week by launching the world\u2019s first futures in stainless steel \u2013 a steel alloy that is rolled into sheets, plates, bars, wire and tubes.\r\n\r\nThe move points towards a determination to establish stronger pricing power over the material, of which China is both the largest producer and the largest consumer.\r\n\r\nLast Wednesday marked the debut trading day for the futures with gross transaction values of Rmb7.59 billion. All eight contracts closed below the listing price…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Steel-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"17"},{"id":43509,"title":"Education bureau blocks new maths teaching","content":"The history of maths scholarship in China is illustrious, dating back to the second millennium BC, when bamboo rods were arranged to represent the numbers one to 9, and then into columns to represent tens, hundreds and thousands.\r\n\r\nThe thirteenth century saw another Golden Age, with the establishment of more than 30 prestigious maths schools across the country. Today, China maintains its fierce enthusiasm for mathematics. Since 2000, its nationals have placed top in the International Mathematical Olympiad 13 times, never dropping below third place.\r\n\r\nBut one 76 year-old educator from Hubei province has newer ideas on how the subject should be taught. In 2015, 12 years after he was made president of the private Chibi Zhengyang Primary School, Wu Zhenqiu rolled out a series of experiments designed to reform the curriculum. Putting together a new textbook that he divided into seven units, he declared that maths classes wouldn\u2019t even start until the third grade (i.e. at eight years-old).\r\n\r\nSince receiving warning notices from the local education bureau last month, Wu\u2019s reforms have been heavily scrutinised by netizens. Yet he doesn\u2019t seem fazed by the challenge of condensing six years of maths education into four.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nData from the school shows that the average score…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/Education-w.jpg","category":"Education","page":"18"},{"id":43512,"title":"If you didn\u2019t like shows about loving your motherland, this was a bad week","content":"Last month 620,000 poorer families in China were given a 32-inch TV. The gesture undoubtedly made many of them happy. But that wasn\u2019t the principal aim of the plan.\r\n\r\nThe gift came from the Publicity Department of the Central Committee \u2013 the division of China\u2019s ruling Communist Party responsible for ideology and propaganda.\r\n\r\nThe goal was to get more people watching the National Day celebrations, as well as the patriotic television schedule planned for the period either side of the anniversary of the founding of the People\u2019s Republic.\r\n\r\n\u201cIf poor people have a TV set they will be able to feel the great achievements of these 70 years of construction and development. It will stimulate them to roll up their sleeves and participate in creating the Chinese Dream,\u201d Xinhua claimed.\r\n\r\nChinese President Xi Jinping is a great believer in old-school propaganda. Since becoming leader he has reminded state media regularly that their job is to \u201creflect the Party\u2019s will\u201d and \u201csafeguard the Party\u2019s authority\u201d. Xi has also overseen a massive \u201crectification\u201d of non-state media channels, which have been commanded to remove \u201cvulgar\u201d content and spread \u201cpositive energy\u201d \u2013 code for content that shows present-day China in a more flattering light.\r\n\r\nAll of these directives were…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/wangfei-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"19"},{"id":43516,"title":"China\u2019s delivery drivers make an unexpected appearance on National Day","content":"Food delivery people are a feature of modern life in China. Few street scenes are complete without a courier whizzing past on an electric bike. At lunchtime \u2013 the busiest period \u2013 it\u2019s not uncommon to see them sprinting up flights of stairs to make sure they make their drop within the allotted time.\r\n\r\nTheir inclusion in Tuesday\u2019s National Day parade was a little incongruous \u2013 it\u2019s not often that you see a delivery guy in the vicinity of a ballistic missile \u2013 but it is also fair to say they deserve their place as a symbol of 21st century China.\r\n\r\nMeituan Dianping, the largest food delivery brand, takes its role very seriously indeed. As well as expanding into areas including hotel booking and ride hailing, it boasts several endeavours aimed at \u2018giving back\u2019 to society too. The latest involves putting restaurant chains in touch with farmers from poorer rural areas. Meituan then helps to market the dishes the restaurants make from their crops.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe newly devised offerings are expected to attract gourmet enthusiasts and trendseekers who aspire to taste cuisine that goes beyond the fare that\u2019s familiar to local palates,\u201d China Daily said.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMeituan supports the restaurant programme by buying from larger numbers…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/10\/meituan-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"21"}]},{"id":1618,"name":"Issue 468","date":"Sep 27, 2019","title":"The man that crashed Tencent","tagline":"Superstar Jay Chou\u2019s new single broke records and crashed Tencent\u2019s music site \u2013 but will the tech giant\u2019s music dominance be hit by new Alibaba alliance?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/468.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/468-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":43421,"title":"Tencent sets record with Jay Chou\u2019s single but threat from Alibaba lurks","content":"In the 1990s, the folk song My Old Classmate was so popular in China that it was often compared with the Beatles classic Yesterday.\r\n\r\nWith lyrics detailing a young man\u2019s recollections of a girl he shared a desk with at high school, the song soon became a huge hit across Chinese campuses. Still a classic for young students and lovers today, it was adapted into a coming-of-age movie of the same name in 2014.\r\n\r\nAll of which made Gao Xiaosong, who composed the melody and the lyrics, a legend among Chinese musicians. But while the surviving Beatles are said to be still raking in millions from their work, Gao hasn\u2019t made much more than Rmb10,000 ($1,402) from My Old Classmate. That was because he didn\u2019t own the rights to the song, although it might not have made much difference, given the prevalence of music piracy in China over past decades. As recently as 2012, the market share of pirated music online was still vast \u2013 approaching 100%.\r\n\r\nGao has enjoyed a second career, however, as one of the icons of China\u2019s so-called \u201cknowledge economy\u201d (see WiC396). When he was appointed head of Alibaba\u2019s music unit in 2015 he set out to transform the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Jay-Chou-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment, Internet & Tech, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":43431,"title":"What is breathing new life into China\u2019s instant noodle market?","content":"Forget the Walkman, the electric rice cooker or the QR code. It was instant ramen that the Japanese considered their greatest invention over the last century, according to a poll in 2000. Ando Momofuku, founder of Osaka-based food giant Nissin, is widely credited as the inventor of the noodle product (which is ready to eat mere minutes after boiling water is added). He is said to have launched the product in 1958 in a bid to ease post-war Japan\u2019s food shortages. What is less known about Ando is his origins: he was born in 1910 in then Japanese-ruled Taiwan. \u201cAndo had lived in Taiwan up to around age 20,\u201d wrote Nojima Tsuyoshi, a journalist, suggesting Ando\u2019s brainchild \u2013 made by dehydrating the steamed ramen in oil \u2013 took its inspiration from the deep-fried noodles typically consumed in southern Taiwan.\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s love for noodles can be gleaned from the vast variety of noodle-dishes across the country. Categorising them by basic ingredients, one can get rice vermicelli, egg noodles, shrimp roe noodles, or even spinach noodles. By geography, there are soybean paste noodles in Beijing, spicy dandanmian in Chengdu (see WiC16), \u2018crossing-the-bridge\u2019 noodles in Yunnan and wonton noodles in Guangdong.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe ready-to-eat variation, however,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Instant-Noodle-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"7"},{"id":43438,"title":"Moutai reaches new heights","content":"One week, and two very different experiences for Shanghai shoppers eager to get hold of a bottle of Moutai for China\u2019s National Day celebrations on October 1.\r\n\r\nAt one end of the scale were those Costco customers who\u2019d paid Rmb299 ($41.91) for annual membership of the American group\u2019s shopping club. This entitled them to buy one bottle from the 10,000 which the shop had in stock on September 13.\r\n\r\nCostco\u2019s appearance on Chinese shores in late August has sparked a consumer frenzy (see\u2008WiC464), with shoppers emptying the shelves of its initial Moutai stock almost immediately. The next batch of the liquor, which appeared in mid-September, also disappeared in minutes.\r\n\r\nThe problem is that there are not many places in China where consumers can buy a bottle of Moutai\u2019s famous 500-millilitre, 53% proof Feitian (which means \u2018Flying to the Sky\u2019) brand for its Rmb1,498 recommended retail price. A standard bottle typically sells for about Rmb3,000, if shoppers can actually get their hands on one, given how distributors have been hoarding stock \u2013 rather than selling it \u2013 to push up prices.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nPerhaps this is what prompted the buyer at the other end of the scale to Costco\u2019s customers, who paid Rmb960,000 for 12 bottles of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Moutai-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"8"},{"id":43442,"title":"Filipino leader focuses on profits rather than politics in China policy","content":"Three and a half years ago, when he was campaigning to become president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte said he would confront the Chinese navy personally \u2013 on a jet ski, if needs be \u2013 in defending Filipino sovereignty.\r\n\r\nSince taking office he has taken a less confrontational approach, despite a favourable ruling from an international court in The Hague on Manila\u2019s right to an exclusive economic zone in disputed waters in the region (see WiC333).\r\n\r\nIndeed Duterte came back from his fifth trip to Beijing this month with news that he has decided not to press the case further but forge ahead instead with joint oil and gas exploration with the Chinese in the contested seas.\r\n\r\nAs he explained to local media, he ran into a familiar roadblock when he raised the issue of respecting the court\u2019s ruling with the Chinese president.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe don't want to discuss that because it's ours,\u201d Xi Jinping admonished. \u201cWe own the property. Why should we talk to you?\"\r\n\r\nDuterte added that the Chinese have asked him to disregard the Hague ruling and that he is willing to do so for economic reasons as the two nations would now search for oil and gas together, with returns split 60:40…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Duterte-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"9"},{"id":43445,"title":"On the horizon: a new generation of Chinese-built cruise ships","content":"Much has changed since 1844 when the author William Makepeace Thackeray was the first cruise ship passenger to write about his trip. Having travelled to Egypt and back aboard the Lady Mary Wood, Thackeray was effusive in his thanks to the crew, including \u201cthe cook with tattooed arms, sweating among the saucepans in the galley, who (with a touching affection) used to send us locks of his hair in the soup\u201d.\r\n\r\nThackeray\u2019s boat belonged to the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company, later renamed P&O. It had just won the first government contract to carry mail via steam ship and it decided to take paying passengers to fill spare capacity. In 1844 the Lady Mary Wood set out on its first journey, shipping mail and passengers from Southampton to Calcutta, Galle, Penang, Singapore, before finally reaching Hong Kong, where it docked in August 1845. Cruise tourism was born.\r\n\r\nFast-forward to 2018 and just over 4% of Americans went on cruises. That was about half of the 26 million passengers worldwide, with the Chinese the second largest group on 2.4 million.\r\n\r\nOf course, if they take to cruising in the same proportions as the Americans, almost 60 million Chinese will be heading down gangplanks…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Waigaoqiao-Shipbuilding-w.jpg","category":"Shipping","page":"10"},{"id":43448,"title":"Meet the environmental expert who digs into data to make China greener","content":"Long before the Chinese government made sustainability a key plank in its policies, Ma Jun, from Qingdao, was forging a unique path that prompted some of the largest global brands, including Apple, Walmart and H&M, to green their supply chains in China. Through making government and corporate environmental data accessible, Ma also built China\u2019s first national-scale, real-time pollution monitoring system, giving the public a tool in the fight against environmental degradation. To date, the database, known as The Blue Map, covers 31 provinces and 338 cities. His 40-person non-profit organisation, The Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), has also collected over 1.5 million records of environmental violations by companies, adding to the push for green policymaking in China. Early this month WiC sat down with Ma in Yunnan at Fortune\u2019s Global Sustainability Forum to discuss his activism over more than two decades, as well as his struggles with local governments.\r\n\r\nWhat prompted you to start an environmental NGO?\r\n\r\nI worked in the media industry in the 1990s. At that time I had a lot of chances to travel in different parts of China for different stories. In many trips I was struck by the environmental damage, especially the impact on rivers.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Ma-Jun-Skoll-1-w.jpg","category":"Environment","page":"11"},{"id":43452,"title":"End of the One-Child Policy stirs IVF demand","content":"Search for the name \u201cWei Zexi\u201d on Baidu and most of the results are negative headlines about the search engine itself. This became the case after Wei Zexi, 21 year-old college student from Shaanxi, died in 2016 from a rare form of cancer after undergoing expensive experimental treatment from a hospital that topped the results list of a Baidu search (see WiC324).\r\n\r\nThree years on, the same Baidu search with Wei\u2019s name is finally generating some good news: Wei\u2019s parents have had another child.\r\n\r\nOne of the search results leads internet users to a Beijing News article, where Wei\u2019s mother reveals that her son\u2019s dying wish was for his parents to have another son so that his brother could take care of them in their old age on his behalf.\r\n\r\nAfter his tragic death, his parents decided to have another child. And the Wei family\u2019s wish came true this month after the hospital group Incinta announced that the couple, 51 and 49, had successfully conceived through in vitro fertilisation (IVF), a process in which eggs are fertilised outside of the body, at one of its fertility clinics. The mother delivered the child in May, becoming the oldest woman to have given birth in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Chinese-Baby-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"15"},{"id":43455,"title":"South Korean studio sues Chinese partner over non-payment of royalties","content":"There were plenty of surprises at this week\u2019s Emmy Awards. For a start, Amazon\u2019s Fleabag toppled long-running favourite Veep as top comedy. The savagely funny British series also won awards for best leading comedy actor and best writer for its creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge (and yet another Emmy for the comedy\u2019s director).\r\n\r\nAs the Emmys are broadcast on Fox, viewers were less surprised by something else: the network took the opportunity to plug the second season of one of its own hits \u2013 the music competition Masked Singer. The format is based on a South Korean series, with celebrity performers donning elaborate costumes to sing incognito, challenging viewers to guess who they are. The South Korean network MBC, which owns the show, also signed a licencing deal in China. In the first season, which aired on Jiangsu Satellite TV in 2015, popular singers like Gigi Leung made appearances. Now in its fourth run, the format is so popular that it has even revived the careers of singers whose stardom had faded \u2013 including Zhang Shaohan who enjoyed a revival in her fortunes after appearing.\r\n\r\nHowever, last week news surfaced that MBC has filed a lawsuit against Shanghai Canxing Cultural and Broadcast, the production…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Rainie-Yang-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":43457,"title":"Collectors chase the latest lines in miniature dolls","content":"Popmart\u2019s Molly Dolls \u2013 pouting, blue-eyed mini-mannequins \u2013 have become \u201ca pastime and means of decompression\u201d for thousands of young Chinese women, according to U-quan, a zimeiti blogger.\r\n\r\nConsumers are kept deliberately unaware of the version of the doll that they are buying by packaging that keeps the identity hidden. This \u2018blind box\u2019 psychology creates an element of surprise, as well as a desire to collect the entire series or \u2013 even better \u2013 the chance of getting hold of a very rare limited edition.\r\n\r\nPlenty of customers have got hooked on the doll range, although netizens scorn the addicted, saying they have ru keng, or \u2018entered the pit\u2019.\r\n\r\nPrices for Molly Dolls aren\u2019t high, ranging from Rmb39 ($5.46) to Rmb69. However, surging demand for particularly popular series and special editions saw prices for some of the most sought-after dolls \u2013 like the Rmb59 Pan Shen Christmas model \u2013 rise to Rmb2,350 in the secondary market.\r\n\r\nPopmart sells the dolls from more than 400 stores as well as vending machines around China. Another 200,000 people were reported to be buying the dolls on Tmall, the Alibaba shopping platform, with some spending more than Rmb20,000 each a year. Sina estimates that four million Molly Dolls…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Molly-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"17"},{"id":43465,"title":"Panda fatigue as Beijing introduces its latest Olympic mascot","content":"He\u2019s an ice-encrusted astronaut panda, and his sidekick is a small child, made of traditional Chinese lanterns. Together they are Bing DwenDwen and Shuey RhonRhon \u2013 the mascots for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing.\r\n\r\nOlympic host cities have been creating mascots since the Grenoble winter games in 1968. The first was a parallel skier called Schuss and there has been an assortment of characters since then, both animal and human.\r\n\r\nBut Beijing takes the prize for the largest number of mascots at a single event. For its Summer Olympics in 2008 it released five doll-like characters called the \u201cFuwa\u201d. Said together, their names sounded like \u201cBeijing welcomes you\u201d although the group was widely panned as unoriginal in design.\r\n\r\nThe city is hoping its mascots for the winter games will be better received. They were unveiled on September 17 and the initial reaction seemed generally positive \u2013 helped by the censoring of nastier responses on social media. \u201cSo cute,\u201d was a common refrain on weibo. \u201cFull of national spirit,\u201d was another.\r\n\r\nYet plenty of people were still disappointed that the Olympic organising committee had, once again, chosen a design inspired by a Giant Panda.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhere is the creativity?\u201d was one dismissive remark. \u201cI…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Olympic-Mascot-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]},{"id":1617,"name":"Issue 467","date":"Sep 20, 2019","title":"Drone dilemma","tagline":"Xi Jinping with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud \u2013 the weekend drone attack has complicated China\u2019s oil policy with Riyadh\u2019s major rival, Tehran","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/467.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/467-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":43340,"title":"Oil major Sinopec tries coffee, as oil is hit by a Saudi Arabian storm","content":"The most discussed topic among China\u2019s car drivers last week was where they could buy the cheapest fuel. That was because state-owned oil majors CNPC and Sinopec had squared up in a rare price war in many major cities. In some filling stations in Shanghai gasoline and diesel were being offered at a 20% discount to the standard prices. \u201cThe biggest promotion in 20 years\u201d was how Shanghai Securities News put it.\r\n\r\nThe campaign was driven by two main factors: a supply glut of domestic fuel, coupled with global crude prices that had been placid for the majority of the year so far.\r\n\r\nCNPC and Sinopec are also alive to the need to defend their market share in the face of new competition from private sector firms and foreign retailers. And adding a new element to their rivalry at the pumps: coffee. That beverage got the public\u2019s attention earlier this month when Sinopec decided to launch its own coffee brand.\r\n\r\nYet talk of lattes and discounted petrol was soon superseded by a dramatic change of mood that occurred last Saturday after a drone attack damaged Saudi Arabia\u2019s major oil production facility.\r\n\r\nInstead of discussing who had the cheaper fuel or the better coffee, the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Aramco-Coffee-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":43350,"title":"Chinese authorities rush to curb pork prices","content":"Pork is China\u2019s favourite meat. The country\u2019s 1.4 billion people consumed 56 million tonnes of the stuff last year \u2013 equal to the rest of the world combined.\r\n\r\nBut as the Communist-led country prepares for the seventieth anniversary of its founding on October 1, prices are skyrocketing because of African swine fever and a crackdown on small scale farmers.\r\n\r\nTo help keep people in celebratory mood the government has begun releasing pork supplies from its strategic reserves.\r\n\r\nAt a market in Beijing, where pensioners gather of a morning to sing revolutionary songs, one man told WiC he had wanted to buy a cut of fatty pork to make Mao Zedong\u2019s favourite dish \u2013 braised pork belly.\r\n\r\n\u201cI bought mince instead. I can make it go further,\u201d he explained.\r\n\r\nAfrican swine fever arrived in China last summer. Some 1.2 million animals have been culled in response and many more have died. According to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs China\u2019s pig population was 32% smaller in July than it was at the same time last year.\r\n\r\nIt didn\u2019t give exact figures for the number of animals lost but at the end of 2018 the ministry said China was home to 400 million live swine.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Pigs-w.jpg","category":"Agriculture","page":"8"},{"id":43390,"title":"Luckin Coffee plans tea spin-off \u2013 switching to a franchising model","content":"In early September, nine coffee drinkers came together for a blind tasting \u2013 hosted by a consumer group in Hangzhou \u2013 to judge six different coffee brands sold in the city. To their surprise, coffee from Family Mart, the Japanese convenience store, was ranked first. Even more surprising, Starbucks and Luckin Coffee, the domestic coffee chain that is looking to topple the US coffee giant in China, came respectively second-to-last and last in the taste test.\r\n\r\nAfter the results were published, critics were quick to comment: \u201cStarbucks, Costa [which tied with KFC for second place] and Luckin Coffee are the professionals when it comes to coffee, while the remaining brands [McDonald\u2019s, Family Mart and bakery Casa Miel] are considered more or less amateurs. This is like judging Yao Ming [the former basketball star] and Pan Changjiang [a comedian] to see who can jump higher, the result should have been very obvious,\u201d wrote ZnCaijing, a finance portal.\r\n\r\nLuckin Coffee, valued at about $5 billion after going public on\u2008Nasdaq in May, must now be hoping that its tea offering will be more appealing to critics\u2019 tastes. Early this month, the company announced that it will spin-off its tea business from its coffee operation.\u2008The new…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Luckin-Cup-w-1.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"9"},{"id":43353,"title":"Naspers spins off Tencent proxy in\u2008Europe","content":"When Naspers elected to spin off its international internet assets into a new entity earlier this year, it decided to call the company Prosus: a derivation of the Latin word for \u2018forwards\u2019. South Africa\u2019s largest listed company subsequently created one of Europe\u2019s most valuable firms when Prosus debuted on Amsterdam\u2019s Euronext with a \u20ac123.7 billion ($136.8 billion) market capitalisation on September 11.\r\n\r\nNaspers\u2019 management clearly wants equity investors to associate Prosus\u2019s \u2018forward\u2019 branding with the returns it hopes to make from its portfolio of global technology companies. Yet so much about the wider media\u2019s reaction has been focused on a world heading into reverse. For while the company itself epitomises globalisation, that concept has been somewhat in retreat, leading some to ask whether Prosus is best suited to an economic landscape where national and tribal identities are mattering more again.\r\n\r\nFor Chinese newspapers the answer is clear. They highlight how Prosus is effectively a proxy for their national champion, Tencent.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s because Naspers is Tencent\u2019s largest individual shareholder with a 31.1% stake. That stake, in turn, accounts for just over 80% of Prosus\u2019s net asset value (the other 20% of the NAV comes from an assortment of fast-growing but loss-making internet companies from…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Pony-Ma-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"10"},{"id":43359,"title":"Why has Huawei\u2019s founder offered his firm\u2019s 5G patents to competitors?","content":"Advances in the world of computing and coding would happen a lot more slowly were it not for the Free Software Movement started by Richard Stallman in the 1980s. Frustrated by the silo mentality of software developers at the time, the Harvard-trained computer scientist created a source code sharing platform called GNU. He also came up with the principle of \u201ccopyleft\u201d (as opposed to \u201ccopyright\u201d), which required users to distribute all modified codes should they make changes to GNU-licenced software. A monument to the project\u2019s success is Linux, the open-source kernel that underpins a raft of operating systems including Google\u2019s Android.\r\n\r\nToday, open source is no longer regarded as a rebellion against big software developers \u2013 and their monopoly-style \u2018rents\u2019. It has become a flourishing business itself, spawning multi-billion dollar companies such as Red Hat and MuleSoft that are coveted M&A targets. But when Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies revealed plans to open the stack of its fifth-generation (5G) communications technology for a one-time fee, few if any observers saw the move in a purely financial light. Most consider it a tactical gambit by a telecoms giant that has been rolling with the punches in recent months after being blacklisted by a hostile…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Ren-Zhengfei-w.jpg","category":"Telecoms","page":"11"},{"id":43363,"title":"Nanjing robot firm buys German welder","content":"When German robotics firm, Carl Cloos Schweisstechnik, celebrated its centenary this year, the tagline was \u201cpioneers of welding: a story with a future\u201d.\r\n\r\nIts employees now know that much of that future is likely to be shaped in Nanjing rather than their hometown of Haiger in Hesse.\r\n\r\nJust a few months after that centenary the family-owned firm announced that it was selling out to Shenzhen-listed robotics company Nanjing Estun Automation and private equity group, China Renaissance Capital.\r\n\r\nThe price tag was \u20ac196 million ($218 million), slightly more than Estun\u2019s Rmb1.46 billion ($207 million) in revenues last year.\r\n\r\nThe timing has been a surprise to some, given the German government\u2019s commitment to an \u2018Industrie 4.0\u2019 strategy designed to reinforce the country\u2019s advanced manufacturing sector. Instead, it looks more like another case of \u2018Made in China 2025\u2019 getting the upper hand, with Estun grabbing the German firm in a bid to climb the rankings in the robotics industry.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nChinese investors reacted positively to the takeover: when Nanjing-based Estun resumed trading on September 9, the stock went limit-up. However, social media commentators have been more divided, noting Midea\u2019s disappointing experience with Germany\u2019s Kuka following the latter\u2019s \u20ac4.6 billion acquisition in 2016.\r\n\r\nIn 2018, net profits at Kuka plunged more…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Estun-w.jpg","category":"M&A","page":"13"},{"id":43366,"title":"Geely eyes flying taxi market as local rival EHang begins tests in Shenzhen","content":"When it comes to Geely\u2019s love of all things German the sky has literally no limit. This week Li Shufu\u2019s firm invested in flying-taxi start-up Volocopter \u2013 its second German purchase in as many years after acquiring a 9.7% stake in Daimler.\r\n\r\nDaimler also took part in Volocopter\u2019s $55 million fundraising round, Chinese news portal Guancha reported, which will give each firm a 10% stake in the Bruchsal-based company.\r\n\r\nFounded in 2011, Volocopter inked a partnership with Dubai in 2017 for airborne taxis. Following Geely\u2019s investment, it is expected to commercially launch in three years. There are also plans for the German firm to bring its flying cars to China with Geely, given Li said the investment is another step in its wider expansion into \u201celectrification and new mobility services\u201d.\r\n\r\nThat makes the Geely-backed Volocopter a direct rival of EHang, a Chinese company focused on developing and deploying autonomous electrical VTOLs (vertical take-off and landing vehicles), which is already building its first operational network of air taxis in China.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nEHang was chosen at the beginning of the year by China\u2019s Civil Aviation Administration to operate a pilot scheme in Guangzhou. It is now in the initial stages \u2013 testing the vehicles and the \u2018vertiports\u2019…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/EHang-E84-w.jpg","category":"Aviation","page":"14"},{"id":43369,"title":"Education writer Olivia Halsall looks at \u2018background enhancement\u2019 services","content":"\u201cTo enrich your family, there is no need to buy good land: books hold a thousand measures of grain,\u201d advises a Confucian maxim. The sage\u2019s teachings would later become the core of imperial China\u2019s civil service examinations. These evolved over many centuries but many historians credit the Tang Dynasty with formalising the process around the year 655. The exams were an innovation in governance: they enabled people from less well represented regions to bypass the patronage of the capital and get jobs as officials on their own merits. They became a catalyst for social mobility and established the value (and potential political power) of a good education.\r\n\r\nThe imperial civil service exams were abolished in 1905, but a better education remained a major source of social mobility and family prestige. Fast forward to 2019 and there\u2019s a related phenomenon: a preference among affluent Chinese families to send their offspring to some of the world\u2019s most prestigious overseas universities.\r\n\r\nCambridge, for example, welcomed 458 undergraduates and 830 postgraduate students from China during the course of the 2018-19 academic year. Earlier this year it even began accepting results from the gaokao, China\u2019s equivalent of British A-levels, as part of its undergraduate admissions.\r\n\r\nA consulting industry…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Chinese-Students-w.jpg","category":"Education","page":"15"},{"id":43375,"title":"Can an actor single-handledly save a film \u2013 in China the answer is yes","content":"Star power doesn\u2019t always deliver, as the performance of sci-fi film Shanghai Fortress demonstrated (see WiC463). Despite the presence of Lu Han, who has a huge following among millennials, the blockbuster concluded with a disastrous Rmb121 million ($17 million) in ticket sales. But just a few weeks later the power of celebrity has been crucial to another film\u2019s success.\r\n\r\nThat was the message with Jade Dynasty, the box office winner by a huge margin over the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday. The fantasy film, which is based on a novel of the same name by Xiao Ding, features Xiao Zhan in the lead role, depicting his struggle to change his destiny, as well as the relationships he develops with two women along the way (starlet Li Qin and Meng Meiqi, a member of the popular band Rocket Girls). The movie made Rmb270 million during its opening three days, accounting for nearly 34% of ticket sales during the holiday period. \u201cThis Mid-Autumn Festival we have Xiao Zhan to thank. If it weren\u2019t for him, it would have gone down in history as one of the slowest holidays at the box office. Thankfully, though, the \u2018high traffic star\u2019 has now set the record for…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Xiao-Zhan-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"18"},{"id":43377,"title":"An online cooking star is floored by fatal accident","content":"She makes jianbing (Chinese-style pancakes) on a makeshift grill modified from a torn-apart computer. In other videos, she has cooked beef using a clothing iron and even prepared a sukiyaki meal on an electric heater.\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s queen of short video, Ms Yeah, whose real name is Zhou Xiaohui, has made her name on the internet by using everyday items to make gourmet meals in less than 10 minutes, usually in an office environment. But last week she was in the news for much more tragic reasons after a girl died trying to mimic one of her tutorials.\r\n\r\nTwo girls \u2013 Zhe Zhe, 14 and Xiao Yu, 13 \u2013 were believed to have been following a video Ms Yeah posted in 2017 about making popcorn with a soda can. In the original video, she constructs a contraption involving an empty soda can put on top of a tripod stand. She puts the popcorn kernels inside the can and lights a flame on an alcohol burner beneath, waiting for the corn to pop.\r\n\r\nThe girls did something similar, putting the popcorn into an empty aluminium can and putting alcohol into another can below it. However, the apparatus exploded suddenly. Xiao Yu suffered minor injuries but…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/My-Yeah-3-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"19"},{"id":43372,"title":"A cloning firm is giving animal lovers the chance to recreate their pets","content":"Thirty years ago owning a pet dog or cat was a rarity in China. A ban on pet pooches was only relaxed in 1993, although there are still restrictions on owning dogs more than 35 centimetres tall at the shoulder. Beijing is also in the middle of a crackdown on unregistered dog ownership ahead of the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party coming to power next month. But what\u2019s also clear is that pets are playing more important roles in people\u2019s lives.\r\n\r\nTake the example of pet cloning, which has been in the news recently after a Chinese company called Sinogene produced the country\u2019s first cloned cat \u2013 a British Shorthair called Garlic.\r\n\r\nGarlic#2 was born on August 19 after the original animal died at an early age, leaving its owner \u2013 a 22 year-old businessman named Huang Yu \u2013 heartbroken. Huang had buried Garlic#1 in a local park but after reading that Sinogene was cloning dogs he dug the cat up and put it in his fridge while he made contact with the company.\r\n\r\nGarlic#2 was created from skin cells from Garlic#1, which were injected into eggs harvested from another cat. Four further cats were used as surrogates for the resulting embryos.\r\n\r\nThe…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Garlic-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1616,"name":"Issue 466","date":"Sep 13, 2019","title":"More tycoons behind bars","tagline":"Baofeng\u2019s boss Feng Xin and a string of other prominent Shanghai business leaders have been arrested in recent weeks \u2013 does it signal a new factional purge?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/466.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/466-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":43263,"title":"Why business bosses in Shanghai have been losing sleep","content":"Chinese leaders have regularly relied on anti-corruption campaigns to eliminate adversaries and consolidate power.\r\n\r\nIn 1951 Mao Zedong launched the \u201cThree-Anti\u201d campaign, targeting fellow cadres under the title of rooting out corruption and waste.\r\n\r\nA year later he unleashed a new \u201cFive-Anti\u201d effort, expanding the focus to private sector businessmen. As China\u2019s commercial capital, Shanghai was particularly hard hit. Tens of thousands of landlords and entrepreneurs were prosecuted for crimes ranging from bribery and tax evasion to the theft of state-owned assets. With their businesses nationalised and their assets confiscated, hundreds of people killed themselves during the initial months of the campaign.\r\n\r\nOver the last 40 years Shanghai has regained its commercial crown and re-emerged as China\u2019s biggest onshore financial hub. However, business bosses there have reason to feel a little restless, after a flurry of arrests of local tycoons.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s increasingly stoking a view among more politically sensitive investors that President Xi Jinping\u2019s longrunning anti-graft campaign is paying particular attention to a key faction with its roots in the coastal city.\r\n\r\nThe latest big-name catch\u2026\r\n\r\nDai Zhikang, the boss of conglomerate Zendai Group, turned himself in to police this month, confessing to fraud at his peer-to-peer (P2P) lending business.\r\n\r\nP2P platforms connect investors looking for higher…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Dai-Zhikang-w.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":43299,"title":"Alibaba acquires NetEase\u2019s Koala for $2 billion","content":"In Finland, \u2018Happy Hour\u2019 isn\u2019t just a marketing ploy for bars to sell more booze. Around nine o\u2019clock every evening, S-market, a supermarket chain, offers deep discounts on hundreds of items that are hours from their midnight expiration dates in all of its 900 outlets. It\u2019s part of the supermarket chain\u2019s two-year campaign to reduce food waste.\r\n\r\nAlibaba\u2019s Hema Fresh should probably consider a similar strategy for China. That\u2019s because last week, the artificial intelligence-powered supermarket chain came under fire when a shopper posted a video on weibo showing employees at a Hema outlet throwing away prepared food that looked perfectly edible and fresh. The video quickly went viral, with many netizens complaining that Hema was wasting resources and abusing the environment.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere are many parts of the country that are very impoverished and struggle with food shortages. Even in the cities, a lot of people find it difficult to keep up with the high cost of living. So it is hard to imagine food that can be eaten is instead thrown away. That\u2019s such a waste of resources,\u201d one netizen lambasted.\r\n\r\nIn light of the controversy, Hema said in a statement that it has no choice but to destroy the food owing…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Jack-Ma-w.jpg","category":"M&A","page":"8"},{"id":43296,"title":"What is driving GDI\u2019s HK$100 billion market valuation?","content":"Bank of East Asia\u2019s chairman David Li isn\u2019t viewed as an active investor in stocks. Yet the veteran banker has been taking a keen interest in Guangdong Investment (GDI), a state-owned enterprise described by some analysts as one of the best of the \u201cGreater Bay Area concept stocks\u201d.\r\n\r\nSince June this year Li has raised his stake in GDI six times, spending nearly HK$42 million ($5.4 million). So much so that Apple Daily wondered whether the 80 year-old might have invested more money in GDI over the period than in the Hong Kong bank that he chairs.\r\n\r\nLi, who owns a 0.35% stake in GDI, is no stranger to the company\u2019s business. He has served as an independent director since 1998, after helping the Guangdong government to restructure $4 billion of debt in the controversial company that preceded it (then better known as GITIC).\r\n\r\nGDI has since become one of the lower profile SOEs on the Hong Kong bourse. Yet it has been delivering stable returns for its investors, with its share price increasing 14 times over the past 20 years. And a punchy 60% rise since 2017 \u2013 when the State Council first unveiled the Greater Bay Area (GBA) concept \u2013 has…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Wanlu-Lake-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"9"},{"id":43274,"title":"China to invest $280 billion in Iranian oil","content":"When China introduced a 5% tariff on imports of US crude this month, it seemed a self-defeating move. Although it might hurt the world\u2019s largest oil and gas exporter \u2013 the US took that mantle from Saudi Arabia this year, CNN says \u2013 it would surely harm the world\u2019s largest importer of oil even more.\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s largest refiner, Sinopec, was one of the first into the firing line, having tried to take advantage of an apparent lull in Sino-US tensions to restart oil imports earlier this summer. According to Bloomberg, at least six supertankers filled with US crude were en route to China when the new tariffs were announced this month. This stranded several in Chinese coastal waters as Sinopec left the oil on board rather than pay the pricy import tax. (Sina quoted a source as saying that the new tariff will add $3 a barrel to the cost of the crude in the tankers.)\r\n\r\nLate last week more of Beijing\u2019s reasoning became clearer after Petroleum Economist magazine reported that the Chinese are planning to invest $280 billion in Iran\u2019s oil, gas and petrochemicals sector over the next five years.\r\n\r\nThe magazine cited a senior official from Iran\u2019s Oil Ministry, who said…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Tanker-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"10"},{"id":43277,"title":"Macau\u2019s new boss coy about casino licencing plan","content":"Gambling on election results has become big business in recent years. Colourful candidates help juice up the betting. For instance, when Donald Trump first announced his campaign for the presidency in August 2015 the odds on his victory were 25 to 1, reported Fortune magazine. They were still 5 to 1 on the day of the election, indicating he was still considered a rank outsider even in a two horse race. One gutsy gambler made $2.5 million betting on Trump\u2019s victory, according to Betfair.\r\n\r\nMeanwhile Trump is currently the bookies\u2019 hot favourite to get re-elected next November: Ladbrokes have him at 11 to 10. By contrast the chances of Elizabeth Warren winning the presidency are 9 to 2 and Joe Biden is at 5 to 1.\r\n\r\nParadoxically in the gambling hub of Macau all bets were off when it came to the election of the territory\u2019s new leader. That\u2019s because there was only one candidate: Ho Iat-seng was elected unopposed as chief executive-designate by a committee of 400 local representatives at the end of August.\r\n\r\nHo takes on the role in December. His election victory was approved last week by the State Council, and its spokesman was complimentary, describing the city\u2019s new boss…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Ho-Lat-seng-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"11"},{"id":43280,"title":"Ratio cut unlocks $126 billion in loan liquidity","content":"China is entering a new era where the number \u2018five\u2019 will feature very prominently. When it comes to communications all the talk is of a world of 5G and for economic growth the figure 5% is increasingly spoken of.\r\n\r\nEconomists have anticipated the day when China\u2019s annual GDP growth dips below 6% for many years. But an increasing number are now baking it into their forecasts for 2019 and 2020 too, after growth slipped to 6.2% during the second quarter and seems to have slowed further in recent months.\r\n\r\nGDP growth with a \u2018five\u2019 handle on it is a particularly sensitive issue for the Chinese government. It has long cited 6% as the magic minimum to ensure long-term development and hit its targets for a \u201cmoderately prosperous society\u201d at the end of the current 13th five-year plan in 2020.\r\n\r\nAs such, there are not only questions about whether the central government will want to reveal sub-6% growth over the coming months, but also whether it has happened already. Earlier this year, for example, the Brookings Institute calculated that China had been overstating its GDP figures by an average of 1.7 percentage points per annum between 2008 and 2016 (on this basis, GDP growth…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/5G-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"12"},{"id":43260,"title":"Groundbreaking event looks at where China stands in the green economy","content":"Some researchers believe the fires raging in the Amazon, the world\u2019s largest rainforest, may have their root cause in the fraying trade relations between the US and China. The logic goes that tit-for-tat tariffs have decimated US soybean and beef exports to the Middle Kingdom, and encouraged farmers in Latin America to pick up the slack and ramp up their production for export to China. The problem? This often entails a practice termed slash-and-burn, where forested land is cleared with fire, making it usable for growing crops or grazing cattle. Brazil\u2019s soybean exports to China jumped almost a third last year, with China buying about 80% of the country\u2019s exports of that commodity, according to Reuters. Meanwhile the number of forest blazes across Brazil spiked 83% on the year to 72,843 incidents as of August \u2013 even in the absence of droughts.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s open to debate whether a direct correlation between those pieces of data can be proven. What is unquestionable, however, is China\u2019s outsized influence on the earth\u2019s ecological wellbeing 0ver the past four decades \u2013 as a result of its breakneck economic growth. Apart from industrial waste and pollution, the country\u2019s rising consumer culture has put an additional strain…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Patrick-Brown-w.jpg","category":"Conferences, Environment","page":"13"},{"id":43284,"title":"Hunan TV\u2019s latest hit reality show gives an old format a new twist","content":"Caring for an aging parent can be stressful. But for some adult children travelling with parents can be even worse, with help required for everything from moving through airport security to navigating hotel lobbies and finding favourite food.\r\n\r\nA new reality TV series in China is giving a taste of what travelling with older loved ones feels like.\r\n\r\nWhen I Grow Up follows a similar format to the earlier hit Dad, Where Are We Going? (see WiC213) \u2013 a show that had to be pulled off the air because of a government ban. It filmed celebrity dads with their young kids and was incredibly popular but irked officialdom \u2013 children of stars should not be used in shows warned Xinhua as they \u201cfall prey to instant fame\u201d. Hunan Satellite TV, which made Dad, Where Are We Going?, devised the new show to keep the flavour of the original but with a tweak that gets round the ban on using celebs \u2018young\u2019 children.\r\n\r\nThis time round it follows five fathers who take their older offspring to rural Sichuan where they fend for themselves (basically, doing their own laundry as well as cooking their own food).\r\n\r\nFor some, this is a major struggle. One of the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Actors-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":43290,"title":"University aghast after Chinese students denied entry","content":"America was once the top choice for Chinese parents wanting to send their children to study overseas. Now, a combination of visa refusals, unexpected repatriations and tighter scrutiny of Chinese students, have mainland families reconsidering (see WiC459).\r\n\r\nIn the recent weeks there have been three more cases that have left the Chinese with the feeling they are no longer welcome in the US.\r\n\r\nThe first case on August 18 involved the deportation of a student carrying a bullet-proof vest in his luggage. The import of \u201csoft\u201d body armour is legal, according to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). For mainland students, buying such items in China \u2013 where they are cheaper \u2013 and then taking them to the US is one way of responding to concerns over gun violence. Some netizens have argued it is similar to foreigners bringing air pollution masks to China.\r\n\r\nBut for reasons which are unclear, the student was still deported. He said he declared the item; custom officials say he did not. In a statement posted on its website the CBP added that a subsequent search of the student\u2019s residence in the US uncovered several firearms, including a prohibited \u2018bumpstock\u2019 device. The latter part of the story…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Arizona-State-University-w.jpg","category":"Education, Society","page":"18"},{"id":43293,"title":"CCTV\u2019s news anchors allowed to get witty in social media push","content":"In one form or another, China\u2019s nightly TV news simulcast has been around since 1958 \u2013 the year its state-run broadcaster CCTV began beaming its own television content inside Beijing.\r\n\r\nCCTV went nationwide in 1978 \u2013 and even today all the other TV channels have to air its news broadcast at 7pm every evening. At its peak in the 1990s, some 250 million people regularly tuned in to the show each night.\r\n\r\nBut since then viewership has dwindled to about 135 million because audiences were able to avoid the stiff, propaganda-laden show by watching other content online.\r\n\r\nThe recipe for the programme is so predictable that there is even well-known ditty to sum up the half-hour long format: \u201cIn the first 10 minutes: the leaders are busy. Middle 10 minutes: the common people are happy and healthy. The last 10 minutes: the rest of the world is in chaos.\u201d It rhymes in Chinese.\r\n\r\nThere was mild controversy last year when a professor from the Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications dubbed all non-watchers as \u201clow-end\u201d and dismissed them as \u201clazy, greedy people who don\u2019t know how to be grateful\u201d. That provocative remark wasn\u2019t likely to lure back the younger audience who\u2019d already deserted the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/09\/Li-Zimeng-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]}]}