{"issues":[{"id":1723,"name":"Issue 570","date":"Jan 21, 2022","title":"Universally popular?","tagline":"Beijing\u2019s new Universal Studios resort suffers a winter slowdown \u2013 but could the longer-term business challenge come from the metaverse?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/570.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/570-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":51484,"title":"How the metaverse may help local rivals challenge Disney and Universal","content":"For decades South Sky Column, a 1,080-metre sandstone pillar, has been a must-see for visitors to Zhangjiajie in Hunan province.\r\n\r\nIn 2010 the authorities at the national park renamed the popular spot \u2018Hallelujah Mountain\u2019 because it was said to have inspired the flying islands in James Cameron\u2019s Avatar. Local officials rebuffed criticism that they were fawning over Hollywood fare and insisted the rebrand could promote one of China\u2019s greatest natural wonders and lure foreign tourists.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOfficials there are still fascinated with avatar-ish reality. In November they unveiled the Zhangjiajie Metaverse Research and Development Centre, with aspirations to build a metaverse-based theme park. \u201cWe are not just going after a hype concept. We seriously want to do this,\u201d the head of the park\u2019s R&D team assured the Global Times.\r\n\r\nMixing theme parks and the metaverse offers a new twist to the story as Chinese companies and tourism bureaus renew their efforts to create a domestic rival for Disney. One of the country\u2019s biggest conglomerates \u2013 Wanda \u2013 has already tried to beat the \u2018House of Mouse\u2019, before retrenching rather miserably. Will domestic players really achieve parity with the formidable American giant? And how are Shanghai Disneyland and the newly opened Universal Studios in Beijing…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Universal-Beijing-w.jpg","category":"Talking Point, Tourism","page":"1"},{"id":51479,"title":"What do rate cuts signal for the renminbi?","content":"How much of an increase in interest rates should we expect this year? In the United States the Federal Reserve is coming under major pressure to raise rates because of inflation, which surged to 7% in December, the highest level in 40 years. The consensus view is that rates will begin to rise again in March, with three increases over the remainder of the year. JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon reckons the Fed might even need to raise the benchmark rate seven times, although he hasn\u2019t specified how soon that might happen.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe People\u2019s Bank of China (PBoC) has just taken the opposite track, however, announcing a reduction of the one-year loan prime rate by 10 basis points to 3.7% on Thursday. Also this week, the central bank cut the five-year rate \u2013 used for pricing mortgages \u2013 for the first time since April 2020.\r\n\r\nThe tale of the two monetary policies is, in part, a story of two different responses to the Covid crisis. The yuan has appreciated by about 8.5% against the US dollar over the last two years, helped by a surge in China\u2019s exports to Covid-constrained markets around the world, a trend that has fuelled record trade surpluses…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/RMB-w.jpg","category":"Rise of the RMB","page":"7"},{"id":51476,"title":"New TV show zeroes in on corrupt officials","content":"In 2018 Sun Lijun was promoted to the role of vice minister. At 48 the Australian-educated official was given responsibility for maintaining domestic security (including in the special regions of Hong Kong and Macau). Later he was appointed deputy head of a high-level taskforce sent to Wuhan in February 2020 to fight the Covid-19 outbreak. Only two months after that, however, the high flier was arrested.\r\n\r\nIn making public the decision to expel Sun from the Chinese Communist Party last September, the anti-graft watchdog the CCDI opted for unusually stern wording. Sun\u2019s wrongdoing included \u201cgroundless criticism\u201d of the Party\u2019s policies and spreading political rumours that had \u201cseriously undermined the unity of the Party and endangered political security\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAfter being sent to the frontline to fight against Covid-19 in Wuhan, Sun deserted his post, the CCDI added, and took \u201cconfidential materials\u201d without authorisation. Earlier this month, Xinhua reported that Sun was facing prosecution for taking bribes, stock market misbehaviour and even possessing weapons illegally.\r\n\r\nGiven the severity of the allegations, not to mention the sensitive nature of Sun\u2019s previous post in public security, there was plenty of interest in the latest instalment of the CCDI\u2019s anti-graft documentary Zero Tolerance televised this week.\r\n\r\nSun\u2019s case was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Xi-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"8"},{"id":51471,"title":"How did China react to the recent political unrest in Kazakhstan","content":"On January 2 fury at a massive hike in petrol prices in Kazakhstan spilled over into street protests. The demonstrations began in Zhanaozen, an oil producing city near the Caspian Sea, and quickly spread to the country\u2019s largest city, Almaty, 2,000 kilometres further east.\r\n\r\nKazakhstan, which shares a 1,100 kilometre border with China, is key to Beijing\u2019s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with two of the five main corridors passing through the huge central Asian country. Kazakhstan was where Chinese leader Xi Jinping first announced the BRI back in 2013. Indeed so significant is the resource-rich country that its leaders like to refer to it as the \u201cbuckle\u201d that holds the BRI together.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSo how did China react to the week of protests that ended with the deployment of Russian-led troops, the killing of over 200 people (by Kazakh forces), and the arrest of 9,000 more?\r\n\r\nThe short answer is that Beijing was cautious, largely taking a wait-and-see approach as the protests spread and became more political in nature \u2013 ultimately leading to the ousting of Nursultan Nazarbayev (a former president) from the chair of the National Security Council and arrest of pro-China politician Karim Massimov on charges of treason.\r\n\r\nLater, once the unrest…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Kazakhstan-w.jpg","category":"Belt and Road","page":"9"},{"id":51474,"title":"Sino-Indian rivalry hurts Nepalese power exports","content":"On paper the synergies seem undeniable: to the north is China, with a track record in hydroelectric power projects. In the middle is Nepal, whose topography is suited to hydroelectric power generation. And to the south is India, which needs new sources of electricity that reduce its dependence on coal-fired power.\r\n\r\nBut then there are is the political reality: New Delhi is deeply suspicious of Chinese activity in Nepal and refuses to buy any power generated from Nepali projects with Chinese involvement.\r\n\r\nAs a result Nepal has struggled to monetise its status as a surplus electricity producer \u2013 eventually securing a convoluted deal with Delhi last November in which India only buys hydropower generated by two dams built with Indian assistance.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nNepal was until last August a net power importer. That changed with the opening of the Upper Tamokshi Hydroelectric Project on the Nepal-Tibet border. The 456 MW dam is three times larger than the next largest hydropower generator in Nepal and its launch converted the Himalayan nation\u2019s power deficit to a sizeable power surplus.\r\n\r\nThe transformative project \u2013 built by Chinese state-owned civil engineering company Sinohydro \u2013 was initially conceived in 2007 but completion was delayed first by a massive earthquake in 2015…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Upper-Tamakosi2-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"11"},{"id":51467,"title":"Samsung wants to reclaim China phone crown","content":"If a story begins with the opening line \u201conce upon a time\u201d, most readers make a couple of early assumptions. One: that the events being depicted happened in the days of yore. And two: that the tale is going to be make-believe.\r\n\r\nIn South Korea, the equivalent opening is \u201cback when tigers used to smoke\u201d. The origins of the phrase are disputed but seem to stem from the role the predator plays in local folklore. And for Samsung Electronics it must sometimes feel as if tigers were smoking when its phones were last popular with Chinese customers. The tale of its smartphone sales is a sorry one, with a chastening decline for its flagship Galaxy brand after the mid-2010s, particularly in the low-end and mid-range segments, where customers are the most price-sensitive. Within the space of a few years, its market share in Chinese smartphone sales fell from 20% to just 1% in 2018, mostly at the hands of Chinese rivals Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe story of Samsung\u2019s decline draws on ancient rivalries and modern geopolitics. But as we reported in WiC343, many of its local users were also incensed when it recalled its Galaxy Note 7 range in 10…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Galaxy-Fold-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"12"},{"id":51463,"title":"After 32 years Japanese icon shutters Zhuhai camera plant","content":"Photography once seemed to be a dying art, especially among the generation born from the mid-1990s. Generation Zs have only known the digital world and the instant gratification of much of its technology. Smartphones shoot streams of immediately-available photos, most of which are instantly deleted. But a coming of age is bringing the polar opposite for some millennials, who are hunting for authenticity. They are readier to take their time to savour a skill or experience, enjoying even the imperfections. Hence the new interest in \u201cold-fashioned\u201d choices like the single-reflex lens (SLR) and manual camera. Younger photography fans are even choosing to buy their own film (and process it!), much to the delight of old-school brands like Ilford Photo.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe trend still hasn\u2019t been enough to save Canon\u2019s camera production facilities in China. On January 12, it announced it was shutting a factory that\u2019s been based in the southern city of Zhuhai since 1990. The company blamed the ubiquity of the smartphone \u2013 which has brought a reduction in demand for compact digital cameras \u2013 as well as other challenges like the pandemic and a shortage of chips.\r\n\r\nMuch has changed since Canon\u2019s then-president Kaku Ryuzaburo received a visit from Deng Yingchao…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Canon-w-1.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"13"},{"id":51460,"title":"Why AI giant SenseTime is moving into cosmetics","content":"After raising over $500 million in an initial public offering in Hong Kong (see WiC568), it didn\u2019t take long for AI technology firm SenseTime to put some of the proceeds to use.\r\n\r\nIn early January, tech news portal Cyzone reported that SenseTime had made a strategic investment in Yingruo Technology (branded as IntelliMirror in English) for an unspecified amount. Yingruo collects data for brands and retail stores to streamline their operations. But the investment also came at a time when Yingruo is trying its luck in smart retailing itself. Last September, it launched B+ Tube, a cosmetics retailer with six outlets in Changsha in Hunan province. The stores use proprietary technology to identify skin tones and the skin conditions of shoppers.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAfter the analysis, the software makes customised product suggestions and offers tutorials on how to fix problems like blemishes and wrinkles. Matching skin colours with the B+Tube database, customers can find the best make-up products for their complexions. They can also try out the cosmetics through filters on the store\u2019s augmented reality mirrors, without actually having to apply the make-up to their faces.\r\n\r\nSome say the service feels like the \u201coffline version of Li Jiaqi\u201d \u2013 a reference to China\u2019s biggest beauty…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Lipsticks-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"14"},{"id":51457,"title":"Bird\u2019s nest maker to test IPO\u2008market\u2019s appetite","content":"Bytedance\u2019s investment in Weinian Brand Management looked doomed from the start. Not long after the two announced a deal \u2013 which saw the parent company of TikTok acquiring a 1.5% stake in the influencer incubator last July \u2013 Weinian was taken to court by its most popular \u2018asset\u2019, the food and lifestyle influencer Li Ziqi (see WiC558).\r\n\r\nWhile the details of the legal dispute were not made public, many speculated that Li was unhappy that Weinian had hijacked her brand and the majority share of the influencer\u2019s wildly successful instant food company. In protest, the 32 year-old KOL has since stopped updating her widely followed YouTube and Douyin video-streaming accounts.\r\n\r\nWhile Weinian also manages a stable of other influencers, Li is, by far, its biggest moneymaker. In light of the ongoing legal saga, Bytedance announced that it was unwinding the deal that reportedly valued the KOL management firm at Rmb5 billion ($783 million).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nDubbed by her fans as \u201cthe queen of DIY\u201d, Li\u2019s online tutorials often promote \u2018slow living\u2019 rather then fast food. She dyes her clothing with fruit skins and grows her own produce. One video shows her growing soy beans to brew her own soy sauce, for instance.\r\n\r\nThe Sichuan-based influencer does…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Li-Ziqi-red-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"15"},{"id":51454,"title":"How the Kindle was killed by WeChat","content":"There are different reasons to get a Kindle. Purists like the fact that the electronic reader\u2019s screen is black-and-white so it doesn\u2019t require a backlight and reads more like a paper book than a computer screen, for instance. And its fans almost never have to worry about the device running low on power, as battery life can extend for weeks instead of hours.\r\n\r\nIn China, however, Amazon\u2019s electronic reader is serving another purpose that has nothing to do with the pleasures of reading. The best use for the device, some netizens have joked, is as a cover for a cup of instant noodles.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe fact that the Kindle has been relegated to the role of keeping noodles warm might hint at how the device isn\u2019t as popular as it once was. That\u2019\u2019s why when rumours started circulating that Amazon was pulling Kindle out of China, few people were shocked. Mind you, that hasn\u2019t stopped the news from becoming a big trending topic on social media.\r\n\r\n\u201cIs it because everyone is getting takeaway and no one is making instant noodles that people have stopped buying Kindle?\u201d one mocked.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt wasn\u2019t until I read the news this morning that I remembered that I have a Kindle…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Kindle-w.jpg","category":"Media & Gaming","page":"16"},{"id":51451,"title":"Gao Yuanyuan plays a workaholic juggling family obligations in new show","content":"According to a Chinese axiom, men make houses while women make homes. But China\u2019s latest hit TV series challenges that traditional belief, examining if it is possible for a woman to be high-achieving in the workplace while also fulfill the archetype of a loving wife and mother at home.\r\n\r\nPerfect Couple, which was released this month on Tencent Video and Hunan Satellite TV simultaneously, has dominated ratings as well as social media chatter. It stars actress Gao Yuanyuan in the lead role. It\u2019s her first acting gig after a lengthy maternity leave in which the 42 year-old gave birth to a daughter in 2019 with Taiwanese actor Mark Chao. So anticipation over her return among her legions of fans was high.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe show follows the story of Chen Shan (played by Gao), a 40 year-old lawyer in Shanghai. A career-minded woman, her goal is to make partner at her firm but in order to do so, she\u2019s told she must sign a new client that promises to bring big business to the firm. On the other hand, her husband Sun Lei (Zhang Luyi) chooses to put family first and career second, so he ends up becoming the primary caretaker for their child.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Gao-Yuanyuan-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":51446,"title":"KFC and Pop Mart tie-up attacked for food waste","content":"To celebrate 35 years of operating in China, fast-food chain KFC commissioned a series of cute figurines from the wildly popular local toy maker Pop Mart.\r\n\r\nThe tiny figures \u2013 wide-eyed sprites styled as popular food items \u2013 were to be gifted to anyone who bought a Rmb99 ($15.58) family meal.\r\n\r\nBut the problem was that the \u201cDimoo\u201d dolls were too popular, leading collectors to buy the meals simply as a way of acquiring the limited-edition items.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe unwanted food was then discarded, prompting the China Consumer Association (CAA) to remind KFC of an anti-wastage law enacted in April last year.\r\n\r\nThe law \u201cclearly requires catering companies to consciously resist food waste, remind consumers to consume in moderation, and take measures to prevent consumer waste, when necessary,\u201d it said in a statement.\r\n\r\nThe CAA went on to accuse KFC of encouraging \u201cirrational and excessive\u201d purchases by giving the dolls away in so-called \u201cblind boxes\u201d \u2013 meaning that the recipients don\u2019t know which of the six models they are getting till they open the box.\r\n\r\nPop Mart is, by some estimates, China\u2019s most popular toy brand (see WiC468 for our first mention of the company). Founded by 34 year-old advertising graduate Wang Ning in 2010, the company…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/KFC-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]},{"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":1722,"name":"Issue 569","date":"Jan 14, 2022","title":"When will it end?","tagline":"Is there a timetable for China to exit its \u2018zero Covid\u2019 policy?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/WiC569.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/569-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":51412,"title":"Debate rages over the endgame for Beijing\u2019s costly \u2018zero Covid\u2019 policy","content":"\u201cHow could some of China\u2019s remarkable achievements be made to look less credible by the Western media?\u201d That was the question from China\u2019s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Twitter this month. \u201cEasy. Just add \u2018at what cost\u2019 to the headline,\u201d Zhao answered himself, providing screenshots of a series of English-language media reports about China. All the headlines ended with the phrase \u201cat what cost\u201d, he noted, no matter whether the discussion was about economic growth, the development of the local tech sector, or fighting pollution.\r\n\r\nZhao\u2019s complaint underlines a clash of perspectives. Beijing takes enormous pride in the economic achievements of recent decades, especially in lifting 800 million people out of poverty and building the world\u2019s second largest economy from the socio-economic chaos that marred much of the 1960s and 1970s under Mao Zedong.\r\n\r\nCommentators from outside China often argue that this collective accomplishment came at the price of environmental disaster, rampant corruption and surging disparities in economic opportunity.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSince the beginning of the year, the same \u2018at what cost\u2019 qualification has been repeatedly raised again. This time the question is being asked about Beijing\u2019s response to the pandemic. As the Omicron variant pushes the numbers of newly confirmed cases to new…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Xian-w.jpg","category":"China and the World, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":51399,"title":"Apple regains top spot in China and debunks decoupling theories","content":"The year 2022 began on a triumphant note for Apple when it became the first company in history to reach $3 trillion in market capitalisation, although its stock has since receded slightly from its highwater mark.\r\n\r\nThe pandemic has powered much of the recent climb in its share price, following massive sales of Apple\u2019s devices to people looking for different ways of working and socialising in the unprecedented conditions of the last 18 months. Some of the investor excitement about Apple stems from its stellar performance in China too, where it grabbed top spot in smartphone sales for the first time in six years in October, taking over from local challenger Vivo.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe iPhone held onto its lead in November with nearly 24% of sales, according to Counterpoint Research. Indeed, business for Tim Cook\u2019s firm has been growing at a much faster pace in China than the wider market.\r\n\r\nCounterpoint says that much of the surge has been fuelled by a frenetic response to the iPhone 13, a newer model with a better camera that was priced at a lower level than its predecessor, the iPhone 12.\r\n\r\nThere are other trends working in Apple\u2019s favour as well, with the suggestion that more of China\u2019s…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Tim-Cook-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"7"},{"id":51409,"title":"Huge Chinese demand drives up lithium prices","content":"Go to a Chinese restaurant offering fresh seafood and you may well find that there aren\u2019t any prices on display. That\u2019s because the restaurateur plans to gauge how much you\u2019re willing, or able to pay: the local price or the tourist price?\r\n\r\nThe Cantonese slang for this kind of price gouging is \u201cseafood prices\u201d and in recent weeks media in southern China have used it to describe what\u2019s been happening in the lithium market. The silvery white metal is a key component of electric vehicle (EV) batteries and a host of energy storage devices, which have been experiencing explosive demand. Prices for lithium have consequently been pushed up to record levels.\r\n\r\nIn January last year, lithium carbonate was quoted at Rmb77,000 ($12,101) per tonne. The price had already surpassed Rmb300,000 per tonne as of this month and battery makers are now anticipating prices to spike further in 2022.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAccording to Rio Tinto, the EV industry alone is on course to require three million tonnes of lithium a year by 2030, up from 350,000 tonnes today. As a result, industry experts believe the supply-demand imbalance for the metal will persist until the middle of the decade, when more production capacity comes on stream.\r\n\r\nThe increase…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Lithium-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"9"},{"id":51396,"title":"Evergrande told to destroy its Hainan towers","content":"On its official website the World Record Association (WRA) describes itself as a commercial firm that provides a \u201cquality record service for the whole world\u201d. It was established \u201cthrough approval from the Hong Kong government,\u201d it adds.\r\n\r\nCurrent record holders include Harshvardhan Gupta from India, who raced through 188 half push-ups in 60 seconds, and China\u2019s Zhang Guohang, who built the world\u2019s biggest pen at 202cm tall.\r\n\r\nChina Evergrande was another new entrant to the WRA\u2019s record books in 2015, reporting the briskest home sales ever. This was confirmed by certification officer Michael Vincent Heister, who noted that new apartments at its Ocean Flower Island complex in Hainan had been selling at a pace of one every 3.2 seconds.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWith a reclamation area about a quarter the size of Macau, Ocean Flower was described as the world\u2019s biggest \u2018man-made island\u2019 when construction commenced in 2015. Evergrande then invested more than Rmb160 billion ($25.2 billion) in its costliest \u2018tourism property\u2019 project yet.\r\n\r\nBut the accolades for Ocean Flower since its record-breaking sales push have been rather less glorious. The Economic Observer reported early last year how it had topped an architecture magazine\u2019s list of \u2018China\u2019s ugliest structures\u2019. Much worse, a former mayor who had enthusiastically…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Ocean-Flower-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"10"},{"id":51403,"title":"China Mobile spends $13.2 billion on buyback","content":"There are many ways to respond to a mid-life crisis. Some people overhaul their lifestyles and adopt healthier habits. Some find new interests. Others splash the cash to cheer themselves up or hook up with someone new.\r\n\r\nChina Mobile has just tried a mixture of all four, although as domestic website Telecom Insights argues, the company is a little early for \u2018mid-life\u2019 angst (it was founded in 1997 following the break up of China Telecommunications.).\r\n\r\nOnce a darling of the New York and Hong Kong bourses, China Mobile was eclipsed in investors\u2019 eyes by a younger generation of Chinese stars like the BAT troika and Bytedance. As a slower moving telco, it seemed to have lost the dynamism and growth of its youth.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIts stock price has been on a consistently downward trajectory too, since hitting a high of HK$154.2 in October 2007 in Hong Kong. By the beginning of January last year it had fallen to a low of HK$45.5. The financial burden of installing 5G networks was crushing and geopolitical pressures meant that it was heading for a delisting from the NYSE as well (a move executed early last summer).\r\n\r\nBut China Mobile is in the process of reinventing itself. New York…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/China-Mobile-w.jpg","category":"Telecoms","page":"11"},{"id":51416,"title":"Mandopop icon blazes trail with popular NFTs","content":"All kinds of celebrities are getting into the business of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs \u2013 tokens that take the form of digital assets like cartoons (or pieces of art, as admirers prefer to describe them).\r\n\r\nProfessional footballers in England have gone crazy for high-profile NFTs like the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) brand, for instance, spending huge sums on the collection of 10,000 unique designs.\r\n\r\nRapper Eminem is another fan of the Bored Apes, acquiring one of the cartoon monkeys on New Year\u2019s Eve for almost half a million dollars.\r\n\r\nOther celebrities are creating NFTs themselves, like the actress Lindsay Lohan, who has released a canine-focused token she calls \u201cfursona\u201d. Hotel heiress and celeb Paris Hilton has done the same (she is said to be so enraptured by the world of blockchain at the moment that she called two of her dogs Crypto Hilton and Ether Reum).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nNFTs have been gaining popularity in China as well, with Mandopop star Jay Chou grabbing headlines when Phanta Bears, a collection of 10,000 algorithmically-generated digital avatars \u2013 and a spin-off from Chou\u2019s PHANTACi fashion brand \u2013 sold out in less than 40 minutes on New Year\u2019s Day. Ezek, a blockchain entertainment platform, hosted the sale. Fans of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Jay-Chou-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"12"},{"id":51406,"title":"CANbridge underperforms after its recent IPO","content":"The definition of a rare disease varies from country to country. In the US it is defined as a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 Americans, while in the European Union the threshold is set at an incidence of five in 10,000. The latest unofficial metric in China is one in 10,000 for newborns or an overall caseload of less than 140,000.\r\n\r\nThis means that Europe and the US recognise some 7,000 diseases as rare. China, which is only beginning to address the treatment of rare diseases, uses an official list which categorises 121 illnesses for their rarity.\r\n\r\nYet China, by dint of its huge population, is believed to have the largest numbers of rare disease patients in the world \u2013 making it a huge market for companies able to address their needs. One such firm is CANbridge Pharmaceuticals (or Beihai Kangcheng) which listed in Hong Kong last month.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nCANbridge was founded by an alum from Peking and Brown universities called James Qun Xue in 2012 to focus on the treatment of rare diseases such as glioblastoma (an aggressive form of brain cancer), hunter syndrome (a genetic disease that inhibits the breakdown of sugars) and haemophilia A.\r\n\r\nCANbridge is part of a new wave…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Syringe-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"13"},{"id":51422,"title":"Winter sports getting more popular \u2013 and dangerous \u2013 thanks to KOLs","content":"Anyone who has taken a family vacation to the slopes knows that skiing is an expensive sport. But with the Winter Olympics coming up, snow sports have seen a jump in popularity in China.\r\n\r\nFuelled by the build-up to the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing and Zhangjiakou (in Hebei province), more and more people have embraced winter sports. Developers have also ramped up the construction of ski resorts. According to China News Service, as of the beginning of last year, there were at least 650 ice rinks and 800 ski resorts (some indoor) in\u2008China, up 317% and 41% respectively from 2015.\r\n\r\n\u201cSkiing is a sport that helps people forget about their worries and be in touch with nature,\u201d says Zhang Yaqin, a Beijing resident who has been skiing for six years. \u201cEven though my friends don\u2019t know how to ski yet, they want to experience the fun of it more than ever.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOne staffer at Beijing Vanke Shijinglong Ski Resort told Duozhu, a financial news commentator, that at least 2,000 people had visited the resort in the outskirts of Beijing on New Year\u2019s Day. The influx meant many missed out on tickets to ski. Demand was so strong that many rental companies ran…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Snowboarder-w.jpg","category":"China Tourist","page":"14"},{"id":51419,"title":"After a 25-year run a popular TV variety show is suddenly replaced","content":"The first episode of Happy Camp aired on July 7, 1997. The variety show on Hunan Satellite TV featured Li Xiang and Li Bing (unrelated) as hosts. The latter, who had a background in news reporting, didn\u2019t bring much spark to the show so he was gradually phased out.\r\n\r\nAfter many auditions, the producers landed on He Jiong, a Hunan native from Changsha, as a replacement. With his comedic timing and warm personality, He made the format more fun to watch, the National Business Daily commented. At the end of 2004, Li Xiang also departed, passing on the hosting gig to Xie Na. Along with new additions Wu Xin, Li Weijia and Hai Tao, the five presenters called themselves the \u2018Happy Family\u2019.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHappy Camp\u2019s format has also evolved over time, focusing less on celebrity interviews and performances. Instead hosts have more freedom to improvise, making the series less scripted and more unpredictable. It later updated the original concept further, adding games that involve the viewers so the experience became even more interactive.\r\n\r\n\u201cHappy Camp has had many revamps as it evolved with the times: from the early talkshow format to becoming \u2018entertainment for the masses\u2019, to putting grassroot audiences centre-stage and becoming a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Happy-Camp-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"15"},{"id":51393,"title":"Xinhua\u2019s skit strikes back at comments from Britain\u2019s top spy at MI6","content":"Richard Moore, the head of Britain\u2019s foreign intelligence service (MI6) isn\u2019t the most prolific of Tweeters. But when Chinese state news agency Xinhua made a James Bond-style video to lampoon a speech of Moore\u2019s last week, he \u2018clapped\u2019 back, thanking them for the \u201cfree publicity\u201d.\r\n\r\nCalled No Time to Die Laughing \u2013 a pun on the most recent 007 movie title \u2013 the sketch mocked Moore\u2019s claim that China is now \u201cthe single biggest priority for MI6\u201d. Xinhua thought differently, painting Britain\u2019s longstanding ally the US as a much greater threat to its future.\r\n\r\n\u201cGood grief that\u2019s not China we are talking about. That\u2019s America!!!\u201d exclaims one of the fictional agents after muddling up the case files on overseas espionage in the UK.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe high-budget Xinhua sketch is premised on two British agents \u2013 played by Chinese actors attempting their best English accents \u2013 meeting at a castle somewhere in the UK to call their CIA liaison officer. Throughout the four-minute clip the characters \u2013 named James Pond and Black Window \u2013 use lines from Moore\u2019s November speech, such as MI6\u2019s new slogan to \u201cbe open to stay secret\u201d.\r\n\r\nPosting the clip on Twitter on January 4, Xinhua promised \u201crib-tickling moments\u201d and tagged the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Daniel-Craig-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"17"}]},{"id":1721,"name":"Issue 568","date":"Jan 7, 2022","title":"Making sense of SenseTime","tagline":"In spite of being blacklisted by Washington, SenseTime co-founder Xu Li saw his AI firm\u2019s IPO perform strongly when it made its Hong Kong debut","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/568.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/568-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":51366,"title":"SenseTime stock spikes higher after Hong Kong IPO, despite US sanctions","content":"The 1956 novel Minority Report, which was turned into a blockbuster film of the same name by Steven Spielberg in 2002, underlined the Cold War anxieties of its author Philip Dick. It also questioned whether technological breakthroughs would help tyranny prevail over liberty.\r\n\r\nMany of the fictional technologies portrayed by Dick half a century ago are now today\u2019s reality as touch screens, retina scans and perhave sonalised advertising all become fixtures of everyday life. Predictive policing and self-driving cars are not yet so widespread. For them to become more commonplace, further breakthroughs in technologies like algorithmic surveillance are required.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAn eight year-old firm from China called SenseTime is a major part of the revolution in artificial intelligence, with know-how that could help governments better manage their cities and carmakers roll out vast fleets of driverless vehicles. Fuelled by an atmosphere of deeply entrenched trade and tech tension between China and the US, the company has also found itself as a subject of suspicion in Washington political circles, however. Indeed, SenseTime is now on the receiving end of some of the same sanctions efforts that have hampered 5G leader Huawei\u2019s commercial prospects for much of the last 18 months.\r\n\r\nYet the adverse attention seems…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Sensetime-NYSE-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":51344,"title":"How will the A-share market and Hang Seng Index perform in 2022?","content":"The Hong Kong stock market was humming along in bullish mood in late 2020, following a 17% rebound in the Hang Seng Index (HSI) in the fourth quarter of the year. The rally was fuelled by hopes that more of the Chinese internet heavyweights would turn away from the US markets and go public on the Hong Kong bourse, despite the unfortunate experience of Ant Group, which had been forced by the government to postpone what would have been the world\u2019s biggest ever IPO in November that year.\r\n\r\nThe benchmark index ended 2020 at 27,273 and strategists at most of the investment banks were predicting that the HSI could top 30,000 by the end of 2021 (it did touch that threshold briefly in February).\r\n\r\nHowever, Hong Kong ended last year as one of the worst performing markets in the world, with a 14% slide over the full 12 months. The main dampener: Chinese internet stocks. Some had been included in key indices such as the HSI at toppish prices but Beijing\u2019s sudden regulatory crackdown on the sector throughout 2021 took much of the steam out of Hong Kong\u2019s bourse.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTake Alibaba Health Infotech. Alibaba\u2019s internet healthcare firm was trading at around HK$30 a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Hang-Seng-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"7"},{"id":51348,"title":"Ant makes a further strategic retreat, closing Xianghubao","content":"Ten years ago Muhammad Yunus\u2019 Grameen Bank was a topic for widespread debate in the Chinese market. Entrepreneurs and government officials alike hoped to copy the Nobel Peace Prize winner\u2019s model as part of the wider effort to tackle poverty. Yunus even teamed up with Alibaba in 2009 to launch Grameen China with a goal of serving more than 24,000 borrowers over the next five years.\r\n\r\nMicrocredit services and mutual aid programmes for the economically disadvantaged and unbanked are still being encouraged by Beijing. But the problem is that regulators don\u2019t want too much of this banking activity to flow through internet platforms owned by companies such as Alibaba\u2019s Ant Group.\r\n\r\nRegulatory focus on Ant picked up in intensity in November 2020 when an eleventh-hour intervention from the government scuppered its $30 billion dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong. Alibaba\u2019s fintech arm has since been instructed to undergo a business revamp in a bid to reduce potential systemic risks in the way that it matched lenders with borrowers.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe review is still ongoing but Ant\u2019s business scope has just been scaled back further after it announced that it will close its Xianghubao mutual aid insurance platform later this month.\r\n\r\nTranslating as \u2018guaranteeing each…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Ant-Group-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"8"},{"id":51332,"title":"Shockwaves as livestreaming celebrities hit by heavy fines for tax evasion","content":"When an estranged boyfriend exposed actress Zheng Shuang in 2021 for using a covert contract to conceal her true income for a television show, the public were shocked to find that the starlet got paid Rmb160 million for just 77 days of filming A Chinese Ghost Story. The incredible sum made Zheng, 29, one of the world\u2019s highest paid actresses (it equated to more than Meryl Streep earned in 2020). Zheng was later hit with a massive punitive tax bill.\r\n\r\nLess than a year later, one of China\u2019s biggest livestreaming personalities Viya (whose real name is Huang Wei) was also being investigated by the tax authorities in Zhejiang province. She reportedly evaded more than Rmb640 million ($100 million) in taxes \u201cby falsely reporting the commission income she earned from livestreaming platforms\u201d between 2019 and 2020. As a result, authorities demanded that Viya pay Rmb1.3 billion in fines.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIf the penalty came close to the tax she should have paid (and assuming a tax rate of 45%), the 37 year-old was estimated by industry experts sourced by Phoenix News to have made about Rmb6 billion over the last two years.\r\n\r\nNews about Viya\u2019s fine quickly became the most talked-about topic on Chinese social media.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Viya-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"9"},{"id":51338,"title":"Beijing orchestrates a mega-merger as it seeks control over rare earths","content":"For the past half century, the part of the world most associated with technological progress has been Silicon Valley. If you fancy living there, a house in Atherton Valley, just outside San Francisco, costs an average of $7.5 million. It is America\u2019s most expensive zip code.\r\n\r\nContrast that with China\u2019s Magnetic Valley near Baotou, which is one of Inner Mongolia\u2019s most populated cities. The average house price there is about Rmb1.1 million ($173,000). But over the coming years, Magnetic Valley could become an increasing focus of international attention as the battle to secure supply of the planet\u2019s 17 types of rare earth elements (REEs) intensifies. Many of the world\u2019s REEs are mined and processed in the area, with global manufacturing of many electronic products depending on them.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBaotou is unlikely to take China\u2019s residential housing crown anytime soon. As the BBC has previously reported, the city is bordered by a \u201cdystopian\u201d lake \u201cfilled with a black, barely-liquid toxic sludge\u201d. Local citizens must contend with the \u201cconstant, ambient smell of sulphur\u201d.\r\n\r\nThen there are the health consequences of living near the mining districts of many of the rare earth deposits. This can involve the separating of REEs from the uranium and thorium deposits they\u2019re…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Baotou-mining-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"11"},{"id":51335,"title":"After a record year in 2021 for container shippers what does 2022 hold?","content":"The shipping industry grabbed a lot of headlines last year. Indeed, after a decade in which freight rates had plunged, the owners of container ships saw record returns in 2021, driven by congestion at the world\u2019s major ports and disruption to world trade caused by Covid-19.\r\n\r\nBut was it as good a year for shipping bosses as the news coverage suggested? And are more conventionally tougher times ahead for the major shipping lines? To answer these questions we spoke to one of our go-to experts in the maritime sector: Basil Karatzas, a longtime reader of WiC. Here the founder of New York-based Karatzas Marine Advisors, a specialist shipbroker, advisory and services firm, offers a more nuanced view of the players that have (and have not) benefited from the unusual circumstances of the pandemic.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWas 2021 the best year for shipping that you can recall?\r\n\r\nFor the container ship market yes, but not throughout the rest of the industry. Tankers were relatively bad and the cruise ship market was bad. It was the container ship market that made all the news, although the dry bulk market was fairly decent for six or so months of the year. That was a good break for many…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Basil-Karatzas-w.jpg","category":"Corporate Q&A","page":"13"},{"id":51341,"title":"Norges Bank dumps TCM firm on ESG concerns","content":"Pangolins \u2013 or \u2018scaly anteaters\u2019 \u2013 have a history of being hunted for their supposedly medicinal properties. These included the treatment of \u201cexcessive nervousness in children, women possessed by devils and ogres, malarial fever and deafness\u201d, the Hong Kong Naturalist explained in 1937.\r\n\r\nDemand for the animal\u2019s scales was having an impact on pangolin populations in Southeast Asia, the magazine noted, as hunters sent shipments back to China.\r\n\r\nMuch more recent studies have warned that the trade has brought the species close to extinction, with at least 200,000 of the animals consumed each year. But where campaigners seem to have failed in protecting the pangolin, might some of the world\u2019s largest investors ride to its rescue?\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s the hope of proponents of environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, after Yunnan Baiyao, a pharmaceutical firm with a focus on Chinese traditional medicine, was dropped from the portfolio of Norway\u2019s sovereign wealth fund owing to its use of pangolin parts in its products. Norges Bank Investment Management, which runs Norway\u2019s $1.4 trillion wealth fund, announced last month that it was dumping Yunnan Baiyao\u2019s shares due to the \u201cunacceptable risk that the company contributes to serious environmental damage\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe Kunming-headquartered producer, which boasts a market capitalisation of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Pangolin-w.jpg","category":"ESG","page":"16"},{"id":51354,"title":"Mingyue Optical Lens IPO surges 150%","content":"Danyang in Jiangsu province is China\u2019s leading producer of reading glasses.\r\n\r\nYet until December last year none of the main eyewear companies in the county-level city \u2013 which is said to make 40% of the world\u2019s lenses \u2013 had sold shares to the public. That changed in the middle of the month with the listing of Mingyue Optical Lens. And in a reflection of the excitement about the industry its share price surged 150% on its first day of trading in Shenzhen.\r\n\r\nMingyue was founded in 1997 by Xie Gongwan (the tycoon came from a farming family in Zhejiang province). His first foray into spectacle sales was at the age of 18 when he bought a sack of locally-made glasses and travelled to the northeast to sell them on the streets in the middle of winter.\r\n\r\nMingyue has since grown into a much larger company, specialising in spectacle lenses, lens resin materials, finished lenses and frames. It is widely known in China for its lightweight resin lenses (as well as its advertising campaigns featuring the actor Chen Daoming).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe company has grabbed about 11% of the domestic lens market, second only to Wanxin Opticals, according to market research platform Euromonitor. Retail sales in China…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Glasses-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"17"},{"id":51351,"title":"China\u2019s rising tide of divorces is proving dramatic fodder for Hunan TV","content":"After making dramas that explored modern-day parenting in Chinese society, the producers behind the TV franchise A Love For Separation, A Little Reunion and A Love for Dilemma (see WiC537) were ready for something different.\r\n\r\nTheir latest show A Little Mood for Love focuses on how people in midlife navigate divorce and remarriage. Since its release in mid-December, the fourth instalment of the franchise has dominated the ratings as the biggest success for Hunan Satellite TV in 2021. It has also been generating some wide-ranging discussion on social media.\r\n\r\nThe story \u2013 adapted from the original novel by Yi Bei \u2013 features two sisters, one of whom is getting divorced. After Liu Xiaomin (played by actress Zhou Xun) files for separation from her spouse, who wrongly accused her of cheating, she leaves her seven year-old son in the care of her ex-husband to go to Beijing to start a new life.\r\n\r\nThere the 43 year-old meets Chen Zhuo (actor Huang Lei), a fellow divorcee, and they fall in love and decide to get married. But the two soon find that combining their respective families and former spouses is not as easy as it seems\u2026\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, Liu\u2019s younger sister Liu Xiaojie (starlet Tang Yixin) also…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Zhou-Xun-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"18"},{"id":51357,"title":"Shandong Taishan wins CSL, amid crisis in Chinese football","content":"The last week of December brought triumph and despair as China\u2019s much-disrupted football season came to a final halt.\r\n\r\nCelebrating wildly was Shandong Taishan, which beat Hebei FC 2-0 to claim the league title with three games still to play. But champagne moments have been few and far between for most of the other clubs in the Chinese Super League (CSL), many of which are in an awful financial mess.\r\n\r\nCase in point: the South Korean coach of Chongqing Liangjiang was close to tears as he told reporters that his team hadn\u2019t been paid for weeks and almost all of the 16 teams in the league are said to have fallen behind in paying wages to their players.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe canary in the Chinese soccer coalmine was Jiangsu FC, last year\u2019s champions, which went under before a ball was kicked at the start of the season after its struggling sponsor Suning withdrew support (see WiC526). Others have been battling to avoid a similar collapse, hindered by the fact that almost all of the clubs have some form of ownership by property companies \u2013 a sector that is suffering a financial winter of its own.\r\n\r\nXinhua reports that 15 of the 16 clubs had ties with…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Fellaini-w.jpg","category":"Sport","page":"19"},{"id":51359,"title":"Model who is pushing beauty boundaries","content":"When some old advertisements featuring a Chinese model began spreading online late last month, they soon whipped up a storm. The problem (according to nationalist netizens) was that the model\u2019s eyes were \u2018too small\u2019.\r\n\r\nThe 2019 campaign (see photo) for Chinese snack brand Three Squirrels, was not the first to be targeted for the offence of perpetuating Western stereotypes of Chinese facial features. But what made this episode a little different is that the model, Cai Niangniang, pushed back at the complaints. \u201cDo I not deserve to be Chinese just because I have small eyes?\u201d she asked on the Sina Weibo social media platform.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWho is Cai?\r\n\r\nCai Niangniang is a pseudonym for the model, who is 28 years-old and from Leshan in the western province of Sichuan. And in her weibo statement, she said she did not deserve to be cyber-bullied because of her appearance. \u201cMy looks were given to me by my parents,\u201d she wrote. \u201cI'm just an ordinary worker doing my job.\u201d\r\n\r\nNetizens had attacked her for days, with some accusing her of being \"unpatriotic\" and \u201cuglifying Chinese people\u201d. Such was the public interest that Three Squirrels removed the ads online and apologised, saying the model\u2019s makeup had been chosen to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Cai-Niangniang-w.jpg","category":"Red Star","page":"20"},{"id":51363,"title":"Alibaba\u2019s Taobao rewards its quirkiest products","content":"The Chinese shopping platform Taobao is a genuine wonder of the world. It often feels that there is no item too small or too niche that Taobao doesn\u2019t stock.\r\n\r\nIf you have a problem with a household item, a quick search will usually render up the requisite spare part \u2013 saving you from throwing out your old kitchen appliances, for instance. But practicalities aside, Taobao is fun because of all the oddities on offer. Need a cushion that looks like a lemon slice? It has it. How about a group raincoat for three people sitting on a moped? Taobao has you covered. And perhaps your pet dog needs a sex toy? No problem whatsoever.\r\n\r\nIn the same spirit, WiC applauds the Taobao Ugly Things awards \u2013 now in their second year \u2013 as a way of celebrating all the weird and wonderful things that can be found on the site.\r\n\r\nHosted by actress Jin Chen and livestreamed by Taobao, this year\u2019s award ceremony dredged through some 10,000 nominations across five loosely-defined categories.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSome of the non-winners included the \u2018facekinis\u2019 worn by the coastal swimmers of Qingdao, and the carefully designed range of socks boasting gem stones above each toenail.\r\n\r\nIn the end the Top Ugly…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/01\/Jin-Chen-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"21"}]},{"id":1720,"name":"Issue 567","date":"Dec 10, 2021","title":"The Didi dilemma","tagline":"A new journey begins: Didi Global has announced it will leave New York and move its listing to Hong Kong","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/567.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/567-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":51280,"title":"Ride-hailing giant Didi set to reverse course and delist from US bourse","content":"Call it \u2018China speed\u2019. Luckin Coffee was founded in October 2017 as a challenger to Starbucks. By the time it went public in New York less than two years later, it had expanded into a chain of 3,600 stores, with a valuation of nearly $4 billion.\r\n\r\nBut Luckin\u2019s troubles were brewing quicker than its coffee. By June 2020 the Chinese firm had been kicked off the Nasdaq following the uncovering of a $310 million accounting fraud. In departing so dramatically Luckin earned the ignominious title of the Chinese company with the shortest lifespan \u2013 just 13 months \u2013 as a US-listed firm.\r\n\r\nHowever, that inglorious honour is now set to be awarded to another Chinese firm \u2013 this one a ride-hailing platform inspired by New York-listed Uber.\r\n\r\nDidi Global confirmed this week that it will be leaving the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The departure comes less than six months after a hastily-arranged IPO in June that triggered a furious response by the Chinese government (ostensibly on data security concerns, see WiC548).\r\n\r\nWhat might investors glean from Didi\u2019s dramatic U-turn? And does the change in direction signal that the ride-hailing giant\u2019s next stop is going to be a new listing in Hong Kong?\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhat\u2019s behind…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Didi-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":51287,"title":"Who benefits most from China\u2019s just opened $6 billion train line in Laos?","content":"Buddhist monks, a lucky gong and a video call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping were all part of the celebrations as Laos formally launched its $6 billion rail link with China last week.\r\n\r\nTimed to coincide with the 46th anniversary of the Lao Communist revolution on Thursday of last week, the opening of the 400km line is controversial because of its high costs and questionable benefit to the local population.\r\n\r\nThat the new railway \u2013 which runs from the Lao border with Thailand in the south to the frontier with China in the north \u2013 is an incredible feat of engineering is in no doubt.\r\n\r\nThe standard gauge single-track line incorporates 61 kilometres of bridges and 198 kilometres of tunnels, all built in just six years. But the railway line \u2013 which continues through to the city of Kunming on the other side of the Chinese border \u2013 is too expensive for the majority of Lao people to use. Furthermore the line has just 21 stops (only 10 of which are for passengers) \u2013 which is probably too few to boost connectivity within Laos.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nCritics say the railway would have better served the rural economy in Laos if there were more stations to connect…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Laos-Railway-w.jpg","category":"Belt and Road","page":"7"},{"id":51290,"title":"Evergrande on the verge of state-led restructuring","content":"The Evergrande debacle has been a drama of many acts as the company stumbles from one crisis to the next, weighed down by more than $300 billion of debt. But are we reaching the final scenes in the story of its decline?\r\n\r\nThe last few weeks have seen at least three separate scrambles to make last-minute payments on Evergrande\u2019s offshore bonds. But its announcement last Friday that it would \u201cactively engage with offshore creditors to formulate a viable restructuring plan\u201d signalled that a default on its obligations was imminent, HSBC\u2019s Asia Credit Research team warned last week.\r\n\r\nIt also meant an anxious weekend for bondholders waiting for just over $82 million in much-delayed coupon payments from Evergrande on Monday. The news from some of them \u2013 that nothing had arrived \u2013 fed a fearful market in Hong Kong, where the company\u2019s shares fell to record lows. One of the major concerns from investors is that repayment failures will trigger defaults in Evergrande\u2019s other liabilities, bringing down the final curtain on the embattled developer.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe situation had improved slightly by Monday evening, after the company announced that it will set up a \u201crisk management committee\u201d to deal with the operational and financial challenges it…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Evergrande-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"9"},{"id":51303,"title":"Property magnate switches tack to steamed buns","content":"Mao Daqing, like many other of the senior executives at his previous employer Vanke, is an outdoor sports enthusiast.\r\n\r\nFamously Vanke founder Wang Shi has climbed Mount Everest \u2013 twice, in fact. Mao, a former vice-president at the property giant, is more of a marathon man. The long-distance runner claims to lead his start-up Ucommune as if he were competing in a race: with focus, perseverance and tenacity.\r\n\r\nUcommune, which Mao founded after he left Vanke in 2015, was once described as China\u2019s WeWork (when that was still a flattering comparison). His firm reached unicorn status in two years and Mao took Ucommune public on Nasdaq in a backdoor listing in November 2019 shortly before WeWork blew up.\r\n\r\nLike other coworking initiatives, Ucommune creates office space for small and medium sized companies from older or underutilised buildings.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBut it struggled to find sustainable growth during the pandemic and hasn\u2019t seen much improvement in its bottom line even after China\u2019s domestic economy started to reopen up. Sales in the third quarter were Rmb253 million ($40 million), with net losses of Rmb170 million during the same period. The share price has been in retreat, dropping from $6.02 at the beginning of the year to less than…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Baozi-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"10"},{"id":51294,"title":"Tencent opens up its walled ecosystem further to rivals","content":"Most parents with young kids experience non-stop bickering over who gets which toy or which TV show to watch. More often than not, adults have to intervene and impose a solution.\r\n\r\nLast week, the Chinese government stepped into the role of impatient parent when it made internet giant Tencent further open up its WeChat ecosystem to internet rivals including archnemesis Alibaba. With very little enthusiasm \u2013 in the form of a blog post \u2013 Tencent announced it would \u201csoon\u201d begin testing a function to allow group-chat participants to share links from third-party e-commerce platforms on its messaging app WeChat.\r\n\r\nThat was a big deal for Alibaba as Tencent has banned links to external shopping sites like Tmall and Taobao on WeChat. It has also faced repeated criticism from Bytedance, the owner of TikTok\u2019s sister app Douyin, for blocking links to the short-video platform, although the latest development seems to relate only to links for online shopping.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe will continue to work with major internet platforms to push interoperability under the guidance of the regulatory authorities,\u201d Tencent added in the statement.\r\n\r\nThe move came just days after China\u2019s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) suspended Tencent from upgrading its apps on data privacy concerns,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/WeChat-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"11"},{"id":51297,"title":"Midea to take Kuka private","content":"The German playwright Bertolt Brecht was always very keen to strip away theatrical artifice so that his audiences remained alert to the deeper meaning of his plays. The avowed Marxist was celebrated for breaking down \u201cthe fourth wall\u201d between actors and audiences to prevent the latter from being lured into the comforting arms of escapism.\r\n\r\nBrecht is among the most famous sons of the German city of Augsburg. And if today\u2019s residents were to follow his lead, they would do well to read between the lines of the latest pronouncements from Kuka, one of the Bavarian city\u2019s biggest employers.\r\n\r\nThe industrial robotics firm has been owned by the Chinese home appliance maker Midea since 2017. As we wrote in WiC459, the \u20ac4.5 billion ($5.06 billion) acquisition was controversial because Kuka represented the very cream of German manufacturing.\r\n\r\nGovernment officials only waived the deal through because of commitments made by the Chinese acquirer to keep to business as usual. This included maintaining existing German staff levels until 2023 and respecting the independence of its executive board.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMidea was reiterating the same commitments late last month after announcing plans to buy out the remaining 5.45% of Kuka shares it didn\u2019t already own and delist the company…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Kuka-Robot-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"12"},{"id":51300,"title":"Why Sinopec is betting big on a hydrogen future","content":"If you believe that the universe was formed as the result of a Big Bang, then hydrogen was the first element that was created. Physicists think that hydrogen constitutes 75% of the universe\u2019s matter. And if things go to plan, hydrogen might save the planet from global warming too.\r\n\r\nThe H2Zero initiative ranked as one of the main achievements at the recent COP26 summit in Glasgow. A group of global energy companies led by BP, EDF, Iberdrola, Shell and TotalEnergies agreed to accelerate the usage of decarbonised hydrogen in helping the world move towards net-zero energy systems. And although there were no Chinese signatories to the deal, the country\u2019s leading oil and gas refiner Sinopec has just announced the world\u2019s biggest renewables-to-hydrogen power project as part of its own clean energy drive.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOver the next few years we\u2019re likely to hear a lot more about fuel cells that produce electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen atoms. We will also get a better understanding of the different hues of hydrogen, the chemical element that ranks as number 1 on the periodic table.\r\n\r\nIn its natural state, hydrogen is a colourless and odourless gas. But a colour scheme flagged at COP26 focuses more on the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Sinopec-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"13"},{"id":51283,"title":"Binance keeps growing, despite China\u2019s crypto crackdown","content":"Tweets from Elon Musk have a history of sparking sudden moves in share prices, not just for his own company Tesla but also in sectors like cryptocurrency, where prices soar, or slump, in response to his pronouncements.\r\n\r\nSo another of his comments last month that some of the trading activity on Binance, the world\u2019s leading cryptocurrency exchange, \u201csounds shady\u201d was bad news for the platform\u2019s bosses.\r\n\r\nMusk was tweeting in response to customer complaints that they weren\u2019t able to trade Dogecoin, one of his favourite cryptos, on the platform because of a technical glitch.\r\n\r\nBinance responded that the problem was \u201can unlikely and unfortunate coincidence\u201d and \u201cnot quite the shady circumstances that some had suggested\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBut Musk\u2019s comments were also a red rag to a bull for Binance\u2019s founder Zhao Changpeng, who fired back with tweets of his own highlighting a recall of thousands of Tesla\u2019s cars. \u201cWhen I saw the word \u2018shady\u2019, I overreacted,\u201d he later admitted. \u201cI\u2019m usually very stable, but at the time I have to admit that I was a little bit emotionally charged.\u201d\r\n\r\nPerhaps that\u2019s because Binance has been getting unprecedented scrutiny from governments as it tries to grow its business outside China, with its globetrotting boss on an extended…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Zhao-Changpeng-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"14"},{"id":51306,"title":"Could Wang Yibo\u2019s popular new drama boost iQiyi\u2019s sagging bottom line?","content":"In 2019 Youku released the suspense drama The Longest Day in Chang\u2019an. Much like the premise of US hit 24, the show takes place over a single day. It followed an intelligence chief and a death row prisoner as they work together to stop a conspiracy that could topple the Tang Dynasty in Chang\u2019an. The series was an instant hit on the online streaming platform. It also established Yi Yangqianxi \u2013 better known in China as one of the members of the boyband TF Boys \u2013 as an actor.\r\n\r\nTwo years later, Youku\u2019s rival iQiyi aimed to recreate the same success with a similar historical suspense drama Luoyang. This time round, Yi is replaced by another pop idol: Wang Yibo.\r\n\r\nLuoyang is adapted from the original novel by Ma Boyong, who also wrote The Longest Day of Chang\u2019an. The show centres on Gao Bingzhu, played by actor Huang Xuan, a lowly worker in the judicial department who suddenly finds himself embroiled in a criminal case. As he races against the clock to prove his innocence, Gao seeks out Baili Hongyi (Wang), who is on a quest of his own to find out who killed his father.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAlong with another intelligence officer Wu Siyue…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Wang-Yibo-w.jpg","category":"Celebrities, Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":51309,"title":"Shenzhen culinary scheme sees surge of interest","content":"The internet is overflowing with get-rich-quick schemes. But learning how to braise geese has to be one of the odder ones.\r\n\r\nAll the same, more than 50,000 people signed up for a cooking course to do just that this month, after the Shenzhen government offered a subsidy of Rmb1,700 ($266.82) towards the costs of learning the lu wei technique, a Guangdong specialty. Lu Wei (or Lou Mei in Cantonese) means \u2018brine flavour\u2019 and the culinary skillset creates a complex, spice-infused stock which is then used to cure meats, vegetables and tofu.\r\n\r\nThe subsidy was offered to anyone willing to learn the skill as part of the city\u2019s drive to develop local Cantonese cuisine. Payment of the bonus was promised to anyone who could pass the exam at the end of the course \u2013 a test that was already rumoured to have a 97% pass rate.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe claim led tens of thousands to sign up for the course \u2013 forcing Shenzhen\u2019s Department of Human Resources and Social Security to halt the application process as it tried to determine who was genuinely interested in pursuing a cooking career and who just wanted the cash payout.\r\n\r\nThe authorities also cautioned that the art of lu wei was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Goose-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]},{"id":1719,"name":"Issue 566","date":"Dec 3, 2021","title":"On a losing streak","tagline":"The arrest of junket king Alvin Chau sees big sell off in the Macau casino sector, wiping billions off valuations","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/566.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/566-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":51225,"title":"Macau\u2019s casino sector stunned by the arrest of its top junket boss","content":"Different casino companies lay claim to the status of the largest gambling firm. Spanning at least 600,000 square feet in area, the WinStar World in Oklahoma wins the title by floor space, for instance. Las Vegas Sands used to be the biggest casino operator by market capitalisations, before a nearly 40% slide over the last two quarters, partly triggered by the risks of a regulatory overhaul in its biggest market in Macau. Online bookmaker Flutter Entertainment, created by the merger of Paddy Power and Betfair, grabbed the top spot earlier this year.\r\n\r\nIn terms of the amounts of money that it brings to the tables, Suncity has a claim to being the biggest of them all, however. The junket operator was widely reported this week to account for as much as 40% of Macau\u2019s junket market or about 15% of the city\u2019s gaming revenue. (Before the pandemic in 2019 Macau\u2019s casinos generated nearly $37 billion in revenue, or six times that of Las Vegas.)\r\n\r\nPerhaps this underlines the amplitude of the shockwaves sent through the industry this week when Suncity\u2019s boss Alvin Chau was seized by Macau police a day after authorities in mainland China had accused him of backing an illegal…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Alvin-Chau-w.jpg","category":"Media & Gaming, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":51228,"title":"WiC\u2019s exclusive interview with the founder and CEO of AI leader Horizon Robotics","content":"Last week Week in China published the third update of our Top 50 China Unicorns ranking. Appearing again \u2013 with a valuation of $5 billion \u2013 was Horizon Robotics. Only six years-old, the Beijing-based firm is a leader in AI (artificial intelligence) chips for applications in autonomous driving.\r\n\r\nSo how will self-driving cars transform the future? We spoke to Yu Kai, the founder of Horizon Robotics, who left Baidu in 2015 to set up his pioneering venture in China after a career in Silicon Valley.\r\n\r\nCan you talk about the benefits the world will derive from driverless technology?\r\n\r\nOur mission is really centred on the idea of making mobility safer for everyone and liberating drivers from the stressful parts of the driving experience. Do you know that every year 200,000 people die in car accidents in China alone? I think we are solving a very important problem in a very fundamental way, because our systems are designed not only to make a journey more efficient, but also to save lives by significantly reducing accidents. Efficient mobility can also cut down congestion and energy consumption.\r\n\r\nOf course, our business is all about creating positive interactions between human and cars. We don\u2019t intend to take the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Yu-Kai-portrait-w.jpg","category":"Corporate Q&A","page":"7"},{"id":51245,"title":"State regulators turn to sectors beyond the internet in antitrust drive","content":"Founded in 1862, Towngas is Hong Kong\u2019s first public utility. Despite serving a market of just under eight million people, it has been the most profitable gas supplier in China for several decades.\r\n\r\nHow? Hong Kong may get regularly championed as one of the world\u2019s freest economies in competition terms but a key strength of Towngas \u2013 in which Hong Kong property heavyweight Henderson Land is a major shareholder \u2013 is its near-monopoly status in an extremely affluent city.\r\n\r\nThe company enjoys a market share of more than 80%, much more than its counterparts in the mainland such as ENN Energy and CR Gas, which compete with each other in most cities for contracts with households.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nPerhaps that helps to explain some of the irony when news broke that Towngas China, the China unit of Hong Kong\u2019s quasi gas monopoly, had found itself as the latest target of Beijing\u2019s new determination to investigate unfair competition.\r\n\r\nAntitrust regulator the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) said last week it had fined the Yixing branch of Towngas China (Yixing Ganghua) Rmb35 million ($5.5 million), or 2% of its 2020 revenue, plus a Rmb5 million surcharge for income generated from anti-competitive behaviour. According to SAMR, it received…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Towngas-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"11"},{"id":51239,"title":"Paytm listing reveals Alibaba as key winner","content":"On November 18 Indian fintech company Paytm completed India\u2019s biggest ever IPO.\r\n\r\nBut the main beneficiary wasn\u2019t its founder Vijay Shekar Sharma or any of its local investors. Instead Ant Group and Alibaba were the biggest winners \u2013 selling shares for $730 million in the now hugely criticised initial public offering.\r\n\r\nIndia\u2019s benchmark index, the Sensex, has risen 20% this year while the Shanghai Composite Index is still pretty much at the same level it started 2021 at \u2013 partly as a result of widespread intervention in the Chinese tech sector by Beijing. Indian shares, particularly those in the tech space, have benefited as foreign investors spooked by the uncertainty in China have found a new appetite for the Indian market.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMany of the Chinese investors \u2013 stalwarts of Indian tech investment only five years ago \u2013 have left the market due to souring relations between Beijing and New Delhi, which has increased domestic suspicions about Chinese capital.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s entirely different from the white-hot market of three to five years ago,\u201d the Global Times quoted a Chinese lawyer specialising in Indian investment as saying.\r\n\r\nOf course, some Chinese companies are still investing in India via foreign subsidiaries but their numbers are diminishing \u2013 Chinese funding…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Paytm-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"12"},{"id":51236,"title":"Korean chip giant faces a China quandary","content":"Much has changed since 2006 when the former chief executive of SK Hynix said that the opening of the company\u2019s first semiconductor foundry in Wuxi in China marked the \u201cestablishment of a global network linking South Korea, the US and China\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe proceeding decade-and-a-half had seen the South Korean firm move more of its production capacity to Jiangsu province, where the fabrication plant (fab) is located. Today, it accounts for 40% of its memory chip production (DRAM).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHowever, the company now finds itself at the sharp end of the Sino-US tech war. If its fab is to upgrade its output, it needs to deploy EUV (extreme ultraviolet light) lithography technology to make chips at the smallest production nodes. But it can\u2019t import the necessary machines from Holland\u2019s ASML to do this, after the US government persuaded its Dutch counterpart that sales of EUV technology into the Chinese market could breach the Wassenaar Agreement on the dual-use of technology for civilian and military purposes.\r\n\r\nAnalysts believe that SK Hynix still has a little leeway to resolve the supply problem as it can deploy EUV machines at its South Korean fabs instead. But this summer the company failed in efforts to lobby the US government…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/SK-Hynix-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"13"},{"id":51233,"title":"Li Shufu\u2019s heir makes debut at Lynk launch event","content":"What started out as a couch-surfing experiment for three school friends in San Francisco, later morphed into the multi-billion dollar home-sharing platform that we know today as Airbnb. The trio\u2019s business idea has become a major disruptor for the world\u2019s hotel industry. But can a Chinese businessman pull off the same trick in the automotive sector?\r\n\r\nGeely founder Li Shufu is pioneering his own form of couch-surfing in the auto industry \u2013 a nice irony given that he once famously downplayed the challenges of making cars by describing them as just \u201ctwo sofas with four wheels\u201d (see WiC22 for our first reference to the remark). Li is now offering customers the chance to rent out these \u2018mobile sofas\u2019 through a subscription service that\u2019s far outstripped the company\u2019s expectations since its launch in Europe last year.\r\n\r\nThe driving force behind the new business line is the company\u2019s Lynk & Co brand, which Geely developed in partnership with Volvo, the Swedish car manufacturer that Li\u2019s firm has owned for just over a decade.\r\n\r\nGeely had originally planned to sell 9,000 monthly subscriptions for its Lynk 01 compact SUV in the first year, following its European launch. However, it ended up with 29,000 of them after…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Lynk-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"14"},{"id":51251,"title":"Kardashian makes push into China while 9,000 store local firm goes bust","content":"Kim Kardashian\u2019s \u2018shapewear\u2019 brand Skims, like its founder, is no stranger to controversy. The range was initially called Kimono, until accusations of cultural appropriation in Japan prompted a change of heart. Kardashian also launched the brand in late 2019, shortly before pandemic lockdowns rendered body-smoothing shapewear less of a priority.\r\n\r\nYet the brand survived the two crises and in June Skims raised $154 million in new funding, lifting its valuation to $1.6 billion, not bad for a creation that is less than two years-old.\r\n\r\nKardashian\u2019s quest is to take Skims global and her first stop was China. Last week, Skims was launched at luxury department store Lane Crawford, which featured her \u2018shapewear\u2019 in its bricks-and-mortar outlets in Hong Kong and Shanghai as well as its online store.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSkims says it will sell over 100 assorted products, \u2018personally curated\u2019 by Kardashian herself. But industry observers are not overly optimistic about its prospects in China. For a start, although Kardashian boasts more followers on Instagram than any other, her fanbase on Chinese social media hardly matches up. On popular platforms like Douyin and Sina Weibo, she has less than half a million followers, putting her far behind Zhou Yangqing and Becky\u2019s Fantasy, two of the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Kim-Kardashian-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"15"},{"id":51242,"title":"Why background checks on celebrities have suddenly become big business","content":"The year 2021 has been rough for those in Chinese show business. According to Southern Weekend, at least nine high-profile stars have seen their careers experience a sudden demise after scandals.\u2008The slew of bad press that followed came amid a crackdown by the Chinese government, leading to many celebrities and their creative output being banned entirely. Producers, advertisers and co-stars incurred financial losses too.\r\n\r\nYang Zi is one of the starlets caught in the crossfire. The Beijing-born actress has not been tainted by scandal but her eagerly awaited costume drama The Golden Hairpin was pulled after Kris Wu \u2013 the show\u2019s male lead \u2013 was detained on rape charges in July (see WiC550). At least 17 advertisers have since cut their commercial ties with Wu, who last month found himself among the 88 entertainers blacklisted by the China Association of Performing Arts for \"illegal and unethical\" behaviour. The Golden Hairpin was scheduled for release back in the summer but has now been shelved indefinitely.\r\n\r\n<<ad>\r\n\r\nYang\u2019s other TV series The Oath of Love, which stars heartthrob Xiao Zhan, was scheduled to air in September. Its debut has been postponed as well, reportedly because Xiao\u2019s styling is at odds with a new directive for…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Yang-Zi-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":51248,"title":"Ping pong diplomacy enjoys a brief revival","content":"Ping-pong diplomacy was born in 1971 when American table tennis player Glen Cowen hitched a ride with the Chinese team after missing the US team bus at the World Championships in Japan.\r\n\r\nAt the time China and the US were still notionally Cold War rivals, so when Cowen climbed aboard many of the Chinese players felt it was improper to speak to him.\r\n\r\nBut one player Zhuang Zedong was intrigued and he started a conversation by offering a gift \u2013 a painting on silk. The two men were photographed chatting and when journalists asked Cowen if he would like to visit China, he said yes.\r\n\r\nMao Zedong was reportedly sceptical about the idea but later changed his mind when he saw the opportunity to restart talks on diplomatic relations with the US.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nA few days later the American team arrived in China \u2013 the first delegation from the US to visit since the Communists assumed power in 1949. The trip set the stage for Richard Nixon to travel to China a year later \u2013 driving a wedge between Beijing and Moscow and paving the way for Beijing to secure diplomatic recognition around the world in place of Taipei.\r\n\r\nToday Sino-US relations are deeply strained, despite…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/12\/Pingpong-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]},{"id":1718,"name":"Issue 565","date":"Nov 26, 2021","title":"Still top of our unicorn ranking","tagline":"As we publish our third quarter update on our Top 50 Chinese Unicorns\u2019 ranking, Bytedance retains number one spot but edtechs disappear from the list","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/WiC565.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/565-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":51167,"title":"Edtechs exit our Top 50 China Unicorns ranking after regulatory storm","content":"Start-ups that reach $1 billion in value were once regarded as a rare breed. Today the unicorn story is much more commonplace. Indeed, unicorns are seemingly everywhere. Counts often vary but the upper-level estimate is there are at least 900 of them, with new ones arriving all the time.\r\n\r\nAnother feature of the herd is how many unicorns have been created this year amid a surge in venture capital investment. At least 316 companies reached unicorn status between January 1 and August 20, says CB Insights. The United States was home to the highest number at 402, followed by China (158), India (40) and the UK (31).\r\n\r\nSince the start of this year WiC has copiously tracked China\u2019s contribution to unicorn numbers with a ranking of its own that concentrates on the top 50 firms.\r\n\r\nWhat\u2019s revealing is that the number of Chinese additions to 2021\u2019s new cohort of unicorns has tailed off significantly \u2013 trailing the Americans by some distance. There are clues to why in the latest iteration of our Top China Unicorns 50 ranking, which we review here as part of our quarterly update of the list.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhat\u2019s new in WiC\u2019s Top 50?\r\n\r\nThe major change in our third quarter update is…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Unicorns-w.png","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":51173,"title":"CR Beer is a Hong Kong blue-chip once more","content":"With the blessing of the British government, the Communist Party of China (CPC) set up a Hong Kong office for its Eighth Route Army in 1938. Camouflaged as a trading firm called Liow & Co, the unit helped to source funds and supplies for Mao\u2019s communist troops to fight the Japanese imperial army (war broke out the previous year when Japan began a full-scale invasion of China).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn 1948 the company was renamed as China Resources Enterprise (CRE). It continued to undertake missions on behalf of the CPC, as well as helping out with stabilisation measures in Hong Kong \u2013 for instance, it assisted efforts to improve food supply in the British colony in the early 1960s, when a famine was sweeping through mainland China.\r\n\r\nAs time went on, CRE became much more commercial in its focus. By 2014 it had emerged as retail-to-property conglomerate, despite a scandal in which its Party boss Song Lin was disgraced in an anti-graft purge (see WiC234). In an attempt to reinvent itself once more, CRE sold its main retail business to its parent group, turned its focus to brewing and renamed itself as CR Beer (see WiC279).\r\n\r\nInvestors did not buy into the group\u2019s transformation for…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Snow-Beer-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"8"},{"id":51185,"title":"Beijing lauds Xu Guojun\u2019s extradition from the US","content":"Former movie financier Shi Jianxiang enjoys his moments in the limelight. An internet search of his name returns various photos of him posing with celebrities such as Mike Tyson, Mel Gibson and Sylvester Stallone.\r\n\r\nPerhaps it\u2019s surprising that the 57 year-old hasn\u2019t stayed more out of view, after fleeing to the United States in 2016 on allegations that he had masterminded a Rmb43 billion ($6.3 billion) fundraising fraud in China\u2019s movie industry (see WiC317).\r\n\r\nA year later, Shi still managed to pose for a photo with Donald Trump at a New York fundraiser (Shi in a Panama hat, Trump giving a thumbs-up).\r\n\r\nGoing sometimes by the English name of Morgan, Shi was finally arrested last month on charges of visa fraud (he was detained at a convention in Las Vegas, where he was promoting a cryptocurrency).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSoon afterwards he was indicted on two counts of fraud and misuse of US non-immigrant visas. He has been denied bail and will stay in detention before a trial in Miami. He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.\r\n\r\nShi may prefer to serve jail time in the US rather than face a trial in China. Other nationals trying to stay out of reach of the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Shi-Jianxiang-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"9"},{"id":51182,"title":"Why China\u2019s two top livestreamers went to war with beauty giant L\u2019Oreal","content":"Last August Tesla crossed swords with Chinese e-commerce platform Pinduoduo after it hosted a group-buying session offering the Tesla Model 3 for Rmb40,000 less than the retail price (a saving that equated to $6,621).\r\n\r\nPinduoduo had partnered with auto trading firm YiAuto for the campaign, offering five random customers the opportunity to grab a Model 3 at a major discount, on the condition that at least 10,000 people signed up with the platform as a result. The five Model 3s ended up being sold at about 15% off their listed price of Rmb251,800.\r\n\r\nOn finding out about the promotional deal, Tesla refused to honour the sales, telling the public that it hadn\u2019t given Pinduoduo approval to sell its vehicles to customers. \u201cIf consumers have any disputes or damages to their rights due to the above group-buying activities, our company will not bear any responsibility,\u201d Tesla added in a Sina Weibo post.\r\n\r\nLast week, French cosmetics giant L'Oreal found itself in a situation where it was arguing something similar.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe fiasco started as \u2018presales\u2019 got underway for the annual shopping bonanza of Singles\u2019 Day. Two of China\u2019s most popular livestreamer-influencers Li Jiaqi and Viya were selling L\u2019Oreal facial masks at what they claimed to be…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Viya-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"10"},{"id":51177,"title":"A former AMD partner in\u2008China is set for a blockbuster Shanghai listing","content":"What does it mean to achieve enlightenment? Mahayana Buddhism claims it\u2019s a state that already exists inside each of us. However, few have been awakened to it because our brains are clouded by the three poisons of anger, greed and ignorance.\r\n\r\nThe Sanskrit word for the kind of self-realisation that aids enlightenment is Dhyana. And this is also the branding that one of China\u2019s chip designers has adopted for its first product line, based on the Zen computer processor microarchitecture it has licenced from US firm Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).\r\n\r\nIn doing so Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment (THATIC) is laying claim to a term with Chinese roots. Zen is the Japanese derivation of the Chinese characters \u7985\u5b9a (in Pinyin: chanding), which is itself a transliteration of Dhyana (the monk Bodhidharma took Buddha\u2019s teachings to China from India at the end of the fifth century, from where they moved east to Japan).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTHATIC is on a journey of its own with its product line-up. One thing is clear: the company is no longer the same as the joint venture set up by AMD in 2016, alongside a group of other entities from China led by Shanghai-listed server manufacturer Dawning Information (Sugon) and the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Hygon-Chip-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"12"},{"id":51188,"title":"Dialysis machine maker SWS to go public","content":"Over 600,000 Chinese citizens receive blood dialysis \u2013 a number that is is expected to rise substantially in the coming decades as the population ages.\r\n\r\nAlmost all dialysis machines in China are foreign made. The only domestic firm to hold significant market share is SWS Medical Group and it is planning to go public on Shanghai\u2019s STAR Market.\r\n\r\nSWS is not a start-up. It was founded in 2001 by Gao Guangyong, a former salesperson who was disappointed in the quality of the domestic medical devices he was being asked to flog. Instead he set up his own company called Chongqing Shanwaishan, which has gradually built up a reputation for high quality blood purification technology.\r\n\r\nThis company became today\u2019s SWS and is planning to raise about Rmb1.2 billion in a listing that would value the Chongqing-based firm at more than Rmb2 billion.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe relatively small fundraising size underlines its current market share. Five foreign brands dominate \u2013 Fresenius, Braun, Nikkiso, Baxter and Nipro \u2013 accounting for over 80% of machine sales in the domestic blood market.\r\n\r\nSWS has five different types of machines \u2013 including one that treats Covid-19 patients with kidney and liver problems. Over a thousand hospitals across China use their products and since…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Hemodialysis-machine-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"14"},{"id":51191,"title":"Sun Li\u2019s harem drama is still hugely popular a decade after it first aired","content":"Even though it ended seven years ago, the American version of The Office is still one of the most-watched shows on Netflix. More than 46 billion minutes of the series were streamed to viewers in 2018, for instance. Teen pop icon Billie Eilish, who admits to having watched the series 14 times over, even wrote a song inspired by it. In 2020, two of the most popular podcasts on iTunes and Spotify were hosted by former cast members talking about the hit comedy too.\r\n\r\nA Chinese TV show has been enjoying a renaissance of its own a decade after it was first broadcast. This week marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Empresses in the Palace, also known locally as Zhen Huan Zhuan. On Sina Weibo, an official post about the anniversary soon garnered over 400 million views, rendering it one of the hottest topics on Chinese social media.\r\n\r\n\u201cA lot of my friends know about my obsession with Empresses in the Palace. The show has become something I watch almost daily, with my breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don\u2019t know how I could get through my day without it!\u201d one ardent fan confessed.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cI can\u2019t believe it has been 10 years…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Sun\u2008Qian-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"15"},{"id":51196,"title":"Widow calls time on Bo Yang\u2019s controversially named book","content":"A decade ago when Taiwanese starlet Barbie Hsu tied the knot with Wang Xiaofei, the heir to the South Beauty restaurant group, the marriage was billed by media outlets on both sides of the Taiwan Strait as \u201cthe wedding of the century\u201d (see WiC101).\r\n\r\nThat meant that the announcement of their divorce this week prompted another flurry of commentary on a romance that had come to symbolise the broader ups and downs of cross-Strait relations, which were enjoying a \u2018honeymoon\u2019 period back in 2011 when the couple first wed (see WiC545).\r\n\r\nNews that the publication of a bestselling book is also being discontinued has stirred a different debate on cross-Strait ties, albeit with a similar end-of-an-era tone.\r\n\r\nThe book in question is The Ugly Chinaman (which has the subtitle The Crisis of Chinese Culture) and it was first published in 1985.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt soon became a cultural sensation on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, despite being banned in 1987 in mainland China (it was published in bootleg form or brought in by smugglers till 2004 when censors relented and permitted its publication locally).\r\n\r\nBo Yang was the pen name for Guo Yidong, a Taiwanese writer, historian and philosopher. Born in Henan province in 1920, he…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/The-Ugly-Chinaman-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"16"},{"id":51170,"title":"New song predicts Beijing-to-Taipei bullet train","content":"The lyrics are simple and the melody sounds synthetic. But the subject is one of the biggest geopolitical flashpoints of our time.\r\n\r\n\u2018Going to Taiwan in 2035\u2019 is a children\u2019s song from mainland Chinese artist Meng Xudong about taking a bullet train from Beijing to Taipei \u2013 something that would only be possible if Taiwan was reunified with the Chinese mainland.\r\n\r\nMeng told the Beijing Youth Daily that his song had an unlikely source of inspiration: the Comprehensive Transport Plan for 2021-35, which shows Taipei as destination on China\u2019s high-speed rail network. At the time of the plan\u2019s release in March, excited netizens took it as an indication that the mainland of China would be reunified with the island of Taiwan by 2035.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBeijing has previously included plans for roads and bridges that connect the province of Fujian to Taiwan in its transport plans, and mainland engineers have talked for years about building a tunnel beneath the 150 kilometre-wide Taiwan Strait. But Chinese rhetoric on reunification with Taiwan has increased in recent years and the Chinese military has been flying regular missions into Taiwan's air defence identification zone (ADIZ), causing concern in Taipei and Washington.\r\n\r\nThe lyrics of the new song \u2013 performed by…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Bullet-Train-W.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]},{"id":1717,"name":"Issue 564","date":"Nov 19, 2021","title":"Screen test for \u2018old friends\u2019","tagline":"Presidents Xi and Biden spoke \u2018virtually\u2019 for three and a half hours this week \u2013 what did their summit achieve?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/564.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/564-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":51098,"title":"What did the debut Sino-US presidential summit of the Biden era achieve?","content":"Ronald Reagan first met Deng Xiaoping in Beijing in April 1984 \u2013 almost exactly 39 months after the former Hollywood star first became US president. There was a delay because Washington and Beijing had laboured for months over the details of the third and final Joint Communiqu\u00e9 (that has since served as a cornerstone of the China-US relationship).\r\n\r\nEver since that time every US president has met with the top Chinese leader during his first year in office, and vice versa. Diplomats from both sides have explained that such meetings play a crucial role, setting the stage for the leaders to get a personal feel for each other. It sets the tone for a bilateral relationship that has grown into the world\u2019s most important and most complicated. The face-to-face rapport between the two leaders can be vital when things go awry.\r\n\r\nPresident Xi Jinping has himself stuck to the tradition since taking power and even adopted a more American style early on in his tenure when he eschewed the highly conservative Chinese diplomatic protocols of prior summits for a greater informality. For instance in June 2013 the then newly installed Chinese president took off his tie and started talks with Barack Obama…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Xi-Biden-talk-w.jpg","category":"China and the World, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":51110,"title":"Beijing\u2019s new bourse got off to a flying start on Monday when trading began","content":"\u2018Shenzhen speed\u2019 is often used to describe how the southern Chinese city gets things done at a rapid rate. Rival cities don\u2019t think Shenzhen is doing anything particularly special. The country\u2019s capital Beijing is taking pride in how it delivers on new projects at pace too \u2013 in this latest instance in the launch of mainland China\u2019s third major stock exchange at an accelerated rate.\r\n\r\nIn early September Chinese President Xi Jinping gave the green light for the setting up of the Beijing Stock Exchange (BSE). Based on the lead-time for the launch of the STAR Market (Shanghai\u2019s tech bourse), the China Securities Journal was predicting a debut for Beijing\u2019s new board in April next year. But with a speed that has surprised most, trading on the BSE got underway this week \u2013 just 75 days after its go-ahead announcement.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe opening bell was struck on Monday for the trading debuts of 81 firms, including 10 new listings and 71 companies that have migrated from the NEEQ, an over-the-counter bourse set up in the Chinese capital in early 2013.\r\n\r\nChinese investors have a special taste for new shares and the phenomenon repeated itself on BSE\u2019s opening day, where the 10 new stocks all…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Beijing-Stock-Exchange-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"8"},{"id":51114,"title":"New Oriental pivots to agricultural e-commerce","content":"During a public event in 2016, two of China\u2019s most outspoken businessmen challenged each other on a stage. \u201cI am sure Alibaba will still be around in 10 years. But I am not so sure about 100 years,\u201d warned Yu Minhong, founder of the country\u2019s leading provider of private education, New Oriental.\r\n\r\nYu was questioning whether Alibaba\u2019s e-commerce empire would endure for the 102 years envisaged in Alibaba\u2019s mission statement\u2019.\r\n\r\n\u201cI am sure we will still need education in 100 years. But I am not so sure about New Oriental,\u201d Alibaba boss Jack Ma countered sharply.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSince then both tycoons have suffered setbacks, following a government crackdown on a variety of internet-related sectors, although Ma\u2019s remark about New Oriental\u2019s longevity looks the more accurate of the predictions right now.\r\n\r\nAs we reported in WiC551, the authorities have banned a wide range of after-school tutoring services, seeing the likes of New Oriental as detrimental to the domestic education system. The abrupt changes have been devastating for a high-growth sector that has attracted billions of yuan in investment in recent years. New Oriental has seen its market value dive by more than 80% since July to less than $4 billion and last week it announced that…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Yu-Minhong-w.jpg","category":"Education","page":"9"},{"id":51102,"title":"Investors buy into debut AI\u2008healthtech listing","content":"China has a shortage of doctors and, as a natural consequence, a lack of medical specialists too. This means patients are often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed \u2013 at rates of more than 60% for some medical conditions and illnesses.\r\n\r\nOne government-supported response is the use of more artificial intelligence (AI) to interpret medical imaging \u2013 a service that is supposed to help overstretched practitioners tap into a deeper wealth of knowledge.\r\n\r\nAgainst that backdrop it is perhaps surprising that Beijing Airdoc Technology \u2013 the first of China\u2019s medically focused AI firms to list on the stock market \u2013 fared rather unfavourably on its first day of trading on November 5 in Hong Kong, raising less than half of the predicted HK$3.89 billion ($499 million).\r\n\r\nThe stock was priced at HK$75.1 before falling to HK$61.80 two trading days later. Since then it has climbed back to HK$64 \u2013 not enough, perhaps, to quell questions about the upcoming IPOs of other medical AI firms such as Beijing-based Shukun Technology.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOne criticism of Airdoc \u2013 which specialises in retinal scans \u2013 is that it fared poorly on its market debut by failing to communicate a clear advantage over competitors in commercialising its products, ThePaper.cn has suggested.\r\n\r\nAirdoc offers 10…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Eye-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"10"},{"id":51107,"title":"How is Tencent faring in the new regulatory era?","content":"A \u2018Sweeping Black Storm\u2019 has gripped China\u2019s entertainment world in recent weeks. It might sound like another chapter of climate crisis but it\u2019s actually the literal English translation of the country\u2019s most-watched TV drama of the year: a corruption saga about a policeman fighting for his reputation after being framed by his superiors.\r\n\r\nTencent, the company behind the series, has struggled with some nasty squalls of its own this year. As a leading light in the internet sector, the company has been buffeted by a slew of probes and rule changes. Regulators have targeted monopolistic behaviour and demanded better protections for personal data. New investigations have blown in thick and fast, creating the impression that the mood has darkened decisively against the so-called \u201cbig-tech authoritarians\u201d \u2013 as Tencent and its internet peers have sometimes been described locally.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhen will it stop?\u201d The Economist asks of the campaign in its series World Ahead 2022. At least $1 trillion has been wiped off the sector\u2019s market capitalisation, the magazine reckons.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTencent\u2019s shares have plunged themselves, dropping from HK$773 in February to the HK$490 level in mid-November. Analysts have struggled to keep pace with the implications of the policy changes for the group\u2019s profitability. Back in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Tencent-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"11"},{"id":51118,"title":"Alibaba\u2019s 13th Singles\u2019 Day deliberately muted but livestreamers still shine","content":"A ny analysis of the rise of e-commerce in China can\u2019t ignore the contribution of Singles\u2019 Day, the annual shopping bonanza. Much of the action that day comes courtesy of Chinese millennials, another crucial contributor to the sector.\r\n\r\nBut increasingly, these two drivers of sales are losing steam. Young people of all kinds \u2013 a coveted group because of their freer spending \u2013 are ever more likely to shun the biggest shopping festival of the year (which took place last week: Singles\u2019\u2008Day falls annually on November 11).\r\n\r\nA quick look at social media gives a glimpse of how younger shoppers are going cold on the annual shopping bonanza.\r\n\r\n\u201cDon't hoard. If you must, hoard money instead,\u201d was the advice of one netizen.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhatever you buy, you will run the risk of not liking it later. But you will never have that problem with cash,\u201d added another.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLast week\u2019s Singles\u2019 Day marked the thirteenth anniversary of the shopping festival since it was launched by online sales giant Alibaba in 2009. After a period of dizzying growth, the party is starting to lose some its allure, with some shoppers starting to think more about curbing their spending.\r\n\r\n\u201cHave we all been brainwashed by consumerism to think that we…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Singles-Day-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"13"},{"id":51121,"title":"A Chinese fast-food chain serves up first onshore IPO","content":"Chicken is a such a staple of the provincial cuisine in Anhui that it has inspired sayings such as \u201cFrom Feidong to Feixi, delicious is the old hen.\u201d\r\n\r\nA particularly well-loved chicken soup \u2013 Feixi Laohen \u2013 is also the star of the show at Laoxiangji, which hopes to become the first of China\u2019s fast-food chains to list domestically.\r\n\r\nThe Anhui-based group, known as Home Original Chicken in English, has been in business since 2005 and now boasts about 1,000 outlets, largely in Eastern China. Over the past decade-and-a-half it has sought to build a reputation for clean restaurants and a reliable menu. Standardisation is the order of the day: food is prepared at central kitchens and then distributed to individual outlets (we first wrote about the restaurant group almost exactly two years ago; see WiC473).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLaoxiangji must contend with the same challenges and opportunities as other local fast-food chains. Firstly, there\u2019s the issue of China\u2019s sheer size and diversity. This means that the country\u2019s cuisine has developed along distinctive regional lines (in culinary terms the country is as diverse as the continent of Europe, something we pointed out in our book China in 50 Dishes, which can be downloaded from our website…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Laoxiangji-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"14"},{"id":51124,"title":"China\u2019s biggest actress returns to her comfort zone in new costume drama","content":"Actresses Yang Mi, Liu Shishi and Tang Yan first met on the set of Chinese Paladin 3, a costume drama released in 2009. The three starlets \u2013 in their mid-20s at the time \u2013 quickly became friends. They appeared on each other\u2019s social media posts and were bridesmaids at each other\u2019s weddings. Their careers followed a similar trajectory too: in 2017, a poll among college students picked the three out as their favourite actresses (first place for Yang, followed by Liu and Tang).\r\n\r\nWhile Tang, now 37, and Liu, 34, have largely retreated from the limelight, Yang remains one of the most prolific actresses in Chinese show business today. And last week she unveiled another of her highly anticipated costume dramas Novoland: Pearl Eclipse, which premiered on Tencent Video and Beijing Satellite TV.\r\n\r\nThe show dominated the ratings and social media chatter. The first episode has already accumulated over 200 million views online (by way of comparison, the highly anticipated HBO drama Succession scored 1.4 million viewers for the debut of its third season, according to website The Wrap).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn Novoland: Pearl Eclipse Yang plays Ye Haishi, a girl from a mythical fishing village where the residents are a cross between mermaids and…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Yang-Mi-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":51127,"title":"Netizens appalled as dog death captured on camera","content":"Chaofen was a five year-old corgi with an owner who doted on him so much that she installed surveillance cameras at home so she could keep an eye on him when she was out. That also allowed his owner, a Ms Fu, to look on in horror as two epidemic prevention officers came into her apartment in Shangrao city in Jiangxi province in mid-November, before bludgeoning Chaofen to death.\r\n\r\nMs Fu, had been moved to a quarantine centre after people in her building tested positive for Covid-19. She had not been tested herself at that point (and the test later proved negative). But the disturbing video, which went viral on social media, shows the dog waking up as the two men (in hazmat suits) force their way into the apartment.\r\n\r\n\u201cDid the boss say to settle this on the spot?\u201d asks one, armed with a crowbar. \u201cYes,\u201d replies his colleague as Chaofen cowers under a table. The first worker then delivers the first of several blows to the dog\u2019s head, before the animal is slung into a disposal bag and carried out.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAccording to Ms Fu at least two other animals in the building were killed the same day, although no other pet…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Corgi-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"17"},{"id":51131,"title":"A much loved cartoon is remastered for the big screen","content":"Children in mainland China in the early 1980s were often fans of the feature-length cartoon Legend of the Sealed Book.\r\n\r\nBased on a fourteenth century novel by Luo Guanzhong, the exquisitely-drawn cartoon tells the story of Yuan Gong, an official who unlocks the secrets of a magic book. Yuan, who is then banned from communicating the magic to anyone else, then has to raise a small boy, Dan Sheng, to save his community from a group of vixen (in human-form) and other calamities.\r\n\r\nThe format was one of a handful of widely-acclaimed cartoons to be released after the end of the traumatic Cultural Revolution, signalling the return of Chinese animation and the advent of a unique local style.\r\n\r\nAlmost 40 years after it was originally created, the cartoon has been rereleased in remastered 4K format, much to the joy of those who loved it the first time around.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn fact, the cartoon came fourth in box office takings on its debut weekend at the start of November. \u201cI\u2019m so happy to be able to share this with my own kids,\u201d celebrated one audience member. \u201cStunning style,\u201d applauded another.\r\n\r\nChinese animators have developed several distinctive styles that borrow from traditional art forms such as Peking Opera,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Legend-Movie-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"18"},{"id":51100,"title":"Chinese national soccer team disappoint \u2013 again","content":"It was 20 years ago when China made its first appearance at football\u2019s World Cup finals. That\u2019s still the only time the world\u2019s most populous nation has qualified for the final stages of the tournament. The task was less challenging at the time because the strongest Asian teams South Korea and Japan were co-hosts and didn\u2019t need to take part in the qualifiers for the tournament.\r\n\r\nThe World Cup finals are back next year in Qatar. Hopes were high that China might make an appearance, as the Chinese squad was thought to be getting more competitive, with a stronger domestic league and a national team supposedly strengthened by the addition of a number of naturalised players from overseas.\r\n\r\nHope is a dangerous thing, however. With four rounds of matches still to play, the Chinese team has been assigned a zero chance of qualifying for the finals, according to statistics specialists We Global Football, which puts China in the same company as soccer minnows such as the Cook Islands and Samoa.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nChina needs to finish at least third in a qualifying group featuring Saudi Arabia, Japan, Australia, Oman and Vietnam. Despite hard-fought draws with Oman and Australia in the past week (both matches finished…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/China-Football-Team-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1716,"name":"Issue 563","date":"Nov 12, 2021","title":"China Mobile\u2019s homecoming","tagline":"World\u2019s biggest telco prepares for mega IPO on Shanghai\u2019s A-share market \u2013 offering local pension funds a blue-chip investment counter","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/563.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/563-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":51031,"title":"China Mobile hopes to rekindle investor interest with Shanghai IPO","content":"Two decades ago a ranking of China\u2019s most valuable A-share firms was dominated by energy-intensive counters such as Baosteel and Huaneng. Much of the market was off-limits to foreign investors but domestic interest was relatively low too.\r\n\r\nOne of the principal reasons was that many of China\u2019s more exciting companies were listed offshore. Sina \u2013 the Chinese equivalent to Yahoo in the frenetic dotcom era \u00ad\u2013 went public in New York in 2000. State-owned China Mobile, which was on its way to taking the title of the world\u2019s largest telecom carrier, sold shares in Hong Kong, not on the mainland.\r\n\r\nOver the years the calls grew louder for the most valuable Chinese firms to come home to a more \u2018international bourse\u2019 in Shanghai. Local investors got their wish in November 2007 with PetroChina\u2019s A-share listing. More than a million of them subscribed for the IPO of what was then Asia\u2019s most profitable firm. More jumped in on the first day of trading, which saw the oil producer\u2019s shares surge to Rmb48 ($7.6), or three times as much as PetroChina\u2019s Hong Kong and New York-listed stock.\r\n\r\nUnfortunately that marked the all-time high for PetroChina\u2019s A-shares, which slumped spectacularly in the following months (see WiC281).…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/China-Mobile-w.jpg","category":"Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":51034,"title":"Latest China trade data suggests \u2018re-globalisation\u2019 trend, says top analyst","content":"\u201cHuge\u201d is how Jonathan Anderson describes this week\u2019s balance of payments data from China. Anderson \u2013 president of boutique research house Emerging Advisors Group \u2013 is one of WiC\u2019s favourite China economists and we caught up with him this week for more on why the trade data was so significant.\r\n\r\nIn March we spoke to Anderson about China\u2019s push towards what Beijing terms as a \u2018dual circulation economy\u2019 (see WiC533). In this follow-up Q&A, he argues that the stellar export gains that the Chinese enjoyed in 2020 can no longer be treated as just a blip brought on by the pandemic. Instead he now thinks the gains look \u2018stickier\u2019 and here to stay. And forget the decoupling trend for the American and Chinese economies too. The latest data points to a \u2018re-globalisation\u2019 process, he points out.\r\n\r\nThe persistently high balance of payments numbers also send strong signals on the direction of China\u2019s currency and raise questions as to why the foreign exchange reserves haven\u2019t increased far more.\r\n\r\nAll told, Anderson thinks China\u2019s huge surpluses will soon start to register more broadly and set a course for more political bickering with Washington and Brussels.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s trade surplus widened to a record high of $87 billion…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Jonathan-Anderson-w.jpeg","category":"Corporate Q&A","page":"6"},{"id":51037,"title":"New survey and trade fair signal foreign firms\u2019 confidence in China market","content":"Has life ever been tougher for international firms wanting to do business in China? Travel bans and lengthy quarantines designed to quell Covid infection rates have curbed flows of goods and people. Delay and disruption to supply chains, especially in container shipping, have created bottlenecks for trade flows. Simmering tensions between Beijing and Washington over trade tariffs and technology exports aren\u2019t helping much either.\r\n\r\nIn this kind of context, companies could be forgiven for pressing pause on their strategies for the Chinese market. But that\u2019s not what they are doing, according to the latest instalment of HSBC\u2019s Navigator report, which was released earlier this week.\r\n\r\nThe Navigator series offers an inside track into what business decisionmakers around the world are feeling and planning. This year\u2019s \u2018Succeeding in China 2021\u2019 chapter asked a representative group of foreign firms for their views on doing business in the Chinese market. Despite the backdrop of gloomy headlines, the outlook from the companies was much more positive.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cContrary to some media reporting, our findings indicate deepening confidence and further investment in China among international firms,\u201d was the conclusion of the study\u2019s authors.\r\n\r\nThe survey polled 2,174 companies across 10 major economies in September, suggesting that nearly nine in 10…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Turkish-Ice-cream-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"9"},{"id":51046,"title":"State-backed rival makes inroads amid Beijing\u2019s crackdown on Didi","content":"It\u2019s been a rough ride for a fair few of China\u2019s state-owned car companies in recent years. Private sector companies have been overtaking them in electric cars (with a few notable exceptions), while their foreign joint venture partners have been shifting focus to their own wholly-owned units.\r\n\r\nBut there are signs of a fightback in the mobility (ride-hailing) sector thanks to Didi Chuxing\u2019s recent regulatory woes. Three of China\u2019s biggest state-owned carmakers, Chang\u2019an, Dongfeng and FAW, are the founding shareholders of T3 Chuxing, which has just received the sector\u2019s largest funding since Softbank ploughed $5 billion into Didi back in April 2017.\r\n\r\nA group led by Citic, the country\u2019s largest state-owned financial conglomerate, invested Rmb7.7 billion ($1.2 billion) in a Series A funding round. Other new investors include online travel group Tongcheng and Virtue Capital, which was founded by Dong Yang, the former head of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), plus returning investors Alibaba and Tencent.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe financing follows a similar Rmb3.8 billion fundraising for competitor Cao Cao Chuxing which closed in September. The Geely-owned group has already said that it\u2019s actively raising funds for its next round, which it hopes to complete early in 2022.\r\n\r\nIn an internal letter that was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/T3-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"11"},{"id":51040,"title":"Why Chanel\u2019s \u2018Advent calendar\u2019 has irked Chinese consumers","content":"Traditionally, Advent calendars are for kids to count down to Christmas. Each day from December 1 until Christmas Eve, they rip open the paper doors to unveil tiny chocolates or other confectionaries. That, of course, describes the traditional practice in countries like the US and UK for how young children enjoy this festive product. However, over time, a lot of consumer brands \u2013 especially beauty labels \u2013 have begun selling similar cardboard calendars to adults. They\u2019re filled with everything from shrunken-sized eau de toilette bottles, scented lotions to Harry Potter collectibles \u2013 all tucked into little compartments.\r\n\r\nIndeed this year even the most ultra-luxury brand of them all \u2013 Chanel \u2013 has jumped on the Advent calendar bandwagon. The brand launched its first-ever calendar, stocked with 27 different products. Of course, it also comes with an oversized price tag. Shaped like the famed Chanel N\u00b05 bottle, the limited-edition gift costs Rmb6,055 ($946) in China. The company also claims that it will sell only 1,000 of the item.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHowever, controversy surrounding the Chanel calendar soon followed when a Chinese blogger made a video that reviewed the offering. In the video, she unwraps the item, only to find that it contains just five Chanel…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Chanel-Unboxing-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"13"},{"id":51043,"title":"Hotpot leader downsizes after ill-timed expansion","content":"Last Sunday, Beijing experienced snowfall for the first time this winter and for many a steaming hotpot meal was just the thing for the cold weather. \u201cWhat\u2019s more soul satisfying than sitting around a hotpot on a snowy day, with a few friends, sharing a bite and enjoying the heat from the stove?\u201d one netizen asked on social media.\r\n\r\nBut just as the capital\u2019s city first cold snap arrived, China\u2019s most famous hotpot chain paradoxically announced its closure of over 300 restaurants. Haidilao, which currently has almost 1,600 outlets, says the hotpot eateries were nonperforming, although it also maintained it wouldn\u2019t lay off any staff.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nInvestors were pleased with the plan. Shares of Haidilao, which trade in Hong Kong, went up almost 5% to HK$22.05 at the close of trading on Friday, gaining about HK$5.5 billion ($700 million) of market value after the announcement. Nevertheless, the company still has a lot of ground to make up: the stock has lost almost 70% of its value so far this year following a 91% gain in 2020.\r\n\r\nThe hotpot chain \u2013 famous for customer service perks like complimentary massages and snacks \u2013 has been struggling for some time. Part of the reason is because of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Haidilao-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"14"},{"id":51050,"title":"Pine nuts in the spotlight for Afghan trade push","content":"The humble pine nut \u2013 a staple of pesto sauce and superfood salads \u2013 rarely plays a geopolitical role. But in the last fortnight these small, edible seeds have been at the forefront of an effort to showcase Beijing\u2019s economic support for Taliban-run Afghanistan.\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s ambassador to Afghanistan Wang Yu revealed on Twitter on November 1 that a cargo flight bearing 45 tonnes of Afghan pine nuts had landed in Shanghai, marking the first shipment of goods from Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe little pine nuts bring happiness to Afghan people and good taste to the Chinese,\u201d waxed Wang happily (he is one of the few foreign diplomats still in Kabul).\r\n\r\nWang was in descriptive mood, celebrating the \u201cpine nut air corridor\u201d as an \u201cimportant bond of friendship between our two countries\u201d and claiming that thousands more tonnes of nuts would arrive in China in the coming months.\r\n\r\nPine nuts aren\u2019t widely eaten in China, although they are occasionally consumed as snacks or cooked with sweetcorn in a popular northern dish. They are also a feature of several Western-style dishes and salads that have become more popular among Chinese urbanites in recent years.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTo promote sales of the new Afghan imports, their Chinese distributors…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Pine-Nuts-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"15"},{"id":51053,"title":"Online healthcare sector to get new scrutiny","content":"In April this year the owner of China\u2019s largest gay dating app Blued was given the licences needed to open an \u2018internet hospital\u2019. \u201cThis essentially closes a glaring gap in the field of men\u2019s health in China, itself a sector that is expected to grow significantly over the next few years,\u201d the company explained.\r\n\r\nBlued started as an underground forum for the gay community in 2000, going public 20 years later with a debut on Nasdaq that valued the platform at $614 million. But it isn\u2019t alone in morphing into medical consultations. Indeed, between January and August 2021 alone, some 500 online hospitals were created, taking the total number to 1,600, according to the Securities Daily.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAmong them was Blued\u2019s He Health, an online-to-offline platform which specialises in male health issues \u2013 regardless of the patient\u2019s sexuality. Since July He Health users have been able to book consultations with doctors on issues as varied as depression, erectile dysfunction, cancer and infertility. \u201cThousands of men have had consultations since launch, illustrating again the huge demand of this flourishing business sector,\u201d the platform\u2019s owner Ma Baoli said in August.\r\n\r\nBut this month the flourishing sector caught a nasty cold when China\u2019s central government issued draft…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Blued-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"16"},{"id":51059,"title":"Henderson Land goes all-in on Hong Kong property with a record bet","content":"Sitting at the heart of some of the world\u2019s most expensive real estate, World-Wide House (WWH) has been a bit of an outsider for years. Amid a sparkling cluster of grade-A office and luxury retail space in Hong Kong\u2019s Central district, the 40 year-old building is more downbeat, and mostly home to small businesses. Its atrium of shops \u2013 across three flours, with no natural light \u2013 is rented to mini-stores selling goods and services to the city\u2019s large population of domestic workers from other parts of Asia. Sundays \u2013 the day off each week \u2013 are the busiest for shopping.\r\n\r\nWhat else marks WWH out as different? Most of the main buildings in Central are controlled and managed by single landlords, like Jardines. The British hong has rarely sold a single unit in its real estate portfolio in Central, holding much of it for decades. In contrast, ownership of commercial units inside WWH, which was first developed by Hong Kong\u2019s richest man Li Ka-shing, has been fragmented from day one. Li sold all of its office and retail space to third parties before it was completed in 1981.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWWH was built on a site vacated by the former General Post Office.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Central-HendersonLand-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"17"},{"id":51056,"title":"Queen of the small screen strikes gold again \u2013 even as critics scoff","content":"The personal story of actress Liu Tao has all the makings of a TV drama. When she was 15, she was chosen to join a performance troop of the People\u2019s Liberation Army in Nanjing, where she learned skills from singing and dancing to crosstalk (a traditional style of comedy in China). Liu then became a household name as the female lead in the TV series Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils in 2003.\r\n\r\nIn 2007, she met her husband Wang Ke, marrying him after three weeks of dating. The four-day wedding, which cost Rmb40 million ($6.4 million), lasted nearly as long as the whirlwind courtship. Liu then left acting to become a stay-at-home mother.\r\n\r\nBut the good times didn\u2019t last. Wang\u2019s business fell apart within a year of the marriage, leaving the couple on the brink of bankruptcy. Friends turned their backs and Wang began to suffer from depression. Liu had no choice but to start working again, appearing in as many as six TV dramas in 2011 alone. Netizens praised the starlet, saying that she epitomised the definition of a \u201cgood wife\u201d (see WiC185).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nGiven her reputation, Liu is often cast as the strong independent woman. In 2015\u2019s Langya Bang \u2013 a show described as…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Liu-Tao-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"19"},{"id":51062,"title":"Euphoria in\u2008China as team wins League of Legends world cup in Rejkjavik","content":"Since its launch in 2011, League of Legends has been a fan favourite. It\u2019s a strategy game where two teams of five heroes battle to destroy the other\u2019s base. The game is enduringly popular, making the League of Legends World Championship, hosted by its developer Riot Games, one of the most-watched tournaments in eSports.\r\n\r\nThis year\u2019s tournament, which finished last Saturday, was hosted in Reykjavik in Iceland. South Korean team DWG Kia, the defending champions, were expected to win. So it was something of a surprise when the underdog EDward Gaming, a professional eSports team based in Shanghai, claimed the world title, beating DWG Kia in a final that saw the Chinese team winning 3-2.\r\n\r\nEDG\u2019s victory became an instant sensation on Chinese social media, with five of the top 10 topics that trended on Sina Weibo on Saturday night related to the final. The hashtag #EDGwinschampionship# was viewed 1.6 billion times, generating more than 1.3 million separate weibo discussions.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nEven the state media was excited about the win, with state-run broadcaster CCTV celebrating the victory the following day as a highlight for the country\u2019s eSports industry. Millions of people had tuned in to watch the final round of the tournament, including those…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/EDG-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"21"}]},{"id":1715,"name":"Issue 562","date":"Nov 5, 2021","title":"\u201cIf only Xi were here too\u201d","tagline":"Boris Johnson was joined at the COP26 summit in Glasgow by 120 world leaders including India\u2019s Narendra Modi \u2013 but Xi Jinping was conspicuously absent","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/562.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/562-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":50956,"title":"How has China responded to \u201cthe last chance\u201d to save planet Earth?","content":"The successes of the Paris climate summit of 2015 could not have been achieved without months of groundwork from Chinese leader Xi Jinping and former US president Barack Obama to reach an agreement on a deal.\r\n\r\n\u201cAs the two largest economies in the world and the two largest carbon emitters, we have both determined that it is our responsibility to take action,\u201d Obama would later announce, with Xi sitting next to him.\r\n\r\nBut the mood was rather different this week at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, where bitter rivalry between the two superpowers has hampered hopes that the two governments might find common ground once again.\r\n\r\nThe chances of closer collaboration were also scotched by comments from Joe Biden, the current US president, about the absence of his Chinese counterpart at the summit. \u201cWe showed up,\u201d he told reporters shortly before world leaders departed from the Scottish city, leaving their climate change officials behind for two weeks of negotiations. Biden then described Xi\u2019s non-appearance at the Glasgow conference as a \u201cbig mistake\u201d.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe single most important thing that\u2019s gotten the attention of the world is climate,\u201d Biden added. \u201cIt just is a gigantic issue and they [the Chinese] walked away\u201d.\r\n\r\nFor…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/COP26-w.jpg","category":"China and the World, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":50965,"title":"Why has Beijing asked the public to \u2018stock up\u2019 on daily necessities?","content":"In October 1962 there were fears that the world was on the brink of nuclear war. Indeed, after a televised address by John F Kennedy, many Americans worried the Soviets could launch nukes from Cuba at any moment. Panicked families across the US started to hoard food and fuel fearing a war ahead.\r\n\r\nRising tensions across the Taiwan Strait are yet to trigger panic buying of food in Taiwan. Paradoxically, a government notice in mainland China this week advising households to stock up on essential supplies was one of the most talked-about topics on the internet, fuelling further speculation about the prospects of war over Taiwan.\r\n\r\nThe rumours started on Tuesday as screenshots of a Ministry of Commerce (MoC) notice made the rounds on social media. The posting advised households to \u201cstore a certain amount of daily necessities as needed to meet daily life and emergencies\u201d, getting more than 100 million views on Sina Weibo on Tuesday alone. Many netizens were soon linking the message to the worsening geopolitical situation in the Taiwan Strait.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAs discussion of the announcement spread like wildfire across mainland Chinese internet platforms, various government agencies and state media outlets were forced to intervene to call for calm, albeit…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Vegetables-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"7"},{"id":50968,"title":"Aluminium firm Zhongwang struggles for survival","content":"Once a symbol of American industrial might, Alcoa was split in two in 2016. The revamp came amid falling aluminium prices and as a result of intensifying competition from Chinese producers. \u00adAt nearly the same time, China\u2019s biggest private-sector aluminium firm Zhongwang found itself the subject of anti-dumping investigations in Washington. Short-sellers were pressuring Zhongwang too. An anonymous research outfit called Dupr\u00e9 Analytics published a damaging report in 2015, describing Zhongwang as \u201cthe largest and most complex China fraud ever\u201d. It accused the Hong Kong-listed metals firm of various wrongdoings, including the stockpiling of aluminium products in Mexico in a scheme to skirt US tariffs.\r\n\r\nLike Alcoa, Zhongwang was also suffering from a faltering commodities market. Reacting to the challenges, it began to make more frantic financial manoeuvres, including a backdoor listing plan in the local A-share market. It also tried to expand overseas. Acquisition targets included US rival Aleris, which manufactures the aluminium products used in military tanks, Germany\u2019s Aluminiumwerk Unna (reportedly a supplier for China\u2019s C919 jetliner), as well as SilverYachts, an Australian shipyard that makes aluminium superyachts.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nFew of the takeover bids came to fruition. In fact, things went almost entirely downhill for Zhongwang and its boss Liu Zhongtian.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Liaoyang-Map-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"8"},{"id":50962,"title":"PwC faces investigation after complaint over Evergrande audit opinion","content":"It has been a torrid time for auditing firms in China. Regulators have stepped up their oversight, fining a number of auditors after a spate of stock market frauds. Ruihua \u2013 formerly a leading auditor of A-share companies \u2013 was even closed down after a series of accounting scandals broke, including a misstatement in the audit of the cash position at Kangdexin, a laminated filmmaker, that was off by Rmb30 billion ($4.68 billion).\r\n\r\nMore irregularities are emerging, this time in the banking sector. Investors were shocked last week when pharma firm Jemincare Group accused a branch of China Bohai Bank of using its Rmb2.8 billion deposit as collateral for a loan to another client. The Hong Kong-listed lender then revealed in a stock exchange circular that it has reported the matter for further investigation.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOther scandals have included the high-profile debacle at US-listed Luckin Coffee (see WiC490). Auditors in cross-border situations like these find themselves in a jurisdictional no-man\u2019s land with Washington and Beijing tussling over laws that could see Chinese firms delisted from American exchanges for flouting US audit requirements.\r\n\r\nThe Chinese authorities take the opposite line, citing state secrecy laws in refusing to make audit results of Chinese companies available to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/PWC-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"9"},{"id":50971,"title":"Is Duan Yongping steering OPPO and Vivo into carmaking?","content":"\u201cCommon prosperity\u201d is the talk of the town in policymaking circles. Although Party officials have been keen to explain that it doesn\u2019t mean preying on the rich, some of China\u2019s wealthiest entrepreneurs may have their doubts. After all, as Alibaba\u2019s founder Jack Ma once remarked, history suggests that \u201cnearly all Chinese entrepreneurs don\u2019t have happy endings\u201d (see WiC536).\r\n\r\nOne way that wary tycoons have tried to get a portion of their wealth outside China is through overseas M&A deals, cynics say, often via overpriced transactions.\r\n\r\nBut it was a tycoon\u2019s luxury holiday abroad that grabbed headlines most recently amid talk of its symbolism. In this case the very same Jack Ma was seen on a Mediterranean superyacht \u2013 which led Alibaba\u2019s stock to rebound nearly 30% last month. Why? Some of the speculation was that Ma\u2019s foreign break was a positive sign of better times ahead, after a difficult year with domestic regulators.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nFor tycoons who have already left China for a life elsewhere, why risk the hassle of coming back to your home country? This was the question being asked of Duan Yongping, one of China\u2019s richest men, who might be doing just that.\r\n\r\nChinese media outlets report that the low-profile Duan moved…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Duan-Yongping-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"10"},{"id":50993,"title":"Why Carrefour\u2019s irate with Sam\u2019s Club","content":"\u201cToo many monks but too little gruel\u2019 is a Chinese proverb. It was also a metaphor for a commercial spat in Shanghai this autumn, where a growing number of retailers are fighting for a finite pool of customers at newly opened members-only stores.\r\n\r\nThe latest to join the fray is Carrefour China, which opened its first \u2018members\u2019 store in late October. But debut day didn\u2019t go exactly to plan, however. The outlet was soon swamped with customers but a number of them were said to be acting on behalf of suppliers wanting to repurchase their own goods, which prevented conventional shoppers from getting their hands on what they wanted.\r\n\r\nCarrefour attributes this behaviour to pressure from rival retailers. which are allegedly demanding exclusivity from suppliers (a tactic known locally as choose \u201cone or the other\u201d). It went public with its concerns on its Sina Weibo account that evening \u2013 apologising to genuine customers who missed out \u2013 before later filing an official complaint that laid the blame for the debacle at the door of Sam\u2019s Club, another members-only chain.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe weibo post made an impact, with media turning up the next day to see if it would happen again. China Business News noted…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Carrefour-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"11"},{"id":50990,"title":"Reliance on\u2008Chinese magnesium irks Europeans","content":"Two of the symptoms for sufferers of magnesium deficiency are nausea and anxiety. Companies in Europe are experiencing something similar after a sudden collapse in Chinese exports of the metal.\r\n\r\nChina accounted for 90% of world magnesium supply in 2020, with production heavily concentrated in Shaanxi province. In September, the provincial authorities implemented restrictions on output in response to central government directives to reduce pollution. A number of smelters were ordered to cut production and others were shut completely. The move was also driven by two other shorter-term factors. One was a need to clear the skies for the National Games, which were held in the province in the same month. The other was to conserve energy supply, amid a context of nationwide electricity shortages.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHowever, buyers of magnesium in Europe only had stockpiles that lasted until the end of November (the metal starts to oxidise after three months, so longer term storage is a challenge). As a result, the price per tonne shot up from the $2,500-level seen for most of 2020 to between $10,000 and $14,000 over September and October.\r\n\r\nThe price spike is more bad news for the global automotive industry, which is grappling with semiconductor chip shortages. Magnesium is…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Magnesium-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"12"},{"id":50987,"title":"Kuaishou\u2019s smaller rival seeks Hong Kong listing","content":"While property brokerage platforms like Beike are laying off staff amid slowing home sales (see last week\u2019s Talking Point China\u2019s plans to introduce a property tax), Kuaishou is charging headlong into the real estate brokerage business.\r\n\r\nLast week, 36Kr, a tech news portal, reported that the short-video platform is gearing up to launch its own home sales service. In fact, Kuaishou has already sold over 250 properties in cities like Shenyang, Dalian, Guilin and Harbin, generating as much as Rmb285 million in gross transaction value in an initial phase of the plan this summer.\r\n\r\nWhile Kuaishou is looking to diversify into new areas, a smaller rival in the short-video sector is filing for an initial public offering.\r\n\r\nHuafang Group recently submitted its prospectus for a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The timing and valuation of the offering, however, were not disclosed.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHuafang isn\u2019t as well known as its competitors in the space, despite its flagship platform Huajiao, which has been operating for some time. \u201cIf Huafang Group hadn\u2019t submitted the prospectus in Hong Kong, few people in the internet circle would have paid any attention to the company,\u201d Beijing Business Today scoffed, rather unfairly.\r\n\r\nHuafang is an investment holding company that controls a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Fan-Bingbing-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"13"},{"id":50975,"title":"Chinese welcome new AI stars to their screens","content":"It might be called a reality TV show but nothing about any of its contestants is real at all.\r\n\r\nTitled 2060, the new offering from Jiangsu TV pits 26 female competitors against one another in the typical singing and dancing talent show format.\r\n\r\nBut something is different \u2013 all of the contestants are anime characters.\r\n\r\nThere\u2019s Dian Zan Xian, with crystal pink eyes and white blonde pigtails. Joining her is Gong \u2013 a space-suited siren nymph with a deep, raspy voice, a pixie haircut and a love of rap.\r\n\r\nAlso featuring in the queue of life-size creations: a towering warrior-like figure called Qi; a tracksuit-wearing teen called Xing; and a chicken with a television in its stomach.\r\n\r\nThe characters are projected onto a stage in front of a studio audience and then introduced by each of the creators that has designed them.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe character then performs a song, after which the judges (humans only, in this role) ask them questions. The anime performers respond naturally enough (although they have been pre-programmed with their answers). And the audience then votes on their favourite contestants, based on their looks, performing talent, and overall likeability.\r\n\r\nFrom next season the audience will also watch the performances through Virtual Reality (VR) goggles,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Hua-Zhibing-w.jpg","category":"Media & Gaming","page":"14"},{"id":50979,"title":"Big, big screen format suits Warner Brother\u2019s new sci-fi blockbuster","content":"Frank Herbert\u2019s landmark 1965 sci-fi novel Dune was first adapted into a film in 1984 but director David Lynch was so unhappy with the cut he disavowed it. Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky also had hopes of turning the book into a 10-plus-hour cinematic saga featuring Mick Jagger and Salvador Dal\u00ed but production never began. So when Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve decided to put his stamp on the sci-fi classic, with an outsized budget of $165 million, there was anticipation and anxiety in equal measure.\r\n\r\nThankfully for Villeneuve, his labour of love paid off. Since its release in the US in late October, Dune has been largely positively reviewed. The film has grossed $225 million worldwide, enough for Warner Brothers to announce a sequel to be released in 2023.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSet on faraway planets in the distant future, Dune tells the story of the Atreides family as they relocate to the desert planet Arrakis (also known as Dune) to manage the harvest of a very important export called melange. But their time on Arrakis quickly becomes dangerous, and after they are betrayed by one of their own, the young Paul Atreides (played by Timothee Chalamet) and his mother (Rebecca Ferguson) have to seek help…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Dune-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"15"},{"id":50983,"title":"Elon Musk\u2019s literary post on social media puzzles netizens","content":"What was he thinking? That\u2019s a question often asked of the unorthodox Tesla CEO Elon Musk \u2013 now ranked as the world\u2019s richest man by Bloomberg. But this week the question was a literal one, as millions tried to figure out the meaning of a cryptic tweet.\r\n\r\nSo what was it that got people, especially in China but also around the world, scratching their heads? It was Musk\u2019s posting on Twitter and Sina Weibo of an ancient poem \u2013 in Chinese characters \u2013 with absolutely no explanation of why he\u2019d done so or what he intended it to convey. The only addition to the post was the English word \u201cHumankind\u201d (perhaps to indicate who he was speaking to, or maybe to show who he was talking about; see photo of the tweet on next page).\r\n\r\nThe poem, popularly known as the Seven-Step Verse, goes like this:\r\n\r\n\u716e\u8c46\u71c3\u8c46\u8401\uff0c\r\n\r\n\u8c46\u5728\u91dc\u4e2d\u6ce3\u3002\r\n\r\n\u672c\u662f\u540c\u6839\u751f\uff0c\r\n\r\n\u76f8\u714e\u4f55\u592a\u6025\uff1f\r\n\r\n\u201cBeanstalks are burned to boil beans. The beans weep in the pot;\r\n\r\nWe are born of the same root.\r\n\r\nWhy are we so eager to hurt each other?\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt is said to have been composed by Cao Zhi, a talented poet and the favourite son of Cao Cao, a warlord who laid the foundation for the state of Wei during…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/Elon-Musk-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"16"},{"id":50958,"title":"Chinese swoon at newly created character launched at Shanghai Disneyland","content":"Move over Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh \u2013 the newest Disney character that\u2019s captured the hearts of Chinese consumers is a little pink fox called LinaBell. With big sapphire-blue eyes and a bushy pink tail, she has become a viral sensation across the Chinese internet.\r\n\r\nLinaBell was introduced at Shanghai Disneyland Resort last month as one of the \u2018friends\u2019 of Duffy, a Disney teddy bear. Over the years, Disney has added seven friends for Duffy, bringing them to other Disney theme parks with varying degrees of success. The first four characters debuted at Tokyo DisneySea, while the fifth and sixth, Cookie and \u2018Olu, were launched at Hong Kong Disneyland and Disney's Aulani in Hawaii respectively.\r\n\r\nEnter LinaBell, whose initial appearances were meet-and-greets at the Shanghai park. The latest addition, like her predecessors, hasn\u2019t arrived with much of a backstory, apart from the flagging of a few personality traits.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAccording to Disney\u2019s website, the pink fox loves nature and likes to solve mysteries (which explains why she carries a magnifying glass with her wherever she goes). Even when she encounters obstacles and challenges, Disney\u2019s marketing team adds, LinaBell maintains a sense of humour and fun.\r\n\r\nPeople stood in long lines to take photos with…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/11\/LinaBell-doll-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"17"}]}]}