{"issues":[{"id":1710,"name":"Issue 557","date":"Sep 24, 2021","title":"How did our blue chip index do?","tagline":"Four years ago we created the WiC30 A-Share Blue Chip Index \u2013 Wang Chuanfu\u2019s BYD and Liang Wengen\u2019s Sany were two of the top four performers","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/557.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/557-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":50645,"title":"Our WiC30 A-Share Blue Chip Index is up 12.5% annually since its launch","content":"Journalist Charles Dow founded his famous index on May 26, 1896, with the intention of creating a \u201cwindow\u201d on the stockmarket and the wider economy.\r\n\r\nHe chose 12 companies that he thought representative of America\u2019s burgeoning industrial sector. The index began life at the lowly level of 40.94, growing to its current number of 30 constituent stocks in 1928. In the decades that followed it measured the performance of America\u2019s evolving \u2018blue chip\u2019 shares, with older member stocks such as Tennessee Coal & Iron being replaced by the likes of IBM.\r\n\r\nAs Dow had hoped, the index became a way for Main Street to understand Wall Street better, and as shorthand for checking the health of the American economy.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn early 2017 a fund manager approached WiC with an idea. He had been buying Chinese A-share stocks and lamented there wasn\u2019t a simple \u2018blue chip\u2019 index like the Dow Jones Industrial against which he could benchmark his performance.\r\n\r\nThe Shanghai Composite, probably the most quoted index in China, has often been accused of being an unhelpful way to track A-share performance. That\u2019s why another media firm, the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, has attempted to create an alternative benchmark for A-shares (see WiC166). But the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/BYD-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":50650,"title":"Australian submarine purchases sparks fury in France and China","content":"It\u2019s not often that China and France claim diplomatic outrage over the same event. Yet the announcement of a new defence pact between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom has them both hopping mad.\r\n\r\nFrance is annoyed because the deal \u2013 known as the AUKUS pact \u2013 means that the US and Britain will help Australia to build a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines in only the second instance in which the Americans have shared this technology.\r\n\r\nThe arrangements will also see Canberra cancel a multi-billion-dollar contract for 12 diesel-powered subs with France\u2019s Naval Group.\r\n\r\nMaking matters more contentious is that the French \u2013 America\u2019s oldest ally \u2013 say they were deliberately kept in the dark while the new pact was being negotiated.\r\n\r\nFrance\u2019s foreign minster described the September 15 announcement as a \u201cstab in the back\u201d, adding that it was the mildest expression he could manage for how France\u2019s three allies had gone about creating their new partnership.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOf course, Canberra\u2019s decision to join AUKUS is also a sign of how badly a series of political and trade rows have damaged the Sino-Australian relationship. Gone are the days when the Australian government tried to portray a little distance between itself and Washington…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Australia-sub-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"8"},{"id":50654,"title":"What does Chinese attack on Canada Goose suggest?","content":"\u201cThe moon isn\u2019t rounder in foreign countries, and foreign down jackets aren\u2019t any warmer either\u201d.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s what the Beijing-based Economic Times claimed earlier this month in support of a fine of Rmb450,000 ($69,621) for parka maker Canada Goose for false advertising. The advertising that was penalised was the assertion that Canada Goose\u2019s jackets \u201ccontain the finest and warmest Hutterite down\u201d.\r\n\r\nShanghai\u2019s market regulators took the view that this claim \u2013 made on the brand\u2019s Tmall shop \u2013 was misleading because the provenance of the down alone is not an indicator of quality.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHutterites are Anabaptist communities living on the Canadian central prairies. They reside in self-sufficient homesteads which are largely agricultural in nature. One of their most prized products is the finest feathers from the ducks and geese that roam the communities, typically growing to full size and often producing a longer, fluffier feather.\r\n\r\nThe authorities in Shanghai argue that just because some of the down in the Canada Goose jackets is Hutterite in origin, the company cannot guarantee the highest degree of \u201cfill power\u201d or the claims of the \u201cwarmest\u201d fit that is made in the advertisements.\r\n\r\nThe company\u2019s returns policy for faulty goods was also deemed to have violated Chinese law by tipping…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Canada-Goose-Jacket-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"9"},{"id":50656,"title":"Baosteel signs Saudi deal","content":"Saudi Arabia\u2019s oil-producing titan Saudi Aramco is hoping that it will be third time lucky in getting a massive new steel plant off the ground in the kingdom after signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China\u2019s Baosteel.\r\n\r\nTwo previous efforts involving China\u2019s near-neighbours and strategic rivals Japan and South Korea, have both come to nothing in recent years. Japan\u2019s Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metallurgical Corp led the way in 2018, followed by an MoU with South Korea\u2019s POSCO as recently as December 2020. Now it\u2019s China\u2019s turn to try to seal the deal.\r\n\r\nSaudi Aramco has been keen to set up a steel mill to service its domestic oil and gas sector. The plan forms part of the company\u2019s IKTVA (In-Kingdom Value Add) programme to enhance localisation efforts. In fact, the new MoU is one of 22 announced this month, encompassing a host of international companies including Honeywell, Shell and Hyundai. They all fall under another campaign called Aramco Namaat, which means \u2018collective growth\u2019 in Arabic. The aim is to drive economic growth and diversification as part of Saudi Arabia\u2019s wider Vision 2030 plan to reduce its reliance on the oil industry.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBaosteel\u2019s inclusion on the list is significant in two respects.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Baosteel-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"10"},{"id":50660,"title":"Regulatory storm reaches Macau and HK","content":"Sun Hong Kai PropertiesMajor changes in the casino enclave of Macau have been expected for months, with the current gaming licences due to expire next June. But when the Macanese government announced a formal review of the city\u2019s gaming law last week investors took fright, wiping out more than a quarter of the value of the six casino groups listed in nearby Hong Kong.\r\n\r\nWhy the fearful response? When the gaming law was last revised in 2001 the stipulation was that the licences \u2013 known locally as concessions \u2013 were granted to three operators. The rules were then fudged to allow \u201csub-concessions\u201d for three more. It\u2019s now clear that these sub-concessions (held, for instance, by MGM) won\u2019t be continued under the new regime, but the casinos holding them are expecting to get full licences under the revised framework.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOther changes to the licencing system have been widely anticipated as well: new concessions will be granted for less than the current 20 years and the registered capital required of licence holders is likely to increase, perhaps substantially, beyond the existing $25 million.\r\n\r\nInvestors in American casino groups like Wynn and Sands China have been fretting that they will be dealt an inferior hand because…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Casino-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"11"},{"id":50664,"title":"Bounties issued for bosses","content":"With the speed at which the fortunes of many Chinese tycoons have reversed lately, a new profession may soon flourish: that of bounty hunters who are hired to locate missing company bosses.\r\n\r\nLast week a senior court in Shandong\u2019s Qingdao city published a notice, dangling a Rmb10 million ($1.6 million) bounty for anyone who could provide any clues on the whereabouts of Chen Jianming and his \u201chidden properties\u201d.\r\n\r\nChen is the founder and chairman of San Sheng, a Zhejiang-based conglomerate which, according to Time Weekly, was one of the top 100 real estate developers before filing for bankruptcy in January this year.\r\n\r\nAs recently as 2018, Forbes put Chen\u2019s net worth at $890 million. His companies are involved in Rmb100 million worth of unpaid debts, the court said, and that\u2019s why the 68 year-old\u2019s photo is now published atop the bounty notice in a look akin to a Wild West \u2018wanted\u2019 poster.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLi Zhaohui, who 10 years ago was popularly known as \u201cChina\u2019s richest young tycoon\u201d, got the same treatment just a day later. A court in Shanghai put out a similar notice last Wednesday and the bounty was much higher at Rmb21 million, or 10% of the unpaid debts in question. That includes…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Li-Zhaohui-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"12"},{"id":50667,"title":"Tencent and Bytedance are racing to plant their flags on the \u2018metaverse\u2019","content":"For a long time Guy thinks that he is just an ordinary bank teller at a place called Free City. He follows the same routine every day with a blas\u00e9 attitude, until one day he meets Molotov Girl. Feeling an electric attraction for the edgy lady, he decides to follow her. But in a place ruled by violence, that also means having to commit crimes like stealing, robbing and killing. Refusing to cause mayhem, Guy instead chooses to perform good deeds. His deviation from the norm, however, gets him the wrong kind of attention \u2013 to the point where his existence might be threatened. Why? Because Guy is part of an open world video game called Free City, and his unusual subversion has the game\u2019s publisher Antwan wondering if he is controlled by some sort of hacker. Meanwhile, Molotov Girl has slowly developed a rapport with Guy. In fact, it turns out she is the avatar of Millie, a game designer seeking evidence that Antwan has cannibalised her source code to create Free City in the first place.\r\n\r\nSuch is the plot line of Free Guy, a Hollywood flick that is making a splash in China. Since debuting on August 27…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/FreeGuy-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"13"},{"id":50671,"title":"China\u2019s biggest podcast platform to go public","content":"As the saying goes, as one door closes another door opens. Four days after Ximalaya shelved its Nasdaq listing plan, the Chinese podcasting platform filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong.\r\n\r\nThe move surprised no one. Ximalaya first filed for an initial public offering in the US back in April. But soon after that Beijing implemented a number of new rules targeting its technology firms, including reviews of overseas listings by companies that hold the personal data of a million or more Chinese people. In late May, international media reported that Beijing officials had pressured the company to move its planned listing from the US to Hong Kong.\r\n\r\nXimalaya is marketing itself as China\u2019s biggest audio platform with a variety of content including podcasts, audiobooks and livestreams. According to its listing prospectus, it accounted for over 70% of the country\u2019s online listening time last year. By the end of June it had 262 million monthly active users (MAUs).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nRevenue increased 55% year-on-year to Rmb2.5 billion ($390 million) but Ximalaya has yet to turn a profit. Losses narrowed from Rmb755 million in 2018 to Rmb549 million last year although it still gives some investors pause.\r\n\r\nIn 2020, Ximalaya\u2019s revenue from paid content reached…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Ximalaya-app-w.jpg","category":"Media & Gaming","page":"16"},{"id":50674,"title":"Lego makes huge theme park push in\u2008China","content":"\u201cWho needs reality when you can wander around this knee-high paradise,\u201d exclaimed Britain\u2019s Pathe News Service in June 1968. The same month marked the launch of the world\u2019s first Legoland Park (and its signature mini-brick buildings) on Denmark\u2019s Jutland Peninsula.\r\n\r\nOver on the other side of the world, the Chinese were experiencing darker times during the Cultural Revolution. Mao Zedong was going full throttle on his campaign to purge traitors, malcontents and capitalist-roaders from Chinese society. The 30 million people subjected to struggle sessions at the height of the era would have found it almost impossible to imagine a China in which children would be eagerly awaiting the opening of a Legoland on their shores. But that is today\u2019s reality, with three parks set to open near Chengdu, Shanghai and Shenzhen over the next three years.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nUK-based Merlin Entertainments Group, which owns the Legoland brand, has just announced details of the Shenzhen park, which will become the world\u2019s largest when it first welcomes visitors in 2024.\r\n\r\nThe deal that opened up China to a new generation of model villages was one of the high points of President Xi Jinping\u2019s state visit to the UK in 2015. Other trade agreements signed at the time,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Legoland-Shenzhen-w.jpg","category":"China Tourist","page":"17"},{"id":50677,"title":"The latest casualty of the celebrity crackdown: the plastic surgery industry","content":"Last week, an excerpt from the upcoming How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey\u2019s Anatomy, revealed how the filming of \u201cMcDreamy\u201d (Dr Derek Shepherd, as portrayed by actor Patrick Dempsey for 11 seasons of the show) was carefully cultivated to maximise his appeal to the female audience.\r\n\r\n\u201cTypically in editing you start on Derek, then you cut to Meredith [actress Ellen Pompeo] for a reaction, and then you\u2019ll go back to him,\u201d Tony Phelan, a producer on the show recounted. \u201cI noticed that we weren\u2019t ever cutting back to Meredith. I asked why. Shonda [Rhimes, creator and head writer of the series] said, \u2018Because the woman in Iowa who\u2019s watching this show wants to believe that Patrick is talking to her, and if you cut back to Meredith, it pushes them out of it.\u2019\u201d\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s no great surprise that television producers pander to their key audiences in this way. But in China there seems to be some kind of disconnect at the moment. Female viewers have been complaining that the male leads in their favourites series are simply not, well, McDreamy enough.\r\n\r\nJun Jiuling on Youku, for instance, starring actor Jin Han, has flopped miserably, on such complaints, for instance.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Jin-Han-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"18"},{"id":50680,"title":"New Harry Potter mobile game proves massive hit in China for NetEase","content":"The first Harry Potter novel did not arrive in bookstores in China until 2000, three years after the English-language version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer\u2019s Stone became a global phenomenon. Like elsewhere, the JK Rowling novels were a hit in China too. The first three instalments sold about 1.5 million copies and probably many millions more if you count pirated versions.\r\n\r\nThe government was a fan as well. In 2017, the Ministry of Education added the Harry Potter novels to an official list of recommended reading for primary and secondary school students. So it\u2019s fair to say that millions of school children got a taste of the Hogwart\u2019s-based fantasy series from a young age.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nToday the devoted fan base lives on, with a Harry Potter-themed mobile phone game taking top spot in downloads last week, surpassing Tencent\u2019s hugely popular title Honor of Kings. It also ranked as the highest income-earning game of the week, according to mobile data and analytics platform App Annie.\r\n\r\nHarry Potter Magic Awakened is a role-playing game produced by Tencent\u2019s gaming rival NetEase (in conjunction with Warner Brothers, which owns Portkey Games, a label dedicated to creating new Wizarding World mobile and video games).\r\n\r\nThe release of the new…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Harry-Potter-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"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":1709,"name":"Issue 556","date":"Sep 17, 2021","title":"China\u2019s big bet on Hengqin","tagline":"What Beijing\u2019s big new development announcements for Qianhai and Hengqin mean for Hong Kong and Macau","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/556.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/556-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":50574,"title":"What do the big policy announcements on Qianhai and Hengqin mean?","content":"Sometimes it\u2019s easier to breathe new life into a city by rebuilding it from scratch or moving it to an entirely new area. These scenarios can give metropolitan planners more freedom of manoeuvre. Resistance from vested interests can be less intense as well.\r\n\r\nBrazil went for a change of capital city in the 1950s by relocating to Brasilia from overcrowded Rio de Janeiro, for instance. Egypt is doing something similar at the moment, building a yet-to-be-named \u2018New Administrative Capital\u2019 about 45km outside Cairo. Similar thinking has inspired the creation of the Xiongan New Area, established in 2017 to absorb the administrative overspill from Beijing, China\u2019s centre of government (see WiC361).\r\n\r\nInvestors have also been watching the planning process for two of the cities in China\u2019s most international \u2013 and most affluent \u2013 region. For decades Hong Kong and Macau have been cross-border hubs for the Pearl River Delta. Two new zones in Qianhai and Hengqin in nearby Guangdong were set up about a decade ago to pair up with the former colonies. The plan was to inject wider impetus into a region now better known as the Greater Bay Area, bringing together a diverse range of industries and cities.\r\n\r\nThat effort is continuing…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Qianhai-w.jpg","category":"GBA","page":"1"},{"id":50577,"title":"Biden phones Xi but bilateral ties stay tense","content":"The Biden administration is said to have lobbied its counterparts in Beijing this year to agree to a \u201cred phone\u201d hotline between the two governments, similar to the one that linked the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.\r\n\r\nIn fact the Pentagon is already said to have a direct line to China for crisis calls. The talk of Washington this week was that Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made two calls to his counterpart in the People\u2019s Liberation Army during the waning months of Donald Trump\u2019s presidency to assure Beijing that the US military wouldn\u2019t strike first.\r\n\r\nA new hotline wouldn\u2019t have been of much use this year either, with both governments preferring not to talk directly at the highest level. But there were signs of that changing last Friday, with the first conversation between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping since February.\r\n\r\nA senior official from Biden\u2019s team briefed the news site Axios that President Biden wanted to talk to Xi because of frustration that dialogue was being deliberately stalled at lower levels. There was no attempt to seek \u201cspecific outcomes or agreements\u201d, the official added. But there was discussion of how to \u201cset guardrails\u201d on…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Biden-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"7"},{"id":50581,"title":"Liaoning Fangda emerges as an unlikely white knight for HNA\u2019s airline","content":"The Chinese bond market has been restive lately. Names that were deemed too big or too important to fail such as Founder (a chipmaker backed by Peking University) and Brilliance (the first Chinese car firm to go public in the US) are going through bankruptcy proceedings. And for investors losing sleep over the survival of Evergrande, the most indebted of the real estate developers, the fate of HNA Group could be another yardstick.\r\n\r\nJust five years ago the aviation conglomerate was a favourite of the world\u2019s bankers, following a $50 billion M&A spree. But while its preferred partner in dealmaking \u2013 Stephen Schwarzman\u2019s Blackstone Group \u2013 experienced a rare setback last week (the collapse of its SOHO China buyout, see page 13), HNA has been faring much, much worse.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn February a senior court in Hainan reponded to creditor requests and declared HNA bankrupt. A working group from the provincial government was then created to oversee the debt restructuring process, which included putting HNA\u2019s flagship Hainan Airlines and nine other aviation units up for public tender a month later.\r\n\r\nDifferent contenders were then rumoured as white knights, ranging from the biggest of the state-backed airlines to the tourism unit of Shanghai conglomerate Fosun.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Hainan-Airlines-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"8"},{"id":50617,"title":"Chinese carmaker to revive Lotus brand with a Wuhan-made EV range","content":"Ask older Brits what the Lotus brand means to them and they\u2019ll probably think of a racing car that won a series of Formula 1 titles in the 1960s and 1970s.\r\n\r\nTimes have changed a lot since then. For starters there\u2019s no cigarette advertising of the type that allowed John Player Special to ride on the car\u2019s successes. Lotus has disappeared from F1 too: the carmaker dropped out of high-level racing in 1994, two years before the brand was sold to Malaysia\u2019s national carmaker Proton. In 2017, it changed hands again, this time purchased by Zhejiang Geely, which has a portfolio of international marques most notably Volvo. Now the Chinese group has announced ambitious new plans to restore Lotus to its former glories, putting it back in the same league as more venerated competitors like Porsche.\r\n\r\nBritish car journalists wonder whether that\u2019s possible, given that Lotus doesn\u2019t have that much brand recognition any more, even in the country in which it was created. But Geely is going to invest significantly in a bid to change that, with a Vision80 strategy that takes Lotus up to its centenary in 2028.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nGeely wants to build on the brand\u2019s sports car heritage by introducing a range…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Lotus-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"9"},{"id":50620,"title":"Chinese electric car firms are making animal robots","content":"What would you do if you came face-to-face with a bionic animal: head straight for the exit or move in closer and give it a pat?\r\n\r\nThat kind of decision isn\u2019t too far off, given how many robotic animals are approaching commercialisation, especially in China, where a spate of companies have released prototype designs this year.\r\n\r\nThe latest comes from a subsidiary of electric vehicle (EV) start-up XPENG, which has just unveiled the world\u2019s first robotic horse, called Little White Dragon in Chinese.\r\n\r\nThe animal has been designed as a cutesy unicorn, with a soothing yellow and white colour scheme, curved haunches and large, expressive eyes. It\u2019s small enough for a child to ride, with the company claiming that the robot has been designed to facilitate \u201cemotional interaction\u201d. The company says that the robot horse can also be fitted out with an intelligent driving system of lidars and cameras. that allows the animal to \u201csense\u201d its surroundings, avoid obstacles, and move and follow objects on its own.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nXPENG\u2019s horse competes for attention with an array of bionic dogs, which other tech companies have fashioned recently. Tencent\u2019s robotics arm boasts Max (introduced in March) and Ollie (in June), while Xiaomi let CyberDog (known as Iron…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Xpeng-Robo-Horse-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"10"},{"id":50583,"title":"China\u2019s first listed pub chain is a mix of Starbucks and Haidilao","content":"With relaxing jazz music in the background, comfy chairs and free WiFi, Starbucks has created what it calls the \u201cthird space\u201d: that is, a place people can hang out outside of their home and work.\r\n\r\nIn China, a popular beverage chain wants to be a night-time Starbucks. Though instead of latte and macchiato, Helen\u2019s serves alcohol.\r\n\r\nFounded by Xu Bingzhong, a 47 year-old from Hubei, Helen\u2019s opened its first pub in Beijing in 2009. Xu\u2019s original goal was to create a physical gathering space, or what he calls an \u201coffline social platform\u201d, to welcome young consumers that spend most of their lives online.\r\n\r\nThe company has quickly scaled up since 2018, expanding from a chain of 62 outlets to more than 500 today. The year 2018 was an important one for Helen\u2019s development. Haidilao, the most valuable hotpot chain by market value, also went public that year as investors poured money into restaurant chains with the potential of growing them into nationwide players by offering standardised Chinese food.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIndeed, starting in 2018, Helen\u2019s began adopting Haidilao\u2019s model by cutting down the number of franchisees and expanding its network of self-operated pubs.\r\n\r\nIt was Helen\u2019s turn to go public last Friday in Hong Kong after raising…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Helens-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"11"},{"id":50586,"title":"The Tianjin native who tops Singapore\u2019s latest rich list","content":"In the 2018 romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians, the creme de la creme of wealthy Singaporeans are portrayed as those of Chinese descent who can trace their family\u2019s fortune back to British colonial times. In reality, many of these scions of notable families are no longer the wealthiest in \u201cthe Switzerland of Asia\u201d, thanks to the influx of new immigrants from China. Back in 2019, Zhang Yong (see WiC428), founder of hotpot chain Haidilao, became the richest tycoon in the city state according to Forbes; that was until Li Xiting of medical device maker Mindray (see WiC459) took top spot in April 2020.\r\n\r\nThe latest Chinese to lead the billionaire league table is Li Xiaodong. Li did not amass his fortune through business in China. Instead it was by building an internet giant in Southeast Asia focused on online gaming, e-commerce and financial services, creating a regional player that combined Tencent and Alibaba\u2019s strengths.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nGetting started\r\n\r\nBorn in 1978 to parents who worked at state-owned enterprises in Tianjin, Li was said to be a good student who also enjoyed playing video games. After graduating from Shanghai Jiaotong University, he worked for a few years in the human resource departments of various US companies…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Forrest-Li-w.jpg","category":"Who\u2019s Hu","page":"12"},{"id":50589,"title":"Blackstone\u2019s deal for SOHO China collapses","content":"Anyone for tennis? At the women\u2019s final of the US Open last weekend the cameras zoomed in on well-heeled spectators in the premium seats. Sitting alongside former player Andy Roddick and TV personality Gayle King, state broadcaster CCTV picked up on that fact that there were two prominent Chinese property tycoons in attendance at Flushing Meadows: Pan Shiyi and his wife Zhang Xin.\r\n\r\nTheir appearance at the tennis came a day after some disappointing news: Blackstone had dropped its $3.3 billion takeover offer for SOHO China, the couple\u2019s property development firm. The deal, which was announced back in June, saw the private equity giant offer a premium of more than 30% on SOHO\u2019s share price at the time. That sounded good but the offer was actually a substantial discount on a similar sale discussed in early 2020, prior to the worst of the pandemic. Commentators were soon drawing their own conclusions that the duo were eager to sell. \u201cIs Pan Shiyi trying to flee?\u201d one netizen even wrote.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe latest exit plan has backfired, however, with Blackstone explaining in a statement last week that it was dropping out after a \u201clack of sufficient progress\u201d from government regulators needed to approve the takeover.\r\n\r\nEven…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Property-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"13"},{"id":50593,"title":"China plays catch-up with Lenghu observatory","content":"Chinese astronomy has a long history with the earliest known solar observatory \u2013 in Taosi, Shanxi province \u2013 dating back around 4,100 years.\r\n\r\nDespite those early beginnings, China lags behind in its star-gazing today. It has smaller telescopes than the United States and no \u201ctop-level\u201d, dark-sky observation centre.\r\n\r\nNow all that is about to change with the construction of several new observatories in Lenghu \u2013 a remote town in the arid western province of Qinghai. Spread across mountain slopes, this new centre will be the first in the Eastern hemisphere to match powerful observatories such as Mauna Kea in Hawaii, Roque de los Muchachos in Spain and Cerro Tololo in Chile.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe centre\u2019s location means that scientists will have new ability to monitor astronomical events from the Eastern hemisphere.\r\n\r\n\u201cNow, there are just gaps in time. There are parts of the Earth that aren\u2019t covered. By putting an observatory in this longitude range in the middle of continental Asia, that gives us that extra time coverage that we don't have now,\u201d Patrick McCarthy, the director of America\u2019s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, told the Smithsonian Magazine.\r\n\r\nMcCarthy added that round-the-clock coverage is especially important during the monitoring of rare events such as the mergers of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/FAST-dish-in-Guizhou-w.jpg","category":"Space Programme","page":"14"},{"id":50546,"title":"Your need-to-know about the new US Open champ\u2019s Chinese \u2018hometown\u2019","content":"One of Emma Raducanu\u2019s first media initiatives after winning the US Open on Saturday was to record a short video on Sina Weibo in fluent Mandarin for her fans in China. She thanked them for their support and soon the hashtag \u201c18 year-old Chinese teenager wins the US Open\u201d had been viewed more than 200 million times on the social media platform (Raducanu is British, having lived in the UK since she was two, but her mother is from China and her father is from Romania).\r\n\r\n\u201cI think confidence comes from just inner belief. My mum comes from a Chinese background, they have a very good self-belief,\u201d she told the British edition of Vogue. She later added of her mother, \u201cFor me having a Chinese mum definitely instilled from a young age hard work, discipline.\u201d\r\n\r\nShenyang, in northeastern China, is the hometown of Emma Raducanu\u2019s mother. Over the years the new champion has been a regular visitor to the city, where she has trained with local tennis players at the Shenyang Institute of Physical Education. She has even honed her hand-eye coordination playing table tennis there.\r\n\r\nHere\u2019s our quick guide to Shenyang for those who\u2019ve never been.\r\n\r\nRaducanu with the US Open trophy\r\n\r\nA brief…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Emma.png","category":"China Tourist","page":"15"},{"id":50603,"title":"Mid-Autumn Festival set for a busy box office","content":"The Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, is traditionally a holiday of mooncakes (see WiC383) and lanterns. This year, films studios in China are hoping that people will choose to spend more of the three-day break, which begins on September 19, in cinemas too.\r\n\r\nThe holiday period typically comes at an awkward time for cinema bosses, falling between the screening of lucrative mid-summer blockbusters and the popular moviegoing Golden\u2008Week around the National Day holiday in early October. But this summer, with cases of the pandemic\u2019s Delta variant breaking out in some parts of the country, some provinces closed cinemas which led some film releases to be delayed till September.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cGenerally speaking, most big blockbuster films don\u2019t choose to release around the Mid-Autumn Festival since the summer holiday and the National Day are much better choices for big-budget films. The Mid-Autumn Festival is usually reserved for smaller budget productions. That is also the case this year,\u201d one industry commentator reported. \u201cBut compared with previous years, this year\u2019s schedule still leaves some room before the onslaught of blockbuster films on October 1. It is an ideal time for small to medium-sized budget films to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Wang-Keru-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":50609,"title":"A game that predicts \u2018life outcomes\u2019 makes waves in China","content":"When readers are first introduced to Nora Seed in Matt Haig\u2019s bestselling novel The Midnight Library, she is a 35-year-old with regrets. She no longer talks to her only living relative and is drifting apart from her only friend. When her cat dies, Seed tries to commit suicide but finds herself transported into a world between life and death, aka the Midnight Library. There, a librarian tells her that every book is a doorway into a different life and Seed can enter and exit, as she likes, to address her regrets. The novelist asks the question: if you could relive your life, how would you choose to live it?\r\nA browser game designed by two young programmers in China has been tapping into a similar set of questions, by giving its players the chance to see their lives unfolding in front of them.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\nLife Restart was played 20 million times in the first three days after it was released this month. Players build up profiles by choosing their own \u2018talents\u2019 (from the more traditional aspirations for a \u201cbody of steel\u201d to the more unexpected edge of \u201cholding an American passport\u201d.) Each player is also given points, which they can allocate between physical…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Chinese-Gamer-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]},{"id":1708,"name":"Issue 555","date":"Sep 10, 2021","title":"Any idea what this is?","tagline":"The entrance to the Beijing Stock Exchange \u2013 not the new one announced last week but the original bourse that opened in 1918","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/555.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/555-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":50480,"title":"Why does China need a new stock exchange in Beijing?","content":"London first got a stock exchange in 1698 but Beijing had to wait until 1918 for a bourse of its own. The Peking Securities Exchange was the first Chinese-owned stock market, with the slightly older Shanghai exchange set up a few years earlier (in 1891) by foreign investors.\r\n\r\nIt made its debut during a chaotic era of battling warlords and competing currencies. The bourse dealt primarily in different kinds of government debt or fiat currencies issued by the series of military regimes (known colloquially as the \u201cBeiyang government\u201d) that had taken control of the Chinese capital.\r\n\r\nThe exchange halted operations following the outbreak of the second Sino-Japanese War in 1937. Trading resumed for a year when the Communist Party of China (CPC) took control of the country in 1949, before profit-making companies were eliminated, putting an end to the bourse completely.\r\n\r\nThis month, however, Chinese investors have been buzzing about a new stock exchange in the capital. It looks likely to enjoy better fortunes than its predecessor, helped by backing from the heart of the Chinese government. In fact, the talk is that the new bourse is going to be a gamechanger for China\u2019s financial markets in general.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhat\u2019s the plan and who is…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Bull-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":50517,"title":"Simon Murray\u2019s page-turner book recounts his days with KS Li and Jardines","content":"No one who has met Simon Murray will contest the view that he\u2019s eminently memorable. The octogenarian businessman and adventurer is a raconteur with a knack for great storytelling. His first book \u2013 published in 1978 \u2013 was a bestseller that recounted his five years in the French Foreign Legion. Frederick Forsyth, no less, was a fan. Murray\u2019s descriptions of military life are meticulous, although some of the passages that stick most in the mind are the almost Dickensian description of his fellow Legionnaires\u2019 descent from extreme discipline into abject gluttony and violence during a boozed-up Christmas feast.\r\n\r\nMany decades later and WiC had a sneak preview of volume two of his memoirs earlier this summer. This time the focus rests largely on his business career \u2013 principally the quarter of a century he spent first with Jardine Matheson and then with Li Ka-shing\u2019s Hutchison Whampoa. Suffice to say, for anyone who has lived or worked in Hong Kong there is plenty of dinner party conversation to be had from Murray\u2019s recollections in this new book \u2013 which is out this month.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nFor those who have met Murray, at times it feels less like reading a book than having lunch with him.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Book-w.jpg","category":"Book Review","page":"7"},{"id":50483,"title":"Top shipping analyst discusses why container rates are surging","content":"The world\u2019s supply chains are in crisis. Long delays in the shipping of containers mean there is a real possibility of shops having empty shelves in the lead-up to Christmas. The hold-ups are already feeding spikes in the prices of many goods, fuelled by a spectacular surge in freight rates. Bottlenecks in the world\u2019s ports are getting most of the blame, with Morton Engelstof, chief executive of APM Terminals, a major container port operator, warning in the Financial Times this week of a \u201cvicious circle\u201d for terminals that can\u2019t clear their backlogs quickly enough to keep up with new demand.\r\n\r\nWiC caught up with Parash Jain, HSBC\u2019s global equity sector head for shipping and ports, for more on what\u2019s causing the container crunch and how long it\u2019s going to last.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s boom time for freight rates and shipping charters?\r\n\r\nSpot rates for containers have been on a huge roll. Last week the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index, which shows current freight prices for container transport from the main Chinese ports, increased for the 17th consecutive week and the index is now up 244% on the same time last year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nContainers on key lines such as the Transpacific route are being priced north of $10,000. But…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Parash-Jain-w.jpg","category":"Shipping","page":"11"},{"id":50486,"title":"Evergrande in frenetic race to avoid default","content":"The advice from Alcoholics Anonymous is that admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery. Evergrande, one of China\u2019s biggest home builders, is battling a different addiction, after admitting for the first time that it will default on its debt if it doesn\u2019t raise cash \u2013 and quickly.\r\n\r\nComing clean last week hasn\u2019t helped the company much, it seems. Trading in Evergrande\u2019s bonds was halted twice since, including suspension of a May 2023 bond in Shenzhen on Tuesday after \u201cabnormal fluctuations\u201d in pricing. It then fell more than a fifth after the halt came to an end.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe pressure is building elsewhere, with Evergrande\u2019s Hong Kong-listed shares tumbling again as part of a total decline of about 75% so far this year. At one point it dropped below its offering price in Hong Kong in 2009.\r\n\r\nBloomberg reckons that at least two trust companies \u2013 aggregators of loans from wealthy investors \u2013 are insisting on immediate repayment, while financial intelligence provider REDD reported new rumours on Wednesday that the developer will suspend interest payments on loans to two banks later this month.\r\n\r\nOn a positive note, there are reports that regulators have stepped in and asked creditors to give more breathing…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Hui-Ka-Yan-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"14"},{"id":50489,"title":"What should we expect from the Sixth Plenum?","content":"\u2018Black swan\u2019 moments refer to unexpected or unpredictable events with grave consequences. In China they usually lead to sudden stock market sell-offs.\r\n\r\nSo Beijingers\u2019 interest was piqued when a real-life black swan suddenly landed in Tiananmen Square in the early morning of September 5.\r\n\r\nPhotos of the bird at the landmark site spread quickly on social media, so much so that security officers soon turned up to catch it and cart it away.\r\n\r\nAn equivalent black swan moment took place in Beijing almost a decade earlier in September 2012. Xi Jinping was a month away from being confirmed as leader at the Communist Party\u2019s 18th National Party Congress but he abruptly left the public eye for more than a week. Xi even missed a pre-arranged meeting with then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was visiting the Chinese capital at the time. With rumours starting to circulate, an explanation belatedly emerged. It was not what anyone could have predicted: the president-elect had pulled a muscle while swimming.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWe are at the onset of another sensitive political period in the Chinese capital. The Party\u2019s five-yearly congress is due next year, mostly likely in the autumn. Xi was given another five-year term by the 19th…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Xi-Jinping-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"15"},{"id":50492,"title":"Herm\u00e8s takes flak over bag policy as Dolce & Gabbana forecasts comeback","content":"French luxury group Herm\u00e8s has long prided itself on its resistance to change: even as many other famed luxury brands have occasionally succumbed to the easy money of turning out logo-heavy, mass-produced items, the company insists that each of its products are handcrafted. For instance, all of its bags are handsewn for more than 20 hours in the company\u2019s atelier in Pantin, a suburb just outside of Paris.\r\n\r\nThe company believes that its production processes deliver unrivalled quality in the final goods delivered and that it caters to an elite customer base with money and taste aplenty.\r\n\r\nThat strategy has worked so well that even the pandemic hasn\u2019t dampened the appetite for Herm\u00e8s products. In the first half of this year the maker of Birkin and Kelly handbags reported an operating profit margin of 41% \u2013 the highest of the last decade. But could some of that margin be the result of an unspoken sales tactic known in China as peihuo? While it is an open secret that Herm\u00e8s restricts the supply of its most sought-after handbags \u2013 namely the Birkin and Kelly \u2013 it doesn\u2019t talk much about the controversial practice of peihuo.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHow does it work? One Herm\u00e8s shopper told online…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Hermes-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"16"},{"id":50495,"title":"SoftBank invests in PatPat, \u2018the SheIn of kids clothing\u2019","content":"With Alibaba\u2019s shares in a slump and ride-hailing app Didi losing half of its market value since its IPO, Japanese investment giant SoftBank is looking for ways to offset some of its China-linked losses. If its latest investment is anything to go by, it hasn\u2019t given up on Chinese companies.\r\n\r\nIn late August children\u2019s wear brand PatPat announced that it had received $160 million in investment from SoftBank\u2019s Vision Fund 2. The capital is coming in a Series D2 round for the children\u2019s wear maker and e-commerce firm, which raised $510 million from a group of Chinese investors just a month earlier.\r\n\r\nFounded in 2014 by Wang Can, Gao Can and Hu Meng in Guangzhou, the company drew inspiration from Gao\u2019s struggle to find clothing he liked for his newborn child. Together with Wang, a former colleague in Oracle\u2019s engineering team, he started PatPat as a direct-to-consumer shopping app that offers children\u2019s wear and accessories.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe three entrepreneurs decided to focus on creating a brand that appealed to middle-and-lower-income families in the US and Europe, rather than in China itself. With their engineering backgrounds they put together an algorithm that analysed market data to predict trends and styles.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhile the three founders of PatPat…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Patpat-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"17"},{"id":50498,"title":"Ankara sends mixed Belt and Road messages with aborted deal","content":"What does it mean to be Turkish? It\u2019s a question that its leaders have grappled with for centuries, thanks to the country\u2019s location on the continental boundary between Asia and Europe. The answer is becoming more pressing in a multipolar world marked by new geopolitical rivalries. Turkey\u2019s current Erdogan-led government is all too aware that the decisions it makes could contribute to shifts in the balance of power between the competing players, as well as impacting on their trade and investment ties with Turkey too.\r\n\r\nSome archaeologists argue that the Turkic people\u2019s homeland 5,000 years ago was in Mongolia. If so, should the Turks pivot eastwards to their ancestral pastures and take more advantage of China\u2019s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as well as joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (China\u2019s Eurasian security alliance), with which it flirted in 2016?\r\n\r\nOr should the country turn westwards? After all, that was the direction that the republic\u2019s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, chose to face. In this scenario, Turkey would retain its NATO membership (Turkey protects the association\u2019s southern flank) and press further to become a member of the EU.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn recent years, the Erdogan regime has sought to secure an advantage through friendships with all or…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Erdogan-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"18"},{"id":50501,"title":"Why the Chinese are not buying into Marvel\u2019s Chinese superhero","content":"Marvel\u2019s Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings is a film of many firsts. Opening in the US last weekend, it is the first Marvel superhero film to be shown exclusively in cinemas since the pandemic began. It stars the Marvel franchise\u2019s first and only Asian lead, with an Asian American director and writer, and based on a character who was actually Asian in the original comic.\r\n\r\nIt is also the first film from Marvel Universe not to be granted approval for distribution in mainland China (although it has been released in Hong Kong and Taiwan). Although no reason has been given, industry observers see little chance that the authorities will greenlight a mainland Chinese release anytime soon \u2013 in spite of the film featuring Mandarin as well as English dialogue.\r\n\r\nDisney, which owns Marvel Universe, had earlier tried to appeal to Chinese audiences with Mulan, a highly-anticipated release which flopped in China last year (see WiC511).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe American studio was blindsided by the local criticism of Mulan, having gone out of its way to tailor the big-budget film for audiences in\u2008China. Paradoxically, it knew its new Chinese-themed superhero film Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings was going to prove more of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/ShangChi-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"20"},{"id":50504,"title":"Parents cheer China\u2019s latest school reform \u2013 less homework","content":"When Chinese students returned to the classroom earlier this month they got the best back-to-school gift they could wish for \u2013 a huge cut in their homework quota.\r\n\r\nUnder the new national rules children in grades one and two receive no homework at all, students in grades three to six can be assigned up to an hour of extra exercises a day, and pupils in secondary school can be set up to an hour and a half of self-study.\r\n\r\nAll of this is a massive reduction from the three hours that Chinese primary and middle school students were averaging per day prior to the change.\r\n\r\nChinese educational authorities have been trying to reduce students\u2019 academic burden for years. But most attempts have failed because parents persistently worried that any reduction meant their child would fall behind children at other schools or in other provinces in the country\u2019s hyper-competitive education system.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAnd even when local school authorities imposed limits on out-of-class study, parents simply turned to the private sector to buy extra tuition, out of fear (again) of being left behind in the educational \u2018arms race\u2019.\r\n\r\nThe new rules \u2013 or the so-called \u201cdouble reduction\u201d policy \u2013 have a better chance of succeeding because they are…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Chinese-Students-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"21"},{"id":50511,"title":"Japanese anger over Chinese viticulture","content":"How much would you pay for a single strawberry or a bunch of grapes? And does it matter where the fruit comes from?\r\n\r\nIf you were Japanese the answer to the latter question would be yes. It matters a lot. A single bijin-hime strawberry grown on a farm in Gifu Prefecture sells for about $400. And earlier this summer, some Ruby Roman grapes from Ishikawa prefecture were auctioned off for \u00a51.4 million ($12,700) a bunch, breaking records for the third year in a row (the purchaser runs a Japanese-style supermarket chain in Taiwan).\r\n\r\nUnfortunately the Japanese have been slow to recognise the value of the place-of-origin branding that protects the reputation of their native fruits from a large competitor on their doorstep \u2013 one which sees rich pickings from cultivating the same varieties: China.\r\n\r\nWhat makes the situation worse is that many of these Japanese fruits have taken decades to develop. In some cases, valuable seed IP was then lost to the Chinese, who are now vastly outstripping Japan in production terms.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nCase in point: the sought-after Shine Muscat grape. In a recent article the Nikkei Shimbun relates the sorry tale of how companies in China are now harvesting about 50 times more of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Shine-Muscat-grape-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"23"}]},{"id":1707,"name":"Issue 554","date":"Sep 3, 2021","title":"Gone girl","tagline":"Famed actress Zhao Wei purged from China\u2019s internet as official crackdown against the entertainment industry escalates","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/554.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/554-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":50423,"title":"High drama as government turns sour on China\u2019s entertainment stars","content":"\u201cHusband and wife are like birds in the woods, they flee separately when troubles come.\u201d So goes one of the more cynical Chinese proverbs in claiming that people put their own needs first in times of crisis. And that couldn\u2019t have been truer last week when news surfaced about the actress and entertainment industry dealmaker Zhao Wei being scrubbed from Chinese social media and the web. For instance, the credits for all her movies and TV shows were removed from the major internet platforms and Zhao\u2019s name is no longer searchable online. All of her fan pages were deleted from Sina Weibo too.\r\n\r\nBefore long, even Huang Xiaoming, who had gushed on more than one occasion about his long friendship with Zhao, had removed all traces of their shared history from his own social media accounts. Fendi, one of the many top brands to tap Zhao as an ambassador for its luxury goods, dumped her too, deleting all marketing material that featured her.\r\n\r\nWhat was going on?\r\n\r\nA chequered career\r\n\r\nZhao has been in trouble before. Three years ago, the starlet and her husband fell foul of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, which accused them of stock market malpractices. Both were barred from trading…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Zhao-Wei-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":50426,"title":"Is China about to create a state-owned cloud services heavyweight?","content":"\u201cIt is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data,\u201d warns Sherlock Holmes, the super sleuth of Arthur Conan Doyle\u2019s novels.\r\n\r\n\u2018Data\u2019 \u2013 that precious commodity that Holmes was earlier than most to put a premium value on \u2013 is at the forefront of the Chinese government\u2019s latest drive to bring the nation\u2019s internet titans to heel. This follows months of recrimination and rebuke about their behaviour from Beijing. Now some major pieces of legislation surrounding the use of data are set to take hold over the next few months.\r\n\r\nOn November 1, a sweeping privacy law comes into effect, curbing the collection of information on individuals by technology firms. And as of Wednesday this week, companies were also subjected to new standards of data protection involving information about \u201ckey national security and economic lifelines\u201d, including its transfer overseas.\r\n\r\nThis follows moves last week when officials from internet watchdog the Cyberspace Administration of China published draft proposals for taking more control of the algorithms used by technology firms to personalise and recommend content \u00ad\u2013 the latest initiative in a raft of regulatory action across the internet sector.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAnd next up for focus is a series of restrictions on cloud computing businesses. The talk…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Alibaba-Cloud-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"7"},{"id":50430,"title":"Geely\u2019s EV unit taps $500 million from CATL, Intel and Bilibili","content":"Tesla is good at marketing but it doesn\u2019t mean Chinese consumers are buying into the hype. According to a July survey of nearly 4,000 people by JD Power, a US market research outfit, Chinese car buyers do not rate Tesla\u2019s newer models particularly highly when it comes to product quality. Instead they see the NIO ES6 as the best luxury EV, while the XPENG G3 and BYD Han BEV top the compact and midsize leagues respectively.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s good news for homegrown EV players, many of which are hoping to stake their claim in the premium segment. Among them are Geely, which announced last week that it had raised $500 million in a financing round for ZEEKR Intelligent Technology, an EV unit it established in March.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe deal, for just 5.6% of ZEEKR\u2019s enlarged capital, was backed by Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), the world\u2019s largest EV battery maker. Other investors include US chipmaker Intel, video streaming platform Bilibili and private equity firm Cathay Fortune.\r\n\r\nZhejiang Geely Holding and its Hong Kong-listed arm Geely Automobile, which together started the venture an Rmb2 billion ($309.4 billion) investment, hold the remainder.\r\n\r\nAn Conghui, the CEO of ZEEKR, told the Securities Times that each of the new investors will…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/ZEEKR-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"9"},{"id":50433,"title":"Volvo buys full control of a Chinese truck maker","content":"Gone are the days when Swedish truck maker AB Volvo wondered if it would ever get a Chinese joint venture off the ground, never mind produce a vehicle.\r\n\r\n\u201cThey were faking all sorts of figures,\u201d said one Scandinavian executive in 2003, discussing Volvo\u2019s initial attempts to form a JV with China National Heavy Truck Group, also known as Sinotruk. \u201cThey were desperate at the time and really wanted to have a foreign partner in order to get technologies and even more so capital.\u201d\r\n\r\nVolvo\u2019s first JV with Sinotruk folded in 2009 after manufacturing just 1,000 vehicles. In 2015 it tried again, establishing a JV with Dongfeng Motor with a 45\/55 split in the Chinese partner\u2019s favour. The cooperation lasts to this day.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nNow the Swedish group has finally got its chance to branch out in China\u2019s commercial vehicle market on its own. In 2020, Beijing allowed foreign carmakers to fully own a domestic operation for the first time and late last month Volvo paid Rmb781 million ($120 million) for Shanxi-based JMC Heavy Truck.\r\n\r\nAs China Economic Observer points out, the deal gives Volvo a \u201cready-made production base\u201d with an annual capacity of 15,000 trucks. The Gothenburg-based group\u2019s global president, Roger Alm, believes it will…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Volvo-Truck-w.jpg","category":"M&A","page":"10"},{"id":50436,"title":"China\u2019s aviation boom continues in Shandong","content":"The last few weeks have been disruptive for China\u2019s aviation sector, with the cancellations of tens of thousands of domestic flights after the discovery of a new cluster of Covid-19 infections in Nanjing in mid-July. Schedules are now returning to more normal levels, with the local outbreak contained. And the cutting of the ribbon to open another huge new airport in the eastern province of Shandong last month was another cause for celebration, as China\u2019s aviation sector prepares for more years of boom.\r\n\r\nWe have reported on the launches of a number of mega airports over the last few years, including Beijing\u2019s second international hub in Daxing (see WiC469) and Chengdu\u2019s gigantic facility in Tianfu, which welcomed its first flights in July this year (see WiC547). Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport \u2013 to give the new aviation hub its full name \u2013 was the latest of the debutants. Located 35km from Qingdao\u2019s urban centre, its opening on August 12 triggered the closure of the former air terminal in Shandong\u2019s wealthiest city, after 39 years of service flying from nearer the CBD.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nQingdao\u2019s old airport in the Liuting district of the city (it was first built by the Japanese in 1944 and was primarily…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Airport-w.jpg","category":"Section","page":"11"},{"id":50439,"title":"Hotpot industry leader goes off the boil to investor dismay","content":"China\u2019s investors describe \u2018bottom-fishing\u2019 for stocks \u2013 i.e. buying at low valuations \u2013 as laodi. It\u2019s a term inspired by the centuries-old hotpot culture, where diners dredge their soup for the best of what remains at the end of their meal. This also inspired Zhang Yong to name his hotpot chain Haidilao, which means \u2018scooping from the bottom of the sea\u2019.\r\n\r\nFor most investors, the question today is whether it\u2019s a good time for bottom-fishing Haidilao\u2019s battered stock in Hong Kong, following a 65% slide in the share price since February of China\u2019s most valuable hotpot operator.\r\n\r\nLast month Haidilao reported a Rmb94.5 million ($14.6 million) net profit for the first half of this year. That was a turnaround from a Rmb960 million loss in the same period of 2020 when sharing a hotpot meal was off-limits because of Covid.\r\n\r\nIn spite of the rebound \u2013 helped by relaxed dining restrictions \u2013 the company\u2019s executives have confessed that the chain\u2019s operating performance was not up to expectations \u2013 and that \u201cinternal management\u201d needed to improve on a \u201cbest-effort basis\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nDuring the second half of last year, Haidilao actually went on an aggressive expansion push: the number of its outlets rose to 1,597 (of which…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Haidilao-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"12"},{"id":50442,"title":"Founder Sun Piaoyang comes home to struggling Hengrui","content":"Starbucks might not be in the lofty position it is today were it not for the return of Howard Schultz as CEO in 2008 after an eight-year hiatus. \u201cBy 2007 Starbucks had begun to fail itself. Obsessed with growth, we took our eye off operations and became distracted from the core of our business,\u201d he wrote in his memoir Onward. During Schultz\u2019s second stint, he reined in costs and invested in rebuilding the Starbucks brand and its digital strategy. Its Nasdaq-listed shares have multiplied nearly 24 times since 2009.\r\n\r\nFounders sometimes come back to their creations when their firms have underperformed under new managements and investors need reassurance (think, most famously, of Steve Jobs). The same could be said of pharmaceutical major Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine, which reinstated its founder Sun Piaoyang as chairman of the board in July (see WiC299). Sun\u2019s return was not widely anticipated as it was only a year and a half ago that he handed over the company to Zhou Yunshu, a long-time general manager at Hengrui. Zhou was supposed to stay in the top job for a minimum of three years, although health issues were cited for his premature resignation.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe 63 year-old Sun takes the helm…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Sun-Piaoyang-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"13"},{"id":50448,"title":" A Hong Kong-based firm has massive ambitions in the whisky world","content":"What Savile Row is to personally tailored suits, Rare Whisky Holdings wants to be to the single malt whisky trade: offering a highly bespoke experience to high-end whisky drinkers, investors and collectors.\r\n\r\nThe Hong Kong-based firm (with core operations in Scotland) offers an extensive range of over 1,000 casks, arranges one-of-a-kind bottlings, and buys and sells rare Scotch and Japanese whiskies on clients\u2019 behalf. And after starting out with a whisky investment fund in 2014, it recently bought a 49% stake in Scottish auction house Whisky Hammer with a view to growing that platform in China and the rest of Asia \u2013 where demand for fine whisky is driving valuations of whiskies aged over 40 years to stratospheric levels.\r\n\r\nRickesh Kishnani, the company\u2019s co-founder, met with WiC in Hong Kong last month.\r\n\r\nHere he talks about collecting Macallan, his investment track record, what his clients are buying at the moment, and his ambitions to be the all-in-one vendor of the industry\u2019s most exceptional offerings.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHow did your interest in the whisky business develop?\r\n\r\nI started out in the wine industry and came back to Ho\u00ad\u00adng Kong in 2009. I\u2019d always loved wine and from there developed more of a taste and appreciation for whisky \u2013…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Rickesh-Kishnani-w.jpg","category":"Corporate Q&A","page":"14"},{"id":50445,"title":"China restricts \u2018996\u2019 work hours and kids\u2019 gaming time too","content":"The clock and the water mill, Karl Marx once wrote to Friedrich Engels, were two of the discoveries \u2013 alongside gunpowder and the printing press \u2013 that fostered the growth of the bourgeoisie. And when Marx published Das Kapital four years later, the long hours of toil for the working class would become one of the key concepts in his critique of capitalism.\r\n\r\nAlmost 155 years since the revolutionary German put pen to paper on his explosive manifesto, China\u2019s Communist Party has been rekindling a few of its own Marxist credentials.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe most recent exhibit is another effort to lay down stricter rules on time management. This includes outlawing excessively long working hours in the internet sector and limiting the time that teenagers are allowed to play video games.\r\n\r\nFor many years, extended working hours have been part of the office culture for most of the nation\u2019s fastest-growing internet firms \u2013 and were even mentioned as a source of pride by bosses like Jack Ma, who praised the practice as a \u201chuge blessing\u201d.\r\n\r\nKnown as \u2018996\u2019, or work from 9am to 9pm for 6 days a week, the punishing schedule makes other sectors look sleepy in comparison (we first mentioned the phenomenon in WiC449).…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Online-Gaming-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"18"},{"id":50452,"title":"New food shops reward environmentally-minded","content":"It used to be the case that the discount sections in Chinese supermarkets were dominated by pensioners with the time and inclination to hunt for bargains.\r\n\r\nNow, thanks to the emergence of several new stores specialising in sales of soon-to-expire goods, younger Chinese are shopping in a similar way, although often more as a means to prevent waste.\r\n\r\nSince 2019 hundreds of stores have appeared across the country, with high-tech advertising that alerts customers to the arrival of new goods. The leader in the field is the HotMaxx chain, with over 400 outlets scattered across Beijing, Shanghai and other affluent cities. The products \u2013 usually dry snacks, noodles, drinks and personal hygiene products \u2013 can be as much as 75% cheaper in these stores which carry items that often only have a couple of months left before their use-by dates expire.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nXinhua profiled Wu Lin, a 19 year-old student, who said that he shops at the discount stores because they save him money whilst also \u201cprotecting the environment\u201d.\r\n\r\nAt least 35 million tonnes of foodgoes to waste in China every year, with about half of it binned at the retail or household consumption phase of the cycle, according to government figures. The scale of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/09\/Food-Waste-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1706,"name":"Issue 553","date":"Aug 27, 2021","title":"The common weal","tagline":"What is President Xi Jinping\u2019s \u2018common prosperity\u2019 policy \u2013 and who should be concerned about it?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/553.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/553-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":50368,"title":"After decades of prioritising \u2018efficiency\u2019, Beijing\u2019s new mantra is \u2018fairness\u2019","content":"These have been a bruising few months for many of China\u2019s best-known businesspeople, with some prominent tycoons now knowing what it feels like to be the ball in a pinball machine.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s because the mood across different government ministries has turned markedly less friendly to tycoons across a variety of sectors. Witness the \u2018three red lines\u2019 blocking property developers from new financing (see WiC528), as well as the dramatic slap down for Alibaba founder Jack Ma last year and the cancellation of his Ant Group IPO in the days that followed (see WiC517).\r\n\r\nSubsequently there have been well-publicised campaigns against anti-competitive behaviour across much of the internet sector, with fines and firmer regulation for Tencent, Alibaba and Meituan; draconian punishment for ride-hailing firm Didi for its reportedly unapproved share sale in New York; and the hobbling of online tutoring firms, which have been cut off from much of their customer base thanks to new state directives (see WiC546).\r\n\r\nIn a bid to make sense of a turbulent period, analysts have been looking for common strands in the government\u2019s approach. And one of the suggestions is a newfound determination to deliver \u201ccommon prosperity\u201d across the wider economy. This would mean the benefits of success…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Shopping-w.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":50371,"title":"Baidu launches robocar; NIO reels from crash","content":"T he Chinese media rarely mentions the once ubiquitous BAT acronym nowadays. Baidu\u2019s market value has been dwarfed not only by fellow BAT constituents Alibaba and Tencent but also by younger internet firms such as Meituan. That\u2019s why newer labels are in vogue in the internet sector, such as ATM (see WiC498).\r\n\r\nHowever, while an out of favour Baidu merited less mention in the media in recent years that now looks like less of a bad thing. After all, it is the media darlings in the internet sector that have got pummelled this summer by antitrust regulators. Baidu has emerged largely unscathed from the crackdown.\r\n\r\nOne reason \u2013 which we reported on earlier this year \u2013 is that Baidu\u2019s refocused mission in artificial intelligence and autonomous driving ticks more of the boxes in Beijing\u2019s policy agenda, making it less vulnerable to regulatory risk than its peers (see WiC533). There were signs of this trend last week when Baidu launched another self-designed AI chip, as well as another new \u2018robocar\u2019 as part of its annual Baidu World trade show. Fanfare for the event bucked a trend in which many of Baidu\u2019s peers have actively shunned the limelight. Perhaps tellingly, Baidu\u2019s tech conference featured…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Robin-in-Baidu-car-robot-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"8"},{"id":50374,"title":"Huarong reports record loss, then gets rescued","content":"Wall Street executives might get the occasional death threat from livid investors, irate at losses in their portfolios. Over in China the risks for erring executives can be even more real: Lai Xiaomin, the former chairman of China Huarong Asset Management, was executed in February for soliciting bribes totalling Rmb1.8 billion. State media described his haul as the biggest since 1949 (see WiC526).\r\n\r\nBut just when analysts thought the worst might be over for Huarong, creditors and shareholders were rattled in April when the state-backed firm postponed the announcement of its annual results. This is usually a grim portent of problems ahead, although Huarong kept things vague, telling investors that the reason for the delay was that \u201ca relevant transaction of the company is still being finalised\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOutsiders only discovered the full depths of Huarong\u2019s difficulties last week when it announced in another stock exchange circular that it had suffered a Rmb102.9 billion ($15.9 billion) loss in the last financial year (compared with a Rmb1.4 billion profit in the prior year).\r\n\r\nTo put that in perspective, Hainan Airlines, the A-share flagship of humbled aviation conglomerate HNA, had claimed the unwanted record for the worst annual loss for a listed Chinese firm in April…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Lai-Xaiomin-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"9"},{"id":50377,"title":"Xiaomi boss pledges to top smartphone sales","content":"Lei Jun bought his first pair of ripped jeans in 2018. He did so not as a fashion statement but to symbolise instead his regret at the poor stock market debut of his smartphone firm Xiaomi in Hong Kong that year (see WiC415). After pricing at the bottom of the marketed range, Xiaomi\u2019s shares opened 3% below their offer price.\r\n\r\nLei says that the tattered trousers were a way of acknowledging how he had failed his investors. \u201cI felt really sad,\u201d he further recalled in a recent speech. \u201cAfter the listing ceremony ended, I hid in the storage room at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, not wanting to do any media interviews.\u201d\r\n\r\nThree years on, Xiaomi\u2019s shares have recovered their lost ground. At the beginning of the year, they had doubled on the IPO price, giving the Beijing-based company a market capitalisation of HK$853 billion ($110 billion). A driving force is Xiaomi\u2019s progress in major markets around the world. According to Canalys, a market research firm, Xiaomi was the world\u2019s second largest smartphone vendor in the three months to June, surpassing Apple for the first time by shipping 52.8 million units. The sales push delivered 83% growth on the year for Xiaomi,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Xiaomi-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"10"},{"id":50380,"title":"WH Group dismisses dramatic accusations from chairman\u2019s son","content":"Across the vast and storied history of the Roman Empire, Constantine the Great remains one of the most influential rulers. Born in today\u2019s Serbia, he unified the eastern and western parts of the empire and founded the eponymous imperial city Constantinople in 324. He also made Christianity the primary religion of Rome. A more controversial side of him, however, was the way he treated his family members. In 326 he executed his eldest son Crispus and subjected him to damnatio memoriae, or elimination from all official records. It is not known why Crispus \u2013 who\u2019d already been named junior Caesar, or heir, at the time \u2013 incurred the wrath of his alpha male father. Some historians speculate that he plotted treason; others suggest he\u2019d had a carnal relationship with his stepmother Fausta, who was also executed shortly after Crispus\u2019 death.\r\n\r\nMore recently in China, Wan Long, chairman and founder of WH Group has also got into a dynastic war with his eldest son Wan Hongjian. The tussle involved an abrupt ousting of Wan junior and his repeated attempts to spill the company\u2019s secrets, plus air revelations of his 81 year-old father\u2019s extramarital activity.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe feuding began to surface in June when the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/WH-w.jpg","category":"Agriculture","page":"11"},{"id":50383,"title":"Can state telcos rekindle investors\u2019 love for SOEs?","content":"China\u2019s state-owned telcos have an unerring ability to foreshadow broader capital market trends and China Telecom was at it again last week, when it went public in Shanghai.\r\n\r\nThe Rmb54 billion ($8.3 billion) deal is China\u2019s largest domestic IPO of the year. It\u2019s also the fifth largest to take place in the A-share market, behind the series of privatisation deals by state heavyweights such as Agricultural Bank of China and PetroChina between 2007 and 2010.\r\n\r\nHowever, it\u2019s not just a considerable length of time that separates China Telecom\u2019s IPO from its predecessors. There is a different underlying ethos: its A-share listing could herald a new period when the domestic bourse becomes a place where investors can find stocks offering stable returns rather than only speculative growth punts (or so China\u2019s regulators hope).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nA combination of Sino-US geopolitics and broader and deeper domestic stock markets means Shanghai is now an increasingly attractive venue for Chinese firms to list, including giant state-owned enterprises (SOEs).\r\n\r\nHowever, for historical reasons A-share investors have generally been more cautious when it comes to investing in the IPOs of leading SOEs. They learned that lesson the hard way. The share price of PetroChina, for one, surged to Rmb46 from an offer…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Mobile-Phone-w.jpg","category":"Telecoms","page":"13"},{"id":50396,"title":"New signs that English has hit its peak in China?","content":"Children at schools across China will be pleased that policymakers are asking head teachers to cut back on their homework. Mandatory study of \u2018Xi Jinping Thought\u2019, starting in primary school, might be less cause for celebration. But the government is clearly concerned about the academic pressures on students \u2013 hence its campaign against the private schools that offer extra tutoring (see WiC551). The aim is twofold: reduce some of the workload stresses for kids, as well as reinforce the primacy of the state as a provider of education.\r\n\r\nAgainst this backdrop there is the question of where the teaching of English is going to fit in \u2013 a subject that many students find frustrating and which, by its very nature, is viewed as potentially \u2018pro-foreign\u2019 in every sense.\r\n\r\nOne possibility is that the teaching of English will be downgraded in importance. This month the education authorities in Shanghai announced they were dropping it from the list of examinations in the final two years of primary school, leaving only Chinese and mathematics. \u201cIt is necessary to integrate Chinese traditional culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture into elementary and middle school education,\u201d the government\u2019s notice said by way of explanation.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSome parents were happy…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Shanghai-w.jpg","category":"Education","page":"14"},{"id":50386,"title":"New anti-graft drama wins plaudits as Hangzhou Party chief is probed","content":"Last Saturday, China\u2019s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection sent shockwaves through the political and business community when it announced that Zhou Jiangyong, who had served as Hangzhou\u2019s Party boss since 2018, was under investigation for \u201calleged violations of discipline and law\u201d. While the agency did not elaborate on the 54 year-old\u2019s suspected offences, there was speculation on social media that his family had purchased shares in Ant Group ahead of its proposed initial public offering in November, before the listing plans were scrapped by irate regulators.\r\n\r\nAnt and its sister firm Alibaba, of course, are based in Hangzhou. It should come as no surprise that the city\u2019s most powerful official has been rather chummy with its most iconic entrepreneur. In 2019, Alibaba\u2019s founder Jack Ma was presented with the \u201cMeritorious Hangzhou citizen\u201d award by none other than Zhou to thank him for his copious contributions to the city\u2019s economic and social development. The Hangzhou Party chief was a high-profile attendee too at Alibaba\u2019s annual Singles\u2019 Day shopping festival in the same year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nFighting graft seems to be a never-ending theme in China. So little wonder that a TV drama about the battle against corruption has grabbed the country\u2019s attention. Crime Crackdown follows…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Jiang-Shuying-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"15"},{"id":50389,"title":"Hong Kong fury at Nicole Kidman\u2019s quarantine-free arrival in the city","content":"Hong Kong\u2019s government has a \u201czero infection\u201d goal as part of its Covid-19 policy. As a result the territory has some of the strictest quarantine measures in the world, including a mandatory 21-day stay in designated hotels for potentially infectious arrivals in the city.\r\n\r\nThe rules have been rigorously applied, despite mutterings from senior executives in Hong Kong\u2019s key financial services sector. Even athletes coming back from the Tokyo Olympics faced quarantine in hotel rooms too. But not the Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman, who was given a government exemption to skip quarantine this month, to the widespread astonishment of Hongkongers.\r\n\r\nKidman flew in for filming of the Amazon TV series Expats. According to Singtao Daily, the 54 year-old arrived by private jet from Sydney, where a citywide lockdown has been battling a new outbreak of the Delta variant of the pandemic.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAdding fuel to the public anger, Kidman was spotted shopping in a busy commercial district two days after arriving in town, while her film crew was photographed maskless on set \u2013 a flouting of Hong Kong\u2019s stringent social distancing measures.\r\n\r\nMany questioned the seemingly preferential treatment on offer, with some legislators slamming the Hong Kong authorities for a tendency to \u201ckiss foreign ass\u201d…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Nicole-Kidman-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"17"}]},{"id":1705,"name":"Issue 552","date":"","title":"China reacts to Taliban takeover","tagline":"Why has recent turmoil in Afghanistan led Chinese media and netizens to speculate on the ramifications for Taiwan?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/552.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/552-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":50315,"title":"What a hasty US pull-out and an Afghan regime collapse mean for China","content":"There are only five mentions of the Taliban in WiC over the last 13 years. Perhaps that\u2019s because Chinese media outlets haven\u2019t been particularly keen on reporting what is happening in Afghanistan, a restive neighbour that shares a short border with Xinjiang.\r\n\r\nFor example, when Beijing hosted a small delegation from the Taliban in January 2015, there were no photos, no official statements and no reports in state media at all (see WiC267).\r\n\r\nYet the media coverage was different when Xinhua published unprecedented photos of another visit from the Afghans last month, with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi rubbing shoulders with senior Taliban members after a meeting in Tianjin.\r\n\r\nThe events that have unfolded since then have made Afghanistan one of the hottest topics across Chinese social media. Indeed, the Taliban takeover following the withdrawal of US troops has seen many Chinese draw parallels not only with Saigon in 1975 but also with more distant events in Peking in 1949. Others speculated on how the fiasco could influence the situation in an area of more immediate interest for Beijing: Taiwan.\r\n\r\nAn eventful month\u2026\r\n\r\nIn mid-July Chinese social media was more fixated on a much smaller scale incident: a bus blast that had killed nine Chinese…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Taliban-w.jpg","category":"China and the World, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":50318,"title":"Evergrande founder steps down from\u2008China unit","content":"Five years ago the speculation was that China Evergrande was readying a hostile takeover bid for Vanke, a rival Guangdong-based developer. Stock exchange filings showed that the property conglomerate had built up a 14% stake by snapping up Vanke stock on the open market.\r\n\r\nBut there was a problem: regulators did not seem to welcome the idea of the country\u2019s most indebted developer taking over its biggest home provider. In fact, investors have yet to witness a hostile takeover bid actually go through successfully anywhere on the A-share market. And Evergrande eventually sold its Vanke stake to state-owned Shenzhen Metro at a hefty Rmb7.3 billion loss (see WiC370).\r\n\r\nVanke shareholders will be feeling they dodged the proverbial bullet. But in another twist, news broke this month that their company was one of the investors lining up to help the highly-leveraged Evergrande stay afloat.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOn August 10, Hong Kong-listed Evergrande said it was in talks with third-party investors on the proposed sale of certain assets, including stakes in its listed carmaking and property management units. Caixin Weekly reported that Vanke and fellow Guangdong-based real estate developer Country Garden were both interested parties.\r\n\r\nHowever, other media outlets soon reported that both suitors had subsequently walked away…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Evergrande-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"7"},{"id":50321,"title":"Why edtechs are pivoting from pupils to parents","content":"In the TV show A Little Dilemma, a series about the downsides of tiger parenting that went viral in China in April (see WiC537), a father decides to attend tutoring classes every day after work so he can help to teach his fifth-grade daughter at home.\r\n\r\nWhile that seemed a bit extreme to many viewers, little did the producers know that they were flagging a forthcoming trend.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s because more parents may now have to take up tutoring classes in preparation for coaching their children academically, following the government\u2019s crackdown on private tutoring firms.\r\n\r\nUnder the new rules, which were implemented in late July, all entities offering tutoring on school curriculum subjects must register as non-profit organisations, and no new licences will be granted for similar work. After-school instruction has also been limited to weekdays (so no weekends or school holidays) as part of efforts to \u201cease the burden on young students\u201d in mandatory education.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nParents aren\u2019t wholly supportive of the change in policy. \u201cWithout the existence of these extracurricular companies, the role of pushing my daughter to study hard will lie with us parents, which will be exhausting,\u201d one complained to the South China Morning Post.\r\n\r\nNew Oriental, one of the largest provider of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Students-w.jpg","category":"Education","page":"8"},{"id":50324,"title":"Unilever under fire for selling \u2018no-milk\u2019 ice cream in China","content":"There are relatively few products from European-based brands that reach Chinese consumers before making the same journey to shoppers in the US. Magnum bars, an ice cream bar wrapped in thick chocolate shells, were one of them. Brought to China in 1996 by Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever, they have long been marketed as a premium product. But a recent expos\u00e9 on the nutritional composition of the treat has chilled some of its appeal in China, in one of Unilever\u2019s fastest-growing markets.\r\n\r\nThe crisis began with a weibo post by an unknown netizen, who claimed that the ingredients used in the Magnums sold in China were inferior to those sold internationally. \u201cThe chocolate coating is likely to be made of the same cocoa butter from Belgium. However, the ice cream inside is largely formulated with vegetable oil (which hasn\u2019t been through the hydrogenation process) and a small amount of milk powder,\u201d the netizen alleged, adding that the bars sold outside China are made of genuine milk. He supported his claims with screenshots of various nutrition labels.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe revelations immediately caused a stir in a market where Magnum bars are generally sold at higher prices compared to a lot of local brands. While ice cream…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Magnum-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"9"},{"id":50330,"title":"A death at Shanghai Electric signals huge scandal","content":"In Chinese folklore the celestial \u2018being\u2019 responsible for administering justice to the immoral and corrupt is Leishen, the god of thunder. However, the story goes that Leishen wasn\u2019t much good at his job in the early days, often thunderbolting the wrong person because he couldn\u2019t see properly in the dark. So the Jade Emperor married him off to one of Leishen\u2019s innocent victims, Dianmu. She became the goddess of lightning, identifying the right targets through bolts of her own from the heavens.\r\n\r\nOver the past few weeks, the Chinese press have been deploying thunder-related analogies for the storm roiling Sasac-controlled power equipment maker Shanghai Electric and (at least) 10 other listed companies. The subtext: Dianmu\u2019s lightning bolts would be very useful in illuminating \u201cdirt concealed in hidden corners where the sun doesn\u2019t shine\u201d, as NetEase News puts it.\r\n\r\nWiC has written about many corruption scandals over the years. The full cost of this one isn\u2019t apparent yet, with media calculations running from Rmb25 billion ($3.86 billion) to Rmb90 billion.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhat makes the case especially unusual is the sheer number of companies involved from the state sector (or SOEs). To date, it\u2019s culminated in two arrests at Shanghai Electric and the suicide of company…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Shanghai-Electric-Showroom-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"11"},{"id":50327,"title":"Why Shanghai\u2019s\u2008Covid expert is under attack","content":"Chinese epidemiologist Zhang Wenhong divides public opinion. To some he is a straight-talking expert who eschews politics and tells it like it is \u2013 often with a dash of earthy humour (see WiC495 for an earlier profile). For others he is a \u201ctraitor\u201d, a \u201ccapitulator\u201d and someone who \u201cfawns\u201d over the West because he lacks pride in his own culture.\r\n\r\nZhang leads the medical response to Covid in Shanghai, where the death toll from the pandemic is well below that of capital city Beijing. But his employer Fudan University is now investigating him after he suggested that the official government policy of wholly eradicating Covid is misguided.\r\n\r\n\u201cMost virologists recognise that this is a now a resident virus and that we must learn to co-exist with it,\u201d he said in a July 29 post on his Sina Weibo account. \u201cThe way China chooses in the future must ensure a community with a shared future and intercommunication with the world,\u201d he added.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe timing of the post was in some ways counterintuitive \u2013 coming amid China\u2019s largest reported outbreak of Covid since people began falling sick in Wuhan in late 2019. But his point was that the disease has long evaded full control by…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Zhang-Wenhong-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"12"},{"id":50333,"title":"Lithuanian moves over Taiwan lead to diplomatic spat and an EU quandary","content":"\u201cIt\u2019s ridiculous when a mayfly shakes a tree.\u201d So wrote Han Yu, the Tang Dynasty poet, about critics of Zhang Ji, a friend and fellow poet. He wanted to highlight the folly of those who belittle others, despite being inferior themselves.\r\n\r\nThe same line was deployed again this week by a netizen to describe Lithuania\u2019s decision to allow Taiwan to set up a representative office in its capital. At issue is the highly contentious matter of the name of the agency concerned: the Taiwan Representative Office, rather than the Taipei Representative Office, as it is labelled in many other countries.\r\n\r\nThe semantics are important to the combatants in the row: as a city name, Taipei lacks the fuller connotations of mentions of Taiwan, the island\u2019s title.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLithuania\u2019s foreign ministry argues that the styling still respects the One-China Policy (the diplomatic term for Beijing\u2019s immovable formula that there is only one China and that Taiwan is a part of it). However, the argument has cut little ice with President Xi Jinping and his political circle. On August 10, his government announced the recall of its ambassador from Vilnius and demanded the next day that Lithuania withdraw its top diplomat from Beijing.\r\n\r\nThe state-run Global Times…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Vilnius-w.jpg","category":"Cross Strait","page":"13"},{"id":50335,"title":"Actor hit by nationwide boycott for \u2018unpatriotic\u2019 pose three years ago","content":"While Justin Bieber is no stranger to controversy, the Canadian pop star certainly wasn\u2019t prepared for the political row he got himself into when he visited Japan in 2014. During a trip to Tokyo, he posted a picture on social media that showed him standing in front of the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours Japanese war dead including 14 prominent war criminals.\r\n\r\nVisits made to the shrine by Japanese leaders over the years have been viewed as a particular affront in China and South Korea, both of which suffered from a brutal Japanese invasion. The visits were viewed as gestures that were less about reconciliation than memorialising Japan\u2019s past military aggression.\r\n\r\nBieber, 20 at the time, quickly took down the picture and issued an apology, saying that he was \u201cextremely sorry\u201d, yet apparently the Chinese have not forgiven his offence even now: his cameo appearance in the Friends Reunion show was edited out of the version shown in China in June (see WiC544).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nGiven Beijing\u2019s strong stance on the Ontario-born singer, one can only imagine its reaction when one of its own celebrities made a similar visit. Actor Zhang Zhehan has recently learned this the hard way. Last week, ahead of the key August…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Zhang-Zhehan-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"15"},{"id":50338,"title":"The 14 year-old female diver who smashed the Olympic record","content":"Diving is undoubtedly China\u2019s most prolific Olympic sport. In the most recent games in Tokyo, the Chinese won seven of the eight diving events. In fact, it has been a discipline where the Chinese have clinched the most gold medals historically, a total of 47. It is perhaps unsurprising that diving has spawned some of China\u2019s most locally recognised sports stars. Most recently Quan Hongchan, who won the individual 10-metre platform event in Tokyo, has became a media sensation.\r\n\r\nWho is she?\r\n\r\nBorn in 2007, Quan hails from a poor village in Guangdong province\u2019s Zhanjiang. Her dad\u2019s a farmer and her mother has been suffering from epilepsy since being involved in a tragic traffic accident in 2017. Quan started training at the age of seven and last year became a national champion at just 13. She would not have been allowed to compete in Tokyo if the Games had not been postponed for a year because of Covid-19: the minimal age for participating in the diving events is now set at 14.\r\n\r\nHaving been on the national diving team for less than a year, Quan stunned audiences with nearly perfect dives at the Tokyo Olympiad, which was also her first international meet. Judges…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Quan-Hongchan-w.jpg","category":"Red Star","page":"17"},{"id":50340,"title":"An act of charity triggers a sales surge for sportswear firm Erke","content":"At first glance the branding for Chinese sportswear firm Erke looks a lot like Nike. They both have swooshes as their logos and both brands use the Chinese character\u514b (ke). But while Nike was named after the Greek goddess of victory, Hongxing Erke \u2013 to give Erke its full name \u2013 has a rather different inspiration, meaning something along the lines of 'Red Star Bolshevik'.\r\n\r\nUntil recently Erke wasn\u2019t much of a rival to Nike and Adidas in popularity terms. Yet it has grabbed attention by making a sizeable donation to charities helping the victims of flooding in Henan province (see WiC550) on July 21. Netizens noticed a brief, unassuming statement about the financial contribution and were impressed by the fact that Erke\u2019s donation of Rmb50 million in supplies matched that of much larger, more profitable companies such as energy company Sinopec and phone maker Xiaomi.\r\n\r\n\u201cI have never noticed your products before but from now on I\u2019ll only wear Erke,\u201d remarked one netizen, with other shoppers deciding to reward the sportswear firm by buying its goods in record numbers.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nE-commerce platform JD.com noted that two days after the donation, sales of Erke goods had increased an astounding 52 times. Taobao and Douyin…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/08\/Erke-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]},{"id":1704,"name":"Issue 551","date":"","title":"The edtech meltdown","tagline":"A regulatory rout in the internet and edtech sector saw stocks plunge \u2013 Yu Minhong\u2019s New Oriental has lost 90% of its value","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/551.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/551-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":50250,"title":"What is really behind Beijing\u2019s internet sector crackdown?","content":"Angela Merkel has visited China no fewer than 12 times since becoming German chancellor in 2005. Ties between the two nations\u2019 economies are tight and the Chinese have sometimes seemed to taken lessons from the German experience, never more so than in the \u2018Made in China 2025\u2019 initiative of 2015, which was said to have been influenced by Germany\u2019s launch of \u2018Industry 4.0\u2019 for its manufacturing sector three years earlier. During one of Merkel\u2019s trips to China in 2015, the Chinese openly acknowledged their planning blueprint was inspired by the Germans.\r\n\r\nOf course, Beijing\u2019s cadres no longer champion \u2018Made in China 2025\u2019 \u2013 having come to the conclusion that the 10-year industrial plan was one of the major catalysts for the trade and tech rows with Washington.\r\n\r\nBut this has not stopped the Chinese from learning from Germany\u2019s experience. Recent actions by Beijing to clamp down on the internet and private education sectors have also spurred discussion among local analysts about \u2018the German model\u2019. So to what extent are Chinese planners weighing up the \u2018Germanisation\u2019 of China\u2019s economic strategy?\r\n\r\nHow has Beijing reined in the private education sector?\r\n\r\nWe reported last month that the Chinese government had stepped up oversight of the private education…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Ren-Zeping-w.jpg","category":"Economy, Education, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":50252,"title":"Chinese firms dominate Olympic sponsorships","content":"The Olympics makes much of its income from consumer brands that want to sponsor the world\u2019s biggest sporting event.\r\n\r\nBut with the Games in Tokyo already delayed a year and also very unpopular with local people worried about the spread of Covid-19, many of the Japanese advertisers have scaled back their commitments or pulled out entirely.\r\n\r\nPanasonic, a top sponsor, decided against sending its chief executive to the opening ceremony last Friday. Carmaker Toyota has also been concerned about the public backlash, abandoning its plans to run Olympic-themed TV commercials in Japan.\r\n\r\nChinese firms have embraced the Olympics rather more energetically, still seeing the Games as a great opportunity to reach consumers from around the world.\r\n\r\n\u201cChinese companies have been eyeing the business opportunity excitedly. From broadcasters, brand sponsors to agents, everyone has fully embraced the Olympics. Up until the night before it started, domestic companies were looking for ways to market themselves during the Games,\u201d reports Insight, a business news site. \u201cAfter all, the Olympics is the best stage for brands to tell stories; nobody wants to miss a single opportunity.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s largest sportswear maker Anta, for instance, has been high profile in Tokyo. The company is sponsoring the podium uniforms worn by the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Divers-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer, Sport","page":"7"},{"id":50256,"title":"Government reveals more details on its new Three-Child Policy","content":"Is China really dropping all restrictions on family size? That seems to be the case, according to a new document from the State Council.\r\n\r\nPublished on July 20, the document contains a raft of measures to encourage couples to have more babies. It followed a major policy shift since May 31 when the first announcement of the \u2018Three-Child Policy\u2019 was made (see WiC543).\r\n\r\nMost importantly, the Chinese cabinet said it will abolish a 40 year-old practice of imposing hefty fines for families breaching the allowed birth limit, and promises that any child, regardless of how many siblings they have, will get access to a household registration permit (or hukou) and most social services like education. This decision \u201ccompletely disconnects household entry, school enrolment, employment from fertility status,\u201d an official explainer states.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nChina scrapped its two-child cap in May as census results confirmed the lowest level of population growth since the early 1960s (when there was a national famine). But millions of people of child-rearing age have scoffed at the idea of having a third child because of the expense.\r\n\r\nBeijing is now trying to make it easier to have larger families by mandating fuller healthcare provision for women and children, assigning more legal protection…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Baby-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"8"},{"id":50259,"title":"AI unicorn CloudWalk gets nod for STAR Market IPO","content":"The polygraph, so beloved in spy films and detective novels, is underpinned by the idea that a liar can be caught out through physical symptoms. The technology uses contact sensors to detect changes in pulse, blood pressure, breathing rate and skin conductivity to determine whether someone is being dishonest. But in the early 2010s Zhou Xi, a professor at the Chongqing branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, set out to create a new version of test that could detect dishonesty from greater distances. Non-contact sensors and facial recognition technology was said to pick up on a person\u2019s micro-expression, skin colour, temperature, heart rate and even their vocal characteristics. \u201cThe advantage of our new polygraph is the non-contact detector, which will lower the vigilance of targets,\u201d Zhou claimed in 2015 when the product was unveiled.\r\n\r\nToday Zhou is also the founder and president of CloudWalk Technology, a six year-old firm that creates image recognition hardware, as well as making the algorithms that sift through troves of biometric data to discern patterns and establish correlations.\r\n\r\nPopular across the public and private sectors, CloudWalk\u2019s solutions have been adopted for a wide array of purposes including payment processing, surveillance, urban management and airport traffic control.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAlthough…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Cloudwalk-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"9"},{"id":50262,"title":"Will Faraday Future now deliver \u2013 having finally gone public on Nasdaq?","content":"Many people have tried to sum up Chinese entrepreneur Jia Yueting over the course of a colourful and tumultuous career that\u2019s seen him bankrupt one firm after another. In 2016, a tech journalist famously called Jia and his electric vehicle (EV) company, Faraday Future, \u201cthe Donald Trump of start-ups\u201d.\r\n\r\nIt wasn\u2019t meant as a compliment (that same year the Washington Post reported Trump had filed for bankruptcy six times). At that point, Jia had just unveiled Faraday\u2019s prototype super car, the FF91, at San Francisco\u2019s Consumer Electronics Show. He had lofty ambitions to get a first car on the road by 2020. Fast-forward five years, and the car is still not available for sale.\r\n\r\nBut Jia and Trump share more in common than a propensity to rack up debts and bankruptcies. They both have a habit of confounding the sceptics as well.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn 2016, Trump went on to win the US presidency. And on July 22, Faraday listed on the Nasdaq with a market capitalisation of $4.8 billion.\r\n\r\nThis remarkable debut came seven months after the California-based company ended 2020 with just $1.1 million of cash in the bank. Faraday managed to survive last yeart thanks to a $9 million loan from the US…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Faraday-FF91-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"10"},{"id":50265,"title":"SVOLT debuts an EV battery that\u2019s cobalt-free","content":"Few would disagree that electric vehicles represent the future of driving. BloombergNEF, a researcher, reckons that global sales of zero-emission cars will jump from 4% of the market in 2020 to a whopping 70% by 2040. But to get to that number vehicles will need to reach price parity with their fossil-fuel counterparts. One way to get closer to parity is to remove cobalt from their manufacture.\r\n\r\nTypically found in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, cobalt protects the negatively charged electrode (i.e. cathode) from corrosion and fire risks, while working as a booster for energy density and extending the car\u2019s driving range.\r\n\r\nWith nearly half of the world\u2019s known supply of cobalt mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa (see WiC329), the scarce resource is also susceptible to supply disruption and price volatility. For global car firms there are also compliance risks linked with the child labour sometimes used locally to extract it. All this makes it the most expensive material in an EV battery. Eliminating its use could help cut the prices of electric cars by up to a third, according to Japan\u2019s Panasonic.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nChinese battery maker SVOLT Energy Technology claims it has an alternative. Based in the city of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/SVOLT-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"11"},{"id":50268,"title":"Could molten salt reactors soon be added to China\u2019s nuclear network?","content":"In recent years Sino-US superpower rivalry has centred on sectors like chipmaking. China wants to achieve self-sufficiency in semiconductor manufacturing. The US aims to prevent China getting the advanced technology needed to do so. But now the Americans are waking up to another challenge. China may be moving ahead in nuclear energy and in particular beyond the frontier in nuclear reactors known as generation IV.\r\n\r\nEarlier this month the Washington Times led with a headline that put that perspective quite bluntly \u2013 \u201cChina is eating our lunch when it comes to nuclear technology\u201d. Political news site The Hill ran an opinion piece from two Republican congressmen at a similar time outlining how \u201cthe US should recognise China\u2019s nuclear ambitions\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nA key area of focus is molten salt technology, which could provide a safer alternative to the current generation III plants that use pressurised water reactors.\r\n\r\nReactors of the newer design use the widely abundant, silvery metal thorium, rather than uranium and plutonium. China launched a research initiative into the technology back in 2011 and the South China Morning Post reports that a thorium-based molten salt reactor in Gansu province is due to be completed next month and could begin its test run in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Thorium-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"13"},{"id":50271,"title":"Catastrophic floods expose the downsides of a \u2018cashless\u2019 society","content":"Heavy rains have continued in the central province of Henan this week, flooding new areas and leading to further loss of life.\r\n\r\nThe official death toll from the two-week deluge has risen to 99. Given the severity of the damage, it is expected to rise further.\r\n\r\nThe worst affected area this week has been Xinxiang, a city to the north of Zhengzhou. But across the whole province more than 13 million people have been affected, local officials say.\r\n\r\nThe downpour has triggered a debate online about the causes of the deluge, with climate change coming up as a likely factor in the supercharged nature of the annual floods.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cGlobal warming has aggravated the instability of the climate system, which is the root cause of frequent and more intense extreme weather and climate events,\u201d China News Service quoted the deputy director of the National Meteorological Centre as saying.\r\n\r\nCountries including Germany, Holland, Belgium, the UK, Japan and India have all experienced extreme flooding this year. In contrast, parts of Siberia, Canada and California have been suffering from extreme heat and wildfires.\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s political leaders have steered clear of making the connection between climate change and the Henan floods, although the Chinese public has been asking how the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Flood-w.jpg","category":"Environment","page":"15"},{"id":50274,"title":"Celebrities compelled to show their support with flood relief donations","content":"After the devastating earthquake that killed 69,227 people in Sichuan province in 2008, actress Zhang Ziyi pledged to donate Rmb1 million ($146,000 at the time) to the Chinese Red Cross Foundation. Having made the commitment during the Cannes Film Festival, Zhang was widely admired for her generosity.\r\n\r\nBut in 2010 netizens found out that Zhang had failed to fully deliver on her promise, with records from the charity suggesting a donation of Rmb840,000. After online criticism mounted, the actress later apologised that there had been a \u201ccommunications glitch\u201d between herself and her team and that she had since made up the shortfall.\r\n\r\n\u201cPeople can donate as little as one cent or as much as Rmb1 million,\u201d the spokesperson for the charity said at the time. \u201cIt doesn't matter how much Zhang has donated, her call for people to donate toward earthquake aid could not be measured in money.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMore than a decade later, a new generation of stars would be well advised to learn from Zhang\u2019s mistake, after a fresh round of celebrity donations have come under huge scrutiny on Chinese social media.\r\n\r\nThe disaster that brought the giving into focus was a calamitous flood that killed at least 99 people after record-breaking rainfall…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Cheng-Xiao-w.jpg","category":"Celebrities, Society","page":"16"},{"id":50277,"title":"Kris Wu scandal puts KTVs back into the spotlight","content":"KTV, or karaoke, has more of a reputation in China for boozing, sex and corruption than it does for a night out singing with friends and family.\r\n\r\nTake Kris Wu, a pop singer embroiled in the most costly celebrity scandal in recent memory after accusations from young student Du Meizhu of sexual assault (see WiC550). The allegations have stirred up a number of complaints from other young women that Wu was a regular attendee at \u2018concubine picking\u2019 parties in KTV rooms.\r\n\r\nWu has denied doing anything unlawful. But the scandal shows little sign of receding from the public eye, with police reporting the arrest last week of a man identified by his surname Liu, who had disguised himself as a woman in a bid to make some money from the situation.\r\n\r\nLiu tried to befriend Wu\u2019s accuser Du, telling her that \u2018she\u2019 could help boost her social media popularity by publicising how the pop icon had treated her. Meanwhile he was also pretending to be a lawyer who could settle the case and he allegedly conned both sides into sending him money.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAt least the strange twist to the story has given the public something to discuss other than Wu\u2019s sex life. Nevertheless the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Kris-Wu-w-1.jpg","category":"Society","page":"18"},{"id":50280,"title":"Fine dining now on offer for dogs in Shanghai","content":"Beef and potato, salmon and salad; at first glance one of Shanghai\u2019s newest restaurants looks like a normal bistro. But the sign above the door of the sleek new eatery identifies a rather different clientele. \u201cNot a human restaurant,\u201d it says, \u201cWe only serve pets.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe Cat and Dog Club is the latest example of the \u2018new\u2019 business ideas in China\u2019s booming pet sector, which generated Rmb295 billion ($45.48 billion) in sales last year, according to Guangzhou-based iiMedia Research.\r\n\r\nIt was only a couple of decades ago that pet ownership was frowned upon in China but there are now more than 100 million pet dogs and cats \u2013 and millions more rabbits, birds and miniature pigs.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThat explosion in pet ownership \u2013 annual increases of 8% for the last 10 years \u2013 has spurred a surge in pet-related services: grooming, feeding, clothing, kennelling and even cloning.\r\n\r\nThe Cat and Dog Club wants to promote the idea of feeding animals fresh food instead of kibble and other processed products, Chinanews.com reports. In the past, domestic cats and dogs were typically fed scraps from the dinner table, often supplemented with a bit of rice. But higher incomes and better understanding of pet care have persuaded many…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Dog-eating-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]},{"id":1703,"name":"Issue 550","date":"Jul 23, 2021","title":"Time to talk?","tagline":"Arch-rivals Tencent and Alibaba signal truce as they mull opening their vast ecosystems to each other \u2013 but why is the duopoly acting now?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/550.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/550-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":50176,"title":"Are Alibaba and Tencent close to agreeing a strategic \u2018truce\u2019?","content":"The longstanding rivalry between Alibaba and Tencent on China\u2019s internet scene has sometimes been compared to the decades of Cold War tension between the Soviet Union and the United States. Both internet superpowers want to spread their influence. Both have chosen not to fight head-to-head in their core businesses, preferring to wage a series of proxy wars instead. In trying to do so, the duo and their respective ecosystems of portfolio firms have divided much of the Chinese internet sector into two feuding camps.\r\n\r\nThere have even been comparisons to the contrasting ideologies that separated NATO countries from those of the Warsaw Pact. In this context Tencent has been portrayed as more liberal in its approach and more willing to allow its allies to retain a say in how they run their businesses.\r\n\r\nAlibaba is painted as the more authoritarian entity, however, demanding fuller control over the investee companies marching under its flag.\r\n\r\nYet after a stand-off that has lasted for nearly two decades, the duo might be close to calling some kind of truce.\r\n\r\nThis tantalising possibility has the Chinese internet buzzing. But what has led to the change of heart at the two old foes?\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhat are the rumours on a rapprochement?\r\n\r\nNews of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Pony-Ma-talking-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":50179,"title":"Antitrust ruling thwarts Tencent\u2019s attempt to consolidate streaming firms","content":"When antitrust laws were first introduced in the United States more than a century ago, they were aimed at taking on the oil industry. For many years antitrust watchdogs have taken a more lenient view on the rise of technology giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google which have come to dominate e-commerce, social networking, online advertising and search. But last month the US Congress signalled a change of stance: it introduced bills that would make it harder for the tech giants to buy emerging competitors; or prevent \u2018big tech\u2019 from exploiting a market position in one sector to seize the upper hand in another.\r\n\r\nThe authorities in China, too, have grown more wary of how powerful its tech giants have become. In April, regulators slapped Alibaba with a record $2.8 billion fine for anti-competitive practices that had disadvantaged merchants on its e-commerce platforms. A recent editorial in the Global Times underlined the point. \u201cChina\u2019s internet enterprises must say goodbye to the phase of barbaric expansion and build up the concept of compliance. That will become the essential strategy in their development,\u201d it warned.\r\n\r\nLast week, antitrust regulators struck again, rejecting tech giant Tencent\u2019s proposal to combine the country\u2019s two biggest game-streaming platforms…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Huya-and-Daoyu-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"7"},{"id":50183,"title":"Zhengzhou receives 365-days worth of rainfall in just 72 hours","content":"Around 6pm on Tuesday evening a passenger train on Line 5 of Zhengzhou\u2019s subway system was approaching Shakoulu station in the north of the city. Heavy rain had been falling for days as is common at this time of year. But the city had just experienced the most intense downpour ever recorded in China \u2013 with 20 centimetres of water pouring down in a single hour.\r\n\r\nThe train stopped before it reached the station and water started to seep into the carriage. Over the course of the next four hours, it rose ever higher. In images filmed prior to the passengers being rescued, the water level had come up to peoples\u2019 chests\r\n\r\n\u201cI was really scared. The most terrible thing was not the water but that the air was getting thinner and thinner. Many people had symptoms of breathing difficulties,\u201d one passenger on the subway train told Xinhua.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTwelve people on the train died, four were injured and some 500 were evacuated.\r\n\r\nAbove ground the situation was also nightmarish: roads had transformed into torrents of brown water, reservoirs were coming close to spilling point and huge sinkholes had formed.\r\n\r\nIn one video posted to social media, swimmers can be seen trying to rescue a drowning…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Zhengzhou-flood-w.jpg","category":"Environment","page":"9"},{"id":50197,"title":"Fears over property giant Evergrande worsen","content":"According to a Chinese idiom, \u2018good fortune doesn\u2019t come twice but bad luck rarely hits once\u2019. Shareholders of China Evergrande have found that out again this week.\r\n\r\nThe week began with news of Chen Feng, deputy general manager of the Chinese developer\u2019s Hong Kong unit, appearing in court on rape charges. The allegations date back to a dinner that Evergrande\u2019s Chen attended in March. (This event got even more local media attention because of who was dining with Chen: Hong Kong director of immigration; the city\u2019s customs and excise commissioner; and the deputy secretary for security \u2013 each of these senior government officials was later fined HK$5,000 ($640) for violating social distancing rules by turning up for the meal).\r\n\r\nJust when observers wondered what other salacious details might emerge from the court case, the shares of Evergrande and its other Hong Kong-listed units went into a two-day nosedive. The market value of China\u2019s most indebted property firm plunged nearly 30%, while its offshore bonds sank to all-time lows. The sell-off was triggered by news \u2013 from another court, this time in Wuxi city in Jiangsu province \u2013 that it had ordered a freeze on Rmb132 million ($20 million) in cash deposits held…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Evergrande-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"10"},{"id":50194,"title":"Slow start for China\u2019s emissions trading scheme","content":"Without more effort from China to bring down its carbon emissions, there is no chance of escaping the \u201cmutual suicide pact\u201d of climate change, John Kerry warned this week. It won\u2019t be possible to limit global warming to a rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius if Beijing leaves it as long as 2030 to reach peak emissions, the US climate envoy claimed.\r\n\r\nThe warning comes only a few days after the launch of China\u2019s first carbon emissions trading scheme at a national level, following more than a decade of discussions and preparations.\r\n\r\nThe scheme began trading on the Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange and kicked off with a company paying about $1.2 million to emit 160,000 metric tonnes of carbon emissions. China\u2019s state news network was delighted, predicting that the exchange would soon become the world\u2019s largest in terms of the volume of greenhouse gases traded.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBut the feedback from climate campaigners is that the scheme isn\u2019t ambitious enough to move the dial on China\u2019s emissions goals, including its target for going net-zero in 2060. The scheme has been limited to about 2,200 coal- and gas-fired energy plants. This initial group accounts for 40% of China\u2019s energy-related emissions (with the government saying more firms…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Coal-plant-w.jpg","category":"ESG","page":"112"},{"id":50186,"title":"Why JD.com has invested in Gen Z \u2018unicorn\u2019 retailer KK Group","content":"The idea that a generation shares certain characteristics, and therefore qualifies for a moniker, ought to be credited to two American novelists. One of them is Gertrude Stein, the modernist who coined the term the \u201cLost Generation\u201d to refer to those coming of age during the First World War. The other is Douglas Coupland, whose 1991 debut novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, set a precedent of naming demographic cohorts, spanning roughly 15 years each, with a letter of the alphabet.\r\n\r\nToday the most-talked about grouping is Generation Z. Born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, the oldest of them have already entered the workforce. Perhap more significantly, they are shaping up to be a paramount driver of consumption and retail sales, especially in China.\r\n\r\nAccording to a February report by L Catterton, a private equity firm backed by French luxury giant LVMH, Gen Z accounts for 25% of the total expenditure on new brands in China, despite representing just 17% of the population. Moreover, half of that cohort is still in school, implying that they have limited income and that the other half are much bigger spenders.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nA survey published by McKinsey last November found that Gen Z\u2019ers in China…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/KK-Shop-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer, GBA","page":"12"},{"id":50202,"title":"Is this China\u2019s most costly celebrity scandal ever?","content":"As the saying goes, where there\u2019s smoke there\u2019s fire. So when allegations about sexual abuse were levelled at rapper-actor-model Kris Wu, he saw not only his stardom going up in flames but also his many lucrative endorsement deals with international and local brands.\r\n\r\nAllegations surrounding Wu, 30, started early this month when the 18 year-old student-influencer Du Meizhu began posting claims that the pop icon had date-raped her when she was 17, and lured numerous other young girls \u2013 some of whom were 16 and 17, she told ThePaper.cn \u2013 into sexual intercourse by getting them drunk.\r\n\r\nDu also claimed that Wu paid her Rmb500,000 ($77,093) to \u201ckeep quiet\u201d, but she had decided to speak out anyway. She said she was repaying the money and was ready to face legal action. In one of her weibo posts, she also dared Wu to \u201cstand up, be a man\u201d and own up to his actions.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWu has vehemently denied her claims, writing on his official weibo: \u201cIf there really had been such behaviour, I would certainly willingly go to jail.\u201d\r\n\r\nAs one of the biggest stars in the country, Wu consistently ranks as one of the highest paid celebrities on the Forbes China Celebrity List. In…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Kris-Wu-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"13"},{"id":50191,"title":"Who is going to benefit from China\u2019s approval of the BioNTech jab?","content":"Pfizer, whose Covid-19 vaccines are protecting over half of the fully inoculated population in the US, has been trumpeting the need for a third booster dose. Meanwhile, Germany, Canada and the UK are all recommending a mixed regimen: if you alternate doses of vaccines that use the adenoviral vector platform with those developed via the mRNA technique, you may benefit from a superior immune response.\r\n\r\nThe implication is that Covid-19 vaccination campaign are unlikely to be a one-off. People who are fully vaccinated will still need boosters, while those getting jabs developed with more traditional methods will need an mRNA shot at some point.\r\n\r\nSimilar opinions are apparently swaying the Chinese government in its stance on the mRNA Covid-19 jab co-developed by Germany\u2019s BioNTech and Pfizer and China\u2019s Fosun (which invested $135 million in the endeavour last March), especially when none of the purely domestically developed mRNA candidates have completed their clinical trials yet (see WiC492).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHaving concluded an expert panel review of the widely used jab, officially known as Comirnaty, Chinese authorities are planning to offer the vaccine for free as a booster shot for people who have received l0cal vaccines made with older technology, Caixin Weekly reported. If that turns out…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Biontech-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"15"},{"id":50205,"title":"Famed film director Feng Xiaogang\u2019s foodie-female drama struggles","content":"After six seasons and two features films, HBO\u2019s Sex and the City is getting a reboot. The cable network announced that three of the main actresses in the franchise \u2013 Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis \u2013 will reprise their famed roles as a group of high-powered New York friends balancing careers and messy personal lives (Kim Cattrall, the fourth star in the series, won\u2019t be joining them).\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, in China the female ensemble genre is more popular than ever. Since last year\u2019s release of the hugely popular Nothing But Thirty (see WiC506), which charts the lives of three successful 30 year-old women, studios have rushed to make similar formats. And now even the country\u2019s most commercially adept filmmaker Feng Xiaogang \u2013 famous for his multi-film If You Are the One franchise and the more arty I Am Not Madame Bovary \u2013 has put his name to a new TV series about female friendship.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nFeng\u2019s first small-screen project since 1997 is being shown on online streaming platform iQiyi. Set in Beijing, Crossroad Bistro is a story of five women\u2019s friendships as they also (common theme here) navigate the ups and downs of their love lives and careers. At the drama\u2019s…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/actress-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":50208,"title":"Father reunited with abducted son after decades-long search","content":"In the 2015 film Lost and Love, Andy Lau plays a father searching for his kidnapped son for 15 years. Along the way he meets a young man that was trafficked as a kid and together they work to find his parents too.\r\n\r\nNow, however, there is reason to film a sequel to the acclaimed film, because Guo Gangtang, the man on whom Lau\u2019s character was based, has been reunited with his child \u2013 24 years after the boy was kidnapped and sold to a family who wanted a son.\r\n\r\n\u201cMy darling, my darling,\u201d sobbed Guo\u2019s wife, Zhang Wenge, as she hugged the son she hadn\u2019t seen in over two decades.\r\n\r\nState media footage of the July 11 reunion shows Guo trying to comfort his sobbing wife as he wipes away tears of his own.\r\n\r\nThe young man \u2013 now 26 years-old \u2013 has not been identified but is known to have worked in Linzhou in Henan province, about 230 kilometres from his birth parents\u2019 home in Shandong province.\r\n\r\nHe was abducted from outside his house when he was just two and his father spent years driving around China on a motorbike looking for his missing child.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn the end, however, it was the police who…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Andy-Lau-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"17"},{"id":50200,"title":"Passion for a livestreamer leads to mass theft","content":"Manhole covers can bear a passing resemblance to supersized coins. And sometimes they can be worth something, especially the ones that are made from easily recycled metal.\r\n\r\nWhich is probably how a twenty-something surnamed Fan from Nanjing had the idea of nabbing 500 of them over four months, making more than Rmb40,000 ($6,167) by selling them to scrap merchants, according to the Nanjing Cyber Security Department.\r\n\r\nFan used the proceeds to fund his addiction to female livestreamers \u2013 also known in local parlance as \u201ccam girls\u201d.\r\n\r\nThere are now more than 600 million livestream users in China and over 150 platforms that are hosting livestreams. The majority of viewers are simply shopping or watching people playing eSports online. But another chunk of the multi-billion yuan business is made up of \u2018cam girls\u2019 and \u2018cam boys\u2019 who chat, flirt, read out messages and do their best to look good.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThese livestreamers earn money by promoting products or by getting their fans to send them money or gifts. In Fan\u2019s case, he spent Rmb10,000 in a month on one cam girl, more than he could afford on his monthly salary as a construction worker.\r\n\r\nThe livestreamers are adept at manipulating the affections of their followers, encouraging them…","image":"\/images\/no_image.png","category":"And Finally","page":"199"}]},{"id":1702,"name":"Issue 549","date":"","title":"Bytedance in number one slot","tagline":"Quarterly update of our Top 50 Unicorns Ranking sees seven new entries, the high-profile exit of Didi and $400 billion Bytedance going top","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/549.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/549-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":50108,"title":"Post-Didi, are Hong Kong IPOs now the priority for our Top 50 Unicorns?","content":"Policy risk has always been a concern for Wall Street investors in Chinese firms \u2013 dating back to when minivan maker Brilliance China was the first from the country to launch an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in October 1992.\r\n\r\nThe flood of IPOs from Chinese debutants in more recent years seemed to signal that risk appetites for Chinese stocks have grown stouter, especially for companies from the internet sector.\r\n\r\nYet perhaps a few fund managers had unwisely forgotten how a change in government thinking can soon dim a growth story, which is exactly what happened this month to Didi, China\u2019s ride-hailing giant.\r\n\r\nWith Didi\u2019s bankers rushing through a roadshow in just a few days, IPO investors were counting on another lucrative payday when one of the world\u2019s oldest and most valuable unicorns went public on the NYSE in late June.\r\n\r\nBut it wasn\u2019t to be: instead infuriated Chinese regulators suddenly stopped Didi from registering new customers just days after the ride-hailing platform\u2019s debut (see WiC548). Didi\u2019s shares plunged as the investment world was reawakened to the risks of a change in attitude from the Chinese government.\r\n\r\nThe Didi debacle has had an immediate impact on other Chinese firms waiting to IPO…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Tiktok-Bytedance-w.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":50111,"title":"Home service platform\u2019s US IPO hangs in balance","content":"According to China\u2019s maternity custom of zuo yuezi, or literally \u201csitting the month\u201d, new mothers must stay indoors to restore their energy. To that end, confinement nurses, known as yue sao, are hired to help prepare nutritious meals to hasten the mother\u2019s recuperation while taking care of the newborns. More experienced ones even offer beauty treatments.\r\n\r\nThis yue sao maternity care business is so big that an internet platform matching expecting families with postpartum helpers is now planning to go public in the US. In early July, home services platform Swan Daojia submitted a prospectus to the US Securities and Exchange Commission for a listing in New York.\r\n\r\nFormerly known as 58 Home, Swan Daojia is part of the classifieds portal group 58.com (see WiC537 for more about China\u2019s Craigslist equivalent), which has itself just completed a $8.7 billion delisting from the NYSE. Daojia is now seeking a US\u2008listing that would value the platform at around $3 billion, Bloomberg reported.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBesides post-partum services, Daojia also connects consumers with housekeepers, as well as with removals companies for people moving home. The eight year-old firm claims a registered user base of over 4.2 million customers. On the other side of its platform\u2019s matching service are…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Deng-Chao-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"8"},{"id":50114,"title":"Meet the boss of one of the most successful foreign firms in\u2008China","content":"Finnish elevator giant KONE has emerged as the market leader in China, which makes up more than 60% of the world\u2019s market demand for new lifts and escalators. With over 20,000 staff across 600 Chinese cities and towns, the elevator and escalator behemoth has built a national footprint. A quarter of a century after it first set up operations in the country, KONE is unquestionably Finland\u2019s biggest company in China and it must now rank as one of the most successful foreign firms in the Chinese market too. WiC spoke extensively to KONE\u2019s Helsinki-based CEO Henrik Ehrnrooth to understand his firm\u2019s winning formula and how he sees the Chinese market evolving.\r\n\r\nThere hasn\u2019t been much business travel in the past 18 months as a result of Covid-19. When was the last time you were in China?\r\n\r\nI was in China around mid-January 2020. I was there just before things started to happen \u2013 as late as one could have been, just before Chinese New Year.\r\n\r\nAside from Beijing and Shanghai, you must have visited a lot of cities in China over the years?\r\n\r\nUsually I go to China four or five times a year, given the importance of our Chinese business to us. Usually…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Henrik-Ehrnrooth-w.jpg","category":"Corporate Q&A","page":"9"},{"id":50117,"title":"Sinopec launches China\u2019s first large-scale carbon capture facility","content":"As a scorching heat wave sweeps across the Northern Hemisphere, China is asking its people to brace for another year of extreme weather conditions.\r\n\r\nAccording to the National Climate Centre, the average temperatures for the first half of the year \u2013 roughly 1.2 degree Celsius above normal levels \u2013 were the highest in\u2008China since 1961. This is expected to bring 50% more rain in some areas than normal, leading to more floods similar to the disastrous one in Hubei last year (see WiC503).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMore power outages are also expected as the grid struggles to cope with a surge in air conditioner usage. After Guangdong and Yunnan rationed electricity in May, provinces such as Guizhou and Shanxi are planning to follow suit. The landlocked province of Hunan is also looking to add 12 gigawatts of coal-fired power capacity by 2025 to meet surging electricity demand.\r\n\r\nStriking a balance between climate change and economic growth has always been a struggle. But advances in technology relating to what is termed as CCUS, or \u2018carbon capture, utilisation and storage\u2019, are starting to take effect.\r\n\r\nOn July 5, Sinopec announced that it had started building China\u2019s first \u2018large-scale\u2019 CCUS facility. This is part of the oil and gas giant\u2019s…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Sinopec-w.jpg","category":"Environment, ESG","page":"14"},{"id":50120,"title":"Newport deal a litmus test for Britain\u2019s new stance on Chinese tech M&A","content":"If you ask British people what kind of wafers are produced in the UK, then they\u2019ll almost certainly think about the biscuit variety \u2013 such as vanilla creams sandwiched between pink wafers. The teatime snack was originally produced by Crawford\u2019s in Edinburgh and a slightly different version by OP Chocolate in Wales.\r\n\r\nWales is also home to another type of wafer production, the kind that creates computer chips. It\u2019s currently in the news because the Newport Wafer Fab (NWF) has just been sold to Nexperia, which in turn is controlled by China\u2019s Wingtech.\r\n\r\nMany Britons are quite surprised to learn that any form of manufacturing still exists in the country after the industrial base was hollowed out during the 1980s. What might come as less of a shock is discovering that a surviving local manufacturer has been sold to overseas interests (the UK has historically been extremely laissez-faire about inbound purchases).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBut times are changing. NWF\u2019s sale is set to become the first test case of the UK\u2019s new National Security & Investment Act, which passed into law in April this year. It gives the government power to block transactions on national security grounds.\r\n\r\nPrime Minister Boris Johnson has referred the Nexperia acquisition to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Pink-wafer-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"15"},{"id":50125,"title":"New mega dam project is second to\u2008Three Gorges in energy generation","content":"With turbines that are the hardest, the deepest and the world\u2019s most powerful, China\u2019s new Baihetan Dam on the Yunnan-Sichuan border does a fine line in generating superlatives, as well as electricity.\r\n\r\nEntering into initial service at the end of last month, a few days ahead of the Communist Party\u2019s main centenary celebrations, the dam will have total installed capacity of 16 million kilowatts when all of its turbines are working next year. This makes it the world\u2019s second most powerful hydroelectric dam after the Three Gorges Dam in Hubei province.\r\n\r\nThe new dam is the largest, and technically most difficult, bit of infrastructure in the West-East Electricity Transfer project, which is designed to tackle energy shortages in urban and industrial areas in the east coast with power generated in inland provinces, where wind and hydro power plants are concentrated. A construction boom over the past 50 years has seen five of the world\u2019s 10 largest dams built in China. Coming with a Rmb220 billion ($34 billion) construction cost, Baihetan is likely to be the last of the country\u2019s mega dams.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn fact, there are very few natural sites left in\u2008China that allow for such large-scale power generation after Baihetan, which sits on…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Baihetan-Dam-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"17"},{"id":50129,"title":"Why Hollywood\u2019s blockbusters won\u2019t benefit from China\u2019s box office in July","content":"Marvel\u2019s highly-anticipated Black Widow has prospered at the box office in the United States, where it has become the highest grossing domestic debut of the post-pandemic era.\r\n\r\nBut the superhero film \u2013 which stars Scarlett Johansson in the lead role \u2013 has been noticeably absent in China. The country\u2019s censors approved Black Widow\u2019s release back in March yet there is no news on when it will be shown on Chinese cinema screens.\r\n\r\nIndustry insiders suspect that is because the government hasn\u2019t wanted to distract audiences from the flurry of more politically-inspired material that has been released to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party (see WiC548).\r\n\r\n\u201cBeijing considers it politically paramount for the Party\u2019s propaganda tribute films to reign supreme over their competitors this month,\u201d explained Variety, the American film and entertainment specialist.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTwo highly-anticipated local blockbuster releases \u2013 Zhang Yimou\u2019s Sniper and Donnie Yen\u2019s action flick Raging Fire \u2013 also saw their launch dates pushed back. As a result the only major alternative at cinemas is Chinese Doctors, another film with propaganda overtones that celebrates the efforts of a group of frontline medical workers during the darkest months of the Covid-19 outbreak last year (the studio that made it…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Scarlett-Johansson-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"18"},{"id":50132,"title":"The Chinese YouTuber that breaks Guinness World Record","content":"Who is she?\r\n\r\nBorn in 1990 in Mianyang in Sichuan province, Li Ziqi has charmed audiences around the world with her cinematic and largely wordless videos that capture life in rural China. The theme is rustic and creative: in one post the 31 year-old hand-dyes a dress with grape juice and spins yarn with wool from a sheep raised in her backyard (for more about Li\u2019s background see WiC480).\r\n\r\nLi set a new Guinness World Record in February for \u201cThe Most Subscribed YouTube Chinese Channel\u201d with 14.1 million followers, and the state-run media is also a fan. CCTV, the national broadcaster, pointed out Li\u2019s videos \u201cdon\u2019t boast about China, but simply tell Chinese stories well\u201d.\r\n\r\nHer audience numbers are significant, with 55.1 million followers on Bytedance\u2019s Douyin, 27.7 million on Sina Weibo and 7.8 million on Bilibili. The rural influencer has since capitalised on her star power to launch a namesake food brand on\u2008Alibaba\u2019s Tmall. Annual sales reportedly reached Rmb1.6 billion ($247.3 million) last year. Her most famous product is Luosifen, a rice noodle delicacy (see WiC488) that originated in Guangxi.\r\n\r\nWhy is she in the news again?\r\n\r\nThe internet giant Bytedance is another of Li\u2019s fans. In early July, the parent company of TikTok…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/Li-Ziqi-red-w.jpg","category":"Red Star","page":"19"},{"id":50135,"title":"Why Shenyang police auctioned off its canines","content":"\u2018Too cute\u2019: that was the reason why three police dogs were eliminated from the Ministry of Public Security\u2019s training programme and auctioned off to ordinary citizens earlier this month.\r\n\r\nIn total 54 dogs were sold at the sale: all of them rejects from the Police Dog Technical School in the northeastern city of Shenyang.\r\n\r\nOther reasons for failing to pass muster as a fully-fledged police dogs included \u201ctimidity\u201d, \u201cphysical weakness\u201d and \u201cfailure to bite on command\u201d.\r\n\r\nDogs with floppy ears or curly hair were also rejected on the basis that no one would fear them.\r\n\r\nThe 54 dogs, mostly German Shepherds, were in great demand \u2013 with 84,000 people downloading the form to apply for the auction. On the day itself the school had to limit participants to the first 2,000 arrivals and the most expensive dog was sold for Rmb330,000 ($51,007) \u2013 up from a starting price of Rmb200.\r\n\r\nAll proceeds went to the government and the buyers had to sign statements promising not to breed the dogs or resell them.\r\n\r\nOne buyer who travelled from the southern city of Shenzhen said he planned to buy his new pet five different types of food so he could choose the one he liked best. \u201cAs I…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/07\/German-Sheperd-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"21"}]}]}