{"issues":[{"id":1698,"name":"Issue 545","date":"Jun 18, 2021","title":"Biden\u2019s jab at China","tagline":"A pledge by the G7 to donate a billion vaccines to poorer countries is partly altruistic \u2013 but also seen as a means to counter growing Chinese influence","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/545.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/545-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":49805,"title":"How the politics of Covid-19 is preventing a quicker victory over the virus","content":"After getting to know each other for just 49 days, Taiwanese actress Barbie Hsu and Wang Xiaofei, the mainland Chinese heir to the South Beauty restaurant group, were married in Hainan a decade ago.\r\n\r\nThe wedding (see WiC101) had a fairy tale feel to it but the marriage was symbolic of something greater during what was a \u2018honeymoon\u2019 period for cross-Strait relations. Ma Ying-jeou was about to win a second term as the island\u2019s president and his ruling party, the KMT, was working on a trade deal with Beijing that brought Taiwan\u2019s economy ever closer to the mainland.\r\n\r\nBut in a newer act of symbolism \u2013 this time reflecting the rapidly deteriorating relations between Beijing and Taipei \u2013 Hsu is said to have filed for divorce from her husband this month. One of the triggers, according to Taiwan\u2019s newspapers, was the couple\u2019s different values, underlined by Wang\u2019s mocking rants on social media about Taiwan\u2019s handling of its recent Covid-19 outbreak and its clumsy vaccine rollout (conversely, mainland media outlets have described the divorce as more of a case of a lovers\u2019 spat).\r\n\r\nOne thing is more certain: continuing clashes over the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines isn\u2019t just proving divisive in Taiwan. Last weekend…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Biden-Macron-w.jpg","category":"China and the World, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":49810,"title":"Covid outbreak in Guangdong sees freight rates surge as vessels idle","content":"The shipping industry has spent the last 18 months in crisis mode because of the pandemic, made worse by an accidental blockage of the Suez Canal in March that held up more than $50 billion in trade.\r\n\r\nYet problems at one of the world\u2019s busiest container ports in China are creating even more disruption in terms of delays to schedules and the number of containers affected. The impact is being felt just as fiercely in freight rates, which have climbed to new records, especially for voyages out of China.\r\n\r\nThe epicentre of the crisis is Shenzhen\u2019s main port in Yantian, which processes about a quarter of China\u2019s goods trade with the United States. A flare-up in Covid-19 infections in nearby cities is being blamed, with the container terminal handling about a fifth of its normal throughput at the beginning of June because of disinfection procedures and quarantine measures.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe result: at least 50 vessels are waiting at anchor in nearby waters, with the major shipping lines reporting delays to collection of cargoes of as much as 16 days. Shipping news specialist Splash reports that more than 600,000 TEU of containers have been impacted. Putting the number in context it says \u201cthe Yantian partial…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/HK-Containers-w.jpg","category":"Shipping","page":"8"},{"id":49813,"title":"Biden courts allies as G7 and NATO summits cite \u2018China challenge\u2019","content":"Claims that Joe Biden was an \u201cold friend\u201d of China\u2019s leader Xi Jinping were always going to be tested once he took office (see WiC518).\r\n\r\nBut the way that the American president has been working on putting together a new alliance against the Chinese means that whatever remains of their personal relationship must be eroding fast.\r\n\r\nBiden was doing his best to widen the gulf again last weekend in conversations with allies at the G7 summit in the UK that framed the struggle with Beijing as a battle between democrats and autocrats.\r\n\r\nSenior figures warmed to the theme on the summit\u2019s sidelines, including Mario Draghi, the Italian prime minister. \u201cIt\u2019s an autocracy that does not adhere to multilateral rules and does not share the same vision of the world that the democracies have,\u201d he said of China in comments that surely signpost Rome\u2019s departure from the Belt and Road investment deal it signed with Beijing two years ago (see WiC445).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn fact, a newly titled programme to help low and middle income countries with hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure investment was one of the few concrete initiatives to be announced at the G7 meeting (there was also a commitment to donate a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/G7-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"9"},{"id":49816,"title":"SOHO China founders sell control to Blackstone","content":"There\u2019s a Chinese idiom that says \u2018a good horse doesn\u2019t return to old pastures\u2019. The old adage suggests that a person should always look ahead and forge a new path instead of going back to where he or she has been before.\r\n\r\nSOHO China clearly is not a believer in the traditional wisdom. That\u2019s because this week it was announced that the developer had accepted a $3.05 billion takeover offer from its former suitor Blackstone.\r\n\r\nIn May 2020, the US private equity firm was close to buying out the Hong\u2008Kong-listed developer (see WiC487) but the deal fell apart as China\u2019s economic outlook got clouded by the Covid-19 pandemic.\r\n\r\nSOHO China said in a stock exchange circular in August last year that Blackstone\u2019s courtship had officially ended. Since then, the developer has flirted with other private equity firms such as Hillhouse, although nothing materialised.\r\n\r\nThis week it was announced SOHO China and Blackstone have rekindled the deal.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe new offer will see Blackstone buying a 63.9% stake held by founders Pan Shiyi and his wife Zhang Xin. The couple will retain a 9% stake in SOHO China.\r\n\r\nThe developer\u2019s share price had surged nearly 50% last week but Blackstone\u2019s offer values the company at HK$5 apiece, or…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Soho-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"11"},{"id":49819,"title":"More Chinese firms look past Washington\u2019s delisting threat to IPO in the US","content":"In an era increasingly defined by geopolitical tension and a push towards economic \u201cdecoupling\u201d there is a paradox: never have there been more Chinese unicorns rushing to make an impression on Wall Street\u2019s investors.\r\n\r\nChinese issuers on the Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) have raised a total of $23.8 billion from 69 initial public offerings between March and June 15, the South China Morning Post reported, surpassing the $17 billion from 40 flotations for the full second quarter of 2020.\r\n\r\nEven as Joe Biden has expanded Trump-era blacklists of Chinese companies and new US audit rules have increased the prospects of forced delistings, a raft of issuers from China have taken advantage of an American market awash with liquidity, thanks to the Federal Reserve\u2019s monetary loosening (there\u2019s a rush to IPO before the Fed hikes rates).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe lure of New York for certain types of Chinese companies compares favourably with their chances of listing at home too. A circular issued in April by the country\u2019s most start-up-friendly bourse, the Shanghai STAR Market, made plain its focus was on admitting companies with proprietary technology, such as those in the fields of biomedicine and integrated circuits. That, in turn, has forced a lot…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Boss-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"12"},{"id":49823,"title":"LiDAR firm raises $300 million after shelving IPO","content":"\u201cLiDAR is a fool\u2019s errand. Anyone relying on LiDAR is doomed. Doomed!\u201d So said Elon Musk in 2019, dismissing a technology that maps out environments like radar or sonar, but with light waves instead (LiDAR is short for light detection and ranging). Relying on pulses from a laser, it calculates the distances between sensors in mapped terrain based on the time that a beam of light takes to hit a surface and reflect back. It has been lauded for its ability to resist poor weather conditions and generate high-resolution information. But it is an expensive and power-intensive technology. Tesla\u2019s prefers to use smart camera systems in its self-driving technology stack.\r\n\r\nMusk is one of the loudest voices against LiDAR but it has been favoured by competitors including Waymo, Uber, BMW and General Motors. That\u2019s good news for the Chinese firms that account for a growing share of LiDAR production.\r\n\r\nHesai Technology was expected to be the first to float its shares in the sector, until it pulled the plug on its STAR Market IPO in March. Staying private for longer, Hesai completed its latest round of financing on June 8, raising $300 million from a consortium led by Xiaomi, Meituan, Hillhouse Capital…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Elon-Musk-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"13"},{"id":49827,"title":"Another Chinese \u2018new tea\u2019 chain heads for IPO in Hong Kong","content":"Remember the last time a Chinese beverage chain reported rapid growth and steep losses but still pulled off a successful IPO? It would be hard to forget Luckin Coffee, the start-up that listed in New York in 2019, promising to take down Starbucks only to defraud investors by fabricating its financial statements. At its peak, Luckin Coffee was valued at $12 billion; now it\u2019s hovering around $2 billion.\r\n\r\nNayuki Tea, which is also known as Naixue (\u5948\u96ea) in Chinese, will soon find out whether investors have put the Luckin nightmare behind them. Last week, the Shenzhen-based company passed a listing hearing at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. According to Hong Kong Economic Times, the tea chain is expected to raise about $500 million with a $5 billion valuation.\r\n\r\nNayuki sells fresh-fruit cheese tea and baked goods. Unlike popular milk tea brands in the early 2010s, Nayuki and rival Heytea (see WiC490) use fresh brewed tea rather than powdered varieties. They also use fresh fruits instead of artificial flavourings. The drink can be topped with cream cheese foam with a sweet and savoury taste.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nEarly this year, Shenzhen Pindao Restaurant Management, the parent company behind Nayuki, raised more than $100 million in a series…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Nayuki-logo-scaled.jpeg","category":"China Consumer","page":"14"},{"id":49830,"title":"\u2018Chinese\u2019 university stirs row in Budapest","content":"Two years ago, Hungary\u2019s nationalist leader Viktor Orb\u00e1n wanted rid of his country\u2019s most prestigious international university because he disliked its founder, the financier George Soros.\r\n\r\nThe Central European University, which had operated in Budapest for 30 years, was forced to move operations to Vienna because Orb\u00e1n had set Soros up as a straw man \u2013 a rich liberal financier who wanted to flood Europe with migrants. It didn\u2019t matter that Orb\u00e1n himself had taken a Soros scholarship back in the 1980s to study at Oxford University, or that Soros repeatedly denied Orb\u00e1n\u2019s claims about immigration issues \u2013 it was politically expedient to attack Soros and the university he had founded.\r\n\r\nNow Orb\u00e1n is once again playing politics with higher education: this time by inviting China\u2019s Fudan University to set up a campus in Budapest.\r\n\r\nDetails of the plan published on the investigative website Direkt 36 in April showed the Hungarian government planned to cover the entire cost of the $1.8 billion project, $1.5 billion of which would be financed by a loan from the China Development Bank.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe project would be a huge coup for China. However, it also sparked protests in Budapest earlier this month, leading Orb\u00e1n to promise that a final…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Victor-Orban-w.jpg","category":"Education","page":"16"},{"id":49833,"title":"Tencent\u2019s new reality TV show dumps celebrities in the middle of nowhere","content":"What do you do when you find yourself forced to live with a group of strangers for three weeks in a remote location? The latest reality show from Tencent Video follows a similar format to Survivor, the format from the United States that ignited the genre, except the contestants don\u2019t have to worry about how to start fires and build shelters as castaways on a beach.\r\n\r\nThey do need to learn how to make friends and cook their own food, however.\r\n\r\nThe show, 50km Taohuawu, follows 15 celebrities (none of whom knew each other prior to filming) as they live together for 21 days in a retreat. While the majority of the cast are in show business \u2013 there\u2019s actress Shu Qi, 45, actor Zhang Han, 36, and stand-up comedian Li Xueqin (see WiC514) \u2013 others are from the fashion industry or work as artists. They are filmed at a location in a small town called Taohuawu, about 50km from Beijing (hence the show\u2019s name).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nProducers of the series say that one of the objectives is observational learning: that viewers can learn something about themselves by watching how the celebrities behave as they are dropped into unpredictable, uncomfortable situations.\r\n\r\nThat sounds a little high-brow…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/actress-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":49836,"title":"Video from Nanjing sparks discussion about pensioner fishing craze","content":"M ost readers of WiC will be familiar with the term dama, referring to typically female retirees who congregate in public spaces and parks to dance each evening.\r\n\r\nBut what of their husbands? How are they passing their time?\r\n\r\nThe answer could well be fishing.\r\n\r\nAngling has been getting more popular with elderly men as it gets them outside and brings them into contact with other retirees. Even in cities like Beijing they can be found along urban canals, rods in hand, listening to radios or reading newspapers as they fish.\r\n\r\nBut new video footage \u2013 widely shared online this week \u2013 shows just how popular the pastime has become as the population ages. It features a subway station on the outskirts of the city of Nanjing. Every morning the scene is the same: shortly after 7am the first train with passengers from the city centre pulls into the platform. The doors open and a couple of hundred anglers pour out, hauling fishing tackle and plastic paint tubs which double as fish carriers and seats.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe men \u2013 all clad in outdoor wear \u2013 race down the platform, despite station announcements telling them to go slower. The real squeeze comes when they hit the escalators…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Fishing-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]},{"id":1460,"name":"China\u2019s Tycoons","date":"","title":"China\u2019s Tycoons","tagline":"Profiles of 150 top business leaders","pdf-link":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2016\/09\/WiC150Tycoons-final.pdf","image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoons-cover_2016.jpg", "articles":[ {"id":67777777, "title":"Profiles of China\u2019s most successful businesspeople and how they succeeded", "content":"One way to evaluate the economic circumstances of a country is to examine its most successful entrepreneurs. This is the third edition of China\u2019s Tycoons, a book which seeks to enlighten readers about the Chinese business elite. In this volume we profile 150 of the nation\u2019s top tycoons – that\u2019s up from the 125 featured in last edition.", "image":"\/images\/no_image.png", "category":"Introduction", "page":"6"}, {"id":70123000, "title":"Himin to Hanergy", "content":"Tycoons include Zhang Yue and Zhu Gongshan", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-1_Zhang-Yue.jpg", "category":"Alternative Energy", "page":"13"}, {"id":70123001, "title":"Geely to BYD", "content":"Tycoons include Li Shufu and Cao Dewang", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-2_Li-Shufu.jpg", "category":"Automotive", "page":"16"}, {"id":70123002, "title":"Tiens Group to Golden Meditech", "content":"Tycoons include Li Li and Sun Piaoyang", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-3_Li-li.jpg", "category":"Biotech and Pharmaceutical", "page":"23"}, {"id":70123003, "title":"Li Ning to Bosideng", "content":"Tycoons include Li Ning and Zhou Chengjian", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-4_Li-Ning.jpg", "category":"Clothing", "page":"31"}, {"id":70123004, "title":"Lenovo to Huawei", "content":"Tycoons include Liu Chuanzhi and Lei Jun", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-5_Liu-Chuanzhi.jpg", "category":"Computing and Tech", "page":"39"}, {"id":70123005, "title":"Wahaha to WH Group", "content":"Tycoons include Zong Qinghou and Wan Long", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-6_Zong-Qinghou.jpg", "category":"Food", "page":"51"}, {"id":70123006, "title":"Alibaba to Tencent", "content":"Tycoons include Jack Ma and Ma Huateng", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-7_Jack-Ma.jpg", "category":"Internet", "page":"60"}, {"id":70123007, "title":"Fosun to Anbang", "content":"Tycoons include Guo Guangchang and Wu Xiaohui", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-8_Guo-Guangchang.jpg", "category":"Investment", "page":"83"}, {"id":70123008, "title":"Amer to Shagang", "content":"Tycoons include Shen Wenrong and Huang Zelan", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-9_Shen-Wenrong.jpg", "category":"Natural Resources", "page":"102"}, {"id":70123009, "title":"Wanda to SOHO", "content":"Tycoons include Wang Jianlin and Pan Shiyi", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-10_Wang-Jianlin.jpg", "category":"Property", "page":"114"}, {"id":70123010, "title":"Suning to Sanpower", "content":"Tycoons include Zhang Jindong and Tang Yiu", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-11_Zhang-Jindong.jpg", "category":"Retail", "page":"131"}, {"id":70123011, "title":"Gree to Midea", "content":"Tycoons include Dong Mingzhu and He Xiangjian", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-12_Dong-Mingzhu.jpg", "category":"White Goods", "page":"141"}, {"id":70123012, "title":"Sany to Spring Airlines", "content":"Tycoons include Liang Wengen and Wang Wei", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-13_Liang-Wengen.jpg", "category":"Other Industries", "page":"144"} ] },{"id":1697,"name":"Issue 544","date":"Jun 11, 2021","title":"The Thais that bind","tagline":"Why Thailand\u2019s richest man Dhanin Chearavanont \u2013 known in China as Chia Kok Min \u2013 is set to IPO his vast Chinese agribusiness in Shanghai","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/544.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/544-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":49735,"title":"Thailand\u2019s richest family targets a Shanghai IPO for its pork business","content":"Dhanin Chearavanont ran into some of the toughest times of his life in 1998. His firm Charoen Pokphand Group was on the verge of bankruptcy as Thailand\u2019s economy buckled in the wake of the Asian financial crisis. But even during the worst of the liquidity crunch the Thai, who is ethnically Chinese and known as Chia Kok Min in his ancestral home, refused to sell his long-term investments in the China market. Indeed he upped the ante, building his $400 million Super Brand Mall in Shanghai in the same year. He preferred instead to divest the Lotus retail chain \u2013 a flagship unit in Thailand he once described as his \u201cbeloved baby\u201d \u2013 to Tesco for a mere $180 million.\r\n\r\nChia reclaimed his Thai retail unit earlier this year after completing a $10.6 billion buyback of Tesco\u2019s Thailand business and rebranding the hypermarket chain with its original name. And now the time seems finally ripe for the Thai billionaire to sell part of his business empire in China via a bumper IPO.\r\n\r\nWhat is the IPO candidate?\r\n\r\nCP Pokphand has been listed in Hong Kong since 1988 but investor interest in Chia\u2019s agribusiness has never been huge. In recent years the pig feed…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Pig-w.jpg","category":"Agriculture, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":49738,"title":"Why hopes of an improvement in Sino-US ties may be wishful thinking","content":"T\u00adhe first senior-level meeting between the US and China for more than six months in March turned into more of a dogfight than a diplomatic triumph, with the two sides taking pot shots at one another in Anchorage in front of a flabbergasted media.\r\n\r\nSo perhaps it was significant that China\u2019s commerce ministry was talking up the resumption of \u201cnormal discussions\u201d between the two governments last week, following phone calls between Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He and two senior figures in the Biden administration \u2013 the US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.\r\n\r\nTaoran Notes \u2013 a social media account that\u2019s said to have an insider view of the Chinese government\u2019s stance on the long-running trade dispute between the two nations \u2013 celebrated what it saw as a change in mood.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cChina and the United States quarrelled and fought fiercely for a while. But after trying all the ways of getting along except cooperation, China and the United States finally chose the path of cooperation that seeks common ground while reserving difference,\u201d it claimed.\r\n\r\nYet there is also a sense that Beijing is trying to create the impression of a breakthrough in the trade row, despite little indication that Biden is…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Katherine-C.-Tai-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"7"},{"id":49741,"title":"Xi calls on spin doctors to make China \u201clovable\u201d","content":"According to Cpcnews.cn, the official website of the Communist Party of China (CPC), there have been 73 group study sessions for its Politburo (which comprises 25 of the country\u2019s most senior leaders) since Xi Jinping took power. The focus of these lectures has included debates about dialectical materialism; the importance of Chinese archaeology; the history of the ancient Silk Road; the intricacies of blockchain technology; and the opportunities offered by quantum science (see WiC516).\r\n\r\nThe study groups give a glimpse of the priorities nurtured at senior Party levels \u2013 i.e. by Xi. So the latest session, held last week, has sparked much interest. The topic this time: improving China\u2019s skills in international communications.\r\n\r\nThe session came just days after Xi dispatched a message to China Daily on its 40th anniversary, calling on the newspaper to \u201cinnovate its approach\u201d. That may sound like an unsatisfactory appraisal for China\u2019s leading English-language newspaper but what is clear is that Xi is dissatisfied with the performance of the CPC\u2019s propagandists and their media apparatus in conveying China\u2019s message to international audiences \u2013 despite his repeated calls for them to \u201ctell China\u2019s stories well\u201d (see WiC529). Xi reiterated the importance of that task during last week\u2019s Politburo…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Wang-Wei-w.jpg","category":"Media & Gaming","page":"9"},{"id":49744,"title":"Apple is still reliant on\u2008Chinese suppliers","content":"\u201cSurely the apple is the noblest of fruits,\u201d claimed the 19th century American essayist Henry David Thoreau. Can the same be said of its modern namesake, the world\u2019s best known electronics brand, Apple Inc?\r\n\r\nNot according to tech news website The Information, which published an investigation recently into seven Chinese companies in Apple\u2019s supply chain suspected of using forced labour.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s not the first time that Apple has been asked to address this issue (it dropped camera module supplier O-Film late last year after similar reports). But the most recent allegations come at a time when its supply chain is under scrutiny on two further fronts.\r\n\r\nFirstly, in early June the Nasdaq-listed giant published a list of its top 200 suppliers for the first time in more than two years. And the compilation suggested that far from broadening its engagement with partners to a fuller range of firms from countries other than China \u2013 as Apple said it would start doing in 2019 \u2013 it has deepened its relationship with companies there. The latest list includes 12 new mainland Chinese entities. This brings the total to 51 (if Hong Kong is included), surpassing the number of suppliers headquartered in Taiwan for the first…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Apple-Beijing-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"10"},{"id":49747,"title":"Evergrande vows to cut debt amid new probe","content":"He made his name in Guangdong province, but it\u2019s Liaoning\u2019s provincial capital Shenyang that\u2019s shaking the foundations of Xu Jiayin\u2019s sprawling and heavily indebted empire. The group has been under pressure since last September when Xu\u2019s listed flagship China Evergrande was reported to have approached the Guangdong government\u2019s for help in averting a cash crunch. But the latest round of rumours follows a report by WeNews, an online news service run by Caixin Weekly, that the banking regulator (CBIRC) is investigating unlawful connected transactions between Evergrande and its Shenyang-based banking affiliate Shengjing Bank (see WiC543).\r\n\r\nThe amount is said to top Rmb100 billion ($15.2 billion). Evergrande owns 36.4% of Shengjing Bank and current regulations cap single client exposure at 15% of net capital. Banks are also forbidden to extend non-guaranteed or unsecured loans to related parties.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nEvergrande released a statement following its annual strategy meeting on June 3, saying that its relationship with Shengjing Bank complies with legal requirements. A number of analysts are also sceptical about the more alarmist media reports. JPMorgan, for example, published a fixed income report suggesting that the claims \u201csound somewhat improbable\u201d. It noted that the Shenyang bank reported only Rmb27.7 billion in related party transactions including…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Evergrande-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"11"},{"id":49751,"title":"Largest trading platform for used electronics goods files for New York IPO","content":"Smartphones, laptops and other connected devices are the lifeblood of the digital economy. Yet they are also adding to the world\u2019s rubbish dumps at an alarming rate. A report by the United Nations last year found that a record 53.6 million metric tonnes of electronics waste was discarded in 2019, equivalent to the weight of 350 cruise ships.\r\n\r\nIf only more of this junk was being properly collected and recycled \u2013 just 17% of the total was in 2019 \u2013 there would be less of a risk of cadmium, lead and mercury leakage going into our soil and water. Similarly problematic is the incineration process for much of the waste, which releases dioxins and other greenhouse gases. Additionally at least $57 billion of precious metals including gold and platinum could potentially be recovered, reducing some of the need to hunt for newer resources.\r\n\r\nChina is the biggest generator of e-waste \u2013 accounting for 19% of the global total. A company there that focuses on reusing or recycling second-hand mobile devices is looking to raise between $500 million and $1 billion in an IPO in the US, Reuters reported. Called AiHuiShou, meaning \u201clove recycling\u201d in Mandarin, the Shanghai-headquartered firm collects used electronic goods…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/iphonemax-w.jpg","category":"ESG","page":"12"},{"id":49754,"title":"Meet the unicorn company that makes big money from hotpot ingredients","content":"It is no secret that Chinese people love hotpot. Featuring a simmering pot of broth in which a vast selection of ingredients are dipped, it might be one of the easiest meals to cook. The preparation work, however, can be trickier than thought. It can take hours to wash the raw ingredients and concoct the soup base before a proper hotpot is served. A company that set out to solve this challenge in China has been on a roll \u2013 seeing its valuation surge over four times in the space of a year.\r\n\r\nOn May 20 Guoquan Shihui, a hotpot ingredients supplier and supermarket chain, received a capital injection of Rmb109 million from long-term backer Sanquan Food, China\u2019s biggest frozen dumpling brand (see WiC441). The deal ups the Shenzhen-listed firm\u2019s stake in Guoquan Shihui from 5.93% to 6.91%. Based in Shanghai, Guoquan Shihui has raised over $3 billion in four rounds of financing in the past two years, with an earlier round in March valuing the company at $2 billion.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhat investors see in Guoquan Shihui is its ability to tap into China\u2019s love for hotpot. That culinary sales opportunity has created at least four major listed firms. Haidilao, most notably, is…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Hotpot-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"13"},{"id":49757,"title":"Can Coca-Cola\u2019s alcoholic drink be successful in China?","content":"Coca-Cola has been selling sweet, dark soda since 1886. The beverage giant dabbled in wine in 1977, buying Sterling and Monterey Vineyards in California as well as New York\u2019s Taylor Wine and creating a unit called Wine Spectrum. The subsidiary, which produced and bottled mid-priced wines and even wines in cans for airlines, was short-lived. Coca-Cola sold the whole division to Seagram & Sons in 1983.\r\n\r\nThat hasn\u2019t stopped the soft drink firm from revisiting the booze sector. In April Coca-Cola launched Topo Chico Hard Seltzer (a Mexican brand it acquired back in 2017) in the US, marking its first return to selling alcohol since the brief experiment with Wine Spectrum four decades ago.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLast week, the American firm brought the liquor seltzer to China as well. Hard seltzers are essentially flavoured, alcoholic fizzy waters. Typically containing about 5% alcohol content, they are lower in carbs and calories than most premixed alcoholic beverages. Topo Chico currently comes in three fruity flavours: lemon lime, strawberry guava, and pineapple. All are available for sale on Coca-Cola's Tmall store \u2013 although the plan is to expand distribution to other retail channels.\r\n\r\nThe new product is likely a reaction to shrinking sales in Coca-Cola\u2019s core soft drinks…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Topo-Chic-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"14"},{"id":49760,"title":"Chinese audience gives thumbs up to iconic US\u2008sitcom\u2019s reunion show","content":"More than 25 years since it began its 10-year run in 1994, Friends is still a huge money-spinner for Warner Bros, generating $1 billion in syndication revenue every year.\r\n\r\nAnd its legion of fans shows no sign of giving up on the franchise, as proved again last month in the excitement surrounding a much-hyped reunion episode \u2013 the first time the six stars of Friends appeared on camera together since the last episode on May 6, 2004.\r\n\r\nAficionados will know the episode titles in Friends were always kept intentionally generic. For instance, there\u2019s The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break, The One With the Monkey and The Last One, which, without requiring much guesswork, is the series finale.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe hugely-hyped reunion show, therefore, was aptly named The One They Get Back Together.\r\n\r\nThe actors that played Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler and Joey in the sitcom were reunited in an emotional two-hour special to read old scripts and share anecdotes. Celebrity guests joined the crew to make gushing tributes too.\r\n\r\nFriends fandom is entrenched in China as well, with the reunion show broadcast by each of the three major online streaming platforms \u2013 Tencent Video, iQiyi and Youku \u2013 who paid royalties to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Bilibili-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"15"},{"id":49763,"title":"Roaming herd of pachyderms become a media phenomenon","content":"When you\u2019re a livestreamer trying to stand out in China, here\u2019s one way to get noticed: confront a herd of wild elephants.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s what several wannabe web celebrities have done in recent weeks after 15 Asian pachyderms came to national attention for wandering some 500 kilometres across the southwestern province of Yunnan.\r\n\r\nOne of the weirdest examples of chasing clicks came when a livestreamer called Yunnan Toutou positioned himself next to a pile of pineapples intended to divert the herd away from populated areas. But the elephants didn\u2019t think much of the fruit \u2013 or the streamer for that matter \u2013 so he added drama by smashing one of the pineapples with his foot. He then ate the \u201cthe elephant food\u201d himself.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHis coarse behaviour generated widespread condemnation and led to the removal of his livestreaming channel.\u201cThese methods are too vulgar and have no lower limit,\u201d the China Youth Daily reproached.\r\n\r\nThe 15 wayward animals \u2013 who left their home in Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve last March and were mentioned in WiC543 \u2013 hit the headlines earlier this month as they strayed into the rural outskirts of provincial capital Kunming.\r\n\r\nSince then the country has been transfixed by their progress, with national broadcaster CCTV offering…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Elephants-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"16"},{"id":49766,"title":"Why Chinese leaders worry about \u2018tangping\u2019 types","content":"A few weeks ago Chinese social media saw a marked uptick in the number of cat photos posted online. Only this time these cats weren\u2019t playing with balls of string or balancing on top of bookcases \u2013 they were lying flat on their backs, supine, arms stretched straight by their sides.\r\n\r\nOther images included seals doing the same thing: lying flat on their backs, motionless.\r\n\r\nMany of these images were accompanied by the label tangping or \u2018lying flat\u2019 \u2013 a new buzzword for China\u2019s disillusioned youth.\r\n\r\nTangping is the latest iteration of a wider concept known as neijuan or \u2018involution\u2019. The idea is simple: it requires too much sacrifice to succeed in modern China. Jobs are excessively demanding, house prices are too high and raising children is too difficult (we first mentioned the tangping concept in last week\u2019s Talking Point; see WiC543).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe claim is that people are more than likely to burn out before they achieve the basic trappings of success, and that personal happiness is just as likely to be elusive too.\r\n\r\nSo the solution is to step off the hamster wheel and give up the struggle \u2013 or, in the lexicon of the day, to simply tangping. The much discussed subject has…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Tsinghua-University-w-scaled.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]},{"id":1696,"name":"Issue 543","date":"Jun 4, 2021","title":"Three thinking","tagline":"China\u2019s media and netizens react to Beijing\u2019s historic announcement of a bold, new family planning measure: the Three-Child Policy","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/543.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/543-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":49672,"title":"How did media and netizens respond to China\u2019s new Three-Child Policy?","content":"Karl Marx once described Thomas Malthus, the famed English demographer, as a \u201clackey of the bourgeoisie\u201d. A similar verdict almost sealed the fate of Ma Yinchu, a Yale-educated Chinese economist who was a strong advocate of birth control in the 1950s. Ma was ousted as president of Peking University because his New Population Theory was deemed \u201ctoo Malthusian\u201d and thus contrary to China\u2019s Marxist path.\r\n\r\nBy 1969 the Chinese population already exceeded 800 million at a time when demographers were starting to warn of a \u201cpopulation bomb\u201d at the global level. Such was the concern about how the world\u2019s resources would support high birth rates that the United Nations even declared 1974 as \u2018World Population Year\u2019, holding a major conference to discuss the implications of rapid population growth.\r\n\r\nMao Zedong\u2019s China viewed manpower as more of an asset than a liability.\u2008Accordingly it was one of the nations that resisted UN proposals to curb birth rates, finding an unlikely ally in the Vatican.\r\n\r\nIt was not until 1979 \u2013 when China began to embrace more liberal economic reforms \u2013 that the government started to introduce more stringent family planning policies of its own. Ma Yinchu\u2019s time had come and his theories would form the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Children-w.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":49676,"title":"Huawei launches its own OS to take on Android","content":"How do you identify a Communist? In 1946 a Detroit union leader called Emil Mazey popularised the \u2018duck test\u2019. He denounced one of his colleagues on the grounds that \u201cI can\u2019t prove that you\u2019re a Communist. But when I see a bird that quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, has feathers and webbed feet and associates with ducks, I\u2019m certainly going to assume that he\u2019s a duck.\u201d\r\n\r\nEver since then, the duck test has been a popular analogy for highlighting something that\u2019s so evidently the case it doesn\u2019t require hard evidence to prove otherwise. The McCarthy era popularised the phrase, but it also highlighted how dangerous such blithe generalisations can be (many innocent people lost their livelihoods after being denounced as \u2018reds\u2019 based on observation, rather than fact).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOf course, this atmosphere was created by a battle between the free market democracies led by the US and the one-party Soviet regimes. And rival systems are back in vogue again today as acrimony between Washington and Beijing grows.\r\n\r\nCase in point: this week Huawei launched the world\u2019s third operating system for smartphones in a bid to break the duopoly of America\u2019s Apple (iOS) and Google (Android). That said, for many Western tech…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Harmony-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"7"},{"id":49679,"title":"Stock market return for New Hope boss as property management unit lists","content":"The Liu brothers from Sichuan \u2013 Yongxin, Yonghao, Yongyan and Yongmei (who is also known as Chen Yuxin) \u2013 \u2002topped Forbes magazine\u2019s first China Rich List in 1995 with a combined wealth of Rmb600 million, or about $165 million in today\u2019s money. It doesn\u2019t sound like much in the context of the fantastic fortunes of China\u2019s wealthiest people today. But their life story is emblematic of China\u2019s emergence into the free market era. Today they symbolise the pre-internet generation of entrepreneurs, that still fetes Deng Xiaoping as a hero for reforms he introduced that allowed their rise from impoverished farmers to business leaders (the brothers\u2019 veneration of Deng saw them fund a memorial to the former paramount leader in his home village).\r\n\r\nDomestically the Lius are still well-known even though they started slipping down the rich list about 20 years ago. Around that time they also split up their business interests into individual entities: East Hope (Yongxing), West Hope (Yongmei), Continental Hope (Yongyan) and New Hope (Yonghao).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nToday Yongxing holds 80th spot in the Forbes rankings after building a second empire in aluminium. But it is the youngest of the brothers, Yonghao, who is the wealthiest \u2013 ranking 31st \u2013 after listing…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Property-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"8"},{"id":49682,"title":"Why are property agents using fruit to denote home prices?","content":"Remember those elementary maths problems at school that you solved using fruits instead of numbers? Homebuyers in Shenzhen are having to resort to something similar to work out how much a property is worth.\r\n\r\nA recent listing by a property agent in the city caught the attention when it used types of fruit as code for home prices. For instance, a 144-square metre flat in Shenzhen\u2019s Nanshan area was worth two durians and seven bananas. A 323-square metre apartment in the same complex had an asking price of six durians and five bananas. One durian represented Rmb10 million, while a banana equalled Rmb1 million.\r\n\r\nWhy not just publish the raw numbers for the property prices? Since February this year, the Shenzhen government has been setting \u201creference prices\u201d for lived-in homes at below market levels, a move aimed at stemming a housing bubble in the city. But the reference prices are often 10% to 40% below what buyers are prepared to pay in the secondary market. While the government cannot control final closing prices, theoretically these shouldn\u2019t exceed the reference prices by too much. To circumvent government policy and avoid quoting the reference price, the Macalline Love Home Agency adopted fruit symbols as…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Shenzhen-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"9"},{"id":49685,"title":"Risks at regional lenders sees probes spread from Baotou to northeast","content":"\u201cThe mountains are high and the emperor is far away\u201d goes an old Chinese proverb, meaning that the power of the imperial court reached its governance limits in more remote regions.\r\n\r\nThe same maxim seems to have applied at Baoshang Bank in distant Baotou too. According to the domestic media, the lender from Inner Mongolia served as the \u2018money bag\u2019 for the influential financier Xiao Jianhua, supporting much of the illegal dealings of his sprawling Tomorrow Group.\r\n\r\nBut in Xiao\u2019s case the emperor struck back: in early 2017 he was snatched from Hong Kong\u2019s Four Seasons hotel, where he had been a long-term guest. He was then ferried across the border into mainland China (see WiC354). The ensuing investigation resulted in the seizure of Baoshang Bank by the state (see WiC454) and since November its liquidation.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe investigation into Xiao has yet to conclude. But in a sign that the authorities have completed the untangling of Tomorrow\u2019s financial affairs, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) published its long-awaited verdict last week on some of the most senior banking regulators in Baotou and the wider Inner Mongolia region.\r\n\r\nThe officials include Xue Jining, head of the Inner Mongolia branch of the China Banking Regulatory…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Xiao-Jianhua-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"11"},{"id":49688,"title":"Bloomage wants women to drink hyaluronic acid","content":"Taiwanese starlet Barbie Hsu, 44, once caused a stir by saying that if it wasn\u2019t for hyaluronic acid \u2013 an injectable filler that tightens the face and wards off some of the signs of aging \u2013 \u201cmany female celebrities wouldn\u2019t be able to survive\u201d.\r\n\r\nHyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally occurring carbohydrate in the human body that acts as a cushioning and lubrication agent for joints, as well as the eyes and skin.\r\n\r\nThe same gooey substance can be replicated in labs and is often used in moisturisers. But for more immediate results, a hyaluronic filler is injected into the skin in targeted areas.\r\n\r\nIn countries like Japan and the US, HA has also been used by food scientists to boost moisture levels. But it wasn\u2019t until early this year that China\u2019s National Health Commission finally approved the use of HA as a \u201cnew food raw material\u201d for usage in dairy products, beverages and confectionaries by domestic producers.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBloomage Biotech, a Jinan-based manufacturer of HA dermal fillers (see WiC470), is one of the first to seize the new opportunity in the policy change. In April, the world\u2019s largest maker of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers launched an HA-inspired food brand called Hyalur that offers six…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Zhao-Yan-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"12"},{"id":49691,"title":"Gree to set buyback record for A-share market","content":"Dong Mingzhu, the indomitable boss of Gree Electric, likes to lead from the front. The 66 year-old proved it again last year by hosting a series of livestreaming shows. And last week China\u2019s biggest producer of air-conditioners was back in the headlines for setting the pace again after news that Gree will buy back more than Rmb15 billion ($2.35 billion) of its own shares, a record amount for an A-share company.\r\n\r\nThe Shenzhen-listed company will purchase the equity at no more than Rmb70 a share, a premium of about a fifth on the price on the day of the announcement. HSBC has a target price of Rmb83 for Gree stock, which was trading at just over Rmb53 on Thursday.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt follows two repurchase programmes over the previous year (see WiC492) that cost another Rmb12 billion. The standard thinking is that companies repurchase their shares when they believe they are undervalued. Indeed Gree\u2019s revenues are moving back towards pre-pandemic levels, bolstering cash reserves that already exceed Rmb130 billion, HSBC says. Inventories have fallen across the sector, which means another price war this summer is unlikely.\r\n\r\nGree has insulated itself from increases in raw material costs in the short term with hedging, building up supplies…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Gree-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"13"},{"id":49694,"title":"Wealth Connect set to launch in GBA\u2008market","content":"What happens when some of mainland China\u2019s wealthiest households get new access to investment opportunities in Hong Kong? Hundreds of newly employed wealth management staff at Hong Kong\u2019s banks are about to find out, with the launch of the Greater Bay Area\u2019s Wealth Management Connect scheme.\r\n\r\nFirst announced last year, the programme is expected to go live in the next few weeks, allowing up to Rmb300 billion ($46 billion) of investment flows between the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau and the nine mainland Chinese cities in the GBA.\r\n\r\nWealth Connect is a pilot programme and will join Stock Connect and Bond Connect as cross-border conduits, although a key difference is that it will be exclusive to the GBA and does not apply at national level.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nInvestors from mainland China will be allowed to channel their funds into investments packaged in Hong Kong and Macau, although they will have to prove that they are residents with hukou (household registration permits) in the GBA. They will also need to demonstrate two years of investment experience and at least Rmb1 million in net household financial assets in the previous three months.\r\n\r\nInvestors from Hong Kong and Macau will get access to a \u2018northbound\u2019 channel…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/HK-Skyline-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance, GBA","page":"14"},{"id":49697,"title":"Animal escapes put zoos in the spotlight","content":"Tiger King, a documentary about the chaotic life of big cat breeder Joe Exotic, was the Netflix smash hit of 2020. By the time it was broadcast Exotic had been jailed for 22 years for paying a hitman to murder a zookeeper rival. The series shone a wider, unforgiving light on America\u2019s private zoos and the strange characters that own them.\r\n\r\nIt turns out that there are at least 6,000 big cats in captivity in China too. And in recent weeks, this murky industry has come under scrutiny after animals escaped from their enclosures and two zookeepers were killed.\r\n\r\nIn the first instance, three young leopards from the Hangzhou Safari Park got loose in mid-April and spent weeks roaming nearby forests. Two were eventually captured but the third was never found and is presumed dead.\r\n\r\nThe second case came from Bengbu in Anhui where a keeper was attacked by a tiger while cleaning its cage.\r\n\r\nThe third comes from Nanyang in Henan province where two tigers killed their feeder and escaped into nearby countryside, only to be cornered and shot dead a few hours later.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThere are over 1,100 zoos and safari parks in China and they attract millions of visitors every year. In addition…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Tiger-2-w.jpg","category":"Environment","page":"15"},{"id":49700,"title":"Tencent Video makes TV\u2008hit by mixing history with forensic science","content":"The longest-running crime series in Britain and one of the most enduring anywhere \u2014 at 23 seasons \u2013 is BBC\u2019s Silent Witness. Like the American TV series Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Silent Witness features a central female character who leads a team of forensic scientists and their investigations into various crimes and murders.\r\n\r\nIn China, a new show about a female forensic expert has also become a hit. The Imperial Coroner, which is set in the Tang Dynasty, tells the story of a young girl named Chu Chu (played by Su Xiaotong), who travels to the capital city Chang\u2019an in the hope of becoming a coroner. There, she meets Prince Xiao (played by Wang Ziqi), who has been put in charge of all criminal investigations in the country. Together, the two solve cases around the nation. Before long, they stumble upon the disappearance of Prince Xiao\u2019s father, whom many thought had died, though his body was never found. Of course, during the process, the pair also develop romantic feelings for each other.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe show has become a sleeper hit in China. On Douban, the TV series and film review site, more than 153,000 reviews gave The Imperial Coroner a strong…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Su-Xiaotong-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":49703,"title":"Calf reduction is in the news","content":"So-YoungWhen Zhiqing, the last factory producing shoes for bound feet, marked its closure in 1999 by donating eight pairs of wooden lasts (i.e. the models used for repairs) to the Heilongjiang Museum of Ethnography, a page in Chinese women\u2019s history was thought to have turned. With footbinding, the notorious practice that reduced upper-class women\u2019s feet into tiny arched objects, relegated to the past, mothers and daughters would no longer have to subject their bodies to a warped standard of beauty.\r\n\r\nBut it turns out that modern Chinese women have found another radical way to rearrange their natural form to achieve what they see as an alluring look.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nKnown as calf neurectomy, the operation involves severing the nerves behind the knees that control the calf muscles. This leads the latter to receive fewer flex signals and atrophy over time. Originating in South Korea to meet the demands of women with muscular calves, calf reduction as a treatment is meant to create slimmer legs that are perceived to look more elegant with dresses, skirts, shorts and boots.\r\n\r\nRecently calf neurectomy has drawn widespread attention across China due to the mushrooming of advertisements for the procedure on social media platforms.\r\n\r\nTypical promotional material features photos of two…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Calf-Reduction-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"17"},{"id":49707,"title":"Desperate job seekers pay Rmb4 million for airport job \u2013 only it\u2019s a scam","content":"Would you pay Rmb140,000 ($21,948) for the chance to work at Chengdu\u2019s new international airport?\r\n\r\nYou might be surprised to learn that at least 39 people did just that, thinking they had found a secret way to secure a long-term position at a state enterprise offering a reliable salary and decent social security benefits.\r\n\r\nSadly they were being duped by a team of scam artists who collected almost Rmb4 million ($627,000) before their ruse was rumbled.\r\n\r\nSix people have been detained on suspicion of \u201ccontract fraud\u201d for a scam that worked liked this.\r\n\r\nA man named Yuan would drop into conversation that he knew people in the upper management at the city\u2019s new airport and that, for a fee, he could get people hired there.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe job seekers would then pay an initial fee of Rmb70,000 and they would be called for an interview at a building at the old airport in Chengdu.\r\n\r\nYuan had access to the building through a former job there and he hired accomplices to pretend to be staff at the airport\u2019s human resources department.\r\n\r\nTo boost the authenticity of the occasion, appropriate uniforms were made for the actors too.\r\n\r\nAfter the interview \u2013 which Yuan promised was largely a formality in securing an…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/06\/Leonardo-DiCaprio-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]},{"id":1695,"name":"Issue 542","date":"May 28, 2021","title":"The comeback king","tagline":"Is Fosun boss Guo Guangchang readying a rescue package for beleagured aviation conglomerate HNA?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/542.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/542-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":49595,"title":"How Fosun seems to have skirted Beijing\u2019s crackdown on \u2018acquisitive\u2019 firms","content":"HNA and Fosun were two of the world\u2019s busiest dealmakers in 2017. HNA was at the height of a $40 billion spending spree, gobbling up assets that ranged from a 5% stake in Deutsche Bank to trophy office space in Manhattan. Fosun was going through a frenetic period too, including a takeover of EnglishPremier League football club Wolverhampton Wanderers.\r\n\r\nBut the manner in which the two were channelling capital from China into foreign markets had Beijing\u2019s leaders worried. In June 2017, the duo were among a handful of acquisitive firms targeted by the state media for endangering China\u2019s financial security with their overseas investment binge. The other offenders \u2013 namely Wanda, Suning and Anbang \u2013 have all been cut down to size through nationalisations, either partially or entirely. Yet Fosun hasn\u2019t been hamstrung in the same way. In fact, in the past week the Shanghai-based conglomerate \u2013 with businesses spanning from pharmaceuticals and travel to retail and insurance\u2013 has emerged as a potential white knight purchaser for HNA, Hainan\u2019s debt-ridden aviation group.\r\n\r\nWhat is Fosun trying to buy?\r\n\r\nYuyuan Tourist Mart, a Shanghai-listed unit of Fosun, said last Friday that it is planning to set up a new Rmb40 billion ($6.4 billion) fund…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Guo-Guangchang-w.jpg","category":"M&A, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":49598,"title":"China mourns Yuan Longping, the rice scientist extraordinaire","content":"Funerals in China rarely cause a city\u2019s stock of chrysanthemums to run out. But the death of Yuan Longping on May 22 did just that.\r\n\r\nKnown as the \u201cfather of hybrid rice\u201d, Yuan was hugely respected for his contribution to developing the world\u2019s first high-yielding hybrid strain of rice in 1973, a breakthrough that is said to have saved millions of people from starvation (see WiC126 for our first mention of him a decade ago). A quarter of the world\u2019s rice is now grown from strains that he pioneered. Yuan\u2019s achievement made him a national hero\r\n\r\nHis death \u2013 aged 91 according to Xinhua \u2013 from organ failure on Saturday, after a fall in March, sparked an outpouring of grief and respect.\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019ve never met you but I\u2019m indebted to you. From now on, we\u2019ll think about you whenever the wind blows through the paddyfields,\u201d promised one netizen.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cHe who serves the people for real will always be loved,\u201d commented another.\r\n\r\nAnother more poetic eulogy that has been doing the rounds on the internet, compared Yuan to Shennong, the mythical ruler who taught ancient Chinese the practice of agriculture (Shennong translates as \u201cDivine Farmer\u201d): \u201cShennong descends from the sky to nourish the world. When the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Yuan-Longping-w.jpg","category":"Chinese Character","page":"7"},{"id":49603,"title":"JD Logistics makes its stock market debut in Hong Kong","content":"In 2008 private equity investors were looking for the next big thing in China\u2019s e-commerce sector. At that point the 10 year-old JD.com looked like one of the best candidates to challenge Alibaba in online shopping. But the company\u2019s founder Liu Qiangdong found it difficult to pull off a fresh fundraising round. Investors were rattled by the global financial crisis. They also had doubts about Liu\u2019s plan to build a proprietary logistics business to support JD.com\u2019s online sales.\r\n\r\nLiu was adamant that this was necessary because more than half of his customer complaints were about delivery problems. But he calculated that building his own fulfilment network would require at least $1 billion in capital, which put off a number of investors.\r\n\r\nAfter dozens of meetings, Liu was fortunate to link up with Hong Kong financier Francis Leung, who personally invested $1 million and introduced Liu to former BNP Peregrine colleagues at Bull Capital Partners, says 36Kr.com. Together with Capital Today, another early investor in JD.com, Liu secured $21 million in the financing round.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nFor much of the following decade Liu struggled to make the same case for his logistics empire to fund managers. Weighed down by the buildout costs, the group was largely…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Liu-Qiangdong-w.jpg","category":"Logistics","page":"9"},{"id":49606,"title":"To Beijing\u2019s fury, Aussie iron ore exports thrive","content":"It is just over a year since the Australian government called for an independent investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic, triggering a furious response from its counterpart in Beijing.\r\n\r\nSoon afterwards a series of tariffs, investigations and unofficial measures started to suffocate Australian exports to China in what seemed to be a sustained effort by Beijing to bring Canberra to heel.\r\n\r\nA year on Australia shows little sign of buckling under the pressure. Its economy also seems to be weathering the storm with Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week witheringly describing the confrontation with China as \u201cdiplomatic atmospherics\u201d. Beijing\u2019s efforts had shown more bark than bite, the Australian leader added, agreeing with his interviewer\u2019s comparison of the rhetoric around the trade embargo as being like a \u201cChinese lion dance\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe latest remarks were more than enough to spark a swift rebuke from the Chinese foreign ministry, which has been berating the Australians on an almost weekly basis. \u201cThis is what we call \u2018feigning ignorance\u2019\u201d, scoffed spokesperson Zhao Lijian, and it is true that the block on exports has had a punitive impact on some sectors of the economy, with lobster farmers, winemakers and coal producers all feeling the force of the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Iron-Ore-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"10"},{"id":49609,"title":"China\u2019s most mysterious unicorn takes on Zara","content":"Last September at Hong Kong\u2019s Sohn conference, during which hedge fund managers pitch investment ideas to their peers, someone one suggested shorting Inditex, the parent company of fast-fashion giant Zara. The hedgie argued that with the rise of the new crop of online apparel makers from China, Zara would struggle to stay competitive.\r\n\r\nWhile Inditex\u2019s share price has not gone down \u2013 as a matter of fact, the stock is up 24% this year \u2013 there are some troubling trends for the Spanish retailer. In mid-May, a less well-known Chinese apparel maker SheIn toppled e-commerce giant Amazon as the most downloaded iPhone shopping app in the US while achieving the same feat on Android the week before, according to analytics firm App Annie. Separately, SheIn\u2019s website has become the world number one in web traffic in the fashion and apparel category, ahead of Zara, Nike, Lululemon and Adidas.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSheIn (pronounced as \u2018She-In\u2019) is one of the fastest growing e-commerce companies in the world (it is also included in our Top 50 China Unicorns ranking). The firmy, notoriously private, is believed to have raked in around $10 billion in revenue in 2020, up from just Rmb4 billion ($624 million) in 2016. It was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Addison-Rae-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"11"},{"id":49612,"title":"Meet the \u2018Herm\u00e8s of ice cream\u2019","content":"Despite its exotic sounding name, H\u00e4agen-Dazs was founded in New York by a Polish immigrant in 1959. He reckoned that ice cream lovers would be more willing to splurge for something with a foreign name so he came up with what he thought sounded Danish and printed a map of Scandinavia on the ice cream\u2019s cartons.\r\n\r\nReuben Mattus also spotted an emerging trend. Consumers were happy to spend money on gourmet foods with ingredients that were of high quality and natural. His ice cream gained a large following, eventually catching the attention of the Pillsbury Company, which acquired H\u00e4agen-Dazs in 1983.\r\n\r\nIn China, an ultra-high-end ice cream brand has garnered national attention. It is so expensive that some say it is the \u201cHerm\u00e8s of ice cream\u201d. Founded in 2018, Zhongxuegao (the brand name sounds like \u201cChinese ice cream\u201d in Mandarin) makes ice cream bars shaped like traditional Chinese roof tiles. A bar retails for around Rmb20 ($2.90) when most ice cream in China costs about a tenth of that. It also has plenty of premium options and seasonal flavours. For instance, it launched a flavour \u2013 Ecuadorean pink diamond \u2013 in 2018 that cost as much as Rmb66 a bar.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cConsumers appreciate product…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Ice-Cream-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"12"},{"id":49615,"title":"Sino-Russian nuclear plants signal growing amity","content":"When Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin signed their Sino-Soviet Pact on Valentine\u2019s Day in 1950, it was supposed to herald a new era of \u201cFriendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance\u201d. The treaty included Soviet support for China\u2019s nuclear programme. However the two erstwhile Communist allies rapidly found themselves on opposing sides of an ideological divide. By 1969, relations between the two countries had deteriorated to the extent that they were embroiled in an unofficial border war.\r\n\r\nLast week, China and Russia\u2019s current paramount leaders \u2013 Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin \u2013 were once again exchanging expressions of friendship and mutual aid \u2013 this time over a video link. The event was to mark a groundbreaking ceremony involving four Chinese nuclear reactors that are being built with Russia\u2019s most advanced technology.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOn the call Putin said that relations between the two countries had reached their \u201cbest level in history\u201d. Xi was also effusive, pointing out that thanks to changes \u201cunseen in a century, China and Russia have firmly supported each other and cooperate closely and effectively\u201d.\r\n\r\nIn less flowery language Xi put forward a concrete three-point energy proposal. This would promote \u201csafety first, deepen scientific and technology cooperation and adhere to strategic collaboration to promote…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Putin-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"13"},{"id":49618,"title":"Wind power firm\u2019s IPO surges in Shanghai debut","content":"Protecting five islands from erosion by the sea was a challenge for the Jade Emperor in ancient times, according to Chinese mythology. The emperor called in Yuqiang, the god of sea breezes for advice. Yuqiang summoned 15 giant turtles and tethered the islands to their backs, guaranteeing their protection for the next 60,000 years.\r\n\r\nIn modern times the sea breeze is part of the solution to China\u2019s efforts to become carbon neutral by 2060. Companies are investing heavily in renewables, but offshore wind power projects have lagged onshore ones because of the cost and complexities involved.\r\n\r\nWhile China leads the world in onshore wind capacity, it is number two to the UK in offshore power. One company that hopes to change that is Shanghai Electric Wind Power \u2013 a subsidiary of state-owned conglomerate Shanghai Electric Group \u2013 which has just listed on Shanghai\u2019s STAR Market.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn mid-May, the group completed a Rmb3.1 billion ($451 million) initial public offering that was oversubscribed 2,400 times. Unsurprisingly, the stock swiftly traded up from its Rmb5.44 issue price to close its first day of trading at Rmb11.75.\r\n\r\nSince then it has slipped back, dropping to Rmb10.1 yesterday. However, investors clearly believe the company is going to be a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Windmill-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"14"},{"id":49621,"title":"How a mega-merger in Indonesia has fanned the Alibaba-Tencent rivalry","content":"The trajectory of China\u2019s economic resurgence would likely be very different were it not for the wealthy Chinese diaspora across Southeast Asia. Sharing the same language as well as cultural affinities, successful businessmen in the so-called \u2018bamboo network\u2019 brought capital and know-how back to their ancestral land in the initial decades of China\u2019s reform and opening period. A reversal of these business flows began in the last decade as a rising China began to invest in ASEAN. Chinese internet companies, in particular, became a major force in the region\u2019s digital economy. This was demonstrated again this month by a tie-up between two of Indonesia\u2019s most prominent unicorns, which is set to intensify Alibaba\u2019s rivalry with Tencent in the broader Southeast Asian market.\r\n\r\nOn May 17, Gojek, a ride-hailing and payments firm, announced that it had agreed to merge with e-commerce platform Tokopedia. They will form a holding company called GoTo Group through the transaction \u2013 potentially the largest ever in Indonesia \u2013 backed by their shareholders including Alibaba, Google and Softbank. According to Bloomberg, the new entity is being valued at about $18 billion. A dual-listing of GoTo is anticipated by the end of this year targeting a public market valuation…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Tokopedia-w.jpg","category":"M&A","page":"15"},{"id":49624,"title":"The richest man in Fujian\u2019s Putian\u00ad\u00ad\u00ad","content":"The city of Putian in Fujian province is known for two things: sneakers, because it is where some of the world\u2019s biggest contract manufacturers of branded trainers set up their factories (see WiC540); and healthcare, given the vast majority of China\u2019s private medical groups are led by businessmen from Putian (see WiC276).\r\n\r\nBut neither of the above has minted the richest man in town: Hong Jie, founder of Skshu Paint, a coating products heavyweight.\r\n\r\nGetting started\r\n\r\nBorn in 1967, Hong began his career in his hometown at a trading firm run by the local government after graduating from a vocational training school. Emboldened by the second wave of China\u2019s reform and opening up in the early 1990s, he gave up his job at the state-owned firm after working there for five years, and started his own chemical materials trading company with two friends. The business helped Hong earn his first fortune, and gave him the capital to invest in other industries, including oil trading.\r\n\r\nIn 1999 Hong returned to his old trade of chemical materials, producing glues under the brand Hongyang. It became Fujian\u2019s bestselling glue brand in 2002, success that prompted Hong to diversify into coatings, where he saw bigger market potential.\r\n\r\nBig break\r\n\r\nAt…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Hong-Jie-w.jpg","category":"Who\u2019s Hu","page":"16"},{"id":49627,"title":"InvestHK\u2019s David Wong discusses the growth opportunities of the GBA","content":"The Greater Bay Area (GBA) is a vibrant region of southern China that encompasses nine cities in Guangdong province \u2013 including Guangzhou and Shenzhen \u2013 and Hong Kong and Macau.\r\n\r\nChinese policymakers are pushing deeper integration across the GBA in a bid to boost its combined economic output to $5 trillion by 2030. WiC spoke to David Wong, head of Greater Bay Area business development at InvestHK, a Hong Kong government agency, for more on the opportunities for Hong Kong in the GBA and why so many of China\u2019s unicorn companies are coming from this fast-growing region.\r\n\r\nHow well do you think the GBA is understood as an opportunity by companies that you typically target as investors?\r\n\r\nKnowledge about the GBA varies across different regions. But for companies already in Hong Kong and in the region, their questions are mostly about the technical or practical aspects of various supporting policies and how can they take advantage of them.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nCovid has dulled some of the impetus for the plan but where are you seeing practical steps in moving the GBA forward into an actionable area of interest for companies and investors?\r\n\r\nOn the contrary, Covid has accelerated the pace of change around innovation and technology, e-commerce,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/DavidWong-w.jpg","category":"GBA","page":"17"},{"id":49630,"title":"Cars travelling in outer space is a step too far for Chinese cinemagoers","content":"The first instalment of the Fast and Furious was set in Los Angeles. By the time of its third outing, the franchise was already so popular that Universal Pictures gave producers an outsized budget, sending Dom Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) and his crew to Tokyo for a memorable chase across the hectic Shibuya Crossing. The fifth film moved to Rio in Brazil and the eighth took the crew to Cuba and Iceland, before returning to New York for more high-octane action.\r\n\r\nAfter so many films, producers may have felt that they were running out of exotic locations. So for their ninth effort they have done something new \u2013 taking the crew off to outer space.\r\n\r\nDespite the outrageous plotline, audiences in China initially flocked to cinemas to catch the action. Fast and Furious 9: The Fast Saga, which premiered last weekend, raked in Rmb290 million ($45.23 million)in a single day, giving it one of the biggest openings for an imported film in Chinese history (behind only Avengers 4, Fast and Furious 8, Avengers 3 and Fast and Furious 7). Total takings over the weekend reached Rmb800 million, accounting for over 80% of the ticket sales at the Chinese box office.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nYet when…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Mary-Poppins-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"19"},{"id":49633,"title":"Extreme weather leads to 21 deaths in Gansu marathon","content":"In 2011 China hosted 22 marathons or ultra-long distance races. By 2019 \u2013 the year before the Covid-19 pandemic fully took hold \u2013 that number had increased to 1,828. Almost every city was showcasing a marathon or some kind of extreme running event \u2013 it was an easy way to attract tourists and promote fitness.\r\n\r\nBut on May 22 the lack of regulations around these races, combined with a spell of extreme cold-weather, had calamitous results, with the deaths of 21 runners taking part in a 100km trail race in western Gansu province.\r\n\r\nIt was the highest number of casualties ever recorded in a long-distance race. For comparison the Marathon des Sables \u2013 a well-established six-day, 251km trek across the Sahara Desert \u2013 has suffered two deaths in its 35-year history. A study by the University of Bologna on trail racing earlier this year cited 51 deaths in total among long-distance runners over the last 12 years \u2013 35 during the races themselves, the remainder during training for the events.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSo what happened in Gansu? The race there claimed the lives of several of China\u2019s leading long-distance runners including Liang Jing \u2013 the winner of a previous iteration of the event \u2013 and…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Rescuers-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"20"},{"id":49640,"title":"Internet frenzy over liveability of Caoxian","content":"Caoxian has an unusual claim to fame. As WiC noted last January, the rural county of 1.75 million in eastern Shandong province supplies a huge proportion of Japan\u2019s coffins (see WiC481). And that is still a growth market, given Japan\u2019s aging population. But this month Caoxian popped up again on social media as a much-enjoyed meme, the nub of which is that it is just as cool, beautiful and prosperous as Beijing, Shanghai, Paris or New York.\r\n\r\nThe meme began when a proud resident \u2013 a 23 year-old going by the Douyin handle of \u2018Dashuode\u2019 \u2013 started to post videos extolling the virtues of his hometown in an exaggerated Shandong accent.\r\n\r\nIn the footage, the man tours the area\u2019s asparagus farms, talks about his struggles with obesity, and notes that his home city is also a major producer of hanfu, a traditional Chinese item of clothing.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHe explains all of this in a mock gangster style that he only veers away from when declaring how much he loves his hometown.\r\n\r\nMost videos are rounded off by his shouty catchphrase: \u201cShandong Caoxian is [expletive] awesome baby! 666!\u201d \u2013 the latter being Chinese internet speak for \u2018very cool\u2019.\r\n\r\nSomething about the mix of his humour and sincerity…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Hanfu-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"22"}]},{"id":1694,"name":"Issue 541","date":"","title":"The summit of his career","tagline":"Takeover king Ning Gaoning seals his biggest deal ever with the merger of petrochemicals giants Sinochem and ChemChina","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/541.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/541-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":49548,"title":"A megamerger in China sees the new firm dwarf\u2008Dow, DuPont and BASF","content":"Before media firms began compiling China rich lists and billionaire rankings, the wealthiest Chinese man was probably Wang Yung-ching from Taiwan.\r\n\r\nWang founded Formosa Plastics in 1954. Long before plastics earned its reputation as one of the worst polluters of our oceans, his PVC resin producer made up much of the industrial backbone of Taiwan. Wang emerged as a godfather to a later generation of businessmen. Acknowledging him as a mentor, Foxconn\u2019s Terry Gou kowtowed three times to Wang\u2019s photo at his funeral in 2008.\r\n\r\nIn the 1990s Wang was also one of the initial industrialist tycoons from the island to invest in mainland China. Tsinghua University even published a biography about him in 2007, looking at how he pioneered many of the innovations in the petrochemical industry. Li Rongrong, the director of Sasac, a powerful regulator that oversees the performance of China\u2019s biggest state-owned enterprises (SOEs), made it an essential read for senior cadres at oil and chemical firms under Sasac\u2019s oversight, such as Sinopec. Li also organised cross-Strait seminars to help SOE bosses learn from Formosa Plastics history as a truly competitive global enterprise.\r\n\r\nUnder Sasac\u2019s tutelage, the Chinese government has just created the world\u2019s biggest petrochemicals firm by asset size.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAnother…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Sinochem-w-1.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":49551,"title":"Danone offloads entire stake in Mengniu","content":"When Danone broke up with its first Chinese partner Wahaha in 2007, it set off such a ruckus that the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy felt compelled to step in and raise the issue with Chinese leaders during a state visit to Beijing (see WiC39). Fourteen years on, much has changed: the French food giant has navigated six more separations in the country. But its way of engineering exits, especially the latest one, also appears to have become a lot more low-key.\r\n\r\nOn May 13 the producer of Activia yogurt and Evian bottled water announced that it had sold its entire interest in Mengniu, China\u2019s second largest dairy company by sales.\r\n\r\nPreviously Danone owned a 9.8% stake in the Hong\u2008Kong blue chip,\u2008spending nearly HK$6.9 billion to build its position in the Hohhot-based company since 2013. The divestment generated HK$15.4 billion ($1.98 billion) in gross proceeds for Danone, implying over a 100% return on paper.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe sale was made possible by a reorganisation in April \u2013 prior to this the Danone stake had been indirectly held through a joint venture with state-owned food giant COFCO. Danone did not reveal the buyer of the stake but its departure effectively shaved the shareholding of COFCO, currently…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Cow-w.jpg","category":"M&A","page":"6"},{"id":49554,"title":"Will new personnel see China resume a broader dialogue with the US?","content":"The first \u2018Strategic Economic Dialogue\u2019 (SED) between the US and China took place in December 2006. For Washington, a high-level forum was needed for both countries to address economic challenges and opportunities, given that each were by then acknowledged as two key \u201cstakeholders\u201d in the international economic system.\r\n\r\nYet Beijing didn\u2019t want to talk money alone. Three years later, the SED was renamed the \u2018Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED). The addition of the \u2018and\u2019 made a difference in the diplomatic interactions. The twice-yearly conversation began to address a much wider array of issues covering areas like security and climate change.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe scope of China-US cooperation narrowed again after Donald Trump became president. He rebranded the S&ED as the \u2018Comprehensive Economic Dialogue\u2019 (CED), suggesting Washington\u2019s preferred focus on economic issues. But the CED didn\u2019t work and was abandoned for good after its debut meeting in 2016. The Trump administration then took on a more confrontational approach. The world\u2019s two biggest economies have since been wrangling with an escalation of trade and tech rows.\r\n\r\nWill a permanent dialogue mechanism between Beijing and Washington be re-established under Joe Biden\u2019s administration?\r\n\r\nThe first high-level contact between the two countries was not promising, bringing a heated (and televised) exercise…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Liu-He-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"7"},{"id":49557,"title":"Xiaomi removed from Washington\u2019s blacklist","content":"Investment between the United States and China fell to its lowest level last year since 2009, said a new report on Wednesday by Rhodium Group and the National Committee on US-China Relations. Blame the Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical friction, the authors say, with investment declining to $15.9 billion, a huge drop on $70 billion at the 2016 peak.\r\n\r\nThe plan from the former Trump administration was to choke off the flows even further, with an executive order last November banning shareholdings from Americans in Chinese companies alleged to have direct ties to China\u2019s armed forces Congress also instructed the Pentagon to widen the screening to companies that provide technology to the People\u2019s Liberation Army through \u201ccivil-military fusion\u201d, with the Trump administration citing dozens of firms from sectors including telecommunications, semiconductors and aviation.\r\n\r\nSmartphone maker Xiaomi was one of eight additions to the group in a final flurry of activity before Trump left the White House in January. But the Hong\u2008Kong-listed firm managed to free itself from the restrictions this month, after the Pentagon agreed to drop it from the targeted group.\r\n\r\n<<<ad>>\r\n\r\nXiaomi challenged the executive order almost immediately in the American courts and it was awarded a temporary halt in March when the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Lei-Jun-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"8"},{"id":49560,"title":"Buffett to profit as BYD lists its chip unit","content":"When BYD listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2002, its main focus was rechargeable batteries for mobile phones. Investor enthusiasm was limited and it was only when Warren Buffett bought into the company at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008 that its share price started to take off.\r\n\r\nThe Sage of Omaha has made a pretty spectacular profit on the 10% stake he acquired for HK$8.01 a share. Today BYD is trading at HK$151.3 level and the company is leading the charge in China\u2019s transition to electric vehicles (EVs).\r\n\r\nEquity investors will be hoping to emulate Buffett\u2019s returns with the forthcoming spin-off of the company\u2019s chipmaking arm, BYD Semiconductor. BYD Semi\u2019s directors have just approved a listing on Shenzhen\u2019s ChiNext board, no doubt inspired by their nearest domestic competitor StarPower, which has enjoyed a spectacular rally since listing on Shanghai\u2019s Nasdaq-equivalent STAR Market in January last year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt raised Rmb510 million ($74 million) from an IPO that was priced at Rmb12.74 per share. Quite a few STAR Market debuts have soared in the immediate aftermarket before crashing back in the weeks that follow. But not StarPower, which hit its daily 10% trading limit for almost a month. Its…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Warren-Buffett-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry, Internet & Tech","page":"9"},{"id":49571,"title":"Taiwanese tech firm faces a boycott across the Strait","content":"In 1991, an organisation called the China External Trade Development Council (CETRA) hired a branding agency from Los Angeles to give Taiwan a new image.\r\n\r\nThe island no longer wanted Western consumers to associate the tag \u201cMade in Taiwan\u201d with cheaper mass-produced goods. The agency in question \u2013 Bright \u2013 was tasked with making a \u201chamburger look like steak\u201d, the Los Angeles Times reported. Or as its chairman put it, the idea was \u201cto have \u2018Made in Taiwan\u2019 conjure up quality the same way that \u2018Made in Japan\u201d conjures up quality\u201d.\r\n\r\nA decade later, Taiwan was well on its way towards achieving its rebranding goal. The tagline \u201cTaiwan Excellence\u201d was being deployed to underscore the island\u2019s reputation for innovation, particular in the electronics sector. And by this point Taiwan was also looking to differentiate itself more clearly from mainland China, which had become the world\u2019s manufacturing centre for many of the lower-end goods that the island had once produced.\r\n\r\nTwenty years further down the road and it is the Chinese manufacturers who want to dislodge their reputation as cheaper producers, just like the Taiwanese did back in the 1990s. Their determination to do so has just landed Gigabyte Technology, a Taiwanese computer hardware…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Gigabyte-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"10"},{"id":49563,"title":"Why Tencent is giving people \u2018coins\u2019 to watch videos on its new app","content":"\u201cRemember that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labour, and goes abroad, or sits idle one half of that day, though he spends but sixpence during his diversion or idleness, it ought not to be reckoned the only expense; he hath really spent or thrown away five shillings besides.\u201d So said Benjamin Franklin in 1748 to suggest there is an opportunity cost in leisure time. The aphorism, however, has taken on a new meaning under Tencent\u2019s newly launched video streaming service, which promises to reward viewers based on a simple mechanism: the longer they watch, the bigger the prize money.\r\n\r\nThe service is called Pianduoduo, literally meaning \u201clots and lots of films\u201d \u2013 and is an obvious wordplay on Pinduoduo, the e-commerce platform that owes much of its success to bargain hunters in less affluent regions.\r\n\r\nPianduoduo offers tens of thousands of classic TV shows (packaged in full seasons) and movies. All are ad-free. Users who watch these programmes can earn 60 digital coins per minute. Based on the conversion of 18,000 coins for 1 yuan, and the daily cap on maximum earnings at 3,600 coins, an individual can make up to 0.2 yuan a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Ruby-Lin-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"11"},{"id":49568,"title":"Eleven Chinese brands barred from Amazon\u2019s US site","content":"Amazon closed its Chinese site, Amazon.cn in 2019 after failing to crack a market dominated by domestic giants like Alibaba and JD.com. But that didn\u2019t mean the e-commerce giant had given up on China completely.\r\n\r\nIn fact, Amazon has been working hard at recruiting Chinese businesses to sell their products on its e-commerce sites in the US and Europe, opening \u201ccross-border e-commerce parks\u201d where sellers can receive help with logistics, branding and instructions on how to navigate Amazon\u2019s platform.\r\n\r\nPrior to Covid-19 the American firm had held conferences in cities like Shanghai that were attended by more than 10,000 sellers, many of whom were looking for higher margins for their products as compared with what they get from domestic platforms like Taobao and Pinduoduo.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIts efforts have been paying off. The number of sellers from China on Amazon\u2019s US site surged to 63% of the total in 2021 from 28% in 2019, according to statistics from Marketplace Pulse. That helps to explain why when you look up consumer electronics like massage guns and power banks, more often than not you are offered a host of Chinese brands such as HOVAMP, Mpow, Opove, Aukey and Anker. The chances are you will also find thousands…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Amazon-China-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"12"},{"id":49574,"title":"Why stars are disappearing from livestreaming e-commerce platforms","content":"E-commerce livestreamer Fan Yebing (a pseudonym) has made a name for herself on Alibaba\u2019s livestreaming platform. That\u2019s because she bears a striking resemblance to one of China\u2019s most recognisable faces \u2013 the actress Fan Bingbing. Even her name is a play on Fan Bingbing\u2019s nickname Fan Ye and some of the actress\u2019 fans have trouble telling them apart. Many have snapped up products thinking they have been endorsed by the movie star. Regular readers of these pages will recall that Fan Bingbing\u2019s acting career was derailed by a tax scandal. But that hasn\u2019t stopped Fan Yebing making a reported Rmb100,000 ($15,000) each time she goes live on a sales session.\r\n\r\nThe \u2018real\u2019 Fan Bingbing is not amused and recently decided to take her lookalike to court. Fan Yebing has been defiant, changing her name again to \u201cDefendant against Fan Bayi\u201d on the livestreaming platform (bayi translates in this context as \u2018Rmb800 million\u2019, which is how much Fan Bingbing was fined for tax evasion in 2018). She denies that she\u2019s had any cosmetic surgery to look like the actress, and hits back that she has worked hard to cultivate a loyal following of online shoppers.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe latter part of her claim rings true:…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Angelababy-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"14"},{"id":49577,"title":"Case of a contested will sparks broad debate in China","content":"China wants more of its population to make wills. Forty years of economic growth means many of the country\u2019s elderly have more assets to pass on. But the practice of will-making is far from widespread. Many families go to war over inheritances, which has clogged up the court system in some of the richer cities.\r\n\r\nSo it\u2019s even more of a problem in cases when a will is completed but then overruled.\r\n\r\nThis was the case for Mr Liu, an 80 year-old who left his three Shenzhen apartments to his carer-cum-partner of 17 years.\r\n\r\nThe issue was that when he died Mr Liu was still legally married to his estranged wife and she challenged his will, arguing that he had no right to bequeath part of the shared family property to his \u2018mistress\u2019.\r\n\r\nThe case, which was adjudicated twice, came up for judgement at the Shenzhen Intermediate Peoples Court recently, which ruled that only Mr Liu\u2019s wife could inherit the property. This superceded an earlier court ruling granting his newer partner, Ms Yang, a partial share of the property assets.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe case has aggregated over 220 million views on Sina Weibo, with spectators pretty much divided over the decision. Some feel that spouses shouldn\u2019t be…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Judge-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"15"},{"id":49580,"title":"Panic in Shenzhen as 350-metre building sways","content":"Skyscrapers are designed to sway on their foundations during earthquakes. But if a tower starts shaking for no apparent reason, is there might be a justification to panic.\r\n\r\nThat was the situation on Tuesday when the 350-metre SEG Plaza in Shenzhen started to vibrate, according to witnesses and videos later posted online.\r\n\r\nThe 71-storey building was evacuated and did not reopen until the following day.\r\n\r\nPart of the problem is that no one can explain the sudden shifting. No seismic activity was recorded and local wind speeds were no more than breezy. There were no signs of damage in an initial structural review conducted by the city authorities. Officials said that engineers monitoring the building since Tuesday night had not reported any movements greater than the building code limits for skyscrapers.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe mystery was an immediate topic of conversation online, with local media quoting people working inside the building as saying that minor vibrations started to be felt at 11am, causing ripples on the surfaces of drinks.\r\n\r\nBy 1pm the vibrations were getting stronger. The furniture started to shake and the order was given to leave the premises.\r\n\r\nFootage from the scene shows thousands of people running out of the building, some screaming in panic or…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Tower-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"17"}]},{"id":1693,"name":"Issue 540","date":"May 14, 2021","title":"Eyeing an IPO","tagline":"Didi Chuxing chairman Cheng Wei is in a race to list his ride-hailing behemoth ahead of local rival Dida","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/540.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/540-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":49460,"title":"The race is on as Didi and Dida hit the accelerator to be the first to IPO","content":"There is something about powerplay profits that persuades commentators to invent acronyms for top performing companies.\r\n\r\nThe Chinese first came up with the concept of the BAT to describe the rise of three of their biggest tech firms \u2013 Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent \u2013 nearly 20 years ago (although Baidu has dropped off the pace for a while, giving the label a bit less impact).\r\n\r\nThen came the rise of the FANG in the United States \u2013 a descriptor for how Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google were setting the pace in the US market.\r\n\r\nThe label was introduced by tech analyst Bob Lang in 2013 (although its catching on is sometimes attributed to Jim Cramer\u2019s Mad Money show) and it has since added an extra vowel, morphing into FAANG to make room for Apple.\r\n\r\nMore recently the same group has come under regulatory scrutiny as Washington and other governments fret about cases of anti-competitive behaviour. The conclusions of the various reviews could create a new set of constraints for the Big Tech sector. And in a similar feedback loop, the Chinese government has been looking closely at the conduct of the biggest of the internet platforms in its own marketplace. That means a similar…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Jean-Liu-Qing-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":49463,"title":"With foreign trips off limits, \u2018Golden Week\u2019 domestic tourism surges","content":"In 2019 Chinese tourists made some 170 million trips abroad. Now, thanks to Covid-19, a foreign holiday isn\u2019t an option. The result is a trend that the government has tried to encourage for some time \u2013 a surge in domestic tourism.\r\n\r\nThe week-long May Day holiday period was proof of that. Local tourists flocked to historic sites, rural homestays, theme parks and fancy city hotels for a change of scene.\r\n\r\nOne popular option was \u2018Red Tourism\u2019 in the centenary year of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. According to the travel site Ctrip, searches for tours commemorating the country\u2019s revolutionary past rose 375% compared to the May holiday period last year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cNowadays, young people in China would like to explore the history of the revolution in China and the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) because they are curious and have great admiration after seeing China's development in recent years, especially after experiencing how China successfully contained the epidemic,\u201d Su Wei, a professor at a Party school in Chongqing, explained to the Global Times.\r\n\r\nCNN has also noted the uptick in visitors to more rural areas, quoting one Sina Weibo contributor as saying she was much happier after \u201cspending a day picking mulberries, watching rice…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/South-Entrance-w.jpg","category":"China Tourist","page":"7"},{"id":49466,"title":"China\u2019s space station mission raises concerns over rocket debris","content":"The core module and control hub of Tiangong, China\u2019s first permanent space station, is called Tianhe, or \u2018Heavenly Harmony\u2019.\r\n\r\nIts launch on April 29 meant that Tiangong is a huge step closer to becoming fully operational next year. The only alternative is the US-led International Space Station, although it is due to retire in 2024, leaving Tiangong potentially as the only space station in orbit.\r\n\r\nDespite Tianhe\u2019s harmonic name, its launch created a ruckus of cosmic proportions. The issue was that as well as getting the Tianhe into orbit, China also sent a large part of the delivery rocket \u2013 a Long March 5B \u2013 into space with no apparent way of controlling its eventual return to Earth.\r\n\r\nThe 23-tonne, 10-storey vessel was left to orbit the Earth, coming lower with every pass, before breaking up and falling into the Indian Ocean near the Maldives on May 9.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe uncontrolled descent stirred America\u2019s NASA to publish a statement criticising China\u2019s space programme for a lack of transparency and accusing it of \u201cfailing to meet responsible standards\u201d with regard to space debris.\r\n\r\nBeijing hit back accusing the West of double standards. \u201cWhen a piece of [Elon Musk\u2019s] SpaceX rocket landed on a farm in Washington in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Tianhe-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Space Programme","page":"8"},{"id":49469,"title":"Waterdrop IPO underperforms as tighter insurtech rules loom","content":"When 34 year-old Shen Peng founded Waterdrop Inc in 2016, he was setting his sights on building China\u2019s answer to UnitedHealth Group, a $383 billion healthcare and insurance behemoth. But with private health insurance a relatively newer concept in the country, Shen began with a mutual aid scheme. It allowed participants to chip in as little as Rmb20 a year to help others diagnosed with critical illnesses and in return receive payouts when they themselves need treatment. Alongside this he also built a medical crowdfunding platform, where patients or their friends and relatives could seek donations by highlighting their healthcare needs on his social network.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWithin four years Waterdrop\u2019s number of users crossed 340 million, of which many became policy holders of mainstream health insurance making repeated purchases on its online marketplace. Last year it generated more than Rmb14 billion ($2.16 billion) in first-year premiums for 62 insurers, pocketing handsome brokerage fees that helped lift its revenues to Rmb3 billion, or a nearly 13-time jump compared to 2018.\r\n\r\nAll was looking well until its $360 million debut on the New York Stock Exchange last Friday. Priced at the top end of its offering range at $12 apiece, Waterdrop\u2019s shares tumbled 19.2% to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Shen-Peng-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"9"},{"id":49472,"title":"The only Filipino taker of Sinopharm\u2019s Covid shot is...","content":"Rodrigo Duterte is known as the strongman of the Philippines. Yet on May 5 the outspoken president publicly apologised for getting a Sinopharm inoculation, a stunt streamed live on Facebook to encourage vaccinations. His error? Choosing a Covid-19 vaccination not yet approved by his country\u2019s healthcare authorities.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe are sorry for the things you are criticising us for, we accept responsibility,\u201d Duterte said. He then asked the Chinese ambassador in Manila to withdraw donations of 1,000 Sinopharm jabs and withhold further donations of the same vaccine.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe Philippines has been struggling to procure enough vaccines. With 1.1 million infections and 18,562 deaths, it has the second-highest number of Covid-19 cases and casualties in Southeast Asia. Yet only 1.9% of its population of 110 million have had at least one dose of a vaccine so far, according to Reuters. Having received its first batch of Pfizer vaccines \u2013 no more than 200,000 doses \u2013 early this week, the Philippines has got 90% of its supply from Sinovac, another Chinese vaccine, via a purchase agreement of 25 million doses.\r\n\r\nThe Duterte incident occurred a day before the Sinopharm jab was granted emergency use approval from the World Health Organisation. The Sinovac one was still under…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Duterte-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"10"},{"id":49476,"title":"Taiwan\u2019s richest man doesn\u2019t make chips \u2013 he manufactures sneakers","content":"The story of sneakers begins in 1839 when an American scientist called Charles Goodyear found a way of treating rubber with sulphur. The technique, known as vulcanisation, made for a pliable and resilient material. In the 1870s it was applied to footwear, although the new style of shoes wouldn\u2019t be known as \u2018sneakers\u2019 for another 50 years, when an advertiser coined the term for their quieter soles, as if they were sneaking. Today they can be valuable: a pair of Nike Air Yeezy 1 trainers designed by rapper Kanye West sold for $1.8 million at a Sotheby\u2019s auction last month.\r\n\r\n\u201cStrange, isn\u2019t it, that a few bits of leather and suede sewn onto a slab of rubber and wrapped in nylon thread could mean so much to so many,\u201d comments Simon Wood in the foreword to The Ultimate Sneaker Book.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nFor 72 year-old Zhang Congyuan, there is nothing strange about it at all. In fact sneakers have been the focus of much of his career, lifting him to the top of the rankings of Taiwan\u2019s wealthiest people last week. According to Forbes, Zhang\u2019s net worth surpassed $13.8 billion as of May 5, topping the $9.2 billion enjoyed by Tsai Hong-tu and Tsai…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Kanye-Yeezy-w.jpg","category":"Cross Strait","page":"11"},{"id":49479,"title":"China Telecom closes in on A-share return","content":"Few companies are more symbolic for long-term China-watchers than the original China Telecom (now China Mobile). In 1997, it set the template for China\u2019s nascent privatisation process when it executed a $4.2 billion dual listing in Hong Kong and New York. It not only became the first Chinese company to raise more than $1 billion, but at the time its flotation also ranked as the largest-ever IPO from Asia ex-Japan. It signalled that China had arrived on the world stage and international investors welcomed it with open arms.\r\n\r\nSeven years later, those same investors received their first indication that China wasn\u2019t going to be following the Western corporate governance rule book any time soon. In 2004, the illusion that listed Chinese SOEs were being run by independent boards of directors was shattered when the government suddenly announced that it was simultaneously swapping the heads of the three telcos.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nEven the chief executives themselves didn\u2019t know it was happening until they got a call from the Communist Party\u2019s personnel arm \u2013 the Central Organisation Department. Until that point, many Western investors hadn\u2019t even heard of the secretive agency that governs the careers of Party functionaries.\r\n\r\nNearly 20 years later, the three telcos are once…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Mobile-Phone-w.jpg","category":"Telecoms","page":"12"},{"id":49482,"title":"Will it be fourth time lucky for developer Sanxun?","content":"In Chinese folklore the humblest carp became mighty dragons if they swam upstream and leapt over a waterfall on the steepest stretch of the Yellow River.\r\n\r\nThe saying was said to be an inspiration for people from poorer backgrounds who were taking exams for roles in the imperial bureaucracy (the successful applicants were described as carp that jumped through the dragon\u2019s gate).\r\n\r\nThe proverb \u2013 which also conveys how a sense of how perseverance can bring personal achievement \u2013 was being put to work in the media again last week to describe the ambitions of a relatively small real estate firm called Sanxun Holdings.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLike the metaphorical carp, the Anhui-based company has been swimming upstream in submitting four separate applications to IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since October 2019.\r\n\r\nOn the previous three occasions, Sanxun let its application lapse, most recently in October last year. But last month it was back again with a new prospectus and updated 2020 financials.\r\n\r\nPhoenix News says it\u2019s easy to understand why companies like Sanxun are keen to float in Hong Kong: the capital-raising opportunity in mainland China has been unfavourable to real estate firms for some time, especially for stock fundraisings (see WiC539). And while tier-one…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Sanxun-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"13"},{"id":49485,"title":"More Chinese firms target Hong Kong shoppers","content":"In 2013, the Hong Kong government sparked a public outcry over its refusal to give a television broadcast licence to Hong Kong Television (HKTV). Formerly known as City Telecom, the company was founded by Ricky Wong, who in the 1990s made his name by breaking up the long-distance call monopoly held by Hongkong Telecom in the then British colony.\r\n\r\nAfter failing to get the broadcasting licence, Wong turned HKTV into an Amazon-like marketplace. Boasting more than 1.4 million active users, the popularity of HKTVmall has been growing so quickly that some analysts see it as a threat to conventional shopping malls in the city. HKTVmall\u2019s revenues more than doubled in the first half of 2020 from a year ago to HK$1.34 billion ($170 million).\r\n\r\nHowever, just as it seemed to be hitting critical mass, HKTVmall has found itself in direct competition with a far bigger retail behemoth.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAlibaba announced this month the launch of Tmall in Hong Kong. Unlike the Chinese e-commerce firm\u2019s other platform Taobao, which is largely made up of smaller businesses, Tmall caters to larger merchants and big brands. In the past, shoppers outside of mainland China found it difficult to take advantage of the bargain prices on Tmall.\r\n\r\nFor a…","image":"\/images\/no_image.png","category":"China Consumer","page":"14"},{"id":49487,"title":"Mengniu marketing tactic backfires as TV show gets banned over milk waste","content":"There is rarely a shortage of \u2018survival\u2019 shows in China\u2019s relentless stream of reality TV output. Less than a week after the debut of Tencent Video\u2019s Produce Camp 2021, which created another much-hyped boy band called INTO1, a rival offering from iQiyi called Youth With You 3 thrust itself forward with an almost identical format.\r\n\r\nNot that viewers seemed to mind, with the two shows consistently featuring as the most searched topics on Baidu, the country\u2019s leading search engine. Each new episode launched another a new round of debate on social media too.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBut shortly before the taping of the final episode to crown a winner on Youth With You 3, iQiyi suddenly announced that the series had been suspended indefinitely.\r\n\r\nLast week a video was widely shared across the internet that showed a group of men and women surrounded by hundreds of cases of milk. They were ripping open the bottles, keeping the lids but pouring the milk directly down the drain.\r\n\r\nWhat were they doing? It was hard to tell when the footage was filmed but netizens were convinced that the people in the video had been hired by die-hard fans keen to vote for their favourite contestants on Youth With You…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Youth-with-You-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"15"},{"id":49490,"title":"Cannavaro gets Confucian","content":"During the Warring States period that began about 2,500 years ago the gulf between the nobility and the rest of society was a gaping one. However, the aristocratic boundary was made a little more porous by the emergence of a new class known as shi, as younger princelings recruited their own retinues of retainers.\r\n\r\nLord Mengchang of the Qi state, for one, was said to have attracted 3,000 shi, including warriors, assassins and scholars, under his patronage.\r\n\r\nThe shi system contributed to some of the most important concepts in what we know as Confucianism, although it is little understood outside scholarly circles in China.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s why onlookers were stunned when Fabio Cannavaro, the manager of Chinese football club Guangzhou FC, showed that he understood the ancient idea rather well himself.\r\n\r\nThe Italian had been confronted by reporters on Guangzhou FC\u2019s poor start to the new Chinese Super League season after losing one match and drawing another (the team was better known as Guangzhou Evergrande before new rules came in to de-commercialise football franchises, see WiC525). Through an interpreter, the World Cup winner confessed that the ultimate goal of the club owner \u2013 aka the property developer China Evergrande \u2013 was not necessarily to win…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Elkeson-w.jpg","category":"Society, Sport","page":"16"},{"id":49493,"title":"Elderly scammed in unwanted cemetery visit","content":"On April 13 a group of retirees from Chongqing boarded a bus for what they thought was going to be a trip to a scenic spot. They had paid Rmb18 ($2.80) each for the tour and put on their best clothes for their day out.\r\n\r\nBut when they arrived at their destination, they were horrified to discover it was a cemetery and that their \u2018tour guide\u2019 was actually a cemetery sales rep.\r\n\r\nThe group was furious with the tour operator and the neighbour who had organised the visit.\r\n\r\n\u201cYou can\u2019t trick us into visiting a graveyard by telling us it\u2019s a sightseeing trip,\u201d the Global Times quoted one of the participants as saying.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cThis is so insensitive! Haven\u2019t you got parents yourselves? How could you do such a thing?\u201d asked others of the tour leaders.\r\n\r\nChina is no stranger to \u2018the-sales-disguised-as-tourism\u2019 scam or \u201cforced shopping\u201d as the trick is also known locally. In 2015 a mainland man was beaten to death in Hong Kong after his tour group was taken to a jewellery shop in the city, leading to an altercation between people who didn\u2019t want to purchase anything, and the tour guide, who was determined that they do some shopping.\r\n\r\nA 51 year-old from northeastern…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Cemetery-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]},{"id":1692,"name":"Issue 539","date":"May 7, 2021","title":"China\u2019s top property manager","tagline":"Yang Huiyan, the tycoon owner of Country Garden Services \u2013 whose shares last year surged 126% \u2013 knows property management is a great business","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/539.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/539-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":49360,"title":"Why property management is now in vogue for stock market investors","content":"In 1980 there was only one property developer in Shenzhen \u2013 a city that\u2019s now bigger than neighbouring Hong Kong economically. That firm would develop into today\u2019s state-owned heavyweight Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Real Estate & Properties Group (SSR).\r\n\r\nIn its inaugural year \u2013 with Shenzhen\u2019s then newly designated as a special economic zone \u2013 SSR jointly developed China\u2019s first ever commercial residential project, Donghu Liyuan. The finance was provided by a newspaper publisher from Hong Kong and the project targeted real estate buyers from the same city with family or business connections to the mainland.\r\n\r\nPurchasers of homes in the groundbreaking project had to brave a few risks. Political hardliners in Beijing were already attacking SSR as a traitor to China\u2019s socialist roots and personal safety on the streets of Shenzhen was another worry for potential buyers at the time. To address their concerns, SSR designed Donghu Liyuan as China\u2019s first xiaoqu, or gated residential community, and set up a separate company to manage it. It marked a starting point for the property management market \u2013 a fast-growing sector that has given rise to several dozen listed firms in recent years. And there could be more to come as two more…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/RF-w.jpg","category":"Property, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":49357,"title":"China reacts to Indian Covid-19 surge","content":"Sun Weidong, China\u2019s ambassador to India, has been busy onTwitter. As a brutal second wave of Covid-19 ravaged Indian cities, Sun posted a series of messages showing much-needed medical supplies destined for delivery in India. \u201cIndia is our neighbour and partner. China\u2019s actions speak louder than words,\u201d he posted on May 1, adding that 61 cargo flights full of emergency equipment had left China for India over the previous two weeks.\r\n\r\nYet on Wednesday India\u2019s minister for External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said that relations with China were going through \u201ca very difficult phase\u201d due to a year-long escalation of tensions along stretches of the disputed border.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSpeaking at a media event on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in the UK where India was a special invitee, Jaishankar added: \u201cI can\u2019t have friction, coercion, intimidation and bloodshed on the border and then say let\u2019s have a good relationship in other domains. It\u2019s not realistic.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe Covid crisis offers a moment when the two nations might come together to bridge older disagreements. But it is not happening on any meaningful scale.\r\n\r\nPart of the reason is that China is not always seen as being sincere in its offer of support to India: indeed, many Indians…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Subrahmanyam-Jaishankar-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"6"},{"id":49363,"title":"After TV expos\u00e9, Meituan and Ele.me to improve gig workers\u2019 rights","content":"One of the greatest rulers of imperial China was Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty. The longest reigning monarch, he was said to have made tours around Beijing and across the country. Dressing as a commoner and mingling with ordinary folk, the emperor was able to see how his subjects lived with a view to adjusting his rule accordingly.\r\n\r\nWang Lin, a deputy director at the city of Beijing\u2019s Municipal Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security, appeared to take a page out of the same playbook lately. Tasked with drafting new labour rules for gig economy companies, Wang sought to understand the struggles and needs of the nation\u2019s delivery people and ride-hailing drivers. These hordes are the logistical backbone that underpin the thriving on-demand services market.\u2008Yet the stress and working conditions this group of grass-roots workers has to endure has been a growing concern (see WiC511). Now it seems policymakers are prepared to tackle the problem more seriously.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWang went undercover and his work experience as a driver turned out to be an eye-opener. For instance, the numerous frustrations he faced as a delivery man for internet giant Meituan (see WiC498) included food not being ready when he arrived at the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Meituan-driver-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"7"},{"id":49368,"title":"Hubei leads GDP league table","content":"China is no stranger to dizzying GDP growth. But even by its standards, the 18.3% economic expansion logged during the first quarter was a record. The boom came on the back of 31 provinces or municipalities posting double-digit growth, of which eight powered ahead at a far faster rate than the national average.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLeading the pack was Hubei, which saw its GDP jump 58.3% on the year to Rmb987.2 billion ($152.5 billion). Home to the city of Wuhan, the ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic, the central province was the hardest hit in the first quarter of 2020, with its provincial capital of 11 million citizens sealed off for 76 days (see WiC480). The lockdown \u2013 which created a low-base effect by calling a halt to almost all economic activity \u2013 partly explains the phenomenal year-on-year percentage leap. By the end of 2020, Hubei\u2019s economy had already recovered to 95% of its pre-pandemic level, thanks to support from the central government, a slew of stimulus measures and the strong economic fundamentals of Wuhan. The momentum continued through the first quarter, where investment in infrastructure, manufacturing and real estate all nearly tripled (at least 4,800 construction projects were initiated across the province,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Wuhan-Hubei-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"8"},{"id":49370,"title":"Italian winemaker discusses impact of Covid-19 on his China sales","content":"Primo and Anna Maria Banelli have been making wines at their estate Il Palazzo outside Arezzo since the 1970s. Lorenzo Pitirra, who heads up exports for the brand, spoke to WiC about the opportunities of selling into the Chinese market \u2013 particularly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions on travel.\r\n\r\nHave Italian wines been growing in popularity in China?\r\n\r\nI think so. In the past it was just French wine. Italian wines only began to become popular in the last 10 years. They will win more market share in the future. Tourism is a factor, because in the last few years a lot of Chinese people visited Italy and had the opportunity to sample our wines.\r\n\r\nThere was also the problem of the Australian wines because they were paying no tax. Now with the political problems [with Australia], the Chinese market will be a bigger opportunity for Italian wines. The volumes increase very fast every year and the middle-class becomes bigger and bigger and they start to drink wine, for sure. We have big production in Italy. I think among imported wines in China, the future is for French and Italian wines.\r\n\r\nWill French wines still dominate, particularly at the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Lorenzo-Pitirra-w.jpg","category":"Section","page":"9"},{"id":49374,"title":"Cautious Chinese regulators are driving listing candidates to New York","content":"Ask someone if they\u2019d like a pleasant surprise and the answer is generally going to be \u2018yes\u2019. This is one of the main reasons why \u2018blind box\u2019 promotions have become so popular in China in recent years.\r\n\r\nIt started off as a craze for collectible figurines. Younger consumers buy unlabelled packages and then discover what mystery toys are inside (see WiC468).\r\n\r\nThe trend has now spread to the travel industry too.\u2008While the rest of the world grapples with whether to issue Covid passports, Chinese consumers are falling over themselves to snap up promotions from the likes of Trip.com, Qunar and Fliggy. For the price of no more than Rmb99 ($15), they can buy a \u2018blind box\u2019 promotion for flights to different Chinese cities. They won\u2019t know the date or the destination until they open the box. The price is a bargain \u2013 though there is no obligation on the consumer\u2019s part to travel.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe boom in Chinese travel is driving capital markets activity as well. One hotel group, Atour, has decided to forgo a prospective A-share listing and opt for a speedier New York flotation instead.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s not the only one. Some 76 companies suspended their listing applications for Shanghai\u2019s STAR board in the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/NYSE-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"11"},{"id":49377,"title":"Chinese investors help rebound in gold prices","content":"Global investors have been selling their gold but consumers in China are buying more of it again. That was the story of the precious metal in the first quarter of this year, with demand from China offsetting some of the downward pressure on the gold price.\r\n\r\nFirst quarter sales of gold jewellery in China were at their highest levels since 2015, the Shanghai Daily reported last week, helped by a booming trade in gufajin, or jewellery with elements of ancient Chinese fashion.\r\n\r\n\u201cGufajin has two obvious features: it\u2019s heavy and expensive,\u201d explained Roland Wang, the World Gold Council\u2019s managing director in China. \u201cIn the past, consumption mainly came from middle class women with high incomes. But this year more young women began buying it.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSales figures from the China Gold Association back that up, with physical demand for gold nearly doubling in the first quarter, fuelled by stronger interest in jewellery, bars and coins. Consumption was 288 tonnes over the period, compared with 149 tonnes a year ago, the association said, helped by strong sales over the Chinese New Year and Valentine\u2019s Day.\r\n\r\nThat was a complete reversal of last year, when the pandemic punched a huge hole in retail sales, which typically account…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Gold-Bars-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"12"},{"id":49380,"title":"Electric carmaker hit by a public relations debacle","content":"If a female journalist tries to extract confidential information from a company employee source, should the staff member be fired if he replies: \u201cI\u2019d like to ask your advice about something as well. Is your sex life harmonious? Have your tried any new positions lately?\u201d And what if that exchange didn\u2019t happen through official company channels but privately between the two people on WeChat?\r\n\r\nThat was the dilemma facing electric vehicle (EV) start-up Li Auto.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe reporter in question tried to become friends with the engineer as a way of finding out more about a new version of the company\u2019s Li ONE car brand. But after being rebuffed in her enquiries she complained about the insulting and sexist nature of the engineer\u2019s WeChat comments cited above. He was sacked shortly afterwards.\r\n\r\nThis wasn\u2019t enough to satisfy the reporter who then asked the company for a public apology. The demand prompted the firm\u2019s founder Li Xiang to publish a social media post of his own asking what netizens thought he should do.\r\n\r\nHis post was deleted only 30 minutes after it was made public but the debate about the rights and wrongs of the situation has raged ever since.\r\n\r\nMany netizens thought it was the reporter…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Li-Auto-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"13"},{"id":49383,"title":"Scandal prone actress dominates online discussion after contract revelation","content":"Forbes recently reported that the former wrestler Dwayne Johnson was the world\u2019s highest-paid actor for the second consecutive year in 2020, raking in $87.5 million even during the pandemic.\r\n\r\nThe salary included a huge pay cheque of $23.5 million from Netflix for his role in the upcoming film Red Notice.\r\n\r\nThe surprising news this month is that actress Zheng Shuang was paid even more than Johnson got from Netflix for one TV role in China. Last week Zheng\u2019s former partner Zhang Heng posted screenshots on weibo of alleged chats between him, Zheng and her parents, where they discussed the fee for her role in the unaired drama A Chinese Ghost Story. The screenshots suggested that the actress had negotiated a spectacular Rmb160 million in pay \u2013 that is, $24.7 million \u2013 with studio Beijing Century Partner Culture and Media.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nZheng\u2019s remuneration works out at about Rmb2 million ($308,898) for each day of filming. But the problem for her is that back in 2018, China\u2019s National Radio and Television Administration ruled that actors\u2019 salaries should not be more than 40% of a programme\u2019s production costs. Subsequently, the three largest online streaming platforms iQiyi, Youku and Tencent Video also promised to cap salaries at no…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Zheng-Shuang-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"14"},{"id":49386,"title":"How a Fujian tea seller has perfected corporate marriages","content":"The headline news this week from the Gates family was that two of the world\u2019s wealthiest people are getting divorced. But it\u2019s no secret that wealthy people often prefer to marry others with plenty of money in the first place. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are a good example. Actress Salma Hayek, reportedly worth $85 million, chose to wed luxury goods tycoon Fran\u00e7ois-Henri Pinault, who has amassed a fortune of more than $25 billion.\r\n\r\nIn China unions of the ultra-wealthy aren\u2019t unusual either. But the controlling family at a Fujian-based tea leaf seller \u2013 which is looking to go public on Shenzhen\u2019s Growth Enterprises Market \u2013 has merited mention in the local media for having some of the most impressive marital connections.\r\n\r\nBama Tea, which operates a chain of tea leaf shops, is owned by three brothers: Wang Wenbin, Wang Wenli and Wang Wenchao. Together, the family controls 63% of the company\u2019s shares.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt is Wang Wenbin, 52, who has the tightest ties with some of the wealthiest tycoons in the country. Much of his network is rooted in Fujian province. For instance, his son is married to the daughter of Ding Shizhong, who is chairman and chief executive of Fujian-based Anta Sports,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Ding-Shizhong-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"16"},{"id":49389,"title":"China needs to train more guide dogs","content":"April 28 was International Guide Dog Day \u2013 an event whose origins are lost in the mists of time, with no organisation claiming it as their own.\r\n\r\nHowever, the day does at least guarantee a heartwarming story about an intelligent Labrador \u2013 and China was no exception.\r\n\r\nCome Wednesday of last week Chinese state media put out a series of stories expounding the training that these dogs go through and the crucial roles they play in the lives of visually impaired people.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThis wasn\u2019t just an opportunity to write a feel-good story or put up click-bait pictures of puppies. It was also an opportunity to educate the public \u00ad\u2013 even more important in China because these kinds of dogs are so rare.\r\n\r\nLocal media reckons there are only 223 guide dogs in service and the wider understanding of their role is so limited that their owners are often barred from entering public spaces because the animals are mistaken for pets. \u201cAlmost every time I try to get on a bus we are rejected,\u201d Gao Zhipeng, a man from Taiyuan in Shanxi, complained to ThePaper.cn last year. \u201cThey don\u2019t even wait for me to show my guide dog certificate before removing me,\u201d he added.\r\n\r\nChina has…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/05\/Labrador-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]},{"id":1691,"name":"Issue 538","date":"Apr 30, 2021","title":"Musk gets Shanghaied","tagline":"Tesla embarrassed at this year\u2019s most important car show \u2013 what did it also reveal about Musk\u2019s rivals\u2019 strategies to overtake him?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/538.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/538-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":49136,"title":"Why the Shanghai Auto Show was a landmark event for the car industry","content":"This month\u2019s Shanghai car show has taken top billing as the biggest gathering in the industry since the onset of the pandemic. Organisers this year were pleased simply to welcome back visitors to the 10-day exhibition, albeit in carefully controlled numbers.\r\n\r\nWith a wide-ranging selection of sleek and futuristic designs, companies did their best to grab attention in different ways.\r\n\r\nGreat Wall Motors infused its booth in bright pink to promote its Ora brand. Named after cats, the cars have been tailor-made for women drivers, with automatic parking functions and with interior storage specially designed to hold shoes and cosmetics.\r\n\r\nIn a widely reported piece of showmanship the chief executives of rivals NIO and XPENG took the chance to visit each other\u2019s stands, talking intently as crowds took photos behind them.\r\n\r\nAnd in less choreographed scenes Tesla\u2019s booth was hit by a protest from a female customer, who leapt onto one of its cars to trumpet complaints about brake failure. The protest came in the same week that Tesla announced record profits for the first quarter, with revenues growing 74% on the same period last year to $10.4 billion. It now sells one in three of its cars in China, where Elon Musk\u2019s firm…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Nio-w-2.jpg","category":"Auto Industry, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":49139,"title":"State bureau refutes claim population declined","content":"China has reported an increase in population every year since the famines of the early 1960s. Since 1965 the number of mainland Chinese has doubled from about 700 million to just over 1.4 billion last year.\r\n\r\nHowever, the debate this week was whether 2020 was going to be the year that broke the trend: the first in over five decades in which the population has declined.\r\n\r\nThe basis for this prediction is the once-a-decade National Census, the publication of which has been delayed.\r\n\r\nOn April 16 a spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics, said the results of the census were being held back because the accompanying communique needed more work. That immediately fuelled public interest, making \u201cpopulation decline\u201d a favourite topic on social media.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOn Tuesday, the Financial Times said it had confirmed the decline \u2013 a dip in the Chinese population below 1.4 billion \u2013 with two people who had seen the census data. But the figure was considered \u201cvery sensitive and would not be released until multiple government departments had reached a consensus on the data and its implications\u201d, the newspaper added.\r\n\r\nTwo days later the National Bureau of Statistics published a statement refuting the FT article: \u201cChina\u2019s population continued to grow…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Chinese-Baby-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"7"},{"id":49142,"title":"How might Beijing deal with Huarong\u2019s crisis?","content":"Some investors thought the worst was over for China Huarong in late January. That was when the former boss of the \u201cbad bank\u201d Lai Xiaomin was executed for financial crimes, including soliciting Rmb1.8 billion ($277 million) of bribes (see WiC526). That was a Chinese record for graft.\r\n\r\nSigns of bottom-fishing from investors were evident. The share price of Huarong\u2019s Hong Kong-listed unit Huraong Asset Management (Huarong AMC) climbed more than 10% in a month. But the state-owned firm\u2019s bond prices stayed stagnant, pointing to a more cautious mood among creditors.\r\n\r\nThe rollercoaster events of this month have only served to show that Beijing\u2019s clean-up job at Huarong is far from over.\r\n\r\nConcerns over Huarong\u2019s financial health started to boil over anew at the beginning of April when Huarong AMC said in a stock exchange circular that the publication of its annual results for the year ended March 31 would be delayed. The reason: \u201ca relevant transaction of the company is still being finalised\u201d and auditors required more time and information to finish their work. Trading in the company\u2019s shares has since been suspended.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOn the same day Huarong held an online conference with analysts and investors. However, 21CN Business Herald reported that the meeting…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Lai-Xaiomin-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"8"},{"id":49145,"title":"Meituan hit with antitrust probe days after its $10 billion fundraising","content":"Meituan\u2019s boss Wang Xing has personal experience of the \u2018pick-one-out-of-two\u2019 tactics now being targeted by China\u2019s antitrust regulators. The current campaign is part of a clampdown on internet companies that have demanded exclusivity from merchants on their platforms. Alibaba has just been given a record Rmb18.2 billion ($2.8 billion) fine for the practice by the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR). But Wang was presented with a slightly different version of the choice when Meituan was a much smaller player in its sector. Would he choose Alibaba or Tencent as Meituan\u2019s senior investor?\r\n\r\nWang picked Tencent, primarily because he didn\u2019t want Alipay as Meituan\u2019s only payment gateway, says news portal Huxiu. Of course, since then Meituan has become an internet heavyweight in its own right and its rift with Alibaba has been much discussed in the media (see WiC498).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nStill, there was no gloating from Wang when his rival fell foul of SAMR this month. Perhaps that was because he was preparing for a similar fate. Meituan was one of 34 peers in the internet sector that pledged this month to comply with SAMR rules and news broke this week that regulators are now formally investigating it for it own \u201cpick-one-out-of-two\u201d tactics.\r\n\r\nMeituan…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/meituan-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"9"},{"id":49150,"title":"Zheng buys Korean LCD materials business","content":"Cedar trees symbolise strength and eternity in Chinese culture. In Mandarin they are described as shanshan and the name is an apt one for a company set up by Ningbo businessman Zheng Yonggang in the late 1980s.\r\n\r\nOver the last three decades, Zheng has made his name by anticipating new trends well before the competition. In the 1990s, he was one of the first to franchise his clothing business \u2013 named Shanshan \u2013 after developing one of China\u2019s first designer suit brands. He went on to become one of the first private sector entrepreneurs to list his firm in 1996.\r\n\r\nA decade later, Zheng moved away from clothing towards rare earths and until last year Shanshan was better known as a supplier of battery materials. Now he is repositioning his business empire for a third time as he becomes chairman of his Shanghai-listed entity once again. Zheng\u2019s new business line is polarisers, a key raw material for the liquid crystal display (LCD) panels used in electronic devices.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLast summer, South Korea\u2019s LG Chem agreed to sell its polariser business in China to Shanshan for $1.1 billion. The deal received regulatory approval at the beginning of this year and the impact of the change…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Bund-w-1.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"10"},{"id":49152,"title":"Sino-Aussie ties worsen further over BRI deal","content":"China\u2019s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is inspired by the ancient Silk Road, which stimulated trade and cultural exchange for thousands of miles between China and Europe. Quite whether the merchants of old ever reached Australia is open to question, although that didn\u2019t discourage the state government of Victoria, which signed up to the BRI\u2019s reinterpretation of the silk routes three years ago\r\n\r\nThe deals \u2013 effectively commitments to work with the Chinese government on infrastructure projects under the BRI banner \u00ad\u2013 were outliers in a period in which the Sino-Australian relationship has disintegrated alarmingly. But relations then turned even more rancorous last week when Australian foreign minister Marise Payne said that the federal government was cancelling Victoria\u2019s BRI deals.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nPayne terminated both deals, along with two older agreements between the Victorian government and Iranian and Syrian entities, claiming that they were \u201cinconsistent with Australia\u2019s foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations\u201d.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis is another unreasonable and provocative move taken by the Australian side against China,\u201d the Chinese embassy in Canberra protested immediately. \u201cIt further shows that the Australian government has no sincerity in improving China-Australia relations.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe federal government introduced new legislation in December allowing it to veto agreements at lower levels…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Marise-Payne-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"11"},{"id":49155,"title":"State-backed Minmetals now an antitrust target","content":"Ten years after retiring as Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao made an unexpected return to the spotlight this month after penning a short series of articles for the Macau Herald, a little-known weekly.\r\n\r\nIn one of the pieces, the 78 year-old paid tribute to his mother, who died last December, telling a rather brutal story of how she beat him after he came home with a penny he had picked up from the street.\r\n\r\n\u201cFrom that incident I knew that I must not take what isn\u2019t mine, not even one cent\u2026 I kept this [lesson] for decades, without breaking the principle once,\u201d he wrote.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nPolitical analysts were soon decoding the tale for subliminal criticism of the current government, especially of President Xi Jinping, China\u2019s paramount leader. They did the same for Wen\u2019s recollections of his humble roots, inferring that he must hold a dimmer view of Xi\u2019s \u2018princeling\u2019 background as the son of a former leader.\r\n\r\nMentions of \u201cretirement\u201d from Wen were even interpreted as a veiled rebuke of Xi\u2019s extended tenure as president.\r\n\r\nClaims that Wen was sending a political message are still conjecture, although censors did little to dispel the rumours with its move to restrict the readership of Wen\u2019s articles by disabling the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Wen-Jiabao-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"12"},{"id":49158,"title":"A sugar-free local brand challenges Pepsi and Coca-Cola \u2013 then apologises","content":"Xu Han, who is in his mid-20s, admits that he hasn\u2019t had a soft drink in a long time. In the past, he told ThePaper.cn, his family often served Sprite and Coca-Cola at dinner gatherings. But more recently, their choice of beverage has been changed to fruit juices and milk-based drinks.\r\n\r\nXu explains that he chose to skip carbonated drinks because they are \u201cunhealthy\u201d and he is watching his weight. He avoids sugary drinks whenever possible \u2013 only occasionally indulging in a cup of milk tea with his girlfriend.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s bad news for soda companies like Pepsi and Coca-Cola, which were already struggling to find growth opportunities for carbonated drinks in China. To jumpstart sales this summer, the two US beverage giants recently unveiled their latest marketing splashes \u2013 just two days apart from one another \u2013 by hiring new brand ambassadors.\r\n\r\nIn early April, Pepsi announced that pop icon Cai Xukun would represent Pepsi Zero Sugar, its sugar-free cola. Coca-Cola appointed TF Boys member Wang Junkai to endorse Coke and Coke Zero.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cThe serious homogeneity of soda means that the competition in the beverage industry is not only a competition about the product but also a competition of distribution, marketing and brand equity,\u201d…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Wang-Junkai-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"13"},{"id":49161,"title":"Chopstick maker to IPO in Shenzhen","content":"Primitive forms of forks \u2013 made from animal bones \u2013 have been unearthed in burial sites in China\u2019s Gansu province. They date back 4,000 years and predate by a few centuries the usage of chopsticks.\r\n\r\nIt is not known why the ancient Chinese abandoned the three-pronged utensil for something that works more like a lever. Perhaps it was because the influential sage Confucius deemed forks to be a symbol of violence. Some historians suggest that the Chinese preferred to economise on the use of cooking fuels by pre-slicing meat and vegetables into bite-sized pieces, making chopsticks more practical. Another possibility: forks were inappropriate for eating some local delicacies such as broth-filled dumplings.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWith 1.4 billion people using them today, chopsticks represent a huge market in China \u2013 so much so that they are fuelling an initial public offering by one of their major manufacturers: Suncha Technology.\r\n\r\nThe Hangzhou-based kitchenware company said in a filing last month that it is looking to raise Rmb425 million ($66 million) through a flotation on Shenzhen\u2019s main board. Nearly 65% of the funds from its share sale will be put towards building a new manufacturing facility in Zhejiang province to boost its production capacity.\r\n\r\nFor the last three years,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Chopsticks-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"14"},{"id":49164,"title":"What\u2019s next for an ex-con property tycoon?","content":"Shanghai LandShanghai has seen some of the biggest increases in property prices in China over the last 20 years. Residents of the country\u2019s financial capital that declined the chance to purchase a flat will rue missing the bull market.\r\n\r\nZhou Zhengyi may have missed the boat too. He controlled a Hong Kong-listed firm called Shanghai Land which owned a portfolio of prime real estate in the city. If the Shanghai native had stayed the course, his company might have grown into one of China\u2019s biggest developers, besting the likes of Vanke, Country Garden and Evergrande. Zhou would have had a shout at topping the rankings of China\u2019s richest people too.\r\n\r\nBut things turned out differently and Zhou has spent a large part of the last two decades behind bars.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHe was first given a three-year sentence in 2004 for fraud and stock market manipulation.\r\n\r\nShortly after his release in 2007, he was rearrested and sentenced to another 16-year term for similar crimes, with a bit of bribery thrown in for good measure.\r\n\r\nHong Kong media reported at the time that Zhou\u2019s case came to light when the Chinese government started to clean up the banking sector. As it turned out Liu Jinbao, the then boss…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Bund-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"15"},{"id":49167,"title":"Air-con tycoon Dong Mingzhu stars in Chinese version of The Apprentice","content":"Even though the Chinese economy has rebounded strongly from the worst of the pandemic \u2013 seeing an 18.3% rise in GDP in the first quarter of this year \u2013 there are still millions of fresh university graduates hunting for employment. A reality show on Mango TV, the streaming platform of Hunan Satellite TV, reckons it can point a few of them in the right direction with interview tips and career advice.\r\n\r\nWorkplace Newcomers, which began streaming in early April, follows a group of college graduates as they battle for a chance to work for one of biggest names in business.\r\n\r\nThe series, which is in its second season, features three interns competing to win over hard-charging Gree chairwoman Dong Mingzhu (see WiC65).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAnother group of candidates compete for a position at actor Zhang Han\u2019s start-up, Visual Inception, a talent agency.\r\n\r\nThe first challenge the candidates encounter at Gree is a marketing campaign designed to appeal to younger female consumers. One executive from the company suggests a stratagem: Dong should meet with other female bosses for afternoon tea, where the discussion about entrepreneurship and female empowerment can be streamed online. Dong asks the interns for their opinion and one contestant Zheng Ruxin risks offence when…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Dong-Mingzhu-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":49170,"title":"An engineer wins hearts and minds","content":"A sense of stoicism is admired in Chinese culture. Take the expression chiku, which translates as \u201ceating bitterness\u201d, suggesting that hardships are meant to be endured without complaint.\r\n\r\nHuang Guoping, who experienced a series of challenges in his early life before ending up as a top AI scientist at Tencent has been held up as a symbol of this indomitable spirit. Huang\u2019s life story, which was partially recounted in the acknowledgement section of his PhD thesis, has made headlines across the country.\r\n\r\nWho is he?\r\n\r\nBorn in 1987 Huang hails from a remote village in Sichuan province (see photo above of his rustic home). His mother left the family behind when he was 12, while his dad was too busy making a living to take much care of him.\r\n\r\nHis main caregiver \u2013 his grandmother \u2013 died when he was 17. His father died that same year in a car accident.\r\n\r\n\u201cDoing homework or reading under a kerosene lamp in the evening gave me the biggest happiness. If it rained, my nighttime activity was patching the ceiling with bamboo shoots to prevent water seepage,\u201d Huang recalled, remembering that his main source of income before high school came from selling the eels and fish that he…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Village-House.png","category":"Red Star","page":"17"},{"id":49174,"title":"Zhao wins Best Director at the Oscars, but there\u2019s no celebration in China","content":"The 93rd Academy Awards, held last Sunday, were significant for several reasons. This year\u2019s nominations were mainly for films that had been watched via the internet. And in another new departure, nine of the 20 acting nominations went to people of colour, with 70 women nominated across 23 categories.\r\n\r\nThe best director gong went to a candidate from both groups \u2013 the 39 year-old Chloe Zhao, director of Nomadland, which also won best picture.\r\n\r\nThe Beijing-born filmmaker is only the second woman to win the award and the first non-Caucasian female (Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman to win the best director title for The Hurt Locker in 2010).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBut in China, where Zhao lived until she was 14, the celebrations of her victory were decidedly muted. The day after her Oscar triumph there was no mention of it on Xinhua or CCTV, the state broadcaster. There was some low-key coverage in English-language newspapers like the Global Times but social media was eerily quiet. Weibo posts sharing news of her win were all reported to have been censored within an hour.\r\n\r\nIndeed, the telecast for the Academy Awards wasn\u2019t even aired in China, with the Washington Post reporting that media regulators decided not to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Chloe-Zhao-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]},{"id":1690,"name":"Issue 537","date":"Apr 23, 2021","title":"Tensions rise in Taipei","tagline":"As former US Senator and close Biden friend Chris Dodd arrives in drought-stricken Taiwan, the island has become a flashpoint for geopolitical and tech worries","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/537.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/537-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":49068,"title":"A drought and a wastewater plan add to cross-Strait tensions","content":"Some of the world\u2019s biggest battles over the last century have been fought over oil. But Kamala Harris, the American vice-president, thinks that more of the conflicts of the future will be waged over another commodity. \u201cI would suggest to you in a short matter of time, wars will be fought over water,\u201d she warned this month.\r\n\r\nThe remark \u2013 coming as part of efforts to drum up support for Joe Biden\u2019s plans for a $111 billion investment in water infrastructure \u2013 didn\u2019t merit much of a mention in the American media. But the warning did lead to a wider discussion on Chinese social media at a time when water shortages across the Taiwan Strait are making headlines.\r\n\r\nCoincidentally, Taiwan\u2019s worst drought in decades has come at a time when Japan seems to have moved away from a longstanding convention in its diplomatic policy towards the island, alarming the Chinese.\r\n\r\nAnd complicating matters further is a plan in Tokyo to dump more than a million tonnes of nuclear wastewater into the Pacific, which has done little to improve the mood in Beijing.\r\n\r\nHow bad is Taiwan\u2019s drought?\r\n\r\nWith a tropical climate in its south, the island of Taiwan gets annual rainfall about 2.6 times the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Touqian-River2-w.jpg","category":"Cross Strait, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":49071,"title":"Can China and the US find common ground in climate change policy","content":"Global temperatures are rising but could they offer a chance to take some of the heat out of the relationship between China and the US, after months of verbal clashes between the two superpowers?\r\n\r\nHopes were high over a visit by US special envoy John Kerry to his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua for two days of climate change talks in Shanghai last week. The former secretary of state was the first senior US official to visit China since Joe Biden took office in January and his trip coincided with the 50th anniversary of \u2018ping-pong diplomacy\u2019 \u2013 the visit of the US table tennis team in April 1971 that signalled an end of two decades of estranged China-US relations.\r\n\r\nNevertheless, in terms of diplomatic symbolism, observers soon decoded that the welcome for Kerry lacked a little warmth. There was no red carpet or Red Flag limousine waiting for him at the airport. Instead the Chinese sent a passenger van to carry the American delegation to their hotel.\r\n\r\nThe positive spin on Kerry\u2019s trip was that climate policy offers the two governments a chance to collaborate, putting aside their disagreements on trade, human rights, intellectual property, technology and more.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBut others see global warming as another…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Biden-w.jpg","category":"Environment, ESG","page":"8"},{"id":49074,"title":"Second biggest e-commerce player under attack","content":"After Alibaba was slapped with a record $2.8 billion fine for anti-competitive behaviour (see WiC536), regulators called a meeting of more than 30 of the country\u2019s largest internet firms to \u201cgive full play to the cautionary example of the Alibaba case\u201d.\r\n\r\nBut as the sector speculated over who might be the next for punishment, tycoon Yao Jinbo had a very specific target in mind.\r\n\r\nLast week, the chief executive of 58.com \u2013 a classifieds portal sometimes described as China\u2019s Craigslist \u2013 called for an antitrust fine for its rival Beike, the leading online real estate platform.\r\n\r\nYao accused Beike of practices similar to those that have been censured at Alibaba. \u201cIn the property brokerage sector someone is pretending that sellers are voluntarily choosing \u2018one from two\u2019 [a now frowned upon tactic that forces merchants to choose a single platform as their exclusive distribution channel]. I strongly urge the country to impose an antitrust fine on Beike of Rmb4 billion, using 4% as the benchmark [the same penalty levied on Alibaba\u2019s sales],\u201d he wrote.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBeike, set up by the real estate brokerage Lianjia, has been accused of sharp practice by rivals in the past. According to iheima, a news portal, it was the first agency…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Yao-Jinbo-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"10"},{"id":49077,"title":"Oil major joins China\u2019s EV\u2008race with NIO partnership","content":"If there\u2019s one thing that can be confidently said about China\u2019s development over the past few decades, it\u2019s that change happens at lightning speed. The country typically achieves whatever milestone is under consideration far quicker than anyone in the outside world expects.\r\n\r\nYet, go back one year and it would have been rash to forecast that one of the country\u2019s three state-owned oil majors was rapidly heading for a lower valuation than a six year-old electric vehicle (EV) start-up \u2013 particularly one that was then on the verge of bankruptcy.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s just what happened earlier this year when the market capitalisation of NIO overtook that of Sinopec, the world\u2019s largest oil refiner by capacity.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt was another highly symbolic moment signifying the shifting of the tectonic plates away from \u2018old economy\u2019, fossil fuel-led companies to \u2018new economy\u2019, green-tinged ones. Over the past month, Sinopec has reclaimed some lost ground. It now sits on a $78 billion market value compared to NIO\u2019s $59 billion.\r\n\r\nHowever, Sinopec knows that in order to remain competitive it has to transform itself into a clean energy company. As such, it plans to become a carbon-neutral entity and wants to achieve this target 10 years ahead of China\u2019s own 2060…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Nio-w-1.jpg","category":"Auto Industry, ESG","page":"11"},{"id":49080,"title":"CATL readies new cobalt deal","content":"Cobalt is found in almost all of the lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones, laptops and electric cars today. An element commonly found in copper or nickel mines, it is scarce but toxic. And even as scientists work on new formulas that eliminate the lustrous metal from cathode composition, the expensive material isn\u2019t expected to be supplanted in the foreseeable future.\r\n\r\nWhy? The stability and performance benefits it affords to lithium-ion batteries is still unbeatable.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTo that end, Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL), the world\u2019s largest EV battery maker, announced on April 11 that it had struck a $137.5 million agreement with China Molybdenum in a bid to gain access to a high-grade copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Under the partnership, the Ningbo-based company will obtain a 24% stake in a project called Kisanfu, while its Luoyang-based counterpart will retain 71% ownership, and the Congolese government 5%. Located close to Tenke Fungurume, a giant copper-cobalt mine also owned by China Molybdenum, Kisanfu contains an estimated 3.1 million tonnes of cobalt and 6.2 million tonnes of copper.\r\n\r\nKisanfu is CATL\u2019s second largest investment in upstream cobalt production. In 2018 it claimed a 25% stake in a $700 million nickel-cobalt asset in Indonesia. But…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/CATL-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"12"},{"id":49083,"title":"Longi and Sinopec team up in long-term pivot to hydrogen-based energy","content":"The footage of the heads of Sinopec, Longi and two other energy companies sitting down for a debate might well have looked like a World Economic Forum moment. Instead, it was from a CCTV programme aired on April 17, during which the guests talked enthusiastically about one thing: hydrogen.\r\n\r\nThe lightest element in the periodic table, hydrogen has been gaining weight as a policy topic since President Xi Jinping made the bold pledge last September for China to be carbon neutral by 2060 (see WiC513). Environmentalists and energy experts believe the most abundant chemical substance in the universe could also be a game-changer. Hydrogen releases nothing other than heat and water when reacting with oxygen or combusting in air to generate power, making it among the cleanest possible fuels. The fact that hydrogen has high energy intensity both in gas or liquid form makes it an even better candidate to replace oil, natural gas and coal.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nDriven by a common aspiration for emissions-free energy, the oil-and-gas giant Sinopec and photovoltaics major Longi inked a pact on April 13 to focus on distributed solar power generation, as well as helping to develop the nascent market for hydrogen applications.\r\n\r\nHydrogen, rarely found in pure form,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Sinopec-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources, ESG","page":"14"},{"id":49089,"title":"Sany plans STAR listing of new energy wind turbine unit","content":"A decade ago, Liang Wengen was riding high at the top of the Forbes China rich list. The founder of Sany Heavy Industry became the country\u2019s richest tycoon by providing the construction equipment that helped China to urbanise rapidly. Liang was even tipped to become the first private sector entrepreneur to be elected to the Communist Party\u2019s Central Committee, a powerful body that comprises 300 or so of the most senior Party cadres.\r\n\r\nIt did not happen and Sany was dislodged from its home base in Changsha by state-owned rival Zoomlion (see WiC123; it relocated its headquarters to Beijing). Over the past decade, Liang\u2019s ranking has fallen to 148th in the rich list. However, while Liang\u2019s down, he\u2019s far from out.\r\n\r\nSany has just had a very good year, overtaking Caterpillar as the world\u2019s largest excavator manufacturer. Financial analysts believe that it will also become the world\u2019s largest overall construction machinery producer this year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nRevenues and profits rose by more than a third last year. The company\u2019s Shanghai-listed stock responded by more than doubling in 12 months.\r\n\r\nBut the fact remains that if Liang wants to power his way back up the rich list rankings, he needs to cultivate another revenue stream. And he…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Sany-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources, ESG","page":"15"},{"id":49086,"title":"New rules to curb couriers\u2019 packaging waste","content":"Chinese delivery companies transported 83 billion parcels last year, generating some 16 million tonnes of waste paper and packaging. Food delivery firms handled 17.1 billion orders, generating mountains of single-use-plastics in rubbish dumps around the country.\r\n\r\nThe government has been trying to curb some of the environmental impact of outflows like these, issuing more stringent rules to curtail the piling up of consumer lifestyle waste.\r\n\r\nSome of the earlier directives are about to bite as cities and sectors strive to meet plastic and packaging reduction targets. This month the municipal authorities in Beijing announced that as of July 1 the manufacturing and sale of the following will be forbidden: thin plastic bags (less than 0.025mm), disposable bowls (often used for soup noodles), plastic ear buds as well as non-degradable plastic coffee stirrers. Single-use plastic cutlery is also to be prohibited in restaurants, although it will be permitted when ordering take-out.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn early April China\u2019s State Post Bureau also launched a campaign to reduce the amount of plastic tape, filler and other non-reusable materials that is consumed by the booming parcel delivery sector. The drive \u2013 backed by new regulations issued in March \u2013 aims to reduce \u2018secondary\u2019 packaging by 80% by year-end. It…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Delivery-Guy-w.jpg","category":"Logistics","page":"17"},{"id":49092,"title":"Elementary school drama focuses on obsessive parenting","content":"It was a decade ago that Amy Chua released her hugely controversial book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. In it she explained why ultra-competitive parenting styles raised stereotypically successful kids, destined for Ivy League schools and great careers. In China, TV dramas about parenting have tapped into a similar sentiment, becoming a hugely successful genre. It probably helps that there are already plenty of make-or-break moments of tension around the gaokao, the crucial college entrance exam. But the genre shows no signs of slowing.\r\n\r\nPrevious stars in the category include 2016\u2019s A Love for Separation and 2019\u2019s A Little Reunion, both written by Lu Yingong in an effort to explore the social costs of an education-obsessed culture. The latest instalment of Lu\u2019s franchise is Little Dilemma, which has been streaming on iQiyi since mid-April.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt follows two types of parents with young children in elementary school. First, there is Tian Nanli (played by actress Song Jia), who takes a more laissez-faire approach, allowing her daughter Huan Huan to explore her own interests in arts and music. But as grades start to suffer, Nanli succumbs to the pressure and decides that Huan Huan\u2019s core education is now a priority, packing her schedule…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Jiang-Xin-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment, Society","page":"18"},{"id":49095,"title":"China's most popular Uighur actress","content":"Who is she?\r\n\r\nDilraba Dilmurat, also known as Dilireba, is an actress, singer and model of Uighur ethnicity.\r\n\r\nNow 28, she got her start when she was 21 in the lead role in television drama Anarhan. She\u2019d earlier caught the attention of A-list actress Yang Mi, who signed the drama student to her talent management agency Jay Walk Studio.\r\n\r\nWhy is she famous?\r\n\r\nThe actress has featured in a number of TV dramas, including the lead role in 2018\u2019s popular series The Flame's Daughter, which has been viewed 7 billion times on online streaming platform Youku.\r\n\r\nIn 2020, she also starred in the hugely popular fantasy costume drama Eternal Love, which reportedly surpassed 7 billion views on Tencent Video.\r\n\r\nShe has also attracted a massive following on social media. In June 2020 she was ranked as the second most popular celebrity on short video platform Douyin, with 55.6 million followers. On Sina Weibo, she boasts 73.6 million fans and she reported endorsement deals with 35 brands in 2019, the most in Chinese show business.\r\n\r\nDilraba is reported to have earned at least Rmb200 million ($30.76 million) from her commercial work to date, although there was one fewer sponsor on her roster this month after she announced that…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Dilraba-Dilmurat-w.jpg","category":"Section","page":"19"},{"id":49098,"title":"New anti-fraud app gets 100 million downloads","content":"Phone scams are big business in China: in the first three months of this year citizens were said to have lost nearly Rmb19 billion ($2.92 billion) to grifters, according to the government.\r\n\r\nAs part of a campaign to counter the fraudsters, the Ministry of Public Security has created an app that identifies dubious calls and messages. Called the \u2018National Anti-Fraud Centre\u2019, it sends a message if the user has been contacted from numbers or accounts suspected of fraudulent activity.\r\n\r\nWithin two weeks of its release, the app had been downloaded over 100 million times, rising to the top of Apple\u2019s App Store ranking in China. But it wasn\u2019t universally welcomed, with complaints that people were being compelled to download it in order to get vaccinated or send their kids to school. Others said that the app was glitchy and that they had been plagued by calls from unknown callers since installing it.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cI went to renew my child\u2019s ID card and I was forced to install this app to get the card. The school is insisting that parents install it and recommend it to others. This is an abuse of public power! Not to mention that the app itself has so many bugs,\u201d…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2021\/04\/Telephone-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]}]}