{"issues":[{"id":1743,"name":"Issue 590","date":"Jun 24, 2022","title":"Capitol controls","tagline":"New law heading through the US Congress looks set to curtail American investment in China","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/WiC590-1.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/590-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":52677,"title":"Washington pushes for new law to block US investment in China","content":"What\u2019s the best way to stop China challenging for semiconductor supremacy?\r\n\r\nProbably not by trying to suffocate its supply of key equipment and components, it seems, after reports this week that China\u2019s chip sector has grown faster than anyone else\u2019s over the last year.\r\n\r\nNineteen of the world\u2019s 20 fastest-growing chip firms now hail from China, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, up from eight at the same time last year.\r\n\r\nMuch of that is a reaction to American efforts to choke off access to key parts and equipment for chipmaking, something that Chas Freeman \u2013 a long-time China expert (he translated for President Nixon in 1972) and a former US ambassador \u2013 talked about in a wide-ranging interview with WiC last week.\r\n\r\n\u201cOne of the things I\u2019ve learned over the years dealing with export controls in various contexts is that if a foreign entity knows that something can be done and vaguely how it can be done, cutting them off just stimulates them to do it themselves,\u201d he explained. \u201cI wish my own country, instead of trying to tear China down, was trying to build our own competitive capacity up. But we can\u2019t seem to get our act together to pass the legislation…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/China-Electronics-w.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":52680,"title":"Beijing warns Washington on rate hikes","content":"Fighting inflation seems to be one of a diminishing number of objectives that the world\u2019s two biggest economies have in common. For example, one of the less-discussed outcomes from a virtual meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his American counterpart Joe Biden last November was that both countries agreed to tap their strategic oil reserves in efforts to keep a lid on petrol prices.\r\n\r\nIn trying to tame spiralling inflation for other goods, Washington wants more from Beijing. One priority: pressuring the Chinese into ditching their \u2018zero-Covid\u2019 policy, which is being blamed for disrupting global supply chains and stoking price rises.\r\n\r\nBeijing looks more concerned about the spike in American interest rates, however. \u201cIf major economies slam on the brakes or take a U-turn in their monetary policies, there would be serious negative spillovers,\" Xi warned at the Davos summit in January, claiming that developing countries would bear the brunt of the impact.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSo have the two countries made substantive efforts to address each other\u2019s concerns? No, far from it.\r\n\r\nOver the past few months the Chinese government has put the country\u2019s four biggest cities into lengthy lockdowns in a bid to stamp out a resurgence in Covid infections.\r\n\r\nThe result was a further…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Xi-Mask-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"7"},{"id":52706,"title":"Bank scandal prompts \u2018health code\u2019 row","content":"In the 2008 movie The Dark Knight, Batman creates a virus that infiltrates every cell phone in Gotham, allowing him to spy on the city\u2019s 30 million people. Over in China, mandatory jiankang ma, or \u2018health codes\u2019 on smartphones, have been used to battle against viruses, in this case the spread of Covid-19, of course. But following a controversial move from the Henan authorities to manipulate the health codes to quell a planned protest, concerns have been raised that the software \u2013 which collects information including health records, travel histories and data on contact between users \u00ad\u2013 could also be abused for other means.\r\n\r\nThe smartphone app was introduced in early 2020 to generate health codes for people in areas threatened by Covid-19 outbreaks. Akin to the traffic light system, a green signal indicates that a person has been fully vaccinated and recently tested negative for the virus. Yellow or red flags suggest that the individual is an infection risk, however (perhaps by having close contact with someone already reported as infected with the virus). People with this status are barred from entering most public places.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThat all seemed practical enough, given the infectious nature of the pandemic. But depositors in a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Health-QR-Code-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"8"},{"id":52700,"title":"Does the 618 event point to slowing growth in the Chinese economy?","content":"Was the 618 online shopping festival a riot of consumer confidence after lockdown measures had eased or further evidence that demand has dropped and the Chinese economy is slowing?\r\n\r\nWell, it depends who you ask.\r\n\r\nAccording to Xinhua 618 was a \u201csales bonanza\u201d, while the Global Times celebrated sales figures from the three-week event as \u201cproof of a bounce back in consumer spending, manufacturing and logistics\u201d.\r\n\r\nThen there was the other view: ThePaper.cn described the discount-fuelled extravaganza as \u201cthe most deserted 618\u201d it had witnessed.\r\n\r\nNo one is disputing the underlying statistics.\r\n\r\nJD.com, the e-commerce firm which established the 618 event in June 18, 2004 to mark its founding date, posted sales of Rmb379.3 billion ($56.6 billion), a 10.3% increase on last year\u2019s total.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTechnically this was a new record, as the Global\u2008Times pointed out, but the 10% increase was also a new low for China\u2019s second biggest e-commerce event (after Alibaba\u2019s Singles\u2019 Day in\u2008November). In previous years the increases have tended to be around 30%.\r\n\r\nSo what\u2019s behind the drop-off?\r\n\r\nOne factor is Covid and the uncertainty that many Chinese feel about what the coming year will bring: will they travel, will they be locked down, and are their jobs safe in a slower economy?\r\n\r\nMs Zhou from…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/JD-office-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"9"},{"id":52703,"title":"Why IKEA shutting a store in Shanghai was a hot topic","content":"Zhang Meng, a college student in Shanghai, used to spend her weekends walking around the IKEA store in Shanghai\u2019s Yangpu district with her friends, she told JRJ.com, a financial news site. Sometimes the design major liked to roam the store for creative inspiration. But most of the time, she admitted, she didn\u2019t spend any money there.\r\n\r\n\u201cI just like to stroll around,\u201d Zhang explained.\r\n\r\nShe will soon have to find a new place to hang out. That\u2019s because last week the Swedish furniture maker announced that the Yangpu outlet will be closing in early July. The news came as a surprise as it opened just two years and three months ago.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe store has been bleeding cash since the first day it opened,\u201d one insider told Winshang, a real estate news site.\r\n\r\nNearby residents say that the IKEA shop in Yangpu, which is part of the Pudong New Area (where the Shanghai\u2019s largest airport and its international Expo site are located), was doomed from the outset.\r\n\r\nNot only was it opened just before the Covid-19 outbreak, the shopping mall-housed venue is also far smaller than IKEA\u2019s typical warehouse-scale outlets in China. Its flagship store in Shanghai\u2019s Puxi, for instance, offers a much wider selection of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/IKEA-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"10"},{"id":52692,"title":"Wingtech want bigger role in Apple\u2019s supply chain","content":"The Malus spectabilis, or Chinese flowering apple, is a tree that grows in a number of provinces in China. Each spring it produces spectacular blossoms. However, the apples that ripen later each summer are far too bitter for most people\u2019s tastes.\r\n\r\nSome of the supply chain companies serving the Malus spectabilis namesake, Apple Inc, know that feeling too. Peeled-back profits have been leaving a sour taste, with Taiwan\u2019s Compal the latest company to step back from accepting orders to make Apple Watches and iPads on the grounds that they offer \u201climited growth and profits\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe news was first reported by Taipei-based tech publication DigiTimes. It added that Apple was splitting Compal\u2019s former contracts between China\u2019s Luxshare Precision and Taiwan\u2019s Foxconn (also known as Hon Hai).\r\n\r\nCompal\u2019s retreat follows that of Taiwan\u2019s Quanta Computer, which withdrew for similar reasons in 2019. Both complained about their limited pricing power with such a high-profile client. And it\u2019s not hard to see why: data from S&P Global Market Intelligence suggests that Compal recorded a wafer-thin 1% net profit margin in the 2021 financial year, compared to Apple\u2019s 25.9%.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOver the last few weeks the Chinese media has been looking at just how fruitful it is to sign up…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Foxxcon-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"11"},{"id":52697,"title":"Bytedance firm takes on\u2008Zuckerberg in the metaverse","content":"When the science fiction writer Neal Stephenson came up with the term metaverse in 1982, he envisaged a virtual world where multitudes of people could interact with each other in digital form.\r\n\r\nFour decades later and the metaverse is going mainstream, cropping up in conversations across a range of different sectors and situations.\r\n\r\nHowever, the virtual reality (VR) hardware needed to access the new world is dominated by one key player. That company has also co-opted part of the name as its own \u2013 Meta. The tech giant formerly known as Facebook has been so successful at selling its Oculus Quest headsets that it now commands 78% of the global market, according to IDC data.\r\n\r\nThird in the market share rankings is a Chinese company called Pico. It only claims about 4.5% of VR hardware sales but its new owner Bytedance has plans to supercharge its business following a $1.5 billion acquisition last year.\r\n\r\nFirst up is a ban on its employees even mentioning the word \u2018metaverse\u2019, which is now so closely associated with its chief competitor. Next is a hiring spree, with reports from tech news platform Protocol that Pico is building a VR consumer software and games team in the US, as…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Pico-Headset-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"12"},{"id":52683,"title":"Russia attends an annual summit with China","content":"The \u2018BRIC\u2019 concept, an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China, was introduced more than two decades ago by former Goldman Sachs economist Jim O\u2019Neill to recognise the role of emerging markets in the global economy.\r\n\r\nChina had just joined the World Trade Organisation and foreign investors were excited by the new frontier of opportunity. In 2010 South Africa joined the grouping, which was renamed as BRICS.\r\n\r\nThe club has preferred to focus on trade and economics, largely steering clear of political criticism of one another. That included choosing not to condemn the Kremlin when Crimea seceded from Ukraine in a referendum organised by the Russians in 2014. China and India have also stayed studiously neutral this year as a fuller conflict flared between the Ukrainians and the Russians, much to the frustration of the United States and its allies.\r\n\r\nSo far there has been no direct criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin and all the BRICS nations other than Russia abstained from voting in a UN General Assembly resolution in March supported by 141 countries that called on Moscow to withdraw from Ukraine.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThis week\u2019s annual BRICS summit, now in its 14th edition, could also be seen as something of a diplomatic \u2018win\u2019…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Putin-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"13"},{"id":52686,"title":"Freeman appraises China\u2019s Middle East relations","content":"This is a short second part to last week\u2019s lengthy Q&A with China expert Chas Freeman. The background on his stellar diplomatic career can found in the previous issue but between 1989 and 1992 Freeman was US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Here he talks about China\u2019s relations with the Middle East and his views on Henry Kissinger.\r\n\r\nBased on your ambassadorial experience how do you assess what Beijing and Riyadh want from each other and where relations stand?\r\n\r\nIt is a relationship of convenience, as most international relationships are.\r\n\r\nThe Saudis developed what they regard as an unhealthy dependency on the United States. They don\u2019t have any confidence in the United States after our failure to protect Hosni Mubarak, our prot\u00e9g\u00e9 in Egypt, or to come to their aid against Iran when Iran and the Houthis struck Saudi Aramco facilities in their Eastern province, and they\u2019ve noticed that the US reaction to Iranian naval operations in the Strait of Hormuz has not been forceful. And so, they have been trying for many years, not just because of the rise of Islamophobia in the United States after 9\/11 but for many reasons, to diversify their international relationships.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThey\u2019ve looked not just to China, but to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Chas_W_Freeman-w-1.jpg","category":"Corporate Q&A","page":"14"},{"id":52689,"title":"Fengtai reopens as Asia\u2019s biggest train station","content":"Fengtai railway station in Beijing was the Chinese capital\u2019s first proper train station, built in the late 1890s during the minor construction boom that followed China\u2019s defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War.\r\n\r\nThe terminus, which used to offer services to Shanghai and Guangzhou, was closed in 2010. This week, after a 12-year hiatus, it reopened as Asia\u2019s largest railway hub. Some of the old edifice still stands, alongside a gleaming new three-level transport centre connected to the metro, the standard railway network, and the national bullet-train line.\r\n\r\nThe 32-track station will take some of the traffic load away from Beijing West and other busy hubs in the capital, serving as another departure point for destinations as far away as Guangzhou and Hong Kong.\r\n\r\nFengtai\u2019s delayed reopening highlights the impact that China\u2019s zero-Covid policy is having on the economy. The rebirth is two years late and despite being designed to process 14,000 passengers an hour, the new hub was decidedly quiet in the days following its relaunch.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nImages posted to social media showed cavernous waiting halls with only a handful of passengers preparing to catch trains and banks of lengthy escalators carrying a couple of travellers between them.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere aren\u2019t many people here,\u201d one passenger reported…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/China-Rail-w.jpg","category":"Rail & Infrastructure","page":"15"},{"id":52709,"title":"Are Hollywood studios going the way of the dinosaur in China?","content":"Even though nearly three decades have passed since Steven Spielberg\u2019s 1993 dinosaur epic Jurassic Park first hit the big screen, the franchise has found new ways to connect with old and new fans. Jurassic World Dominion again features Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, along with T-Rex \u201cRexy\u201d and the Velociraptor \u201cBlue\u201d. The latest sequel also brings back three stars from the original cast: Laura Dern as Dr Ellie Sattler; Jeff Goldblum as Dr Ian Malcolm; plus Sam Neill as Dr Alan Grant.\r\n\r\nThe film has also brought China\u2019s cinema industry back to life despite its having received negative word-of-mouth and poor audience ratings. On Douban, the TV series and film review site, Dominion received a rating of 6.3 out of 10, the lowest in the Jurassic franchise. Regardless, the blockbuster has still gone on to rake in Rmb600 million ($90 million) since its release on June 10. It\u2019s also the first film in months to surpass the Rmb100 million mark on its opening day.\r\n\r\nThe first three Jurassic Park films were never officially shown in China during their original worldwide releases in 1993, 1997 and 2001 respectively. But the country\u2019s audiences knew enough of the reptilian cast to flock to cinemas…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Laura-Dern-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":52712,"title":"Prince of Ballet","content":"Born in 1992 in Huizhou in Guangdong province, ballet dancer Chen Zhenwei\u2019s love for dance began in kindergarten. His parents had hoped for him to go to college and get a high-paying job, but from the age of 11 he spent six years training at the Guangzhou Art School with the dream of one day becoming a principal dancer.\r\n\r\nAs a finalist at the 2010 Prix de Lausanne international competition for aspiring professionals, he received a full scholarship from the Houston Ballet Academy to study with their second company. In 2012, he then joined the Houston Ballet corps de ballet, achieving his lifelong ambition by rising to become principal dancer in 2017 (here he followed in the footsteps of Li Cunxin who was also principal dancer for the Houston company and whose story is told in the bestselling book Mao\u2019s Last Dancer). \u201cDreams do come true,\u201d Chen said in an interview with Xinhua in 2018.\r\n\r\nWhy is he in the news?\r\n\r\nIn August 2021, Chen became a soloist at the New York City Ballet. The company is notoriously difficult to get into; 95% of its dancers rise into its ranks from the School of American Ballet, meaning only 5% of the company\u2019s coveted…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Chen-Zhenwei-w.jpg","category":"Red Star","page":"17"},{"id":52720,"title":"Hong Kong\u2019s Palace Museum opens July 2","content":"In 1924, thirteen years after the end of the Qing Dynasty, the expulsion from the Forbidden City of Puyi, China\u2019s last emperor, raised questions about the purpose of the imperial palace. With no one in residence, some wanted to destroy the royal palace, but others saw it as a potent symbol of Chinese civilisation. And so the Palace Museum was born.\r\n\r\nWang Xudong, the director of the Beijing Palace Museum, reminded audience members of this original vision at a talk this week in Hong Kong\u2019s West Kowloon area. The event was organised as a celebration of the opening of the Hong Kong Palace Museum on July 2, which will display one of the largest collections on loan from the Beijing Palace Museum in its history.\r\n\r\nThe Hong Kong venue began construction in April 2019 inside the 90-acre site in the West Kowloon Cultural District. While it showcases ancient Chinese objects its museum neighbour is the recently launched M+ (it houses decidedly more modern contemporary Chinese art). Both are in prime locations by the city\u2019s harbourside.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe new Palace Museum\u2019s five-storey design, which has been likened to a ding, or ancient Chinese cauldron, will house nine galleries and a total of 914 items from…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Mplus-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]},{"id":1460,"name":"China\u2019s Tycoons","date":"","title":"China\u2019s Tycoons","tagline":"Profiles of 150 top business leaders","pdf-link":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2016\/09\/WiC150Tycoons-final.pdf","image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoons-cover_2016.jpg", "articles":[ {"id":67777777, "title":"Profiles of China\u2019s most successful businesspeople and how they succeeded", "content":"One way to evaluate the economic circumstances of a country is to examine its most successful entrepreneurs. This is the third edition of China\u2019s Tycoons, a book which seeks to enlighten readers about the Chinese business elite. In this volume we profile 150 of the nation\u2019s top tycoons – that\u2019s up from the 125 featured in last edition.", "image":"\/images\/no_image.png", "category":"Introduction", "page":"6"}, {"id":70123000, "title":"Himin to Hanergy", "content":"Tycoons include Zhang Yue and Zhu Gongshan", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-1_Zhang-Yue.jpg", "category":"Alternative Energy", "page":"13"}, {"id":70123001, "title":"Geely to BYD", "content":"Tycoons include Li Shufu and Cao Dewang", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-2_Li-Shufu.jpg", "category":"Automotive", "page":"16"}, {"id":70123002, "title":"Tiens Group to Golden Meditech", "content":"Tycoons include Li Li and Sun Piaoyang", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-3_Li-li.jpg", "category":"Biotech and Pharmaceutical", "page":"23"}, {"id":70123003, "title":"Li Ning to Bosideng", "content":"Tycoons include Li Ning and Zhou Chengjian", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-4_Li-Ning.jpg", "category":"Clothing", "page":"31"}, {"id":70123004, "title":"Lenovo to Huawei", "content":"Tycoons include Liu Chuanzhi and Lei Jun", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-5_Liu-Chuanzhi.jpg", "category":"Computing and Tech", "page":"39"}, {"id":70123005, "title":"Wahaha to WH Group", "content":"Tycoons include Zong Qinghou and Wan Long", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-6_Zong-Qinghou.jpg", "category":"Food", "page":"51"}, {"id":70123006, "title":"Alibaba to Tencent", "content":"Tycoons include Jack Ma and Ma Huateng", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-7_Jack-Ma.jpg", "category":"Internet", "page":"60"}, {"id":70123007, "title":"Fosun to Anbang", "content":"Tycoons include Guo Guangchang and Wu Xiaohui", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-8_Guo-Guangchang.jpg", "category":"Investment", "page":"83"}, {"id":70123008, "title":"Amer to Shagang", "content":"Tycoons include Shen Wenrong and Huang Zelan", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-9_Shen-Wenrong.jpg", "category":"Natural Resources", "page":"102"}, {"id":70123009, "title":"Wanda to SOHO", "content":"Tycoons include Wang Jianlin and Pan Shiyi", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-10_Wang-Jianlin.jpg", "category":"Property", "page":"114"}, {"id":70123010, "title":"Suning to Sanpower", "content":"Tycoons include Zhang Jindong and Tang Yiu", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-11_Zhang-Jindong.jpg", "category":"Retail", "page":"131"}, {"id":70123011, "title":"Gree to Midea", "content":"Tycoons include Dong Mingzhu and He Xiangjian", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-12_Dong-Mingzhu.jpg", "category":"White Goods", "page":"141"}, {"id":70123012, "title":"Sany to Spring Airlines", "content":"Tycoons include Liang Wengen and Wang Wei", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-13_Liang-Wengen.jpg", "category":"Other Industries", "page":"144"} ] },{"id":1742,"name":"Issue 589","date":"Jun 17, 2022","title":"Chas Freeman\u2019s 50-year view","tagline":"Nixon\u2019s former translator and legendary China expert, Ambassador Chas Freeman talks to WiC about deteriorating Sino-US ties and the date of a Taiwan invasion","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/WiC589.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/589-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":52607,"title":"Nixon\u2019s translator talks Sino-US tensions and Taiwan invasion prospects","content":"Chas Freeman is a veteran American diplomat who has witnessed a half-century of Washington\u2019s international relations with China and the Middle East.\u2008Among the vivid memories from his momentous career is the moment he started to smoke \u2013 in Beijing in 1972. The cigarettes were the Xiongmao (Panda) brand and it was Li Xiannian, a future president of China, who got him hooked. The urge for nicotine was part of a response to some frosty looks from US president Richard Nixon (the anecdote is retold later in this interview).\r\n\r\nFreeman began his career in India and Taiwan before becoming Charg\u00e9 d\u2019Affaires in Beijing and Bangkok and later Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, where he helped to negotiate the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola. From 1990 to 1992, he was Ambassador to Saudi Arabia during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and from 1993 to 1994 served as US Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration. Freeman also served as the principal interpreter for President Nixon during his trip to China in 1972.\r\n\r\nHe is currently a senior fellow at Brown University\u2019s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, as well as chairman of Projects International.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAmbassador Freeman sat down with…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Chas_W_Freeman-w.jpg","category":"Investor Q&A, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":52630,"title":"Is Huawei set to take on Starbucks in coffee push?","content":"Ren Zhengfei is not a coffee drinker. But that hasn\u2019t stopped the founder of Huawei from becoming a coffee devotee. He\u2019s known to have joked that when he retires, he would like to open a coffee shop. He has also been quoted (repeatedly) pushing the maxim, \u201cA cup of coffee absorbs the energy of the universe\u201d.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s not to say that Ren thinks caffeine has some magical power. \u201cWhat he means is that over a cup of coffee, people can openly communicate with each other and exchange ideas,\u201d one company insider explained to Time Weekly. \u201cAnd a coffee shop is a way to facilitate the conversation.\u201d\r\n\r\nLast week, news surfaced that Huawei has applied for a new trademark with Ren\u2019s famous tagline, sparking rumours that the telco giant is planning to open its own coffee chain. It didn\u2019t take long before media reports circulated that Huawei envisages opening more than 100 cafes in Shanghai. The company has neither denied nor confirmed the speculation.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThis could just be a defensive move by Huawei to prevent its name from being registered by newcomers to the coffee industry, which has become increasingly crowded.\r\n\r\nIn addition to large chains like Luckin Coffee, Starbucks and Costa, start-ups including Manner…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Coffee-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"14"},{"id":52644,"title":"The 618 shopping festival has suffered from an influencer deficit","content":"Even though 618, China\u2019s mid-year online shopping festival, is set to peak this Saturday, the country\u2019s e-commerce giants aren\u2019t expecting a season of bumper sales. Held in the period running up to June 18, the festival is China's second-largest shopping event after the November 11 Singles Day, which was first created by Alibaba. But interest has been more subdued this year because of Covid controls and weakening consumer spending.\r\n\r\n\u201cCompared with previous years, this is definitely the toughest 618,\u201d Entertainment Unicorn warned grimly this week. \u201cShanghai just came out of the nearly 70-day lockdown and the shadow of the outbreak has not yet subsided. There have also been frequent reports of layoffs and salary cuts. Unlike previous years when brands and platforms would be promoting themselves around-the-clock, this year it\u2019s so quiet that it feels like the 618 party is already over.\u201d\r\n\r\nAlibaba\u2019s sales push over the period has also been unsettled by the disappearance of Li Jiaqi, Taobao Live\u2019s biggest money-maker. Li, who is known as the \u2018Lipstick King\u2019, hasn\u2019t hosted a livestream since June 3, when his programme was cut short after he presented a plate of ice cream.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe way that the ice cream was decorated resembled the shape of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Li-Jiaqi-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"15"},{"id":52634,"title":"Hong Kong\u2019s iconic floating restaurant sailed away from the city this week","content":"Aberdeen harbour in Hong Kong Island is called \u2018Hong Kong Tsai\u2019 in Cantonese, which means \u2018little Hong Kong\u2019. As the oldest fishing village in the area, one suggestion is that it was actually called \u2018Hong Kong\u2019 more than two centuries ago and the foreign sailors who landed there thought it was the name for the entire island, later using it for the territory as a whole.\r\n\r\nAberdeen is home today to the 92- hectare Ocean Park (much visited for its marine life, rollercoasters and cable car), and till this week also hosted the Jumbo Floating Restaurant. Both attractions were popular with tourists \u2013 from mainland China in particular \u2013 before visitor arrivals to the city collapsed in 2019, hit first by territory-wide protests against the government and then poleaxed by Covid-19 travel restrictions.\r\n\r\nA government bailout was needed to keep Ocean Park from bankruptcy last year. Formerly the world\u2019s largest floating restaurant, Jumbo has also struggled to stay afloat, both financially and literally.\r\n\r\nJumbo Kingdom, the company that operates the 250-feet vessel and a smaller adjoining boat called Tai Pak, began laying off staff in January 2020. Two months later the restaurant closed until further notice. Its owner then said that the iconic…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Jumbo-Floating-Restaurant-w.jpg","category":"Tourism","page":"17"},{"id":52637,"title":"A revival of China\u2019s Grand Canal grabs media attention","content":"Running from Beijing to Hangzhou, the 1,400 year-old Grand Canal was a vital artery of transportation, boring through China\u2019s \u2018north-south divide\u2019.\r\n\r\nAt more than 1,700 kilometres, the waterway is the world\u2019s longest of its type. It\u2019s also a hot topic once again, following a massive effort to refill it.\r\n\r\nDifferent canals have been built across the Middle Kingdom for 2,500 years but Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty ordered a massive construction effort to extend and link many of them into a giant waterway.\r\n\r\nThe project\u2019s completion in 609 didn\u2019t do much for Yang\u2019s prospects, as his reign lasted for less than 10 more years. Indeed, he went down in history as one of China\u2019s worst tyrants, partly because of the lives that were lost during the canal\u2019s construction.\r\n\r\nNevertheless, the robust volumes of trade and other transport that would pass along the canal laid some of the foundations for the golden age of the Tang Dynasty, when the Middle Kingdom became the world\u2019s greatest power during the early eighth century.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nFast forward a thousand years to the Qing Dynasty and many parts of the Grand Canal had become clogged up because of insufficient maintenance. To add to the waterway\u2019s woes, cargoes were now being…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Grand-Canal-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Tourism","page":"18"},{"id":52627,"title":"Geely-backed ECARX mulls US listing","content":"It doesn\u2019t seem that long ago that Li Shufu was making a name for himself by talking about carmaking as being a simple affair of just putting together \u201cfour wheels and a sofa\u201d.\r\n\r\nNo longer the outsider, the founder of Zhejiang Geely now sounds a lot more polished in championing his company as a pioneer in \u2018global mobility technology\u2019.\r\n\r\nNo doubt it helps that he\u2019s also the major backer of ECARX, an automotive technology firm that is joining forces with COVA Acquisition in the biggest blank-cheque merger yet between a Chinese firm and a special-purpose acquisition company (or SPAC). The deal, which should be completed later this year, gives ECARX a pre-money valuation of $3.4 billion.\r\n\r\nIt comes at a time when the mood has been tense for Chinese companies trying to tap the capital markets in the United States, epitomised by the disastrous year at Didi Global, China\u2019s largest ride-hailing platform, which dropped out of the New York Stock Exchange last week after angering Beijing with an ill-timed share sale.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nECARX will be hoping for an easier ride for its software, which supports the \u2018digital cockpits\u2019 of the latest generation of cars in areas like navigational aids and infotainment. But the bigger goal…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Li-Shufu-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"19"},{"id":52623,"title":"New Oriental pivots to \u2018educational\u2019 e-commerce","content":"I am Dong Yuhui. I am the son of a farmer. I was a teacher. Now I am a salesman.\u201d\r\n\r\nThis is how Dong introduces himself during his sales sessions on video platform Douyin. His profile sounds like that of an uninspiring teacher who\u2019s trying his luck in a new field after losing his job.\r\n\r\nThis was exactly what happened to many teachers after the Chinese government\u2019s crackdown on the education sector last year. New directives banned private sector firms including Dong\u2019s employer New Oriental from offering the majority of its tutoring services for-profit.\r\n\r\nBut Dong is now one of the most sought-after salesmen in the e-commerce sector. Rather like Taiwanese singer Liu Genghong, who was having a lacklustre career in the entertainment industry before seeing his popularity explode after filming a few exercise videos during lockdown, Dong came to stardom out of nowhere.\r\n\r\nPreviously an English language teacher at a branch of the New Oriental tutoring business in his hometown of Xi\u2019an, Dong had instructed more than 500,000 students in the past eight years but like most newcomers to the broadcasting industry, the 29 year-old was initially nervous in front of the camera and didn\u2019t know how to communicate with his audience. Some…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Dong-Yuhui-w.jpg","category":"Education","page":"20"},{"id":52613,"title":"Tencent\u2019s reality TV show pushes eSports further into the mainstream","content":"Last week Tencent announced it will be rolling out a global version of its hugely popular mobile game Honor of Kings by the end of this year. The game has been described as a mobile adaptation of League of Legends (designed by Riot Games, now majority-owned by the Chinese internet giant) and is the most popular mobile title in China. Tencent claims that as of November 2020, there were 100 million daily active users of the game, in which players have to work in teams to battle against each other.\r\n\r\nThe game is hugely lucrative. Players purchase special weapons and powers to enhance their characters to compete with their opponents. By 2021, Honor of Kings had accumulated $10 billion in revenue worldwide since its launch, making it the highest-grossing mobile game on Google\u2019s Play\u2008Store and Apple\u2019s App Store, according to market analytics provider Sensor Tower.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLast week, Tencent launched a new reality TV series to further raise the profile of the game. We are the Champions follows a group of celebrities \u2013 most of whom are themselves genuinely avid gamers \u2013 as they train with professional players to give them a taste of the life led by the eSports stars. They are…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Yang-Mi-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"21"},{"id":52616,"title":"An attack on three women triggers shock across China","content":"The industrial city of Tangshan is only 150 kilometres east of Beijing, the heart of Chinese government.\r\n\r\nYet it appears the writ of the capital has been chronically weak here after a violent attack on three women in a restaurant exposed years of corruption and gang-led criminality.\r\n\r\nThe attack, which happened in a brightly lit restaurant on June 10, has triggered a renewed national debate about women\u2019s safety in China and the government\u2019s suppression of feminist discourse.\r\n\r\nSeven men and two women have since been arrested in connection with the beatings which occurred after one of the injured women rejected the advances of a man who had been sitting at another table with several other male companions.\u201cLet\u2019s grab those women and rape them by the side of the road,\u201d 163.com reported one of the men as saying a few minutes prior to the attack.\r\n\r\nAfter that he approached one of the women and put his hands on her back. When she pushes him away, he slaps her in the face.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nFriends from both sides then join in, with one of the woman\u2019s friends smashing a bottle over the man\u2019s head, while a man from the other side hurls a chair at the women. Eventually the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/3-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"22"},{"id":52619,"title":"\u201cBeautiful example of globalism\u201d","content":"\u2018Half-and-half\u2019 unites or divides. At least, that seems to be the case for Eileen Gu, or Gu Ailing, the double Olympic gold medallist born in California to a Chinese mother, whose goal of \u2018using winter sport to connect people\u2019 has often come up against the challenges of divisive geopolitics.\r\n\r\nGu shot to fame at this year\u2019s Beijing Winter Olympics, not just for becoming the youngest Olympic champion in freestyle skiing at 18 years-old, but also for the controversy surrounding her choice to represent China at the Olympics, despite having been born and raised in the US.\r\n\r\nAt a time of heightened Sino-US tensions, being half-Chinese and half-American in itself might be expected to lead to an identity struggle without having to factor into the mix an athlete\u2019s limitation of being able to represent only one national team. Gu has fielded many a touchy question on her dual nationality, mixed-race heritage and what many Americans see as a betrayal of her country. But she earned the adoration and support of her Chinese compatriots in February after she won two gold medals and a silver for China in freestyle skiing.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThen on June 8 at the TIME 100 Summit, Gu announced her appointment as an…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Eileen-Gu-w-scaled.jpg","category":"World of Weibo","page":"24"},{"id":52610,"title":"Messi scores with two Chinese dairy giants","content":"Can Lionel Messi inspire Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar later this year? With his 35th birthday coming this month, Messi likely won\u2019t get another chance to emulate his idol Diego Maradona, who led the national team to lift the trophy in Mexico in 1986. At least the omens look promising: Argentina haven\u2019t lost for 32 games, the longest streak in their history.\r\n\r\nMessi\u2019s prodigious soccer skills may be on the wane. But his commercial star power is still strong. Yili \u2013 the biggest of China\u2019s dairy companies \u2013 has just announced a sponsorship deal with the Argentina football team and their captain is at the heart of its new advertising campaign.\r\n\r\nYet Messi also has a longstanding deal with rival dairy firm Mengniu for his image rights on a personal basis, meaning it can run its own ads centred around the soccer star.\r\n\r\nThe two dairy giants have a history of marketing mayhem, with Yili trumping Mengniu to become the official supplier of dairy products for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Mengniu then partnered with Coke to become a joint beverage sponsor at the Games, a move that Yili immediately opposed. It fumed on social media, accusing Mengniu of deliberately…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Messi-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"25"}]},{"id":1741,"name":"Issue 588","date":"Jun 10, 2022","title":"Hu dares wins","tagline":"Could the rescue of Hu Baosen\u2019s provincial property giant be a model for the beleaguered real estate colossus Evergrande?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/WiC588.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/588-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":52550,"title":"Lessons from the bailout of a troubled real estate baron in Henan province","content":"You could infer pretty much everything about the dramatic changes that Chinese football and the beleaguered property sector have undergone recently from the Chinese Super League\u2019s (CSL) opener last week, with Henan Songshan Longmen drawing 2-2 with Dalian Professionals.\r\n\r\nUntil 2021 the former team was known as Henan Jianye, the same name as that of the real estate developer which had been its owner since 1994. It was the only CSL team which had not changed its name until an order by the Chinese government last year instructed all clubs to drop references to sponsors or owners in their names.\r\n\r\nDalian Pro was previously known as Dalian Wanda. The property heavyweight of the same name was the pioneer that came up with the winning strategy of investing aggressively in a football club in return for brand awareness and influence.\r\n\r\nBoth teams have a strong fanbase but many supporters have been disenchanted not only by the name changes but also by the recent takeovers of their clubs by state-owned entities in their respective home provinces. Indeed, SOEs have become an increasingly influential force within the CSL (including at reigning champions Shandong Taishan, see WiC568).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAbout half of the 16 teams are still backed by property…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Hu-Baosen-w.jpg","category":"Property, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":52556,"title":"EV battery firms look to lock in raw materials","content":"\u201cA skilled woman cannot cook without rice,\u201d warned the Southern Song Dynasty poet and historian Lu You, in what has become a famed Chinese saying.\r\n\r\nThe country\u2019s media has been deploying that idiom again this week to illustrate the increasing challenges for the electric vehicle (EV) sector in sourcing materials to manufacture the growing volume of batteries the eco cars require.\r\n\r\nThere have been plenty of headlines about skyrocketing prices for lithium carbonate: up from Rmb77,000 per tonne in January 2021 to Rmb500,000 per tonne in March 2022. Since then prices have eased slightly to their current level around the Rmb480,000 per tonne mark. However, domestic commentators believe the respite will be brief, attributing the pullback to the temporary impact of Covid-19 lockdowns in cities like Shanghai on EV manufacturing output.\r\n\r\nThis May the International Energy Agency called for urgent investment in new mining projects. It predicts that by 2030 a 50% gap will open up between the lithium mined and the market demand, based on current supply and on future projects that have already been commissioned.\r\n\r\nAs we reported in WiC582, Tesla has been particularly vocal about \u201cinsane\u201d raw material prices and why it now feels compelled to secure supplies directly from mining…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Lithium-Production-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"7"},{"id":52553,"title":"Fintech giant reveals new director sparking renewed talk about its IPO","content":"\u201cHigh liability vs low benefit\u201d was the headline in the Shanghai Daily when the newspaper reported on an exodus of independent directors from Chinese firms last December.\r\n\r\nAt least 40 of them had resigned in a month after a local court ruled that five board members at Kangmei Pharmaceutical should bear some of the responsibility for financial fraud at the firm (see WiC452) and jointly compensate investors for a combined Rmb2.5 billion ($390 million) of losses. The quintet were each given fines of up to Rmb246 million although they collected less than Rmb200,000 a year each for their directorships at Kangmei.\r\n\r\nThe exodus is still going on, with Sina Finance reporting that more than 100 A-share firms notified their shareholders in April alone that one or more of their independent directors had resigned.\r\n\r\nSomeone bucking the trend is Laura Cha, the chairwoman of HKEX (the company which runs Hong Kong\u2019s stock exchange), who is joining the board of Ant Group.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe fintech arm of internet giant Alibaba has been undergoing a corporate revamp after its megabuck dual-listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai disintegrated in late 2020. But the addition of the 68 year-old Cha is significant, many commentators think, because it signals another step…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Laura-Cha-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"9"},{"id":52565,"title":"Is regulatory pain over for Didi and Full Truck?","content":"Just a few years ago private equity investors were scrambling for the chance to take stakes in China\u2019s fastest-growing internet firms. The potential returns were huge. At one point Alibaba\u2019s fintech arm Ant Group was the world\u2019s most valuable unicorn and ride-hailing app Didi was not too far behind in the rankings. But the exit window for pre-IPO investors in the duo has stayed firmly shut for most of the insiders after failed efforts to list on public markets (aborted by Ant and botched by Didi) triggered Beijing\u2019s furious crackdown on the country\u2019s leading \u2018internet platforms\u2019.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nThings first began to go awry with the Chinese government\u2019s antitrust probe into Ant, which resulted in the company shelving what would have been the world\u2019s largest ever IPO in late 2020.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nInvestors did have a brief opportunity to divest from Didi when its stock price surged as much as 29% on trading debut in New York on June 30 last year.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nBut the moment soon passed as China\u2019s cyberspace watchdog launched another investigation into the 10 year-old firm that stymied its growth prospects (for instance, by stopping it from signing up new users for its apps).\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nBoth companies have since been revamping their businesses in a bid…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Didi-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"10"},{"id":52559,"title":"China to build a new railway through Kyrgyzstan","content":"When a new railway line through Kyrgyzstan last came up for serious discussion five years ago, the plan was an ambitious one. The idea was to connect Kashgar in China with Tashkent in Uzbekistan, traversing high altitudes via nearly 50 tunnels and more than 90 bridges.\r\n\r\nBut there was a major problem, complained Almazbek Atambayev, the Kyrgyz president at the time. Trains on the proposed line through Kyrgyzstan wouldn\u2019t take a break until they had reached Jalal-Abad, a town on the western border with its larger neighbour Uzbekistan. \u201cWe don't need a railroad that goes through the territory of Kyrgyzstan without making even one stop,\u201d he fumed.\r\n\r\nA railway like this looks like a classic fit with China\u2019s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has already delivered thousands of kilometres of new rail networks to China\u2019s neighbours. In fact, the idea dates back to the mid-1990s, long before the BRI was launched as a foreign policy priority. For years there were disagreements between the three nations on the plan for a railway, leading to a stopgap solution in 2018, when a new link was launched between Kashgar and Tashkent but with the lengthy middle section through Kyrgyzstan relying entirely on road haulage.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBut…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Kyrgystan-w.jpg","category":"Belt and Road","page":"11"},{"id":52562,"title":"Moutai unveils its new liquor-infused ice cream","content":"Of the world\u2019s culinary oddities, the deep-fried Mars bar must feature high on the list.\r\n\r\nThe Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven (on Scotland\u2019s northeast coast) proudly claims to have invented it after plunging the first chocolate bar into a tub of boiling cooking oil in 1995.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s not clear what inspired the idea for such a strange snack but it subsequently caught on and is now offered as a \u2018delicacy\u2019 in innumerable Scottish chippies.\r\n\r\nJoining the list of odd combinations \u2013 although this one was probably a little more predictable, WiC reckons \u2013 is an intoxicating addition to the Chinese ice cream market.\r\n\r\nIconic baijiu brand Kweichow Moutai has \u2018crossed worlds\u2019, in the words of Chinese netizens, to collaborate with Mengniu Dairy to produce Moutai Ice Cream. The ice cream, which debuted with the opening of Moutai\u2019s first ice cream shop on May 19, comes in milk, vanilla and tiramisu flavours. The alcohol content is 3% and servings cost Rmb39 ($5.83) each.\r\n\r\nAt the end of May, the new range also became available as a prepackaged product in Guiyang, the capital city of Moutai\u2019s home province of Guizhou. With another new flavour on offer \u2013 plum \u2013 the company sold over 40,000 servings through its…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Moutai-icecream-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"12"},{"id":52542,"title":"HSBC China Conference looks at the road ahead for driverless cars in China","content":"\u201cWelcome to the Future, Mom\u201d proclaimed a short video doing the rounds on social media from Baidu last month, showing a middle-aged woman climbing into a driverless taxi from Apollo Go, the search giant\u2019s ride-hailing service.\r\n\r\nAfter years of anticipation about autonomous vehicles on Chinese roads, regulators have just released new licences for driverless rides in Beijing, sparking excitement that the self-driving revolution is finally here.\r\n\r\nYuqian Ding, Head of Auto Research at HSBC Qianhai Securities, takes a similar view in \u2018China Autonomous Driving, Taking off the learner plates\u2019, a major piece of research that champions China as the global frontier for the sector.\r\n\r\nThe technologies of the future were also a feature of the HSBC China Conference last month, with sessions that covered semiconductors to supply chains, alongside briefings on industries like green energy, electric vehicles and artificial intelligence.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nDuring the conference Ding delved deeper into the latest trends in autonomous driving (AD) with two senior executives from the industry \u2013 one in chip making, the other in software systems.\r\n\r\nHere\u2019s what they had to say about three themes to consider.\r\n\r\nChina is on a faster track than other markets\r\n\r\nThe consensus is that AD adoption in China is likely to lead the rest of the world.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Autonomous-Driving-w.jpeg","category":"HSBC Partner Content","page":"13"},{"id":52583,"title":"College entrance exam battles lockdown issues","content":"Sitting the gaokao, China\u2019s annual college entrance exam, is stressful at the best of times. Anxious parents gather outside the examination venues as the police redirect traffic in a bid to create silence for the test-takers.\r\n\r\nStudents sitting the exam in many cities this year face additional layers of pressure: they must wear masks, show proof of negative virus tests and pass temperature checks before they can even sit down at their desks to take the papers.\r\n\r\nThis year\u2019s round of examinations, which were held this week, was another massive undertaking in logistical terms, with 11.93 million students sitting the test across 330,000 examination rooms across the country.\r\n\r\nThe circumstances were unusual: day one of the exams was the first time that many students in the Chinese capital Beijing had seen their classmates for weeks, for instance, following long periods in which schools have been closed.\r\n\r\nAnd for kids in districts still locked down by local governments it has even meant taking the test in individual hotel rooms, with no chance of going home each day after the examinations are over.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMore than 800 students across the country were scheduled to sit the exam in quarantine hotels or other temporary quarantine sites, the Ministry of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Gaokao-w.jpg","category":"Education","page":"15"},{"id":52586,"title":"Illustrations raise parental ire in school maths book","content":"Normally students don\u2019t get excited about maths books because they are dry, numbers-filled tomes that do little to inspire those who aren\u2019t mathematically inclined.\r\n\r\nNot so in China where a widely-used maths textbook has triggered a powerful row because of the \u201cugly\u201d illustrations.\r\n\r\nThe debate \u2013 which has led to promises of a publishing industry overhaul \u2013 has divided the country\u2019s parents. Some of them said the illustrations were evidence of \u201cWestern infiltration\u201d, while others worried about further ideological tightening being imposed on publishers.\r\n\r\nThe one thing almost everyone agrees on is that the pictures were indeed \u201ctragically ugly\u201d and borderline \u201cgrotesque\u201d, with children depicted with large foreheads, tiny drooping eyes and extremely high eyebrows. In addition, the images occasionally emphasised a child\u2019s gender by outlining genitals through clothes. Several images were thought to be sexually charged, including one where a jumping girl exposed her underwear.\r\n\r\nAs anger over the illustrations grew online, some also pointed out that two of the drawings showed boys in clothes that resembled the US flag, while another image of a child\u2019s toy plane is emblazoned with the number N33K \u2013 making it look like an old Japanese fighter plane.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cWhy are our beautiful children being depicted in this disturbing…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/textbook5-w.jpg","category":"Education","page":"16"},{"id":52572,"title":"Drama about female entrepreneurs contrasts with tycoon\u2019s bankruptcy","content":"Before she became known around the world for her role in Disney\u2019s remake of Mulan, Liu Yifei, 34, was popular in China for her roles in costume dramas. Her career started when she was just 15, becoming the breakout star in 2003\u2019s Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, an adaptation of Louis Cha's wuxia novel of the same title. Two years later she was tapped to play the lead role of Xiaolongnu, one of the female protagonists in Cha\u2019s The Return of the Condor Heroes. With her angelic appearance, fans called Liu the \u201cFairy Sister\u201d.\r\n\r\nAfter a string of costume dramas, Liu then moved into films before trumping over a thousand competitors for the lead role of Mulan in 2020. Many thought she would continue her acting career in the United States, but she surprised the industry by choosing to appear in another Chinese costume drama, her first after 16 years.\r\n\r\nA Dream of Splendour debuted last weekend and it racked up almost 600 million views on Tencent Video over the first five days of its release. On Douban, the TV series and review site, the show is scoring a very positive rating of 8.8 out of 10, rendering it the most highly rated TV…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Liu-Yifei-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":52576,"title":"\"Sweetheart Goddess\" is back","content":"Born in 1982 in Hsinchu in Taiwan, Wang Xinling did not have an easy childhood. Her parents divorced when she was 10 and Wang had to take care of her mother, who was going through depression, as well as raise her younger brother. In 1998 she was accepted to Taipei Hwa Kang Arts School, where she majored in drama. Her big break came when she was chosen by Avex Trax, the Japanese management company behind 1990s Japanese pop icon Amuro Namie, to become a pop singer.\r\n\r\nWhat made her famous?\r\n\r\nAfter spending several months training in Japan, Wang began her career as a singer in Taiwan. Her second album, Love You, was released in 2004 and the title song was so catchy that it dominated the charts for months. Wang built up a huge fanbase, becoming known as the \u201cSweetheart Goddess\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhy is she in the news now?\r\n\r\nWang returned to the limelight when she appeared as a contestant on the third season of Hunan Satellite TV\u2019s hit reality competition Sisters Riding Waves.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nHer debut performance \u2013 which saw her perform Love You once more, dressed in an outfit reminiscent of a school uniform and with a ponytail \u2013 quickly topped the hot topic list…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Wang-Xinling-w.jpg","category":"Red Star","page":"19"},{"id":52569,"title":"NFT sneakers (briefly) arrive in\u2008China","content":"In late May Chinese venture capitalist Zhu Xiaohu \u2013 an early backer of Didi Chuxing, Ele.me, and Ofo \u2013 posted on WeChat that he had just purchased a pair of NFT sneakers from StepN, a lifestyle app.\r\n\r\n\u201cI finally bought a pair of BSC [blockchain] shoes after a busy day. I will try to run to make some money tomorrow,\u201d he promised (for a profile of Zhu, see WiC396).\r\n\r\nFounded by two Chinese entrepreneurs last December, StepN uses the Solana blockchain to sell customers virtual sneakers in the form of a nonfungible token (NFT).\r\n\r\nIt also operates as a \u2018move-to-earn\u2019 game \u2013 offering players the chance to earn tokens by walking or running in the real world.\r\n\r\nPlayers must own a pair of digital running shoes (the NFTs) to join the game. Depending on how much activity there is during the day, they can earn in-game tokens called GST (or Green Satoshi Token). When their NFT sneakers have generated a certain level of these tokens they can then be traded into cryptocurrencies.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nPlayers can choose to cash out but many try to earn more money each day by reinvesting back into the system, perhaps by paying to upgrade their shoes or by buying more of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/stepn-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1740,"name":"Issue 587","date":"Jun 3, 2022","title":"The e-commerce bloodbath","tagline":"Online shopping giants have faced setbacks after regulatory crackdowns and recent lockdowns \u2013 but Bytedance\u2019s platforms have benefited","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/WiC587.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/587-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":52479,"title":"How lockdowns and crackdowns have hurt China\u2019s e-commerce giants","content":"For decades the \u2018Four Great Inventions\u2019 of the compass, gunpowder, papermaking and printing have been celebrated as historic examples of ancient China\u2019s innovative spirit. Less well remembered is that this was an imported idea,  first spread by European missionaries who focused on three core inventions among the four.\r\n\r\nThe fourth, papermaking, was only \u2018added\u2019 after 1949. The move was part of a propaganda push to rebuild confidence in a shattered country, one that had suffered a lengthy period of civil war and foreign occupation. It was an attempt to restore pride in the Middle Kingdom\u2019s innovative past by a new regime wishing to redress  China\u2019s \u2018century of humiliation\u2019.\r\n\r\nMore recently Beijing has been pushing for a  \u201cgreat rejuvenation\u201d to invigorate the Chinese nation by 2049. Not too surprisingly, the messaging around the campaign seems familiar, although it is  \u2018Four New Great Inventions\u2019 that have found their way to the forefront of the updated narrative.\r\n\r\nThe notion started with a video from the People\u2019s Daily and the Beijing Foreign Studies University in 2017, in which students from 20 different countries were asked to list the leading examples of Chinese technology they wanted to bring back to their homelands.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe four most common replies were e-commerce,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Zhang-Yong-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":52482,"title":"Why\u2008did Li Keqiang host an unprecedented video call?","content":"Despite denials from the Kremlin, rumours abound that Vladimir Putin is terminally ill, a view triggered by an audio recording obtained by New Lines Magazine (it quotes a Russian energy oligarch  and has widely been reported on by international media including The Times in the UK). The speculation extends to what this might spell for the longevity of  Putin\u2019s presidency. \r\n\r\nThe rumours from Beijing in recent weeks haven\u2019t come close to claiming that Xi Jinping\u2019s time in office is reaching its closing days. But the gossip is growing that there could be some kind of policy split in elite political circles.\r\n\r\nCommentators outside China have seized on an unusual video call last week from Li Keqiang, the Chinese premier and second in rank behind Xi, as further evidence of tensions at senior levels.\r\n\r\nLi spoke to more than 100,000 government officials across the country last Wednesday, warning of an economic crisis that could be worse than two years ago after Covid first emerged in China.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nRisks to growth were slipping out of a reasonable range, Li told his audience during the online conference, predicting a long and difficult road to recovery if the economy didn\u2019t keep growing over the rest of the year.\r\n\r\nHe warned…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Li-Keqiang-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"7"},{"id":52484,"title":"BYD\u2008has raced past Tesla in the Chinese market","content":"\u201cFew seem to realise that China is leading the world in renewable energy generation and electric vehicles,\u201d noted Tesla supremo Elon Musk in a post on Twitter and Sina Weibo this Monday. \u201cWhatever you may think of China, this is simply a fact.\u201d\r\n\r\nWhat Musk didn\u2019t add is how this might impact on Tesla\u2019s prospects over the longer term as the world\u2019s bestselling passenger electric vehicle (EV). One potential challenger elicited much laughter when Musk was asked about it in a 2011 TV interview, for instance.\r\n\r\nThe company in question is BYD. When asked to explain his mirth, Musk queried whether the Bloomberg journalist had actually seen any of BYD\u2019s cars.\r\n\r\n\u201cI don\u2019t think they have a great product,\u201d he said. \u201cIt\u2019s not attractive. The technology isn\u2019t particularly strong,\u201d said Musk.\r\n\r\n\u201cBYD has pretty serious problems on its home turf in China. I think they should focus on not dying there,\u201d he continued.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThat was then. BYD\u2019s sales now make it much more of a contender. In April, it sold 105,475 vehicles in a record-breaking month. In the process, it grabbed seven slots out of China\u2019s EV top 10.\r\n\r\nTesla didn\u2019t even figure in the top 20, although much of the sales discrepancy relates to the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Cars-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"9"},{"id":52486,"title":"Warning to investors as\u2008CATL sues rival CALB over patents ahead of its listing","content":"In China you might typically steer clear of competition with a state-owned enterprise that used to develop missiles for the People\u2019s Liberation Army.\r\n\r\nUnless you are CATL, perhaps, the world\u2019s biggest producer of batteries for electric vehicles and a key contributor to China\u2019s drive to reach carbon-neutral status by 2060.\r\n\r\nThe story starts in the city of Luoyang in Henan province. Sitting in one of China\u2019s ancient capitals is the former headquarters of China Lithium Battery Technology (CALB). Next door is the missile developer in a smaller building with a supersized slogan that translates as \u201cServing the country with aviation; strengthening the army; and enriching the people\u201d.\r\n\r\nA smaller rival of CATL, CALB applied for a stock market listing in Hong Kong in March. In its prospectus, the EV battery maker revealed that it was formerly a part of the China Airborne Missile Academy, a unit of the aerospace and defence giant AVIC. As part of a corporate restructuring ahead of its IPO, CALB was spun off from AVIC. All military-related businesses have been transferred to its missile-developing parent and its biggest shareholder is now a vehicle controlled by the local government of Jintan district (in Jiangsu), although AVIC has retained a stake…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/CALB-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"10"},{"id":52488,"title":"Debates rage as Chinese cities \u2018normalise\u2019 regular Covid testing","content":"This week Shanghai finally re-opened after a two-month lockdown.\r\n\r\nBut residents quickly discovered a new addition to their streets: 9,000 permanent testing booths.\r\n\r\nThe idea, say the authorities, is to \u201cnormalise\u201d regular Covid testing so that individual cases can be caught early and another full-scale lockdown can be avoided.\r\n\r\nSimilar networks are being established in other major cities such as Beijing with each municipality also setting rules that require residents to get tested every three days in order to use public transport or enter public spaces.\r\n\r\nThis massive investment \u2013 the booths, the staff, and the tests \u2013 is a sign that China is still deeply committed to the idea of \u2018zero-Covid\u2019.  Salaries of up to Rmb10,000 a month are being offered to people to man the booths.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn April the head epidemiologist of the national Covid response team, Liang Wannian, warned that the country\u2019s medical system would be overwhelmed if China relaxed restrictions because vaccination rates amongst children and the elderly were not high enough.\r\n\r\nVaccination is not mandatory in the country and many elderly people have shunned the jab.\r\n\r\nThis means China\u2019s population \u2013 which also has lower resistance levels having avoided earlier waves of infection \u2013 is highly vulnerable to existing strains and possible…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Shanghai-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"11"},{"id":52492,"title":"Lab rats have become big business as firms rush to IPO","content":"President Xi Jinping has said he wants China to be a pharmaceutical powerhouse by 2025. If the country is to get there, it will first need to become a leader in another field \u2013 the breeding of lab animals.\r\n\r\nResearchers in China use around 20 million animals a year \u2013 most of which are mice. Many are imported or bred under licence from American organisations like Charles Rivers Laboratories and Jackson Laboratory.\r\n\r\nYet increasingly Chinese companies are creating their own mice and rat \u2018models\u2019 \u2013 that\u2019s animals which  have been genetically modified to make them susceptible to certain illnesses that impact humans.\r\n\r\nOne such company is Shanghai Model Organisms Center (SMOC) which listed on Shanghai\u2019s STAR Market in December last year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSMOC\u2019s listing document boasts that it offers over 10,000 rodent models from transgene mice with additional DNA to rats with genes omitted so they develop haemophilia or cancer.\r\n\r\nIn April GemPharmatech also went public on the STAR Market with its prospectus saying that it offers 20,000 mouse models. \u201cThe company has developed one of the world's largest collections of mouse models to enable scientific innovation and accelerate drug development,\u201d it said in a statement to mark its launch.\r\n\r\nMice and rats are widely used for…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Rat-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"12"},{"id":52526,"title":"Alibaba steps up cloud investment across Asia","content":"The industry believes that 2020 to 2030 will be the digital decade for Southeast Asia,\u201d says Zhang Yi, research analyst at tech forecaster Canalys. \u201cDuring this period, the digital economy will usher in explosive growth.\u201d\r\n\r\nZhang tells China\u2019s All Weather TMT, a tech-focused media outlet that \u201cthis is a potential growth opportunity that cannot be missed for domestic firms\u201d.\r\n\r\nAnd so far, that has certainly proven the case thanks to the way that China\u2019s Digital Silk Road is weaving its way across the region.\r\n\r\nTech consultancies have different market share estimates for cloud service providers in Southeast Asia. But one thing they do agree on is that Alibaba has broken into the top three grouping there in ways that it has not managed across the rest of the world (outside of China, of course). \r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe US-based consultancy Synergy Research estimates that globally (ex-China), Amazon Web Services (AWS) reigned supreme during the first quarter of 2022 with a 33% market share across IaaS, PaaS and hosted private cloud services combined. Microsoft came second on 22%, followed by Google in third place on 10%.\r\n\r\nWhen it comes to Asia-Pacific, Gartner calculates Alibaba has a leading 25.5% market share in the IaaS segment and 9.55% globally. Cloud computing…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Alibaba-Cloud-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"13"},{"id":52494,"title":"IPOs signal growth in\u2008Chinese pet industry","content":"The last two years have been a worrying time for pet owners in some parts of China: tough Covid lockdowns have led to concerns that dogs could be culled if their owners go into institutional quarantine, for instance, as happened in Shanghai this year.\r\n\r\nBefore Covid, pet ownership levels in China were increasing by about 7% a year, fuelled by rising disposable incomes and demographic changes such as an aging population and later marriage ages.\r\n\r\nWhat happens now \u2013 or after Covid \u2013 is unclear.\r\n\r\nTwo companies who see continued growth in the pet industry are Wenzhou-based Yuanfei Pet Toy products, which is preparing to list on the Shenzhen stock exchange, and dairy giant Yili which has launched a brand of bespoke dog food called One on One.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOne on One is aimed solely at the domestic market, providing tailor-made feed for dogs based on their \u201cage, breed, health and taste preferences\u201d, Jiemian.com reported. \r\n\r\nYuanfei takes a different approach in focusing on foreign clients \u2013 supplying big chains such as Walmart, Petco and Petsmart with retractable leads and chews.\r\n\r\nBut it also hopes to grow its domestic business, the IPO prospectus says, not least because trading conditions with American clients \u2013 where most of its business…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Dog-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"14"},{"id":52496,"title":"Airbnb calls time on its Chinese operations","content":"In March 2017, Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb, travelled to Shanghai to unveil the Chinese name of Airbnb. Aibiying, according to Chesky, means \u201cto welcome each other with love\u201d. At the time, the chief executive of the online platform that helps homeowners to rent out rooms to travellers was bullish, saying he believed that the China market could grow into one of Airbnb's largest, and that he even planned to learn Mandarin as well.\r\n\r\nThe Chinese name, however, quickly became a subject of ridicule online, with many saying that it was  too much of a mouthful. The pink logo with the upside-down heart also reminded some people of a \u201csex toys shop\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe name and logo weren\u2019t the only things Airbnb did not get right about China. Five years on, the company announced last week  it would drastically scale back its operation there by the end of next month. Airbnb will remove nearly 150,000 listings in China (less than 3% of its total around the world). It will now focus on serving Chinese tourists looking to make travel bookings abroad.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cThe decision was not easy for us, and I know that it is even more difficult for you,\u201d company co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk said…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/AirBNB-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Tourism","page":"15"},{"id":52498,"title":"Starlet faces big fine over infringing China\u2019s advertising laws","content":"Last week we wrote about how German carmaker Audi was embroiled in a media storm after an advertisement featuring Andy Lau was found to have copied content from an earlier video made by Chinese internet personality Beida Mange. Audi had to withdraw the ad, issuing apologies for the fiasco to Lau and Beida Mange.\r\n\r\nThis week another celebrity became headline news for another commercial endorsement. Actress Jing Tian, who has appeared in a series of Hollywood films like 2016\u2019s The Great Wall and 2018\u2019s Pacific Rim Rising has been fined a total of Rmb7.22 million ($1.08 million) for endorsing a product that violates China\u2019s Advertising Law.\r\n\r\nThe product in question, Infinite Free, is a brand of dietary candy  made from fruit and vegetables which claims to reduce the absorption of fat, sugar and oil into the body.\r\n\r\n\u201cNo fear of oil and sugar, eat your heart out without worrying about getting fat. It is a mysterious weapon to maintain your body shape,\u201d goes the tagline.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn the advert, Jing also suggests that the product will \u201ckeep people in good shape\u201d by taking two \u201ccandies\u201d after each meal.\r\n\r\nThe product, which has since been pulled from shelves on major e-commerce platforms like Taobao and JD.com, was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Jing-Tian-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":52502,"title":"Frisbee trend takes off","content":"Ultimate Frisbee was invented in the late 1960s at a New Jersey high school. At the time it was considered a \u201chippie\u201d sport, where people dropped in casually for pickup games. The rules are simple: teams of seven try to throw the disc up the field to the end zone. Running with it is not allowed.\r\n\r\nUltimate was introduced in China by American expats in the late 1990s and early-2000s, largely in first-tier cities. But over the past year, Ultimate has become one of the country\u2019s fastest-growing sports, mostly thanks to interest on social media.\r\n\r\nOn Xiaohongshu, searches related to flying discs grew 17 times in volume from 2021 to 2022. The sport has also attracted more than 42 million views on the platform. Similarly on Sina Weibo, #UltimateFrisbee had also been viewed four million times. In Shenzhen, there are still fewer than 10 professional Frisbee clubs, but half of them were established in the last six months.\r\n\r\nOr as Tencent News puts it: \u201cIn the eyes of many young people, Ultimate Frisbee is the most fashionable and trendiest sport.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBut is this about fun and fitness, or fashion? A search for \u201cfrisbee\u201d on Xiaohongshu returns thousands of perfectly framed posts of female influencers…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Frisbee-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"17"},{"id":52522,"title":"KFC\u2019s Psyduck has become the hottest toy this Children's Festival","content":"\u201cGotta catch \u2018em all\u201d is how the Pokemon theme song puts it. That seems an appropriate message for KFC\u2019s Pokemon-themed Children\u2019s Festival meal boxes, which have taken the Chinese public by storm. Each contains either a music box featuring Pikachu [the most famous Pokemon], a Pikachu travel bottle, or, in the rarest cases, a Psyduck music box.\r\n\r\nThere\u2019s only a 15% chance of a Psyduck music box appearing in a meal choice and as such it is highly sought after, with the Chinese internet dubbing it \u2018yi ya nan qiu\u2019 \u2013 a hard duck to find. Prices in the second hand market have gone beyond $200 (by contrast the KFC meal set it comes with costs just Rmb69, or a bit over $10).\r\n\r\nCoverage on Chinese News Service (CNS) shows one of KFC\u2019s staff presenting eight boxes from which customers can select just one, adding: \u2018If you buy all eight, you\u2019re almost certain to get a Psyduck.\u2019\r\n\r\nThe KFC worker told CNS that no one had purchased all eight boxes at once, but some had bought four for a better chance to get their hands on the coveted Psyduck.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nNetizens have been cooing over the toy online. \u201cKFC is such a big company, please…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/KFC-Psyduck-2-w.jpg","category":"World of Weibo","page":"19"},{"id":52509,"title":"British children\u2019s author stunned by his popularity in China","content":"British writer and academic Michael Rosen boasts five decades of experience in publishing, performing and teaching.\r\n\r\nBut what he wasn\u2019t expecting was to develop a passionate fan base in China.\r\n\r\nRosen became aware of his popularity in mainland China when he led a student orientation day at Goldsmiths College in London, where he is a professor of children\u2019s literature.\r\n\r\nWhen he stepped onto the stage there was a ripple of excitement in the audience and after his presentation a group of excited Chinese students came up to him, saying they know him from his popular internet memes.\r\n\r\nRosen, now in his seventies, is best known for a particular performance of his children\u2019s poem \u2018Hot Food\u2019.\r\n\r\nSuch is the relish with which he says \u201cnice\u201d after popping a cooling potato in his mouth in the performance of the poem that the video has been distilled down to a single clip, or GIF, of him uttering the word.\r\n\r\nIt is widely used to express approval or enjoyment of something on social media. And in China, it has also earned him the nickname of Nice Yeye or Grandpa Nice.\r\n\r\nIn a recent interview on the Ant Group podcast Antkast, Rosen said he was honoured  to pick up the Chinese monicker.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/06\/Michael-Rosen-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1739,"name":"Issue 586","date":"May 28, 2022","title":"Supply chain is the core question","tagline":"Apple opened its 54th Chinese store in Wuhan last weekend \u2013 but the US tech giant is also looking to diversify its production out of China","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/WiC586.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/586-cover.jpg","articles":[{"id":52405,"title":"Is the global supply chain set to be reshaped after Shanghai\u2019s lockdown?","content":"Is Shanghai\u2019s two months of Covid lockdown finally coming to an end? Not quite yet, it seems, with most of the city\u2019s 25 million residents still waiting for the green light to leave their homes for the first time in weeks.\r\n\r\nShanghai\u2019s deputy mayor has already announced that the city will be reopened in phases, aiming for a return to normal life by the middle of June, and there has been a partial easing of restrictions in some districts over the last few days.\r\n\r\nBut former freedoms are returning slowly for most residents, with limitations on how far and how often they can venture out. Temporary passes have been issued allowing just one person per household to go shopping within narrowly set time periods, for instance, and neighbourhood committees are watching closely to make sure that no one breaks the rules.\r\n\r\nThe cautious approach signals how Shanghai\u2019s exit from isolation could take a little longer than many expect. That\u2019s not just going to be frustrating for its residents. Companies around the world are desperate for the lockdown to be lifted as well, as a first step towards getting their businesses back to pre-pandemic levels.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe long reach of Shanghai\u2019s supply chain sclerosis\r\n\r\nLockdowns or pandemic-related…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Apple-Store-w.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":52408,"title":"Joe Biden\u2019s trip to East Asia adds to tensions across the region","content":"Joe Biden blundered this week by calling South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol by his predecessor\u2019s name (Moon Jae-in).\r\n\r\nYet by breaking with diplomatic tradition in visiting Seoul before Tokyo during his first trip to Asia as US president, Biden was sending an important message.\r\n\r\nBefore arriving in office earlier this month, Yoon had struck all the right chords with China hawks in Washington during his election campaign. The 61 year-old said his government might join the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (or QUAD, an informal group comprising the US, India, Japan and Australia) as well as the Five Eyes (an intelligence- sharing alliance between the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).\r\n\r\nYoon even said that South Korea might partner with the US and Japan (a neighbour it has historically disliked) in forming a trilateral military alliance.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the US and Japan was signed in 1951 \u2013 so a newer trilateral pact would be a bold escalation.\r\n\r\nYoon\u2019s overtures on the QUAD and the Five Eyes were picked up immediately in the Chinese media, which has been discussing how a \u20183-4-5\u2019 foreign policy could push East Asian rivalries into a dangerous new era.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s because Beijing and North Korea will see…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Biden-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"7"},{"id":52413,"title":"New Aussie PM inherits thorny relations with China","content":"During an interview with CBS News in September last year, Scott Morrison, then Australia\u2019s prime minister, tried to take a softer tone towards China in claiming that he was \u201calways open\u201d to hearing from Beijing. But asked if he had spoken to China\u2019s leaders over the phone, he admitted that they hadn\u2019t taken a call for nearly two years.\r\n\r\nThe Chinese foreign ministry quickly questioned Morrison\u2019s sincerity in trying to restore warmer relations. It pointed out he talked tougher on China when he flew to Washington in the same month to attend the first in-person summit of QUAD leaders. In another move aimed at countering Chinese influence in the region, he also approved a new defence pact known as AUKUS with the United States and Britain, which entailed both agreeing to help the Australians build a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines (see WiC557).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nDecisions like these had meant that relations stayed decidedly frosty between the two governments. But there seemed to be a change in the mood music on Monday when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang sent a congratulatory message to Anthony Albanese, Morrison\u2019s newly-elected replacement.\r\n\r\nPointedly, Li highlighted how Albanese\u2019s Labor Party had made the \u201ccorrect choice\u201d 50 years earlier when Australia established…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Anthony-Albanese-w-1.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"9"},{"id":52397,"title":"China\u2019s next-gen shoppers in focus at HSBC conference","content":"While Covid might have thrown a curve ball at consumer spending over the short term in China, the pandemic\u2019s impact isn\u2019t going to be permanent. Indeed, hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers are going to be crucial for the next generation of global growth.\r\n\r\nThat was why it was worth listening to an hour of conversation on China\u2019s consumer landscape between Jonathan Woetzel, McKinsey Global Institute Director and Senior Partner, Shanghai, and HSBC\u2019s Herald van der Linde, Head of Equity Strategy Asia-Pacific, and Lina Yan, China Consumer Analyst. \r\n\r\nThey were talking last week as part of the ninth annual HSBC China Conference \u2013 a two-week programme that featured everything from semiconductors to supply chains, alongside briefings from businesspeople in sectors like green energy, electric vehicles and artificial intelligence.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOther topics on the wide-ranging agenda included backgrounders on the Common Prosperity plan; advice on how to navigate the world of ESG; and insights on what\u2019s on the horizon for China\u2019s equity markets.\r\n\r\nThe session on China\u2019s consumers came on the same day as news that retail sales fell 11% in April versus a year earlier. The forecasts for future spending are a lot more bullish, however, as China\u2019s middle class grows to more than 500…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Shoppers2.jpg","category":"HSBC Partner Content","page":"11"},{"id":52419,"title":"Didi delists from NYSE; HKEX boss goes to Davos","content":"Is a situation impassable or impossible? It turns out to be both in Alice in Wonderland in the Disney film, when the cartoon doorknob tells Alice that she is too big to get through the entrance.\r\n\r\nThe conundrum is similar for China\u2019s largest ride-hailing company as it searches for a bourse on which to sell its shares. Didi Global also seems to be going through the looking glass after its US shareholders finally agreed to a delisting plan this week. The normal trajectory is for a company to move from an over-the-counter market to a public one, not the other way around.\r\n\r\nDidi has been forced to depart the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in hope of forging an agreement with China\u2019s national cyberspace agency. Its shares will trade off-exchange until Didi meets data security requirements in China, at which point company executives hope to list in Hong Kong instead.\r\n\r\nThe group has had a miserable time in the capital markets since it astonished the Chinese government by ploughing ahead with a $4.44 billion IPO last June in New York. Beijing had signalled that it wanted a delay and it retaliated by announcing a regulatory probe within a few days of Didi\u2019s debut,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Nicolas-Aguzin-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"13"},{"id":52423,"title":"Chinese firms join the race for DPU dominance","content":"There\u2019s a new semiconductor acronym in town and the race is on to make a killing from it.\r\n\r\nThe new chip that promises to be every bit as big as its two predecessors is called a DPU (data processing unit), although Intel, one of the main contenders for the crown in making this new pillar of computing, calls it an IPU (infrastructure processing unit).\r\n\r\nThanks to Intel, computer processing speeds took a huge step forwards in 1971 with the launch of the world\u2019s first CPU (central processing unit). That creation combined all of a computer\u2019s logic functions on a single chip.\r\n\r\nNearly three decades later in 1999, another US company called Nvidia unveiled the GPU (or graphics processing unit), which vastly improved graphics rendering.\r\n\r\nAnd now there are DPUs (which have developed out of pre-existing network interface cards). DPUs are similar to CPUs but focus mostly on supporting data processing power, taking key elements of the networking workload away from the CPU.\r\n\r\nTheir role is to ensure that the appropriate data is transferred in the correct format to the designated destination as quickly as possible, leaving CPUs to focus on application processing.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe first iterations of DPU design are already helping to facilitate the massive increases…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Arm-Neoverse-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"14"},{"id":52426,"title":"Hong Kong\u2019s biggest REIT branches out with Chinese logistics play","content":"The best retail real estate investment trusts (REITs) are typically underpinned by the busiest shopping malls or outlet centres in prime locations.\r\n\r\nAsia\u2019s biggest REIT in market capitalisation terms, Hong Kong\u2019s Link, is unusual in this regard. Many of its underlying properties are wet markets and car parks attached to the territory\u2019s public housing estates. Daily spending from residents of these lower-income communities supports the bulk of its rental income.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s why when the Hong Kong government decided to spin off Link in 2004, the news sparked legal challenges from activists who argued that the privatisation plan violated the government\u2019s duty to provide affordable amenities to public housing tenants.\r\n\r\nThe Link REIT eventually went public in 2005 and its market value has since jumped by a factor of more than seven.\r\n\r\nThe investment trust is now straying further from its roots as the company seeks to expand beyond its Hong Kong base. Earlier this month, it announced that it will be acquiring three warehouses in China for Rmb945 million ($142 million) from Fujian Dongbai, a Shanghai-listed retailer.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLocated in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, the three properties encompass a lettable area of nearly 200,000 square metres, giving the previously retail-focused REIT an opportunity to broaden its…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Hong-Kong-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"15"},{"id":52429,"title":"Fucheng\u2019s financial row puts cattle king back in the news","content":"Although Li Fucheng isn\u2019t as well known as China\u2019s tech titans or biggest property bosses, the titles of \u2018Yanjiao\u2019s Li Ka-shing\u2019 or \u2018China\u2019s Cattle King\u2019 are true recognition of a man who has worked in the business world for many years.\r\n\r\nOr, at least, that is how Fucheng Group describes its founder on the company website.\r\n\r\nBorn to an impoverished family in Hebei province in 1946, Li quit school at a young age and made ends meet by selling sesame oil on the streets. He then found that the material left from extracting the oil from sesame seeds could be sold as animal feed. In 1983 he pivoted, putting all of his savings as well as additional borrowings of Rmb5,000 into a cattle farm in Sanhe, a city in Hebei. According to the Fucheng website he started with seven cows.\r\n\r\nHis cattle-breeding business started to do well. The company grew to such a size that Fucheng became the first \u201ccattle stock\u201d to be listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2004. But Li was already changing tack once again. He started acquiring large plots of land in Yanjiao, a county in Sanhe about 30km from Beijing. He figured that millions of migrant workers…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Cattle-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"16"},{"id":52432,"title":"Ming Yang expands turbine empire into Europe","content":"Europe\u2019s largest wind-turbine manufacturers fear an easterly storm as China\u2019s largest players start to finish their first projects on the continent. If the example of Italy\u2019s Beleolico project is instructive, their concerns could be well founded.\r\n\r\nRenexia, the renewables arm of Italian infrastructure firm Toto Holdings, inaugurated a 30-megawatt (MW) project off the port of Taranto in Apulia province in April. The offshore wind turbines come from Ming Yang Smart Energy in what represents its first installation in Europe, reports the Wall\u2008Street Journal.\r\n\r\nBut it was not supposed to be this way. Renexia\u2019s original agreement was with Germany\u2019s Senvion. However, the wind turbine manufacturer collapsed in 2019, in large part because of the end of various government subsidies. This predicament has not been lost on Western players such as General Electric, Siemens Gamesa and Vestas. In February they were signatories to a letter imploring the European Commission to act, because they are \u201closing ground as Chinese manufacturers expand across Asia, South America and Africa\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe US-based Rhodium Group says that energy regulators in Europe also need to start thinking more strategically. In a report published this month it argued that although \u201cEurope\u2019s oil and gas dependence on Russia is the more immediate chokepoint,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Wind-Turbine-w.jpg","category":"Environment","page":"17"},{"id":52435,"title":"What are the lessons of Audi\u2019s disastrous venture into verse?","content":"In the 1980s Saatchi & Saatchi was renowned for its creativity and skilful application of advertising techniques in political campaigning in the UK. The \u201cLabour Isn\u2019t Working\u201d campaign designed by the agency earned widespread acclaim in ad industry circles for helping Margaret Thatcher to victory in the general election of 1979, for instance.\r\n\r\nBut last week M&C Saatchi, an offshoot of the iconic British advertising firm, found itself mired by a costly blunder in an internet campaign in China. Worse, the mistake came just a day after it had agreed to a $390 million takeover bid from Next Fifteen, assuring investors that a merger with its London-listed rival would \u201cestablish a truly global platform in the digital marketing and consulting sectors\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe blunder came after M&C Saatchi unveiled a new ad for Audi. In a beautifully shot two-minute commercial, which doesn\u2019t mention the German car brand by name once, superstar singer-actor Andy Lau, delivers a poetic monologue about Xiaoman (\u5c0f\u6ee1) \u2013 the eighth of the 24 solar terms of China\u2019s lunisolar calendar \u2013 from the back seat of an Audi as it weaves through a lush green landscape.\u201cXiaoman [which translates into \u2018small satisfaction\u2019] represents an attitude towards life, that on the road…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Andy-Lau-Audi-Ad-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"18"},{"id":52438,"title":"New Downton film fails to win audiences in China","content":"At a time when Covid lockdowns mean that fewer films are screening in China\u2019s cinemas \u2013 especially in cities like Beijing and Shanghai \u2013 a foreign movie made an unexpected debut in the country last week.\r\n\r\nDownton Abbey: A New Era, the second film in the franchise inspired by the hit TV series Downton Abbey, was released last Friday. The latest Crawley family fare features much of the standard cast (albeit with a few new names like Hugh Dancy and Dominic West). But the show\u2019s creator Julian Fellows decided there should at least be a change in scenery. Conveniently, the dowager (Maggie Smith) takes residence at a mysterious villa on the French Riviera. Most of Downton\u2019s occupants follow her there, although the maids and footmen stay behind at the iconic stately home in Britain.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nA bout of escapism on the French coastline wasn\u2019t enough to lure China\u2019s moviegoers to cinemas, however. The film collected just Rmb5.6 million ($840,448) in ticket sales on the first weekend of its release.\r\n\r\nSome reckon that it is unlikely to even reach Rmb15 million in sales by the end of its run. \u201cThe British drama itself was not very popular in China. Even the first film in 2019…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Michelle-Dockery-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"19"},{"id":52442,"title":"The Bilibili challenge","content":"In an era of online learning and lockdown boredom it\u2019s not surprising that Chinese high school students have been looking for outlets to vent their frustrations.\r\n\r\nThey seem to have found what they are looking for thanks to an online challenge on streaming platform Bilibili, where contributors have been competing to tell ever more egregious lies in front of their parents. The widely-forwarded challenge has now drawn over 100 million views as people flock online to watch how parents react to their children\u2019s blatant and usually boastful deceptions.\r\n\r\nThe challenge is simple: students invite their parents to make a video with them that\u2019s disguised as a school assignment in which the school pupils reel off a list of falsehoods and bogus achievements. The goal is to capture the real-time reactions of their flabbergasted parents, some of whom look too shocked to speak, while the more honest refute their children\u2019s whoppers, much to the delight of viewers.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn some videos students have claimed to wake up at five o\u2019clock every morning to memorise 200 phrases in Chinese, then go for 3km runs, make breakfast for their parents, and finish up by doing the housework. One student put her father on the spot by bragging…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Bilibili-w.jpg","category":"World of Weibo","page":"20"},{"id":52447,"title":"Skipping tutors tap into demand from grade-obsessed parents","content":"Chinese parents once spared little expense on tutoring for their children, hoping that the extra classes would help them to get ahead of their peers.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nThat became a thing of the past after the government\u2019s crackdown on after-school tutors wiped out most of the for-profit sector last year.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nMore recently a different type of coaching has become more popular. Some parents are even willing to splurge as much as Rmb800 ($120) an hour for one-on-one classes.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nDemand for the service is so high that parents lament that most of the instructors are fully booked at weekends already.\r\n\r\nWe are talking about skipping. Parental interest in \u2018jumping a rope\u2019 started a few years ago after the Ministry of Education added skipping as a graded sport in 2014 \u2013 alongside activities like running and swimming \u2013 for students in their high school entrance exams, known as the zhongkao in China.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nCoach Qu, an instructor from Shenzhen, has been offering classes on skipping technique since 2015. But his business really took off in the last few years, when skipping ropes started to count towards exam results.\r\n\r\nIn an interview with Time Weekly, Qu claims that aspiring jumpers need to master a variety of tricks to reach the highest levels…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Jump-Rope-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"21"}]},{"id":1738,"name":"Issue 585","date":"May 20, 2022","title":"A pause to luxury living?","tagline":"A difficult quarter for the luxury goods industry as Chinese city lockdowns crimp sales","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/WiC585.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/585-cover.jpg","articles":[{"id":52343,"title":"Luxury labels look beyond the pandemic for China profits","content":"Wearied by weeks of home lockdowns, the fashion-conscious residents of Shanghai found a new way of lifting their spirits last month.\r\n\r\nWith virus prevention officials making periodic visits to residential compounds as part of citywide testing for Covid-19, locals started to hang shopping bags from the world\u2019s leading luxury goods brands on their doors as drop-off points for virus test kits.\r\n\r\nSoon there was a flurry of photos on social media of bags from brands like Prada, Burberry, Herm\u00e8s and Chanel, reminding their owners of times when an hour or two of luxury shopping was no problem whatsoever. \u201cBefore the epidemic Shanghai people really were middle-class and they lived exquisitely,\u201d remarked an admirer of one of the images.\r\n\r\nThe top executives at the expensive brands might at least console themselves that Shanghai\u2019s shoppers are thinking of luxury, despite the lockdown. But the pandemic-related restrictions of recent weeks have made store visits much less likely in many Chinese cities, triggering a slowdown in sales that is hurting much of the sector.\r\n\r\nFortunately, the trends over the longer term signal that luxury retail will return to favour, however.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHow has the luxury goods sector been faring in China?\r\n\r\n2021 was an excellent year for most of the luxury…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Louis-Vuitton-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":52351,"title":"Sunac rocks market, then government intervenes","content":"Times are tough in China\u2019s property sector. But might they be offering a major opportunity to the bravest of bond investors?\r\n\r\nMany of the bonds issued by debt-laden property firms, especially in the offshore market, have dropped into the junk category following Sunac\u2019s default last week. One of the top five developers in terms of home sales, it stunned investors by missing $29.5 million in interest payments on a $750 million offshore bond. A fuller failure could trigger cross-default provisions on all the $7.7 billion of bonds Sunac has issued in international markets, Reuters reported. The company has already missed four dollar coupon payments since April, with three of them treading water in grace periods.\r\n\r\nOffshore bondholders won\u2019t have been delighted that Sunac then paid out some local bondholders soon afterwards. Analysts say this is another sign that Chinese firms are going to prioritise repayment of domestic creditors \u2013 which typically include the larger state-backed financial firms \u2013 ahead of overseas investors.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIndebted firms in the sector such as Sunac have been in crisis since the central government imposed its so-called \u2018three red lines\u2019 in 2020 as part of efforts to deleverage the industry. The rules restrict all of the biggest private sector…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Sunac-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"7"},{"id":52345,"title":"Will the Philippines new leader be pro-China?","content":"In 1975 the then president of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda travelled to China on a trip that would re-establish formal relations between Manila and Beijing.\r\n\r\nAlso on that visit was the couple\u2019s teenage son Ferdinand Marcos Junior, sometimes known as Bongbong.\r\n\r\nToday 64 year-old Marcos Junior is president-elect, following a landslide election win earlier this month. And by all accounts he wants closer ties with China, just like his parents.\r\n\r\nIn a statement issued on Wednesday, Marcos said relations with Beijing were set to \u201cshift to a higher gear\u201d following a phone call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe way forward is to expand our relationship [and] to address whatever minor disagreements that we have right now,\u201d Marcos added.\r\n\r\nFerdinand Marcos was removed from office after a popular uprising in 1986. During his 20 years in power \u2013 a decade of which was under martial law \u2013 he is estimated to have embezzled some $10 billion from a combination of local businesses, international aid providers and reparations paid by the Japanese for the Second World War.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhen the Marcos family fled the Philippines, they left with two planes full of gold and cash, as well as several crates of Imelda\u2019s infamous shoe…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/BongBong-Marcos-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"8"},{"id":52341,"title":"Why Sinovac is not immune to a media attack","content":"Moderna was valued at $7 billion, or $23 a share, when the biotech firm went public on the Nasdaq in December 2018, a year before the Covid-19 outbreak was first reported in China\u2019s Wuhan. The 12 year-old firm was worth nearly $500 per share at one point last year. Its coronavirus vaccine has also made it one of the world\u2019s most profitable companies.\r\n\r\nTurning back the clock to late 2018, there was a lot less interest from investors in Moderna\u2019s mRNA technology, which aims to transform the patient\u2019s own cells into antibody factories. Even fewer investors were bold enough to invest in vaccine developers in China. At the time, the sector was mired in   scandal after a major vaccine firm was exposed for fabricating clinical data. Confidence in mainland Chinese vaccines was so weak that sales agents in the tourism and insurance sectors had lucrative sidelines arranging for their clients to get jabs in Hong Kong (see WiC434).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBut that was also the time when Softbank took a punt on Sinovac, the developer of a Covid-19 vaccine that has since been widely applied in China. The Japanese investment conglomerate first invested in 2017 and  then subsequently upped its holding. According to 21CN…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Moderna-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"9"},{"id":52365,"title":"Burning wheat fields are a hot topic online","content":"The current crop of China\u2019s senior political figures, including President Xi Jinping, were born in the 1950s. As teenagers during the Cultural Revolution, many of them were sent to work as labourers in rural parts of the country. That programme meant that Xi and some of his colleagues have experienced poverty and hunger firsthand, it has been claimed.\r\n\r\nLess wonder, perhaps that Party cadres also treat food security as a policy priority. Following Russia\u2019s invasion of Ukraine, Xi warned that China must never be in a position of relying on imports of food staples and that \u201cChinese rice bowls\u201d should always be filled with local produce.\r\n\r\nChina is the world\u2019s biggest wheat producer but the country\u2019s leaders are also concerned about wider shortages in wheat and other crops, because of disruption to agricultural output in Ukraine, another of the world\u2019s leading producers of staples including wheat.\r\n\r\nFood security fears were underlined in heated debates online this week after video footage was posted  of acres of Chinese wheat fields being cut down before they reached full harvest.\r\n\r\nSome of the footage shows farmers slashing down fields of greenish, immature wheat. Reports were soon doing the rounds on social media that mysterious buyers have been offering…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Wheat-Field-w.jpg","category":"Agriculture","page":"10"},{"id":52355,"title":"Geely\u2019s overseas acquisition drive continues","content":"What\u2019s in a company name? Branding experts will tell you that the naming process is crucial, of course, and perhaps there were a few billable hours on offer in  thinking up the latest one for Renault in South Korea.\r\n\r\nA decision has been taken: Renault Samsung Motors will now be known as Renault Korean Motors in a name-change designed to \u201csolidify our identity as a domestic automaker with roots in the Korean market,\u201d the company explained.\r\n\r\nHowever, it seems that Renault has divided loyalties. Two months earlier it had signed a framework agreement with Geely to jointly develop hybrid cars at its Busan plant, using the Chinese group\u2019s CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform. The first model is due for release in 2024.\r\n\r\nThe relationship deepened when China\u2019s largest private car manufacturer purchased a 34.02% stake in Renault Korean Motors for W364 billion ($208 million) last week. Renault will remain the largest shareholder with 46.08%, while Samsung Card will keep its existing 19.9% stake.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe South Korean and Chinese media view the match as advantageous for all parties. Renault is probably looking at the deal as part of a wider revamp of its strategy in China, says Bloomberg, where it works more closely with Geely,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Renault-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"11"},{"id":52353,"title":"The struggle for a \u201cmonster\u201d lithium deposit","content":"Chinese ambitions to take control of the biggest lithium mine in Africa looked dead in the water in April 2020 after Canberra blocked the ASX-listed miner AVZ Minerals from selling an 11.8% stake to Chinese firms including CATL (see WiC584 for a profile of that firm).\r\n\r\nThe mood soured further when Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison pushed for an independent investigation of the origins of the Covid-19 virus, which Chinese leaders saw as a plot to blame them for the pandemic.\r\n\r\nRelations between the two governments have deteriorated again more recently after the Chinese signed a security deal with the Solomon Islands. Nevertheless, the Chinese interest in the aforementioned lithium mine in the Congo, known as the Manono project, is very much alive.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nEarlier this month AVZ announced in a stock exchange circular that the Congolese government had granted a mining licence to Dathcom, a unit through which it plans to develop the $545 million Manono mine.\r\n\r\nAt the end of the announcement, however, AVZ mentioned that the project is entangled in a legal dispute with Zijin, one of China\u2019s biggest gold miners, which claims to be the legitimate owner of a 15% stake in Manono.\r\n\r\nAccording to OFweek, a Chinese portal that focuses on…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/CATL-w-1.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"12"},{"id":52347,"title":"Why a \u2018Big Data\u2019 cashier-less store has been a Covid victim too","content":"Amazon unveiled the first cashier-less convenience store in Seattle in 2018. The US tech giant later rolled out the \u201cJust Walk Out\u201d technology to Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh-branded stores. More recently, it added two Whole Foods stores, a grocery chain it bought four years ago, to the growing list of retail stores equipped with the technology.\r\n\r\nHow it works is that sensors are placed under each product. Once the shopper lifts a product from a shelf, freezer or produce bin, the sensor automatically recognises the goods, and charges it to the shopper\u2019s Amazon account. And of course, the idea is that you can \u201cjust walk out\u201d without going to a cashier first.\r\n\r\nThe concept of cashier-less retailing also started appearing in China around the same time. Before long, start-ups that offered a similar service began cropping up. Not many lasted long though. Bianlifeng, which means \u2018Convenience Bee\u2019 in Chinese, is one of the few that seemed to withstand the test of time.\r\n\r\nFounded in 2016 by Zhuang Chenchao, the entrepreneur behind online travel service provider Qunar (sold to Ctrip in 2015), the first Bianlifeng convenience store was opened in Beijing in February 2017.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt didn\u2019t take long for Zhuang to find new investors…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Bianlifeng-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"13"},{"id":52358,"title":"Is China\u2019s education sector also decoupling from the West?","content":"College rankings are notoriously controversial. Most of the data that compilers use to calculate the rankings is self-reported, such as the amounts of money a school raises and spends. There is also little monitoring of the accuracy of the information. So how much emphasis should be placed on these rankings when determining which schools to apply to?\r\n\r\nLast week, Beijing\u2019s prestigious Renmin University of China (RUC) grabbed headlines when it announced that it will no longer take part in international university rankings. The move came just two weeks after President Xi Jinping visited the college, calling on the higher education sector to build world-class universities with \u201cChinese characteristics\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe RUC traces its roots to a school founded by the Communist Party of China in Yan\u2019an in the 1930s after the Red Army\u2019s Long March. It is still funded by the Ministry of Education as well as the Beijing municipal government.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWith such a \u2018red college\u2019 taking the lead, others soon followed: Nanjing University and Lanzhou University also announced their own withdrawal from the international rankings too.\r\n\r\n China Daily \u2013 not so subtly \u2013 hinted that Chinese universities pulling out of college leagues tables could soon be a \u201ctrend\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe move quickly prompted a lot of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Peking-University-w.jpg","category":"Education","page":"15"},{"id":52362,"title":"Why CCTV\u2019s \u2018rule of law\u2019 drama is winning over few fans","content":"Over the years, courtroom dramas have offered some pretty memorable quotes. For instance, there\u2019s Jack Nicholson famous line: \u201cYou can\u2019t handle the truth!\u201d at the end of A Few Good Men in 1992. In Erin Brockovich eight years later Julia Roberts comes out with the quip: \u201cI hate lawyers; I just work for them.\u201d\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s latest legal series also hopes to make a lasting impression. The 40-episode series, Lady of Law, which started airing on CCTV last week (with Tencent Video owning the streaming rights), follows Xu Jie, played by actress Jiang Shuying, as she is recruited as a trainee at a new law firm. There, she meets another female lawyer Chen Ran (Liu Mintao). The two don\u2019t get along initially but over time they come to understand each other and work together to ensure that \u2018justice is served\u2019.\r\n\r\nOr as Xu says in one episode: \u201cIn the fairy tales, there are pumpkins and heroes that protect princesses, but in reality we can just rely on the law to protect our rights.\u201d\r\n\r\nIn another scene, Chen adds: \u201cJustice will never be absent.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe Global Times was quick to sing the praises to the show, suggesting that in China, there has been a lot of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Jiang-Shuying-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":52349,"title":"How more Chinese men are battling baldness","content":"The eight-part drama-documentary Oh, My Hair (or Turan Fasheng in its local title) begins with an arresting image \u2013 30 newborn mice pickled in a jar of Chinese liquor.\r\n\r\nThe narrator then explains that the folk remedy is regarded as a cure for baldness.\r\n\r\n\u201cWould you dare to drink it? Even if you think it is absurd, many still believe in it,\u201d the woman expounds.\r\n\r\nThe premise of Oh, My Hair is that  hair loss is a serious issue in China, despite the fact that east Asian men have some of the lowest rates of baldness worldwide.\r\n\r\nThe condition can still be traumatic for those that suffer from it, of course, especially in early-onset situations. One man in the show also explains how it is already hard enough to find a wife in China (see prior issues of WiC for more on the gender imbalance and its impact on the marriage market) and that losing your hair at an early age reduces your chances even further, for instance.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOthers say their confidence has been dented because a fuller head of hair is associated with success. \u201cIt\u2019s a vicious cycle: you need a good head of hair to get a girlfriend but worrying about not having…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Balding-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]},{"id":1737,"name":"Issue 584","date":"","title":"The \u201cHuawei of EV batteries\u201d","tagline":"Car firms (above) that are big users of CATL\u2019s batteries \u2013 as EV demand booms could the Chinese battery leader become the world\u2019s most valuable listed firm?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/WiC584.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/584-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":52290,"title":"Should investors think of CATL as the \u201cHuawei of EV batteries\u201d?","content":"Prior to the invention of USB chargers, the swapping of dry cell batteries was a significant business opportunity. The US government\u2019s post-war influence in setting global standards, including its collaboration with Japanese electronic makers, spurred the growth of the American battery makers and allowed US standards in battery sizes \u2013 notably AA and AAA \u2013 to become international ones. \r\n\r\nA new standards war has shaped up in the battery world more recently \u00adfor electric vehicles (EV) and the infrastructure used to recharge them. With supremacy in the \u2018mobility market\u2019 at stake, attention has shifted to companies like CATL, a Chinese firm that has emerged as the leader in EV battery production. \r\n\r\nCATL\u2019s combination of rapid growth, global reach and strategic importance has seen it compared with Huawei, a Chinese telecoms and tech giant from which CATL is said to have copied its management style. This begs important questions, such as whether CATL\u2019s size and influence could grow to match that of Huawei, which has found itself on Washington\u2019s sanctions list. Could CATL be destined for similar treatment?\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHow big has CATL become?\r\n\r\nFor some time the top 10 most valuable A-shares trading on Chinese bourses typically comprised of Moutai, China\u2019s most popular booze maker,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/CATL-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":52293,"title":"City residents blame BYD for nosebleed crisis","content":"Just a week ago, electric car and battery maker BYD seemed to be on a triumphant path. In the first quarter alone, it reported sales of  286,329 of its new energy vehicles, compared with 104,145 in the first three months of last year. Net profit in the first three months also doubled from a year earlier to Rmb808 million ($119 million) amid record sales.\r\n\r\nWithin a week, BYD\u2019s golden moment was being tarnished by a new scandal that could threaten its rapid growth. Last Saturday, a group of residents in Hunan province made claims on the internet that a BYD factory in Changsha\u2019s Yuhua district was emitting gas so pungent that hundreds of children nearby were suffering from mysterious nosebleeds. Parents were so furious that they gathered outside the factory, holding photos of their bleeding children and banners that said, \u201cWe want fu [a term that means fortune in Chinese, but which is also a play on the name of BYD founder Wang Chuanfu], we don\u2019t want poison.\u201d\r\n\r\nAccording to media reports, children living in the vicinity of the plant have experienced nosebleeds since April this year. Grown-ups, too, have reported nausea, vomiting, and persistent coughing. One survey claimed to show that…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/BYD-w.jpg","category":"Environment","page":"7"},{"id":52333,"title":"Porsche under pressure as Chinese drivers claim discriminatory treatment","content":"China is Porsche\u2019s largest market by far, with sales of more than 95,000 vehicles last year. So, when local buyers claim that they are being treated unfairly in comparison to customers in other countries, the German carmaker has to take it seriously or risk tremendous damage to the brand\u2019s reputation.\r\n\r\nThe current furore is about the power-adjustable steering columns in Porsche\u2019s luxury SUVs \u2013 the Cayenne and Macan series being the most popular. \r\n\r\nThe argument all sounds rather technical. The row over the steering columns isn\u2019t safety-related either, relating more to how they allow the driver to adjust the height and protrusion of the steering wheel by pressing a small electronic switch. \r\n\r\nThe same effect can be achieved if the car has a manually-adjustable steering column, but it\u2019s easier with power-assisted control.\r\n\r\nFans say the feature is particularly useful in cars that are shared between drivers where each might have a different ergonomic preference.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSo, what is the problem in China? Well, like most Porsche buyers around the world, customers there put a lot of thought into the features they want in their cars \u2013 including the option of a power-adjustable steering column over a manually-dictated one.\r\n\r\nThe issue as far as Porsche customers in China are concerned…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Cayenne-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"8"},{"id":52296,"title":"Can Beijing win over new South Korean leader?","content":"It\u2019s not often that top Chinese leaders leave the country these days.  President Xi Jinping, for example, hasn\u2019t left China since he visited Myanmar in January 2020, a few days before the first Covid lockdown in Wuhan was implemented.  Since then, diplomats like Foreign Minister Wang Yi are the only high ranking officials to have undertaken regular overseas trips.\r\n\r\nSo, it was significant that Wang Qishan, Chinese vice-president and close ally of Xi Jinping, was picked to attend the inauguration of South Korea\u2019s new leader Yoon Suk-yeol this week. Wang is the highest ranking Chinese official to attend any South Korean presidential inauguration, and by sending him Beijing is hoping to dissuade Yoon from following through on campaign promises to take a harder line against China.\r\n\r\nRelations between China and South Korea hit a low in 2017 after Seoul announced its intention to deploy an American anti-ballistic missile defence system known as THAAD to counter growing threats from North Korea. Beijing strongly objected to the deployment on the grounds that it could also be used to limit China\u2019s military capabilities and it quietly encouraged Chinese citizens to boycott South Korean products, leading to commercial losses estimated at over $7 billion.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSome of that…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Yoon-Suk-Yeol-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"9"},{"id":52298,"title":"Tough balancing act as Biden mulls new China strategy","content":"Four years after Donald Trump started to slap tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese imports, could Joe Biden be about to call a trade truce with Beijing?\r\n\r\nOn Tuesday the US president said that his administration could drop some of the tariffs imposed on $350 billion of Chinese imports by the Trump administration as part of an effort to hold back surging prices for consumer goods in the US.\r\n\r\nIn his remarks Biden put the blame for inflation more squarely on the pandemic and Russia\u2019s invasion of Ukraine. But he is also coming under pressure to roll back the Trump duties at a time when the Federal Reserve is struggling to keep a lid on price rises, which rose 8.3%  last month.\r\n\r\nEarlier this month, the Biden administration took its first steps towards a statutory four-year review of the tariffs on Chinese goods, although officials have been tight-lipped about whether it will lead to removing them.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBiden held back on changing the tariff regime earlier in his presidency, citing China's failure to meet its commitments in purchasing larger quantities of US goods and agricultural products. He would have to abandon that position in if  he relented now. Another challenge in changing his stance…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Blinken-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"10"},{"id":52313,"title":"Covid-hit Chinese airlines turn to livestreaming as flight sales dwindle","content":"Willie Walsh, the director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), told an industry forum in Saudi Arabia this week that the airline sector could return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023, a year earlier than previous forecasts.\r\n\r\nTwo countries could be waiting much longer for signs of the recovery, however. International air travel has largely dried up in Russia after governments introduced flight bans in the wake of Vladimir Putin\u2019s invasion of Ukraine. And strict measures to control Covid have been disastrous for the Chinese airlines, which are struggling with some of the worst commercial conditions in their history.\r\n\r\nLosses for China\u2019s three leading carriers \u2013 Air China, China Eastern and China Southern \u2013 doubled to Rmb16 billion ($2.4 billion) over the final quarter of last year and analysts are predicting many more months in the red if the government persists with its \u2018zero-Covid\u2019 containment policy. Results last week for the first three months of this year confirmed that the situation is getting worse, with the trio reporting net losses of just over Rmb21 billion between them \u2013 much worse performances than the same period last year.\r\n\r\nA weaker Chinese currency (see WiC583) and rising fuel prices are pushing up costs at…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Xiamen-Airline-w.jpg","category":"Aviation","page":"11"},{"id":52317,"title":"Novosense joins new breed of Chinese chip firms","content":"It sounds like a familiar tale: a tech company that raises more than expected from its initial public offering and sees its share price soar. Or rather that was what was happening on Shanghai\u2019s STAR Market until July 2021, when the benchmark STAR 50 Index hit a high of 1,591. Since then, the trend has been downhill all the way, with the index losing 40% of its value through to May 9 and closing at 946.42. Initial public offerings (IPOs) have not fared very well either.\r\n\r\nAs we wrote in WiC581, Vanchip\u2019s STAR Market listing had a particularly torrid time. Shares in the manufacturer of radio frequency chips lost 36% of their value on their opening day in mid-April, the worst debut since the STAR Market\u2019s launch in 2019.\r\n\r\nNot far behind was Rigol Technologies, a company that manufactures testing and measurement instruments. It fell 35% on its debut in early April.\r\n\r\nIndeed, about half of the market\u2019s IPOs have traded down so far this year. This has prompted CSRC vice chairman Fang Xinghai to urge the bankers who bring companies to market and the investors who buy their stock to be more disciplined in valuing the IPOs.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe issue underlines how China\u2019s capital…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/NovoSense-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"13"},{"id":52320,"title":"SemiDrive challenges NXP in automotive chip market","content":"When Qualcomm tried to purchase Holland\u2019s NXP for $44 billion in 2016, the world\u2019s largest smartphone chipmaker was hoping to get its hands on one of the leading lights in the automotive chip market.\r\n\r\nThe deal foundered two years later after the Chinese government refused to give regulatory approvals.\r\n\r\nBut the proposed acquisition also  spurred two of NXP\u2019s most senior Chinese executives \u2013 Maggie Qiu and Zhang Qiang \u2013 to set up on their own.\r\n\r\nNanjing SemiDrive, the company they created, went on to secure unicorn status late last year after pulling in Rmb1 billion ($150 million) in its Series B funding round.\r\n\r\nQiu recently told a Weixin blogger that she realised there was an opportunity for a newcomer in China because the \u201ccontinuous mergers and reorganisations from the chip giants meant they could no longer rapidly respond to the needs of the domestic auto market\u201d.\r\n\r\nOver the past two years, the semiconductor firms haven\u2019t been capable of meeting market demand for chips either, after miscalculating on how long Covid-19 would crimp demand for new vehicles, particularly of the electric variety (which require an ever-larger number of semiconductors).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSales have been stronger than the chip firms had expected and one of the biggest shortages is reported…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/NXP-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"14"},{"id":52310,"title":"CNOOC\u2008starts drilling in Brazilian waters","content":"Saudi Aramco is jostling with Apple once again for the title of the world\u2019s most valuable company, helped by oil prices that have soared 60% since last year on higher demand and the spillover effect of the disruption in energy markets caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s not a conflict that gets much mention in the Chinese press, of course, which has been busier this month celebrating the achievements of China National Offshore Oil Corporation, or CNOOC, after news that oil has started to flow from the Mero field in the Santos Basin, a vast area of the Atlantic around 190 miles off the coast of Brazil.\r\n\r\nCNOOC and PetroChina \u2013 another of the country\u2019s state-controlled energy giants \u2013 are both partners in the project, which is slated to produce 180,000 barrels of crude a day.\r\n\r\nProjects like these have also been presented as evidence of a broader effort from the Chinese energy majors to shift away from assets in Western markets, because of concerns that they could become targets of cross-border sanctions.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nYet CNOOC executives have denied that this is the plan, saying there isn\u2019t an ambition to exit any particular region. They have also avoided comment on rumours that China\u2019s…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/CNOOC-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"15"},{"id":52323,"title":"Adaptation of hit novel shows all is not well in China\u2019s entertainment scene","content":"Until recently writer Ma Boyong had a spotless record. The 41 year-old novelist has seen a number of his bestselling books adapted into TV series and films, such as  2019\u2019s critically acclaimed The Longest Day of Chang\u2019an, a costume drama starring pop icon Yiyang Qianxi, and last year\u2019s Luoyang, which featured heartthrob Wang Yibo.\r\n\r\nThe writer, famous for his historical crime novels, is known for mixing fiction with real events, a style that has inspired comparison to the legendary martial arts novelist Louis Cha (also known by his pen name Jin Yong). \r\n\r\n\u201cThere\u2019s so much material to work on from China\u2019s long history,\u201d he told the South China Morning Post in an interview. \u201cI particularly like the Three Kingdoms period as I liked to play video games and read comics based on that period during my childhood.\u201d\r\n\r\nBut a new costume drama based on another one of his novels, The Wind Blows From Longxi, also set in the Three Kingdoms period, proves that not everything Ma touches turns to gold.\r\n\r\nThe new series, which features actor Chen Kun in the lead role and a cameo from superstar actress Angelababy, has set a new record, although not the one that Ma would have wanted.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nRatings for…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Model-w-1.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":52307,"title":"Labour Day holiday sees China\u2019s camping craze reach new heights","content":"Before the pandemic, the idea of sleeping in a tent and cooking around a campfire didn\u2019t sound too relaxing to many holidaymakers. But attitudes have changed in the last two years. In the UK, one in five adults have been on a camping or caravan holiday since the pandemic began, says market researcher Mintel. Of this group, about 4.5 million were sleeping in a tent or caravan for the first time.\r\n\r\nWith Omicron still forcing various parts of China into lockdowns \u2013 and cramping the chances of travelling further afield \u00ad\u2013 more Chinese  are starting to embrace camping too. According to travel booking site Qunar, ticket sales for parks with campsites have increased by over 50% on last year. And data from Trip.com showed that online searches for \u201ccamping\u201d over the  Labour Day holiday on May 1 increased by 90% from the week before.\r\n\r\nPotential campers have been shopping for outdoor equipment in greater numbers as well. On Tmall turnover of large tents, sleeping bags, folding tables and chairs more than doubled in the first three months of this year compared with a year ago.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nCamping has been getting more popular for a while \u2013 particularly with hipster adventurers, not least because of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Yang-Mi-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]},{"id":1736,"name":"Issue 583","date":"May 6, 2022","title":"Vietnam\u2019s gain, China\u2019s loss","tagline":"Vietnam\u2019s football team shocked China with its 3-1 victory in the World Cup \u2013 but is the nation also scoring big in taking business from Chinese factories too?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/WiC583.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/583-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":52242,"title":"Analysts mull ramifications of Vietnam\u2019s GDP now surpassing Shenzhen\u2019s","content":"Not many Chinese pay too much attention to what is happening in Vietnam. But the Southeast Asian country did make unwelcome headlines in February after beating China 3-1 in a qualifier for the football World Cup, which eliminated any chances of the Chinese reaching the finals of the tournament in Qatar later this year.\r\n\r\nWhile Chinese football fans are accustomed to embarrassing setbacks for their men\u2019s national team, the reversal was still difficult to stomach \u2013 and not only because Vietnam has been a footballing minnow for decades.\r\n\r\nThe Middle Kingdom was a suzerain state to Vietnam for more than a thousand years. And in more contemporary times the Chinese have liked to think that they enjoy a sphere of influence over Vietnam as a communist \u2018big brother\u2019.\r\n\r\nAway from the football pitch there has been a little more discussion of Vietnam in the Chinese media of late, however. The reason being that the country\u2019s exports surpassed those of Shenzhen in value in the first quarter this year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn fact, Vietnam\u2019s exports were nearly double those of Shenzhen\u2019s last month, the local media noted, as the Southeast Asian country profited from a shift in global supply chains.\r\n\r\nIt might not sound like much of an…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Vietnam-Factory-w.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":52244,"title":"Xiaomi embroiled in worsening Sino-Indian ties","content":"How do multinational companies reduce their tax burdens? A popular option where there is an operating subsidiary in a country  with high taxes is to have that unit reduce its profits by paying royalties or licence fees to an associated company in a place where taxes are lower.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s a common practice, although the legitimacy of the tactic depends in part on whether licenced intellectual property has actually been used by the subsidiary in question.\r\n\r\nThis is the issue at the heart of the current case against Xiaomi in India, which last week saw the authorities freeze Rs55 billion ($726 million) from the Chinese smartphone maker\u2019s local bank accounts in a dramatic dispute.\r\n\r\nAccording to the Ministry of Finance\u2019s Enforcement Directorate, Xiaomi India has been remitting money \u201cin the guise of\u201d royalties to three offshore affiliates since 2015 in contravention of foreign exchange laws. \u201cXiaomi India procures the completely manufactured mobile sets and other products from the manufacturers in India. Xiaomi India has not availed any service from the three foreign-based entities to whom such amounts have been transferred,\u201d the Enforcement Directorate\u2019s statement said.\r\n\r\nXiaomi countered that the royalty payments were made for \u201cin-licenced technologies and intellectual property used in our Indian version products\u201d.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Xiaomi-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"7"},{"id":52269,"title":"Is Beijing\u2019s internet sector crackdown over?","content":"Is the crackdown on China\u2019s leading internet behemoths \u2013 the \u2018platforms\u2019 that offer a range of services like entertainment, payments, shopping and delivery in a single app \u2013 finally coming to an end?\r\n\r\nThe sector certainly reacted positively to a statement from the Politburo last Friday that the government would \u201cpromote the healthy development\u201d of the internet economy. China\u2019s top decisionmaking body vowed to continue with the \u201cspecial rectification of the platform economy\u201d, an effort that has targeted predatory commercial behaviour and lax attitudes towards data privacy from some of the major players. But the announcement was worded in a way that allowed some analysts to conclude that the campaign is nearly finished. There was conciliatory language in the statement too, including a mention of \u201cspecific measures\u201d to support the sector.\r\n\r\nThat was more than enough to trigger hopes that months of regulatory hostility towards the beleaguered sector is coming to a close. Internet stocks jumped giddily, with Alibaba up more than 15% and Tencent gaining over 11%.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe South China Morning Post then reported that the government is planning a symposium with the leading internet companies after the Labour Day holiday, with food delivery giant Meituan, TikTok owner Bytedance, Alibaba and Tencent…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Meituan-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"8"},{"id":52275,"title":"TSMC founder trashes US plan to bring back chip production","content":"If the company you created has achieved a global monopoly over one of the most critical elements of the world\u2019s most advanced technology, you are probably going to be none too pleased if the world\u2019s richest country decides that it wants to muscle in and take control of the situation.\r\n\r\nSo it has been hardly surprising that Morris Chang, who founded Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TSMC) in 1987, is unenthusiastic about America\u2019s plan to re-establish advanced semiconductor manufacturing on its own soil.\r\n\r\nHaving retired from TSMC in 2019, Chang first signalled his aversion to the idea at a tech forum in Taipei last October. He spoke out again in April as a guest on the Brookings Institution\u2019s Vying for Talent Podcast.\r\n\r\n \u201cCan semiconductor manufacturing return to the US?\u201d the podcast asked. Yes, replied Morris, although he thought the plan was an awful one. Describing the American onshoring effort \u201cas a very expensive exercise in futility\u201d, he warned that the US fabs will be \u201cnon-competitive in a world where you compete with factories like TSMC\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe US share of semiconductor manufacturing has shrunk from 37% at the beginning of the 1990s to 12% today, according to Semiconductor Industry Alliance (SIA) figures. And it\u2019s much worse…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Morris-Chang-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"9"},{"id":52278,"title":"Chinese solar firms continue to shine with surging profits","content":"China\u2019s media likes to label the giants in some of the country\u2019s key industries in descriptive groups. First there were the \u2018three barrels of oil\u2019 (CNOOC, PetroChina and Sinopec). Then there was the BAT troika (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) in the internet sector. And now there are the \u2018four kings of silicon materials\u2019, who dominate the production of polysilicon, the key raw material for the photovoltaic cells in solar panels.\r\n\r\nIn order of production capacity they are: Tongwei, GCL Technology (which has just changed its name from GCL New Energy), Daqo New Energy and Xinte New Energy. All four are on a roll, with Tongwei and Daqo releasing record-breaking first quarter profits recently.\r\n\r\nAs we wrote in WiC574, the solar power producers and electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers share a very similar problem. There aren\u2019t enough materials being produced at one end of the supply chain to match escalating demand at the other. Raw material prices have consequently soared.\r\n\r\nThe two upstream industries also show a very similar geographical concentration in one country:  China. As Bernreuter Research highlights in its latest annual review, Chinese polysilicon firms now account for 80% of global production and are on course to top 90% within a few years.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Daqo-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"10"},{"id":52250,"title":"The yuan slumped versus the dollar in\u2008April","content":"The yuan slid more than 4% against the dollar in the offshore currency markets in April, setting it on course for its worst month for more than a decade.\r\n\r\nThe slump is effectively a reversal of the situation in late 2020, when the US economy was suffering from pandemic-related disruption while China\u2019s economy was coming out of the worst of Covid-19.\r\n\r\nA series of Chinese trade surpluses then saw the renminbi reach its strongest levels on record against a basket of trading-partner currencies. Stronger performance from the economy also fed through into more interest in the renminbi, as foreign investors bought up Chinese equities and bonds.\r\n\r\nOf course, in more recent months the US economy has recovered from the worst of Covid. Inflationary pressures are now the greater concern and investors are taking the view that the Federal Reserve is likely to hike interest rates for the foreseeable future, making the dollar a more attractive choice than the yuan.\r\n\r\nAt the same time, the Chinese economy has been slowing, reducing overseas demand for its currency.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn previous periods of slowing growth China\u2019s authorities have sometimes guided the yuan to a weaker position against the dollar in a bid to give exports a boost. But the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/RMB-w.jpg","category":"Rise of the RMB","page":"11"},{"id":52272,"title":"Can Hozon make its mark in electric cars with the Nezha EV brand?","content":"In the novel The Investiture of the Gods, Nezha is born during the late Shang Dynasty (around 3,000 years ago) in a fortress at Chentang Pass where his father served as a military commander.\r\n\r\nOne day in a deadly fight Nezha killed the son of the Dragon King who ruled the East Sea. The Dragon King wanted revenge and threatened to flood Chentang Pass. Nezha killed himself to settle the dispute. He would later be resurrected and help end the tyrannical rule of the last Shang emperor. \r\n\r\nA superhero in Chinese folklore, the mythical figure has just become a hot topic as a car brand in China\u2019s electric vehicle market.\r\n\r\nIn the first quarter of this year, Hozon Auto, the maker of the Nezha brand (which in\u2008English uses the capitalised spelling NETA), took third place locally. Delivering a total of 30,152 new cars, more than NIO\u2019s 25,768 and not far back from XPENG (34,561) and Li\u2008Auto (31,716). In light of the strong sales, TMT Post reports that Hozon is now gearing up for a Hong Kong initial public offering in June that could raise about $1 billion  (NIO, XPENG and Li Auto are all dual-listed in Hong Kong and New York).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHozon, which is…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Neta-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"12"},{"id":52261,"title":"\u2018Huawei of medical devices\u2019 United Imaging to raise $2 billion in STAR IPO","content":"'Made in China 2025' was dropped as a government slogan three years ago. Yet the underlying desire to achieve self-reliance in essential goods from semiconductors to biomedicine has never waned. The ambition has continued to guide investment into sectors where Beijing is uncomfortable about overdependence on foreign supply.\r\n\r\nOne such contender is United Imaging, a Shanghai-based diagnostic imaging device manufacturer trying to break the stronghold of GE Medical, Philips and Siemens Medical \u2013 a group known by the acronym \u2018GPS\u2019 \u2013 in equipment sales to Chinese hospitals.\r\n\r\nIn magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners and computed tomography (CT) scanners, United Imaging has newly competitive products that have become bestsellers in the domestic market, clinching 20% and 25% shares respectively in 2020, according to China Insights Consultancy, a market researcher. In 3-Tesla MRI \u2013 the gold standard in the technology \u2013 United Imaging is the only Chinese firm in the market, grabbing 17% of sales.\r\n\r\nThese sales are impressive, considering that China relied on the GPS troika for 90% of its diagnostic imaging equipment a decade ago.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nUnited Imaging didn\u2019t even ship its first product until 2014. Its growth since then, marked by strong state support, has seen the company labelled as \u201cthe Huawei of medical…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/United-Imaging-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"14"},{"id":52257,"title":"How has snack giant Bestore coped with Covid?","content":"Snack sales were buoyant in the US during the pandemic as consumers worried less about their waistlines and munched away at home to counter stress and boredom. PepsiCo\u2019s snack unit Frito-Lay has been setting the pace, for instance, with revenues from its North American business reaching $4.5 billion in the first quarter of this year, not too far back on beverage sales of $5.4 billion.\r\n\r\nNevertheless some of the biggest listed snack firms in China have been struggling. Bestore announced last week a 14% increase in first-quarter revenue to Rmb2.9 billion ($437.3 million). However, net profit fell slightly to Rmb93 million because of higher logistics and warehousing costs as a result of the Omicron outbreaks.\r\n\r\nBestore founder Yang Hongchun opened his first store in Wuhan in 2006. At first he doled out free samples, hoping he could convert these folk into actual purchasers. After four months Yang had lost his initial capital. Refusing to accept defeat, he sold his house to keep the company afloat.\r\n\r\nThen he decided to switch tack. He updated the storefront, making it sleeker. He rebranded his snacks as \u201cleisure food\u201d. Understanding that cutting prices wasn\u2019t going to be a viable approach, he decided to position his products in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Bestore-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"15"},{"id":52254,"title":"Hunan TV\u2019s new show is a nostalgic paean to Hong Kong\u2019s music scene","content":"Late last year Hunan Satellite TV launched the reality show Night in the Greater Bay. The series was a spin-off from Call Me By Fire. It came about when the five Hong Kong contestants, which included Jordan Chan, Julian Cheung and Michael Tse, all friends prior to the show, became breakout stars, endearing themselves to audiences with their poorly pronounced Mandarin and laidback attitudes.\r\n\r\nThe Hong Kong connection lives on this month. In a move timed with the 25th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to China (on July 1), Hunan Satellite TV launched a new variety show this month called Infinity and Beyond in collaboration with Hong Kong\u2019s free-to-air broadcaster TVB. It features singers and bands from the mainland and Hong Kong, dividing them into two teams to compete for audience votes. The goal of the show, says the Hunan-based network, is to remember the massive success and huge influence across mainland China of Hong Kong\u2019s Cantopop music stars of the 1990s and promote the genre into a new era.\r\n\r\nIn recalling the 1990s \u2013 the golden age of Cantopop when Cantonese songs were hugely popular in the mainland and the \u201cFour Heavenly Kings\u201d (Jacky Cheung, Andy Lau, Leon Lai…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/05\/Model-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"}]},{"id":1735,"name":"Issue 582","date":"Apr 29, 2022","title":"Uproar at CMB","tagline":"Speculation mounts as to why the successful boss of China Merchants Bank was suddenly removed by Beijing\u2019s anti-graft body last week","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/04\/WiC582.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/04\/582-large.jpg","articles":[{"id":52204,"title":"Why has China\u2019s most successful banking boss just been removed?","content":"\u201cTwo things awe me most,\u201d Immanuel Kant wrote in his Critique of Practical Reason. \u201cThe starry sky above me and the moral law within me.\u201d\r\n\r\nThat poignant quotation was inscribed on the German philosopher\u2019s tombstone. Last month the remark received an unexpected renewal of prominence when it was cited in the president\u2019s statement within China Merchants Bank\u2019s (CMB) annual report.\r\n\r\nMore broadly Tian Huiyu\u2019s statement had tried to impress upon investors his view that value creation for the bank\u2019s customers had been a commitment for CMB from day one of its operations. But in a more appropriate application of Kant\u2019s thinking, commentators have been taking aim at Tian\u2019s morals, however, following news that the banker is under investigation for corruption.\r\n\r\nIt sounds like a familiar story for an industry that has been plagued by graft. Nevertheless, CMB has been one of the best-performing Chinese banking stocks for much of the past decade, a period during which Tian was in charge. That makes his case another indicator for pondering what has changed, and what has not, in the Chinese banking sector over the last 10 years.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWho is Tian Huiyu?\r\n\r\nChina Merchants Bank was set up in 1987 in Shenzhen as part of bold reforms in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/04\/CMB-w.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":52201,"title":"More Chinese cities lift property market curbs to boost local economies","content":"For anyone who has lived through the last few property market  slumps in China, it is hard not to feel a sense of d\u00e9j\u00e0 vu.\r\n\r\nSince the beginning of the year, the housing market has been in a funk. The top 100 developers experienced a 53% decline in sales in March from the same month a year ago, according to data from China Real Estate Information. It marked the ninth consecutive month of declines and the steepest for the industry since last summer.\r\n\r\nSmaller cities have been hit especially hard. In the first quarter of this year, the total transaction area of residential housing in third- and fourth-tier cities fell by 42.9% year-on-year, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.\r\n\r\nIn order to prevent an ailing real estate market from derailing economic growth, 21CN Business Herald reported, more than 80 cities have relaxed their homebuying policies such as removing restrictions on property purchases and loosening mortgage lending this year. Some have even lowered the downpayment ratio in an effort to lure homebuyers back to the market.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nProvincial capital such as Nanjing and Shanghai, where demand is usually more robust, are now planning to bolster home sales, 21CN said. The Lingang Special Area…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/04\/Lingang-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"7"},{"id":52210,"title":"Chinese firms\u2019 lithium rush gathers pace","content":"\u201cDo you like minting money?\u201d Tesla\u2019s CEO Elon Musk asked during the company\u2019s first quarter results meeting on April 20. If the answer is yes, then he suggested that the lithium mining and processing business \u201cis for you\u201d.\r\n\r\nIt might also be for Tesla itself after Musk complained that lithium prices are \u201cinsane\u201d, because of massive bottlenecks in trying to get the metal out of the ground and process it quickly enough for usage in electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Few expect prices to decline anytime soon given a widening supply-demand imbalance, as lithium miners cannot get projects going fast enough to keep up with end-users\u2019 enthusiasm for the transition away from fossil fuels.\r\n\r\nXuan Jiyou, head of research at Qianmen Assets, tells China\u2019s National Business Daily that lithium carbonate prices are likely to fluctuate around the level of Rmb500,000 per tonne for a \u201clong time\u201d. In January 2021, they were at the Rmb77,000 level.\r\n\r\nThe scramble to create secure lithium supply chains is intensifying. And much like the semiconductor sector, countries are starting to seek projects onshore.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAs we wrote in WiC569, the brokerage Guotai Junan estimates that China imports about 70% of its lithium needs, despite sitting on the world\u2019s third largest known…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/04\/Elon-Musk-w.jpg","category":"M&A","page":"9"},{"id":52213,"title":"CNOOC eyes Western retreat after A-share return","content":"When CNOOC launched its bid for Canada\u2019s Nexen, a decade ago this July, Chinese companies were riding a wave of international expansion using M&A to to acquire new technologies and grow their asset base overseas. The company\u2019s chairman Wang Yilin told the Financial Times at the time that Hong Kong and New York-based shareholders could rest assured: there would be no clash between their interests and CNOOC\u2019s state masters.\r\n\r\nThe following year, the company\u2019s $15 billion all-cash bid was accepted by the Canadian government, catapulting CNOOC into the record books with China\u2019s largest overseas acquisition on record. Beijing was happy because the deal bolstered the country\u2019s energy security, expanding CNOOC\u2019s production by a fifth and its proven and probable reserves by a third.\r\n\r\nIt turned out to be a high water mark in more ways than one. In 2014, oil prices began plunging after the US rapidly expanded shale gas production. The subsequent 70% oil price decline, over the space of two years, meant that CNOOC could not uphold all of its commitments in the deal, including a promise to retain all of Nexen\u2019s Canadian staff.\r\n\r\nThen came the increasingly fraught geopolitical mood of recent years. This month, Reuters reported that CNOOC is planning…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/04\/CNOOC-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"10"},{"id":52229,"title":"Debates on TCM remedies for Covid heat up","content":"When Hong Kong was battling the Omicron outbreak in late March, China\u2019s central government sent a team of seven practitioners to the city to offer advice on how to use traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to treat the virus. Within days of the team\u2019s arrival, the Hong Kong government sent out \u201canti-epidemic packages\u201d to nearly every family, with each parcel containing a box of TCM capsules known as Lianhua Qingwen.\r\n\r\nLianhua means \u2018lotus flower\u2019 and qingwen translates literally as \u2018cleansing the epidemic\u2019. Carrie Lam, Hong Kong\u2019s outgoing chief executive, declared at the time that the pills \u201cmay have a better effect than Western medicine\u201d. Made from a blend of herbs like forsythia, honeysuckle flower, ephedra and isatis root, Lianhua Qingwen was not in fact developed for Covid-19. The drug was first developed by Yiling Pharmaceutical back in 2003 as a treatment for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) though it wasn\u2019t released into the market until 2005. Lianhua Qingwen claims it helps to detox the lungs and releases the \u2018fire\u2019 built up in the body.\r\n\r\nSince then Lianhua Qingwen has been widely used to treat common cold and flu symptoms in China \u2013 much like Panadol elsewhere \u2013 and can be easily purchased over-the-counter.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/04\/Lianhua-Qingwen-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"11"},{"id":52219,"title":"Why a Beida PhD opts to become a chengguan","content":"Three years of high school, three years for a bachelor\u2019s degree, two years for a master\u2019s, and at least three years for a PhD \u2013 that\u2019s how long many of the recent applicants for lowly government jobs in Beijing spent in education.\r\n\r\nAs China\u2019s economy contracts due to Covid-19 and government crackdowns on the tech and education sectors, more of the country\u2019s university graduates are struggling to find decent employment.\r\n\r\nThe response, as it often is in times of uncertainty, has been to apply for government jobs that at least guarantee long tenure and a good pension. In big cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, they also offer a quick route to municipal residency or hukou.   \r\n\r\nProof that this is again a strong trend amongst young Chinese came this month when local authorities at Chaoyang, Beijing\u2019s biggest and richest district, published a list of new employees \u2013 95% of which have either a Phd or a master\u2019s degree.\r\n\r\nThe applicant who caught most people\u2019s attention was a young man who had received a doctorate in physics from Peking University. His new role \u2013 having submitted a lengthy application and sat an exam \u2013 is as a much-hated chengguan or urban management officer (for more…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/04\/Graduates-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"12"},{"id":52216,"title":"Screenmaker Royole is struggling for survival","content":"Royole loved its time in the limelight in 2018 when it announced the launch of its production line for the mass manufacture of fully flexible screens, backed by its own intellectual property. Such was its determination to defend its pioneering position that it rubbished the claims of rival manufacturer Xiaomi the following year when the latter launched a foldable format of its own.\r\n\r\n\u201cCompanies like this fly high in China as long as they sell the right concepts, but they would not be respected and recognised internationally because all they know is copying without being innovative, and worse still, making false claims\u201d, a boss from Royole admonished at the time (see WiC440).\r\n\r\nThose halcyon days of four years ago have long passed, however, with reports in the Chinese media that Royole is close to perishing from a catastrophic cash crunch that has left its employees unpaid and its production lines mothballed for months. In the latest news on the crisis, most of the remaining employees were said to have been sidelined with three months of mandatory leave.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nRoyole was heavily backed between 2017 to 2019 by investors including Citic Capital and Shenzhen Capital Group on the basis of its bendable screen technology, which…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/04\/Royole-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"13"},{"id":52198,"title":"Industry expert on how Chinese firms are doing in artificial intelligence","content":"By far the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it,\u201d warned Eliezer Yudkowsky, a leading theorist in the science of AI, nearly fifteen years ago.\r\n\r\nAdvances since then haven\u2019t always made understanding the sector any easier, as far as WiC is concerned. Fortunately, Helen Fang \u2013 Head of Industrials Research, Asia Pacific at HSBC \u2013 has done an excellent job of breaking down what\u2019s going on in China\u2019s AI industry in a piece of research titled Artificial Intelligence: Mapping out the value chain published earlier this year.\r\n\r\nFang\u2019s analysis splits the industry into five layers. The foundation block is the AI computing chips that power the algorithms. These chips are housed in a second layer of infrastructure, made up of cloud computing networks and data centres. Next is the machine learning frameworks that train the data in the AI algorithms, which underpin the software models that create AI-enabled solutions for customers. Together, they support the applications of AI-powered technology that are sold into the marketplace, such as traffic management systems in smart cities or the anti-collision capabilities in self-driving vehicles.\r\n\r\nWiC spoke to Fang for background on the headline items in her research piece, as…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/04\/Helen-Fang-w.jpg","category":"Corporate Q&A","page":"14"},{"id":52207,"title":"How a little-known Taiwanese singer turned into an online sensation","content":"According to a study that focused on physical activity in the UK, most people were less active during pandemic lockdowns (this won\u2019t strike most readers as a revelation). The study revealed that an overwhelming majority worked out less regardless of their gender or socioeconomic status. The decrease was most significant among those people who had been the most active before the pandemic and among people under the age of about 40.\r\n\r\nTo get people moving again, or even just to fight boredom during lockdowns, a formerly little-known singer and actor from Taiwan has become a social media phenomenon recently.\r\n\r\nMeet Liu Genghong. The 49 year-old\u2019s career in the entertainment business has been \u201cuneventful\u201d by his own admission. His performance in a number of TV reality shows such as Super Diet King in 2013 did not particularly add to his stardom either.\r\n\r\nLike many celebrities, Liu has forayed into e-commerce livestreaming. Not many are natural-born salespeople though. According to Feigua data statistics, Liu and his wife brought in just Rmb7.2 million worth of gross merchandise (GMV) in nine online sessions between December and February. For comparison, Zheng Jianpeng and his wife, a popular celebrity couple, were able to rack in Rmb320 million ($48.40 million)…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/04\/Wang-Wanfei-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":52226,"title":"Steinway rides China\u2019s piano mania to IPO","content":"Some 40 million people in China play the piano regularly, according to the National Musicians\u2019 Association.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s almost seven times the number of American pianists.\r\n\r\nThe vast majority are children, spurred on by parents who didn\u2019t have the same opportunities to play the piano in their youth.\r\n\r\nSince for-profit tutoring in academic subjects was banned last year, the number of children taking music classes has soared \u2013 all of which bodes well for Steinway & Sons, the New York-based piano maker which is hoping for a harmonious $1.5 billion listing based on demand for its  instruments in China.\r\n\r\nSteinway, which was taken private in 2013 by US financier John Paulson, mentions China 156 times in its IPO prospectus. For comparison it uses the word \u2018pianist\u2019 44 times.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nChina currently accounts for 29% of Steinway\u2019s sales, but the company argues there is huge potential for growth because of new support from the government for the arts and the rising number of wealthy families. \u201cChina represents a unique market for Steinway due to two primary cultural and structural factors: a deep-rooted reverence for classical music, specifically piano music, and a sizeable and rapidly expanding middle and upper class with an appetite for luxury Western products,\u201d it said.\r\n\r\nSteinway…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2022\/04\/Yuja-Wang-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]}]}