{"issues":[{"id":1633,"name":"Issue 482","date":"Feb 14, 2020","title":"Masked nation","tagline":"How is China\u2019s government and economy coping with the spread of the Wuhan virus?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/02\/482.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/02\/482-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":45139,"title":"How is China coping with the coronavirus outbreak?","content":"The SARS outbreak nearly two decades ago wasn\u2019t simply a public health crisis. For the Communist Party of China (CPC) the epidemic presented a severe political crisis that threatened its ruling legitimacy.\r\n\r\nIn early 2003, amid mounting international concern and domestic disquiet, the CPC sacked Meng Xuenong, who had only been appointed as Beijing\u2019s mayor three months earlier. He was blamed for failing to handle the way information about the disease and its spread was being reported to the public.\r\n\r\nMeng\u2019s departure won loud applause and was taken as a sign of more accountable governance under new Party boss Hu Jintao, who took over in November 2002 as the SARS virus started to spread in southern China.\r\n\r\nMore importantly it helped to calm public anger, although Meng would make a return to ministerial rank five months later when he was appointed to oversee a multi-billion project to channel water from southern to northern China. (Later he was named acting governor of Shanxi province, but fired less than a year later for mishandling deadly mudslides. Incredibly he made another comeback in 2010, this time with a key post on the CPC\u2019s Central Committee.)\r\n\r\nNevertheless the CPC threw its full political weight into averting the 2003…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/02\/Xi-Jinping-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":45142,"title":"As China catches pneumonia, the world coughs","content":"Much has been said about \u2018Made in China\u2019 goods in recent years but the world is now finding out what happens when the world\u2019s biggest factories go into deep-freeze, thanks to the Covid-19 virus.\r\n\r\nWorkers were supposed to be returning to work in China as of Monday after the government extended the public holiday for the Year of the Rat by an extra seven days, as well as commanding companies across 17 cities and provinces to stop operations until February 9.\r\n\r\nYet for millions of migrant workers trying to get back from their hometowns hasn\u2019t been an easy task. Even if they can get tickets for trains and buses, they must navigate a series of medical protocols and quarantine cordons on their journeys. \u201cIt\u2019s like Europe in medieval times, where each city has its checks and crosschecks,\u201d J\u00f6rg Wuttke, the president of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, told the New York Times this week.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThat has helped to create situations like the one at Foxconn\u2019s massive assembly plant in Zhengzhou, where only 10% of the workforce was reported to be available for duty as the week began. Analysts were soon predicting a supply shortage for Apple, Foxconn\u2019s biggest client.\r\n\r\nCompanies have been…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/02\/Foxconn-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"7"},{"id":45145,"title":"Alibaba wins admirers for its efforts to fight the virus outbreak","content":"The devastating earthquake that struck Sichuan in 2008 changed attitudes towards corporate social responsibility (CSR) in China. The disaster claimed 70,000 lives and left more than five million people homeless. But at least $1.5 billion in donations were made by the business community amid an unprecedented call for national solidarity.\r\n\r\nCSR efforts weren\u2019t measured purely in monetary terms, however. Sany Heavy Industry was one of the companies widely acclaimed for its part in the relief campaign. Images of its excavators and cranes doing the rescue work made Sany much more of a household name across China and companies have been active again in the effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan late last year.\r\n\r\nOne of the brands that has emerged as a leader this time is Alibaba. \u201cAll to Wuhan. Let\u2019s do it!\u201d the internet giant wrote on its official weibo on January 25, the first day of the Chinese New Year (of the Rat). The tech company announced that it would spare no effort in fighting the outbreak, as well as setting aside Rmb1 billion ($145 million) to purchase medical supplies.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAlibaba has turned its attention to ways that it can help in fighting the crisis. For instance,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/02\/Hema-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"8"},{"id":45150,"title":"Wuhan\u2019s top tech firms downplay virus impact","content":"Xi Jinping has visited Wuhan twice since taking over as China\u2019s paramount leader. One of his stopovers on both trips was a vast district in the city known as Optics Valley. In 2013 he affirmed the elemental importance of science and technology to China\u2019s prosperity, which paved the way for the setting-up in Optics Valley of Yangtze Memory Technologies, a Rmb24 billion ($3.43 billion) chip plant. Optics Valley was also the place where Xi declared China\u2019s ambitions for technological self-sufficiency two years ago \u2013 a move that followed a US ban on the supply of chips and other components to telecom equipment firm ZTE (see WiC406).\r\n\r\nThe capital city of Hubei province actually has three development zones but Optics Valley is the one primarily tasked with incubating advanced technologies including robotics, semiconductor manufacturing, 3D printing and biologic medicine. In the last few years, it has been Wuhan\u2019s biggest draw for investment, thanks to companies such as Schneider Electric, Huawei, Foxconn, Xiaomi and Lenovo. With the zone\u2019s GDP growth at 10.8% in the first half of 2019 \u2013 well ahead of the city\u2019s overall number \u2013 Optics Valley is viewed by local officials as Wuhan\u2019s best shot of being elevated to tier-one…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/02\/Optic-Cables-Wuhan-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"9"},{"id":45153,"title":"Media celebrates new hospitals, netizens less so","content":"Watching a hospital being built \u2013 however rapidly \u2013 wouldn\u2019t generally be seen as a spectator sport in normal situations.\r\n\r\nBut when you are cooped up in your family apartment sheltering from a new and deadly virus, things take on a new significance.\r\n\r\nWhich is why tens of millions of people tuned in to watch the live feed of two huge hospitals being built at a frantic rate in Wuhan \u2013 the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak.\r\n\r\nThe broadcast\u2019s feeds \u2013 hosted by state channel CCTV \u2013 became so popular that viewers began giving the diggers and bulldozers their own nicknames. A favourite cement mixer was dubbed the \u201cBig Roller\u201d and a flatbed truck hauling heavy construction supplies was \u201cBrother Red Bull\u201d.\r\n\r\nCCTV utilised an app to offer cartoon depictions of the vehicles so people could vote for their favourites. The outright winners were the little yellow forklift trucks which zoomed about the busy sites like determined bees.\r\n\r\nBut what for some was a heartening symbol of the nation\u2019s all-out resolve to defeat the virus was for others a sign of how the authorities had been woefully slow to react to the epidemic in its early stages.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cIf this government had taken action earlier this…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/02\/Wuhan-Hospital-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"10"},{"id":45158,"title":"Which healthcare stocks are benefiting from the coronavirus crisis?","content":"Perhaps no single drug is more associated with its manufacturer\u2019s success than Bayer\u2019s Aspirin. Developed by German chemist Felix Hoffmann to alleviate his father\u2019s rheumatism, the painkiller has been sold as an over-the-counter tablet since 1915, generating massive profits and transforming the business orientation of the erstwhile dyestuff manufacturer.\r\n\r\nToday, in the face of the novel coronavirus outbreak, pharmaceutical companies are looking for a new miracle drug. Two weeks ago a traditional Chinese medicine known as Shuanghuanglian \u2013 concocted from three types of plants \u2013 became a commercial hit following a report by the People\u2019s Daily that the herbal remedy could \u201cinhibit\u201d the coronavirus. The news even sparked panic-buying of mooncakes, a delicacy typically eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival, simply because some versions are called shuanghuanglian in Mandarin.\r\n\r\nNo surprise then that China\u2019s stock market punters have been quick to react when a company claims that it is ready to supply a more scientific remedy. BrightGene Bio-Medical Technology saw its Shanghai-listed shares spike 20% on Wednesday, after saying that it had started mass-producing the active ingredients for synthesising Remdesivir, a leading candidate (developed by America\u2019s Gilead Sciences) to treat the contagious disease.\r\n\r\nThe news came a week after Gilead began clinical trials of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/02\/Gilead-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"11"},{"id":45162,"title":"An unforeseen outcome from the Wuhan virus: better relations with Japan","content":"With deaths from the coronavirus approaching 1,500, any talk of silver linings from the crisis would be inappropriate.\r\n\r\nBut one of the unexpected outcomes from events is a thawing of relations between longtime antagonists China and Japan.\r\n\r\nJapan is battling the infection at home \u2013 reporting 28 cases on land and 175 more on the Diamond Princess cruise ship moored in Yokohama. However, its gifting of masks and other medical supplies to the Chinese containment effort was much appreciated by China\u2019s media. Also getting comment are smaller gestures such as Japanese pharmacies putting up posters urging China to \u201cstay strong\u201d or teachers in Japanese schools telling students to stop bad mouthing China at such a difficult time.\r\n\r\nAn official from Japan\u2019s Ministry for Health, Labour and Welfare has also warned against demonising the Chinese population, saying it is the virus that is responsible for the crisis, not the people themselves.\r\n\r\nOn February 5 China\u2019s Foreign Ministry formally thanked the Japanese for their \u201csympathy\u201d and \u201cunderstanding\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cWhat the virus has done is cruel and will not last. What the [Japanese] people have done is touching and will be remembered forever,\u201d it added. On February 9 Shanxi TV announced it was withdrawing the final 20 episodes of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/02\/Diamond-Princess-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"12"},{"id":45166,"title":"Contagion coverage unearths old European stereotypes","content":"They have yet to cause complete panic but the newspaper headlines that are following the coronavirus from one country to the next have stoked plenty of fear. And in Europe, one of those headlines also shone a light on a dark period of history which many would prefer to forget.\r\n\r\nFrance\u2019s tabloid newspaper, Le Courier Picard, got itself into a lot of trouble a few weeks ago when it published a cover photo of a Chinese woman wearing a face mask alongside the caption \u201cAlerte Jaune\u201d (meaning \u2018yellow peril\u2019).\r\n\r\nThe paper was slammed by critics, including a rebuke from Stephane Nivet from the International League Against Racism and Antisemitism, who told L\u2019Express that no editor would have dared to publish the headline \u201cBlack Peril\u201d if the virus had originated from Africa. So why was it okay to target China?\r\n\r\nIn truth there have been more articles debating actual or perceived racism than actually demonstrating it themselves. Such anxiety, of course, is another instance of the supposedly \u201cwoke\u201d behaviour that exercises a certain section of Western media commentators. They say their compatriots would be better served talking honestly about the issues rather than worrying about offending others. But it was not that many decades…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/02\/Chinese-facemask-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"13"},{"id":45169,"title":"Macau imposes half-month casino ban amid coronavirus outbreak","content":"Such was the clamour to get into the Sands Macao on opening night in May 2004 that many of the casino\u2019s doors were ripped off their hinges. The scenes this week in the former Portuguese colony couldn\u2019t have been more different. All 41 of Macau\u2019s casinos have been ordered to close their doors. The world\u2019s gambling capital has effectively gone into hibernation.\r\n\r\nBlame the coronavirus, which has been wreaking havoc across the region since spiralling out of control in Wuhan in Hubei province about 900 kilometres to Macau\u2019s north.\r\n\r\nSuddenly, what has made Macau into such a golden ticket for the gaming firms \u2013 an inexhaustible flow of gamblers from mainland China (who make up seven in every 10 of its visitors) \u2013 is looking more like a fatal flaw in its business model.\r\n\r\nIn fact news of the virus had been hammering the sector for days, with a drop of more than 80% in visitor numbers over the Chinese New Year holiday week \u2013 traditionally the busiest time of the year \u2013 at the end of January.\r\n\r\nBut with 10 infections reported in the few days that followed, the Macanese authorities took the draconian step of shutting down the gaming sector completely, instructing…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/02\/Macau-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China Tourist","page":"15"},{"id":45172,"title":"Local star Luckin sees stock fall a third in days","content":"The best recipes for stock bubbles need a fanciful growth story. Take the South Sea Company in the eighteenth century, whose shares inflated over 10 times in a matter of months on hopes that it would bring back a vast hoard of gold and silver from the Spanish colonies, despite its modest trading rights. The fact that it failed to do so, and the expos\u00e9 of fraud, caused a tremendous bust, hurting swathes of investors including Isaac Newton. \u201cI can calculate the motions of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people,\u201d said the discoverer of gravity, after running up \u00a320,000 of losses (equivalent to $3 million today).\r\n\r\nThe short-sellers targeting Luckin Coffee have repackaged some of these classic themes recently \u2013 accusing the high-profile unicorn of spinning rosy stories, and calling it a \u201cfraud\u201d and a \u201cfundamentally broken business\u201d. In a much-read 89-page report doing the rounds online, the anonymous author alleges that the Xiamen-based coffee chain cooked its books to convince investors that its business reached an inflection point during the third quarter of 2019. The author contends that Luckin dangled the prospect that it would soon dial down its cash-burning promotions and move into profit, helping it jack…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/02\/Luckin-Cup-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"16"},{"id":45175,"title":"Wuhan virus could see wave of failures among struggling film studios","content":"When production studio Huanxi Media found out in late January, ahead of the Chinese New Year, that the release of the family-friendly blockbuster Lost in Russia was cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis, it quickly struck a deal with internet giant Bytedance. For Rmb630 million ($91 million), the studio sold the rights to stream the film on Bytedance\u2019s Douyin (also known as TikTok outside of China), Toutiao and Xigua Video platforms. By January 27, local media was reporting that Lost in Russia had received 600 million views (Bytedance\u2019s three apps were also among the top five most downloaded on Apple\u2019s China App Store in January, partly driven by the movie\u2019s availability).\r\n\r\nLast week Enter the Fat Dragon, a movie scheduled for release ahead of Valentine\u2019s Day, quickly followed suit. The film, which features action star Donnie Yen, struck a similar deal with iQiyi and Tencent Video for an undisclosed amount. It will cost just Rmb12 for non-subscribers (and half that for subscribers) to watch the film on the two online platforms, reported National Business Daily. At a time when cinemas across the country have largely stayed shut, releasing a film online is what the newspaper calls \u201ca strategy that keeps losses…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/02\/Liu-Yifei-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":45179,"title":"Virus crisis brings surge in stay-at-home study","content":"In Mandarin, there is a mix of variations for the word \u201cbusy\u201d. Slight subtleties in the \u2018changing\u2019 radical can come to mean: \u201churried\u201d, \u201cbustling\u201d or \u201cengaged\u201d. But keeping busy is the norm for many students in China \u2013 and as far as getting an education is concerned, a coronavirus is no excuse for slacking.\r\n\r\nAs thousands of schools have closed their doors, online education platforms have been frantically busy trying to adapt to the sudden dependence on web-based tuition. Keen to be seen supporting the cause, many of the top players have been offering free tuition online. VIPKID announced at the end of January that it would offer 1.5 million free courses to children aged from four to 12. Starting from February 10, \u201cuntil schools are safely reopened\u201d, these free classes will be taught live four times a week. Children in Hubei province and the offspring of medical workers are being offered priority access, the company said (see WiC378 for our first article about VIPKID\u2019s services, which primarily connect teachers in the US with students in China via streaming video).\r\n\r\nThe industry is still relatively young, so forecasting the effect of the Wuhan virus on demand is tricky. The China Internet Network…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/02\/Yu-Minhong-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]},{"id":1460,"name":"China\u2019s Tycoons","date":"","title":"China\u2019s Tycoons","tagline":"Profiles of 150 top business leaders","pdf-link":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2016\/09\/WiC150Tycoons-final.pdf","image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoons-cover_2016.jpg", "articles":[ {"id":67777777, "title":"Profiles of China\u2019s most successful businesspeople and how they succeeded", "content":"One way to evaluate the economic circumstances of a country is to examine its most successful entrepreneurs. This is the third edition of China\u2019s Tycoons, a book which seeks to enlighten readers about the Chinese business elite. In this volume we profile 150 of the nation\u2019s top tycoons – that\u2019s up from the 125 featured in last edition.", "image":"\/images\/no_image.png", "category":"Introduction", "page":"6"}, {"id":70123000, "title":"Himin to Hanergy", "content":"Tycoons include Zhang Yue and Zhu Gongshan", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-1_Zhang-Yue.jpg", "category":"Alternative Energy", "page":"13"}, {"id":70123001, "title":"Geely to BYD", "content":"Tycoons include Li Shufu and Cao Dewang", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-2_Li-Shufu.jpg", "category":"Automotive", "page":"16"}, {"id":70123002, "title":"Tiens Group to Golden Meditech", "content":"Tycoons include Li Li and Sun Piaoyang", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-3_Li-li.jpg", "category":"Biotech and Pharmaceutical", "page":"23"}, {"id":70123003, "title":"Li Ning to Bosideng", "content":"Tycoons include Li Ning and Zhou Chengjian", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-4_Li-Ning.jpg", "category":"Clothing", "page":"31"}, {"id":70123004, "title":"Lenovo to Huawei", "content":"Tycoons include Liu Chuanzhi and Lei Jun", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-5_Liu-Chuanzhi.jpg", "category":"Computing and Tech", "page":"39"}, {"id":70123005, "title":"Wahaha to WH Group", "content":"Tycoons include Zong Qinghou and Wan Long", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-6_Zong-Qinghou.jpg", "category":"Food", "page":"51"}, {"id":70123006, "title":"Alibaba to Tencent", "content":"Tycoons include Jack Ma and Ma Huateng", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-7_Jack-Ma.jpg", "category":"Internet", "page":"60"}, {"id":70123007, "title":"Fosun to Anbang", "content":"Tycoons include Guo Guangchang and Wu Xiaohui", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-8_Guo-Guangchang.jpg", "category":"Investment", "page":"83"}, {"id":70123008, "title":"Amer to Shagang", "content":"Tycoons include Shen Wenrong and Huang Zelan", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-9_Shen-Wenrong.jpg", "category":"Natural Resources", "page":"102"}, {"id":70123009, "title":"Wanda to SOHO", "content":"Tycoons include Wang Jianlin and Pan Shiyi", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-10_Wang-Jianlin.jpg", "category":"Property", "page":"114"}, {"id":70123010, "title":"Suning to Sanpower", "content":"Tycoons include Zhang Jindong and Tang Yiu", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-11_Zhang-Jindong.jpg", "category":"Retail", "page":"131"}, {"id":70123011, "title":"Gree to Midea", "content":"Tycoons include Dong Mingzhu and He Xiangjian", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-12_Dong-Mingzhu.jpg", "category":"White Goods", "page":"141"}, {"id":70123012, "title":"Sany to Spring Airlines", "content":"Tycoons include Liang Wengen and Wang Wei", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-13_Liang-Wengen.jpg", "category":"Other Industries", "page":"144"} ] },{"id":1632,"name":"Issue 481","date":"Jan 31, 2020","title":"The UK\u2019s big call","tagline":"In Boris Johnson\u2019s first big post-election policy decision the British leader allows China\u2019s Huawei to participate in the UK\u2019s 5G network \u2013 infuriating Washington","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/481.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/481-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":45071,"title":"How Huawei has strained the UK\u2019s \u2018special relationship\u2019 with the US","content":"Boris Johnson, who read Classics at university, seems more comfortable looking back to the ancient world than peering ahead to the technologies of the future.\r\n\r\nDuring his stint as London\u2019s mayor he talked up the British capital as a tech hub. But his utterances on next-generation technology were generally limited to requests like the one that smartphone brands build in a \u2018kill switch\u2019 that deactivates stolen handsets.\r\n\r\nSince becoming UK prime minister the Eton and Oxford educated politician has taken a more expansive tone on technology, including a speech to the United Nations last September on a future where mattresses monitor our nightmares, fridges beep to replenish cheese, and doors swing open as if \u201csome silent butler\u201d is in situ.\r\n\r\nLoosely framed, that sounds like the Internet of Things, although Johnson also predicted that a \u201cgiant dark thundercloud of data\u201d was \u201cwaiting to burst\u201d, adding a sense of foreboding to that pre-election UN\u2008address.\r\n\r\nSo perhaps it was appropriate that one of his first big decisions since his landslide win at the polls in December was whether to allow Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant, to be part of Britain\u2019s digital destiny. And with caveats Johnson will do just that: announcing on Tuesday that Huawei was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Boris-Johnson-w.jpg","category":"China and the World, Internet & Tech, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":45083,"title":"Shandong Ruyi counts the costs of its overseas acquisition spree","content":"After a 60% spike in LVMH\u2019s market value last year, Forbes magazine has calculated that Bernard Arnault, the founder and boss of the luxury goods behemoth, is now the world\u2019s richest man \u2013 with a net worth close to $120 billion.\r\n\r\nShandong Ruyi Group has tried to cultivate a reputation in recent years as China\u2019s answer to LVMH. But instead of featuring in the \u2018rich lists\u2019, the textile firm\u2019s boss Qiu Yafu (see WiC399) is probably more worried about his name popping up on the laolai ranking \u2013 a database of \u2018discredited individuals\u2019 compiled by the local courts.\r\n\r\nAccording to a report by news portal Jiemian last month, Ruyi breached at least 10 court orders last year in relation to debt repayments amounting to Rmb480 million ($69 million). Yet Qiu and his company Ruyi seem to have avoided mention on the laolai list for now, implying that the group has repaid or rolled over its liabilities after warnings from the court.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n(The courts usually give debtors a grace period after ruling on a dispute. A person or company is only added to the Supreme Court\u2019s laolai list \u2013 a database that is available to the public \u2013 should the wrongdoer continue to default…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Qiu-Yafu-w.jpg","category":"M&A","page":"8"},{"id":45102,"title":"China battles to contain the coronavirus outbreak","content":"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated last week that there have been at least 15 million flu cases in the United States since September, leading to 140,000 hospitalisations and 8,200 deaths (the figures were based on a mathematical model). American health experts also warned this month that the current influenza season could be just as deadly as the 2017-2018 one, when 61,000 flu-related deaths were recorded in the US.\r\n\r\nThe warning prompted The Hill, a newspaper that focuses on Washington politics, to compare the potential death toll with that of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, which had claimed 213 lives in China as of Thursday.\r\n\r\n\u201cCoronavirus is spreading but the flu is a greater threat to Americans,\u201d it suggested, noting that there have been six reported cases of the Chinese virus so far in the US. \u201cBut still, the flu rarely gets the sort of headlines an outbreak like the coronavirus does, despite killing more Americans each year than any other virus, and Americans do not seem to be particularly worried [about influenza],\u201d it concluded.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn China itself \u2013 facing the worst outbreak of pneumonia since the spread of SARS in late 2002 and early 2003 \u2013 the American flu statistics…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Wuhan-Hospital-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"9"},{"id":45097,"title":"Kuaishou takes centre stage as sponsor of this year\u2019s CCTV Gala show","content":"Because of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, the mood over Chinese New Year has been sombre. The week-long holiday, traditionally a time when people gather with their families and friends, saw shops and restaurants close down and cinemas shut (see WiC480). The limited options for fun and entertainment opened up more space for a traditional favourite, however. \u201cApart from news updates about the virus, the only thing that is left is the Spring Festival Gala,\u201d Entertainment Unicorn lamented.\r\n\r\nIn fact the annual spectacular from state broadcaster CCTV has suffered from savage criticism in recent years for falling behind the times. This year the producers tried to give it more of a makeover, replacing the older guard with more youthful newbies like Tong Liya (the first actress to host the gala in its 37-year history, according to state TV). Also gone were the skits involving xiangsheng crosstalk (a longstanding fixture at the show).\r\n\r\nIn their place were performances from young pop icons like Xiao Zhan and Xie Na (both appeared in our Top 30 KOLs list; see www.weekinchina.com\/kol).\r\n\r\nThe hard work paid off. Ratings hit an all-time high of 1.23 billion across livestreaming and TV broadcast channels, according to Xinhua. For comparison that was more…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Tong-Liya-2019-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"11"},{"id":45093,"title":"A cloud company lists on Shanghai\u2019s STAR board","content":"For centuries before it adopted the policy of neutrality in global affairs, Switzerland had been Europe\u2019s go-to supplier of mercenary troops, thanks to its bellicose pikemen and strategic location guarding the Alps. It wasn\u2019t until losing the Battle of Marignano in 1515 that the Old Swiss Confederacy realised the hefty costs of war, and agreed not to fight the French nor ally with its enemies. Its non-partisan stance was diplomatically recognised in 1815, giving it an edge when it came to becoming one of the world\u2019s most desirable places for the super rich to stash their assets.\r\n\r\nBeing able to maintain neutrality also has its merits in China\u2019s internet sector, where smaller players are often forced to take sides between Alibaba and Tencent. UCloud, a Shanghai-based cloud computing company has enjoyed a growth spurt in recent years by positioning its service as neutral territory. That suited those clients that either wished not to overtly ally with any of the competing behemoths\u2019 ecosystems (Baidu and Huawei also offer cloud services) or in other cases wanted to find a secondary cloud partner that wouldn\u2019t upset their primary partner (and often investor).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cAn Alibaba investee will definitely go for Alibaba Cloud and dare not use…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Ucloud-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"13"},{"id":45105,"title":"Volkswagen\u2019s 2020 China EV sales to beat Tesla\u2019s?","content":"It may have happened right at the start of 2020 but one of the defining moments for the electric vehicle (EV) sector this year will almost certainly be Elon Musk \u2018dad dancing\u2019 his way around a stage in Shanghai.\r\n\r\nThe Tesla founder was in the city to celebrate the first delivery of a Shanghai-made Model 3 to a Chinese customer. But the launch has wider symbolism in the EV industry because foreign automakers could make significant market share gains during the next 12 months after years of struggling to break out of the low single-digit percentage range in China.\r\n\r\nScaling up their commercial activities and localising production in China should help the international brands bridge a pricing gap with their local competitors, not least in getting similar access to the subsidies and inducements on offer.\r\n\r\nLast year was not a good one for China\u2019s EV industry, which recorded its first-ever annual sales drop (down 4% to 1.2 million vehicles). Most analysts believe there will be positive growth again in 2020, although there is a high base effect to contend with during the first half of the year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOne factor driving the optimism is the government\u2019s support for the sector. In December, Beijing released a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Tesla-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"14"},{"id":45107,"title":"Ranking highlights upgrade of China\u2019s economy","content":"The Hurun Research Institute\u2019s inaugural report on China\u2019s 500 most valuable private sector companies gives a snapshot of how China is changing. The top 10 companies are all instantly familiar names inside China and many have become global brand names too: Alibaba, Tencent, Ping An, Huawei, Ant Financial, Meituan Dianping, Bytedance, Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine, Midea and Didi Chuxing.\r\n\r\nBut what the report demonstrates above all is the wealth creation of China\u2019s private sector. Collectively, the 500 are worth $5.22 trillion, equal to about 40% of Chinese GDP.\r\n\r\nHelpfully, Hurun has also published comparative figures for five and 10 years ago. These show how the tech industry has swept all else aside. Seven of the current top 10 are outright technology companies. Of the remainder, Midea \u2013 a white goods giant \u2013 has staked its future on robotics (via its purchase of German firm Kuka) and Ping An \u2013 notionally a financial services firm \u2013 owes much of it market value to the \u2018unicorn\u2019 tech investments it has incubated in its ecosystem.\r\n\r\nA decade ago Ping An would have been the most valuable company in the Hurun ranking with a Rmb400 billion ($57.96 billion) market capitalisation. Today it is Alibaba on Rmb3.8 trillion.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn terms…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Alibaba-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"15"},{"id":45087,"title":"Country Garden opens first robot restaurant","content":"One of the exhibits at the World Economic Forum earlier this month was YuMi, a robot that makes a cup of coffee in less than 90 seconds. Thanks to its precision and agility, YuMi has also had a go at assembling watches and working with glass, according to its developer ABB.\r\n\r\nYuMi\u2019s debut at Davos was meant to draw attention to robotics as delegates debated the impact of automation and the urgency of reskilling an estimated 75 million workers that could be displaced.\r\n\r\nIn China the robot revolution is already gaining ground in the food and beverage industry. We reported last May that Alibaba was showcasing a milk tea shop employing a single robotic arm to prepare its customers\u2019 choices (see WiC445). And early this month Guangdong-based property giant Country Garden took a step further by establishing the first fully robot-operated restaurant in Guangzhou \u2013 known as Foodom. (Spyce, founded in Boston in 2018, claims to be the world\u2019s first fully robotic kitchen.)\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nFoodom\u2019s specialty is the local cuisine of Shunde (birthplace of Country Garden\u2019s boss Yang Guoqiang). Over 40 different types of robots get to work, with functionalities from stir-frying and deep frying to dessert making and cocktail mixing. A long row…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Country-Garden-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"16"},{"id":45090,"title":"Sycophantic academic paper about mentor\u2019s \u201cnobility\u201d draws fire online","content":"A decade ago Xu Zhongmin was awarded a government grant of Rmb2 million ($288,317) to write a paper on the interplay of economics and ecology in the preservation of freshwater springs.\r\n\r\nBut at least two chapters of his paper were spent praising the \u201cnobility\u201d of his academic mentor Cheng Guodong, the \u201celegance\u201d of Cheng\u2019s wife Zhang Youfen, and the \u201cperfection\u201d of their relationship.\r\n\r\nXu has defended the bootlicking by saying that Cheng\u2019s life had helped him form his worldview.\r\n\r\nOne particularly odd section showed how Cheng\u2019s wife \u2013 \u201cwho smells of spring\u201d \u2013 saw cooking and cleaning as an \u201cobligation\u201d to her husband, and that while she was \u201cignorant\u201d, her \u201csmall\u201d efforts allowed him to make greater contributions to the country.\r\n\r\n\u201cMy advisor is an advocate for shooting colours in the sky. His spirit is magical yet perpetual, just like space,\u201d Xu fawned.\r\n\r\nThe paper \u2013 which was publishing in 2013 \u2013 got past the peer review process and made it into the Chinese Academy of Science\u2019s Journal of Glaciology and Cryology, which Cheng edits. And there it lay, dormant, until someone stumbled across it earlier this month and posted it online.\r\n\r\nCue a round of delighted disgust from netizens. \u201cIs this an academic paper or…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Journal-w.jpg","category":"Education","page":"17"},{"id":45118,"title":"Apple\u2019s mother-daughter \u2018short movie\u2019 divides opinion in\u2008China","content":"Apple\u2019s first TV spot in China, titled The Old Record, arrived in 2015 right before the Chinese New Year, the busiest gift-giving holiday. The commercial was an adaptation of a Christmas-themed advertisement a few weeks before. In it, a young woman digitises a vinyl recording of an old Chinese pop song (Forever Smiling by Pan Dihua, a popular performer in the 1960s) as a gift for her grandmother. The surroundings (an old apartment in what looks like a Shanghai alleyway) are deliberately juxtaposed with the sleek modernity of the iPhone.\r\n\r\nFive years on Apple has released another short film to promote the iPhone 11. Daughter is eight minutes long and it is filmed entirely on an iPhone 11 Pro. It stars A-list actress Zhou Xun and is directed by Oscar-nominated American filmmaker Theodore Melfi. Lawrence Sher, an award-winning cinematographer, gives the production its polished finish (the closing credits take 36 seconds, indicative of the industry talent involved).\r\n\r\n\u201cThe iPhone\u2019s outstanding photography function plays only a small part in why the Daughter is such an excellent feature,\u201d Tencent Entertainment, a news portal, claims. \u201cThe amount of talent and investment that goes into the film are what make it so great. To be honest,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Zhou-Xun-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"18"},{"id":45120,"title":"Private photo shoot rouses anger about Palace privileges","content":"Before having tea with Chinese leader Xi Jinping during a state visit in 2017, Donald Trump explored the Forbidden City on foot. The last foreign dignitary allowed to tour the former imperial residence in a vehicle was Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He did so in October 2013 in a golf cart because the 81 year-old had just had a leg operation.\r\n\r\nA few months earlier French President Francois Hollande was planning to drive his motorcade into the 720,000 square-metre complex. However, Shan Jixiang, then curator of the Palace Museum, which is housed inside the Forbidden City, refused to grant an exemption to the rules. Seeing Hollande\u2019s security staff ignoring the protocols, Shan then closed the main gates. The French leader was forced to get out of his car and come in on foot.\r\n\r\nVisitors\u2019 cars, Shan had explained, were not allowed into Buckingham Palace or Versailles. And the Forbidden City \u2013 home to 24 Chinese emperors over five centuries \u2013 should not make any exceptions either. \u201cThe army of the Eight-Nation Alliance entered the Forbidden City [in 1900 after the Boxer Rebellion] riding on horses,\u201d Shan added. \u201cWe talk about cultural renaissance these days and this has to start with our…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Palace-Museum-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Society","page":"19"},{"id":45126,"title":"The impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump have struggled to hog the news headlines this week, as the international media focused more on Wuhan\u2019s coronavirus outbreak. But news of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant on Sunday did \u2013 temporarily \u2013 push some of the news about the epidemic further down the page. […]","content":"The impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump have struggled to hog the news headlines this week, as the international media focused more on Wuhan\u2019s coronavirus outbreak.\r\n\r\nBut news of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant on Sunday did \u2013 temporarily \u2013 push some of the news about the epidemic further down the page.\r\n\r\nWhen Chinese social media users woke up to reports of the National Basketball Association (NBA) superstar\u2019s death, many initially thought it was just another item of fake news. Sadly it was not and revelations about the 41 year-old\u2019s shocking helicopter crash in California, which claimed nine lives including that of Bryant\u2019s teenage daughter, soon became a top news story in China, as well as one of the most-searched items on social media.\r\n\r\nWithin hours, the hashtag \u201cKobe died\u201d had been viewed more than 1.2 billion times on Sina Weibo. There were more than a million posts from netizens too, as well as tributes from Chinese celebrities and sports stars.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cWe both suffered a fractured finger. I rested for a month and a half, and you did not even take a single day off. I learned from you what persistence meant,\u201d wrote Yi Jianlian, captain of the Chinese national basketball…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Kobe-Bryant-w.jpg","category":"World of Weibo","page":"20"},{"id":45111,"title":"How a town in Shandong churns out most of Japan\u2019s coffins","content":"China is famous for towns that decided to focus on manufacturing a single product as the economy opened up in the 1990s. There are cities that make just socks, others which produce only golf accessories and one that that makes a third of the world\u2019s violins.\r\n\r\nOne place that has been a lot more silent about its specialisation is Caoxian in the eastern province of Shandong \u2013 and that\u2019s because its primary product is coffins.\r\n\r\nIn fact over the years Caoxian has been so adept at making exquisite Japanese-style coffins that it now supplies 90% of Japan\u2019s funereal needs, estimates Yicai.com.\r\n\r\nPeople in the region like to keep quiet about their success because outsiders are often put off by the association with death. Workers are paid a premium for handling the coffins and when looking for labour at recruitment fairs the factories say they are in involved in \u201ccraft production\u201d.\r\n\r\nSuperstition aside, the business is a good one. Japan\u2019s aging population means deaths outnumber births by about half a million every year. In 2018, 1.37 million Japanese died, the largest annual number since the Second World War.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nCaoxian began working with a Japanese coffin maker in the early 1990s. At first the region\u2019s many sawmills…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Japanese-Coffin-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"21"}]},{"id":1631,"name":"Issue 480","date":"Jan 24, 2020","title":"Wuhan\u2019s virus migrates","tagline":"With hundreds of millions travelling during Chinese New Year fears rise over the spread of a new SARS-like virus across China and elsewhere in the world","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/480.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/480-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":45052,"title":"Wuhan quarantined in a bid to slow the spread of a deadly virus","content":"Epidemics are a feature of Chinese history. Because of the symbolic threat they posed to an emperor\u2019s \u2018heavenly mandate\u2019, they always had a political dimension as well. For instance, in 1910 when the Qing Dynasty was already on the verge of collapse, the royal family\u2019s homeland of Manchuria was devastated by pneumonic plague. Within months tens of thousands of people had been killed. Russia and Japan, eyeing the chaos, contemplated an invasion of Manchuria to \u2018restore order\u2019.\r\n\r\nAt this critical moment, Wu Lien-the, the first Chinese medical graduate from Cambridge University, came to the fore. The Malayan-born physician was appointed by the Qing court to head a medical team to fight the outbreak. One of his first actions was to convince Russia and Japan to call a halt to all rail services (then under their control) in the region. Another directive was even more unpopular: at Wu\u2019s request several thousand corpses were cremated, a move that flew in the face of Chinese traditions that considered cremation inauspicious. Making it worse: the cremations were scheduled for the first day of the Lunar New Year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nFor the royal residents of the Forbidden City, the outbreak would turn out to be profoundly inauspicious indeed: the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Wuhan-Family-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Healthcare, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":45037,"title":"Lenovo smartphone head jumps ship for Xiaomi amid market reshuffle","content":"It would be a stretch to call Chang Cheng a titan in his sector. But the designer of a number of Lenovo\u2019s products has enjoyed a sprinkling of stardom, thanks partly to his engaging presence on weibo. His pengci-style product reviews (referencing or poking fun at rival brands) are widely followed, so it caused a stir when he announced on December 31 that he would be leaving Lenovo after 19 years. He then took up a similar role at rival Xiaomi only two days later, provoking further debate online.\r\n\r\n\u201cEverything you love is very likely to be lost, but in the end love will return in a different way,\u201d he announced rather cryptically on his weibo account.\r\n\r\nThe switch was one of the top trending topics on weibo on January 2, with the departure initially attributed to a desire to escape China\u2019s cut-throat smartphone sector. \u201cIt was due to health reasons and the desire to spend more time with his family that he resigned,\u201d Lenovo said in a statement, noting that Chang had \u201csuffered tremendous pressure from running the mobile business\u201d but would still serve as a consultant to the company.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nChang\u2019s sudden appearance at competitor Xiaomi seemed to tell a different story…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Lenovo-w.jpg","category":"Telecoms","page":"8"},{"id":45029,"title":"Dutch firm pressured not to sell crucial chipmaking equipment to China","content":"Moore\u2019s Law isn\u2019t dead. It\u2019s not slowing down and it\u2019s not even sick. Such is the description from Philip Wong, vice president of corporate research at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).\r\n\r\nOne of the companies benefiting most from the rude health of the famous theorum (that the number of transistors in semiconductor chips will double about every two years) is Holland\u2019s ASML. The semiconductor equipment manufacturer\u2019s stock price has almost doubled over the past year, commanding a valuation premium over much of the sector. The reason is almost entirely because of its Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV) technology, which helps producers make much smaller chips. ASML commands a massive 83% share of worldwide sales, ahead of Canon on 6% and Nikon on 5%.\r\n\r\nTSMC is both a shareholder of ASML and its biggest customer. By contrast, China\u2019s leading chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) isn\u2019t even a customer \u2013 because of US government intervention.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nEarlier this month Reuters reported that the Americans had held four rounds of talks with the Dutch government, starting in 2018, to persuade it not to extend ASML\u2019s export licence for shipments of its machines to any mainland Chinese customer. The Dutch have complied because the Americans argued that the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Peter-Wennink-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"9"},{"id":45031,"title":"Environmental worries over bluetooth earphones","content":"Even though they were once mocked by consumers for looking like damaged Q-tips, at least 60 million pairs of Apple\u2019s wireless earbuds \u2013 called AirPods \u2013 were sold last year. While the tech giant doesn\u2019t release full figures for any of its \u2018wearables\u2019, including the Apple Watch, industry insiders believe that sales of AirPods are its fastest-growing, with profit margins above 50%.\r\n\r\nChina has also caught on to the craze for Bluetooth earphones \u2013 also known as True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earbuds. But while AirPods come at an expensive price \u2013 the latest iteration would set you back as much as $249 \u2013 Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Huawei and Vivo have all released cheaper alternatives of their own. Xiaomi, for instance, has come out with AirDots, which cost just Rmb100 in the lowest end of the range. Another domestic stereo maker Earise sells its cordless earbuds for just Rmb50 ($7.25).\r\n\r\nThe biggest demand for TWS in China is at the lower end of the market. Western Securities found that the three domestic brands Earise, Amoi and Xiaomi accounted for the largest share of sales \u2013 about 48% \u2013 last November (with the prior two manufacturers offering the most inexpensive models).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nA first-time customer…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/AirPods-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"10"},{"id":45026,"title":"Chinese netizens angry as Muji loses trademark battle to local imitator","content":"For seven years UK confectionery maker Cadbury had a doppelganger in China called Yikoulian. With the same distinctive shade of purple on the packaging for its biscuits, Yikoulian even adopted Cadbury\u2019s Chinese name for its popular eclairs. The clarification finally came last September, with a court in Beijing ruling against Yikoulian and ordering it to pay Rmb2.43 million ($347,000) in compensation to the British brand.\r\n\r\nMore Chinese courts are finding in favour of foreign claimants in cases like these, even though the compensation on offer can be insubstantial. But in other instances, the foreign firms aren\u2019t getting the win they expect. Case in point: Ryohin Keikaku, the owner of Japanese retail brand Muji, which lost a trademark infringement lawsuit against its copycat in China last month.\r\n\r\nAlthough Muji prizes minimalist design and adopts a so-called no-logo policy, it has registered its own brand as \u201cMUJI\u201d in block letters in China \u2013 together with four Chinese characters spelling out Wuyinliangpin, meaning \u201cno-brand quality goods\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe current legal dispute began in 2001, when Hainan-based trading company Nanhua registered its own trademark for 24 woven fabric products, including towels and bed covers, as Wuyinliangpin in mainland China.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThree years later it transferred the rights to the trademark…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Muji-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"11"},{"id":45024,"title":"One of China\u2019s most successful influencers is selling the rural dream","content":"In one video, she hand-dyes a dress with fresh grape juice. In another, she spins yarn from wool from her own sheep and builds her own bed from freshly-cut bamboo. When it comes to food, she relies on natural ingredients from her backyard, ranging from freshly laid duck eggs to perfectly ripe tomatoes.\r\n\r\nLi Ziqi is one of the country\u2019s most popular lifestyle influencers, attracting legions of fans with cinematic and largely wordless videos that capture life in rural China. She now has over 22.7 million followers on Sina Weibo and 8.2 million more on YouTube (which is blocked in China), rendering her one of the rare Chinese influencers with global reach.\r\n\r\n\u201cLi Ziqi has created short videos that combine idyllic backdrops with food and handicrafts\u2026 She has successfully exported a distinct lifestyle brand that incorporates traditional Chinese culture with her ideal rural life,\u201d praised Entertainment Unicorn, a news portal. \u201cShe\u2019s already one of the world\u2019s most recognisable influencers. For many Western viewers, she\u2019s more famous than any of China\u2019s biggest A-list celebrities.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLi grew up in the countryside outside Mianyang, a small town in Sichuan province, before moving at 14 to find a living in the city. She waited on tables and…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Li-Ziqi-red-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"13"},{"id":45016,"title":"The last Year of the Rat in 2008 was disastrous; will this one be any better?","content":"Why does the Rat come first in the Chinese zodiac, a cycle of 12 years, each represented by a different animal? Indeed, why is it part of the zodiac at all, forcing more illustrious animals onto the sidelines?\r\n\r\nOne of the practical explanations for the Rat\u2019s primary position is that they come out around midnight, giving them an early start to the day. However, a grander myth has it that the Jade Emperor, the ruler of all the Chinese gods, dictated that the order of the zodiac cycle would be decided in a race requiring the animals to cross a river. The Cat and the Rat were best of friends, so the two hatched a plan to ride the Ox across the river. But as the Ox started crossing the Rat jolted forward, throwing the Cat into the water. The Rat didn\u2019t bother to check on his friend, instead jumping down ahead of the Ox at the finishing line and taking first place in the zodiac pecking order.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe story is said to explain the poor relations between the two animals ever since, as well as why the Cat never became one of the 12 zodiac animals. Perhaps it points to some…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/cny-year-mouse-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"15"},{"id":45044,"title":"Seven films pulled over fears cinemas will empty due to the Wuhan virus","content":"As Wuhan\u2019s coronavirus outbreak plunged the country into crisis, news emerged on Thursday that Leap, along with six other blockbusters scheduled to debut tomorrow \u2013 the first day of the Chinese New\u2008Year \u2013 have been preemptively pulled from cinemas.\r\n\r\nThe upcoming Lunar New Year festival was expected to produce a record box office haul that topped $1 billion, news portal Jiemian reported. Yet the outbreak had already kept cinemagoers at home this week.\r\n\r\nAmong the biggest Spring Festival draws was expected to be Detective Chinatown 3 which earlier in the week had generated presales of Rmb219 million in ticketing. The Tokyo-based sleuth movie \u2013 starring Wang Baoqiang as detective Tang Ren \u2013 was anticipated to match or better the success of its predecessor in the trilogy which had earned Rmb3.4 billion ($491 million) in 2015.\r\n\r\nBut in some ways the biggest loser from the delay could be the groundbreaking sports blockbuster Leap, a drama about China\u2019s famed female volleyball team. Those venerated ladies defied all odds to become world champions for the first time in 1981. The volleyball squad\u2019s never-say-die spirit proved a national inspiration \u2013 especially in an era when China was recovering from the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution.\u2008As such, a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Gong-li-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"19"},{"id":45046,"title":"China is set to perform a big U-turn in population policy","content":"The year 2021 will see China\u2019s ruling Communist Party celebrate its hundredth birthday. It is also the year that the Party might have to finally undo one of its most intrusive policies \u2013 limits on the number of children people can have.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s because after another round of disappointing annual birth figures \u2013 released last week \u2013 it became even more evident that there are not enough fertile women to support population growth, even if they all have the currently permitted two children each.\r\n\r\nBirths in 2019 dropped by 580,000 compared to 2018. This has led demographers to call for an urgent relaxation of family planning policies \u2013 a move the government appears to be considering, based on a Party Central Committee communiqu\u00e9 released in October. \u201cWe will improve the quality of the population by optimising the birth policy,\u201d it said.\r\n\r\nFor experts, the change cannot come soon enough because the number of fertile women is going to decline every year as the population ages.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt is urgent to fully open up childbearing,\u201d wrote Zhou Tianyong from the Central Party School in a government journal last year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cThe acceleration of aging will further increase the pressure of the economic growth slowdown, the burden of pensions…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Baby-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"20"},{"id":45021,"title":"Bookstores booming in China, despite e-books","content":"Portugal\u2019s Livraria Lello is celebrated as one of the world\u2019s most charming bookstores. Opened in 1906, it operates from a neo-Gothic building with a majestic stained-glass ceiling. The Art Deco interior features elegant woodcarvings, glowing lamps, and most strikingly, a plush crimson staircase. Believed to be the inspiration for the Flourish and Blotts bookshop in the Harry Potter novels, the store attracts as many as 5,000 visitors a day.\r\n\r\nIn 2015 Livraria Lello began to charge a \u20ac5 ($5.54) entrance fee, but the turnout remained heavy, bringing in over $8 million revenue in 2017.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s a reminder that the physical bookstore is far from dead, despite our more digitally-driven world. In China, where online shopping is a big part of everyday life, bricks-and-mortar bookstores are making a spectacular comeback. Over 4,000 new ones appeared last year, taking the total to 70,000, data from Meituan Dianping suggests. In contrast, \u2018book-loving\u2019 Britain saw just 16 new bookshops in 2019.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMany of the new bookstores in China are taking their inspiration from the Livraria Lello, albeit over a much bigger square footage. Meticulously designed, they are dazzling spectacles in their own right and created as crowd-pullers by malls and high street operators.\r\n\r\nAt Zodi Plaza, a skyscraper…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Bookstore-w-scaled.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"22"}]},{"id":1630,"name":"Issue 479","date":"Jan 17, 2020","title":"In vino veritas?","tagline":"For foreign investors, Kweichow Moutai has been the darling of the A-share market \u2013 but a TV appearance by its disgraced former boss triggers concerns","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/479.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/479-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":44891,"title":"Investor favourite Kweichow Moutai experiences choppier times","content":"Usually falling in late January or February, the Chinese Lunar New Year is the domestic movie industry\u2019s most important period for box office earnings. But before the big screen bonanza gets going, China\u2019s anti-corruption authorities usually opt to serve up a bit of drama of their own: by televising a documentary on their efforts to fight graft that year, with denouements and confessions worthy of a cinematic thriller.\r\n\r\nPerhaps this custom is designed to make sure that everyone starts the forthcoming year in China with President Xi Jinping\u2019s anti-corruption campaign at the forefront of-their thoughts. The effort is still going strong, despite being unleashed eight years ago. In January last year, the documentary Red Notice detailed how a manhunt codenamed \u2018Sky Net\u2019 led to the overseas capture of 15 high-profile fugitives. And this year\u2019s show may be particularly pertinent for foreign investors, thanks to the focus on their favourite A-share stock. Broadcast on state television, the documentary sheds light on the nefarious goings-on at Kweichow Moutai, the nation\u2019s top distiller of baijiu liquor.\r\n\r\nWhat does the annual anti-graft series talk about?\r\n\r\nThis year the documentary series is entitled Supervising the Nation and has run over five episodes since last Sunday. The programme is…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Yuan-Renguo-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":44897,"title":"Tensions will persist as Taiwan chooses Tsai","content":"In early 2019 relations across the Taiwan Strait began with a gathering in Beijing to commemorate the 40th anniversary of \u2018The Message of Compatriots to Taiwan\u2019 (which ended military confrontations between the two sides; see WiC436). Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Beijing and Taipei to start talks on unification by shaping a \u201cTaiwan plan\u201d under the \u201cone country, two systems\u201d principle.\r\n\r\nThe constitutional framework was first formulated by Beijing in the 1970s as a diplomatic solution to reunifying with Taiwan, although it was first applied in practice in Hong Kong, when China took over the former British colony\u2019s sovereignty in 1997.\r\n\r\nA year on from Xi\u2019s call, Taiwan\u2019s voters have delivered a major rejection of his vision of \u2018national rejuvenation\u2019 by awarding President Tsai Ing-wen a second term at the island\u2019s elections last Saturday.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTsai easily defeated her opponent Han Kuo-yu, whose Kuomintang Party (KMT) promotes closer ties with mainland China. The 63 year-old also led her more independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to a comfortable majority in the island\u2019s legislature, which seemed a highly improbable scenario just a year ago. Opinion polls back then had shown support for Tsai dwindling to single-digit levels and the DPP suffered landslide losses in the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Tsai-Ing-wen-w.jpg","category":"Cross Strait","page":"8"},{"id":44903,"title":"Does \u2018phase one\u2019 trade deal signal merely a truce in Sino-US relations?","content":"Donald Trump was in his favourite place \u2013 the limelight \u2013 on Wednesday, when the TV networks were struggling to decide where to focus their attention first.\r\n\r\nAt the very same time that the House of Representatives was voting to send articles of impeachment against the American president to the Senate, Trump was taking centre-stage at the White House in his preferred news story of the day: a new trade deal with the Chinese that he described as \u201ca major step for world peace\u201d.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis is a very important and remarkable occasion,\u201d he told the assembled guests. \u201cTogether we are righting the wrongs of the past.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe Chinese response to the signing of the so-called \u2018phase one\u2019 deal was much more cautious, with Liu He, the head of the country\u2019s negotiating team, reading out a letter from Xi Jinping, the country\u2019s president, applauding the \u201cspirit\u201d of the agreement and saying that he hoped the Americans would treat Chinese firms fairly.\r\n\r\nPerhaps revealingly, Xi wasn\u2019t the signatory to the agreement either, leaving that responsibility to Liu, also China\u2019s vice premier and Xi\u2019s special envoy to Washington.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn brief, the agreement outlines Chinese commitments to buying $200 billion in US goods over the next two years, with…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Trade-Deal-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"9"},{"id":44906,"title":"Iranian diplomats clash with their US counterparts, as netizens watch","content":"Some of China\u2019s historians regard the 1904 Russo-Japanese War as one of the greatest insults to China\u2019s territorial integrity. Despite knowing that the combatants were encroaching into territory in China\u2019s northeast, the Qing government declared itself neutral while the fighting took place. Countless Chinese civilians were killed as a result.\r\n\r\nIn present-day China another fierce battle has broken out in a place that the government nominally controls. Yet this time what\u2019s happening is being perceived as an illustration of China\u2019s rising status as a global power.\r\n\r\nWhy so? In this case the conflict is a war of words between the United States and Iran, and it has been happening on Sina Weibo, one of the most popular social media discussion platforms in China.\r\n\r\nEver since the head of Iran\u2019s elite Quds Force Qasem Soleimani was killed by an airstrike in Iraq, the Beijing embassies of both countries have engaged in a fierce online confrontation on weibo \u2013 all in the Chinese language. It started with a message from the Iranian embassy on its weibo account on January 3, which translated a Twitter post by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, calling the assassination of Soleimani a \u201cdangerous and foolish act of international terrorism\u201d. The…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Iran-Flag-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"11"},{"id":44909,"title":"China bans fishing in the Yangtze for 10 years to rejuvenate fish stocks","content":"In 1994 China\u2019s post office launched a Rmb2.1 stamp featuring various types of paddlefish. The stamps were meant to celebrate the rare freshwater species, which was said to be as ancient as the dinosaurs. Growing to seven metres in length and up to 992 pounds, the giant fish was used in ancient times as a special sacrifice to the gods by emperors. And in 2003 the paddlefish once again featured in a stamp collection, this time one that highlighted China\u2019s critically endangered species. But despite the warnings, this living fossil could not escape the final fate of extinction, as declared in late December by the Science of the Total Environment, a top-tier Chinese academic journal.\r\n\r\nScientists now believe the Yangtze River native died out possibly before 2005, and no later than 2010, based on a basin-wide survey between 2017 and 2018. In the 1970s it\u2019s estimated over 25 tonnes of paddlefish were caught annually in China. This excessive fishing, alongside \u201chabitat fragmentation\u201d, was cited as one of the main culprits causing an irretrievable decline in their population, according to research led by the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences in Wuhan.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe extinction has led to a change of policy. Surveillance drones and…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Yangtze-w.jpg","category":"Environment","page":"12"},{"id":44912,"title":"Shanghai biotech company to raise over $100 million on Nasdaq","content":"The first criterion for us to invest in a company is that it does not make much money,\u201d Zhang Lei, founder of Hillhouse Capital, told a conference in Heilongjiang province last year. Lei was highlighting \u201croom to grow\u201d as the most salient concern for start-up investors \u2013 an idea crystallised from having seeded some of the most prominent high-flyers in China, including Tencent and JD.com. His philosophy might just as well be employed by those looking to buy the initial public offering of I-Mab, a Shanghai-based biopharma specialising in immunotherapies to fight cancer.\r\n\r\nThe Nasdaq listing saw the five year-old company raise $104 million, following the US listing of rival Zai Lab, another Chinese biotech firm, which raised $173 million in 2017.\r\n\r\nIn the past three years I-Mab had already raised more than $400 million in three rounds of pre-IPO financing, counting TigerMed (a Hangzhou-based clinical research service provider), Simcere (a generic drug maker), Hillhouse and Hopu among its early investors. The IPO will further drive its valuation up to an estimated $876 million.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWith none of its drugs ready for commercial launch, I-Mab is still lossmaking. Of the 11 drugs in its pipeline, only one has started phase three trials, and six…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/I-Mab-Biopharma-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"13"},{"id":44917,"title":"Outbreak claims first death","content":"Last week WiC wrote about an unidentified pneumonia that sickened 59 people in the central city of Wuhan. Since publication news has emerged that two men have died from the illness (the most recent a 69 year-old man on January 15). Xinhua published the news of the first on Saturday morning, 36 hours after the 61 year-old died. News of the second death came Thursday evening after the patients \u2013 a 69 year-old man \u2013 died Wednesday morning.\r\n\r\nThe World Health Organisation has yet to comment on the second death, but speaking Wednesday an official conceded that the virus may \u201cin limited cases\u201d have the ability to pass between humans. Previously it was thought people could only catch the illness \u2013 now known as 2019-nCov \u2013 from contact with animals or meat.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nXinhua confirmed that the virus \u2013 now named 2019-nCov \u2013 belongs to the Coronavirus family \u2013 the same family as SARS, which killed 744 people worldwide in 2003.\r\n\r\nMeanwhile three case of the virus have emerged outside China in Thailand, Singapore and Japan.\r\n\r\nThe three people all visited Wuhan in recent weeks but none went to the Huanan South China seafood market \u2013 thought to be the only place people were getting…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Wuhan-Virus-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"14"},{"id":44919,"title":"Thanks to China\u2019s growing love of pets a new movie has proven a big hit","content":"When his cat Garlic died, Huang Yu was so heartbroken that he thought he should try to clone its corpse. That unusual expression of grief led him to Sinogene, a commercial pet-cloning company based in Beijing that offered to generate a replica of his beloved pet for Rmb250,000 ($35,000). Last September, through a surrogate mother, Sinogene produced what the state media declared to be the country\u2019s first cloned cat. Huang also named the kitten Garlic (see WiC467).\r\n\r\n\u201cIn my heart, Garlic is irreplaceable. But Garlic didn\u2019t leave anything for future generations, so I could only choose to clone,\u201d Huang told The New York Times. The China Youth Daily took a sympathetic view: \u201cThe intimate connection between pets and people is a result of modern life: more empty-nesters; those of middle-age exposed to a hollow inside; and young people increasingly remaining single. The companionship of pets gives them the opportunity to step out of the shadow of a lonely life.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWith 55 million dogs and 44 million cats as pets, Chinese consumers are sparing no expense on their favourite animals. During the last Singles\u2019 Day shopping bonanza, pet food surpassed infant milk formula as the most popular imported food product (many pet owners…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Elane-Zhong-Chuxi-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"15"},{"id":44921,"title":"The province announces only 17 people now live in poverty","content":"In July next year China\u2019s ruling Communist Party will mark 100 years since its founding. Connected to the centenary is a goal to make China a \u201cmoderately prosperous society\u201d, or, to put it another way, to bring an end to the worst of the country\u2019s poverty.\r\n\r\nWith the deadline looming, the provinces have been releasing their poverty statistics.\r\n\r\nHubei declared it still had 58,000 people living below the poverty line, Shanxi had 21,000 and Inner Mongolia 16,000.\r\n\r\nBut it was Jiangsu\u2019s ultra-precise declaration that there were only 17 genuinely poor people left in the coastal province that captured the public\u2019s attention. There was a general sense of disbelief at the low number \u2013 which would not even suffice to field a couple of football teams.\u201cThis figure is too precise to be true,\u201d remarked a sceptical Sina Weibo user while others quoted slogans from the Great Leap Forward to show how they thought Jiangsu officials were giving out embellished data to impress officialdom.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn all probability the figure is true, but misunderstood.\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s push to eradicate poverty by 2021 is actually a drive to end rural poverty. If a person lives in a city \u2013 as 60% of the population now does \u2013 they aren\u2019t counted…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/washing-machine-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"16"},{"id":44926,"title":"Spanish for beginners","content":"In sociolinguistics, we talk about learning languages as accumulating \u201clinguistic capital\u201d \u2013 investments with stable returns both personally and professionally. Today, it is estimated there are 10 million Chinese speakers of English, just 1% of the population. But interest in other languages is creeping up. The government\u2019s National Coordinator for Spanish, Lu Jingsheng, has said that demand for Spanish language education has \u201cincreased 30-fold\u201d over the last 15 years.\r\n\r\nTo complement my Master\u2019s degree in Second Language Research, it made sense to start learning another language. Deliberating between Arabic, Hebrew and Spanish, I chose the latter due to its similarity with French (which I studied for my undergraduate degree) as well as having an on-hand language partner \u2013 my Guatemalan boyfriend whom I met when working in Shanghai.\r\n\r\nOne of the highlights of Spanish classes on Thursday afternoons is getting to know my classmates. Most of the class are monolingual Brits opting for Spanish as one of the least challenging new languages to learn. But 20% is Chinese and two of the group have become particular friends.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLiping, a Natural Sciences undergraduate at Magdalene College, and I found ourselves drifting further and further towards the back of class as the level of Spanish…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Cambridge-w.jpg","category":"Education, Society","page":"18"},{"id":44929,"title":"Traditional Han Chinese clothing is getting trendy","content":"Su Yan is a twenty-something woman who likes to dress up in hanfu \u2013 traditional Han Chinese clothing. She is not alone. Millions of young Chinese now don these free flowing outfits \u2013 most as a hobby, some as their day-to-day attire.\r\n\r\nTo further indulge her passion Su Yan has joined Gutao, a new Alibaba app. A recent video of the young woman shows her wearing a delicately embroidered, wide sleeved tunic, her hair piled high and embellished with jewels and decorative pins. Another clip shows Su wearing a delicate pink wrap at a banquet with hundreds of other hanfu aficionados \u2013 including men wearing traditional stiff headpieces known as guan.\r\n\r\nThe videos are accompanied by traditional Chinese music and visual effect such as smoke emanating from Su\u2019s hands. The effects are added to the clips inside the Gutao app, which also allows users to share their videos with other hanfu fans, book hanfu photoshoots or buy new robes.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHuya, a video streaming platform, has also launched a similar app to allow fans to show off their fashion taste. Hanfuhui, an e-commerce site for hanfu lovers, has already been downloaded nearly five million times on Android since it was launched in 2015.\r\n\r\nThe emergence…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Hanfu-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]},{"id":1629,"name":"Issue 478","date":"Jan 10, 2020","title":"The train that plans to float","tagline":"China\u2019s most profitable bullet train line \u2013 which runs between Beijing and Shanghai \u2013 is set for a $4.4 billion IPO this month","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/478.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/478-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":44821,"title":"China\u2019s best-performing high-speed railway ready to list in Shanghai","content":"Xi Jinping\u2019s New Year greetings listed three engineering marvels from China in 2019: the Beijing Daxing International Airport (see WiC469), the country\u2019s first homegrown aircraft carrier (the Shandong) and the new Jingzhang Railway.\r\n\r\nThe third achievement \u2013 a 174km long high-speed railway (HSR) \u2013 cuts travel times between Beijing and Zhangjiakou (in Hebei province) to 47 minutes, down from more than three hours. It is also said to be the world\u2019s first driverless bullet train system, using the latest technology to both navigate and function.\r\n\r\nYet its inclusion in the top three could also be viewed as rather sentimental. For some Chinese, Jingzhang (the local abbreviation for Beijing-Zhangjiakou) has a special place in their hearts. Commencing operations in 1909, the original Jingzhang train service was the first railroad to be designed, financed and built domestically by Chinese. Defying local doubters and political pressure from foreign powers, Chinese engineers were eventually able to complete the work two years ahead of schedule and comfortably under budget.\r\n\r\nWhile trains chugged along the same route 110 years ago at maximum speeds of 35km per hour, the new HSR boasts a top speed 10 times faster.\r\n\r\nThis explains Xi\u2019s celebratory mood following the new service\u2019s opening last month: \u201cThe…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Train-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance, Rail & Infrastructure, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":44829,"title":"Another killing in an increasingly risky profession","content":"By all accounts Dr Yang Wen was a kind and diligent physician. For 22 years she worked in the emergency department of Beijing\u2019s Civil Aviation Hospital, often on night shifts, despite only being four years away from retirement.\r\n\r\nBut shortly before 6am on December 24 Yang was the victim of a brutal knife attack at work.\r\n\r\nThe assailant was Sun Wenbin the 55 year-old son of an elderly woman she was treating.\r\n\r\nYang was rushed to surgery but the injuries to her jugular vein and carotid artery were so extensive that she couldn\u2019t be saved. She was pronounced dead at 7pm the same day.\r\n\r\nAs readers of WiC will know, many medical practitioners in China have been killed by relatives of their patients \u2013 according to a study by Renmin University \u2018patient-physician violence\u2019 claimed the lives of 24 doctors between 2011 and 2018. Another survey by the Chinese Medical Doctors\u2019 Association (CMDA) in 2018 found that 30% of the country\u2019s 4.5 million doctors have been attacked by the relatives of people in their care.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cWe are beyond fury and strongly condemn the atrocity,\u201d the CMDA said in a statement after Yang\u2019s killing, which also called on administrative agencies and the judiciary to create a \u201csafety…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Doctor-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"7"},{"id":44831,"title":"Disease at city market sparks fears of another epidemic","content":"Pneumonia of unknown etiology, or PUE for short, is a worrying diagnosis.\r\n\r\nIt means the sufferer has all the worst symptoms of flu (lung lesions, a high fever and difficulty breathing) but that underlying virus cannot be identified \u2013 in many cases because it is new, or infecting humans for the first time.\r\n\r\nThis was case with the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 \u2013 SARs infected 8,096 worldwide and killed 744. To this day the World Health Organisation is unsure how that particular strain of coronavirus jumped from animals to humans.\r\n\r\nThis month fears of another SARS-like outbreak began to circulate when it emerged that dozens of people in the central Chinese city of Wuhan had fallen ill with an unidentifiable form of pneumonia.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMaking matters worse, the news leaked out through social media in the form of a document intended for hospital use only.\r\n\r\nThis again brought back memories of SARS, which the government was initially accused of trying to cover up (SARS first emerged in southern China, but quickly spread to Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Toronto).\r\n\r\nThat feeling was reinforced when social media platforms began to strike out discussion of the latest outbreak and eight Wuhan residents were arrested…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Mask-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"8"},{"id":44833,"title":"China approves its first homegrown HPV vaccines","content":"Researchers at Oxford University are currently developing a therapy that could clear up persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infections \u2013 which are known to be responsible for almost all cervical cancers. While existing vaccines work as a preventative measure, the new drug is designed to help the human immune system detect HPV viruses hidden inside cells. With it, even patients that contracted the high-risk strains of the virus would not have to worry about a relapse of the infection.\r\n\r\nTrials for the new drug will begin in the UK and Belgium in March. However, before such a cure is available, the best bet against the cancer-causing disease is the three vaccines produced by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Merck, which are proven to inoculate against two, four, or nine HPV strains respectively (over 150 varieties have thus far be found).\r\n\r\nThe problem? Scarce supply, especially when more and more countries around the world are rolling out HPV vaccination programmes for pre-teens. In China alone, at least one billion of such injectables are believed to be lacking. We reported in May last year that the shortage has created a thriving black market for profiteers selling illegally imported, or counterfeit, vaccines on the mainland and even in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Vaccine-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"9"},{"id":44835,"title":"A stake in Universal Music means more muscle for Tencent\u2019s music apps","content":"New Year\u2019s Eve is typically a time for fireworks and musical celebration. But for Tencent executives, the end of 2019 was the moment to close a deal that saw it grab a piece of one of the world\u2019s largest music labels.\r\n\r\nDespite rumblings about an antitrust investigation (see WiC468), a consortium led by Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) confirmed on December 31 that it was buying 10% of Universal Music Group, a subsidiary of Vivendi, a French company, for $3.4 billion.\r\n\r\nIn addition to Tencent, the consortium buying the stake is said to include Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC and Hillhouse Capital Group, one of China\u2019s largest private equity firms. Tencent also has the option to double its stake \u2013 at the same price \u2013 in Universal to 20% before next January. Vivendi has hinted that it might sell even more of the music label to the Chinese internet giant in future.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTME, which operates a number of different music apps in China, will be getting access to the catalogues of global stars like Ariana Grande, Drake and Billie Eilish for its streaming services.\u201cOnce the acquisition is complete, TME will have a strong foothold in one of the world\u2019s largest record companies. It will…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Arianna-Grande-w.jpg","category":"Media","page":"10"},{"id":44840,"title":"What to look out for in the Chinese economy in the year ahead","content":"January 1 is only just behind us, but China\u2019s Lunar New Year festivities are less than three weeks away. Even still 2020 is well underway, with the signing of the much-vaunted \u2018Phase One\u2019 trade deal between Beijing and Washington expected in the next few days, reportedly at the urging of President Donald Trump.\r\n\r\nThe Chinese haven\u2019t been portraying the agreement with much enthusiasm and most of the commentary has described it more as a de-escalation of hostilities rather than a broader breakthrough. The Chinese have committed to more than doubling their purchases of US goods and services to $386 billion by 2021. In return the Americans have dropped tariffs on an estimated $156 billion of Chinese exports that were scheduled to come into effect last month and halved duties on another $120 billion implemented last September. Tariffs of 25% on another $228 billion of goods remain in place, however.\r\n\r\nThe partial truce probably isn\u2019t enough to spark China\u2019s economy into a meaningful recovery in exports or investment, HSBC\u2019s economics team reckons, although it should give struggling exporters more breathing room as the year begins. Other analysts are talking more about how the deal prepares the ground for the next phase of the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Stock-market-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"11"},{"id":44843,"title":"Insurer Baoneng takes over PSA Group\u2019s struggling car plant in Shenzhen","content":"Three years ago Baoneng was denounced as a barbarian barging through the gates of the A-share market, when its unsolicited attempt to acquire Vanke through a leveraged buyout appalled the Shenzhen property heavyweight\u2019s other major shareholders (see WiC308).\r\n\r\nThe saga ended with an intervention from regulators, which banned the property-to-insurance conglomerate\u2019s boss Yao Zhenhua from the insurance sector for 10 years.\r\n\r\nThat doesn\u2019t seem to have worried Yao (see WiC320 for his profile). who has found a new focus in the automobile industry recently. He has shed his bad-boy style too \u2013 at least when it comes to corporate takeovers. In his latest takeover bid Yao is riding in on a rescue mission, in the wake of one of the car sector\u2019s nastier boardroom splits.\r\n\r\nThe company in question is Chang\u2019an-PSA, a 50-50 joint venture between the French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen and state-owned Chang\u2019an Automobile. The venture was set up in 2011 with initial investment of Rmb8.4 billion ($1.2 billion), targeting the premium car market with the Citroen DS line. \u201cThere is a win-win spirit with our [Chinese] partners,\u201d Peugeot\u2019s then chief executive Philippe Varin said when inaugurating the new production base in Shenzhen eight years ago.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe problem is that Chang\u2019an-PSA turned…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Yao-Zhenhua-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"13"},{"id":44847,"title":"Baidu launches lawsuit against punchy rival","content":"It ranks as the world\u2019s seventh most downloaded app of the last 10 years, despite only being launched in 2017. And unlike most of the other Chinese social media brands, it is as well-known internationally as it is at home. It is of course the short-video app TikTok, or Douyin as it is branded in China. We wrote extensively about it in 2019, although there will be plenty of WiC readers who haven\u2019t heard of the brand, which is sensationally popular among younger users (there are now 400 million daily users of Douyin in China; while Tiktok has been downloaded 1.5 billion times worldwide).\r\n\r\nThe app\u2019s explosive rise should have been capped by the initial public offering of its parent company Bytedance, which trails only Ant Financial as the world\u2019s most valuable unlisted start-up (based on a $75 billion 2018 valuation). The company is said to have chosen Hong Kong as its listing venue, although an IPO may not materialise during the first quarter of the year as initially expected. Firstly, Bytedance may want to conclude its increasingly litigious battle with Baidu over online searches. (Last August, it launched a search function via its Jinri Toutiao news aggregator app in a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Tiktok-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"14"},{"id":44851,"title":"Why Chinese brokerages plan an \u2018aircraft carrier\u2019","content":"The \u2018twenties\u2019 are shaping up to be a pivotal decade for the securities industry in China: one where it will become clear whether the global investment banks and brokers can truly cement themselves there. Also on the agenda: can their domestic rivals create flourishing businesses beyond mainland China and Hong Kong?\r\n\r\nBy the end of this year foreign intermediaries will be allowed to wholly-own their joint ventures in China for the first time \u2013 a milestones in the opening up of the capital markets. Nominally, they are gaining access at a fast clip. Just this week foreign banks were given permissions to underwrite local government bonds and a number already enjoy majority ownership of their joint ventures. (HSBC was the first to take a majority stake in an onshore securities house and Nomura grabbed a licence for its majority-controlled JV in November, allowing proprietary trading, brokerage and asset management.)\r\n\r\nThe competition these overseas players provide should accelerate consolidation among China\u2019s 130 or so domestic brokers; something the government is encouraging. Last mo nth Bloomberg reported that the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) is planning to create \u201caircraft carrier-sized\u201d domestic brokerages by supporting mergers. The indications are the country\u2019s largest investment bank, Citic…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Citic-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"15"},{"id":44854,"title":"Costume dramas back in force, but one gets pilloried for historical errors","content":"China\u2019s media regulators are difficult to please, with changing views on what constitutes acceptable content, even for TV dramas. In one case it was plotlines involving time-travel that got banned; in another it was scheming palace concubines that were deemed persona non grata. One of the most confusing things for anyone tracking China\u2019s entertainment industry is keeping up with what has been firbidden from the nation\u2019s screens and why.\r\n\r\nIn some ways that is a microcosm of China itself. Many things aren\u2019t quite what they seem, including the directives from top media regulators. A bold, seemingly blanket ban comes out, only for some favoured channel or streaming site to find a loophole or grey area that permits it to go ahead with its own show in spite of the restriction. Screenwriters, directors and producers struggle with a system that\u2019s always in a state of flux depending on shifting political whims or changes in their relationships with authority figures, particularly in periods of personnel change. Insiders know how to navigate the situation \u2013 for the most part \u2013 but even the most experienced can still be floored (witness the money Huayi Brothers has burned on its still unreleased summer blockbuster The Eight…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Tang-Wei-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":44857,"title":"First performer of Asian descent winning Golden Globes best actress","content":"Who is she?\r\n\r\nBorn in Queens, New York, to a Chinese father and Korean mother, Nora Lum, 31, began rapping when she was 13 and adopted the name Awkwafina for her on-stage persona a few years later. \u201cIn retrospect, it was a horrible name,\u201d she told the New York Times.\r\n\r\nWhy is she famous?\r\n\r\nThe rapper made her big break in films when she nabbed big roles in two Hollywood blockbusters Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean\u2019s 8, which both came out in 2018. She was also cast in the Marvel superhero film Shang-Chi, which stars Canadian Chinese actor Simu Liu and Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhy is she in the news?\r\n\r\nThis week, Awkwafina won best actress in a musical or comedy film for her performance in the indie film The Farewell at the Golden Globes, joining a small group of performers of Asian descent who have won Golden Globe awards. Sandra Oh is the only performer of Asian descent to have won twice.\r\n\r\nThe Farewell was originally scheduled for its China release in late November but was abruptly pulled by regulators without any explanation. Paradoxically, the film\u2019s producers may view the delay as benign, as its new release date this week will generate…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Awkwafina-w.jpg","category":"Red Star","page":"17"},{"id":44860,"title":"Bruce Lee\u2019s daughter battles a Chinese fast-food chain for using his image","content":"The kung-fu master Bruce Lee did not like the idea of \u201ccrystallisation\u201d \u2013 by which he meant entrenching stereotypes. Hence he gave his own martial art style an unconventional name: Jeet Kune Do, or the \u201cthe way of the intercepting fist\u201d. Prizing a mix of styles, the essence of this philosophy was \u201cinterception\u201d \u2013 from obstructing the moves of an attacker through to pre-empting the negative situations in everyday life.\r\n\r\nShannon Lee, the daughter of the martial arts master, has heeded her father\u2019s advice. And one thing that she\u2019s been trying to intercept is exploitation of her late father\u2019s image. On December 26 she filed a lawsuit against Guangzhou-based Kungfu Catering Management, alleging that it has been using him as a trademark without permission for 15 years, and demanding Rmb210 million ($30 million) in compensation.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nKungfu Catering runs a fast-food chain called Real Kungfu with 600 outlets across the country. Its logo features a black-haired man in a yellow jumpsuit with black stripes, looking poised to fight and reminiscent of a martial arts pose made famous by Bruce Lee in his unfinished movie Game of Death.\r\n\r\nBosses at the firm said they were shocked to receive the legal complaint after adopting the image…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/01\/Bruce-Lee-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]},{"id":1628,"name":"Issue 477","date":"Dec 6, 2019","title":"Eye on you","tagline":"As it races ahead in facial recognition technology, China is increasingly setting global standards","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/477.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/477-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":44518,"title":"Chinese firms want to shape facial recognition standards around the world","content":"When Minority Report came out in the summer of 2002, China was home to just 200 million mobile phone users and years away from launching its third-generation telecom network. Although we are still some way off replicating the dystopian backdrop to the Tom Cruise hit, some of the scenes imagined in the film are coming closer to reality \u2013 and more so in China than in other places, perhaps.\r\n\r\nProduct placement was pervasive in the Hollywood blockbuster as a symbol of intrusion into personal privacy. Today in Chinese stores ads can be sent directly to shoppers\u2019 phones, once they have left their digital fingerprint through internet transactions or their faces are recognised by surveillance cameras.\r\n\r\nThen there is the more controversial issue of predictive policing, provided in Minority Report by so-called \u2018pre-cogs\u2019, who could spot criminal activity in advance. In China, the detection work is falling increasingly on AI-powered computers that get smarter every day by working through a growing avalanche of data.\r\n\r\nFrom tracking the purchases on phones to scanning peoples\u2019 faces (and the way they walk), China\u2019s surveillance efforts are also helping to create some of the world\u2019s biggest tech unicorns, including the global leaders in facial recognition (FR) technology. This…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Facial-Recognition-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":44530,"title":"Bond defaults rattle investors, especially at firms with cash on the books","content":"In the late 1970s Chinese newspapers were still setting type by hand. In order to print in a language with several thousand characters, more than 20 tonnes of lead were used each year for the mountain of metal the typefaces required.\r\n\r\nComputers were already available but problematically for China were largely based on English language technology. A pressing concern became how the Chinese could get computers to use their language so as to transform archaic printing practices. Some even suggested that written Chinese be converted into romanised pinyin to give the country a chance at joining the digital revolution.\r\n\r\nStep forward the computer scientist Wang Xuan from Peking University (aka Beida). His invention \u2013 a laser photo composition system for Chinese character typesetting \u2013 became the killer product of Founder, a state-owned enterprise set up by Beida in 1986, which has since grown into the largest university-backed SOE in China.\r\n\r\nFounder has grabbed headlines this week for more inglorious reasons: as the biggest name in a slew of defaults this year. The company rocked investors on Monday with an announcement that it was unable to repay a 270-day, Rmb2 billion ($285 million) bond. To market commentators it was a shocking revelation. Besides being…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Wang-Xuan-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"7"},{"id":44532,"title":"Infant milk producer Feihe\u2019s IPO dogged by short-seller attack","content":"Calling out financial skulduggery in Hong Kong is not for the faint-hearted. Dan David, co-founder of GeoInvesting \u2013 a due diligence firm that targets Chinese companies on overseas bourses \u2013 once said that he was getting intimidating emails detailing how he was going to be confronted by hostile investors. And yet all that aggression does not seem to deter short-sellers from their task. At least 12 Hong Kong-listed companies, a record, have been targeted this year. Latest on the list is China Feihe, China\u2019s largest infant milk producer by retail sales.\r\n\r\nAccording to Hong Kong-based GMT Research, Feihe has exhibited the \u201cfraud-like trait\u201d of failing to pay dividends in the last five years despite registering high sales growth and strong profitability. GMT also suspects that Feihe\u2019s cash position is much worse than reported because a sizable portion of its cash is trapped in the mainland, where capital controls are exercised. The accusation is that the company only managed to pay dividends to its pre-IPO shareholders after raising HK$856 million ($109 million) from its flotation in Hong Kong last month. On top of that 40% of the IPO proceeds are going to be deployed repaying offshore debt.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere is a risk Feihe is…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Feihe-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"8"},{"id":44537,"title":"Chinese tech giants take flak over mistreating employees","content":"After Adam Neumann walked away from WeWork with a severance package of $1.7 billion, plus a consultation fee of $185 million, his staff got less bountiful news: a fifth of them were to be axed as a result of the firm\u2019s financial woes. Some 275 of the soon-to-be-fired employees banded together to make their demands clear. \u201cWe don\u2019t want to be defined by the scandals, the corruption, and the greed exhibited by the company\u2019s leadership,\u201d they said in a letter. \u201cWe are asking to be treated with humanity and dignity so we can continue living life while searching to make a living elsewhere.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe WeWorkers were then promised severance payments, continued benefits and other forms of assistance to help smooth their departures. And over in China, similar activism is on the rise. Although staff at the leading tech companies are nowhere near unionising, some have been trying to make their voices heard on fairer treatment \u2013 a message sent again in two high-profile labour disputes at Huawei and NetEase recently.\r\n\r\nLi Hongyuan, who had worked at Huawei for 13 years, was asked to resign in January last year after lodging a whistleblowing report that his department had inflated sales figures, according to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Netease-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"9"},{"id":44541,"title":"Amazon allies with Pinduoduo in latest pairing","content":"Amazon suffered a disappointment in China earlier this year after its plans to acquire e-commerce platform Kaola fell through. But its search for partners in China has now brought it into closer contact with another major player, with the US giant\u2019s opening of a pop-up shop on Pinduoduo.\r\n\r\nThe tie-up, launched to coincide with Black Friday on November 28, is a relatively small undertaking. For the next month, Amazon will offer 1,000 specially selected products on Pinduoduo (an e-commerce site we first wrote about in WiC404), taking advantage of an Rmb10 billion ($1.41 billion) incentives programme. But presumably the hope is that the two companies are heading for deeper collaboration in future.\r\n\r\nFor Amazon, the immediate benefits are two-fold. Firstly, Pinduoduo is providing 80% of the sales subsidies, allowing it to offer products like Dyson hairdryers and Bose speakers at discounts to rival platforms. And secondly, it will give Amazon bosses better visibility in a market where it has traditionally struggled. For example, its China sales platform has often been criticised for being dull compared to the brighter, busier e-commerce formats that Chinese shoppers prefer. Customers have also complained about its delivery service on social media, saying that orders take too long…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Pinduoduo-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"11"},{"id":44545,"title":"Popeyes aims to catch up with KFC in China","content":"American fried chicken chain Popeyes launched a new chicken sandwich in the summer that sold out within two weeks of its debut. A relaunch in early November again created long lines of customers \u2013 a man in Maryland was even stabbed after jumping one of the queues. The Miami-based operator will be hoping that the craze lasts after reporting its best quarterly results in nearly two decades (10% same-store growth for the July-September period). It will be hoping for similar enthusiasm in China where it is planning to add 1,500 outlets in the coming decade.\r\n\r\nThe expansion is significant \u2013 Popeyes currently has 3,100 stores spanning more than 25 countries. Its first China venue will open on Shanghai\u2019s busy Huaihai Road next year, according to a lease signed last month between Canadian parent Restaurant Brands International (RBI), its local operator TAB Food Investments (TFI) and real estate management company Huaihai Group.\r\n\r\nThere is a lot of catching up to do on fried chicken rival KFC, however. After 32 years of operations in China, with a more recent emphasis on localised menus (see WiC462), the Kentucky-based franchisor backs 6,324 stores across 1,000 towns and cities. Last year it made 27% of its sales…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Popeyes-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"12"},{"id":44555,"title":"Sun Hung Kai in massive bid for West Kowloon site \u2013 but was it a bargain?","content":"Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme has long been a fan of Hong Kong. In 2004 the martial arts star spent HK$80 million ($10 million) on two top-floor units at a luxury development in West Kowloon. They\u2019re now up for sale, at a combined asking price of HK$320 million. Interested parties will have to deposit a HK$5 million cheque before taking a tour, according to Apple Daily.\r\n\r\nWhile the 59 year-old star known as the \u2018Muscles from Brussels\u2019 is looking to exit the city, Hong Kong\u2019s largest developer by market value Sun Hung Kai is doubling down in the very same neighbourhood.\r\n\r\nLast week it won the bid for a prized parcel of commercial space, atop the West Kowloon high-speed railway terminus. It paid HK$42.2 billion.\r\n\r\nThe winning bid was at the low end of the valuation for the plot, which topped out at HK$63 billion at the higher end. Nevertheless, it still set the record for the largest premium paid in the city\u2019s history for a single parcel of land.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe site is next door to Sun Hung Kai\u2019s International Commerce Centre (ICC), a 118-storey skyscraper, and analysts believe that the developer will turn its new site into another huge compex of retail, office…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/TST-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"13"},{"id":44558,"title":"CM Ports looks overseas for growth in M&A push","content":"For the past three years China Merchants Ports Holdings (CM Ports) has been looking for shelter from the storm. Externally, it has been hit by the Sino-US trade war, which has accelerated the shift of supply chains from China to lower-cost neighbours. Domestically, it has also been hurt by government-mandated price cuts to keep logistics costs lower at Chinese ports.\r\n\r\nAs a result, its Hong Kong-listed shares have been on a prolonged slide, pushing CM Ports out of the benchmark Hang Seng Index in 2018. The shares are currently trading one standard deviation below their 10-year average on a current year price-to-earnings basis.\r\n\r\nFinancial analysts have been left scratching their heads about whether the share price has hit bottom. But CM Ports itself is forging ahead with an international diversification strategy that\u2019s starting to reap benefits and could provide its shares with a firmer anchor.\r\n\r\nLast week, it forged a new agreement that saw France\u2019s CMA CGM inject 10 international ports into an existing joint venture called Terminal Link (the French hold 51% and the Chinese 49%). Analysts calculate that the $955 million deal could lift CM Ports\u2019 overseas earnings to 32% of the total, up from an estimated 27% this financial year.\r\n\r\nPrior…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Qingdao-Port-w.jpg","category":"Shipping","page":"14"},{"id":44562,"title":"Disney caps stellar year at Chinese box office with Frozen sequel","content":"To drum up interest for Disney\u2019s latest animated movie Frozen 2, the studio teamed up with beautification app Meitu to release a themed augmented reality filter. After the filter is turned on in Meitu\u2019s mobile app, users need only make a few hand gestures to trigger animation features. Wands and crowns magically appear, and snowflakes fall across the screen. The filter has proven so popular that it has been downloaded almost two million times in the past week.\r\n\r\nIn fact, Elsa, the princess in the Frozen franchise, has become something of a beauty icon in China. Two of last Monday\u2019s top trending hashtags on Sina Weibo were related to the Disney offering, and one was dedicated to marvelling at Elsa\u2019s make-up. \u201cElsa is too stunning. She\u2019s definitely my queen,\u201d one netizen cooed in response.\r\n\r\nThe first of the Frozen movies took just $48.2 million in China in 2014, although the sequel has performed decidedly better, debuting at $53 million in its first weekend. That was Disney\u2019s best China opening for an animated film. Industry insiders are predicting that it could rake in Rmb950 million (around $130 million) by the end of its run.\r\n\r\nIf so, it would be something of a surprise as…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Idina-Menzel-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"15"},{"id":44568,"title":"Are reality shows getting too dangerous after a contestant dies of a heart attack?","content":"In 2013, Zhejiang Satellite TV produced a diving show called Splash. Adapted from Dutch TV series called Sterren Springen, it followed a group of celebrities as they attempted to dive like Olympians.\r\n\r\nReviews were overwhelming negative. Some viewers even described the show as a form of exploitation that put the contestants in danger. In the pilot episode, the then 64 year-old actor Niu Qun risked performing a daring high dive, feet-first. Injuries were also frequent: Hong Kong actress-singer Charlene Choi bashed up her back during training and South Korean K-pop star Chae Yeon was said to have perforated an eardrum.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhy the artists\u2019 agents agree to this stunt show I really do not know,\u201d a netizen wrote at the time.\r\n\r\nIt wasn\u2019t just the celebrities that were at risk. An assistant to Shi Xiaolong, one of the contestants, actually died during filming. At the time, producers explained that he had gone for a swim at the opposite end of the pool to where Shi was training and that no one had noticed that he had drowned.\r\n\r\nLast week, the reality TV format in China took another sombre turn when Taiwanese-Canadian actor Gao Yixiang, the first Asian model to become a face of luxury brand…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Chase-Me-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":44571,"title":"Much-needed debate about domestic abuse, after make-up star speaks out","content":"In her popular online videos make-up artist Yuyamika is bubbly, funny and talented. She transforms herself into John Lennon, the Mona Lisa or Albert Einstein simply by redrawing the contours of her face and applying a little colour. But on November 25 she posted a very different kind of video, chronicling the physical and mental abuse she had received at the hands of her boyfriend.\r\n\r\n\u201cAfter the beatings I would have to take a week off work for my face to recover. I couldn\u2019t apply make-up or post tutorials,\u201d she revealed through tears.\r\n\r\nOne particularly shocking part of the testimonial shows security footage of Yuyamika \u2013 whose real name is He Yuhong \u2013 lying on the floor of an elevator. Her partner, Chen Hong, is trying to drag her out by her ankles.\r\n\r\nShe says she lay on the floor to protect herself from his blows.\r\n\r\n\u201cHe kept kicking my body and insulting me, but I was too scared to say anything or resist. I could only lie down on the ground and wait until he finished blowing off steam,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\nThe 12-minute video also includes interviews with Chen\u2019s two ex-wives who also say he abused them.\r\n\r\nChen has since been sentenced to 20 days…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Battered-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"17"},{"id":44575,"title":"Food friendship with Chinese classmates","content":"A spontaneous decision, fuelled by the need to find a better work-life balance, led me to a house party just north of Jesus Green. Upon arriving, I gravitate towards a friendly-looking Chinese student in the corner of the kitchen.\r\n\r\nHis face is flushed pink from beer so when I start speaking Chinese to my new friend he is rather thrilled. His name is Bingwen (Bing) and he\u2019s studying for a PhD in Biotechnology at Churchill College. Originally from Hangzhou, Bing spent much of his childhood in Shanghai, so we bond over discussing Shanghai steamed crab and Zhongshan Park, which I recently spent a year living nearby.\r\n\r\nIn a room of around 30 (often intoxicated) PhD students, Bing is the only Chinese. He laughs when I tell him it\u2019s a shame there are so few, as I know the Chinese are good at partying when they want to. He explains that for many of his Chinese classmates, the thought of going to a house party (especially on a weekday) is ludicrous. Not only would the loud and rowdy setting be off-putting but decoding the British lingo, with its idioms and dialects, is so much harder that it\u2019s barely worth the effort.\r\n\r\nA couple of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Cambridge-w.jpg","category":"Education","page":"19"},{"id":44578,"title":"Michelin gets another mauling, this time for restaurant rankings in Beijing","content":"One of the best things about living in Beijing is the food. China\u2019s capital has 30,000 restaurants ranging from one-dish noodle joints to flaunt-your-wealth private dining clubs.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s a city that never leaves you hungry.\r\n\r\nBut all that choice means selecting the best is a challenge. Controversial even, as the publishers of Beijing\u2019s first Michelin Guide found out last week.\r\n\r\nLocal reaction to the guide was almost entirely negative with one leading chef \u2013 whose restaurants actually appear on the list \u2013 accusing it of \u201ccultural superiority\u201d.\r\n\r\n\u201cForeigners don\u2019t understand Chinese food\u201d was a common refrain, reflecting a growing view among foodies that Michelin inspectors struggle to appreciate the diversified and sophisticated styles of Chinese cuisine (Michelin would not comment on the ethnicity of its reviewers).\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s not the first time a Michelin guide has caused consternation in China. When the Shanghai list was published in 2016 locals were offended because the only restaurant to get three stars served Cantonese food. In 2018, Michelin annoyed the people of Guangzhou when none of the city\u2019s restaurants scored above one star.\r\n\r\nMany Chinese have preferred to rely on customer restaurant reviews on Dianping and its two curated lists: Dianping Must-Eat and the Black Pearl Restaurant Guide (see WiC397).…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/12\/Peking-Duck-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1627,"name":"Issue 476","date":"Nov 29, 2019","title":"Hitting the Jack pot","tagline":"Daniel Zhang \u2013 Jack Ma\u2019s successor as Alibaba boss \u2013 launched a hugely successful secondary listing in Hong Kong this week","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/476.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/476-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":44426,"title":"Alibaba goes back to Hong Kong for a secondary listing","content":"The debut of Alibaba\u2019s shares in Hong Kong in November 2007 was a record-smashing moment. The territory\u2019s benchmark Hang Seng Index was already trading at historical highs when the Chinese e-commerce firm spun off its B2B (business-to-business) marketplace (Taobao, its consumer sales platform, wasn\u2019t part of the offering). The public tranche of the $1.7 billion IPO was oversubscribed 258 times, freezing HK$450 billion ($57.8 billion) of funds across the city and breaking the previous IPO record set by state banking heavyweight ICBC just a year earlier. On its first day of trading Alibaba nearly tripled from its HK$13.5 offering price, making it the first Chinese internet firm to carry a market value of more than $20 billion.\r\n\r\nThere was limited understanding of how Alibaba made money, however. \u201cHow many investors, do you think, genuinely understand your company\u2019s business plan?\u201d was the final question put to Jack Ma at a press conference following Alibaba\u2019s trading debut. \u201cNot many\u2026 but they have all made money,\u201d he replied, adding that many investors seemed to think that Alibaba was a taxi operator because it had pasted its logo on local cabs in a pre-IPO public relations push.\r\n\r\nMa concluded by advising investors to do their own…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Alibaba-HKEX-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance, Internet & Tech, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":44413,"title":"Kingsoft spin-off soars in Shanghai trading debut, in another STAR debut","content":"Funny how life doesn\u2019t turn out the way you think it will. Just ask Lei Jun, one of China\u2019s most famous entrepreneurs.\r\n\r\nWhen Lei was planning last year to list Xiaomi, a smartphone maker he founded in 2010, he was confident of achieving a $100 billion market valuation. The IPO didn\u2019t live up to his expectations after investors questioned Xiaomi\u2019s ability to counter declining smartphone sales in China.\r\n\r\nLei Jun settled for a $53 billion valuation when Xiaomi finally went public in Hong Kong in July last year. Some of the investors\u2019 concerns proved to be spot on. As of this week, Xiaomi\u2019s market value has dipped further to about $30 billion.\r\n\r\nThis month the serial tech start-up founder is back in the primary market once more. This time, it\u2019s with an offshoot of Kingsoft Corp, a software firm he joined as employee number six in 1992 and currently chairs.\r\n\r\nAnd Lei has been confounded again, although this time he is likely to be a lot happier.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe company in question is Beijing Kingsoft Office. Its main product is WPS Office, China\u2019s answer to Microsoft Office and the software that made Kingsoft famous before it expanded into gaming and internet services.\r\n\r\nWhen it decided to list…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Lei-Jun-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"7"},{"id":44417,"title":"Kuaishou spends big on CCTV\u2019s Spring Festival gala","content":"Super Bowl Sunday is a day when brands pay millions of dollars for the opportunity to make an impression with consumers. The average cost of a 30-second TV ad spot climbed to $5.2 million in 2018.\r\n\r\nThere is an even more watched televised event in China: the state broadcaster CCTV\u2019s Spring Festival Gala. Xinhua reported 1.173 billion tuned in on TV or online this February. However, local advertisers that want to promote themselves on the show literally have to put money in consumers\u2019 wallets.\r\n\r\nLast year, Baidu signed a deal to become the exclusive partner for the Chinese New Year event. This saw the search giant giving away as much as Rmb900 million ($130 million) of digital hongbao \u2013 red packets that are usually given out during the festival as a gesture of good fortune. To access this windfall viewers had to download Baidu\u2019s mobile apps like short video site Haokan and social networking platform Baidu Tieba.\r\n\r\nDespite the allure of extra cash in their pocket, netizens responded with little enthusiasm. \u201cI would rather give up the free money, and not download [Baidu\u2019s] apps,\u201d one posted scornfully (Baidu\u2019s services aren\u2019t particularly loved in China; see this week's \"Answer Me: Baidu Faces New Challenge\").\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHopefully…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Kuaishou-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"8"},{"id":44422,"title":"Baidu faces Magi, a new challenger in search","content":"US scientist Vannevar Bush was the first person to come up with the idea of a search engine. In an article published in The Atlantic magazine in 1945, he envisaged a mechanised device called Memex, on which all books, records and communications could be stored and, more importantly, consulted with speed and flexibility. \u201cWholly new forms of encyclopaedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified,\u201d Bush wrote, deeming such technology necessary if humanity\u2019s growing body of knowledge were to benefit mankind.\r\n\r\nIf Bush were still alive, he would probably be delighted to see a new search engine that largely fits his description \u2013 though he wouldn\u2019t have predicted it would be created in China. Known as Magi, it is based on an artificial intelligence system, which according to its own white paper, \u201ccan summarise knowledge from natural language texts in any field into structured data, and provide human users as well as other AI [units] an interpretable, retrievable and traceable knowledge system that can gather and amend the information through lifelong learning\u201d.\r\n\r\nWith a sleek design, Magi stands out from its peers because it aims to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Magi-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"9"},{"id":44445,"title":"Huge haul in Dubai, as shanzhai culture lives on","content":"WiC\u2019s first mention of China\u2019s shanzhai culture was in its inaugural issue in early 2009 \u2013 coming a few weeks after the state broadcaster CCTV became the first of the mainstream media to acknowledge the same phenomenon.\r\n\r\nTranslated literally as \u2018mountain stronghold\u2019, the original Chinese meaning had connotations of ruggedness and rebellion, implying communities beyond the reach of the imperial court.\r\n\r\nMany of the world\u2019s leading brands were complaining of a similar sense of lawlessness a decade ago, when shanzhai was slang for the fake goods pouring off production lines in cities like Shenzhen.\r\n\r\nOf course, at governmental level there\u2019s no denying the disapproval of counterfeit goods or the promises to clamp down when the law is breached. It was the same again this week when the State Council published another directive promising \u201cintensified protection\u201d of intellectual property rights. Punishment for infringements of patents and trademarks would be toughened up, it said, and more efforts would be made to work with other countries in prosecuting cross-border cases.\r\n\r\nYet while the worst practices are clearly frowned upon, the spirit behind shanzhai is spoken about in a more nuanced way. In fact, the meaning has morphed again into something a little more respectable, implying a spirit…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/LV-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"10"},{"id":44398,"title":"Critics urge caution as more Chinese stocks join global indices","content":"Stock market investors wanting to benefit from more exposure to Chinese equities might do well to buy some iron disulfide (pyrite) stones for their homes and offices. In feng shui terms, the stones are winners for attracting wealth.\r\n\r\nYet investors may also find the pyrite has a truer benefit as a reminder of the meaning behind its more common name: fool\u2019s gold.\r\n\r\nAs a series of scandals have shown, China\u2019s financial markets are vulnerable to fraud. That\u2019s become a wider concern because of the speed (too quick for some) at which Chinese stocks are being added to global indices. This week, the MSCI added a third batch of A-shares into its MSCI China and MSCI Emerging Markets Index, raising their respective weightings to 12.1% and 4.1%.\r\n\r\nCICC, a Chinese investment bank, calculates that the new weightings will bring up to $40 billion of foreign inflows into the A-share markets. This follows the $80 billion that arrived on the back of MSCI\u2019s first and second steps to include A-shares in May and August.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMuch of this money comes from the billions of individual pension and insurance pots entrusted to investment vehicles that track benchmark indices from providers like MSCI. Most of these investors almost certainly…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/David-Webb-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"11"},{"id":44403,"title":"State Council warns banks not to penalise smaller borrowers","content":"China\u2019s central bank identified 586 lenders and financing firms in the high-risk category in its annual financial stability report, which was published on Monday. That was about 13% of the total, up a little on last year.\r\n\r\nBut aside from stepping up focus on the more reckless lenders, policymakers have been pursuing another objective: trying to get the biggest banks to lend more, especially to smaller firms, which are frequently starved of funding.\r\n\r\nIn that context, a group of branches at China Construction Bank, one of the top five state-owned lenders, earned a rare rebuke from the State Council this month for forcing smaller borrowers to buy insurance as a condition for getting loans. Ping An Bank, another leading lender, came in for similar criticism.\r\n\r\nSohu\u2019s financial news portal said it was telling that such a senior body as the State Council had expressed its displeasure. \u201cThis was enough to show that, in the eyes of the central government, it is a very important issue that some banks have increased the financing costs of small and micro enterprises in disguise,\u201d it believed.\r\n\r\nAs we mentioned in last week\u2019s Talking Point, the government is trying a more targeted approach to boosting the economy, including adjustments…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/China-Construction-Bank-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"12"},{"id":44409,"title":"Bestselling cosmetics brand Perfect Diary takes a different approach","content":"In China\u2019s thousands of years of history, there have been hundreds of revolts and rebellions. An idiom to describe some of those sudden challenges to authority is yijuntuqi (\u5f02\u519b\u7a81\u8d77, or emerging force). It originates from the Records of the Grand Historian, and refers to the assembly of rebels that dislodged Qin Er Shi, the son of China\u2019s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang.\r\n\r\nA similar term might be employed today to describe the sudden rise of one of China\u2019s domestic make-up brands, which is posing an unexpected challenge to much more established rivals. Known as Perfect Diary, it is hugely popular, and recently trumped its peers to become the bestseller on Tmall on this year\u2019s Singles\u2019 Day (see WiC474). Beating MAC, Lancome and Est\u00e9e Lauder, it was the first cosmetics brand to claim Rmb100 million of sales during the shopping bonanza, taking just 28 minutes to break the cosmetic firm\u2019s prior full-day record, reported Jiemian.\r\n\r\nMarket watchers attribute Perfect Diary\u2019s success to its innovative marketing campaigns. Targeting older millennials and Generation Z consumers, Perfect Diary adopts an online-only sales model and relies heavily on social media for promotion. Apart from hiring pop stars and key opinion leaders (KOLs such as live-streaming \u2018Lipstick King\u2019…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Perfect-Diary-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"14"},{"id":44395,"title":"Nasdaq-listed 36Kr looks for ways to prove that news still makes money","content":"Shenzhen-based Ping An Insurance is a sprawling conglomerate. So when an advertisement from its media subsidiary Baobo Information said it was going to hire 180 financial journalists, people took note. By adopting the tradename Ping An Toutiao, the newcomer even seemed to be taking aim at Bytedance\u2019s media franchise Jinri Toutiao (see WiC244 for more about the news aggregator).\r\n\r\nIt turned out that the job posting about the huge hiring round was a prank by a Baobo employee. \u201cWe are not a news organisation and do not hold relevant licences that enable us to hire reporters,\u201d the company said in a statement, adding that Ping An Toutiao works more as a content creator for business partners within the Ping An ecosystem.\r\n\r\nStaying out of the regular media may be smart strategy on Ping An\u2019s part. Even when a company does relatively well in the sector \u2013 well enough to go public in the US, for instance \u2013 it can still elicit a sceptical response from investors.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nEarlier this month 36Kr, a Beijing-based tech-focused news outlet, had to delay its initial public offering on Nasdaq and cut its share offering by 61%. This meant that the firm, which had initially aimed to raise as…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Feng-Dagang-w.jpg","category":"Media","page":"16"},{"id":44382,"title":"Viewers mull why streamer has been delaying episodes of its hit new show","content":"Back in April, fans of the historical drama Investiture Of The Gods, starring Deng Lun and Wang Likun, were annoyed to discover that the series on Hunan Satellite TV was being cut short. The remaining 12 episodes were being trimmed to just two, it was announced.\r\n\r\nIn fact, even two turned out to be too many, as the closing chapters didn\u2019t get aired on TV. The series was initially still available to stream on iQiyi, Youku and Tencent Video, but then without further warning, the finale for the series disappeared completely.\r\n\r\nFans of the historical drama Royal Nirvana were similarly frustrated in mid-November when Youku, the online video site, began delaying and dribbling out episodes of their favourite series \u2013 contrary to its own release schedule.\r\n\r\nBased on an online novel of the same name, the 60-episode series is set in the Southern Qi Dynasty (479-502) and tells the story of crown prince Xiao Dingduan (played by teen favourite Luo Jin).\r\n\r\nXiao\u2019s half-brother wants to take the throne for himself and conspires to frame him for the death of a government official. Facing enemies on all sides, Xiao finds himself falling in love with a maidservant (Li Yitong) who unbeknownst to him was sent…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Li-Yitong-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":44386,"title":"Accused claims that his prosecutor is a gangster too","content":"It is the stuff of courtroom dramas \u2013 the accused (a gangster) turns the tables on the prosecutor, outing him as the gang\u2019s ultimate protector.\r\n\r\nAnd this is what seemed to be happening in Chongqing earlier this month when 45 year-old Yin Guangde was put on trial for \u201corganising a criminal gang\u201d.\r\n\r\nAccording to the Beijing News, Yin had kept quiet about his alleged affiliation with the prosecutor until the official began pursuing an aggressive line of questioning.\r\n\r\nAt that point Yin reportedly scolded: \u201cI have always regarded you as a big brother. We used to have such a good relationship. But now you persecute me.\u201d\r\n\r\nHe then demanded that the prosecutor, called Tang Hao, be removed from the case.\r\n\r\nThe authorities began a three-year nationwide crackdown on gang activity in January 2018 with a special focus on rooting out \u2018protective umbrellas\u2019 \u2013 or corrupt officials who shield gangs from prosecution. Thus far more than 200 such \u2018umbrellas\u2019 and 79,000 gang members have been arrested, according to Xinhua.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn April the Supreme Court published a series of documents defining criminal gangs \u2013 or \u201cevil forces\u201d as it calls them \u2013 more clearly.\r\n\r\nThe group must consist of three people or more and they must have carried out…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Gangster-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"18"},{"id":44389,"title":"Takeaways from a recent trip to the land of the rising sun","content":"Four years ago in this column I explained the love-hate relationship between China and Japan (see WiC288). During my recent trip to Nara and Tokyo \u2013 the ancient and current capitals of Japan \u2013 I found that Chinese appreciation of all things Japanese seems to have grown substantially in recent years. Actually, many Chinese now view the neighbouring nation as a favoured destination for holidays, shopping and business conferences.\r\n\r\nNovember is not an obvious holiday season in this part of the world. However, I was intrigued to find out that six friends living in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong had all planned separate trips to different parts of Japan to see the autumn leaves in Kyoto, visit an exhibition of imperial treasures in Nara, watch the sumo wrestling in Fukuoka or organise an investor seminar in Tokyo.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nI joined a couple of friends on a blissful holiday last week. In my last write-up about Japan, I mentioned that as a typical Dongbei-ren (from Manchuria \u2013 a region brutally occupied by the Japanese between 1931 and 1945), I grew up resenting Japan for the wartime atrocities inflicted on China. But my attitude modified after befriending a group of Japanese students during my college…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Japan-w.jpg","category":"Ask Mei","page":"19"},{"id":44434,"title":"What Greenland\u2019s Wuhan skyscraper says about the broader economy","content":"Last year 143 buildings over 200 metres in height went up worldwide. The majority of these skyscrapers, 88, were, once again built in China. The Americans \u2013 in second place \u2013 completed construction of 13, according to the US-based Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).\r\n\r\nBut that doesn\u2019t mean all is well in the world of Chinese high-rise real estate. Earlier this month work on one of the country\u2019s tallest skyscrapers had to be halted after the developer defaulted on payments to contractors.\r\n\r\nShanghai-based Greenland Group is still vowing that work on its 475m tower in Wuhan will resume soon. If construction is completed according to the current design, it will be the 10th tallest building in mainland China (the tallest is still the Shanghai Tower, which measures 632m in height).\r\n\r\nIn fact, the CTBUH says there are more than 80 skyscraper projects \u201con hold\u201d or \u201cincomplete\u201d in China. Among the group is the long-awaited 838m Sky City in Changsha (see WiC332) and the 729m Zhongnan Centre in Suzhou, both of which ran into difficulty within weeks of breaking ground.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMainland China got its first 200m building in 1990 with the construction of the Guangdong International Building. Since then it has built…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Greenland_1-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1626,"name":"Issue 475","date":"Nov 22, 2019","title":"Li\u2019s six-pact","tagline":"Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is looking to keep China\u2019s GDP growth rate above 6% \u2013 but some analysts predict it will dip below that rate next year","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/475.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/475-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":44346,"title":"Does the government still have the tools to keep growth at 6%?","content":"Back in March 2009 we here at Week in\u2008China wondered if the impact of the global financial crisis would see the Chinese economy grow at less than 8%.\r\n\r\nProbably not, we reckoned, because the number was so deeply engrained as a bottom line for policymakers. Civil servants always cited it as sacrosanct and a survey of 73 economists sent the same message that year with GDP predictions that came in at a precisely 8% GDP growth rate too (see WiC8).\r\n\r\nFor many years eight seemed to be the magic minimum for Chinese planners, even though the economy tended to grow at a much faster rate. One suggestion for how that came about dated back to 1982 when Deng Xiaoping was said to have asked then General Secretary Hu Yaobang how China could quadruple its economy by 2000. Hu said 8% growth a year would do it.\r\n\r\nOf course, such statistical certitude couldn\u2019t last forever and change finally came when the growth target was cut below 8% in 2012. Since then it has been reduced at more regular intervals, dropping this year to as low as 6% (after the government set a range of 6-6.5%).\r\n\r\nBoth the World Bank and the IMF are predicting a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Electric-Cables-w.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":44344,"title":"TripAdvisor gets big China ally for sales push","content":"In Chinese folklore, owls aren\u2019t the most auspicious of birds in part because their hoot is said to sound like the word for digging a grave. That hasn\u2019t stopped TripAdvisor from embracing its owl logo in China. Back in 2015, it even changed its local name from DaoDao (meaning \u2018to arrive\u2019) to Maotuying (phonetic wordplay on \u2018an owl taking a journey\u2019).\r\n\r\nWhether or not the owl brand was inauspicious, TripAdvisor has found life tough in the China market. Its revenues there are so minor that they don\u2019t even merit a separate line item in its accounts.\r\n\r\nAs a result, few were surprised when it announced that it was ceding majority ownership of its Chinese unit this month as part of a new 40-60 joint venture with Trip.com (still known in China as Ctrip, its original name).\r\n\r\nUnder the terms of the deal, there are also content licencing agreements between the two companies where Trip.com brands, including Ctrip, Trip.com, Qunar and Skyscanner, will distribute TripAdvisor content.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTrip.com will get the right to nominate one person to the TripAdvisor board, and buy shares currently valued at $318 million within a year of getting regulatory approvals.\r\n\r\nThe tie-up combines Trip.com\u2019s strong domestic base (300 million members in China)…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/James-Liang-w.jpg","category":"China Tourist","page":"7"},{"id":44353,"title":"Another setback for seafood firm Zhangzidao","content":"Zhangzidao county comprises 13 islands in the Yellow Sea near Dalian. In the 1970s a people\u2019s commune there made the front page of the People\u2019s Daily for the size of its seafood harvests. The local waters were so clear and the marine life was thriving. Yet Zhangzidao\u2019s more recent reputation is for murkier reporting.\r\n\r\nIn a stock exchange circular last week Zhangzidao Group said more than 80% of the scallops at its farm in the Yellow Sea had died of \u201cunidentified\u201d causes that the company still believed to be \u201cnatural\u201d. It is still assessing the damage but the book value of the crop was Rmb300 million ($42.68 million), so it will be a major hit to earnings.\r\n\r\nIf the story sounds similar, that\u2019s because something like it has happened before \u2013 twice, in fact.\r\n\r\nIn late 2014, the fishery firm booked a Rmb812 million loss, claiming that abnormally high water temperatures had wiped out the entire harvest of its 70,000-hectare scallop farm. Onlookers mocked that Zhangzidao must have spawned a unique species of scallop with legs, that could run away (see WiC260).\r\n\r\nThe company blamed similar climatic reasons for another hefty loss last year in a case that resulted in a Rmb600,000 fine from…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Zhangzidao-w.jpg","category":"Agriculture","page":"8"},{"id":44340,"title":"Bank runs expose strains on China\u2019s $41 trillion banking system","content":"The wads of red Rmb100 bills stacked at the counters at a branch of the Yichuan Rural Bank last month were not meant to be part of the decor. As speculation about its insolvency ran high \u2013 especially when its chairman went missing \u2013 the cash was parked there to quash rumours about a liquidity crunch as panicky depositors swamped its branches to demand their savings back.\r\n\r\nThere is normally no smoke without fire. Local credit rating agency China Chengxin has downgraded the Henan-based lender\u2019s creditworthiness twice since July last year. This happened after the lender recorded a 15-fold increase in non-performing loans and a 50% shrinkage in its deposit base between 2016 and 2018. Worse still, 12 of its 116 shareholders were placed on a government blacklist for defaulters, meaning that large amounts of the bank\u2019s shares could be subject to forced disposal by creditors. The recent run on the bank was only resolved after a Rmb30 billion injection from local government.\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s Rmb285 trillion ($40.5 trillion) banking sector is once again in the spotlight after not just Yichuan but another regional lender in Liaoning struggled too with mass withdrawals, this time over a span of nine days.\r\n\r\nDespite local governments\u2019 insistence…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Postal-Bank-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"9"},{"id":44356,"title":"How the handling of staff bonuses has landed Hikvision in trouble","content":"Financial incentives have been a tricky topic for China\u2019s state-owned enterprises (SOEs). In an earlier era when everyone was getting a similar salary regardless of performance, productivity was low and many SOEs were lossmaking. Going into the era of market reform in the 1980s \u2013 when some officials were getting too much in the way of personal rewards \u2013 newer pay arrangements were often attacked for betraying socialism.\r\n\r\nThe same old problem has just come back to haunt Hikvision, the world\u2019s biggest supplier of video surveillance systems.\r\n\r\nInvestors didn\u2019t seem too worried when the Hangzhou-based company was one of eight Chinese tech firms added to an American blacklist last month (indeed, some seem to think that brands like Hikvision are being singled out because they are seen as the biggest commercial challengers in tech know-how). However they did seem more shocked by the news last week that the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) was investigating two of Hikvision\u2019s top executives for their violation of disclosure rules.\r\n\r\nThe suspects are Gong Hongjia and Hu Yangzhong, two former classmates at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology. Hu left the state-backed 52nd Research Institute of the China Electronics Technology Group (an organisation heavily linked to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Hikvision-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"11"},{"id":44359,"title":"WiC talks with China\u2019s first food-tech venture capital firm","content":"Shenzhen-listed MYS Group was formerly a packaging company. But since its announcement that it was venturing into hemp-based artificial meat production last month, its shares surged to a four-month high in a matter of days. This enthusiasm mirrored the earlier strong rally in the stock price of its better-known American counterpart Beyond Meat.\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s ongoing swine flu crisis has raised local awareness about the issue of food sustainability. The performance of MYS Group\u2019s share price also reflects how the investment community is turning its gaze to companies with technology that might offer solutions. Among the country\u2019s earliest venture capitalists to target the booming sector was Shanghai-based Bits x Bites, which since 2016 has backed 14 start-ups from around the world. Below, its managing partner Joseph Zhou discusses the opportunities and challenges arising from China\u2019s pursuit of a more innovative food economy.\r\n\r\nWhat prompted you to start Bits x Bites and focus on food-tech start-ups?\r\n\r\nBits x Bites was created to fill an investment gap that\u2019s vital to China\u2019s future food supply chain.\r\n\r\nFrom food security, food safety, to nutrition and food packaging waste, many countries are confronting similar food system challenges. Around the world, the food- tech space has attracted many biochemists, data scientists…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Joseph-Zhou-w.jpg","category":"Investor Q&A","page":"12"},{"id":44329,"title":"Will the Rajapaksa family\u2019s return to power see a rise in Chinese influence?","content":"Visitors to Sri Lanka often come to the country in the hope of spotting a leopard at Yala National Park, which boasts the world\u2019s highest density of panthera pardus.\r\n\r\nAs of last weekend they\u2019ll have the opportunity to observe some of the country\u2019s other big beasts on the prowl, after the Rajapaksa family swept back into political power.\r\n\r\nGotabaya Rajapaksa won the presidential election on a platform of beefing up security after terrorist attacks in Colombo at Easter and more decisive economic policies after four years of messy coalition government. He is also pledging to appoint his older brother (and former president) Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister, plus put his other two brothers, Basil and Chamal, into prominent ministerial roles.\r\n\r\nThe family\u2019s last stint in power, from 2005 to 2015, marked the end of a 25-year civil war with Sri Lanka\u2019s Tamil minority. But it was also marred by allegations of rampant corruption, extrajudicial killings and a growing reliance on Chinese cash.\r\n\r\nSince then Sri Lanka found itself becoming the lightning rod for criticism about \u2018debt trap diplomacy\u2019 under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) after the previous Rajapaksa administration had loaded up on loans on uneconomic projects struck on commercial rather than concessional…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Gotabaya-Rajapaksa-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"15"},{"id":44335,"title":"Wuhan hospital grabs headlines over egg-freeze","content":"According to a recent survey, the percentage of women heading up companies in China was 12% (not very high, but still better than the Fortune 500, which reported 4.8% female leadership last year).\r\n\r\nSun Jie from travel giant Trip.com Group is one of the highest profile female CEOs in the country. She is also known for talking about the challenges for corporate leaders faced with the personal choice of having children or focusing on building more of a career (newly rebranded Trip.com is still known by it original name Ctrip in China, see this week's \"China Tourist\").\r\n\r\n\u201cIt is a woman\u2019s choice whether she wants to be fearless in the workplace or focus on her family. But it is only when she is not being judged or discriminated against for her decision that she can really let go of the burdens and be herself,\u201d Sun told the media.\r\n\r\nSun was also instrumental in making her company the first in China to offer financial assistance to senior executives wanting to freeze their eggs so they don\u2019t have to choose more immediately between having children and a career.\r\n\r\nEgg freezing is classified as a supplementary IVF measure in China and only made available to married women…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Jane-Sun-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"17"},{"id":44332,"title":"Two high-profile incidents point to China\u2019s environmental challenges","content":"In 2017 Chinese President Xi Jinping cited \u201cenvironmental clean-up\u201d as one of the \u201cthree critical battles\u201d his country had to fight.\r\n\r\nTeams of inspectors fanned out around the country to catch polluters. But in Ningxia province they missed something \u2013 at least half a million tonnes of toxic black mulch dumped in a nature reserve in the Tengger Desert.\r\n\r\nThe waste came from a paper- making plant that opened in Zhongwei city in 1998. For the first six years of operations, Meili Paper simply dumped tanks of so-called \u201cblack liquor\u201d on the edge of the desert. They tipped the slurry into open pits, waiting for most of it to evaporate, and then buried the solid waste in the sand.\r\n\r\nThe black liquor was made up of wood residues such as lignin and cellulose and the chemicals that helped to break these ingredients down. Seven tonnes of it was typically produced for every tonne of paper.\r\n\r\nThe plant then closed in 2015 and Meili \u2013 which is owned by a state-backed enterprise \u2013 reinvented itself as a \u2018cloud computing\u2019 brand. The share price of Meili Cloud \u2013 its latest incarnation \u2013 then plummeted on November 12 when the Ministry of Ecology and Environment named it…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Trash-Sorting-plant-w.jpg","category":"Environment","page":"18"},{"id":44362,"title":"Comedy king Ning Hao\u2019s latest production takes a new direction","content":"It has been a busy month for live-streamers like Viya, who have been selling thousands of brands over the Singles\u2019 Day season (see last week\u2019s Talking Point).\r\n\r\nCelebrity live-streamers like her were doing business frantically in the run-up to the annual extravaganza on November 11 and almost Rmb20 billion ($2.84 billion), or 7.5%, of the total sales on the day itself, were said to come from live-stream platforms.\r\n\r\nViya also took the lead role in another new departure for the live-streaming stars \u2013 selling cinema tickets for a soon-to-be released film. She was joined by Shen Ao, the director of My Dear Liar, and Liu Yan and Da Pang, two of its lead actors, in pitching vouchers that discounted tickets for the film to as little as Rmb19.9.\r\n\r\nWithin seconds, all 66,666 vouchers were sold out, with more than eight million people tuning in to watch the live broadcast at one point.\r\n\r\nThe film\u2019s distributors quickly offered 30,000 more vouchers, which were soon snapped up as well.\r\n\r\nProduced by the well-known filmmaker Ning Hao, My Dear Liar has actually earned lukewarm reviews. Total ticket sales of Rmb150 million in its first week of release have been uninspiring as well. That\u2019s a disappointment for Ning, who…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Girl-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"19"},{"id":44326,"title":"Why a coffin-sized Beijing residence is pricier than Manhattan real estate","content":"A \u201cstudio nestling in the historic alleyways of central Beijing\u201d, might be how a Western estate agent would describe a recent listing at 121 Lanman Hutong.\r\n\r\nBy contrast, Alibaba\u2019s auction site described it as an old, one-bedroom, no-bathroom, no-kitchen unit measuring just over five square metres, or roughly half the size of a carparking lot.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe sale of this property has been mandated by the Peoples Court of Xicheng district,\u201d the website said.\r\n\r\nIt went on to warn that the tiny property was occupied, and that it would take longer than usual to transfer the property rights because it was being sold as a result of a legal dispute.\r\n\r\nNevertheless after rounds of intense bidding by 29 interested parties, the tiny, decrepit property went under the hammer for Rmb1.3 million ($184,891), making it 70% more expensive per square metre than most property in Manhattan.\r\n\r\nThe question on everyone\u2019s lips was: why?\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOne theory is that it was bought as a \u201cschool apartment\u201d \u2013 a property for the sole purpose of acquiring an address in the catchment area of a good school. WiC has written about this before (see issue 236): it used to be that parents could buy their way into a good state-run school by…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Beijing-Hutong-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"21"}]},{"id":1625,"name":"Issue 474","date":"Nov 15, 2019","title":"Swift sales seen on Singles\u2019 Day","tagline":"Taylor Swift got Singles\u2019Day off to a flyer this week \u2013 we look at the homegrown celebrity KOLs Alibaba relied on to drive sales through live-streaming","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/474.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/474-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":44302,"title":"Streaming celebrities help Alibaba set another Singles\u2019 Day record","content":"China\u2019s princess of live-streaming is called Viya. Real name Huang Wei, she goes into overdrive during the run-up to Singles\u2019 Day. Starting her broadcasts in the early afternoon, she pitches her wares until well past midnight, selling everything from duck neck (a popular snack) to hand towels.\r\n\r\nIn a pre-sale event held just before this year\u2019s Singles\u2019 Day (which takes place each year on November 11) Viya had a special guest. Kim Kardashian, dialling in from California, loomed up on a large screen behind the online influencer to promote her new fragrance, which she was launching on Tmall Global for the first time. \u201cWhat\u2019s the inspiration for your perfume?\u201d Viya asked, twirling a lip-shaped perfume bottle. Afterwards she gave the product details and price, and counted down: \u201c5, 4, 3, 2, 1\u201d. All 15,000 bottles of the fragrance were sold within minutes. \u201cKim, you really need to give us more stock,\u201d she joked.\r\n\r\nSo Singles\u2019 Day was another sales spectacular?\r\n\r\nIt was a case of another year, another record \u2013 with Alibaba selling goods worth Rmb268 billion ($38.4 billion), compared with last year\u2019s Rmb214 billion.\r\n\r\nDespite the increase, Alibaba founder Jack Ma said that sales were below his expectations. \u201cThere are multiple reasons, one…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Viya-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":44310,"title":"Shi Yuzhu drops bid for Israeli gaming firm","content":"Circle of Friends (or COF) is one of the many attractions on WeChat, Tencent\u2019s social media app. Its primary function, as the name suggests, is helping friends to congregate online. For businesspeople their COF also serves as a network to exchange ideas and sway opinions.\r\n\r\nIn April this year, the COF frequented by Shi Yuzhu, the boss of gaming firm Giant Interactive, buzzed with speculation that he had been detained by police, pending an investigation by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).\r\n\r\nThe 57 year-old hotly denied he was under arrest. However, Shi also complained on his WeChat account that \u201cmany people have been bad-mouthing me at the CSRC\u201d, which stoked further rumours. Some suggested that Giant\u2019s longrunning attempt to take over Israeli gaming firm Playtika was the source of trouble.\r\n\r\nEvents since then have indicated there could have been some truth to the speculation, at least when it comes to the circle of friends involved in the ill-fated acquisition.\r\n\r\nIn a stock exchange circular this month, Giant said it was abandoning a plan to purchase Playtika from a consortium called Alpha Frontier, an entity backed by a group of investors including Shi and some of his acquaintances.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nPreviously listed in New York, Giant was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Shi-Yuzhu-w.jpg","category":"M&A","page":"7"},{"id":44284,"title":"Electric car pioneers keep sight of the longer term","content":"The old joke about why the chicken crossed the road is taking on new meaning in China. Within a decade, the main obstacle to getting from one side to the other could take the form of a high-speed egg on wheels. That\u2019s according to He Xiaopeng, founder of XPENG Motors, who told the Fortune Global Tech Forum in Guangzhou last week that car design is on the cusp of radical change. He believes that vehicles will start to take on a more egg-shaped design as autonomous driving transforms the relationship between car and driver. It should also become a lot safer for people to cross the road because \u2018assisted driving\u2019 will take the lead in 50 to 90 of every 100 driving hours.\r\n\r\nXPENG\u2019s forthcoming model, the P7, will encompass Level-3 autonomous driving (automated cruise control and parking) although He acknowledged that there\u2019s some way to go before fuller automation across the sector, which needs \u201chundreds of millions of kilometres of data to make this kind of machine-learning move forwards\u201d.\r\n\r\nFreeman Shen, the founder and CEO at rival start-up WM Motor, agreed that 5G will be a game changer for the auto industry in terms of data processing. But he also told…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/He-Xiaopeng-2w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"8"},{"id":44280,"title":"Jingye swoops for struggling British steelmaker","content":"When Mao Zedong launched the Great Leap Forward in 1957, the goal was to overtake the UK in steel output within 15 years. More than 60 years later a Chinese firm says that it wants to take control of much of what is left of the British steel industry, after Jingye Steel made a \u00a350 million ($64.39 million) offer for British Steel, one of the few local survivors in the sector.\r\n\r\nIn 1957 China\u2019s steel output was just 5.35 million tonnes, compared to the UK\u2019s 22 million, and it ended up taking 20 years to pass the UK in production (23.7 million tonnes to 20.4 million in 1977).\r\n\r\nBut in fact output at British steelmakers had peaked as far back as 1970 and the numbers today make for completely different reading: last year Jingye alone made more steel (11 million tonnes) than the UK\u2019s much reduced 7 million total.\r\n\r\nReactions to Jingye\u2019s bid in Britain have been mixed. First there is sheer relief that 4,000 jobs will be saved at the main plant in Scunthorpe and as many as 20,000 more in the wider supply chain. The Grimsby Telegraph, a newspaper from a town near the plant, reported how the news was welcomed…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/British-Steel-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"9"},{"id":44286,"title":"China\u2019s A-shares have had a much better year","content":"Bulls are auspicious in the financial world. But the animal at the Shanghai stock exchange \u2013 a copper sculpture \u2013 wasn\u2019t regarded as much of an omen. The beast was dismissed for being too thin, with a lowered head that imparted a sense of listlessness, and local investors have blamed it for the long-term underperformance of their domestic market. So this month the Shanghai bourse shunted a replacement animal into place at the Shanghai International Finance Centre. Standing tall, with its chest bursting upwards and outwards, the new arrival is winning applause, with fresh hopes it will bring good luck to the market.\r\n\r\nSo perhaps it is no coincidence that Chinese shares are poised to become the world\u2019s best performing equity class this year. The CSI300 index, which tracks the largest companies traded on the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses by market value, has climbed 30% year-to-date. (Factoring in the weakness of the yuan, the country\u2019s stock benchmark has still been up 28% this year in dollar terms.)\r\n\r\nThe rise \u2013 more than double that of Britain\u2019s FTSE 100 or Japan\u2019s Nikkei 225 indices \u2013 is a sharp contrast to its dismal performance last year, when the Shanghai Composite Index shed nearly a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Stock-market-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"10"},{"id":44289,"title":"Why Didi faced a backlash from female users","content":"A survey in the China Youth Daily found that over 50% of women had experienced some kind of inappropriate touching while using buses and trains.\r\n\r\nThe problem led to experiments with women-only buses and train carriages. And last week Didi Chuxing offered its own solution for safer travel for female customers of its shared-car service Hitch. Women, it said, would simply be prevented from booking rides after 8pm.\r\n\r\nInevitably, much of the response was an angry one. \u201cWhy should women be inconvenienced as result of male abuse?\u201d one woman asked. \u201cThis is discrimination,\u201d another fumed, noting that under the revised Didi rules men were permitted to use the service till 11pm.\r\n\r\nAs readers will remember, Didi Hitch was suspended in August 2018 after two female passengers were raped and murdered within a few months of each other. The service was then relaunched in a small group of cities last week after a year of testing of safety features.\r\n\r\nWhen the two women were killed last year it emerged that many of Hitch\u2019s safety protocols didn\u2019t actually work. For instance, one of the murderers had registered as a driver with his father\u2019s driving licence, but had still managed to pass the facial recognition test. It…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Jean-Liu-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"11"},{"id":44270,"title":"Signs of strain in Shenzhen\u2019s economy, despite solid foundations","content":"\u2018Shenzhen speed\u2019 is normally a positive expression, describing how the southern Chinese city gets things done at a rapid rate (the term was coined by Deng Xiaoping, who noted \u201cwhen they build houses they can finish a whole floor in a few days\u2019 time\u201d). But the latest data on the city\u2019s economy gives the impression that a downturn has been equally accelerated, casting doubt on its reputation as a pacesetter for the nation.\r\n\r\nShenzhen\u2019s growth rate in the first three quarters of 6.6% was substantially down on the same period last year, and a lot slower than the first six months of this year, implying that the economy barely grew at all between July and September.\r\n\r\n\u201cStrangely, there was no figure for the third quarter alone,\u201d the Hong Kong Economic Journal also noted.\r\n\r\nShenzhen is never going to grow at the same pace as before because its economy is already so huge (it overtook Hong Kong\u2019s last year, see WiC443). But any news that it has lost steam still seems ominous because it is home to some of the country\u2019s most dynamic companies and newest industries.\r\n\r\nHowever, the consensus in the local media is that the city is primarily a victim of external events.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Shenzhen-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"12"},{"id":44292,"title":"Why a ban on online sales of e-cigarettes is only partly health-related","content":"More than two months ago Donald Trump promised a crackdown on vaping. He said that e-cigarettes that weren\u2019t formulated to taste like tobacco were set to be taken off the market and that the minimum age for purchasing e-cigarettes could be raised from 18 to 21.\r\n\r\nTobacco firms are waiting for a final decision from the Trump administration amid intense lobbying from vaping firms and health groups alike.\r\n\r\nOver in China and regulators have been stepping up sales restrictions on e-cigarettes as well. One of the talking points, however, is the fact that the state-owned tobacco monopoly has a major say in making the changes.\r\n\r\nEarlier this month the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA), the tobacco regulator, and the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) jointly announced a directive aimed at banning the sales of e-cigarettes on internet platforms.\r\n\r\nIn order to protect adolescents from vaping, regulators said all websites and apps selling e-cigarettes would be shut down. Online marketing campaigns would also be banned.\r\n\r\nAbout 10 million Chinese are now using electronic cigarettes, Xinhua reported last week, and the vaping rate among people aged between 15 to 24 is the highest.\r\n\r\nThe two government agencies introduced a ban on selling vaping products to people under…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/eCigarettes-w.jpg","category":"Tobacco","page":"13"},{"id":44296,"title":"Shanghai drugs firm claims a breakthrough in Alzheimer\u2019s treatment","content":"Seaweed has been a long-term favourite as an ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The marine algae is trusted to treat skin disorders, reduce swelling, provide relief from bronchitis and inhibit the growth of some types of cancerous tumours. What\u2019s more it might even arrest the pace of degeneration from Alzheimer\u2019s disease, according to Shanghai-based Green Valley Pharmaceutical.\r\n\r\nIts newest drug, which harnesses seaweed, has just been approved to go on sale on December 29. Known as GV-971, it doesn\u2019t claim to work like its predecessors, which target beta amyloid, a protein that creates clumps of plaque blamed for interfering with neural signalling in the brains of Alzheimer\u2019s sufferers. Rather, its beneficial effects come from regulating microbes in a patient\u2019s guts.\r\n\r\nThe theory is that an imbalance in intestinal microbiota produces immune cells that infiltrate the brain and aggravate the neuroinflammation associated with Alzheimer\u2019s. Sodium oligomannate, a sugar derived from seaweed\u2019s brown algae, then remodels the gut\u2019s microbiology and reduces the accumulation of neuroinflammatory cells, according to a study published in September by Geng Meiyu, the chief inventor of the drug.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cTrial results demonstrated that oligomannate statistically improved cognitive function in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer\u2019s patients as early as week four and the benefit was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Seaweed-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"14"},{"id":44273,"title":"Angelababy lambasted by netizens over her latest reality TV outing","content":"Back in 2015, Angelababy, one of China\u2019s most prominent actresses and showbiz celebrities, sued a hospital in Beijing for defamation after it claimed that she had undergone plastic surgery there. To prove it, she went to another hospital for a facial examination to prove that she hadn\u2019t had cosmetic treatment. Nevertheless, over the years, debate about the star, whose real name is Yang Ying, never seems to stray too far from her looks. Wanting to prove that she has more depth than the press has given her credit for, she signed on for the reality TV series Adventure Life.\r\n\r\nThe documentary-travel show, which is exclusive to Tencent Video, talks about revealing the true personality of celebrities as they jet to remote parts of the world. In one episode, model Liu Wen travels to the Arctic Circle by boat. And in Angelababy\u2019s case, she spends six days cycling in Canada with the goal of reaching Vancouver in British Columbia from the city of Kamloops (a journey of roughly 420 kilometres). Travelling with her is a 72 year-old male cyclist, who acts as the guide, and the show\u2019s host Aya Liu.\r\n\r\nBut instead of winning admiration for the ride, what most viewers saw was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Angelababy-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"15"},{"id":44277,"title":"Month one: my Chinese cohort","content":"I\u2019m hunched over my laptop punching in the key words and concepts that my professor is spewing at an unholy speed. Then he leaps up mid-sentence to announce we\u2019re going to play a game. I glance at my neighbour who is equally startled, presuming this to be one of the many eccentric norms among Cambridge University professors.\r\n\r\nSince starting my Education Masters in Second Language Research a month ago, we\u2019ve blitzed through various topics. Today\u2019s discussion on \u201cinteractionist perspectives of second language acquisition: input, interaction and output hypothesis\u201d clearly hasn\u2019t been stimulating enough, hence the need for a game to be played.\r\n\r\nMy professor announces: \u201cAs the overwhelming majority in this class are Chinese (or indeed Chinese speakers), I want you to get into \u2018family groups\u2019. We will have Chinese parents (natives), Chinese siblings (those with some Chinese language skills) and babies (those with zero Chinese). Afterwards you will share your observations and reflections of \u2018baby talk\u2019 with your colleagues.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLuckily, I\u2019m designated as a sibling, yet immediately find myself upgraded to translator as my Chinese classmates try to teach an American friend nearby about objects such as \u201cApple laptop\u201d, \u201ctable\u201d and \u201cpen\u201d.\r\n\r\nThey giggle as she contorts the words through her nose in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/King\u2019s-College-chapel-w.jpg","category":"Education","page":"16"},{"id":44299,"title":"A school in Zhejiang tests \u2018brainwave\u2019 monitors","content":"Focus 1 is a wireless headband that claims to offer \u201creal-time brain wave visualisation\u201d.\r\n\r\nAccording to its website, the brand employs an \u201coptimised, NASA-inspired\u201d algorithm.\r\n\r\nWhether it is actually capable of monitoring concentration is one question. Whether it should be used in school classrooms is another.\r\n\r\nFocus 1 made headlines last month when the Wall Street Journal reported that the headband was being worn at a primary school in Zhejiang province to spot kids who weren\u2019t focusing on their studies.\r\n\r\nThe makers of the headband \u2013 BrainCO \u2013 say that the device analyses brain waves and notifies teachers if a child is tuning out. That allows the educator to step in and make sure the child has understood what is being taught.\r\n\r\nSome parents at the primary school seemed to think the headbands were a good idea. They even got a daily readout on their child\u2019s concentration span, delivered by WeChat. But others had serious reservations, as have parents at other schools that have experimented with artificial intelligence-based monitoring systems.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cWhen technology labels a lively child as \u2018distracted\u2019, can he claim otherwise? Rather than using technology to restrict kids, why not make the classes more interesting so they are more likely to hold a child\u2019s attention,\u201d…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2019\/11\/Classroom-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]}]}