{"issues":[{"id":1670,"name":"Issue 519","date":"Nov 20, 2020","title":"Tech-tonic shift","tagline":"Do new regulations signal a backlash against China\u2019s previously freewheeling internet billionaires such as Jack Ma?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/519.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/519-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":47553,"title":"Recent moves by Beijing indicate tougher times for China\u2019s internet giants","content":"According to the Confucian value system the social standing of businesspeople, no matter how wealthy, was below that of farmers and artisans. The most esteemed social group \u2013 apart from those with royal connections, of course \u2013 were the scholars who excelled in imperial examinations. Families from the same clans groomed generations of talent to sit for the civil service exams, which were hugely competitive. The highest achievers were revered as the zhuangyuan \u2013 or people who came first in the nationwide examinations.\r\n\r\nIn our own era there is more of a fashion for college dropouts that start their own businesses. But Qing high society was shocked when Zhang Jian, the zhuangyuan from the 1894 imperial exams, ditched senior officialdom to turn his hand to business.\r\n\r\nYet in doing so, Zhang claimed a patriotic motive. The power of the Qing court was crumbling under the pressure of encroaching foreign powers and Zhang had concluded that industrialisation was the only way to save his country from oblivion.\r\n\r\nHe founded one of China\u2019s earliest cotton mills, as well as a conglomerate that developed Nantong port in Jiangsu province. The venture turned him into one of the richest men in China but he donated much of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Jack-Ma-w-1.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":47557,"title":"How significant is Asia\u2019s new trade deal, the RCEP?","content":"The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, has been billed this week as the world\u2019s biggest ever trade deal. Signed last Sunday between 15 nations in the Asia-Pacific, it needs ratification at national level before coming into effect, probably in the second half of next year. But there\u2019s no denying its impressive scale, accounting for a third of the world\u2019s population, across nations likely to generate more than half of global GDP within a decade.\r\n\r\nThere\u2019s also the symbolism of the accord: not just as the first time that China, Japan and South Korea have been signatories to a single free trade deal but also in the way that the agreement has come to fruition in a period when protectionism has been much more of a theme than partnership.\r\n\r\n\u201cFrom a global perspective, the RCEP agreement, even if a little shallower than other \u2018mega-deals\u2019, signals that Asia keeps pushing ahead with trade liberalisation even as other regions have become more sceptical,\u201d noted Fred Neumann, co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC. \u201cAs such, it may reinforce a trend that\u2019s been already underway for decades: that the global centre of economic gravity keeps pushing relentlessly to the East.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe background narrative is that the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/RCEP-scaled.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"7"},{"id":47560,"title":"Huawei opts to sells a smartphone brand","content":"Zhu Xinli, the founder of Huiyuan Juice, once argued that there\u2019s no place for sentiment in disposing of companies, which should be \u201craised as a son but sold like a pig\u201d.\r\n\r\nBut for the embattled telecoms giant Huawei, the decision to sell one of its favourite offspring \u2013 the smartphone brand Honor \u2013 is a means of survival. Or as the news portal Huxiu put it more succinctly: \u201cif you can\u2019t afford to raise it, you might as well sell it\u201d, describing the Shenzhen firm\u2019s disposal of its affordable smartphone brand \u2013 which was founded in 2013 to target younger consumers.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAfter weeks of rumours, news surfaced this week that Huawei had sold Honor in its entirety to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology. According to a joint announcement published on the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily, the buying consortium is led by a state firm controlled by the Shenzhen local government, and comprised of 30 of Honor\u2019s dealers. Huawei will be selling the Honor brand as well as its R&D facilities. The announcement does not disclose financial details, although local media outlets have speculated that the final price tag could be anywhere between Rmb100 billion ($15 billion) to Rmb260 billion.\r\n\r\nHonor was sold, Huawei…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Honor-Huawei-w.jpg","category":"Telecoms","page":"9"},{"id":47563,"title":"China\u2019s cargo carriers eye freight rate profits","content":"In more typical times Cathay Pacific\u2019s cargo numbers for October would be chastening. A drop of nearly 38% in tonnage terms versus the same period last year is pretty catastrophic, in fact. But perhaps the Hong Kong carrier could be forgiven for classing the collapse as something of an achievement this year, compared to passenger numbers that have plummeted nearly 99%.\r\n\r\nLike other airlines with a strong freight franchise, Cathay\u2019s cargo business is a slightly sweeter spot in a sector that has soured in spectacular fashion. Cancellation of so many scheduled flights means fewer opportunities to fill the bellies of passenger planes, which account for about half of cargo-carrying capacity. That is already forcing up freight rates and with passenger schedules expected to take years to recover to pre-pandemic levels, freighters will be transporting more of the world\u2019s goods, especially on longer-haul routes.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMaybe that\u2019s a reason why the cargo units of China\u2019s three largest carriers are said to be keen on going public, as well as a factor in why a group of new investors has just bought almost a third of Air China Cargo, which operates 15 freighters and manages the cargo space in its parent company\u2019s passenger fleet.\r\n\r\nThe Air…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Cargo-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Aviation","page":"10"},{"id":47566,"title":"Iconic console firm files for bankruptcy","content":"When older gamers in the Western world think back to the industry\u2019s origins, there\u2019s often an American company at the forefront: Atari, with its legendary games such as Pong, Pac-Man and Space Invaders. When their Chinese equivalents are feeling nostalgic, there\u2019s another company that springs to mind, Xiaobawang (or Subor in English).\r\n\r\nWhat Silicon Valley was to the development of the Western gaming industry, so the city of Zhongshan in Guangdong province has been to China\u2019s. And Chinese gamers \u2013 or rather their fathers \u2013 are in a sentimental mood after Xiaobawang entered the bankruptcy courts.\r\n\r\nBack in the late 1980s the company provided Chinese children with their first gaming experience through a product that effectively ripped off the Nintendo Entertainment System\u2019s eight-bit video console. Even better, it could play pirated versions of Nintendo\u2019s games. \u201cYou know you\u2019re not young anymore if you still remember one of Jackie Chan\u2019s adverts for Xiaobawang,\u201d recalled one netizen.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMany of those older fans have been surprised to discover that the brand still existed 30 or so years later. Yet its final demise is symbolic, in showing how China\u2019s economy has evolved since Xiaobawang first made its mark. In many ways its first console was one of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Duan-Yongping-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"11"},{"id":47569,"title":"Anti-graft probe takes shine off JA Solar","content":"Knowledge is the beginning of practice; doing is the completion of knowing.\u201d So said the 15th-century neo-Confucian philosopher Wang Yangming.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s also an apt metaphor for investigators at China\u2019s anti-corruption body, who are trying to ascertain what one of the most avid contemporary disciples of\u2008Wang has been up to.\r\n\r\nThat individual is Jin Baofang, chairman and CEO of JA Solar.\r\n\r\nThe Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) arrested Jin earlier this month and is currently detaining the 68 year-old in Shandong province for further investigation.\r\n\r\nUnsurprisingly, JA Solar\u2019s share price has been in freefall since then, losing nearly a third of its value over the past two weeks. As of Thurday, it was still worth Rmb46 billion ($7.1 billion), however.\r\n\r\nJin\u2019s arrest is particularly bad news for investors that took part in a Rmb5.2 billion ($790 million) share sale by JA Solar late last month. At the time the solar firm said it was selling a 18% stake to finance an ambitous expansion plan.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nJA Solar was formerly listed on Nasdaq until it was taken private in 2017 in a $362 million buyout deal. It only went public again in Shenzhen in November last year via a backdoor listing that valued the company at about Rmb7…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Jin-Baofang-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"12"},{"id":47572,"title":"RemeGen bags $515 million in one of world\u2019s largest biotech IPOs","content":"Zhejiang-born Fang Jianmin has only one idol: Bob Langer, the prolific chemical engineer who owns more than 1,000 patents, and has spawned nearly 40 companies in the medical field through his lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Nasdaq-listed Moderna, which saw its market capitalisation surge to $39 billion following news that its Covid-19 vaccine is 95% effective, is one of Langer\u2019s triumphant projects.\r\n\r\nFang is an entrepreneurial scientist too \u2013 as well as a haigui (\u2018sea turtle\u2019, meaning a Chinese coming back from a period studying or working overseas). He returned from Canada in 2008 and like Langer is being handsomely rewarded by the capital market.\r\n\r\nEarly this month RemeGen, the biotech start-up he founded in Shandong\u2019s Yantai to provide novel biologic remedies to autoimmune disorders, cancers and eye diseases, raised $515 million in an initial public offering in Hong Kong.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe deal is one of the world\u2019s largest ever IPOs for a pre-profit biotech company, second only to Moderna\u2019s offering of $604 million two years ago. RemeGen follows 20 other Chinese biotech firms that have already gone public this year, according to Dealogic, meaning that there is no shortage of alternative counters for investors to choose from.\r\n\r\nAs of Wednesday, RemeGen\u2019s stock…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Remegen-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"13"},{"id":47575,"title":"New procurement process to drive down medical cost","content":"One of the oft cited reasons for why mainland Chinese save so much is the high cost of medical care.\r\n\r\nBecause families could be landed with hefty hospital bills due to accidents or illness, they have traditionally consumed less, preferring to save their money for a rainy day.\r\n\r\nSo as to reduce this obstacle to economic growth the Chinese government has been trying to lower the burden of healthcare expenses by increasing insurance cover and cutting the price of drugs through collective procurement schemes.\r\n\r\nNow the Ministry of Health has begun using the collective procurement method to drive down the cost of coronary stents \u2013 reducing their cost by more 90%.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe group purchase \u2013 backed by 2,400 hospitals \u2013 saw eight companies bid to supply the one-million-piece order, producing a saving of almost Rmb11 billion ($1.67 billion) for Chinese patients, ThePaper.cn said.\r\n\r\nPreviously hospitals paid an average of Rmb13,000 per stent, several times more than hospitals in Europe were paying for their coronary prosthetics. The reason: a complex and often corrupt procurement system in which layers of middlemen all added something to the price along the way. Under the new procurement system the most expensive stent is just under Rmb800 and the cheapest model…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Stent-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"14"},{"id":47579,"title":"Tech powers growth of Mandarin tuition firm","content":"The Chinese idiom yan zhi you wu means there should be substance in people\u2019s words. In the commercial context that lesson has underpinned the business model of Finance Mandarin over the past two decades. The Hong Kong-based firm teaches international executives how to use the correct terminology in Chinese when doing business in areas like the capital markets.\r\n\r\nHere the company\u2019s founder and CEO Vienne Lee talks to WiC about the rising interest she is seeing in the learning of \u2018professional\u2019 Mandarin.\r\n\r\nYou founded Finance Mandarin more than 20 years ago. What gave you the idea to set up the business back then?\r\n\r\nWhen we started the business in 1998, I already had connections with bankers, lawyers and other financial professionals in the capital markets. Following the Hong Kong handover, a lot of expat professionals expressed more interest in learning Chinese and understanding China so that they could win a bigger market share. So we thought why not create tailor-made courses on IPOs, M&A or the debt capital markets for them?\r\n\r\nWe started up with a B2B model, targeting investment banks and law firms, providing one-to-one and in-house training for their employees. Of course we have gone through a lot of ups and downs…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Vienne-Lee_w-scaled.jpg","category":"Corporate Q&A","page":"15"},{"id":47582,"title":"A TV drama about e-commerce livestreaming proves a hit with audiences","content":"Despite his spotty entrepreneurial track record, Luo Yonghao, the man behind a slew of defunct businesses ranging from handset maker Smartisan to a venture that sells synthetic shark skin, seems to have finally struck gold.\r\n\r\nLast week, Shanghai-listed power cable maker Sunway announced plans to buy into Xingkong Yewang, an e-commerce livestreaming company controlled by Luo, which was only set up in April this year following Luo\u2019s livestreaming debut (see WiC490).\r\n\r\nSunway will pay at most Rmb589 million ($89 million) in cash and shares for a 40.3% stake in Xingkong Yewang from existing shareholders including Luo\u2019s brother, who holds the shares on behalf of his sibling.\r\n\r\nLuo Yonghao is listed by regulators as a \u201cdiscredited individual\u201d for failing to meet debt obligations arising from the collapse of Smartisan in 2019. The failed venture had mired him in Rmb600 million worth of debt, Luo told a TV reality show earlier this year, and he plans to repay it entirely before the end of the year.\r\n\r\nLuo\u2019s pledge will become much more credible following the Sunway deal as it values Luo\u2019s seven month-old firm at nearly Rmb1.5 billion.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOnlookers are sceptical of the company\u2019s prospects. \u201cUp until September this year, there was only one host under Xingkong…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/actress-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":47585,"title":"How Tencent arranged the World Cup of eSports","content":"Amid a global pandemic, Riot Games flew 22 teams from across the world into Shanghai for the 2020 League of Legends World Championship. The tournament, commonly abbreviated as Worlds, concluded late last month with the South Korean team Damwon Gaming (DWG) defeating the Suning team from China 3:1 in the final.\r\n\r\nFavourites DWG had won consistently prior to the World Championship, beating the two other teams from China during the tournament.\r\n\r\nDWG\u2019s victory means the League of Legends title is heading back to Korea for the first time since 2017. Teams from China have won the previous two finals but in total, Korean teams have won six of the 10 League of Legends world championships.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBacked by the Chinese retailer of the same name, Suning\u2019s team member Zhang Kangyang called the competition a \u201cglorious defeat\u201d. Despite losing, the underdog made a record-breaking \u201cfive kills\u201d in the finals, strong performance as an eSports team representing the Chinese league for the first time.\r\n\r\nFrom the popularity of the Asian Games in Jakarta to the Worlds, eSports has become a global phenomena that continues to draw in more fans. Overcoming the disruptions created by the pandemic, Worlds 2020 has also provided a template of how eSports tournaments…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Suning-w.jpg","category":"Sport","page":"18"},{"id":47588,"title":"British consul wins plaudits for river rescue","content":"When Stephen Ellison heard people screaming he rushed to the river bank and saw a young woman drowning. He jumped into the water and swam her to safety.\r\n\r\nThe 61 year-old is the British consul general in Chongqing. He was visiting the scenic destination of Zhongshan Old Town when the woman fell into the river after taking photos from nearby rocks.\r\n\r\n\u201cShe was struggling and she disappeared under the water\u2026 so it is just instinct that you get in and help [and] hope you can do something,\u201d the diplomat explained.\r\n\r\nFootage of the rescue was hugely popular on social media, with Zhao Lijian, a foreign ministry spokesman, mentioning it at the daily briefing on Tuesday. \u201cIt is a good deed, and his bravery deserves praise,\u201d he said.\r\n\r\nThat gratitude was echoed by many netizens. \u201cKindness has no borders,\u201d wrote one on weibo. \u201cBrave! Noble! Benevolence does not discriminate between nationalities. His altruism has touched countless Chinese people!\u201d praised another.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhile the rescue drew applause, there were still those who took a more cynical view, claiming a discrepancy in how the media treats the achievements of the Chinese versus those of foreign nationals.\r\n\r\n\u201cChinese people do good deeds abroad but there is no reporting of it. An…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Diplomat-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1460,"name":"China\u2019s Tycoons","date":"","title":"China\u2019s Tycoons","tagline":"Profiles of 150 top business leaders","pdf-link":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2016\/09\/WiC150Tycoons-final.pdf","image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoons-cover_2016.jpg", "articles":[ {"id":67777777, "title":"Profiles of China\u2019s most successful businesspeople and how they succeeded", "content":"One way to evaluate the economic circumstances of a country is to examine its most successful entrepreneurs. This is the third edition of China\u2019s Tycoons, a book which seeks to enlighten readers about the Chinese business elite. In this volume we profile 150 of the nation\u2019s top tycoons – that\u2019s up from the 125 featured in last edition.", "image":"\/images\/no_image.png", "category":"Introduction", "page":"6"}, {"id":70123000, "title":"Himin to Hanergy", "content":"Tycoons include Zhang Yue and Zhu Gongshan", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-1_Zhang-Yue.jpg", "category":"Alternative Energy", "page":"13"}, {"id":70123001, "title":"Geely to BYD", "content":"Tycoons include Li Shufu and Cao Dewang", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-2_Li-Shufu.jpg", "category":"Automotive", "page":"16"}, {"id":70123002, "title":"Tiens Group to Golden Meditech", "content":"Tycoons include Li Li and Sun Piaoyang", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-3_Li-li.jpg", "category":"Biotech and Pharmaceutical", "page":"23"}, {"id":70123003, "title":"Li Ning to Bosideng", "content":"Tycoons include Li Ning and Zhou Chengjian", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-4_Li-Ning.jpg", "category":"Clothing", "page":"31"}, {"id":70123004, "title":"Lenovo to Huawei", "content":"Tycoons include Liu Chuanzhi and Lei Jun", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-5_Liu-Chuanzhi.jpg", "category":"Computing and Tech", "page":"39"}, {"id":70123005, "title":"Wahaha to WH Group", "content":"Tycoons include Zong Qinghou and Wan Long", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-6_Zong-Qinghou.jpg", "category":"Food", "page":"51"}, {"id":70123006, "title":"Alibaba to Tencent", "content":"Tycoons include Jack Ma and Ma Huateng", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-7_Jack-Ma.jpg", "category":"Internet", "page":"60"}, {"id":70123007, "title":"Fosun to Anbang", "content":"Tycoons include Guo Guangchang and Wu Xiaohui", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-8_Guo-Guangchang.jpg", "category":"Investment", "page":"83"}, {"id":70123008, "title":"Amer to Shagang", "content":"Tycoons include Shen Wenrong and Huang Zelan", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-9_Shen-Wenrong.jpg", "category":"Natural Resources", "page":"102"}, {"id":70123009, "title":"Wanda to SOHO", "content":"Tycoons include Wang Jianlin and Pan Shiyi", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-10_Wang-Jianlin.jpg", "category":"Property", "page":"114"}, {"id":70123010, "title":"Suning to Sanpower", "content":"Tycoons include Zhang Jindong and Tang Yiu", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-11_Zhang-Jindong.jpg", "category":"Retail", "page":"131"}, {"id":70123011, "title":"Gree to Midea", "content":"Tycoons include Dong Mingzhu and He Xiangjian", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-12_Dong-Mingzhu.jpg", "category":"White Goods", "page":"141"}, {"id":70123012, "title":"Sany to Spring Airlines", "content":"Tycoons include Liang Wengen and Wang Wei", "image":"http:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2011\/04\/tycoon-13_Liang-Wengen.jpg", "category":"Other Industries", "page":"144"} ] },{"id":1669,"name":"Issue 518","date":"Nov 13, 2020","title":"What China thinks of Joe","tagline":"Will President-Elect Biden reset the China relationship?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/518.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/518-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":47486,"title":"Biden has known Xi a long time \u2013 what will that mean for Sino-US relations?","content":"When Joe Biden visited Beijing in August 2011 in his role as American vice-president he was greeted at the Great Hall of the People by a certain Xi Jinping, China\u2019s leader-in-waiting.\r\n\r\nThe backdrop to the meeting was an unprecedented decision a few weeks earlier by\u2008S&P to downgrade America\u2019s credit rating from triple A. As the largest holder of US government debt, the Chinese were anxious that the resulting market turmoil was undermining their key foreign exchange asset. But according to Evan Osnos \u2013 author of Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now \u2013 Xi was in a cheerful mood. \u201cGood to see you again,\u201d he said to Biden. \u201cI know you are very busy with national affairs at home.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cYou are our national affairs. Happy to be here,\u201d Biden replied.\r\n\r\nWhen introduced to the Chinese delegation, Biden was jocular too, telling Xi: \u201cRemember what I told you last time: if I had hair like yours I\u2019d be President.\u201d\r\n\r\nNine years later, Xi\u2019s dark mane now shows a few silver streaks and the 78 year-old Biden is set to become American president, despite the continued refusal of the Trump campaign to concede electoral defeat.\r\n\r\nAll eyes are now on how Biden might reset…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Biden-Xi-w.jpg","category":"China and the World, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":47489,"title":"Breaking records again, but perhaps because it is no longer just 24 hours","content":"\u201cDon\u2019t go to bed early tonight. You will lose hundreds of yuan when you sleep,\u201d Li Jiaqi warned ahead of his e-commerce livestream session on October 20.\r\n\r\nHis warning was still weeks away from Singles\u2019 Day, the landmark shopping bonanza that takes place annually on November 11. However, shoppers and retailers were already in festive mood as Alibaba had this year launched a large presale event on the aforementioned evening, promising discounts even steeper than those on the day of the main event. That night Li and rival livestreamers such as Viya all worked around the clock, rattling off one tantalising deal after another on Alibaba\u2019s Taobao Live platform.\r\n\r\nAnd the tactic was a big success. Li\u2019s eight-hour livestream attracted as many as 160 million viewers. Viya\u2019s channel also had 149 million views. Together, the two sold more than Rmb7 billion ($1 billion) worth of merchandise while accepting Rmb1 billion in deposits.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nPart of Alibaba\u2019s strategy this year was not only to stretch \u2018Double 11\u2019 beyond being a one-day event, but to encourage shoppers to buy now and pay later. Consumers needed only to pay a small deposit for their favourite products during the presale period and then fork out the remainder later.\r\n\r\nEarly…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Li-Jiaqi-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"7"},{"id":47492,"title":"Yatsen is first Chinese cosmetic firm to list in\u2008New York","content":"It is counterintuitive to think that cosmetics companies could do well during a pandemic \u2013 given that it has turned wearing a face mask into a social norm.\r\n\r\nBut Yatsen Holding has proved otherwise. In fact, the operator of Chinese makeup brand Perfect Diary has been faring well enough to launch a $100 million initial public offering in New York this month \u2013 doing so regardless of the prevailing Sino-US political tensions.\r\n\r\nThe four year-old company\u2019s market debut was bolstered by its impressive financial results. In the first nine months the company\u2019s revenue jumped 73% on the year to Rmb3.3 billion ($481.9 million), surpassing the full-year figure for 2019 (which itself was a windfall year, with a fivefold increase in the top line versus a year earlier.) Its customer base had also grown by 50% to 23.5 million individuals (largely served by direct sales).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhen we first reported on Yatsen in WiC476, we noted that the trendsetting company, valued at $4 billion pre-IPO, owed its rapid ascent to micro influencers or key-opinion-consumers (KOCs) on the social e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu.\r\n\r\nSince then, the expansion strategy of the fast growing Guangzhou-based company has evolved and become more multi-pronged.\r\n\r\nFirst, the company has shifted from being internet-only to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Zhou-Xun-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"8"},{"id":47495,"title":"Evergrande ditches backdoor listing plan","content":"At a typical \u2018Big Dee Club\u2019 night \u2013 where tycoons gather to play card games \u2013 the money wagered can be huge (see WiC364). One member of the group, Henan-born tycoon Xu Jiayin, won\u2019t have been put off by the bigger betting. Xu is a bold punter in his own right \u2013 at least with the assets of his property conglomerate Evergrande.\r\n\r\nBetween 2016 and 2017, Xu raised a total of Rmb130 billion ($19.6 billion) from 27 equity investors, promising to buy back the total of their stakes in Hengda Real Estate if it didn\u2019t secure regulatory approval for a backdoor listing by January 31, 2021.\r\n\r\nThe backdoor listing was supposed to be conducted on Shenzhen\u2019s bourse, where Evergrande would inject its core property assets into a shell company called Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Real Estate.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAs the deadline for the deal came closer into view there had been much speculation on whether Evergrande could complete the listing in time. The success of the restructuring became all the more material because the homebuilder \u2013 the world\u2019s most indebted \u2013 has been under immense pressure to comply with new government rules that cap leverage ratios for property firms at 100% net debt to equity,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Xu-Jiayin-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"10"},{"id":47498,"title":"Failed fintech deal could have consequences for future Chinese IPOs","content":"Picture the scene. It\u2019s the largest equity deal of the year in Hong Kong and the mood is celebratory: overwhelming investor demand means the IPO can be priced at the very top of its marketed range.\r\n\r\nInvestment bankers are popping the champagne corks and retail investors are salivating at the prospects of profiting in the market after the deal begins to trade.\r\n\r\nExcept that the shares don\u2019t list, because along comes someone to spoil the party. But the person that WiC is thinking of isn\u2019t Xi Jinping (according to the Financial Times, it was the Chinese leader who made the final decision to pull Ant Group\u2019s $35.4 billion Hong Kong and Shanghai IPO 55 hours before it was due to start trading this month).\r\n\r\nNo. The person in question is an elderly tenant of Hong Kong\u2019s subsidised rental housing scheme called Lo Siu-lan.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s because \u2013 while it is almost unheard of for an IPO to be cancelled after it has been priced \u2013 there is a precedent in capital markets history. And it also comes from Hong Kong: the Link Reit.\r\n\r\nAnt and Link Reit share similar experiences a decade-and-a-half apart. But there are differences in their stories that may hold lessons for future…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Ant-Group-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"11"},{"id":47501,"title":"How booming sales to China have raised the stakes in Sino-Australian row","content":"On Thursday last week China\u2019s leader Xi Jinping was in fulsome form at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. \u201cOur aim is to turn the China market into a market for the world, a market shared by all, and a market accessible to all,\u201d he told delegates at what is now one of the world\u2019s largest trade shows.\r\n\r\nAustralian trade officials could be forgiven for wondering whether they had lost something in translation, however, after an increasingly troubled reception for their own exports turned even worse the following day.\r\n\r\nSince the middle of this year Australian wine and barley has been targeted for Chinese anti-subsidy or anti-dumping investigations; imports of beef have been blocked for \u201ctechnical infringements\u201d; cotton sales have slumped as Chinese mills reduce their orders; and there\u2019s been a marked slowdown in coal purchases from Aussie mines by Chinese power stations.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLast Friday there was news that the authorities had instructed importers to reduce their purchases of a further group of Australian goods that included copper, sugar, timber and lobster. Trade officials were soon scrambling for evidence that the restrictions were being implemented but the measures were another indication that the Australian government is getting the cold shoulder from a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Sydney-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"13"},{"id":47504,"title":"A plunge in US visas for Chinese students","content":"Down 99%. That was the astounding drop in F-1 visas issued to Chinese students between April and September of this year, as compared to the same period in 2019. The vertiginous decline in part reflects the worsening political tensions between the US and China. These have reshaped the study plans of many Chinese applicants and derailed broader academic exchanges between the two countries.\r\n\r\nAt the peak of the market, the Chinese made up 30% of the international students going to the US, considerably more than any other country. But issuance data from the US State Department shows just 808 F-1 student visas were granted between April and September (compared to 90,410 in the same months the year before).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nObviously, the coronavirus has been a key cause of the drop as well. Other key sources of student numbers, like India, saw massive drops in visa issuance too. As the number of cases of infection in the US has spread, more parents are unwilling to send their children to America on health concerns. Racial strife in the country has added to worries about their safety, with anxiety that the Trump administration\u2019s labelling of the pandemic as the \u201cKung Flu\u201d and \u201cChinese virus\u201d have exacerbated…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Student-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Education","page":"15"},{"id":47507,"title":"A debate in China\u2019s entertainment sector on a leading lady\u2019s pregnancy","content":"Actress Gal Gadot was five months pregnant when shooting the 2017 blockbuster Wonder Woman. Her stomach was getting so big that her figure was altered in post-production. But the pregnancy of Chinese actress Tang Yan during the filming of costume drama The Legend of Xiao Chuo has become a newer point of controversy since the series aired on Beijing Satellite TV and Tencent Video from the start of this month.\r\n\r\nBased on a historical character, the series follows the story of Xiao Yanyan (played by Tang), the daughter of a prime minister during the Liao empire (which ruled part of northern China between 916-1125). She marries Emperor Jingzong (actor Jing Chao) despite being secretly in love with military commander Han Derang (Dou Xiao). But it is the 37 year-old\u2019s pregnancy during the filming of the series that has caught audience attention, with complaints that special effects used to edit away her bump are unconvincing.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cIn many scenes, Tang\u2019s belly is visibly bigger than all the male characters on the show. Plus the fashion of the time was for clothes tight around the waist, which makes her bump even more noticeable. The whole thing just seems so out of place,\u201d NetEase Entertainment rebuked.\r\n\r\nOthers…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Tang-Yan-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":47510,"title":"A backlash against school WeChat groups as exhausted parents protest","content":"Social media can be all-consuming, chewing up a growing proportion of our waking hours. All the more so, it seems, for millions of parents of Chinese schoolchildren, who have signed up for parent-teacher groups supported on WeChat.\r\n\r\nSet up to help bridge the gap between school and home, the groups were intended as a force for good. But a recent video of a father screaming in frustration about his child\u2019s jiazhangqun (the name of the groups in Chinese) sparked an outpouring of anger, with parents complaining that the groups take over their lives and leave them feeling like failures.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe 17-second video was posted by a father from eastern Jiangsu province, showing him complaining that his child\u2019s teacher had used the social media group to ask parents to grade their children\u2019s homework. He went on to criticise the culture of flattery in the WeChat circles, saying that he felt obliged to thank the teacher repeatedly. \u201cBut what\u2019s your value since I\u2019m the one who teaches my child and grades his homework?\u201d he asked. \u201cIf I have so much time to check all the messages on the group all the time, I do not need you anymore.\u201d\r\n\r\nThere are some 240 million children in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Child-w-1-scaled.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"17"}]},{"id":1668,"name":"Issue 517","date":"Nov 6, 2020","title":"Give me five","tagline":"Man with a plan: Chinese leader Xi Jinping readies latest Five-Year Plan with a heavy emphasis on the tech sector","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/517.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/517-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":47423,"title":"What you need to know about China\u2019s Five-Year Plans","content":"For the Communist Party of China (CPC), a planning exercise bestowed by comrades from the former Soviet Union is a gift that keeps on giving.\r\n\r\nIn the early 1950s Chinese leaders watched as the USSR rapidly rebuilt its war-torn economy. They decided to import the same policy process themselves, implementing their own \u2018Five-Year Plan\u2019. They persisted with it despite the evidence from the mid-1980s that the planning cycle was doing little to address the Soviet Union\u2019s economic sclerosis as it fell far behind the West in economic and technological terms. The Russians\u2019 12th Five-Year Plan, running from 1986 to 1990, set out to address some of these shortcomings but it was never seen through, as the Communist bloc crumbled in Europe.\r\n\r\nFast forward to the present day and Five-Year Plans are still making headlines in the Chinese press, however. That\u2019s because the Fifth Plenum of the CPC\u2019s current crop of leaders has just finalised the mapping out of the country\u2019s 14th Five-Year Plan. The blueprint offers an important insight into where the Chinese economy is heading, as well as some of the policy priorities of the Beijing leadership.\r\n\r\nWhen was China\u2019s first Five-Year Plan?\r\n\r\nIt took the CPC nearly five years to draft the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Highspeed-Train-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":47426,"title":"World\u2019s largest IPO pulled at last minute in major shock for investors","content":"For investors stunned by the last-minute shelving of Ant Group\u2019s $35 billion IPO on Tuesday, it is worth rewinding to the Bund Summit in Shanghai last week.\r\n\r\nJack Ma, Alibaba\u2019s founder and a major shareholder in Ant, was giving a keynote speech in the presence of some of the nation\u2019s most senior financial figures, such as Zhou Xiaochuan and Yi Gang, the former and current governors of the Chinese central bank. The gathering this year was themed around \u2018Crisis, Reform and Opening-Up\u2019 and Ma\u2019s speech was supposed to be a curtain-raiser to the world\u2019s largest ever IPO as Ant geared up for a dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong.\r\n\r\nHe was in combative form. \u201cChinese banks nowadays still operate with a \u2018pawn shop\u2019 mentality,\u201d heexplained. \u201cGood innovations should be not afraid of supervision. But they are afraid of being supervised by yesterday\u2019s regulations.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn particular Ma took aim at the tendency of the state-owned banking heavyweights to demand collateral before giving out loans (see WiC516 for our first mention of the remarks). Loan requests from those who cannot meet their criteria \u2013 typically unbanked individuals and smaller businesses \u2013 are part of the growth engine of Ant Group\u2019s business model, which draws…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Jack-Ma-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"7"},{"id":47429,"title":"Bytedance pushes into education sector with maiden hardware offering","content":"For children who grew up watching the Disney movie Aladdin, the bronze lamp was an object of fascination. Give it a few rubs and it released an all-powerful genie, happy to grant you a wish.\r\n\r\nA new lamp reminiscent of that magical device has been sitting at desks across China since July. Equipped with a touch screen and two AI-powered cameras, the gizmo is designed to help students with their homework. It gives answers to mathematical questions, reads words in English aloud, and makes it easier to get guidance from parents and tutors.\r\n\r\nStarting at Rmb799 ($120), the lamp is Bytedance\u2019s first piece of consumer hardware. Over 5,000 units have been sold since launch, supported by a programme of free lessons that the Beijing-based AI giant is offering through two of its most popular education applications as promotions.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAfter launching hugely popular brands with its news aggregator Toutiao and short-video app TikTok (or Douyin at home in China), eight-year-old Bytedance is hoping to replicate its successes in the booming online education sector. That ambition is embodied by a Rmb4 billion budget for the creation of a new business unit called Dali Education, according to Chaintruth, a zimeiti. Chen Lin, formerly CEO of Toutiao,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Child-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"9"},{"id":47432,"title":"China\u2019s top couriers turn up the heat on fledgling rival Jitu","content":"For delivery firms in China, no other time of the year is more exciting than the Singles\u2019 Day festival. This year the sector will handle an average of 490 million parcels daily between November 11-16, up nearly 28% on the previous year, China\u2019s State Post Bureau forecasts.\r\n\r\nNot all couriers are as well placed to take advantage of the shopping bonanza. Jitu Express, which joined the fray only in March, is being frozen out by bigger and older rivals wary of its meteoric rise.\r\n\r\nOn October 19 Yunda Express laid down new rules that essentially bar its franchisees from working with Jitu. Violating the guidelines will lead to fines of up to Rmb5,000 ($748), or, in the worst scenario, ejection from Yunda\u2019s network. Similar instructions had been issued by peers from the so-called \u2018Tonglu Gang\u2019 (named after the city they hail from; see WiC334) including STO Express and YTO Express a month earlier.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTo save costs, major couriers tend to run their own mission-critical, long-distance transportation and sorting networks, but leave the pick-up and last-mile delivery services to network partners or franchisees. The model also allows couriers to scale up their operations during peak seasons without having to invest in additional resources.\r\n\r\nThe campaign…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/STO-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Logistics","page":"11"},{"id":47435,"title":"Slow progress for China\u2019s \u2018Pan-Asian\u2019 railway","content":"Will China\u2019s new railway through Southeast Asia learn much from its African predecessor, the Cape to Cairo railroad championed by nineteenth century businessman Cecil Rhodes? Policymakers in Beijing won\u2019t welcome the comparisons to the now-maligned mining tycoon and imperial adventurer, who saw the railroad as a way of cementing British colonial power. His railway never provided a fully continuous line across the African continent either, although it came close with interlocking links of thousands of miles of railway through some of the world\u2019s most inhospitable terrain.\r\n\r\nThe Pan-Asian Railway Network is another long-distance track connecting the city of Kunming in southwestern China with Singapore, more than 2,400 miles away. It\u2019s significant for its symbolism too, not just as a flag-bearer for the Belt and Road Initiative but also for what it signals about deepening trade between China and the region.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nProgress on putting down the track has been slower than many expected, which might be why the Chinese press is celebrating news that the Thai cabinet is granting a further $380 million in funding for a stretch of line being built north of Bangkok, allowing for a faster model of bullet train. Beyond the headlines is the revelation that not much more…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Train-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Belt and Road","page":"12"},{"id":47440,"title":"HSBC\u2019s regional corporate banking boss discusses key results of new survey","content":"The latest outing of HSBC\u2019s Navigator survey came out in the same week as the third iteration of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, an annual showcasing of trading opportunities which began this week.\r\n\r\nIn a year defined by the Covid-19 pandemic, the expo has tasked itself with injecting new impetus into the struggling global economy. Fortunately, the Navigator \u2018Growing with China\u2019 survey of 1,100 companies in 11 key markets around the world has some positive findings on how trading with China is part of the recovery. Stuart Tait \u2013 HSBC\u2019s Regional Head of Commercial Banking, Asia-Pacific \u2013 gave WiC a quick summary of its key highlights.\r\n\r\nThree-quarters of the companies in the survey say they expect their sales to grow in China over the next two years. Does that optimism surprise you at a time when trade tensions and Covid-19 have weighed so heavily on the global economy?\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt doesn\u2019t surprise me too much. Much of the optimism for the Chinese market is down to the mainland\u2019s early recovery from the pandemic and its relatively strong demand compared to other markets.\r\n\r\nHSBC expects the global economy to shrink by 4.1% this year, but our China forecast is for growth of 2.4%.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Stuart-Tait-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"13"},{"id":47443,"title":"Can pop star revive HLA\u2019s flagging fortunes","content":"Are the young people who drank U-loveit milk tea, donned Metersbonwe casual wear and rode around on Evermaster motorcycles \u2013 all habits associated with Taiwanese pop legend Jay Chou \u2013 now going to start wearing clothing under the HLA brand?\r\n\r\nChina Heilan Group \u2013 better known by its retail brand name HLA \u2013 certainly hopes so. In October it posted three weibo messages introducing Jay Chou as the new spokesperson for the brand. The announcement soon made a splash: \u2018Jay Chou Endorses HLA\u2019 became a hot topic on Weibo with more than 540 million reads.\r\n\r\nIn 2019, a market research firm reported that the majority of Jay Chou\u2019s fans were born between the years of 1988 and 1997. This aligns with HLA\u2019s target consumer group of 20 to 45 year- olds. In the last few years, the brand has also tried to revamp its image, appealing more to younger consumers. Apart from making Chou its spokesperson, it has been sponsoring popular shows such as U Can U Bibi, Keep Running and The Next Top Bang. But the Taiwanese star\u2019s fans bring a different level of dedication and they were soon rallying on the Heilan Group Weibo account. \u201cIn the future my entire…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Jay-Chou-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"15"},{"id":47446,"title":"Water transfer project back in the headlines","content":"When Mao Zedong first mooted the idea of the South-North Water Diversion Project in 1952 \u2018corporatisation\u2019 was not one of the terms in his government\u2019s lexicon.\r\n\r\nToday that is how China likes to frame most of its megaprojects \u2013 under the leadership of a series of high-powered and mostly state-owned corporate entities.\r\n\r\nThe Three Gorges Dam was built this way, as was part of China\u2019s high-speed rail network.\r\n\r\nSo it was perhaps an outlier that the South-North Water Diversion Project \u2013 the world\u2019s biggest water transfer scheme \u2013 was made the direct responsibility of the Ministry of Water Resources.\r\n\r\nThat state of affairs changed on October 23 when Premier Li Keqiang announced the creation of the China South-to-North Water Diversion Group Corporation \u2013 a move designed to improve management of two existing waterways and speed up construction of a third \u2018western route\u2019.\r\n\r\nThe idea of the water diversion programme was said to have originated with Mao\u2019s rather mundane observation that the \u201cthe south has plenty of water, but the north much less. If possible, the north should borrow a little\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nYears of research followed and construction finally began on the eastern route of the transfer scheme \u2013 which runs from the lower reaches of the Yangtze…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Yangtze-River-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Environment","page":"16"},{"id":47452,"title":"Baidu set to pay $3 billion for livestream firm","content":"If two negatives can really make a positive, perhaps the deal between search giant Baidu \u2013 struggling for growth \u2013 and the ailing livestreamer YY has a chance of success. Baidu plans to take over YY, the livestreaming app operated by parent firm JOYY, including its content operations, technology and management team for a rumoured $3 billion. The deal \u2013 announced last week \u2013 excludes BIGO Live, JOYY\u2019s international livestreaming platform (the Nasdaq-listed firm has a market cap of $7.7 billion).\r\n\r\nYY was one of the first livestreaming firms to emerge in China. In 2018 its share price came close to $140 before nose-diving with the entry of short-video rivals like Douyin and Kuaishou. As of mid-October, its shares were hovering around $80, prior to rumours of Baidu\u2019s acquisition.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe new competition in the sector prompted JOYY to expand outside China. In 2018 it acquired the Singapore-based livestreaming app BIGO for $1.5 billion. Its most recent earning results revealed that average mobile MAUs (monthly active users) for its livestreaming services went up 20.4% to 102.3 million from a year ago. Only 41.2 million were from YY, an increase of 6% year over year. The faster-growing majority were users from outside China.\r\n\r\nIndustry insiders…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/YY-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"17"},{"id":47449,"title":"\u2018Farmer\u2019 livestreamer stokes row with bigger rival in bid to win business","content":"Outside China typing \u201c\u8f9b\u5df4\u201d into a Google search will generate hits related to the fictional character Simba from The Lion King. Putting the same characters into a Baidu search will get you links to the livestreaming host Xin Ba.\r\n\r\nXin, whose real name is Xin Youzhi, describes himself as \u201cthe son of a farmer\u201d in a bid to appeal to fans in rural areas of China. In many of his e-commerce livestreams he likes to remind audiences of his humble origins: \u201cI came from a farming family; so now I give back to the people.\u201d\r\n\r\nBut with Singles\u2019 Day fast approaching \u2013 November 11 brings the latest instalment of China\u2019s annual shopping bonanza \u2013 the battle with other e-commerce livestreamers is heating up. Last week, Xin, who hosts his show on short-video platform Kuaishou, accused a rival of overcharging consumers for a product. The target: Li Jiaqi, another celebrity influencer, who works on Alibaba\u2019s Taobao Live platform (for more on Li see WiC491).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nDuring his broadcast, Xin introduced a massage chair, saying pointedly: \u201c[The chair is] Rmb3,000 cheaper compared with someone\u2019s livestream. I don\u2019t know why it would cost Rmb6,000 ($897.5).\u201d\r\n\r\nNetizens were intrigued, soon discovering that the chair had previously been pitched on…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Ju-Jingyi-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Society","page":"18"},{"id":47455,"title":"Public anger at new frontiers in facial recognition","content":"When companies first started rolling out facial recognition technology across China, some members of the public were enthused by the promise that it would bring benefits in areas like convenience and safety.\r\n\r\nNow there is a growing sense that the rollout might be taking the level of scrutiny a step too far.\r\n\r\nFirst was the news that Canon has developed a security camera that only admits employees to their workplace if it sees they are smiling when their faces are scanned.\r\n\r\nIf staff aren\u2019t beaming beautifully, they are deemed to have come to work with the \u2018wrong\u2019 attitude and they won\u2019t be allowed in until they pop a genuine grin.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe are hoping the dull atmosphere caused by the epidemic will be relaxed by smiling faces,\u201d Ehara Taisei, the vice president of Canon China explained.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe company said it was marketing the new product to businesses that provide a face-to-face service to customers, such as restaurants, hospitals and schools.\r\n\r\nYet news of the \u201csmile scanner\u201d infuriated many Chinese, who pointed out that the new technology wouldn\u2019t be required if companies paid higher salaries and provided better working conditions.\r\n\r\n\u201cDon\u2019t make us work 996, and then we might smile more,\u201d fumed one irritated user on Sina Weibo (see…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/11\/Canon-w-scaled.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1667,"name":"Issue 516","date":"Oct 30, 2020","title":"All hail the all-conquering Ant","tagline":"Ant Group\u2019s IPO could value the company at $313 billion, making it bigger than any bank in terms of market capitalisation","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/516.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/516-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":47401,"title":"Ant Group delivers the world\u2019s biggest ever IPO \u2013 why the excitement?","content":"\u201cI have heard many banks saying they will lend more to small and medium-sized enterprises. I have been hearing this for five years but how many banks are actually doing this? If the banks don\u2019t change, we will change the banks.\u201d So said Alibaba founder Jack Ma at a business forum back in 2008 (see WiC181), talking up his firm\u2019s ambitions to take on China\u2019s state-owned banking giants.\r\n\r\nNot many took the remark too seriously at the time, seeing it as another example of Ma\u2019s bold predictions (like his claim that Alibaba would last 102 years). In 2008 Alibaba\u2019s online payments platform Alipay was only four years old. But 12 years later, Ma\u2019s promise looks a lot more credible, with Alipay\u2019s holding firm Ant Group on the verge of a mammoth initial public offering set to give it a higher valuation than ICBC, China\u2019s largest bank.\r\n\r\nHow big is this Ant?\r\n\r\nThe world\u2019s biggest unicorn will be selling 1.67 billion shares on Shanghai\u2019s STAR Market and the same amount in Hong Kong.\r\n\r\nThe dual listing is expected to raise about $35 billion, making it the world\u2019s largest ever IPO.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThis is the second time that a Jack Ma company has pulled off such a feat…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Jack-Ma-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance, Internet & Tech, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":47373,"title":"New Hong Kong airline launch looks contrarian","content":"Is it madness or a masterstroke? Aviation insiders hold different views on the plan for Greater Bay Airlines to become Hong Kong\u2019s newest carrier next year.\r\n\r\nIn one camp: those who see any attempt at starting an airline amid the worst conditions in the sector in living memory as something close to lunacy.\r\n\r\nPassenger numbers at Cathay Pacific are down more than 98% because of Covid-19 and it needed a bailout from the Hong Kong government to survive the summer. Its prospects still look perilous, despite cutting its workforce by a quarter last week and closing down its regional carrier Cathay Dragon.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHong Kong Airlines, the city\u2019s other carrier, has been in crisis mode for longer, with little chance of much help from its troubled parent HNA Group, which is struggling to survive financially (see WiC485).\r\n\r\nYet the slump in the sector has others wondering whether the new airline, led by property magnate Bill Wong (see WiC355 for an earlier mention), might have a better chance of gaining altitude than in more typical times.\r\n\r\nAdmittedly it will take at least six more months for it to be granted its operating licences and get into the air. But perhaps a vaccine for the virus will be…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Cathay-Pacific-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Aviation","page":"7"},{"id":47370,"title":"Apple\u2019s new iPhone 12 proves a big hit in\u2008China","content":"On October 23 customers lined up outside Apple Stores in China, keen to purchase the iPhone 12. That\u2019s in spite of the fact that Apple had instructed buyers to order its new flagship handset online and banned walk-ins at its stores, due to the pandemic.\r\n\r\nScalpers, too, were back on the scene \u2013 having been disenchanted two years ago by the disappointing launches of the iPhone XS and XR models. They resurfaced last week in anticipation of stronger demand for the new models, which include the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro (the iPhone 12 mini and Pro Max will be launched later this year).\r\n\r\nAccording to Southern Metropolis Daily, at its peak resale price the iPhone 12 Pro 128GB could fetch scalpers Rmb11,000 ($1,640), a hefty profit on its listing price of Rmb8,499 (though scalpers\u2019 resale prices have since retreated, according to Sina Finance).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nInitial demand was such that when Apple\u2019s debut 5G models first became available for online pre-sale on October 16, traffic to Apple\u2019s official Chinese website was so high that it crashed the server.\r\n\r\nDespite the hefty price hike \u2013 and widespread complaints that the new handsets no longer come with wired headphones \u2013 the iPhone 12 Pro sold out…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/iphone12-w.jpg","category":"Telecoms","page":"8"},{"id":47366,"title":"Chinese hydropower firm latest to opt for a dual listing in London","content":"When the London Stock Exchange wanted to get in touch with far-flung members in Hong Kong in the late nineteenth century it would send them a telegram. They typically took 80 minutes to arrive, although that was much faster than messages previously sent by steam ship. Newly created telegraph companies were also busy laying lines across the East China Sea into Qing Dynasty China, defying imperial officials, who regarded the cables as a further encroachment on the country\u2019s sovereignty. Inevitably, however, the business of making money trumped the political opposition.\r\n\r\nWill that remain the case today as investment activity starts to flow in the opposite direction, with Chinese firms trying to raise capital in London?\r\n\r\nThe London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) needs a constant source of fresh financial flows to maintain its status as a global centre of capital raising, not least because there\u2019s less to extract from its domestic hinterland, which is so much smaller than China\u2019s or America\u2019s. For the past 20 years, it has struggled to compete with the NYSE and Nasdaq in attracting listings of Chinese companies. But it hopes that might change if the \u2018America First\u2019 policy extends beyond the forthcoming presidential election and Chinese companies continue…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/London-Stock-Exchange-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"9"},{"id":47363,"title":"How Green Monday Group is promoting a plant-based diet in China","content":"Sustainable businesses can be financially rewarding. Look no further than the American plant-based meat brand Beyond Meat, whose shares on Nasdaq have risen sixfold since going public last May. One of its investors and distributors, Green Monday Group from Hong Kong, has also attracted investor interest, raising $70 million from a group of investors including TPG\u2019s Rise Fund, Swire Pacific and the popular Taiwanese singer Wang Leehom. Personalities such as James Cameron, Mary McCartney and Susan Rockefeller are also some of its longer-term backers.\r\n\r\nStarting out as an advocacy platform in 2012, Green Monday has expanded into a multi-pronged plant-based food enterprise. A member of Fortune\u2019s 2020 \u201cChange the World\u201d list, it operates OmniFoods, a food tech company that produces alternative protein products, as well as Green Common, a plant-based food retailer, distributor and restaurant chain.\r\n\r\nHere CEO David Yeung talks about how mainland China is going to be a central part of its expansion plans.\r\n\r\nWhat prompted you to start Green Monday?\r\n\r\nWhen we started eight years ago, the awareness of the correlation between sustainability and food was virtually non-existent. People did not realise that our choice of food has such a huge impact on the environment, including carbon emissions, water scarcity, land…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/David-Yeung-w.jpg","category":"Corporate Q&A","page":"11"},{"id":47376,"title":"Party study session sparks quantum craze","content":"\u201cHe who excels in study can follow a career as an official,\u201d said the sage Confucius.\r\n\r\nFor thousands of years, government officials in the Middle Kingdom had to be avid learners. In our own times, the same spirit is embodied by the many \u2018study sessions\u2019 convened since 2002 at Zhongnanhai, the Chinese leadership compound (see WiC241). With a view to educating the Communist Party\u2019s senior members on the latest developments in a wide range of subjects, these lectures have also provided a glimpse into the leadership\u2019s priorities and triggered investment trends.\r\n\r\nExamples include lectures on Big Data, artificial intelligence and blockchain \u2013 topics that were featured at the Politburo\u2019s collective study sessions between 2017 and 2019, and subsequently emerged as national policies that prompted rounds of big-ticket investment.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe next frontier looks to be quantum technology \u2013 which was the focus of the latest (and 24th) study session for Beijing leaders. For the likes of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the crash course in quantum theories (the study of particles smaller than atoms) included explanations of superposition (the phenomenon when a subatomic particle exist in two states at once) and entanglement (the ability of separated particles to share a condition regardless of how far…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Pan-Jianwei-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"15"},{"id":47379,"title":"Another restaurant chain hits back at poor review","content":"The Beijing-based one-star Michelin restaurant Family Li Imperial Cuisine has a sign inscribed by Pu Jie, the younger brother of China\u2019s last emperor Pu Yi. The imperial aura of the restaurant extends to its menu. Its culinary lineage is said to have descended from the best chefs in Beijing during the Qing Dynasty. The restaurant\u2019s royal reputation, however, has just come under fire after finding itself on the receiving end of bad social media reviews.\r\n\r\nOn September 24, Wang Yuheng, a social media influencer and a popular contestant on the variety show The Brain, reviewed his meal at Family Li on weibo.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis is a very terrible experience, including the environment and the food,\u201d said Wang. \u201cIf this restaurant can be rated as one star, then a school canteen can be rated as two stars or above.\u201d He accompanied his review with pictures of the meal, which consisted of shrimp, ribs and fish, among other dishes.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAfter Wang made the post, Family Li quickly became a hot topic across social media, with many onlookers agreeing with the influencer\u2019s views.\r\n\r\nThe restaurant was founded in 1985 by Li Shanlin. He was born to a prestigious Manchurian family. His grandfather served as a senior official in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Li-Imperial-Cuisine-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"16"},{"id":47382,"title":"A late Seventies love story fails to connect with Chinese moviegoers","content":"Most people turn to fiction for escapism, but what sets Yi Shu apart is that all her romance novels are loaded with a strong dose of pragmatism. For instance, in Please Forgive Me, the Hong Kong author writes: \u201cBreaking up is a small issue, losing a job is a big deal.\u201d In another book, she has this to say about financial planning with your spouse: \u201cAlways be financially independent, never show all your cards.\u201d\r\n\r\nOne of the most popular \u2013 and prolific \u2013 writers in Hong Kong, Yi Shu, 74, has published more than 300 novels and short stories over her literary career. Her characters \u2013 almost always intelligent and independent women \u2013 have also made her into something of a literary feminist icon across China. More recently, The Story of Xibao, first published in 1979, was adapted for the big screen and the film made its debut this month.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt has not been a success, however. So far the movie has collected just Rmb95 million ($14 million) in ticket sales and on Douban, the TV series and film review site, The Story of Xibao received a rating of just 3.4 out of 10, with many netizens saying that the character is…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Model-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":47386,"title":"Chinese art breaks auction record, second time round","content":"Perspective is a fascinating subsection of art history. Greek artists used the Euclidian perspective \u2013 the same system that most realists employ today. But traditional Chinese art used \u2018oblique projection\u2019 to give depth \u2013 a system which is best understood by imagining a painting of a set of train tracks running towards the horizon. In the Euclidian system, the two rails would meet at the horizon or vanishing point. In a painting using the oblique system the parallel rails would run diagonally across the image towards a notional horizon but they would never converge.\r\n\r\nTo modern eyes the oblique projection is strange \u2013 it can make objects look flat or distorted in relation to other items in the same picture.\r\n\r\nSo an artist who can create a detailed image of a complex object, and give it depth, using the oblique projection is a person of great talent. And that is why a series of detailed ink paintings titled The Ten Faces of the Lingbi Stone sold for Rmb513 million ($76 million) this month \u2013 making the scroll they feature on the most expensive piece of ancient Chinese art ever to be sold at auction.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe scroll \u2013 which measures 27 metres in length…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Scroll-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"18"},{"id":47389,"title":"The PLA calls time on its basketball teams","content":"The People\u2019s Liberation Army (PLA) has a long history in basketball. Its predecessor \u2013 the Red Army \u2013 boasted a \u201ccombat basketball team\u201d that split its time between military duties and playing friendly games to soften the army\u2019s image. Later the PLA\u2019s Bayi Rockets became the local equivalent of the LA Lakers, winning eight national championships and forming the backbone of the Chinese national team.\r\n\r\nHowever, when the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) started its new season last week there was a shock for fans after the Rockets failed to show up for their opening game against the Beijing Ducks.\r\n\r\nThe CBA declared the Ducks the winner by forfeit, before announcing a day later that the Rockets had withdrawn their teams from both the men\u2019s and women\u2019s professional leagues.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe PLA\u2019s influence in Chinese sport has been receding for a while, in line with a trend where more traditional state-funded backers have ceded ground to those with more commercial interests (see WiC336).\r\n\r\nPut simply, there is more money in\u2008Chinese sport today. Take Lin Dan, the two-time Olympic badminton champion, who also came from the PLA\u2019s ranks. Lin \u2018demobilised\u2019 himself in 2015 so that he had more freedom to take on endorsement deals.\r\n\r\nChris Xie, a sports…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Rockets-w-scaled.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1666,"name":"Issue 515","date":"Oct 23, 2020","title":"Shenzhen\u2019s time to shine (again)","tagline":"What was the significance of President Xi Jinping\u2019s latest visit to China\u2019s tech capital?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/515.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/515-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":47306,"title":"President Xi tours Shenzhen to celebrate city\u2019s major milestone","content":"You start out with a remote fishing village and then you add free markets, hardworking people and buccaneering entrepreneurs. What do you get? Surging growth and the emergence of an economic powerhouse that becomes the envy of its peers.\r\n\r\nIf the storyline sounds familiar, it\u2019s because it has been told repeatedly about the post-war rise of Hong Kong. But in more recent times the \u2018economic miracle\u2019 has moved a few miles to Hong Kong\u2019s north, chronicling the extraordinary emergence of Shenzhen. The city is a now a totem of China\u2019s modern era and a place of pilgrimage for its political leaders when they need to communicate new plans for the Chinese economy.\r\n\r\nIn 2012 Xi Jinping visited Shenzhen for his first public trip after becoming the country\u2019s leader. And last week he travelled there again to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of Shenzhen\u2019s debut as a special economic zone (SEZ). But what messages was Xi trying to send in what is being termed as another of his \u2018Southern Tours\u2019?\r\n\r\nShenzhen\u2019s growth under Xi\r\n\r\nShenzhen\u2019s economy had just surpassed the $200 billion mark when Xi was appointed boss of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in late 2012. Hong Kong\u2019s GDP was about $262 billion at…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Banner-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":47309,"title":"China rolls out experimental Covid-19 vaccines","content":"American virologist Jonas Salk completed a number of bold trials before succeeding in developing a polio vaccine in 1955. That included injecting the vaccine into himself, his wife and his three sons three years before it was allowed to be deployed nationally.\r\n\r\nSelf-experimentation is a well-recognised tradition. But in China more and more of the general public are receiving vaccine treatments that have yet to be licenced as they are still undergoing the final phase of clinical trials. This follows the authorisation in late July for the \u2018emergency use\u2019 of experimental Covid-19 vaccines.\r\n\r\nOn October 15, Jiaxing, south of Shanghai, became the first city in China to offer to inoculate residents on a voluntary basis \u2013 with a vaccine candidate developed by Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech. Health officials in the city said the programme will prioritise those planning outbound travel, in addition to \u201ckey targeted groups\u201d including medical staff and epidemic prevention workers. The same week also saw China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a unit of state-owned Sinopharm, offer its drugs for free to students planning to study abroad. Over 168,000 people signed up for the initiative.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe two drug firms claimed that no severe adverse effects have been reported among the hundreds of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Injection-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"6"},{"id":47312,"title":"Yuan back in favour, making gains against the US dollar","content":"Six years ago usage of the yuan was growing quickly enough beyond China\u2019s own borders that the currency merited mention in The Economist for its \u201cremorseless and unstoppable\u201d advance.\r\n\r\nYet its spread slowed markedly outside China after 2015, weakening claims that it would soon be challenging the US dollar as an international favourite.\r\n\r\nSo what to make of its rally against the dollar this year, when the yuan has made its biggest gains against the greenback since 2008 (up almost 5% this year)? Is it a signal that China\u2019s currency is back in demand after a period of pause?\r\n\r\nMuch of the yuan\u2019s ebullience is derived from growing confidence in the Chinese economy, which is showing signs of recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. On Monday China reported growth of 4.9% between July and September compared to the same period last year. That was a little below consensus forecasts but it was a much stronger performance than the world\u2019s other large economies, some of which are likely to go back into recession as Covid-19 lockdowns are reintroduced.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe economic prospects in the United States are much more unclear, which has been weighing on the dollar. The situation in China looks more favourable, including an upgrade…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Yuan-w.jpg","category":"Rise of the RMB","page":"7"},{"id":47315,"title":"How Baidu is banking on a new strategy focused on artificial intelligence","content":"Algorithms are a sequence of steps that solve a certain task. Increasingly crucial in shaping the digital world, they actually have a long history as a mathematical skill set, deriving their name from a ninth-century Persian polymath. But they are also fundamental to the future of Chinese tech giant Baidu, which wants to move away from an over-reliance on search and advertising towards a new reputation as a trailblazer in artificial intelligence (AI).\r\n\r\nOnce a controlling gateway to China\u2019s internet, Baidu has been battered by competition from companies like Tencent, Alibaba and Bytedance, which boast walled-off ecosystems that push the search giant to the fringes of the action. Out of favour with investors, Baidu\u2019s shares are trading at much lower multiples than its rivals.\r\n\r\nRobin Li \u2013 the company\u2019s founder \u2013 is trying to battle back by expanding its core business beyond browser-based searches, with the launch of its own super app, called the Baidu App, which now boasts about 200 million users.\r\n\r\nBut the company is also counting on a \u2018platform as a services\u2019 strategy (or PaaS) in which a range of software and support services is made available to third parties to develop their own applications.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn a cloud-based approach, the customer…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Robin-Li-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"10"},{"id":47318,"title":" Chinese factories are still pivotal, says top US collectibles maker","content":"Sideshow Collectibles is a specialty manufacturer of collectible figures and statues, making goods based on characters from Marvel, Star Wars, DC Comics, Disney and others. Mike Tolentino oversees production, working with Chinese factories to assess whether their capabilities meet Sideshow\u2019s standards. Here he discusses with Natalie Lin how his firm has been dealing with the unprecedented challenges of the Sino-US trade war and Covid-19, with the coronavirus disrupting travel between Sideshow\u2019s headquarters and the factories Tolentino oversees, and the trade row adding pressure to relocate its supply chain outside China.\r\n\r\nWhat does Sideshow create?\r\n\r\nWe make high-end collectibles. These can be anywhere from a 12-inch figure with heavy details to life-size statues of characters from all the different pop cultures. Products we sell range from $200 to several thousand dollars.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhat is your role?\r\n\r\nI\u2019m a project manager so my job is to shepherd projects from initial conception all the way down to customer delivery.\r\n\r\nThere are two stages of a project\u2019s life. One begins at the design: figuring out the pose, costume design and colouring. If it\u2019s taken from a movie, we need to make sure that the references are correct and it\u2019s accurate. Then we sculpt it, paint it, mould and cast it,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Iron-man-w.jpg","category":"Corporate Q&A","page":"11"},{"id":47321,"title":"Robert Kuok\u2019s food firm is now the most valuable ChiNext stock","content":"Two years before founding his agribusiness conglomerate Wilmar International in Singapore, Kuok Khoon Hong \u2013 nephew of Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok \u2013 had already sought to upend China\u2019s edible oil market. Since 1991, when Kuok launched the Arawana brand, Chinese households have weaned themselves off the habit of buying cooking oils that grocers siphoned from large jars into the customers\u2019 own tins. With rising affluence, new middle class consumers began to prefer pre-bottled Arawana oil.\r\n\r\nToday, Yihai Kerry Arawana, Kuok\u2019s food venture in China, has become a much more diversified enterprise, encompassing a wide array of primary food products and animal feeds.\r\n\r\nAs a popular Chinese saying goes, oil, rice, salt and tea are among the \u201cseven necessities to begin a day\u201d. And significantly Yihai Kerry is the leading player in a number of these goods. Last year it commanded over 38% of the market for edible oil, 18% for packaged rice and 27% for flour.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSuch clout proved alluring to investors in its recent fundraising exercise. Selling 10% of its enlarged share capital on ChiNext on October 15, Yihai Kerry raised Rmb13.9 billion ($2 billion) \u2013 making it the biggest ever initial public offering on that Shenzhen bourse.\r\n\r\nThe flotation was 3,499 times…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Arawana-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance, China Consumer","page":"14"},{"id":47334,"title":"New Alibaba stores sell everything for one yuan","content":"At Alibaba\u2019s newest store all of the goods are priced at just one yuan, or $0.14. It\u2019s a staggeringly low figure: even the cheapest item at McDonald\u2019s outlets in the US \u2013 a chocolate chip cookie that sells for 39 cents \u2013 would fail to make the cut.\r\n\r\nYet this is the pricing commitment that the tech giant is offering consumers at its new One-Yuan Store. Taobao, the Alibaba e-commerce platform, launched the first of its bricks-and-mortar shops in Shanghai on October 9 and it wants to open 1,000 such stores across the country, selling products from 1.2 million vendors at a one-yuan price point.\r\n\r\nStationery, accessories, cosmetics, tissues and small packets of snacks are some of the goods that are expected to feature.\r\n\r\nGiven the economic circumstances brought about by Covid-19, the One-Yuan Store is said to be targeting the weakened spending capacity of many consumers. However, the Taobao venture is also being positioned, somewhat bizarrely, as another instance of the \u2018consumption upgrade\u2019 trend.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cThe idea that a cheap One-Yuan Store is a consumption upgrade can be seen as laughable,\u201d writes Tencent News, a portal. \u201cHowever, today\u2019s spending habits cannot be solely determined by price but on consumer mindset\u2026 people are now more…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/SunArt-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"15"},{"id":47324,"title":"Fisticuffs in Fiji and spy arrests signal new low","content":"Not on the list to a party? Mainland Chinese diplomats apparently did not think it would be a problem as they crashed an event in Fiji hosted by Taiwan\u2019s trade office this month. The occasion was meant to celebrate Taiwan\u2019s National Day (on October 10) but instead of blending in with the other guests, a mainland Chinese diplomat allegedly showed up to the reception uninvited and took photographs of the guests. Reportedly a physical altercation broke out when Taiwanese officials tried to intervene, leaving one hospitalised.\r\n\r\nThe brawl capped off what has been a tension-filled week in cross-Strait relations. Last week, CCTV turned up the rhetoric when the state-run broadcaster unveiled a three-part series claiming to expose the identities of Taiwanese spies in mainland China.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThey included Tsai Chin-shu, chairman of the Southern Taiwan Union of Cross-Strait Relations Association, and retired National Taiwan Normal University professor Shih Cheng-ping, who both confessed on camera to spying for the Taiwanese authorities for years. Now they face prison terms of up to four years.\r\n\r\nAccording to CCTV, both Taiwanese were arrested on the grounds that they had been passing information about mainland Chinese scholars, journalists and officials in charge of Taiwan affairs to Taiwanese intelligence operatives…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Fijians-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Cross Strait","page":"16"},{"id":47327,"title":"The Korean War is commemorated in a flurry of films and documentaries","content":"The cast for a 30-part series made in China 20 years ago to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Korean War was said to number more than 100,000 people. But the series was never broadcast on concerns that it might fan unnecessary acrimony in Washington.\r\n\r\nOver the years veterans from the army have demanded the release of the drama, which recalls a conflict more commonly titled in China as \u2018The War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea\u2019. But Chinese studios avoided filmmaking about the war, the sole direct confrontation between Chinese and American troops, during the post-Mao era.\r\n\r\nFracturing relations between Washington and Beijing seem to be changing perceptions on how the conflict is remembered, especially as the nation reaches the 70th anniversary of China joining the war this month (on October 25).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nProductions and commemorative events have been airing thick and fast this month. For Peace got a primetime slot on state broadcaster CCTV\u2019s main channel this week, with Xinhua reporting that the six-part documentary was given the explicit approval of the Central Military Commission \u2013 that is to say, the Party organ that controls the People\u2019s Liberation Army. A week earlier, CCTV started showing a separate, 20-part documentary on the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/BTS-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Media","page":"17"},{"id":47331,"title":"How Chinese short-video platforms have become a home for scammers","content":"When the TV show The Best Partner first came out in late 2019, most of the comments online were that the legal drama bore a striking resemblance to the US hit series Suits.\r\n\r\n\u201cA recreation of the stage scenery of Suits? A reproduction of characters? Even the cinematography is way too alike? I actually thought Jin Dong was sitting in Harvey\u2019s office when I first watched the show,\u201d one netizen wrote at the time.\r\n\r\nLast week the TV series\u2019 lead actor Jin Dong found himself in the \u2018legal\u2019 spotlight again when an imposter was found to be making money from a female fan by impersonating Jin on Douyin (the short-video platform owned by Bytedance).\r\n\r\nThe 61 year-old, surnamed Huang, was a big admirer of the actor so when she came across an account on Douyin that used his image, she immediately clicked \u2018follow\u2019. According to family members, Huang scrolled the account day and night, watching videos that had been pasted together using the actor\u2019s images set to sappy music. Her obsession reached such a feverish peak that she filed for separation from her husband, claiming that Jin had promised to marry her and would be buying a house for her (nothing says love…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/xxx-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Entertainment, Society","page":"18"},{"id":47337,"title":"Booze ban for government officials","content":"Spare a thought for government officials in Qingcheng in Gansu province this weekend if you open a bottle of wine at home or meet friends for a beer.\r\n\r\nDespite being free from Covid-19 restrictions, Qingcheng county\u2019s bureaucrats won\u2019t be able to enjoy a drink over lunch or dinner.\r\n\r\nThe reason? A new set of rules banning public officials there from drinking \u2013 the only exception being family events such as funerals and weddings where civil servants are allowed to drain a limited number of glasses \u2013 as long as they report it to the Commission for Discipline Inspection.\r\n\r\nLocal rules limiting how and when government officials drink are not new in China \u2013 and they have firmed up since 2013 as part of a campaign against corruption and extravagance.\r\n\r\nBut the Qingcheng ban is stricter than others in that it bans drinking alcohol at all times, not just at work but at home during weekends.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cAnyone who violates these regulations will be suspended first and shall be given organisational or Party disciplinary sanctions in accordance with the relevant provisions,\u201d the notice said.\r\n\r\nThe local authorities did not explain why it was introducing the ban now but the notice drew a link between drinking and the risk…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Moutai-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1665,"name":"Issue 514","date":"Oct 9, 2020","title":"The new 5G powerhouse","tagline":"Alibaba, CBNC and State Grid have forged an entity that Chinese media have termed \u2018the Divine Network\u2019. So what is it?","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/514.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/514-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":47259,"title":"China\u2019s newest 5G firm is a \u2018Divine Network\u2019 on a broadcasting mission","content":"China Mobile, then known as China Telecom, went public in Hong Kong in October 1997. Braving a market meltdown amid the Asian financial crisis, the state-owned enterprise dipped below its HK$10.8 offering price on its trading debut, but still commanded a market capitalisation of more than HK$120 billion ($15.9 billion).\r\n\r\nIt was a superb opportunity to buy into what grew to become the world\u2019s biggest telecom carrier. The telco\u2019s mobile subscribers surged to 547 million from 10 million over the next decade, ballooning its share price past HK$150 by October 2007. A year later the Chinese government gave China Mobile one of a trio of 3G licences, raising the possibility that the state heavyweight would make as much profit from the internet sector as it had from 2G telephony. But it turned out to be a peak moment for its shares, which never broke through to the next level. As of this week they were trading at less than HK$50 each.\r\n\r\nInstead, the lion\u2019s share of profits from China\u2019s booming internet market would be reaped by private sector firms such as Alibaba, which launched its Tmall e-commerce site in 2008, and Tencent, whose shares would spike from HK$50 that same year to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Tower-w.jpg","category":"Talking Point, Telecoms","page":"1"},{"id":47262,"title":"Sina joins exodus from the US capital market","content":"The geopolitical scene has changed completely over the past 20 years but Sina Corp\u2019s core business hasn\u2019t. Such was the domestic media\u2019s verdict on the fluctuating fortunes of the company that paved the way for other Chinese internet firms to go public in the US \u2013 but which now joins the exodus from American bourses.\r\n\r\nAt the end of September, Sina\u2019s board accepted a $2.59 billion privatisation offer from its majority shareholder, BVI-registered New Wave (for our first report on the sale, see WiC504). The following day, a second Chinese tech company, Sogou also announced that its board had approved a $3.5 billion privatisation offer from a group of companies owned by Tencent (Sogou operates China\u2019s second biggest search engine and only debuted in New York in late 2017; see WiC389).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSina\u2019s departure from Nasdaq is particularly symbolic, given that it pioneered the variable interest entity (VIE) structure. These ownership arrangements allowed Chinese tech companies to access much-need foreign capital while staying in line with domestic laws barring such investment in sensitive areas like tech.\r\n\r\nSina listed in April 2000 and was followed in quick succession by two other internet portals, NetEase and Sohu.com. The three were the country\u2019s tech stars long before…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Charles-Guowei-Chao-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"7"},{"id":47265,"title":"Ex-Citic team acquires Sinolink Securities","content":"According to The Classic of Mountains and Seas, or Shanhaijing, a text on ancient creatures and sacred geography that has circulated in China for thousands of years, a bashe is a giant snake capable of swallowing an elephant. Eating the mythic beast was a wonderful tonic that prevented heart disease and digestive trouble.\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s domestic media believes that a more conventional snake and elephant analogy is an apt one for the acquisition of Chengdu-based Sinolink Securities by its much smaller rival, Wuxi-based Guolian Securities. The two announced the deal on September 20 as the first merger of two A-share listed brokerages.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBoth entities\u2019 share prices had gone limit-up on the trading day before the announcement, suggesting that the market\u2019s famous \u2018crocodiles\u2019 (the local term for insider traders) were out in force too. In fact, the drums have been beating since mid-June as investors bet on faster consolidation and better performance from the brokerage sector. Individual brokers have seen their share prices rise by 20-25% in the past three-and-a-half months.\r\n\r\nCitic Securities, for example, is up 27%. Citic, China\u2019s largest broker, is also rumoured to be close to taking over its nearest rival, CSC Financial, although both have denied that a deal is in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Guolian-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"8"},{"id":47268,"title":"A growing market for liquor-laced ice cream","content":"A \u2018blackout\u2019 is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as \u201ca temporary loss of consciousness\u201d. It might seem like a strange choice of name for a brand of ice cream bar. But in this particular case it seems rather more appropriate: a variety made with baijiu, a favourite Chinese liquor, with a tendency to stupify its heavier drinkers.\r\n\r\nThe ice cream brand Blackout was launched to local fanfare in the summer of 2019 in a partnership between Chicecream and baijiu maker Luzhou Laojiao. And it has been trending again on social media thanks to a series of special offers, triggered in part by growing competition in China\u2019s alcohol-infused ice cream market.\r\n\r\nThe pale yellow ice cream boasts 52% baijiu content, meaning that it is off-limits to under-18s. In other words of warning its advertising alerts customers that they should not be driving after consuming a single bar, because of its intoxicating impact.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nFor Luzhou Laojiao, the baijiu maker, the ice cream bar has proven a good way of getting some media attention and so it rebooted its collaboration with Chicecream last month with a promotion announced on its Sina Weibo account. \u201cIce, sugar, a little Luzhou Laojiao, and we\u2019ve created the Luzhou Laojiao…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Luzhou-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"9"},{"id":47272,"title":"How a breakfast bun retailer became a breakout hit","content":"From a single breakfast outlet in Shanghai to a 2,799-store franchise across China, Babi Mantou makes more than Rmb1 billion ($147.2 million) in sales a year selling buns. They range from the savoury pork-and-vegetable classic to sweeter options like sesame and red bean.\r\n\r\nThe brand\u2019s parent firm Babi Food will make its debut on the A-share market (likely) next week.\r\n\r\nWhen 19 year-old Liu Huiping arrived in 1997 in Nanning, a city in southern China near the Vietnam border, he rented a storefront for Rmb5,000 and began baking buns (mantou) with an apprentice.\r\n\r\nIn 2001, he made the move to the busy Henan Road in Shanghai and opened a popular breakfast outlet called Master Liu\u2019s Buns. Within two years he had become a renminbi millionaire and the ambitious Liu made the momentous decision to emulate KFC\u2019s example by expanding his store into a franchise.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn 2004, he filed for the trademark Babi Mantou and opened up 20 more stores \u2013 10 of which were managed by friends and family to pilot the franchising concept.\r\n\r\nBabi Mantou really took off in 2005 when it launched a broad-based franchising programme. Keeping down the expenses of starting a new store, Babi Mantou drew interest from entrepreneurs around the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Babi-Mantou-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"10"},{"id":47275,"title":"Beijing worries about reliance on imported seeds","content":"This summer people in the UK and North America started to receive small packets of seeds in the post.\r\n\r\nTwo things were odd about these deliveries: one, the parcels were unsolicited; and two, the packages had been sent from China.\r\n\r\nConspiracy theories soon abounded, including that the Chinese were attempting to introduce destructive species and destabilise agricultural production in the West.\r\n\r\nThe deliveries were arriving at a time when many countries were failing to contain Covid-19 so it was easy to think the worst \u2013 particularly as the virus is widely believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan (where it was first detected).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn the end, the most plausible explanation for the unexpected packets were that they were part of \u2018brushing\u2019 scams, in which online vendors generate fake sales by sending unsolicited items.\r\n\r\nOnce the goods have been \u2018sold\u2019 the vendor generates a fake sales record of their products in a bid to boost genuine sales in future.\r\n\r\nQuite how the seed sellers got the addresses of the online shoppers from Canada, the UK and the US is unclear. But the seeds they sent turned out to be unthreateningly healthy: source material for mint, hollyhocks, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, corn and lettuce.\r\n\r\nIn fact, the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Cucumber-Seeds-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Agriculture","page":"11"},{"id":47256,"title":"Two new bidders go after Huishan Dairy","content":"Dairy hasn\u2019t been a prominent part of China\u2019s culinary history but tastes are changing as society gets wealthier. That included some of the new offerings at last week\u2019s Mid-Autumn Festival. Traditional mooncake fillings with lotus and red bean paste were still on show. But some of the newer recipes were offering milk tea or yoghurt flavours too.\r\n\r\nWiC has written in the past about China\u2019s increasing dairy consumption. Covid-19 seems to be accelerating that trend and even the nation\u2019s traditional breakfasts could be set for a shake-up if one of the country\u2019s most famous doctors gets his way. Zhang Wenhong, a respected infectious disease expert, has been telling parents to give their children milk and eggs rather than congee first thing in the morning (see\u2008WiC495).\r\n\r\nThe China Dairy Industry Association reports that 40% of the population have increased their dairy intake this year, mostly for health reasons. Some 96% of the people it surveyed believe that milk boosts the immune system because it contains lactoferrin, an anti-viral protein.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTastes are also transitioning from UHT to pasteurised milk \u2013 and showing signs of becoming more environmentally conscious in the process. According to China Skinny research, Yili\u2019s organic Satine brand is now Tmall\u2019s third biggest…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Cows-w-scaled.jpg","category":"M&A","page":"12"},{"id":47278,"title":"Golden Week gives China\u2019s domestic tourism sector a chance to shine","content":"Hong Kong\u2019s media has closely tracked the number of tourists arriving from mainland China over the National Day holidays. Visitor flows are seen as a barometer for conditions in the city\u2019s retail sector, as well as an indicator on the health of the broader economy.\r\n\r\nSo what to make of this year\u2019s figures, with hardly any arrivals because of quarantine controls amid the Covid-19 pandemic?\r\n\r\nData from Hong Kong\u2019s immigration department revealed that just 433 people crossed into Hong Kong from mainland China during the first three days of the eight-day holiday (which started on October 1), compared with more than 600,000 last year and 1.5 million in 2018.\r\n\r\nAlmost all of those previous visitors will have opted for domestic trips during the latest \u2018Golden Week\u2019 holiday, which was expected to play host to a surge in homegrown tourism.\r\n\r\nBecause many sites and attractions are still operating at half capacity on social distancing requirements, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism had predicted local trips would top 550 million over the period, or about 70% of last year\u2019s figure.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLocal tourists made 205 million trips in the first two days of the vacation, ministry officials reported. However, soon afterwards there were reports that tourist revenues were…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Hangzhou-w.jpg","category":"China Tourist","page":"13"},{"id":47253,"title":"Taiwanese starlet in row over song","content":"Taiwan\u2019s cultural critic and democracy advocate Lung Ying-tai has long argued that an authoritarian regime cannot produce great songs. In 2016 when Lung gave a speech in Hong Kong about music, she asked the audience to name the song that inspired them the most. Alan Leong, a prominent democrat, cited Frank Sinatra\u2019s My Way. Sitting next to him, Albert Chau, vice president of Hong Kong Baptist University, grabbed the mike and told Lung that he chose My Motherland. Lung admitted she did not know the song and asked Chau to sing the opening lines. Before long, the entire audience had joined in. The video, of course, went viral in China as netizens poked fun at the awkward moment for Lung, who served as Taiwan\u2019s cultural minister from 2012 to 2014.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMy Motherland was the theme song to the 1956 film Battle on Shangganling Mountain, which depicted a bloody struggle during the Korean War. Last week, My Motherland dominated the headlines again when singer Ouyang Nana from Taiwan performed it during the National Day Gala hosted in Beijing by state-run broadcaster CCTV.\r\n\r\nDuring the programme, Ouyang, 20, joined in the rendition of the tune with a large group of celebrities from mainland China,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Ouyang-Nana-w.jpg","category":"Cross Strait","page":"14"},{"id":47244,"title":"Why Hongqi doesn\u2019t want any extra endorsements from Fan Bingbing","content":"Over the course of her career, actress Fan Bingbing\u2019s face has adorned countless advertisements. One estimate puts the number of her endorsement deal at over 120.\r\n\r\nHowever, the starlet\u2019s commercial appearances have been few and far between since a tax evasion scandal which landed her a record Rmb883 million ($130 million) fine in 2018. So, the internet was abuzz when the actress made a high-profile appearance recently at a Beijing auto exhibition that featured photos of her standing beside a Hongqi, or \u2018Red Flag\u2019 in English \u2013 an iconic national car brand, synonymous with Chinese industrial power during the Mao Zedong era.\r\n\r\nOn Fan\u2019s personal weibo, she published a series of pictures that shows her posing next to a white Hongqi E-HS9, an electric SUV. Separately, her official fan account posted a video showing the starlet test-driving the car on a track.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cOh, this is good. This is really good,\u201d she gushed, offering her stamp of approval repeatedly.\r\n\r\nIn 1958, the first Hongqi sedan (which came with a spittoon) was produced by state-owned carmaker FAW in response to Mao\u2019s wishes. Since its debut as the paramount leader\u2019s parade car at his Tiananmen Square event a year later, the Hongqi limousines have long been the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Fan-Bingbing-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"15"},{"id":47247,"title":"Athletes irked by new hurdle","content":"There cannot be a bigger fish out of water in China right now than Wang Jian Jiahe: quite literally. The 18 year-old swimming prodigy recently won the preliminary rounds of the 1,500-metre freestyle in the National Swimming Championships, breaking the Asian record in the process.\r\n\r\nBut that wasn\u2019t enough to secure her a place in the final. Instead of focusing on breaking the world record, Wang was forced to sit it out because she can\u2019t run fast enough. Yes, you read that correctly. Selection wasn\u2019t determined by how well the swimmers had done in the preceding heats, but how they\u2019d performed in a new government-sanctioned fitness test.\r\n\r\nThe General Administration of Sport (GAS) introduced a one-size-fits all fitness test in February. A People\u2019s Daily editorial explained that it was necessary because \u201cphysical fitness is a significant shortcoming especially among Chinese athletes who aren\u2019t competing at world-class levels\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBut the test wasn\u2019t designed to align with the training requirements of individual sports. Instead, everyone has to take part in long races and sprints, in addition to proving their strength in vertical jumps and push-ups. To secure a place in a national championship final, those with best times from the heats only qualify if they…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/WechatIMG29-w.jpg","category":"Sport","page":"16"},{"id":47250,"title":"A popular stand-up comedian from Dongbei","content":"Who is she?\r\n\r\nBorn in Tieling, a coal-mining city in Liaoning province, comedian Li Xueqin, 25, did not have a happy childhood. Her parents divorced when she was young and Li was raised mainly by her mother. She worked hard so she would make her mother proud. She later went on to study at Peking University, one of the top academic institutions in the country, where she majored in journalism and communications.\r\n\r\nCollege life was not smooth sailing. Her boyfriend dumped her and Li fell into a depression. She applied to study abroad and was accepted on New York University\u2019s graduate programme. While she was there, Li felt homesick. Struggling with depression once again, Li returned home the following year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn 2018, Li, with no real career prospects, started dabbling in comedy. She posted several short videos on Douyin in which she pretended to introduce famous landmarks to her idols, which included pop icon Kris Wu and basketball star Guo Ailun. Her videos proved popular, which motivated Li to create more comedy content on short video platforms. Her life changed when her idol Wu, amused by her videos, posted one of himself responding to her in the Dongbei dialect (from northeast China), which…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Li-Xueqin-w.jpg","category":"Red Star","page":"17"},{"id":47281,"title":"Ron Howard to make biopic about Lang Lang","content":"When Chinese pianist Lang Lang was nine, he moved with his father to Beijing so that he could prepare to sit the entry exam for the Central Conservatory of Music.\r\n\r\nFor a year and a half they rented a tiny room with no heating, where the Shenyang-born Lang took instruction from teachers attached to the prestigious school.\r\n\r\nIn his memoir A Journey of a Thousand Miles: My Story, Lang recalls how his father forced him to practice late into the night with blankets draped over him for warmth.\r\n\r\nHis mother, who supported them financially, stayed behind in Liaoning province. As her husband\u2019s hopes of their son grew, she was even banned from visiting so that Lang could concentrate on practicing.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAll of this is widely known about Lang, now 38, and is why he is such a source of fascination for many Chinese. But the news that Hollywood director Ron Howard \u2013 whose past films include Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind \u2013 has been hired to direct a film about the pianist\u2019s life has reignited a debate over the ethics of so called \u2018tiger parenting\u2019 \u2013 in which parents push their children to achieve elevated goals.\r\n\r\nAlthough the tiger parenting style is still common…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Lang-Lang-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]},{"id":1664,"name":"Issue 513","date":"Oct 2, 2020","title":"Foundering foundries","tagline":"Thousands of Chinese companies have ploughed into the semiconductor sector but some see parallels with the Great Leap Forward as chipmakers go bust","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/513.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/513-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":47213,"title":"China\u2019s chip industry evokes memories of flawed 1950s steel plan","content":"Drawing on Nikita Khrushchev\u2019s prediction in 1957 that the Soviet Union would overtake the United States as the leading industrial power within 15 years, Mao Zedong told counterparts in Moscow that China could overtake the UK in the same timeframe.\r\n\r\nIt formed the basis of one of the slogans of his Great Leap Forward campaign: \u201cSurpassing Britain and catching up to America\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe original idea was to boost steel production to exceed Britain\u2019s in 15 years, before drawing level with the Americans in about 50 years.\r\n\r\nBut Mao became more ambitious as the movement developed, prompting his planners to make bolder projections. One of the revised plans suggested that the Chinese could surpass the British in steelmaking in just two years (by 1959, or the second year of the 2nd Five-Year Plan). It prompted a directive for the nation to go all-in on steel production, with villagers throwing their farming tools and even their cooking woks into clay-clad furnaces in their backyards.\r\n\r\nMost of the steel that was made proved substandard and the campaign contributed to a disastrous famine that may have killed more than 30 million people (an official count of casualties has never been released; see WiC98).\r\n\r\nThe Chinese government will soon announce…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Chip-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":47179,"title":"Chinese media sees Trump-Biden brawl as sign of America\u2019s decline","content":"Until the 1990s observers from the West often mocked China\u2019s so-called \u2018old man politics\u2019. That was when the so-called \u201cEight Immortals\u201d \u2013 eight Communist Revolutionaries who took part in the Long March and helped found the People\u2019s Republic \u2013 were still influencing Beijing\u2019s decisionmaking.\r\n\r\nHowever, when the Chinese watched how Donald Trump and Joe Biden faced off in their first presidential debate on Wednesday, local social media exploded with memes \u2013 this time poking fun at the American political system.\r\n\r\nAn image grabbed from the American cartoon show The Simpsons soon circulated showing the fictional newspaper headline \u201cOld Man Yells at Old Man\u201d. As one netizen asked on WeChat: \u201cTwo 70-something old men taking on each other. Are they really the best that American politics can come up with?\u201d\r\n\r\nThe more patriotic elements of the Chinese press were quick to comment too.\u201cThe two political leaders of the US obviously did not show an exemplary role to American people on how to engage in debates. Such chaos at the top of US politics reflects division, the anxiety of US society and the accelerating loss of the advantages of the US political system,\u201d Hu Xijin, the editor of the Global Times, wrote on his Twitter…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Trump-Biden-w-1.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"6"},{"id":47187,"title":" Evergrande\u2019s cash scramble spooks investors","content":"Internet conglomerate LeEco and solar energy firm Hanergy are two of the more high-profile companies to run into financial distress in recent years. Before their cash crisis became crippling, both spent heavily on electric vehicle (EV) ventures. Hanergy even flaunted the prospect of a solar-powered car (see WiC333).\r\n\r\nThere was a certain business logic at the time. Barriers to entry in the sector were seen as insubstantial, with lots of companies declaring an interest. Investment was also welcomed by the government, which wants at least 60% of car sales to be electric by 2035. That raised hopes of policy support and state subsidies.\r\n\r\nPerhaps that was a factor in why China Evergrande \u2013 the world\u2019s most indebted property firm, according to Bloomberg \u2013 opted to bet big on EV as well. Two years ago it took a stake in LeEco\u2019s struggling EV start-up (see WiC416), although that partnership soon unravelled. It then secured a large plot of land from the Guangzhou government to start production on behalf of its new EV unit Evergrande New Energy. The same entity received about Rmb3.5 billion ($518 million) of investment from the likes of Tencent and Didi Chuxing in early August.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nGetting some of China\u2019s biggest internet…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Evergrande-w.jpg","category":"Property","page":"7"},{"id":47190,"title":"China says it will be carbon neutral by 2060","content":"Chinese leader Xi Jinping must have guessed what was coming at last week\u2019s United Nations summit.\r\n\r\nOnly a few minutes after US President Donald Trump had blasted the Chinese for \u201crampant pollution\u201d \u2013 citing carbon emissions at \u201cnearly twice\u201d the levels of the United States \u2013 Xi grabbed back the headlines by announcing that China was committing to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.\r\n\r\nFew people expected the pledge, which was soon being described as a ploy to outflank the Trump administration on climate change (which gave notice that it would pull out of the Paris Climate Accord a year ago and will exit on November 5).\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s true: the Chinese are trying to show solidarity with other nations that have promised carbon neutrality, as well as highlight how the Americans are now the outliers in the global warming debate.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s critics noted that Xi didn\u2019t offer any details on how China would achieve the net-zero goal. They also query China\u2019s green credentials in the here and now. Pollution has soared since the Covid-19 lockdown was lifted, with emissions from industrial sources soon surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Approvals for coal power plants have surged in the first half of this year as well \u2013 to the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Xi-Jinping-w.jpg","category":"Environment","page":"8"},{"id":47193,"title":"CNOOC debuts new technology to tap heavy oil reserves in the Bohai\u2008Sea","content":"Shale and renewables have transformed the outlook for the energy industry, postulates Pulitzer Prize winner Daniel Yergin in his latest outing, The New Map: Energy, Climate and the Clash of Nations. Published last month, the book still concludes that oil will keep its preeminent position as \u201cthe primary fuel that makes the world go round\u201d.\r\n\r\nThat didn\u2019t seem to be the case in April, when crude crashed in price at the height of the world\u2019s Covid-19 shutdown. It is now back to $40 a barrel, but that is still a huge drop on its all-time peak at the $147 level in 2008 (and more recently at about $73 in 2018).\r\n\r\nThe experience prompted BP to state that 2020 could mark peak demand for oil, a decade earlier than it forecast from last year.\r\n\r\nRegardless of the UK oil major\u2019s bearish verdict China\u2019s government has spent much of the year taking advantage of low prices to build up its strategic reserve. As we reported in WiC489, by the time it is expected to complete the third phase of its storage capacity build out later this year, China should reach the International Energy Association\u2019s (IEA) recommendation that it holds 90 days of the previous year\u2019s…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/CNOOC-w.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"9"},{"id":47196,"title":"Two Chinese firms eye\u2008African payments profit","content":"\u201cChinese entrepreneurs that go to Africa to start a business \u2013 as long as they are unafraid of hardship, exhaustion and loneliness \u2013 will achieve great success. The chance of succeeding is very high,\u201d proclaimed billionaire Zhou Yahui in a 2019 speech that encouraged more Chinese businesspeople to try their luck on the continent.\r\n\r\nFollowing his own advice Zhou, 43, has focused his managerial attentions on Nigeria\u2019s largest mobile payment company Opay and has relinquished his position as the chief executive of Beijing Kunlun, a gaming company he founded (it owned the dating app Grindr until it was forced to sell its stake by the US government in March).\r\n\r\nZhou (for a profile of the tycoon, see WiC325) has been chairman and chief executive of Opera, a sNorwegian browser company, since Kunlun acquired it in 2016. Two years later Opera founded OPay, going on to raise $120 million in a Series B financing from Sequoia China, Meituan and Softbank Ventures last November. In April, OPay claimed to have five million monthly active customers, accounting for more than 60% of mobile money transactions in Nigeria.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOPay\u2019s latest funding will be deployed to expand its reach into Kenya, Ghana and South Africa. But the growth…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Zhou-Yahui-w.jpg","category":"Telecoms","page":"10"},{"id":47198,"title":"China\u2019s white goods giants line up to bid for Philips\u2019 appliances brands","content":"Who would bet against China\u2019s \u2018white horses\u2019? Two of the best known are set for a gallop across foreign fields this autumn, prompting investors to retrain their binoculars on their sector: white goods.\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s leading stocks are sometimes described as white horses (rather than American-style \u2018blue chips\u2019). And for one of them \u2013 Haier Smart Homes \u2013 the direction of its gallop is definitely taking it beyond the Chinese mainland. The Qingdao-based group is already under starter\u2019s orders for a new listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It also seems likely to run a race with rival Midea to win Philips\u2019 domestic appliances business, a former crown jewel of the Dutch firm.\r\n\r\nWhite goods is a sector where Chinese brands have been growing their global market share without running into protectionist sentiment. As such, Haier and Midea are both leading contenders for the Philips\u2019 brands, which will come up for auction in the next few months.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nPhilips has been shedding its non-core businesses to focus on healthcare. Analysts believe that its domestic appliance brands should fetch a valuation of \u20ac2.5 billion to \u20ac3 billion ($3 billion to $3.6 billion) based on \u20ac2.3 billion in 2019 sales.\r\n\r\nThe Dutch group has strong niches in…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Dong-Mingzhu-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"11"},{"id":47203,"title":"Bytedance\u2019s data centre partner goes public on Nasdaq","content":"The startling crash in the oil price earlier this year was a boon for the world\u2019s supertankers. As a floating means of storing surplus crude, the ships came to the rescue of traders waiting out what has been described as the biggest oil glut in history. Tanker lease rates soared, offering a rare chance at lucrative returns amid a decimated sector.\r\n\r\nIf data is to the digital age what oil has been to the industrial economy, an analogy can be made between internet data centres (IDCs) and the supertankers. The prospects for the leading IDCs look appealing, especially in\u2008China.\r\n\r\nFitted with uninterruptible power supply and round-the-clock temperature control, IDCs are now the vaults in which companies deposit vast amounts of information. Despite the lack of glamour IDCs are the fulcrum of the digital economy, supporting cloud computing operations and on-demand business applications of all kinds.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe deluge of data being processed and stored around the world \u2013 and which is set to increase dramatically with the rise of 5G, the Internet of Things, the reach of artificial intelligence and the wide range of applications powering smart cities \u2013 has Frost & Sullivan, a research firm, predicting that the capacity at hyperscale data centres…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Data-Centre-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"13"},{"id":47206,"title":"A maker of masks and cotton goods is the new star on ChiNext","content":"US healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson did not start out making baby oil or medical prescriptions. Its founders built the century-old enterprise on antiseptic surgical supplies. Early products such as absorbent cotton and gauze dressings were considered some of the biggest surgical care breakthroughs in the 1880s, laying the foundation for its success in maternity and baby-oriented goods that are still its hallmark today.\r\n\r\nJohnson & Johnson\u2019s experience seems to have offered Winner Medical its playbook too. Based in Shenzhen, it has grown from a medical supply outfit of no more than five people into a personal care product platform worth nearly Rmb54 billion ($7.9 billion).\r\n\r\nMuch of that valuation was derived from a recent flotation on ChiNext, where Winner\u2019s shares soared 70% on debut on September 17, making it the fifth largest medical listing on the newly revamped growth board (see WiC509).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nInvestor enthusiasm for the company had much to do with the substantial windfall it is reaping from the Covid-19 pandemic. In the first half, sales of its surgical masks and hazmat suits jumped 29 times on the year to over Rmb2 billion, while those of its wound care products also tripled. The company\u2019s overall revenue was up 99% to Rmb4.2…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Winner-Medical-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"15"},{"id":47209,"title":"Chinese drama taps \u2018Scandinavian noir\u2019 to earn stellar rating on\u2008Douban","content":"Set a crime against a bleak or snowy backdrop. Introduce police detectives with miserable family lives, who look like they never get a good night\u2019s sleep. Mix in a backstory about a government cover-up. And there can only be one possibility: you are watching a Scandinavian noir drama.\r\n\r\nNordic thrillers have become a global phenomenon \u2013 and a drama in China that takes a similar approach has become a major favourite with the critics.\r\n\r\nVideo streaming platform iQiyi\u2019s The Long Night, adapted from a novel by popular crime fiction writer Chen Zijin, follows a man who lugs a large suitcase into a subway station. When the security officers ask him to put it through X-ray screening, he tells them there is a bomb in the suitcase. But once the police arrive, what they find in his luggage is a corpse.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe story goes back and forth between present and past, eventually revealing that the body was planted in the suitcase in a bid to bring attention to a cover-up of another murder a decade earlier.\r\n\r\nThe Long Night is tense and dark (literally, because most of the scenes are filmed at night). Like many Scandinavian thrillers, the lead investigator \u2013 played by actor Liao…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Zhao-Yuanyuan-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":47183,"title":"Gansu government targets tattooed taxi drivers","content":"Some people see them as a form of art or self-expression.\r\n\r\nFor others they are marker of lower socio-economic status or even criminality.\r\n\r\nThe Chinese government is unquivocal where it sits in this debate: tattoos are \u2018unhealthy\u2019, a \u2018Western import\u2019, \u2018unfilial\u2019 and potentially \u2018subversive\u2019.\r\n\r\nThus, even as China produces some of the world\u2019s most innovative tattoo artists, celebrities and athletes are being told to cover up their inkings in compliance with strict social \u201cpositivity\u201d rules\r\n\r\nThe latest example of the campaign against tattoos comes from the city of Lanzhou in northwestern Gansu province, where taxi drivers with visible inkings have been ordered to get them removed or risk losing their jobs.\r\n\r\n\u201cLarge tattoos may cause psychological discomfort for women and children and are not suitable for taxi operators,\u201d the Lanzhou government\u2019s order explained.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe drivers were advised to cover up offending skin in the short-term, and opt for tattoo removal as a long-term solution.\r\n\r\nIn March 2018, Chinese football players were ordered to cover up their body art with flesh colored bandages or risk being benched.\r\n\r\nAround the same time China\u2019s film and TV regulator issued a notice banning the booking of actors and musicians with body art.\r\n\r\nYet even as various authorities wage war on skin ink, the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/10\/Tattoo-w-scaled.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]},{"id":1663,"name":"Issue 512","date":"Sep 25, 2020","title":"A bold step","tagline":"US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach arrives in Taipei for a high-profile visit, upping the ante in Cross-Strait tensions","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/512.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/512-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":47119,"title":"A new round of tensions bring the Taiwan Strait closer to conflict","content":"Democracy as an \u2018idea\u2019 originated in ancient Greece. For the Chinese, \u2018unity\u2019 is a core Confucian value that has been upheld for a similar duration of more than 2,200 years. This helps to explain the rather different interpretations of Lee Teng-hui in the Chinese press and parts of the international media. Taiwan\u2019s first democratically elected leader has been lauded as \u201cMr Democracy\u201d in the West. But in media outlets on the Chinese mainland, \u201ccontroversial\u201d would be the politest adjective for a politician who served as an officer in the imperial Japanese army during the Second World War.\r\n\r\n\u201cTraitor\u201d is a more common refrain, in fact.\r\n\r\nThe KMT\u2019s Chiang Kai-shek and his son both cracked down mercilessly on pro-independence activists in Taiwan. But after Lee took over from the Chiang family as the KMT\u2019s third leader \u00ad and president of Taiwan in 1988 he pushed for liberal political reforms and began to promote Taiwanese identity.\r\n\r\nHis efforts took the Taiwan Strait closer to conflict after a high-profile visit to his alma mater Cornell University in 1995, when he became the first Taiwanese leader to set foot on American soil since Beijing formally re-established relations with the US in 1979.\r\n\r\nIn retaliation against what it deemed…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Keith-Krach-w.jpg","category":"Cross Strait, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":47122,"title":"China looks set to veto US tech giant\u2019s Arm bid","content":"When it comes to world wars, countries generally don\u2019t have long to decide whose side they\u2019re on, or whether they can adopt a neutral position. Three decades of rampant globalisation has left the corporate world in the same invidious position in relation to the Sino-US tech war.\r\n\r\nFew companies encapsulate this dilemma better than Arm, as the microchip designer is looking at a potential new owner following a $38.6 billion bid in mid-September by US semiconductor company Nvidia.\r\n\r\nThe consequences of the acquisition are far-reaching. What happens to Arm could determine whether national regulators really have the teeth to block M&A deals between third-party countries\u2019 companies.\r\n\r\nArm is currently \u201cJapanese\u201d after Softbank paid \u00a324.3 billion ($31.1 billion) for it in 2016. Selling it to an American company puts it in danger of exposing it more directly to export restrictions the US government is deploying to prevent technology transfers to China. This would strengthen American dominance over the global semiconductor industry and weaken China\u2019s ability to catch up in chipmaking.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nArm\u2019s intellectual property emanates from its Cambridge headquarters in the UK. Consequently, Hermann Hauser (who co-founded Arm but is no longer an executive), says the British government should step in on national security grounds and…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Arm-Chip-w.jpg","category":"M&A","page":"7"},{"id":47125,"title":"\u201cChina\u2019s Donald Trump\u201d sentenced to 18 years in jail","content":"A decade ago the property tycoon Ren Zhiqiang was one of the highest paid bosses in China. Back then he also started to be known as \u201cRen the Cannon\u201d for his controversial comments, typically about issues in the real estate sector. Looking for a like-for-like comparison, some international newspapers even took to describing him as \u201cChina\u2019s Donald Trump\u201d.\r\n\r\nAfter stepping down as chairman of Huayuan Property in 2014, the Cannon turned his fire on more political subjects. In doing so, his reputation also changed overseas. In a report earlier this year the New York Times described him as a \u201cloyal Chinese critic\u201d, while The Hill, a Washington-based newspaper, even lauded him as \u201cChina\u2019s conscience\u201d.\r\n\r\nWe reported in April that Ren had been missing for a few months and that the Cannon\u2019s social media accounts had gone strangely quiet (see WiC491). News then broke that the 69 year-old was under investigation for corruption charges.\r\n\r\nNews of Ren\u2019s trial \u2013 and more specifically its verdict \u2013 began to make the rounds on social media this week. On Tuesday, a Beijing court published a statement announcing a sentence of 18 years in jail. Among various crimes, the Communist Party of China (CPC) member was found guilty…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Ren-Zhiqiang-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"8"},{"id":47128,"title":"Slow progress on EU-China investment accord, as Merkel era nears end","content":"Donald Trump\u2019s condemnation of the Chinese government in a speech to the United Nations this week was uncompromising, contrasting with the more subdued scenes at an online summit between China and the European Union a few days earlier.\r\n\r\nEven so, EU leaders briefed there was \u2018intense\u2019 discussion on the video call, which appeared to come to a frosty finish. There was no joint statement afterwards and Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, didn\u2019t join the post-summit news conference.\r\n\r\nXinhua\u2019s report on the summit offered the standard platitudes on the search for win-win outcomes but there were hints at tenser moments, including the EU\u2019s efforts to raise human rights concerns.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere is no universal path for human rights development and no single best way to protect human rights,\u201d Xi fired back. \u201cChina doesn\u2019t accept a lecturer on human rights.\u201d\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s primary diplomatic goal in Europe at the moment is to prevent a situation in which the Europeans side more closely with the US in the clash between the two superpowers.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThis comes at a time when there has been more friction, including European anger at Chinese efforts at \u2018mask diplomacy\u2019 earlier this year (see WiC488). Officials from the EU drew comparisons to the way that it had…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Merkel-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"9"},{"id":47131,"title":"CATL in $2.8 billion shopping spree as Tesla burnishes new battery plan","content":"What happens when the lodestar in your industry says that it has a plan to make the products that it currently buys from you? Asia\u2019s biggest battery suppliers for electric vehicles found out this week when Tesla confirmed that it intends to make its own batteries as part of a bid to drive down the purchase prices for its cars.\r\n\r\nAfter Elon Musk made the announcement during Tesla\u2019s Battery Day on Wednesday, shares in South Korea\u2019s LG Chem fell as much as 5.5%, while Panasonic\u2019s dropped more than 4%. China\u2019s Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) also saw a share price decline of more than 4% at one point.\r\n\r\nMany analysts are sceptical that Tesla will be able to mass-produce its own batteries in the way that Musk hopes. He admits that the prototypes of the new product aren\u2019t 100%-reliable yet and that it will be \u201cinsanely difficult\u201d to scale up to full production. And for the foreseeable future, at least, Tesla will still be dependent on the three main battery suppliers to feed its Gigafactories in Nevada and Shanghai.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nYet Musk has a history of achieving goals that leave others gawping. And awareness that the sector could be set for an overhaul also helps…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/man-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"11"},{"id":47134,"title":"Local lingerie firm sees surge in online sales","content":"This month, Chinese singing legend Faye\u2008Wong surprised fans when she made a rare appearance on Taobao Live, the livestreaming platform owned by Alibaba. The singer, who has drastically cut down on her public performances in recent years, sang three songs that were not her own (she explained these are her go-to tracks during karaoke sessions) before concluding the livestreaming broadcast dueting with Jack Ma If Cloud Knows by Taiwanese singer Hsu Ru-yun.\r\n\r\nThe choice of the song was clearly a play on the word yun, which means cloud in Chinese and is also the name of Alibaba\u2019s former chairman of (Ma Yun). The duo even tweaked the lyrics to promote the company Ma founded, changing one line from \u201cCan\u2019t escape this prison of entanglement\u201d to a jokey \u201cCan\u2019t escape this prison of Taobao\u201d.\r\n\r\nWong\u2019s appearance quickly became the highest trending topic on weibo, with many netizens expressing envy at what money can buy. \u201cBeing rich is great, you can even hire Faye Wong as your karaoke partner,\u201d one wrote.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe karaoke session was not the 51 year-old singer\u2019s only commercial appearance this month. In early September, Neiwai, an underwear start-up that prioritises comfort and a pared-down style, announced that it had tapped Wong…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Liu-Xiaolu-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"13"},{"id":47138,"title":"Bun firm hits the headlines","content":"\u201cYou\u2019re in big trouble, Goubuli called the cops!\u201d declared a recent posting on Sina Weibo about travel blogger Gu Yue.\r\n\r\nOn September 10, the same platform shared a video of Gu\u2019s review of the buns at a Beijing branch of the restaurant Goubuli. The restaurant\u2019s name translates as \u201cthe dog doesn\u2019t care\u201d and derives that monicker from a dish concocted in the 1850s by its original chef in Tianjin with the nickname Gouzi (which means \u201clittle dog\u201d). His famed steamed buns (Gou Bu Li) contained pork stuffing and soup and such was their renown that even the Empress Dowager Cixi was said to be a fan. Folks queued round the clock for his soft and fragrant baozi, but customer service wasn\u2019t his strong suit, hence the name bestowed on his stall\u2019s fare \u2013 \u201cthe dog doesn\u2019t care\u201d.\r\n\r\nIn spite of his surly approach his buns became a Tianjin culinary icon and eventually a state-owned business under the Goubuli brand.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn Gu Yue\u2019s video, the blogger searches the internet to find the lowest-rated restaurants in Beijing and lands on Goubuli\u2019s Wanfujing branch. On the Dianping app, Goubuli had received 2.84-2.87 stars out of five for the past six months, which ranked it in the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Eating-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"14"},{"id":47141,"title":"Lee Kai-Fu triggers facial recognition fears","content":"In China few people carry a more authoritative voice when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) than Lee Kai-fu. The former CEO of Google China is also one of the most dedicated investors in the field. His latest fund is half invested in AI. So a passing remark he made about the sector snowballed into a major controversy that dogged China\u2019s leader in mobile payments Ant Group, food delivery app Meituan, and facial recognition (FR) unicorn Megvii.\r\n\r\n\u201cMegvii is a company we invested in eight years ago. Today it is a giant in the field of AI... At the early stage we helped them look for partners such as Meituan and Ant Financial, which could let them obtain a vast amount of data on human facial features,\u201d Lee confided at a conference in Beijing earlier this month.\r\n\r\nThe comment immediately sparked widespread discussion online, as users of Alipay and Meituan \u2013 who number more than one billion in China \u2013 were piqued that their facial identifiers and personal information might have been shared with third-party service providers without their consent.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMegvii became the first FR firm to file for an IPO in Hong Kong last year (see WiC465). The plan was shelved after…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Kai-Fu-Lee-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"15"},{"id":47143,"title":"Huayi Brothers resurgent after its military flick tops global box office","content":"In 2013 film studio Huayi Brothers and comedian-director Stephen Chow bickered over the distribution of profits for Chow\u2019s Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons. The studio argued that it was an investor in the movie rather than solely a distributor, and thus entitled to a considerably higher cut. The two took the dispute to court and Huayi Brothers won.\r\n\r\nThe two parties now seem to have buried the hatchet. Last week Huayi Brothers announced one of its upcoming releases as Chow\u2019s newest film The Mermaid 2, a sequel to the 2016 original instalment of the comedy sci-fi. The movie stars actor Ai Lun and starlet Lin Yun.\r\n\r\nRiding on the success of the military epic The Eight Hundred, which has collected more than Rmb2.9 billion ($428 million) at China\u2019s box office since its release in late July \u2013 massively outperforming Disney\u2019s Mulan (see WiC511) \u2013 Beijing-based Huayi has risen from the almost dead.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe embattled firm had been in such financial distress that chairman Wang Zhongjun was forced to sell his art collection to keep the studio afloat (see WiC501) as well as some trophy properties in\u2008Hong Kong. But the worst of the crisis now seems to be over, as Huayi unveiled…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/802248080797859935-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":47146,"title":"Jo Malone\u2019s China ads backfire","content":"Chinese actor and heartthrob Liu Haoran made a name for himself in 2014\u2019s Beijing Love Story. In his most recent campaign for fragrance company Jo Malone, he appears on a white horse, prompting fans to liken him to a fairytale prince. But the advert didn\u2019t have a \u2018happy ever after\u2019: Jo Malone spiked the campaign after it sparked controversy with the perfumer\u2019s erstwhile global ambassador, Star Wars actor John Boyega, who had directed and featured in the original version.\r\n\r\nBoth of the aftershave campaigns showed the respective actors riding horses, surrounded by friends and family. The action is very similar, although the multi-cultural cast in the Boyega original is replaced by an all-Chinese one for the Liu version.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIn a tweet on September 15, Boyega wrote: \u201cI have decided to step down as Jo Malone's global ambassador\u2026 Their decision to replace my campaign in China by using my concepts and substituting a local brand ambassador for me, without either my consent or prior notice, was wrong. The film celebrated my personal story \u2013 showcasing my hometown, including my friends and featuring my family.\u201d\r\n\r\nBoyega added that while he accepted that many brands \u201cunderstandably use a variety of global and local ambassadors, dismissively trading…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/John-Boyega-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Society","page":"17"},{"id":47149,"title":"Village ticked off for its multi-storey cemetery","content":"Last week we wrote about multi-storey pig farms \u2013 a new type of hoggery intended to save space in a country that has a fifth of the world\u2019s population on only a tenth of its land.\r\n\r\nThis week there\u2019s another land- saving idea \u2013 albeit one that the government doesn\u2019t approve of in quite the same way: multi-storey graveyards.\r\n\r\nEarlier this month it emerged that a village near Tianjin had turned its local graveyard into what looked like a cluster of five-storey apartment blocks. The only clues to the real use was that the apartments had blacked-out windows and that there was little human activity around the complex.\r\n\r\nIn fact all 3,000 apartments had been sold as columbariums \u2013 places that store human remains.\r\n\r\nLocal officials in Wanjiaquan village maintain they did nothing wrong: land that is designated as a graveyard is being used as such.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe Tianjin authorities see it differently, however. They say the village has violated land-use agreements by constructing buildings on the site and selling \u2018tombs\u2019 to people outside the Wanjiaquan area.\r\n\r\nThe village has now been ordered to suspend sales while an investigation is carried out into the possible misuse of public land.\r\n\r\nThe popularity of the idea \u2013 almost all the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Cemetery-w-scaled.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]},{"id":1662,"name":"Issue 511","date":"Sep 18, 2020","title":"Too American for its own good?","tagline":"As Yum China CEO Joey Wat concludes her firm\u2019s secondary listing in Hong Kong, some investors worry KFC will be caught up in Sino-US \u2018Cold War\u2019","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/511.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/511-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":47055,"title":"Will the owner of KFC in China be caught in the Sino-US crossfire?","content":"When the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was hit by US bombers in May 1999, anti-American protests quickly erupted across China. Thousands took to the streets in Beijing, throwing stones, paint and eggs at the American embassy to express their ire over an airstrike that claimed the lives of three Chinese nationals. Four KFC restaurants in the country were also trashed by angry mobs.\r\n\r\nThen in 2016, following the dismissal by an international tribunal of China\u2019s territorial claims in the South China Sea, groups of nationalistic Chinese unfurled banners outside a dozen KFC outlets calling for a boycott. \u201cEating American KFC is a loss of face for our ancestors,\u201d read one.\r\n\r\nAs one of the earliest US brands to set up shop in the Middle Kingdom, KFC is a symbol of American culture, which makes it a convenient punchbag for Chinese consumers when relations with Uncle Sam sour. In the past, the company navigated politically-charged moments by emphasising how much it is a \u2018Chinese company\u2019, based on its use of local suppliers and labour.\r\n\r\nSuch localisation, which is also evident in an evolving menu that features Chinese dishes like congee and hotpot, has for the most part served KFC well. Opening its first store…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Joey-Wat-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China Consumer, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":47058,"title":"Nongfu Spring\u2019s boss became China\u2019s richest man, albeit for 30 minutes","content":"One of the most touted business principles from Wahaha\u2019s founder Zong Qinghou is his insistence that his beverage firm shuns the stockmarket. Like Huawei, Wahaha is one of China\u2019s most valuable unlisted brands. Zong, a Hangzhou native, was named China\u2019s richest man by Forbes magazine in 2010 and 2012. But staying private has seen his ranking slip. And tellingly, his cross-town rival briefly became the wealthiest tycoon in China after taking his company public.\r\n\r\nThat happened last Tuesday when Nongfu Spring soared as much as 85% on its trading debut in Hong Kong. This valued the bottled water firm at HK$445 billion ($58 billion) \u2013 and meant the 84.4% stake owned by its founder Zhong Shanshan was worth $49 billion.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nZhong\u2019s net worth was already inflated by his 75% stake in Beijing Wantai Biological, which went public on Shanghai\u2019s STAR market in April. Buoyed by expectation that Wantai would launch HPV (see WiC478) and Covid-19 vaccines, the pharmaceutical firm\u2019s share price spiked nearly 33 times from its offering price at one point.\r\n\r\nWantai was valued at Rmb87 billion ($12.8 billion) as of last week, taking Zhong\u2019s stakes in the two companies to more than $59 billion in the wake of the Nongfu listing.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Nongfu-Spring-w.jpg","category":"Chinese Character","page":"7"},{"id":47061,"title":"Convenience has a social cost for China\u2019s army of meal delivery drivers","content":"When you order takeaway on either of China\u2019s two main food delivery apps, a small icon of a motorcycle rider appears on a moving map so you can track when your food is about to arrive.\r\n\r\nWhat the app doesn\u2019t show is the frantic activity behind the movement of that small cartoonish icon.\r\n\r\nWhile the cute blue or yellow marker progresses smoothly towards the destination, a real rider is running red lights, driving the wrong way down roads or sprinting up stairs to make the drop off in the allotted time.\r\n\r\nThe work is often dangerous, stressful and dictated by the algorithms that underpin the food app.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLast week, thanks to a long article published by Portrait, a local magazine, which went wildly viral, the public finally began discussing the morality of these apps, leading the two main operators \u2013 Ele.me and Meituan Dianping (the company proposed last Friday to simplify its name to just \u2018Meituan\u2019) \u2013 to build slightly more flexibility to their AI-powered systems.\r\n\r\nEle.me, for instance, inserted a new \u201cI can wait five minutes\u201d button for its users. However, the changes didn\u2019t appear to tamp down criticism of the companies, which were accused of passing the buck to the consumer.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe behaviour of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Meituan-Dianping-1-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"9"},{"id":47065,"title":"Ad industry titan discusses China\u2019s Covid rebound and e-commerce trends","content":"The Chinese market has been on the radar of Sir Martin Sorrell for decades. The founder of advertising giant WPP was a frequent visitor as he built that agency\u2019s Chinese footprint. Two years ago he set up S4, a \u2018digital-only\u2019 advertising and marketing agency, scaling it up quickly with over a dozen acquisitions to a market value of \u00a31.9 billion. Last week S4 announced a maiden pre-tax profit in its first- half results, bucking industry trends with a 6.9% increase in revenues to \u00a3141.3 million. Here Sir Martin explains what current ad revenues say about China\u2019s economic recovery from Covid-19 and talks about the growth of S4\u2019s business in the world\u2019s most populous consumer market.\r\n\r\nIn a normal year, prior to Covid-19, how often would you visit China?\r\n\r\nI used to go about six times per year when I was at WPP. When I left WPP a couple of years ago, it went down to around three or four times a year. I\u2019d always go to the China Development Forum. WPP had a big business in China and S4 started an agency there about two years ago in Shanghai. It is doing very well on a smaller scale and we are very…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/SirMartinSorrell-w.jpg","category":"Corporate Q&A","page":"11"},{"id":47068,"title":"Bytedance gets a precious payments licence from China\u2019s central bank","content":"The clock is ticking down to the September 20 deadline from Washington to force the sale of TikTok\u2019s American business. On Monday TikTok\u2019s parent Bytedance said it had submitted a proposal to the US government to continue operating its business in the United States. Software giant Oracle confirmed in a statement that it was \u201cthe trusted technology partner\u201d set to work with Bytedance. Microsoft withdrew its interest in the sale a day or two earlier, although its bidding partner Walmart says it still wants to invest in TikTok via the Oracle deal.\r\n\r\nDetails of the proposed deal are sketchy (including the price Oracle might pay for its stake, or whether US entities must have majority control). But according to the Wall Street Journal, TikTok will move American data onto Oracle\u2019s cloud infrastructure while Bytedance\u2019s AI algorithms \u2013 subject to a new export ban imposed by Beijing last month (see WiC509) \u2013 will stay under Chinese control.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cI heard they're very close to a deal\u2026 we\u2019re going to make a decision pretty soon,\" Trump told reporters on Wednesday, with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin telling CBNC this week that TikTok is committed to creating a global HQ in the US that could generate 20,000…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Zhang-Yiming-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"14"},{"id":47071,"title":"Blockbuster game features iconic literary hero","content":"Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, is one of the most iconic figures in Chinese literature. As the main character in the 16th-century novel Journey to the West, he accompanies the Buddhist monk Xuanzang on a pilgrimage of magic and adventure. His story has been adapted to numerous formats, including plays, movies and television series.\r\n\r\nAlso inspired by the Monkey King is Game Science\u2019s latest creation Black Myth: Wukong. With the recent release of a 13-minute trailer of the game \u2013 which featured the Monkey King character retrieve a weapon from his ear \u2013 gamers praised the animation work, drawing acclaim from around the world on social media platforms such as Sina Weibo, Douyin and YouTube.\r\n\r\nThe game is also being billed as China\u2019s first 3A, an informal classification of premium video formats that typically entail large budgets and high production values (they are also called \u2018Triple-A\u2019 releases).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nGenerally, investors in China have been more cautious about backing 3A games, seeing them as riskier propositions. \u201cOverseas companies create 3A games to make big money, and most of their users will purchase the game. But if a Chinese firm pours money into a 3A game, customers might not buy it, while some may find a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Black-Myth-Wukong-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"15"},{"id":47074,"title":"Why a cattle firm has come to epitomise ChiNext\u2019s bull market run","content":"After gaining nearly 40% so far this year, Shenzhen\u2019s ChiNext is one of the best performing stock markets across the world\u2019s major economies.\r\n\r\nAnd one of the companies that has come to symbolise the Nasdaq-style board\u2019s bull run is \u2013 rather appropriately \u2013 a cattle firm.\r\n\r\nTianshan Animal Husbandry was trading below Rm6 per share for most of the last two years. But its share price started to spike in the middle of August and as of last week it was trading at Rmb35 \u2013 a 500% increase that gave the Xinjiang-based farmer a market valuation of Rmb10 billion ($1.45 billion).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHow much of that was justified by fundamentals?\r\n\r\nWell, beef prices have been on the rise, climbing higher for 10 consecutive weeks since early June. The uptick has been fuelled by more demand for meat as the catering industry recovers from the lockdowns of the Covid-19 outbreak.\r\n\r\nAnother contributing factor in the share price surge might be Beijing\u2019s diplomatic duel with Canberra, which has led to the banning of imports from four of the largest Australian meat processors.\r\n\r\nAccording to state broadcaster CCTV, prices for cattle in Hebei, a major beef producing province, have been reaching Rmb83 per kilo (about Rmb45,650 per animal).\r\n\r\nBut that price…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Cows-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"16"},{"id":47077,"title":"How a tycoon jumped from software to seltzer","content":"\u201cYou can rank 10th and 20th or even 100th if you are in a promising industry. That\u2019s far better than being first in a rotten industry,\u201d was the advice from Tang Binsen to a group of aspiring entrepreneurs.\r\n\r\nTang knows a few things about entrepreneurial success. Before founding Genki Forest, a calorie-free drinks maker, he started gaming company Elex Technology. It was the developer of the hugely popular smartphone game Happy Farm, which boasted 500 million users at its peak (see WiC28).\r\n\r\nIn 2014, Tang sold Elex to the Chinese Universe Publishing and Media for Rmb2.7 billion ($394.5 million). He stayed on as chief executive and the following year Elex launched Clash of Kings, which went on to do well in the US and Europe.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhile Tang was still chief executive at Elex, he came up with the idea for Genki Forest. In just three years, its valuation is said to have reached $2 billion. According to 36Kr, a tech news portal, the company is about to complete a new round of financing, with backing from firms including Sequoia China and Genesis Capital.\r\n\r\nPart of the reason for the seltzer\u2019s popularity is that Chinese consumers are getting more health-conscious and shunning sugary drinks. However,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Zhang-Yuqi-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"17"},{"id":47080,"title":"How high-rise hoggeries are reaching for the skies","content":"Just call them \u2018sty-scrapers\u2019 \u2013 multi-storey farms that house thousands of pigs and reduce the pressure on scarce agricultural land in China.\r\n\r\nThe first of these towers went up in 2015 with a nine-storey property in the southern autonomous region of Guangxi.\r\n\r\nNow more than a dozen more vertical hoggeries are under construction across the country.\r\n\r\nThe Ezhou government in Hubei province has just announced that a local pig firm will spend Rmb2 billion ($292 million) on two 17-storey farms. The twin-tower project is set to become the tallest of its type, with capacity for 30,000 sows and 600,000 piglets a year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nInvestment in these farms has increased since China lost more than 40% of its pig population to African swine flu last year. The disease has pushed up pork prices and the outbreak is still raging, rebooted by extensive flooding over the summer. Farmers often bury infected pigs and the rains may have spread the disease through excess groundwater, Reuters has reported.\r\n\r\nAnother part of the appeal of the high-rise pig farms is that they can breed more animals on less land \u2013 the government\u2019s diktat is that at least 120 million hectares of farmland must be preserved for arable output (see WiC252).\r\n\r\nThere are…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Pigs-w.jpg","category":"Agriculture","page":"16"},{"id":47083,"title":"Disney in the dock as Mulan fails to flower with Chinese moviegoers","content":"When Disney first released Mulan as an animation in 1998, it was a flop in the country where the story was set: China. Local moviegoers complained that the beloved heroine was \u201cforeign-looking and ugly\u201d. And her mannerisms were decried as too different from the Mulan of Chinese folklore for local audiences to accept.\r\n\r\nTwo decades later, when Disney announced a live-action remake, the studio was much more focused on appealing to the China market. To make a culturally authentic film, it cast Liu Yifei and other familiar Chinese faces like action star Donnie Yen, Jet Li and actress Gong Li. According to the New York Times, it even shared the script with Chinese officials \u2013 a highly unusual practice for Hollywood \u2013 in advance of production.\u201cIn many ways, the movie is a love letter to China,\u201d Niki Caro, the film\u2019s director, told Xinhua.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe latest offering was initially scheduled for release in March but its debut was delayed as the coronavirus first began to rapidly spread in North America. Six months on, Disney did not want to wait longer, making Mulan available in early September in the US on Disney+, its on-demand streaming platform, for $29.99.\r\n\r\nThe film also got a broader release…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Yifei-Liu-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Society","page":"19"},{"id":47086,"title":"A debate on whether older child should be responsible for raising younger siblings","content":"In a lawsuit that has sparked much debate, two parents sued their adult daughter, Lili, because she refused to raise her two year-old brother.\r\n\r\nLili\u2019s parents are living on government subsidies and claim they are unfit to raise their new son. They want Lili to raise her younger brother. When she refused, her parents sued. Ultimately, the court in Guangzhou decided Lili had the obligation of taking care of her brother.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThree conditions must be met for an older child to be legally tasked with raising their younger sibling: the older sibling is able to shoulder the responsibility, the parents have already died or are incapable of child-rearing themselves, and the younger sibling is not of age. Under the law, Lili\u2019s case met all three criteria.\r\n\r\n\u201cI sympathise with the sister\u2019s predicament,\u201d said a lawyer, who commented on the case on weibo. \u201cShe\u2019s only 22, which is still young. But she\u2019s already an adult, and under our country\u2019s marriage law and the soon-to-be implemented civil code, if parents don\u2019t have the caretaking ability, the older siblings must assume the responsibility of the caretaker.\u201d\r\n\r\nLili cannot understand why her parents had another child if they didn\u2019t feel they could raise it. \u201cOn what basis do…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Children-w-scaled.jpg","category":"World of Weibo","page":"21"},{"id":47092,"title":"Midea makes new \u2018AI-controlled\u2019 rice cooker","content":"Rice cookers in their modern form emerged from 1950s Japan, with a thermostat-controlled cooking temperature that shuts off the heat when the rice is done. Some of the high-end cookers in Japan today cost as much as \u00a590,000 ($850). Equipped with computer chips that react to moisture and temperature at much greater sensitivity, they can also adjust cooking parameters to account for human error. The goal is chewy, distinctive grains that hold together perfectly every time.\r\n\r\nHowever, it is a Chinese appliance maker that has just set the record for the most expensive rice cooker ever made. That happened recently when home appliance giant Midea released an artificial intelligence-powered rice steamer that costs Rmb19,999 (almost $3,000).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSo what\u2019s the big deal about the new product? Manufactured under Midea\u2019s high-end home appliance brand Colmo, the Blanc rice cooker is said to be able to distinguish between the 15 different types of rice most commonly cooked in the market. It then determines the best settings (i.e. the optimal levels of water and temperature) to produce perfectly plump variants of each type of rice with just the push of a button.\r\n\r\nThe process is fully automatic and there isn\u2019t any need to measure out the rice…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Colmo-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"22"}]}]}