{"issues":[{"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"}]},{"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":1661,"name":"Issue 510","date":"Sep 11, 2020","title":"Using his leverage","tagline":"Guo Shuqing\u2019s new \u2018red line\u2019 stress tests could reshape China\u2019s biggest (and most indebted) property companies","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/510.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/510-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":47012,"title":"How will China\u2019s new credit tightening measures impact Evergrande?","content":"In January 2010 China Evergrande surprised investors with a stock exchange disclosure that its chairman Xu Jiayin needed to borrow $40 million from state bank ICBC. Xu also had to pledge a 1.8% stake in his property firm as collateral for the two-year loan.\r\n\r\nXu had just been awarded the title of China\u2019s richest man by Forbes magazine and he was estimated to be worth more than $4 billion, following Evergrande\u2019s IPO in Hong Kong a few months earlier. Evidently the newly minted billionaire wasn\u2019t that cash-rich, the local media gossiped. Domestic newspapers later reported that Xu had needed to fork out $150 million to a group of investors after Evergrande\u2019s stock price failed to meet a guaranteed minimum (see WiC364).\r\n\r\nThat elaborate transaction was just one of the financing deals Xu had forged, in part because Evergrande had struggled to secure funds in the wake of one of the periodic tightening campaigns the government had imposed on the frothy real estate sector. Over the ensuing decade Evergrande grew ever grander, despite what many analysts classed as an unsustainable financing model. Nor was it alone in adopting a debt-fuelled strategy. So much so that Chinese regulators unleashed a new round of credit…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Scale-Model-w.jpg","category":"Property, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":47016,"title":"America\u2019s next tech target could be foundry SMIC","content":"What defines a superpower? For the American academic John Tkacik it comes down to the country\u2019s military capability, including the superiority of the microchips that power its weapons. His assessment came with a warning that US military superiority is eroding because of insufficient \u201crecognition of the potential challenge from China\u201d.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s the kind of statement that could have been articulated at many points in the past couple of years but it was actually made in 2006, when Tkacik presented his findings on the semiconductor industry to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.\r\n\r\nThe research fellow made a number of recommendations but none of them were taken up at a time when the George W Bush administration was more focused on fighting Al-Qaeda and Middle East wars.\r\n\r\nTkacik said the American government needed to adopt three main measures to ensure that China didn\u2019t threaten its superpower status. Firstly, decisionmaking on export licence approvals should be removed from the Department of Commerce because it was subject to intense lobbying by companies more focused on short-term commercial interests than the country\u2019s long-term future.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSecondly, the government needed to codify and respect its unwritten rule of limiting tech exports to a minimum of two generations behind the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/John-Tkacik-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"7"},{"id":47019,"title":"Investors bet on China\u2019s robotics future","content":"Aside from qualified engineers most people may not be familiar with \u2018strain wave gearing\u2019, a type of speed reducer for precise positioning applications. It was invented in 1955 in the US and at first nobody was sure how to put it into use. There were attempts to utilise it for driving helicopter rotors. Then in 1971 it found its way into the electrically-driven wheels of the lunar rover as part of NASA\u2019s Apollo 15 mission.\r\n\r\nSpeed reducers now play a critical role in robotics applications, which are increasingly deployed in a wide array of settings including semiconductor manufacturing, surgical operations, car making, spaceflights and solar energy production. It is estimated that they make up roughly 36% of the cost of an industrial robot. With China\u2019s growing ambitions in smart manufacturing, at least 3.6 million units of speed reducers will be needed between 2020 and 2023, estimates the Gaogong Industry Institute, a Shenzhen-based consultancy.\r\n\r\nTill now 70% of the supply has been sourced from foreign players such as Nabtesco and Harmonic Drive Systems, which are both based in Japan. But Chinese rivals are catching up fast by offering competitive prices.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOne such player is Leader Harmonious Drive Systems, also known as Leaderdrive.\r\n\r\nEstablished in Suzhou…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Gree-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"9"},{"id":47009,"title":"Hainan is breaking duty-free sales records","content":"With air travel severely disrupted, all airport operators have reported sharp decreases in passenger volume and revenues. Duty-free shops around the world, too, have taken a beating. Dufry, the world's largest duty-free retailer, saw its turnover slump in the first half of 2020 by 62% year-on-year to $1.7 billion.\r\n\r\nTourism activities in Hainan, however, have been busier than ever. The four duty-free stores in the island province received as many as 740,000 customers between July 1 and August 18 \u2013 that is 70% more than in the same period a year ago. In fact, ThePaper.cn said the quartet has just set a global record for the sector with Rmb5 billion ($730.8 million) of sales in 49 days. Combined, they sold 4.6 million items from fragrances to cosmetics to luxury watches and bags, 150% more than a year ago.\r\n\r\nSince early July, the Hainan government has been aggressively courting domestic shoppers and visitors from other provinces. The island has raised the tax-free spending limit to Rmb100,000 per person each year from Rmb30,000, for instance, and widened the range of eligible goods.\r\n\r\nVisitors who have left Hainan can still enjoy the discounts of duty-free shopping for three months after their departure when they shop on…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Tourist-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China Tourist","page":"10"},{"id":47022,"title":"BGI in Swedish row over how Covid test results are interpreted","content":"Brunei, an oil-rich sultanate in Southeast Asia, seems to have contained the coronavirus outbreak pretty effectively. As of September 7, the local infection rate was one of the lowest worldwide. Health authorities attribute some of their success to the adoption of RT-PCR, a nucleic acid-based testing method that identifies virus carriers. Unlike more traditional blood screens the RT-PCR technique doesn\u2019t target antibodies, which take days to form. Moreover, the test yields results quickly, within three hours.\r\n\r\nFollowing its first confirmed case in early March Brunei established a \u2018Fire Eye\u2019 laboratory of nucleic acid extractors capable of processing thousands of tests a day. The provider of the technology is BGI Group, the Shenzhen-based genome sequencer. By the end of June BGI had sold 35 million Covid-19 test kits and built 58 Fire Eye labs in 18 countries.\r\n\r\nThis new demand \u2013 which helped push BGI\u2019s net profits up seven times to Rmb1.7 billion ($247.2 million) in the first half \u2013 was in part due to aggressive promotion by China\u2019s embassies in an extension of what is being dubbed the country\u2019s \u201cvirus diplomacy\u201d (see WiC488).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nBut as BGI\u2019s test kits have become more widely available, the company has also been attracting less welcome attention.\r\n\r\nLast month…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/BGI-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China Tourist","page":"12"},{"id":47025,"title":"Whisky scion discusses how Glenfarclas grew its sales in\u2008China","content":"George Grant represents the sixth generation of leadership at the single malt whisky distillery Glenfarclas. Run by his family since 1865, the Ballindalloch-based whisky is regarded by connoisseurs as one of Scotland\u2019s finest, and sold in a wide range of age expressions from a standard 10 year-old to the much pricier 40 year-old (WiC suggests the 21 year-old if you are looking for something in-between).\r\n\r\nHere the Glenfarclas sales director talks about trends in the China market, the impact of Covid-19 on sales and how most of his local distributors in China are successful businesswomen.\r\n\r\nConsumption of single malts has grown rapidly in the Chinese market for at least 10 years. Does the Scotch industry still see China as a major growth driver?\r\n\r\nYes, the Chinese market has been growing for the past decade, if not a little bit longer. We\u2019ve definitely seen the growth in sales, initially in the larger cities. Now we are seeing it in the tier-two and tier-three cities as well. We\u2019ve also seen a lot more Chinese tourists travelling to the UK to understand more about Scotch whisky.\r\n\r\nBut it is still a very difficult market to get into. And for the public at large, there is still some…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Glenfarclas-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Corporate Q&A","page":"12"},{"id":47028,"title":"First state-backed Chinese school opens in Dubai","content":"China\u2019s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative is most commonly associated with infrastructure and trade. But it is also manifested in the growing Chinese communities in some of the world\u2019s more international cities.\r\n\r\nDubai is now home to at least 200,000 expatriates from mainland China, for instance. And many of them have families, creating new demand for a wider range of services dedicated to their community.\r\n\r\nSo the opening of Dubai\u2019s first Chinese school on September 1 was welcomed by many parents.\r\n\r\nThe new facility \u00ad\u2013 Chinese School Dubai \u2013 has been modelled on Hangzhou No. 2 High School, a much-respected college that sees 10% of its graduating students admitted to Tsinghua and Peking University each year. Founded by American Christian missionary WS Sweet in 1899, it claims to inculcate a \u201cdeep academic foundation, excellent core literacy and a strong sense of innovation\u201d.\r\n\r\n\u201cChinese School Dubai will inherit the glorious tradition and advanced education concept of Hangzhou No. 2 High School, providing the children of overseas Chinese in Dubai with basic Chinese education of high-quality,\u201d added Li Xuhang, the Chinese Consul General in the emirate.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAs the first state-sanctioned school outside China it will follow the national curriculum but include lessons on Arabic as a second…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Burj-Khalifa-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Education","page":"15"},{"id":47031,"title":"Tenet becomes the first Hollywood hit post-Covid","content":"After multiple delays over the summer, Disney finally made the big decision to stop waiting for American cinemas to reopen, sending its blockbuster Mulan straight to people's homes.\r\n\r\nLast weekend, Mulan officially debuted in the US on Disney+, the media giant\u2019s video-on-demand platform. Having reported a $4.7 billion net loss in the latest quarter, Disney was hoping that Mulan could help showcase its streaming service, which was only launched in November last year.\r\n\r\nThe film was originally scheduled for a global release in theatres early in March but was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In China the studio has opted for a cinema release today (the country was always predicted to be the film\u2019s biggest market).\r\n\r\nFilmmaker Christopher Nolan was adamant he would not launch his own blockbuster Tenet via a streaming service. A long-time champion of the theatrical experience, the director behind The Dark Knight trilogy has long argued about the importance of keeping cinemas afloat, even with coronavirus infections rising.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cWhen people think about movies, their minds first go to the stars, the studios, the glamour,\u201d he wrote in an op-ed piece for the Washington Post. \u201cI hope that people are seeing our exhibition community for what it really is: a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Elizabeth-Debicki-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":47033,"title":"Why Pingdu is the \u2018capital of fake eyelashes\u2019","content":"\u201cThe eye cannot see the eyelashes\u201d is a Chinese proverb to describe seeing faults in others but being oblivious to your own.\r\n\r\nThere are others sayings too: if something is \u201cas close as your eyelashes\u201d it means it is \u2018about to happen\u2019 and if a matter is small or trivial it can be referred to as a \u201cmosquito\u2019s eyelash\u201d.\r\n\r\nWhat isn\u2019t small or trivial is the amount of false eyelashes that China makes. The country now produces around 80% of global supply, according to ThePaper.cn.\r\n\r\nIn fact, it isn\u2019t even China as a whole that dominates global production \u2013 the main source is one county in the eastern province of Shandong.\r\n\r\nIn Pingdu, a small county with a population of about 1.3 million, every second shop or workspace, is dedicated to making the substitute eyelashes . Photos of the main street show buildings plastered with signs all bearing the word jiemao, or \u2018eyelash\u2019.\r\n\r\nThe workshops there are almost entirely staffed by women who pack and assemble the eyelashes using magnifying glasses and tweezers. When harvest time comes many of them return to family farms for a few weeks to help get the crops in. \u201cThe factory is close to my home which means I can…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Eyelashes-w-scaled.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"17"}]},{"id":1660,"name":"Issue 509","date":"","title":"Zhang faces last dance in US","tagline":"TikTok put between a rock and a hard place by governments of US and China \u2013 leaving tycoon Zhang Yiming facing some tough choices","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/509.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/509-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":46968,"title":"TikTok struggles to strike a deal as deadline looms for sale of US business","content":"Bytedance CEO Zhang Yiming has had three separate chances to sell the social media firm that he founded in 2012. He decided to stay put each time, turning down the several chances to become a multi-billionaire overnight. But this time he doesn\u2019t have much of a choice\r\n\r\nBytedance is a rare, high-profile tech firm in\u2008China \u2013 given neither Alibaba nor Tencent are shareholders (they have their tentacles into most of the companies that matter). Bytedance has always been an \u201cindependent platform\u201d with a \u201cvery special meaning that goes beyond financial considerations,\u201d Zhang told Caijing in an earlier interview. That also shaped how he looked at M&A. For instance, would he ever seek a strategic partner, he was asked? \u201cIf a company can help us to achieve bigger global success, I won\u2019t be against the idea. But I don\u2019t think there is such an opportunity now,\u201d Zhang told the magazine.\r\n\r\nThat interview was published in December 2016. That was at a time when Bytedance had just steered itself out of a regulatory crisis when Chinese newspapers took on its news aggregating app Toutiao over copyright infringement (see WiC244). It was also the period when the entrepreneur was about to launch the overseas version…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Tiktok-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China and the World, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":46974,"title":"Massive oversubscription for bottled water IPO","content":"Evian has long claimed that its water, sourced from a small town in the French Alps, is a geological miracle: rainfall and snow is sluiced through glacial rocks, resulting in water full of electrolytes.\r\n\r\nNongfu Spring, China\u2019s bestselling bottled water brand, makes similar claims about its own water sources, which include springwater from the Changbai Mountains and Thousand Islands Lake. The bottler boasts that water from these areas is so fresh that it contains far more minerals than regular water, and is thus much better for health.\r\n\r\nProving those benefits is difficult but Nongfu is the clear leader in the bottled water market, accounting for more than a fifth of the industry\u2019s China\u2019s sales for eight consecutive years, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt is now raising as much as $1 billion in an initial public offering in Hong Kong \u2013 and having set the share price at the top end of its prospective range, the company is already valued at around $33 billion. The shares start trading on September 8. Despite a lofty valuation, the IPO was oversubscribed 285 times in the retail tranche, with investors hoping to plough some HK$167.6 billion ($21.6 billion) into the offering. To help put…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Nongfu-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"7"},{"id":46948,"title":"American firms worry about the impact of a proposed ban on WeChat","content":"Nearly 14,000 executive orders have been issued since George Washington became the first president of the United States. Some of the more controversial \u2018instant laws\u2019 \u2013 which require no approval from Congress \u2013 have included a ban on hoarding gold during the Great Depression and the internment of Americans of Japanese and German descent during the Second World War.\r\n\r\nMuch more recent is Donald Trump\u2019s proposed block on \u201cany transaction that is related to WeChat\u201d, Tencent\u2019s all-in-one app. Issued on August 14 in the name of safeguarding national security, and effective within 45 days, the edict applies to Americans and US firms. And it has rattled US business circles, especially those with substantial sales in the Chinese market.\r\n\r\nTheir concern was immediately apparent in a survey of 142 corporations initiated by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. An overwhelming 88% of respondents warned against widening the restrictions to usage of WeChat by US firms and citizens in China itself.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAside from facilitating exchanges with clients and employees as a chat messenger, WeChat is widely deployed as a marketing tool through mini-programs that operate as virtual stores, or a feature called Moments, that resembles Facebook\u2019s newsfeeds. WeChat is even used in regulatory compliance,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/WeChat-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"8"},{"id":46953,"title":"ChiNext loosens IPO rules as rivalry hots up with Shanghai\u2019s STAR Market","content":"Deng Xiaoping\u2019s Southern Tour in 1992 is widely seen as the catalyst for reinvigorating China\u2019s \u2018reform and opening up\u2019 policies, after they had been stymied by conservative forces. The visit by the paramount leader (though officially retired) to the special economic zone of Shenzhen was a symbolic affirmation of his support for bolder market-based reforms. A key plank that Deng highlighted was the promotion of a vibrant capital market. \u201cSome people say that equity trading is capitalistic. We\u2019ve had a taste of it in Shanghai and Shenzhen. The results have proven to be tremendous. It seems there are elements in capitalism that socialism can borrow from,\u201d commented the then 88 year-old.\r\n\r\nTwenty-eight years later and Deng might have been pleased to see that China\u2019s onshore stock markets have made a gigantic leap. Its bourses trail only those of the US, at a capitalisation of Rmb73 trillion ($10.7 trillion) as of August 31. That gargantuan size, however, does not imply the market operates efficiently \u2013 given that China\u2019s financial reform agenda has always been something of a stop-start process. These flaws are often cited by critics to explain the low proportion of foreign ownership of A-shares (around 3% of the market\u2019s total…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Anker-main-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"9"},{"id":46956,"title":"Polysilicon manufacturers shares back in focus after industrial accidents","content":"When four explosions ripped through a GCL-Poly Energy plant in mid-July, it wasn\u2019t just the polysilicon firm\u2019s distillation system that erupted. The share prices of its two main competitors in China exploded too. New York-listed Daqo New Energy and Shanghai-listed Tongwei are both trading at double the levels they were back in May.\r\n\r\nThe blast, in the western region of Xinjiang, has taken 48,000 metric tonnes, or about 8.8%, out of the global supply chain of polysilicon (the main material in making solar cells). The plant is likely to stay shut for the rest of the year.\r\n\r\nThe same month saw reports of a gas leak at a nearby Daqo plant, potentially affecting about 6,000 metric tonnes of production per year, as well as another explosion at an East Hope plant that took 40% of its capacity offline.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIndustry expert Bernreuter Research says it is no coincidence that the disruptions are happening in the troubled Uighur Autonomous Region. \u201cIt appears to be difficult to attract enough highly qualified staff to the remote area of Xinjiang,\u201d it explained, before adding that plant maintenance is a \u201cdelicate task\u201d.\r\n\r\nEquity investors have been more interested in the impact on polysilicon prices. They guessed they would rise and…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/polysilicon-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"11"},{"id":46971,"title":"MediaTek founder drawn into Sino-US chip clash","content":"The Taiwanese press has in the past dubbed him the \u201cbandit phone king\u201d, because Tsai Ming-kai\u2019s company MediaTek traditionally manufactured the chips that powered lower-end mobile phones, mostly made in mainland China. His firm has had a challenging 2020, courtesy of Donald Trump\u2019s efforts to curtail Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.\r\n\r\nHigh noon for MediaTek?\r\n\r\nIn May the US Department of Commerce restricted Huawei\u2019s access to US technology, banning its use in the manufacture of chips designed to Huawei\u2019s specifications. This impeded the Shenzhen giant\u2019s chip design arm HiSilicon, as well as the company which manufactures its most advanced chips, TSMC.\r\n\r\nThat sounded like good news for companies such as MediaTek, which could ship their off-the-shelf chips to Huawei instead. MediaTek\u2019s share price shot up 75% between May and August.\r\n\r\nHowever, it was a false dawn. As some had always suspected, it was only a matter of time before the US government closed the loopholes in the Huawei supply chain ban.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLast month the US authorities announced new restrictions preventing all third-party vendors from supplying Huawei with any chips made with US software or hardware. In practice, this means all the suppliers as there are no real alternatives to US technology at the more advanced end…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Tsai-Ming-kai-w.jpg","category":"Who\u2019s Hu","page":"13"},{"id":46977,"title":"Hyatt launches joint venture hotel chain in\u2008China","content":"Since 2012 China has been the world\u2019s largest source of outbound travellers. It also became the world\u2019s largest market for business travel four years later.\r\n\r\nAdd those two milestones to another achievement \u2013 that the Chinese authorities have largely managed to contain the spread of Covid-19 since the peak of the outbreak which centred on Wuhan earlier in the year \u2013 and you can see why the country is one of the few bright spots in the travel sector, albeit most of it in domestic tourism.\r\n\r\nSince April, when the last lockdown restrictions were lifted on residents in Hubei province, most Chinese have been able to travel freely, providing that they have a green health code on their smartphones.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTravel abroad is almost impossible, however, meaning that the 150 million Chinese who usually take annual overseas trips are looking for other options at home.\r\n\r\nDomestic tourism still isn\u2019t back to pre-pandemic levels, but business is rebounding \u2013 and some hotel operators are so positive about the market potential that they have launched new brands, even as the pandemic continues to curtail their operations in most other markets.\r\n\r\nOne such initiative is UrCove \u2013 a new chain of business hotels jointly owned by Hyatt Hotels Corporation…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Mark-Hoplamazian-w.jpg","category":"China Tourist","page":"14"},{"id":46980,"title":"Cambridge student discusses difficulties Chinese face at UK universities","content":"In a recent article in The Times, Heidi He talked about the status of Chinese students at British universities in the Covid-19 era.\r\n\r\nShe told the UK newspaper that students like her were facing a \u201cvicious circle\u201d. What did she mean?\r\n\r\nHeidi He knows the UK very well \u2013 arriving in her teens to study at a boarding school there. She is currently an undergraduate at Cambridge University studying philosophy. In February she co-founded the Cambridge University China Forum (CUCF), a student-run society committed to fostering constructive discussion about China. Here she shares her thoughts on the current challenges facing Chinese students in the UK, talking to Olivia Halsall, who wrote our column Olivia\u2019s Cambridge Diary over the past year.\r\n\r\nWhat was the motivation behind establishing the Cambridge University China Forum (CUCF)?\r\n\r\nChina is one of the few countries that has never been fully colonised by the West. Its distinct political, philosophical and cultural heritage brings unique narratives and complex relations between the nation, regime, heritage and people. I feel it is crucial that we embrace these complexities when we talk about China-related issues.\r\n\r\nThere was no platform in Cambridge dedicated to discussion as such. So when my friend came to me with the idea…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Olivia-Halsall-w-1.jpg","category":"Education","page":"15"},{"id":46962,"title":"Hunan Satellite TV\u2019s hit drama thrives because it is so unconventional","content":"\u201cAll happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,\u201d is the opening line of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.\r\n\r\nOver the years, China has explored plenty of family woes on television: between husband and wife; parents and children; and, of course, relationships with the in-laws, to name but a few.\r\n\r\nBut since its premiere in early August, Go Ahead, a series on Hunan Satellite TV about a different family dynamic, has been the biggest hit drama in the country.\r\n\r\nThe story revolves around three teenagers \u2013 Ling Xiao (played by Song Weilong), He Ziqiu (Zhang Xincheng) and Li Jianjian (the actress Tan Songyun) \u2013 who grow up in broken families. Ling\u2019s mother was hospitalised in an accident; while He\u2019s parents left him behind when he was young. Li\u2019s mother died when she was little. But even though they are not blood-related, the three grow up to be best friends, becoming a \u2018family\u2019 of their own, living together with two of the fathers.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOn Douban, the TV series and film review site, the drama has a strong rating of 7.2 out of 10. Part of the reason the show has been a ratings hit is that it is light-hearted and upbeat,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Tang-Sonyun-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":46965,"title":"A forerunner of Sichuan-style hotpot","content":"What is it?\r\n\r\nMalatang is sometimes described as a forerunner of hotpot (see WiC47). The popular street food is effectively a hotpot being served in a fast food style. Its raw ingredients are cooked in a broth made with heaps of chilli, peppercorn, garlic and other spices. After you have chosen your meat the chef puts it into the scalding hot broth (sometimes on a skewer that is easier to eat on-the-go). After the dish is ready it can be topped with more chilli sauce or sesame dressing.\r\n\r\nWhat\u2019s the origin?\r\n\r\nMala (\u9ebb\u8fa3) means numbing and spicy, while tang (\u70eb) means \u2018boiling hot\u2019 in Chinese. Malatang as a dish originated on a stretch of the Yangtze River in Sichuan, where people made a living from towing boats upstream. For meals these men would throw whatever they could find \u2013 raw meat and vegetables \u2013 into a pot of boiling water for a simple meal. Over time they started to add more seasoning, like chilli and the other spices. According to traditional Chinese medicine, this would combat any dampness in the weather as well.\r\n\r\nMalatang grew popular, with the dish spreading to other areas and becoming what it is known as today.\r\n\r\nIn the news\r\n\r\nJust recently…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Malatang-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Fast Food","page":"188"},{"id":46986,"title":"Textbook furore shows maths is still a male domain in China","content":"Over the years, various studies have shown that there is no difference between boys\u2019 and girls\u2019 capabilities when it comes to maths.\r\n\r\nYes, by the time they hit teenage years, boys tend to do better in maths as an academic subject. But at the level of brain function, researchers have shown there is no gender-based difference \u2013 suggesting the male dominance in maths from secondary school onwards might just be socially determined.\r\n\r\nThat understanding does not seem to have trickled through to the East China Normal University Press. On August 19 it released two new textbooks for maths for primary school children \u2013 a red one for girls and a blue one for boys.\r\n\r\nThe publishing house said the decision to release separate textbooks was based on \u201cBig Data\u201d and that the two different versions were designed to cater to each gender\u2019s strengths and weaknesses.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe gender differences between boys and girls are still very obvious,\u201d one of the book\u2019s authors said.\r\n\r\nYet only a day later the publisher pulled the books from sale in the face of widespread anger online.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhat next, different high school exams for girls and boys,\u201d asked one irritated Sina Weibo user. \u201cNothing wrong with making an easy textbook and a…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/09\/Math-class-w-scaled.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1659,"name":"Issue 508","date":"Aug 28, 2020","title":"A long wet summer","tagline":"After a summer of catastrophic floods in a number of Chinese provinces, the Three Gorges Dam is tested to the limit","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/508.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/508-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":46866,"title":"After Covid-19, China grapples with the challenges of flood relief","content":"More than two months of torrential rain have created a major crisis along the Yangtze, China\u2019s longest river. Higher up the watercourse in Sichuan, rising waters have even touched the toes of the 71-metre Leshan Giant Buddha, where floodwaters lapped the base of the world\u2019s largest stone Buddha for the first time since 1949. Sandbars and islands further down the Yangtze have been swallowed up, with river transport largely suspended. The city of Chongqing has been sounding the highest flood alerts, while the reservoir behind the nearby Three Gorges Dam has hit record highs. The dam was built with the intention of protecting people from \u201conce in a century\u201d floods but it has been forced to release massive torrents of water. Is that a signal that the Yangtze\u2019s flood defences are failing?\r\n\r\nHas this year has seen China\u2019s worst flooding?\r\n\r\nThe country has battled several \u201conce in century\u201d floods in the past decade, prompting questions over whether this relates more to climate change or poor flood control measures (see\u2008WiC331). The Chinese authorities have pointed out this is the wettest year on record for the Yangtze River Basin, which has endured at least six major waves of rainfall over the summer monsoon. Rain…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Dam-w.jpg","category":"Environment, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":46869,"title":"Beike, a two year-old property platform, is now worth more than Vanke","content":"Chinese real estate agency KE Holdings braved stormy seas to go public in New York. Worsening Sino-US relations have seen American regulators demand more oversight over Chinese firms listed in the US (those that don\u2019t comply might get delisted). A fearful set of companies have even chosen to quit US bourses and return to China\u2019s A-share market or Hong Kong instead.\r\n\r\nAdditionally, the real estate platform\u2019s core business also had to handle the disruptions of the Covid-19 outbreak, only a few months prior to its share offering. But seemingly against all odds, its $2.1 billion IPO is the largest by a Chinese firm in the US for more than two years.\r\n\r\nFollowing a 130% spike in share price since its trading debut two weeks ago, the company is now worth $52 billion (or Rmb360 billion) too. That means the real estate broker is more valuable than Vanke, China\u2019s biggest property developer by sales, which has a market capitalisation of about Rmb309 billion.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nKnown as Beike in Chinese (or \u2018seashell\u2019), the company\u2019s online business model is only two years-old, although its more traditional agency Lianjia, or Homelink, was founded in 2001. Combined, Beike is China\u2019s biggest real estate firm with 42,000 outlets (including franchisees)…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Property-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Property","page":"6"},{"id":46889,"title":"Chinese firms head the Covid-19 vaccine race with three Phase III candidates","content":"Smallpox, which caused as many as 300 million deaths in the twentieth century alone, stopped being a threat to humanity in 1979. Its eradication was the fruit of a globally coordinated vaccination programme. Today, over 170 teams of scientists around the world are working on a similar effort to extirpate Covid-19.\r\n\r\nWhile the number of experimental vaccines under clinical investigation has quintupled to 31 (compared to our previous report on the discovery effort; see WiC492), Chinese firms are still apparently the frontrunners. As of August 26, the country had produced three of the six candidates in their final stage of trials, meaning that their vaccines\u2019 efficacy and safety will be tested across thousands of people, according to the World Health Organisation.\r\n\r\nLeading the field is China National Biotec Group, a subsidiary of state-owned Sinopharm. CEO Liu Jingzhen told Guangming Daily on August 18 that its vaccines will be ready for public distribution by the end of December.\r\n\r\nHis expectation is based on Phase III trials of its two candidates taking about three months to complete. Tests of the earliest batch of vaccines started on 15,000 volunteers in late June in Abu Dhabi, and additional trials also gained approvals in Bahrain, Peru, Morocco and…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Covid-Vaccine-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"7"},{"id":46893,"title":"The major-general behind a Chinese coronavirus vaccine","content":"In the jingoistic action flick Wolf Warrior II, China is portrayed as the world\u2019s saviour at almost every turn. There is also a Dr Chen, who finds a vaccine to counter an infectious disease ravaging Africa. That subplot is meant to pay tribute to Chen Wei, the military virologist who developed an effective Ebola vaccine in real life, and who now looks set to launch a Chinese Covid-19 vaccine \u2013 possibly the first.\r\n\r\nWho is she?\r\n\r\nBorn in 1966 in Lanxi in Zhejiang province, Chen was a bright student. After completing her undergraduate studies in chemical engineering at Zhejiang University, she was recommended for admission to Tsinghua, probably the top university in China for science subjects, for a postgraduate programme. In 1990 when she was 24, a mentor arranged for Chen to do some work at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences. The research atmosphere there inspired her to further her studies at the Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, under the People\u2019s Liberation Army, the following year. Upon obtaining her doctorate in genetic engineering in 1998, Chen then became a faculty member at the army\u2019s medical school, taking up a series of senior roles in the years that followed.\r\n\r\nBiowarfare expert\r\n\r\nMuch of Chen\u2019s…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Chen-Wei-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Red Star","page":"9"},{"id":46876,"title":"The bleak outlook for China\u2019s ATM makers","content":"The automatic teller machine was the greatest banking invention ever, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker once remarked.\r\n\r\nThe first ATM machine to be installed in China appeared in 1987 in Zhuhai\u2019s special economic zone. That was some 20 years after the world\u2019s first ATM debuted in London. China went on to become the biggest consumer of ATMs, with about 700,000 machines in place by the end of 2018. That compared with 433,500 in the United States, according to China Business Journal\r\n\r\nATM manufacturers in China did well out of the surge in installations. On top of a fast-growing market, state-owned banks started to switch to domestic suppliers from global heavyweights such as NCR and Diebold Nixdorf.\r\n\r\nGRG Banking Equipment was the first domestic manufacturer to go public on the A-share market in August 2007 (less than a year after the IPOs of ICBC and Bank of China). Guangzhou Kingteller Technology followed two months later.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cIn the good old days, the ATMs were as good as money-printing machines for their manufacturers. Demand significantly outstripped supply,\u201d Tencent Finance recalled last week.\r\n\r\nBut the investment case for the same firms has now foundered, Tencent Finance opined. \u201cTime has left ATMs behind, without even saying goodbye,\u201d it remarked.\r\n\r\nGuangzhou…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/ATM-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"10"},{"id":46885,"title":"Beijing touts a new strategy for the economy: relying less on others","content":"Over the past 40 years of economic reforms, Chinese planners have sometimes summed up the country\u2019s development model with four characters: liangtou zaiwai (\u4e24\u5934\u5728\u5916).\r\n\r\nTranslating literally as \u201ctwo heads, located abroad\u201d, the meaning conveyed how the manufacturing process started and finished overseas \u2013 with the import of components and other raw materials, and the export of finished goods.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s how \u2018the world\u2019s factory\u2019 came into being, despite the lack of a local supply chain and very limited capital and knowhow.\r\n\r\nInstead, generations of young workers served as foot soldiers for the globalisation process as factories leveraged an army of cheap but diligent labour to seize a huge slice of international trade.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOver the past few months Chinese leaders have been flaunting a fundamentally different strategy. How it pans out could decide whether China replaces the United States as the world\u2019s biggest economy in the years to come.\r\n\r\nWhat is the new approach?\r\n\r\nThe term \u201cdual circulation\u201d has cropped up in policy documents and state propaganda efforts with increasing frequency as the central government tries to reboot the economy after the Covid-19 outbreak.\r\n\r\nThe first major mention came on May 14, when Chinese leader Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the seven-member Standing Committee of the Politburo to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Xi-Jinping-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Chinese Models","page":"11"},{"id":46873,"title":"E-commerce giant buys KYE to take on Cainiao","content":"When a Shenzhen-based logistics company signed a Hong Kong-born martial arts actor as its brand spokesman in 2015, it probably didn\u2019t realise just how good a deal it had struck. The actor in question, Wu Jing, was only just becoming a household name thanks to his role in Wolf Warrior, a record-breaking action film released in the same year.\r\n\r\nWu has gone on to become one of China\u2019s most bankable movie stars, topping the Forbes China Celebrity 100 List last year. Kuayue Express (KYE), the logistics firm he endorses, made it into a prominent ranking too. Hurun Report, a publishing firm, included the Shenzhen firm in its China Unicorn Index in 2018, assigning it a Rmb20 billion ($2.89 billion) valuation.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHowever, KYE was swallowed up by JD.com\u2019s logistics arm earlier this month for just Rmb3 billion.\r\n\r\nHurun has a track record for sizing up Chinese tycoons\u2019 individual net worth. However, it has clearly over-estimated the value of KYE in the wake of brutal competition in the courier industry which, according to TMT Post, is fast turning into a duopoly, between JD.com and Alibaba\u2019s Cainiao Network.\r\n\r\nChina still has multiple delivery companies and many of them are listed on bourses. But the reality is that…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/wujing-w.jpg","category":"Logistics","page":"13"},{"id":46879,"title":"A second \u2018factory girl\u2019 emerges as a Foxconn rival","content":"Published in 2008, Leslie Chang\u2019s Factory Girls is a very readable book about the millions of female migrants who worked long hours in the \u2018workshop of the world\u2019. Towards its end she focuses on how ambitious some of these women were. Chang was right: two former \u2018factory girls\u2019 have more than outdone the expectations flagged in her moving account, building companies that have emerged as genuine competitors to Foxconn, the main assembler of Apple\u2019s devices.\r\n\r\nLast month we reported how Terry Gou, Foxconn\u2019s founder, was said to be \u201cshocked\u201d when Luxshare, one of the firms in question, announced a deal to acquire two factories in China from Taiwanese assembler Wistron for Rmb3.3 billion ($476.8 million).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLuxshare was founded by Wang Laichun, a former factory girl at Foxconn (see WiC506).\r\n\r\nMedia reports from Taiwan and Japan saw Apple\u2019s hand in the takeover too, claiming that the Californian giant is trying to groom Luxshare as a rival assembler of iPhones to Foxconn.\r\n\r\nA similar deal offers another broad hint that Apple is rejigging its supply chain. Lens Technology, another A-share firm, announced earlier this month that it had agreed to acquire two factories in mainland China for $1.43 billion from Taiwan\u2019s Catcher Technology, which makes metal…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Iphone-w.jpg","category":"M&A","page":"14"},{"id":46882,"title":"Tesla furious as e-commerce site discounts its cars","content":"When the world\u2019s biggest companies engage in competing advertising campaigns, it rarely does their brands or financials too much harm: quite the contrary, in fact.\r\n\r\nTake Audi and BMW. The two German car companies once tried to outsmart each other with competing billboards on a chess theme. Audi said that BMW\u2019s \u2018pawn\u2019 of a car was no match for its \u2018king\u2019. BMW retaliated with a billboard nextdoor that simply said \u2018checkmate\u2019.\r\n\r\nMight Tesla and Pinduoduo benefit from a marketing spat, triggered by the Chinese e-commerce platform? Pinduoduo ran a promotional campaign offering a 13.7% discount on five of Tesla\u2019s Model 3 cars. \u201cThe subsidy\u2019s real and so is the car,\u201d ran the tagline.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTesla was not happy, seeing the campaign as a \u201cstunt\u201d. It only sells its cars \u2013 undiscounted \u2013 directly from its own website and showrooms. It accused Pinduoduo of \u201cmalicious marketing\u201d. The Chinese firm then countered that Tesla was being \u201carrogant\u201d. But some netizens think that both companies will benefit from the publicity the row has generated. \u201cThis kind of so-called conflict is a win-win for both,\u201d wrote one. \u201cEveryone knows that social media traffic reigns supreme. Our comments are the stepping stones for these kings to lay the foundations…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Tesla-Model-3-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"15"},{"id":46857,"title":"Chinese firms take the lead in the Fortune list","content":"Two years before the Standard & Poor\u2019s 500 index was first introduced, investors already had a guide to the biggest businesses in the United States. That was down to Edgar Smith, then assistant managing editor of Fortune, who published a league table in 1955 ranking American firms by their revenues. The list identified the 500 largest, hence its name: the Fortune 500.\r\n\r\nToday, the ranking is still widely cited in gauging a company\u2019s influence, as well as tracking the rise and fall of firms and sectors in the US.\r\n\r\nIts international version \u2013 the Fortune Global 500 \u2013 provides a similar snapshot of the changing state of global markets and the relative strengths of national economies.\r\n\r\nA revealing discovery this year is that \u2013 for the first time \u2013 there are more companies from mainland China and Hong Kong in the Global 500 than from the US: 124 versus 121 (with another nine hailing from Taiwan, according to Fortune).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe latest rankings were proof of China\u2019s \u201csheer gravity-defying rise\u201d in global business circles, according to Clifton Leaf, the editor-in-chief of Fortune magazine, who noted that nowhere else in the world produced more \u201cgiant \u2018for-profit\u2019 enterprises\u201d.\r\n\r\nIn fact, the Chinese took most of the top five…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Sinopec-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"16"},{"id":46860,"title":"Peeved actress melts down in her inaugural livestreaming sales pitch","content":"In the past, celebrities fearing that they are past their prime have tried to cash in on the remainder of their influence by appearing in infomercials for some unlikely products, like hearing aids or remedies for bone and joint pain.\r\n\r\nIn China, too, many stars have forayed into product endorsement on e-commerce livestreaming platforms, although that doesn\u2019t necessarily mean that their careers are on the wane. Far from it, in fact: livestreaming is a lucrative spot at the moment, where mainstream products like cosmetics are being sold in vast quantities. But as some stars have learned the hard way, not everyone strikes gold first time. Last week actress Zheng Shuang made her first appearance on an e-commerce livestream on Kuaishou, a short video platform, and quickly became the trending news on weibo \u2013 although not for the reason she would have hoped.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAccompanied by two other livestreamers Mao Meimei and DJ Zijin, the starlet was primed to pitch 30 products on her debut. But Zheng didn\u2019t seem to understand her job as she began to find fault with her surroundings, complaining about everything from the fashion style of her two co-hosts to the goods she had been asked to endorse.\r\n\r\nAt one point,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Zheng-Shuang-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":46863,"title":"Why some Chinese deem Donald Trump one of the best US presidents?","content":"Given that Donald Trump has hurled insults, imposed sanctions and talked repeatedly about Chinese responsibility for the Covid-19 pandemic, you might think the Chinese must dislike or even resent him. That is true of most Chinese. However, some think he might actually be one of the best US presidents \u2013 at least from China\u2019s national perspective.\r\n\r\nIn fact, Trump\u2019s quasi-fans have given him a semi-endearing, semi-sarcastic nickname: Chuan Jianguo \u5ddd\u5efa\u56fd. Jianguo translates as \u201cfounding or building the nation\u201dand is quite a popular name for men\u2013 especially so during the two decades following the founding of the People\u2019s Republic. So, Trump\u2019s Chinese nickname means \u201cTrump builds (our) nation\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe nickname first appeared in 2018 when a story on a science news website alleged that Trump\u2019s uncle John G Trump, a renowned scientist and a director of MIT\u2019s High Voltage Research Laboratory for over 30 years, had helped a visiting nuclear physicist from China to make equipment that later contributed to China\u2019s detonation of nuclear bombs.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nI tried to verify these claims but couldn\u2019t find much credible information in support. However, I did see an entry on Encyclopedia.com\u2019s Science page on the scientist in question \u2013 Zhao Zhongyao, who was sent by Chiang Kai-shek\u2019s Nationalist…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Trump-w.jpg","category":"Ask Mei","page":"19"},{"id":46897,"title":"Should low income students study archaeology?","content":"By all accounts Zhong Fangrong is a quiet girl who takes solace in her studies. She was born into rural poverty and was raised by her grandparents because her mother and father had to live and work in the city as migrant labourers.\r\n\r\nDespite her challenging upbringing, Zhong came fourth out of 194,000 high-school exam takers in Hunan province\u2019s gaokao (college entrance exam) this year, meaning she had her pick of universities and degree courses across China.\r\n\r\nHer choice of Peking University was uncontroversial.\r\n\r\nHer decision to study archaeology triggered a nationwide debate on the question of following your dreams rather than providing for your family.\r\n\r\n\u201cShe should choose a major that will earn her money and allow her to improve her family\u2019s conditions,\u201d wrote one of the 420 million people who viewed the topic on Sina Weibo.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cShe should study archaeology as a hobby when she is rich and free,\u201d added another.\r\n\r\nUntil recently, her choice of study suffered from a poor reputation in China \u2013 very few archaeological digs were carried out and the only jobs available were in ossified, badly-paid state institutions.\r\n\r\nA huge propaganda drive extolling China\u2019s ancient roots has helped to change archaeology\u2019s image, particularly after some high- profile discoveries. Yet many…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Zhong-Fangrong-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1658,"name":"Issue 507","date":"Aug 21, 2020","title":"Let the games begin","tagline":"Tencent seeks to merge eSports livestreaming leaders Huya and Douyu in a bid to head off archrival Bytedance","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/507.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/507-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":46792,"title":"With TikTok in trouble, Tencent plots merger to thwart Bytedance","content":"Tencent has never hidden its ambitions to become one of the world\u2019s biggest entertainment platforms. It has a strong claim to having already achieved much of that goal, given the sheer number of its active users, many of whom spend many hours a day on Tencent\u2019s online offerings that range from games to books to movies.\r\n\r\nIts fast-growing local rival Bytedance has emerged as a genuine threat to Tencent\u2019s aspirations. While Bytedance\u2019s short-video platform TikTok has hogged international headlines, back home a fierce battle with Tencent has raged over its domestic version Douyin.\r\n\r\nIndeed, when TikTok popped up for the first time in our coverage, we were reporting at the same time how Douyin was embroiled in a bitter wrangle with Tencent over the blocking of its service by the older internet behemoth\u2019s popular WeChat app (see WiC411).\r\n\r\nA year earlier, we had discussed how Tencent was introducing a news function inside WeChat to fend off some of the challenge from Bytedance\u2019s news aggregator Jinri Toutiao (see WiC367).\r\n\r\nOf course, over the last few weeks Bytedance has run into a different kind of opposition, after Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring the Chinese firm to sell TikTok\u2019s US operation in 90 days. Yet…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Douyu-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":46795,"title":"Military drills take centre-stage in latest round of Sino-US tensions","content":"To nobody\u2019s great surprise the six-month review of January\u2019s trade agreement between Washington and Beijing has been postponed. \u201cI don\u2019t want to talk to China right now,\u201d Donald Trump, the US president, explained on Tuesday.\r\n\r\nBut with ties between the two superpowers looking more strained than ever, how are they choosing to communicate? More of the signalling is coming through military exercises, it seems.\r\n\r\nBeijing chose to demonstrate its displeasure over the Taipei visit of US Secretary of Health Alex Azar earlier this month with a series of live-fire drills from the People\u2019s Liberation Army on the northern and southern ends of the Taiwan Strait. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian confirmed that the drills were a response to the \u201cserious and negative signal\u201d (presumably sent by the US) conveyed by Azar\u2019s visit.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe exercises went well beyond standard training in demonstrating China\u2019s ability to \u201claunch attacks on Taiwan secessionists from any direction of the Taiwan Strait,\u201d the Global Times explained.\r\n\r\nAzar, the health secretary, is the most senior American official to visit Taiwan since 1979. He was careful to refer to the island as a jurisdiction rather than a country during his trip but Beijing still sees his visit as a violation of an…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Azar-w.jpg","category":"Cross Strait","page":"6"},{"id":46799,"title":"More dire news for China\u2019s 5G leader from the US","content":"One of the features of more than two years of increasing hostility towards Huawei in Washington is how the company has steered ahead, apparently unperturbed. Its networking business has reported successive quarters of healthy sales and its consumer unit hit new heights in April by overtaking Samsung as the world\u2019s biggest smartphone seller, according to research firm Canalys.\r\n\r\nBehind the headlines there were doubts about how long Huawei could hold out against the gathering storm. The latest sales figures said as much: Huawei sold over 70% of its smartphones in mainland China in the second quarter, but shipments to international markets plunged 27% year-on-year, signposting the darkening mood.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe sense of foreboding took starker form on Monday when the US Department of Commerce formalised its ban on foreign chip firms from doing business with the Chinese giant. The Americans first ordered a halt on sales of US-made chips last year, before issuing another directive warning non-US suppliers against selling components made with US technology to Huawei. The final loophole has effectively been closed. For Huawei the day of reckoning is finally here.\r\n\r\nLast month the British government cited uncertainty about semiconductor supply as a key factor in its backtracking on allowing Huawei to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Wilbur-Ross-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Telecoms","page":"7"},{"id":46802,"title":"Chinese electric car firms are raising cash in US","content":"Tesla\u2019s world-beating stock market valuation has attracted plenty of headlines. Its electric vehicle (EV) sales in China have helped to power its market capitalisation to almost double Toyota\u2019s, triple Volkswagen\u2019s and six times more than Daimler\u2019s.\r\n\r\nBut it\u2019s not just Tesla that\u2019s capturing investor attention. China\u2019s two New York-listed EV start-ups, NIO and Li Auto, have also enjoyed stock market surges that put their market values in the same league as Peugeot, Nissan and Porsche.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s an outcome few would have predicted a few months ago. Back in March NIO was struggling financially after trying to take on Tesla at the high-end of the market. Few had even heard of Li Auto (known in China as Lixiang), which had sold a total of 3,869 cars. But its highly successful Nasdaq debut at the end of July shows how much can change in a short space of time.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nStrong demand for the shares prompted an upward revision of Li Auto\u2019s $1.1 billion IPO pricing. Yet even that failed to deter investors: the share price rose 50% in the two weeks after its debut.\r\n\r\nLi Auto\u2019s case also demonstrates that there are still Chinese companies which want to list in the US. Another EV brand from…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Xpeng-P7.jpeg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"8"},{"id":46805,"title":"China\u2019s leader calls for more efforts to curb food waste","content":"Chuiyan Fried Beef, a restaurant chain in Changsha, has a radical approach to recommending its dishes to diners. Customers are first asked to weigh themselves. Women weighing less than 40kg are then recommended the chain\u2019s signature beef dish, plus steamed fish head; men weighing above 80kg are steered towards the same beef dish, plus eggplant and braised pork belly. Inside the restaurant there are signs encouraging diners to \u201cclear their plates\u201d and \u201cbe frugal\u201d too.\r\n\r\nThe rather unusual initiative, which left many confused, was meant to lend support to a campaign started by Xi Jinping to reduce food waste. According to Xinhua, the Chinese leader deems the current levels of uneaten (and subsequently wasted) restaurant food as \u201cshocking and distressing\u201d.\r\n\r\nXi even cited a Tang Dynasty poem as part of his advice, asking people to \u201cknow that each grain on your plate comes from the labour of peasants\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nDespite years of bumper harvests, people in China should not be so complacent about abundant food Xi says, noting that emergencies such as the coronavirus outbreak could disrupt supply. He has also emphasised the need to step up legislation to foster a culture of thrift.\r\n\r\nIn some quarters, the advice was interpreted as putting China on…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Banquet-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Environment","page":"9"},{"id":46808,"title":"Boss of one of China\u2019s best known vaccine makers","content":"The coronavirus pandemic has minted a number of billionaires. Take US biotech company Moderna. A front-runner in the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, the quadrupling of its share price has enriched the two professors that created the firm.\r\n\r\nOver in China, Jiang Rensheng, the founder of Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products, has emerged as one of the country\u2019s 10 richest men. Within a month of Zhifei receiving the the regulatory greenlight to start trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, Jiang\u2019s net worth had more than doubled to $20 billion (as of July 31).\r\n\r\nGetting started\r\n\r\nBorn in 1953, Jiang spent his childhood in a remote village in the mountainous region of Guangxi. Finishing high school during the tumultuous Cultural Revolution, he spent the next seven years teaching at a primary school and working in the fields until the gaokao (the annual college entrance exam) was restored in 1977. At the age of 27 he graduated from Guilin Medical School (now Guilin Medical University) with a diploma and was assigned a position at the Guanyang County Health and Epidemic Prevention Station.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nJiang was rapidly promoted, before being posted to Nanning, the provincial capital, in the early 1990s. His various senior roles included deputy chief of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Jiang-Rensheng-w.jpg","category":"Who\u2019s Hu","page":"10"},{"id":46811,"title":"Milestone as Xiaomi enters the Hang Seng Index","content":"One of the best-known stories in the classic Chinese novel The Romance of the Three Kingdoms tells of how the warlord Liu Bei persuaded the famous strategist Zhuge Liang to help him draw up a plan to unify the country. Liu Bei is said to have won Zhuge Liang over by making three visits to his thatched cottage in Hubei province.\r\n\r\nFor Xiaomi founder Lei Jun the story is an analogy for the efforts he made to attract talented recruits to the tech company during its early days. It didn\u2019t take three \u201cthatched cottage\u201d visits but 30, he told the audience during the company\u2019s tenth anniversary celebrations earlier this month.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLei Jun was also celebrating Xiaomi\u2019s achievements over the past decade. He said he was particularly proud that it had joined the Fortune 500 list in 2019 after only nine years of existence. Xiaomi says it now wants to go from \u201c10 to infinity,\u201d focusing on smart manufacturing to create \u2018innovative products at honest prices for all\u2019. But it has always been a company that divides opinion, especially after its IPO didn\u2019t go as smoothly as planned in 2018, when it was forced to cut its valuation.\r\n\r\nThe Hong Kong-listed stock is still…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Lei-Jun-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"11"},{"id":46814,"title":"TV show helps local cosmetics firm to drive sales","content":"Since its premiere in mid-June, Sisters Who Make Waves, a reality show about women over 30 competing for a spot in an all-female pop group, has been the breakout TV success of the summer (see WiC500).\r\n\r\nThe series has been so popular that the share price of Mango Excellent Media, the company that produces it, has gone up 30%. It has also made Thanmelin, its title sponsor, a household name almost overnight. Each episode begins with the camera lingering on a selection of Thanmelin\u2019s beauty products, followed by the slogan: \u201cIf you want to win, don\u2019t be afraid of age; all the Sisters use Thanmelin.\u201d\r\n\r\nThanmelin is a homegrown beauty brand that wasn\u2019t widely known until its advertising push across a number of TV shows over the past year. Besides sponsoring Sisters Who Make Waves, the brand has been spotted in other popular series including Back to Field and Viva La Romance. More recently it tapped Annie Yi, 52, one of the contestants in Sisters, for her personal endorsement, along with actress Zhang Xinyu, 33.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe domestic skincare brand largely targets older women from smaller cities, albeit with products that bear higher price tags. On Tmall, a tube of its lipstick sells for…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Zhang-Xinyu-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"12"},{"id":46817,"title":"Balenciaga faces bag backlash","content":"Foreign luxury brands have had their share of marketing flops in China. Amongst the most memorable was a promotional video campaign by Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana that showed a shy Chinese model struggling to eat spaghetti, pizza and a long Italian pastry (a cannoli) with chopsticks. Supposedly \u2018edgy\u2019 it backfired badly and sparked a customer boycott on accusations of racism (see WiC434). And then there was Burberry\u2019s strange Chinese New Year tribute which many likened to a horror film.\r\n\r\nThe latest in the firing line is Balenciaga, which is owned by Paris-based Kering. It released a new campaign recently to celebrate the Qixi Festival, also known as China\u2019s Valentine\u2019s Day (it falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month on the Chinese calendar \u2013 this year that is on August 25).\r\n\r\nThe ad featured a male model giving Balenciaga\u2019s latest Hourglass handbag \u2013 decorated with a Chinese-style graffiti font reading \u201cHe Loves Me\u201d \u2013 to a woman. She looks suitably awestruck about the gift (the bag\u2019s retail price is Rmb13,900). All this takes place against a backdrop of a fake waterfall flanked by red roses and hearts. Netizens were unimpressed. Many called it \u201ctacky\u201d and \u201ctasteless\u201d, while some…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Balenciaga-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"13"},{"id":46820,"title":"Huayi Brothers blockbuster finally hits screen after mammoth delay","content":"It took 178 days for Chinese cinemas to reopen once the pandemic had hit. But for the embattled studio Huayi Brothers there was a delay of more than a year and a half \u2013 leading to the sale of a Van Gogh masterpiece, as well as a luxury property in Hong Kong (see WiC501) \u2013 before its war film The Eight Hundred finally arrived in movie theatres.\r\n\r\nLast Sunday, the studio announced that the film will be screened nationwide, following a long period of delays. Wang Zhonglei, the CEO, choked with emtion in telling reporters during the online premiere of the film: \u201cI have waited for today for 463 days. For 463 days, not a day has gone by without The Eight Hundred being on my mind and in conversations.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe Eight Hundred is one of the first releases of a high-profile domestic feature since cinemas reopened in late July. First day takings were limited, but that was because the initial release only went to a relatively small number of venues. However, local media was optimistic with presold tickets earning Rmb100 million ($14.5 million) in the first few days.\r\n\r\nThe film, which reportedly cost Rmb550 million to make, tells the story of the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/wbXled3A-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"14"},{"id":46823,"title":"How Zhen\u2019an county overspent on a school","content":"Only three months ago Xinhua was praising Zhen\u2019an county in Shaanxi province for \u201cpushing forward with infrastructure construction in an effort to build a liveable and eco-friendly environment\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe article was accompanied by aerial pictures of the mountainous region, showing, among other structures, a grandiose new school with traditional Chinese roof, extensive gardens and an arched stone bridge.\r\n\r\nNow that very same school is back in the headlines as another example of a needlessly extravagant project in a poverty-stricken place.\r\n\r\nNews of the school\u2019s fancy construction comes after another impoverished county \u2013 Dushan in Guizhou \u2013 was found to have borrowed huge sums to build a largely decorative complex that was never completed.\r\n\r\nBoth governments are now technically bankrupt and will need to be bailed out by their prefectural or provincial bosses.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhy do so many small towns splurge on these over-the-top, out-of-budget projects? Beijing News says the answer is about showing off: \u201cTo put it bluntly, local leaders focus on vanity projects, thinking it will advance their political careers,\u201d it said. As well as classrooms, dormitories, teacher accommodation and a gym, the 272-acre campus in Zhen\u2019an features a huge banqueting hall and a private meeting room decorated with dark, expensive-looking wood.\r\n\r\nThe school can accommodate…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/08\/Youku-w.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"16"}]},{"id":1657,"name":"Issue 506","date":"Jul 31, 2020","title":"And the winners are...","tagline":"Top stock market regulator Yi Huiman launched Shanghai\u2019s STAR Market a year ago \u2013 we look at which IPOs performed best","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/506.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/506-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":46717,"title":"How is China\u2019s Nasdaq-style board faring a year after its launch?","content":"Launched in November 1999, Hong Kong\u2019s Growth Enterprise Market was the first attempt to create a China-focused answer to Nasdaq. Hopes were high that it could replicate the US bourse\u2019s success, turning lossmaking start-ups into supernovas.\r\n\r\nBut within a year, the project lost traction. Aside from the dotcom bubble\u2019s implosion, the fundamental issue was the shortage of tech firms in Hong Kong itself and across the border.\r\n\r\nAt the time Alibaba and Tencent were relatively unknown and less than two years old. Zhongguancun in Beijing, a cradle for tech unicorns, had only just started to gain recognition.\r\n\r\nMuch has changed in the last two decades.\r\n\r\nAs of October China had produced 206 unicorns worth more than $1 billion each. In the past many of these firms have generally preferred to go public in the US. But in a bid to keep them at home in\u2008China, a new tech board was set up in Shanghai on July 22 last year. The Science and Technology Innovation Board, or STAR Market, celebrated its first anniversary this month.\r\n\r\nIs it doing any better than the earlier effort in Hong Kong?\r\n\r\nHow much has the tech board raised?\r\n\r\nIn just 12 months, the STAR Market has made a quantum leap to become…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Star-Market-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":46721,"title":"Taiwan in difficult position as South China Sea tensions flare again","content":"Once upon a time the United States supported Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea. The American military even gifted a fleet of vessels to the Chinese navy (then virtually shipless) to claim the Spratly Islands, which are now claimed in part by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. The biggest of the islands was even renamed Taiping in honour of one of the warships that sailed there following Japan\u2019s surrender after the Second World War.\r\n\r\nBut this was in 1946 when mainland China was still controlled by Chiang Kai-shek\u2019s Kuomintang (KMT). The Taiwanese still control Taiping (also known as Itu Aba, the largest of the naturally occurring islets in the Spratlys), a legacy of the KMT fleeing to Taiwan in 1949.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThat made it a flashpoint again two weeks ago when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that Chinese maritime ambitions \u2013 in this case, the People\u2019s Republic of China \u2013 in the region were \u201ccompletely unlawful\u201d.\r\n\r\nPointedly, the statement came out on the fourth anniversary of a judgement from an international tribunal at The Hague that rejected Chinese claims to the Spratly archipelago. It was the first time that the US government had publicly endorsed the ruling, although the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Ma-Ying-jeou-w.jpg","category":"Cross Strait","page":"8"},{"id":46725,"title":"Consulates close down, as Sino-US tensions simmer","content":"Past experience means America\u2019s overseas diplomats must keep an eye on the emergency exits. The last-gasp airlift from the embassy roof in Saigon in 1975 is one of the most dramatic of their departures. Staff in Tehran didn\u2019t get out in time four years later when students burst through the gates, taking a number of hostages.\r\n\r\nThe closure of the American consulate in Chengdu on Monday hardly bears comparison to those two crises. Indeed, the atmosphere in Chengdu was more cordial last week than in 1999, when crowds threw stones at the American embassy in Beijing after the inadvertent bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade by the US military.\r\n\r\nThis time around the expulsion of the US officials was a tit-for-tat measure, made in response to the shutting down of the Chinese consulate in Houston this month.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nState department officials allege that the consulate was a staging point for Chinese spies trying to steal information from universities in Texas, although the Chinese government rejected the accusations, lambasting the closure as an unprecedented breach of diplomatic etiquette.\r\n\r\nThe consulate in Chengdu was last in the spotlight in 2012 when it provided temporary refuge to Wang Lijun, a former police chief trying to defect after…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/US-Consulate-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"9"},{"id":46728,"title":"CATL gets major new investors to fuel its EV battery business in China","content":"An important new relationship is crystallising in the electric vehicle (EV) sector, although few feel confident enough to hazard a guess about where it might end up. During Tesla\u2019s second quarter earnings call last week, the company\u2019s founder and CEO, Elon Musk, confirmed that it is starting volume production with a new battery supplier in China, Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL).\r\n\r\nThe Chinese company is supplying its lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) batteries for the Model 3 cars Tesla makes in\u2008Shanghai. Musk said that this will allow existing suppliers LG Chem and Panasonic, to ramp up production of their rival lithium ion phosphate (L-ion) batteries for pipeline products such as Tesla\u2019s new truck (the Semi), which require batteries with higher energy density.\r\n\r\nDoes this new relationship mean that CATL (see WiC499) will become to Tesla what TSMC (an R&D-led manufacturer) has been to Huawei? Certainly, a battery is as integral to an EV as a computer chip is to a smartphone.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTesla is likely to score a lot of political points with the Chinese government by endorsing a domestic company as a key technology supplier. However, Musk has also predicted that Tesla\u2019s own energy storage and battery business will be as large and as important…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Zhang-Lei-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"11"},{"id":46731,"title":"How a former \u2018factory girl\u2019 is putting pressure on Foxconn\u2019s Terry Gou","content":"After attending a much-feted internet conference in Wuzhen in December 2017, Apple\u2019s CEO Tim Cook met two up-and-coming businesspeople.\r\n\r\nOne was Meituan Dianping\u2019s founder Wang Xing, with whom Cook shared a few pan-fried buns and soup dumplings at Dahuchun, one of Shanghai\u2019s favourite restaurants. Meituan went public in Hong Kong less than a year later and has displaced Baidu as the third most valuable Chinese internet firm (see WiC498).\r\n\r\nCook\u2019s encounter with Wang captured a lot of the media attention. There was only a brief reference to his visit on the same day to a factory in Kunshan where Apple\u2019s AirPods are made. Wang Laichun \u2013 the chairwoman of Luxshare \u2013 didn\u2019t even warrant a mention.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe rise of this \u2018other Wang\u2019 over the past three years has been equally spectacular, however. The share price of Luxshare\u2019s Shenzhen-listed unit has jumped more than 400% in the same period. As of this week, it was worth Rmb370 billion ($52 billion), as much as Taiwan-listed Hon Hai Precision, better known as Foxconn, which has long been Apple\u2019s most important contract manufacturer.\r\n\r\nAlso going by the English name Grace, Wang is now one of the richest women in China, if not the world. Staying out of the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Terry-Gou-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"13"},{"id":46736,"title":"E-commerce giant buys shops","content":"At a time when many malls are short of traffic, shops are closing and retailers are going bankrupt, JD.com surprised the e-commerce sector last week by completing the purchase of white goods retailer Five Star Appliance for Rmb1.5 billion ($208 million).\r\n\r\nJD.com already owned 46% of Five Star, acquiring the remaining stake to broaden its offline sales channels. Earlier this year, the e-commerce giant bought $100 million worth of convertible bonds from Gome, one of China's largest sellers of electronic goods and appliances. There have been other investments in mobile phone and accessories retailer D.Phone, as well as in Lenovo\u2019s smart retail unit Lecoo.\r\n\r\nJD.com and Five Star first linked up in April 2019, when the e-commerce giant purchased a stake in the Jiangsu-based retailer for Rmb1.3 billion. Founded in 1998, Five Star Appliance has more than 700 stores, although sales stalled again last year, dropping 4% compared with a year before to Rmb12.5 billion.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\n\u201cMany of Five Star\u2019s stores are concentrated in Jiangsu province, where consumer spending power is relatively high and the retail industry is well-developed. At the same time, it also has a presence in third- and fourth-tier markets. Coupled with JD.com\u2019s strong buying power and logistics infrastructure, it can…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Five-Star-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"14"},{"id":46739,"title":"Why 90 key scientists resigned abruptly from a state research institute","content":"For thousands of years scholars have enjoyed the highest social status in China. The Confucian value system afforded them great respect, asking that they eschew money-making and focus instead on their studies in the hope that their knowledge would contribute to the wellbeing of society at large.\r\n\r\nThat\u2019s why it was a more dubious honour when Wu Yiling, founder of Yiling Pharmaceutical \u2013 a star performer in the A-share market because of a patented drug said to combat Covid-19 (see WiC493) \u2013 was dubbed by local media as the \u201crichest academician\u201d from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).\r\n\r\nWu\u2019s success will have inspired other scientists in the State Council\u2019s leading research institute to commercialise more of their R&D results more quickly. But the same trend has just laid waste to a key CAS research unit in Hefei, a growing hub for tech start-up and venture capital investment.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe Institute of Nuclear Safety Technology (INEST) almost imploded last month when 90 scientists and researchers resigned on the same day. The reasons for their sudden departure were not immediately clear. INEST told local newspapers that the exodus was part of \u201cnormal staff turnover\u201d and that some of its employees had been \u201cpoached\u201d by a private…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Hefei-w.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"15"},{"id":46743,"title":"Another boom in coal-fired power plants in China","content":"Coal has no place in Covid-19 recovery plans. So said UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres at an energy summit recently. But has that message reached the Chinese, who account for half the world\u2019s coal demand?\r\n\r\nIn 2019 coal consumption in China rose 1% to 3.8 billion metric tonnes, according to consulting firm Enerdata.\r\n\r\nOver the past decade demand was up 15%, compared to a 50% decline in the United States over the same period. US consumption was down to 0.5 billion metric tonnes in 2019, a 12% reduction on 2018. Europe registered an even more impressive 15% decline in the same year.\r\n\r\nThere has, however, been an improvement in China\u2019s energy mix, with coal-fired power dropping from 72% of the total in 2009 to 58% a decade later, following heavy investment in renewables. Yet there are concerns the government will turn back to dirtier power in a bid to pump prime an economy ravaged by Covid-19.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe government released a draft law in April that proposes to give renewable energy providers preferential access to the national grid. But the same piece of legislation doesn\u2019t cover China\u2019s energy exports. A report by the Global Energy Monitor and Centre for Research on Energy and Clear Air says…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Coal-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Energy & Resources","page":"16"},{"id":46746,"title":"China launches its first planetary probe to look for water on Mars","content":"Turns out you can\u2019t just launch a Mars mission at any old time. There is a brief window of opportunity every 26 months when the Red Planet aligns with Earth, vastly reducing the distance between the celestial bodies.\r\n\r\nThis window is the reason that three Mars launches have been scheduled for late July: the UAE\u2019s Hope probe (launched July 20), China\u2019s Tianwen-1 (launched July 23) and America\u2019s Perseverance (launched yesterday).\r\n\r\nThe Tianwen-1 is China\u2019s second attempt at a Mars mission \u2013 in 2011 it launched the Yinghuo-1 orbiter in conjunction with a Russian spacecraft. Unfortunately, the burners on the Russian craft did not activate at the crucial moment, causing the two vehicles to fall back to earth.\r\n\r\nThis time China used its own rocket, and the Tianwen-1 rover has its own delivery system designed to get it all the way to the Red Planet, including the so-called \u2018seven minutes of terror\u2019 \u2013 the infamously difficult journey from the top of the planet\u2019s thin atmosphere (where temperatures reach 870 degrees centigrade) to its windswept surface.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nA total of 44 Mars exploration missions have been launched since 1960s, Xinhua noted, but only about half have succeeded. The success rate for landing is even lower, and only…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Tianwen-w.jpg","category":"Space Programme","page":"17"},{"id":46749,"title":"New drama wins plaudits for focus on thirty-something women","content":"Women are taking over Chinese television this summer. Sisters Who Make Waves, which debuted on Mango TV, the online streaming platform owned by Hunan Satellite TV, has taken top billing, with critics delighting in a format that embraces older women (see WiC500). But another drama about three women in their thirties has also been making waves. Nothing But 30, which is broadcast on Dragon Satellite TV and streams on Tencent Video, centres on the lives of three women in Shanghai as they navigate the different challenges they face in their relationships, families and careers.\r\n\r\nPerhaps the most talked about character on the show is Gu Jia (played by actress Tong Yao). She is a stay-at-home mother and her husband is a wealthy chief executive of a fireworks production company. But the plot makes it clear that Gu, smart and savvy, is the real reason behind his success. She also won\u2019t take no for an answer: when her son is rejected by one of the most coveted international schools in Shanghai, she befriends the wife of a school trustee in the hope of getting him a place.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nAnother character is Wang Manni (Jiang Shuying), an ambitious migrant worker. As a sales executive with…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Tong-Yao-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"18"},{"id":46753,"title":"Her row with talent manager reveals celebrity plight","content":"Who is she?\r\n\r\nYamy, whose real name is Guo Ying, found fame when she appeared on the reality show Produce 101 on Tencent Video. With her versatile rapping and dance background, the 28 year-old Guangdong-native was voted onto the 11-member pop band Rocket Girls. But just two years after its formation the group announced in late June that they had parted ways.\r\n\r\nWhy is she in the news?\r\n\r\nLast week, Yamy wrote an emotional weibo post detailing the emotional abuse she claims to have endured from Xu Mingchao, chief executive of JC Universe Entertainment, her talent manager.\r\n\r\n\u201cSince Produce 101, I\u2019ve had netizens calling me ugly and old,\u201d the former leader of the girl band wrote. \u201cAs an artist, I know that I can\u2019t escape criticism\u2026 But the self-confidence that I painstakingly built up crumbled three months ago. Xu Mingchao, the boss whom I trusted and relied on the most, asked all the staff to talk bad about me during a meeting.\u201d\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nShe went on to post a voice recording which included Xu criticising her looks. In the clip Xu could be heard saying, \u201cTell me. Do you think Yamy is pretty?... She\u2019s really ugly. This is the truth. What else is there to say?…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Yamy-w.jpg","category":"Red Star","page":"19"},{"id":46757,"title":"How do Chinese netizens feel about the deteriorating Sino-US relations?","content":"With the shutdown of the Chinese consulate in Houston and the tit-for-tat closing of the US consulate in Chengdu, Sino-American hostility seems to be reaching a hysterical point. What may come next? If Chinese social media is any indicator, a military conflict, or a \u2018hot war\u2019, between the two superpowers is one of the more likely scenarios.\r\n\r\nIn the past week I have seen a noticeable increase of war-related discussions on WeChat and Sina Weibo. On Tuesday, a friend posted the Chinese version of the 2016 report War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable by the RAND Corporation, a US think tank. He commented that whether we like it or not, the possibility is no longer as unthinkable as it seemed just a few weeks ago and that we should all be prepared for war. While few people believe that all-out confrontation is likely, many think that some kind of low-to-medium-level military conflict is possible, especially in the South China Sea.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, a nationalistic newspaper, is one of the most vocal voices. \u201cEven though most Americans may not want to go to war, their rampant populism and their displeasure at China\u2019s rapid development may be exploited…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/MZ-2.jpg","category":"Ask Mei","page":"20"},{"id":46765,"title":"Protection of pets in focus as bird is stolen","content":"Pure white plumage, round head and a small but fat shape \u00ad\u2013 call ducks with their adorable appearance are becoming rising stars in China's pet market,\u201d China Daily informed its readers last year. A shop in Guangzhou was even making a living from customers wanting to spend time with them, the newspaper added.\r\n\r\nBut for many other Chinese, ducks are still best understood as something that goes into the oven, it seems.\r\n\r\nThe nation now reports some 90 million registered pets, with many more unregistered ones. Pet ownership has exploded in recent years with the Ministry of Agriculture finally reclassifying dogs as \u2018companion animals\u2019 rather than \u2018livestock\u2019 earlier this year. Dogs have also been dropped from the list of 31 animals permitted to be raised for human consumption (see WiC491).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nHowever, pet ownership is still a relatively new phenomenon and the Chinese people can classify the same animal or bird in very different ways \u2013 as a recent case from Hebei illustrates.\r\n\r\nA duck, which was raised as a pet by the friend of well known actress, was stolen this month by a passerby and slaughtered for its meat. According to media reports it was a costly domesticated call duck \u2013 and the incident…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Duck-w-scaled.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"21"}]},{"id":1656,"name":"Issue 505","date":"Jul 24, 2020","title":"Is this China\u2019s Tesla?","tagline":"Shakeout in the electric car sector sees investors betting on which local firm can replicate Elon Musk\u2019s success","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/505.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/505-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":46649,"title":"How a round of new investment is reshaping China\u2019s car market","content":"Every December there are forests of forecasts on what might happen in the year ahead. How much do they get right? At the end of last year no one was predicting that oil prices would dip briefly into negative territory. There were no scenarios for a tech-heavy Nasdaq repeatedly hitting record highs, despite a deadly global pandemic.\r\n\r\nIt would have been a similarly bold call for an analyst to predict that Tesla would emerge as the world\u2019s most valuable car firm. But a 250%-plus spike in its share price so far this year saw the electric vehicle (EV) pioneer surpass $300 billion in market value last week. Toyota (with a $200 billion market cap) is trailing some way back and General Motors ($37 billion) isn\u2019t even in Tesla\u2019s rearview mirror.\r\n\r\nIn early 2017 Tencent revealed it had scooped up a 5% stake in Tesla. The Chinese internet major might be tempted to cash this out were it merely an equity investment \u2013 the stake has soared to more than $15 billion in value from its $2 billion starting point. But there\u2019s little indication that Tencent is looking to take profit. Instead, the internet giant has just doubled down on its other bet…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Nio-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":46652,"title":"US defence giant may face China rare earths ban","content":"It says something about the strained mood in Sino-US relations that discussion of how to deploy the US military in defence of Taiwan is no longer limited to obscure military journals.\r\n\r\nEven the business press thinks that it\u2019s worth debating, with Forbes magazine running a series this month on what might happen in a confrontation between the two countries over the Taiwan Strait.\r\n\r\nOne of the articles concentrates on the crucial role of Taiwanese troops on Penghu (an archipelago 30 miles west from the main island) in resisting the mainland Chinese invasion for long enough to allow American bombers to strike back.\r\n\r\nAnother makes the point that the People\u2019s Liberation Army will be fighting at a disadvantage to its opponent because its airforce lacks mid-air refuelling capacity, surrendering large parts of the region\u2019s skies to American planes.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTensions over Taiwan were reverberating through China\u2019s foreign ministry again last week, when it announced sanctions against American giant Lockheed Martin for its role in a $620 million upgrade of a Taiwanese missile system that has just been approved in Washington.\r\n\r\n\u201cTo safeguard the country\u2019s interests, China has decided to take necessary steps and put sanctions on the main contractor for this sale, Lockheed Martin,\u201d a spokesman said.\r\n\r\nBut…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Lockheed-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"7"},{"id":46656,"title":"Bytedance\u2019s TikTok faces a growing risk of shutdown in the US and UK","content":"In 2017 Fujian native Zhang Yiming became obsessed with learning English. Aside from reading more English language materials himself, the 37 year-old software engineer \u2013 and founder of the tech giant Bytedance \u2013 also asked his staff to take English classes.\r\n\r\nThe goal was to support an even greater mission: turning his Beijing-based start-up into a global enterprise where half of its users would come from abroad by 2021.\r\n\r\nWith TikTok, the short-video social-networking app that has taken the world by storm, Zhang is not far from realising his ambition. Downloaded over 2 billion times globally as of the first quarter this year, the platform has at least 800 million monthly active users, with a little more than half coming from its home market China where it operates under the brand Douyin.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nImpressively, TikTok is currently the world\u2019s highest-grossing non-gaming app, according to a ranking compiled by Sensor Tower. TikTok\u2019s revenue soared nine times on the year to $264 million between April and June. That quarter alone topped its full-year income of Rmb180 million in 2019, the San Francisco-based research firm estimated.\r\n\r\nMounting tension between China and the US and its allies, could derail its expansion, however.\r\n\r\nIndia recently banned TikTok (see WiC502) and the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Ian-Duncan-Smith-w.jpg","category":"Media","page":"8"},{"id":46659,"title":"Troubled financial group fires back at \u2018nationalisation\u2019 push","content":"Anbang Insurance and Tomorrow Group were two of China\u2019s fastest growing financial powerhouses \u2013 that is, until they fell foul of the regulators in the aftermath of the infamous stockmarket meltdown of 2015. The pair have since dwindled in scale and clout. Tellingly, two state-backed firms are being primed instead as \u201caircraft carrier\u201d investment banks as China\u2019s financial markets start to open up to more international competition (see last week\u2019s Talking Point).\r\n\r\nThe formerly buccaneering Anbang has been renamed Dajia, which means \u2018everyone\u2019 in Chinese, following its nationalisation two years ago. Its founder Wu Xiaohui was sentenced to 18 years in prison and ordered to forfeit Rmb10.5 billion ($1.65 billion) in assets after being found guilty of fundraising fraud and embezzlement.\r\n\r\nWu was arrested in June 2017, just a few months after Tomorrow\u2019s controller Xiao Jianhua had been spirited out of Hong Kong\u2019s Four Seasons hotel (where he had been residing for some time) and ferried across the border back into mainland China (see WiC354).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhile Wu\u2019s case seems done and dusted, there hasn\u2019t been much news of Xiao\u2019s whereabouts for more than three years. But if the proceedings against Wu and Anbang are anything to go by, the final verdict on Xiao…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Xiao-Jianhua-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"10"},{"id":46662,"title":"Jack Ma sells some of his Alibaba shares as Ant Group heads for an IPO","content":"After spending the last few months selling down some of his stake in Alibaba, China\u2019s e-commerce king is now set to be crowned as the new prince of fintech, as Ant Group nears an initial public offering in Shanghai and Hong Kong.\r\n\r\nJack Ma has cashed out of more than $6.1 billion of Alibaba stock in the eight months since the company launched its secondary listing in Hong Kong. As of July 2, he still held 4.8% of Alibaba\u2019s shares but that was down from 6.1% last November, company filings show. Alibaba executive vice chairman Joseph Tsai reduced his own stake over the same period, selling shares that were worth $3.3 billion as of last week.\r\n\r\nAnalysts have been trying to interpret the divestments at a time when other tech tycoons have been reducing their holdings too. Earlier this month we wrote about how Colin Huang, the founder of e-commerce newcomer Pinduoduo, was stepping down as its chief executive officer, and disposing of about $14 billion of shares in the process (see WiC503). There have been sales from senior leaders at Tencent as well, including Pony Ma, who sold stock worth about $810 million over the first half of this year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOne view…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Jack-Ma-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"11"},{"id":46665,"title":"Foxconn expands in India","content":"Foxconn\u2019s new staff in India may be eating less white rice and more chapatis but the story of their employment is essentially the same as in China: young women from poorer backgrounds find gainful but low-paid work assembling some of the world\u2019s biggest electronics brands.\r\n\r\nLeslie Chang\u2019s Factory Girls told the story of the young women trying to improve their lot in Dongguan\u2019s manufacturing plants in China\u2019s Pearl River Delta almost a generation ago. Many complained about the cramped dormitories, long working hours and awful food (rice with a meat or vegetable).\r\n\r\nToday\u2019s cohort of young Indian women looks a little different. They\u2019re usually sporting a salwar kameez beneath their uniforms and a typical potato and pea curry lunch sounds more appetising than the food on offer to their Chinese predecessors, even if the wages don\u2019t quite match up (about $130 per month).\r\n\r\nThe world\u2019s smartphone manufacturers are building new manufacturing hubs along India\u2019s southeastern seaboard. Geographically it\u2019s a good location to service global export markets, with a large labour force and India\u2019s second largest port nearby in Chennai (formerly Madras). Localising production has the added advantage of avoiding India\u2019s 20% import tariffs for companies keen to build their domestic market share.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe tariffs…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Foxconn-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"12"},{"id":46668,"title":"Covid-19 not under control, says Hong Kong\u2019s boss","content":"In May and June Hong Kong had seemed a relative safe haven insofar as the coronavirus was concerned. There were few locally transmitted cases and long periods when no new infections were reported in the community. At one point, only about 30 people were hospitalised and the number of deaths was very low (at just four).\r\n\r\nBut any sense of success in pushing back the pandemic was shattered this month as a \u2018third wave\u2019 of infections spread across the city. On Sunday a 108 new cases were confirmed \u2013 the first time that a triple-digit figure was announced for a single day \u2013 and in the preceding fortnight over 500 infections had come to light.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe situation is very severe and there are no signs that this is getting under control,\u201d warned Carrie Lam, Hong Kong\u2019s chief executive, on Sunday.\r\n\r\nBy comparison, no city in mainland China faces a situation anywhere near as seriousas this (the recent outbreak in Beijing was contained over the last two weeks).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nLam\u2019s government has escalated measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 with a larger number of restrictions than in April, when an earlier lockdown was initiated to fight a \u2018second wave\u2019 of infection triggered by Hong Kong…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/HK-Mask-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"13"},{"id":46671,"title":"How brands should do business in China\u2019s $1.5 trillion e-commerce market","content":"China\u2019s e-commerce market is the world\u2019s largest. Feeding from more than 900 million online users (according to the Ministry of Commerce), online retail sales were Rmb10.6 trillion ($1.51 trillion) last year, up 16.5% from 2018. But the growing number of sales platforms means that brands need a well-calibrated strategy to get a foothold in this rapidly changing market.\r\n\r\nWiC spoke with Sandrine Zerbib, an expert on e-commerce in China, to learn more about how the best brands drive consumer engagement, and above all, convert traffic into sales. After moving to China 27 years ago, the French executive began her career at Adidas. Since 2010 she has advised premium fashion, lifestyle and sports labels through her Shanghai-based consultancy Full Jet. Her clients include Club Med, Dr Martens, De\u2019Longhi, Fossil, Lacoste, Jack Wolfskin, Skechers and UGG.\r\n\r\nWhat drew you to China\u2019s e-commerce sector?\r\n\r\nI first came to China in 1994 to help Adidas develop their business in the country. I didn\u2019t plan to stay for an extended period of time but soon I got the impression that China, despite being a challenging place, was where things would happen.\r\n\r\nIn 2010 I got an equally strong impression that China would be the place where e-commerce could take…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Sandrine-Zerbib-w.jpg","category":"Corporate Q&A","page":"14"},{"id":46674,"title":"On Monday most cinemas in China reopened, to industry relief","content":"After 178 days of shutdown, China\u2019s film industry has finally reopened. On Monday cinemas deemed to be in \u201clow-risk\u201d zones for Covid-19 infection were given the green light to welcome back audiences. As most of the country is now classed as lower risk for infection, it is essentially a national reopening (although theatres in Beijing, victim of a fresh outbreak last month, are still shut).\r\n\r\nStrict conditions were still imposed on returning cinemagoers. Each screening room was capped at 30% of its capacity, and the number of movies shown per venue was limited to half of the standard selection. Films cannot exceed 120 minutes in length either. Tickets must be bought online and customers must sit more than a metre apart. Temperatures are taken on entry and masks must be worn at all times. In a further blow to their bottom lines, cinemas are prohibited from selling both food and beverages.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWith these kind of conditions customers can be forgiven for choosing to stay at home and watching a film online. Studios have also complained that the reopening rules means that a lot of their films will have to be held back, because of the time limits on broadcasts. \u201cA lot of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/687787013380112486-w.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"18"},{"id":46678,"title":"Maps app faces controversy","content":"Has Granny made it to her square-dancing class? Is my boyfriend really working late at the office? These are two of the queries that the Amap app can now help to resolve, following the launch of its new tracking service. Since July 14 Amap \u2013 known as Gaode in Chinese and controlled by Alibaba \u2013 has allowed groups of up to 12 users to share live location information with one other. It says the function was launched so that families could track the whereabouts of children or elderly parents. But it clearly didn\u2019t expect to spark a heated discussion about privacy.\r\n\r\n\u201cThe Cyber Information Security Law stipulates that the collection and use of personal information by network operators shall follow the principles of lawfulness, fairness and necessity, and shall not collect personal information irrelevant to the services they provide. In this way is the operation of the \u2018family map\u2019 beyond the scope of a mapping app?\u201d questioned one commentary in the Southern Daily.\r\n\r\nThe debate about data privacy has deepened since Baidu CEO Robin Li claimed two years ago that consumers in China were willing to sacrifice their online anonymity in order to enjoy quicker, more personalised services (see WiC415).\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSince then there…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/amap-w.jpg","category":"Society","page":"19"},{"id":46683,"title":"Why is boiled water the go-to beverage for Chinese?","content":"On a hot summer day with the scorching sun beating down on necks and backs, an ice-cold drink sounds perfect. But for many Chinese warm water is always preferred, no matter the weather.\r\n\r\nThere are a number of reasons why the Chinese want to drink water that has been through the boiler. Historically, drinking hot water was one of the ways of trying to stay warm through winter. But in warmer seasons, the simplest answer is that it helps to clean out bacteria (SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes the novel coronavirus, dies after being heated for 15 minutes at 90\u00b0C, French scientists believe).\r\n\r\nThe boiling of drinking water was heavily promoted during the 1930s, when the Kuomintang government launched the New Life Movement, issuing guidelines on different aspects of everyday life. Boiled water was recommended as a way of avoiding diseases such as dysentery and when the Communist Party took over in the 1950s the practice was encouraged again. Mao Zedong and other senior leaders were often photographed holding mugs of hot water, creating demand for enamel mugs.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nWhat is keeping the practice alive today is China\u2019s relatively poor water quality, which leads many people to assume that drinking directly from the…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Water-w-scaled.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"20"}]},{"id":1655,"name":"Issue 504","date":"Jul 17, 2020","title":"What drove the A-share rally?","tagline":"How moves by Citic and Everbright to create \u2018financial aircraft carriers\u2019 have triggered a bullish mood among China\u2019s stock investors","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/504.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/504-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":46584,"title":"The recent rally in China\u2019s A-shares anticipates a landmark regulatory shift","content":"In 1933 Franklin Roosevelt signed an emergency act \u2013 commonly known as Glass-Steagall \u2013 to restore confidence in an American financial system that had been battered by the Great Depression.\r\n\r\nOne important outcome was the separation of investment banks from mainstream commercial lenders. The legislation largely stayed in place until 1999, when Glass-Steagall was repealed. The removal of the restrictions separating banking and broking sparked a golden decade in the US financial markets. Yet some blame that same deregulation for sowing the seeds of the 2008 global financial crisis.\r\n\r\nFast forward to contemporary China where there is speculation that regulators are preparing to tear down the firewall that separates their commercial lenders and investment banks as well.\r\n\r\nThe prospect of the policy change has been a key reason for a major bull run in the A-share market.\r\n\r\nConversely, the sudden exuberance has more cautious observers worried that share prices are getting overheated and that the market could be heading for another meltdown akin to the \u201cGreat Fall of China\u201d in the summer of 2015 (see WiC293).\r\n\r\nWhy is China breaking the \u2018Glass-Steagall\u2019 wall?\r\n\r\nRetail and wholesale lenders have largely been kept apart from the investment banks for years. In the early 1990s the Chinese dipped their…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Stock-Market-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":46587,"title":"Trouble ahead as Britain bans Huawei from its 5G network","content":"Boris Johnson took an ear-bashing over the phone from Donald Trump earlier this year, following the UK\u2019s decision to grant Huawei a limited role in building its 5G mobile network. And now the British prime minister will be waiting for another angry call on how he has handled the Huawei situation \u2013 this time from Beijing.\r\n\r\nThis follows the reversal of an agreement in January that Huawei could be involved in \u2018non-sensitive\u2019 parts of the country\u2019s 5G network (see WiC481). Now the Chinese giant is unwelcome, even in limited form: phone firms won\u2019t be allowed to add its equipment to their networks from the end of this year and all of Huawei\u2019s existing kit will have to be ripped out by 2027.\r\n\r\nIntelligence chiefs have altered their advice on the basis that Huawei is going to have problems securing the supply of American parts and components, because of trading restrictions ordered from Washington. \u201cGiven the uncertainty this creates around Huawei's supply chain, the UK can no longer be confident it will be able to guarantee the security of future Huawei 5G equipment,\u201d said Oliver Dowden, the government minister with responsibility for 5G policy.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe change of heart is a triumph for the Trump…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Huawei-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"7"},{"id":46590,"title":"Inspur at risk of Huawei-style supply shock","content":"The Sino-US tech war could soon be fought on a new front: over Intel\u2019s all-conquering X86 architecture, which provides the building blocks for design of the computer processing unit (CPU) chips used in PCs and servers.\r\n\r\nThe first shots in the conflict came at the end of June, when the Pentagon released a list of 20 Chinese companies with connections to the Chinese military.\r\n\r\nIt included Inspur, which ranks as China\u2019s largest manufacturer of server hardware and software (50.8% domestic market share in 2019, according to IDC). The group, which has three listings in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen, is wholly reliant on Intel\u2019s Xeon range of X86 CPU chips for its server products (our first article on Inspur was in WiC241).\r\n\r\nThe publication of the Pentagon\u2019s list prompted a tightening of US export restrictions, forcing Intel to halt shipments to Inspur while it made sure it was compliant with the new procedures. The issue seems to have been settled within a matter of days and if that\u2019s as far as it goes, Inspur\u2019s production is unlikely to be unduly affected.\r\n\r\nBut the question is whether that it is likely to be the end of the matter, given the current direction of Sino-US relations.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nX86…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Intel-Xeon-w.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"8"},{"id":46593,"title":"How China reacted to US exit from WHO","content":"On July 6 the United States formally notified the World Health Organisation of its plans to withdraw from the United Nations body in a three-line letter.\r\n\r\nThe move, which will take a year to complete, was clearly signalled in advance \u2013 US President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused the WHO of being a Chinese \u201cpuppet\u201d and of failing to contain the coronavirus pandemic when it had the chance.\r\n\r\nIn another earlier four-page letter about suspending US funding to the WHO in May, Trump said the WHO had demonstrated an \u201calarming lack of independence from the People\u2019s Republic of China\u201d, adding he could not use \u201cAmerican taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organisation that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America\u2019s interests\u201d.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe US government has provided the WHO with about $450 million of contributions a year \u2013 in a mixture of mandatory and voluntary payments. It was the largest contributor by far with China paying a much lower sum \u2013 in previous years as little as 16% of the US contribution. However, since Trump froze US payments in April, China has donated an extra $50 million to the organisation\u2019s Covid-19 fund \u2013 helping to fill the financial and political…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/WHO-w.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"9"},{"id":46596,"title":"Policymakers hunt for ways to get more graduates into employment","content":"Who would want to be in the Class of Covid-19 in China? Most of these students have barely been on campus during their final year at university and now nearly nine million of them are looking for work in the worst job market in living memory.\r\n\r\nChina\u2019s official rate of urban unemployment was 5.9% in May, the most recent of the monthly surveys. That was down from 6% in April, although commentators believe that the numbers are significantly underreported. The jobless rate for 20-24 year olds \u2013 more typical of graduate age \u2013 fared more poorly, up from the previous month and showing a 3.3% increase on a year earlier. That still seems too low if anecdotal data from online recruitment firms is to be believed, showing the number of roles on offer to graduates has dropped sharply.\r\n\r\nA study by Peking University of the positions advertised by the recruitment platform Zhaopin earlier this year reckoned that jobs on offer had dropped by at least 10% in the first quarter. The worst affected were jobseekers with minimal amounts of work experience, it warned.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOther stories in the media point in a similar direction, with growing pressure from provincial governments on college administrators to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Chinese-Students-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Economy","page":"10"},{"id":46599,"title":"Sina to leave Nasdaq in another sign of Chinese firms departing the US","content":"In August 1999 China.com was the first \u2018Chinese internet stock\u2019 to go public in the US. It had almost everything going for it in order to be successful in the dotcom boom. Trading under the symbol \u201cCHINA\u201d, the Hong Kong-based firm owned one of the most potent URLs of the time. It had even lined up a unit of news agency Xinhua alongside AOL as a shareholder.\r\n\r\nIn less than a year, China.com\u2019s share price surged from its $20 IPO price to $220, giving it a valuation of $5 billion. The speculation was that it would take over Sina.com, one of China\u2019s three top internet firms of the time along with NetEase.com and Sohu.com. There were even suggestions that China.com would gobble up all three.\r\n\r\nThere was one crucial thing that China.com lacked, though. The Chinese government didn\u2019t allow the country\u2019s \u201cinternet content providers\u201d to be owned by foreign entities. That meant that from day one, despite its name, China.com couldn\u2019t tap into China\u2019s domestic internet sector. For investors, it was a rude awakening.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nSina \u2013 once a takeover target \u2013 took a different path, especially in growing Sina Weibo into one of the most popular social media apps in China. As such,…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Charles-Cao-w.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"11"},{"id":46602,"title":"Daimler joins VW in battery maker investment","content":"The world\u2019s car firms face a common challenge as they try to transition from diesel and petrol engines to electric ones. But how will they \u2018fuel\u2019 them?\r\n\r\nIn previous decades, the auto industry was reliant on oil from the Middle East. Now it is getting more dependent on lithium ion battery cells, the majority of which are produced in China.\r\n\r\nIn 2019, 57% of the world\u2019s battery production was based in China (62 GWh of installed capacity), according to Mobility Forecasts. That compared to just 5.9% of capacity in Europe, hardly good news for Germany\u2019s car companies, which will need reliable access to greater supplies in the decades ahead.\r\n\r\nTo that end Volkswagen spent \u20ac1.1 billion ($1.25 billion) two months ago on a 26% stake in Anhui-based battery manufacturer, Gotion High Tech, becoming the Shenzhen-listed company\u2019s largest shareholder.\r\n\r\nThen, earlier this month Daimler, owner of the Mercedes-Benz brand, took a smaller 3% stake in Farasis Energy, China\u2019s largest producer of soft-pack battery cells.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nIt may not be a household name, but the investment was timely. The Jiangsu-based group made its debut today on Shanghai\u2019s STAR technology board after raising Rmb3.4 billion ($485.45 million) from its IPO, in which Daimler also participated. Daimler is likewise important…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/MercedesBenz-w.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"12"},{"id":46605,"title":"Sales in China are a bright spot for sportswear brand Nike","content":"Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, first travelled to China in 1980. The country was starting to recover from the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution and beginning to experiment with a new economic model. Within a few years, Knight had already shifted much of the firm\u2019s production to mainland China from Taiwan and South Korea. Moreover, he saw China as more than just another workshop; he saw the sales opportunity too. \u201cThere are two billion feet out there,\u201d former Nike executives recall him saying, according to TIME magazine. \u201cGo get them!\u201d\r\n\r\nKnight\u2019s vision has come true. Today, China is the global brand\u2019s fastest growing market. It is selling more sneakers (or trainers) and other sports gear than in any market outside the US. China\u2019s contribution has become even more apparent during the pandemic as the only market generating growth.\r\n\r\nFor the three months ended in May 2020, the Oregon-based company made over 27% of its revenue from the Greater China region, where sales grew 1% on the year to $1.6 billion on a currency-neutral basis. In contrast, both North America recorded a 46% plunge in sales; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) fell 44%; while Asia Pacific and Latin America booked a 39%…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Nike-Shanghai-w-scaled.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"13"},{"id":46608,"title":"Cosmetics star to IPO as it rolls out a new brand","content":"Founded in 2017, Perfect Diary has proven to be a shining star in the Chinese beauty market. Last Singles\u2019 Day, China\u2019s gargantuan annual shopping bonanza, the beauty brand was the quickest to break the Rmb100 million ($14 million) sales mark on Tmall in a single day. A survey released by the Alibaba e-commerce brand also revealed that in 2019, Perfect Diary was the second most popular domestic brand amongst teenagers and 20-somethings (i.e. consumers born after the 2000), ranking only behind tech giant Huawei.\r\n\r\nLast week, Bloomberg reported that Perfect Diary\u2019s parent company Yatsen Global is planning to raise up to $500 million in an initial public offering and could float before the end of the year. The report also points out that while Yatsen hasn\u2019t decided where to do the listing, Hong Kong is rumoured to be the frontrunner.\r\n\r\nPerfect Diary is among a rising group of homegrown consumer brands, known as guohuo, that have challenged foreign labels in appealing to young Chinese shoppers. Its bestseller, a velvet liquid lipstick, retails for Rmb59.9 (around $9) on Tmall, and is consistently the number one bestselling beauty product on the e-commerce platform.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTo reach consumers, the online beauty firm is known for innovative marketing…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Perfect-Diary-w.jpg","category":"Section","page":"14"},{"id":46611,"title":"Gree and Midea tussle over China Mobile deal","content":"China\u2019s largest air conditioner maker Gree Electric rarely backs down from a battle. Against Xiaomi, its boss made a Rmb1 billion wager about whether the smartphone-to-air purifier firm would overtake Gree in sales (see WiC266). Against lesser rival Aux, it alleged intellectual property theft and the selling of substandard products (see WiC457). And more recently it has been squaring up to its neighbour Midea Group, a long-time rival.\r\n\r\nOn July 6 Gree accused Midea of fraud in its bidding for a Rmb408 million ($52.62 million) contract with China Mobile for centrifugal chillers, an important piece of equipment in centralised air conditioning.\r\n\r\nIn a statement Gree said that it had evidence for how its Foshan-based rival had referenced a false invoice in its tender documents. It also suggested that Midea\u2019s products were unlikely to meet the bidding requirements, because of their inferior technical parameters.\r\n\r\n\u201cRegarding the aforementioned issues, which are apparent, we have made repeated enquiries to the tenderee. We would like to know how Midea, given its many problems, can still win projects [from China Mobile] time and again, and even become the sole selected bidder,\u201d Gree countered, adding that it was trying to foster a \u201cbenign business environment\u201d by drawing attention to…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Midea-w.jpg","category":"Other Industries","page":"16"},{"id":46614,"title":"Star actress Yang Mi turns her hand to a new TV format","content":"Originating in Japan, the first real-life \u2018escape room\u2019 was created by a company called Scrap in Kyoto in 2007. The adventure game puts people in different scenarios \u2013 think hijacked planes and sinking submarines \u2013 and asks them to solve clues to find a way out from their confined spaces before time runs out.\r\n\r\nEscape rooms started to become popular in China a few years later. As of the end of 2018, there were nearly 10,700 of them across the country, according to the China Daily. Most of the players are aged between 20 and 35, says Meituan Research Institute.\r\n\r\nMango TV, the online streaming platform of the commercially savvy Hunan Satellite TV, is going after the same demographic with another reality series, this one based on the games played in escape rooms.\r\n\r\nThe second season of Great Escape, which was released in early July, was an immediate hit, accumulating more than 200 million views for its first two episodes, and toppling Sisters Who Make Waves, another reality show produced by Mango TV (see WiC500), as the most watched series last week.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nEvery week the format puts actress and mega-influencer Yang Mi and four other celebrities, including heartthrob Deng Lun and singer Da Zhang…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/hZNJON4w-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"17"},{"id":46617,"title":" The job hunt","content":"In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, some of my friends are anxious about their prospects in the job market. The depiction of Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2015) as stressed, depressed and exam-obsessed was examined in The Economist last year. But in my industry \u2013 education \u2013 I haven\u2019t felt the same concerns. If anything, my job prospects have improved as a result of Covid-19. This is down to a number of reasons such as students suffering from gaps in knowledge due to missed schooling as well as the surge in demand for online education.\r\n\r\nAs a Cambridge graduate, I am also aware that a place at the university brings benefits when looking for work. My Chinese friends feel the same. All have been searching for or have already secured full-time employment back in mainland China \u2013 some purely off the back of their Cambridge status, or through the Chinese-Cambridge network.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nOf course, my analysis is skewed to the education sector, where recruitment seems more resilient. The closest friend from my cohort has secured a job in an edtech company in Beijing. Her plan is to work there for a couple of years, live in an apartment paid for by…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Cambridge-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Education","page":"18"},{"id":46620,"title":"Elon Musk\u2019s mother wins over fans in China","content":"Tesla boss Elon Musk already has a substantial fan club in China. And now his mother does as well, following a livestreaming session with media mogul Rupert Murdoch\u2019s ex-wife Wendi Deng.\r\n\r\nOver seven million Chinese watched Deng\u2019s interview with Maye Musk, which was linked to the launch of her book in China.\r\n\r\nPublic reaction to the 71 year-old was overwhelmingly positive with many women hailing her as a role model.\r\n\r\nThe book \u2013 called A Woman Makes A Plan \u2013 details how Musk escaped an abusive relationship, raised three children as a single mother and then, in her sixties, became a fashion model.\r\n\r\n\u201cWhen you work out that you are in a bad situation, you need to move on. Don\u2019t think you can change people or the situation\u2026 I should have moved on quicker than I did,\u201d she said of her marriage to Elon\u2019s father, the South African entrepreneur Errol Musk.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nViewers in China praised the author for her \u201cconfidence and energy\u201d, and her book shot to third place on the JD.com bestseller list.\r\n\r\nMany women in China have become more assertive in recent years, with many refusing to marry in the traditional way because of fears of stereotyped gender roles and even the risk of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Maye-Musk-w-scaled.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"19"}]},{"id":1654,"name":"Issue 503","date":"","title":"Early retirement?","tagline":"The 40 year-old founder of e-commerce giant Pinduoduo is stepping down as CEO","pdf-link":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/503.pdf","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/503-large.jpeg","articles":[{"id":46516,"title":"The founders of Ping An and Pinduoduo are both stepping down","content":"Many of the rags-to-riches stories of China\u2019s tycoons make for inspirational reading. Often just as interesting are the accounts of how some of the most astute entrepreneurs failed to stay at the top or even opted to step away from the summit.\r\n\r\nOn July 1, two CEOs resigned on the same day from positions at nationally-prominent firms. What do their exits tell us about the succession planning at some of China\u2019s fastest-growing companies?\r\n\r\nCase one: \u201cthe highest paid CEO\u201d\r\n\r\nThe first resignation came at Ping An, when the Chinese insurer announced last Wednesday that its board of directors had agreed to co-founder Ma Mingzhe\u2019s \u201cpersonal request\u201d to resign as company CEO.\r\n\r\nThe 65 year-old will stay on as chairman, focusing on strategy, staff talent and corporate culture, Ping An said. Ma will also head a newly formed \u201ccore management team\u201d that comprises Ping An\u2019s three co-CEOs.\r\n\r\nAnalysts had been expecting Ma to step down from the chief executive role since Ping An appointed the three additional CEOs in December 2018. The model looks similar to that of Huawei, another Shenzhen-based giant, which has a rotating chairmanship.\r\n\r\nMa is relinquishing a role that he has held for more than three decades. His longevity and influence often sees…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Red-Shirts-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Economy, Talking Point","page":"1"},{"id":46518,"title":"China\u2019s biggest ever gold scam rocks the already shaky trust sector","content":"A group of Chinese trust companies have just had the shock of their lives at the hands of Nasdaq-listed Kingold Jewelry. Some 83 tonnes of gold bars that they had accepted as collateral against Rmb20 billion ($2.8 billion) in loans to Kingold have turned out to be no more than copper bars coated in gold leaf (the case remains under investigation with no one as yet charged).\r\n\r\nTo put this revelation into perspective, the largest recorded theft of gold from a financial institution was for seven times less (a heist in Beirut in 1976). The case instantly propels the Kingold collateral to the number four spot in the all-time rankings of gold robberies, behind the likes of Nazi Germany\u2019s looting of Europe\u2019s reserves during the Second World War (when an estimated 1,038 tonnes was stolen).\r\n\r\nThe ruse also represents 4.3% of China\u2019s current gold reserves (by tonnage), with many left wondering how it could have happened.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nFor Caixin, which broke the story, the case is another example of the outsized fraud that festers in corporate China\u2019s murkier depths. But an unnamed official from Mingsheng Trust, the largest affected creditor, told the magazine that he was completely bewildered about how it was pulled off.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Gold-Bars-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Banking & Finance","page":"7"},{"id":46520,"title":"Tencent lampoons itself after a bogus ad deal","content":"Tencent is a tremendous success story in social media, digital payment, online games and entertainment \u2013 to name just a few of its strengths.\r\n\r\nBut even the best companies can make mistakes, as a recent scam in southwestern China has demonstrated.\r\n\r\nOn July 1 the police in Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou province, said that Tencent had been duped by fraudsters masquerading as representatives of China\u2019s best-known chilli sauce maker Laoganma.\r\n\r\nThe fraud only emerged after the internet behemoth accused Laoganma of breach of contract on a marketing deal. Tencent believed that it had signed terms with Laoganma last March to promote an e-sports tournament for its smartphone game QQ Flying Car. Once the marketing initiative began, the popular hot sauce (see WiC143) featured frequently in a publicity blitz linked to the game. But Tencent didn\u2019t receive any advertising fees from Laoganma for the arrangement, despite issuing a number of invoices.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe tech giant took steps in April this year to secure payment, including a request to freeze assets of Laoganma\u2019s worth about Rmb16 million, according to a statement by a local court in Shenzhen, that ruled in Tencent\u2019s favour.\r\n\r\nIn response, Laoganma said it hadn\u2019t signed an agreement with Tencent nor appointed anyone…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Laoganma-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Internet & Tech","page":"8"},{"id":46522,"title":"Chinese oncology companies rush for IPOs","content":"Gracell, a Shanghai-based biotechnology start-up, prides itself on offering chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy at a far more affordable price than its European and US rivals.\r\n\r\nLast December the three year-old firm told Bloomberg that it was planning to market its experimental treatment for cancer at around $71,000 per course. Switzerland\u2019s Novartis and California-based Gilead Sciences, the two drug makers that have been promoting CAR-T treatments globally since 2017, charge $475,000 and $373,000 respectively.\r\n\r\nWhat is revolutionary about Gracell\u2019s technology is its ability to speed up cell production through genetic engineering, such that a key component of CAR-T treatment (which produces cancer-killing immune cells) can be manufactured in 24 hours, compared to the more typical two to three weeks.\r\n\r\nIn China there are dozens of companies like Gracell that are ploughing resources and energy into developing CAR-T treatment, a type of immunotherapy.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nMany of them are raising funds in the private market to run clinical trials for their candidate drugs. However, a pioneering player raced ahead of the pack in early June to become one of the largest biotech initial public offering on Nasdaq this year: Legend Biotech.\r\n\r\nPricing its new shares above the marketed range at $23 apiece, the cell therapy unit of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Genscript-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Healthcare","page":"9"},{"id":46525,"title":"\u2018Little dragon\u2019 Byton on the brink of collapse?","content":"In Chinese culture, dragons symbolise wisdom, power and luck. But Byton, one of the four \u2018little dragons\u2019 trying to fire up China\u2019s electric vehicle sector (EV), seems to have run out of all three after suspending operations at the beginning of July.\r\n\r\nThe local media has awarded the baby dragon moniker to a group that includes NIO, WM Motor and XPENG. Problems at one of the firms stimulates questions about the financial health of the others, but they all face the challenges of tougher competition from traditional car manufacturers releasing their own EVs, plus a less favourable sales situation after a pull-back in government subsidies.\r\n\r\nThen there\u2019s Covid-19, which is accelerating a shakeout of weaker players from the 500 registered start-ups in the EV sector last year.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nByton had been struggling for a while. At the beginning of 2019, it lost one of its two founders, Carsten Breitfeld, who had made his name overseeing BMW\u2019s \u2018i programme\u2019. He didn\u2019t like the direction that Byton was taking after state-owned FAW Group purchased a strategic stake. His departure prompted a round of litigation and Byton struggled to close a $500 million fundraising it launched in early 2019. It furloughed its staff at its Californian design…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Byton-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Auto Industry","page":"11"},{"id":46528,"title":"Cities jostle to become \u2018livestreaming capital\u2019","content":"Zhao Yuanyuan was best known as the man behind the launch of Taobao Live. So when he abruptly left his position as the head of Alibaba\u2019s e-commerce livestreaming platform in March, the industry was shocked, especially as his departure came when livestreaming e-commerce sales were starting to surge during the pandemic.\r\n\r\nLast week, 21CN Business Herald reported that Zhao was fired for corruption. Based on documents leaked to the press, the allegation is that he exploited his position for personal benefit, accepting gifts and entertainment.\r\n\r\nZhao\u2019s departure came at roughly the same time that Jiang Fan, who had previously been tipped as a potential successor to Zhang Yong as CEO of the Alibaba Group, was demoted for \u201cimproper behaviour\u201d. Jiang is alleged to have had an affair with Zhang Dayi, one of the best known livestreamers on Taobao Live (see WiC493). He was subsequently demoted and removed from the internet giant\u2019s core partnership of 37 people, which is Alibaba\u2019s decisionmaking body.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe bigger picture is that e-commerce livestreaming shows little sign of slowing and contributed more than a third of China\u2019s e-commerce sales in March. That spike in sales came courtesy of the lockdown in many cities, but there is still significant room…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Viya-w.jpg","category":"China Consumer","page":"12"},{"id":46539,"title":"Covid-19 chaos puts the brakes on BRI projects","content":"Lending for infrastructure projects in China\u2019s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is so opaque that there is no real consensus on the total loans outstanding. Best guesses start at $200 billion and often head sharply upwards.\r\n\r\nWhat\u2019s clearer is that the Covid-19 crisis is putting the brakes on the plan, with Wang Xiaolong, a senior official in the foreign ministry, acknowledging last month that at least a fifth of the projects under the BRI umbrella have been seriously set back by the pandemic.\r\n\r\nIn particular, supply chains have seized up, making it difficult for Chinese companies to ship equipment and labour to Belt and Road projects. In one example, construction of the $6 billion high-speed rail line between Jakarta and Bandung in Indonesia is said to have fallen further behind schedule after delays in shipments of materials.\r\n\r\nThen there are the new strains on financing the plan as Beijing refocuses on China\u2019s domestic economy in the wake of the pandemic. Zhou Xiaochuan, former governor of the central bank, tried to put a gloss on the situation last month by telling Caixin that Covid-19 has ushered in even lower interest rates, which should be beneficial to Belt and Road dealmakers. But the economic crisis…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Kenya-Railways-w.jpg","category":"Belt and Road","page":"13"},{"id":46542,"title":"Wuhan and other areas suffer disastrous floods","content":"The people of Hubei province must be wondering what they did to deserve 2020.\r\n\r\nNot only was it first to be afflicted by the coronavirus, it has also been badly flooded after seasonal rains fell with much greater force than expected.\r\n\r\nAccording to government data, 121 people have been killed or are missing in the floods and 17,000 homes have been destroyed.\r\n\r\nFor high school students sitting their college entrance exams this week, the rising waters have been an additional source of stress. The children missed much of their final year at school due to the virus lockdown, and prepared for their all-important gaokao cooped up at home and fearing they\u2019d fall sick.\r\n\r\nThe key exam was pushed back by a month to give students more time to prepare but that also meant it has coincided with summer rains which often hit southern and central China hard.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nTeenagers in Huangmei \u2013 a city on the banks of the Yangtze River \u2013 had to be collected from their homes in an assortment of bulldozers and rubber dinghies.\r\n\r\nOne photo in the Global Times shows a bulldozer ploughing through muddy water with a huddle of anxious families in its upturned scoop.\r\n\r\nOne boarding school in the town was so…","image":"\/images\/no_image.png","category":"Economy","page":"14"},{"id":46544,"title":"After toilet paper and masks, there\u2019s another Covid-19 export boom: bicycles","content":"When he launched his bike hire scheme in 2010, London mayor Boris Johnson noted that a fifth of all journeys in the city had been made by bicycle almost a century earlier. The Conservative politician wanted to see that kind of figure again. \u201cIf you can\u2019t turn the clock back to 1904, ladies and gentlemen, what\u2019s the point of being a Conservative,\u201d he joked.\r\n\r\nBoris Bikes, as they were subsequently nicknamed, turned out to be quite popular with visitors but less so with commuters, accounting for just 2.5% of journeys.\r\n\r\nBut bicycling is now much more in vogue in urban life, in part because the pandemic has been putting people off public transport.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nStuck-at-home residents have also been looking for safer ways to let off a little steam as well.\r\n\r\n\u201cYou are at home with your children, what better activity can you do than riding a bicycle where you can have fun and still keep proper social distancing,\u201d a bike importer from the United States told the South China Morning Post last week.\r\n\r\nEven before the onset of Covid-19, cities around Europe were launching bike subsidy schemes and mapping out miles of new routes in a bid to reduce air pollution and improve public health.…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Boris-Johnson-w.jpg","category":"China and the World","page":"15"},{"id":46550,"title":"Kids\u2019 street dance show earns near perfect rating from audience","content":"From its origins in 1970s New York, breakdancing is now set to become an Olympic sport. Last June, the International Olympic Committee announced that the acrobatic style of street dance will be included at the Paris Olympics in 2024. The move aims to make the Games \u201cmore urban\u201d and \u201cmore artistic\u201d, the BBC reported.\r\n\r\nStreet dance started to get more popular in China thanks to a host of reality competitions like Rap of China (see WiC378) and Street Dance of China (see WiC401), which brought the hip-hop genre a little closer to the mainstream. Street Dance of China is scheduled to start its third season this month on Youku, which has also released a spin-off of the show to generate extra buzz.\r\n\r\nLet\u2019s Dance, Youku\u2019s latest reality competition, follows a group of 15 children between the ages of five and 12, as they train to be professional street dancers.\r\n\r\nSome of the contestants are far from novices: Li Ziqi, 10, who is better known as \u2018Lil Mushroom\u2019, has already appeared on the American chat show circuit. To assist the kids\u2019 progress, three hip-hop celebrities are drafted in as coaches, including Han Yu and Franklin Yu, who starred in the first two seasons of…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Dance-Kids-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Entertainment","page":"16"},{"id":46554,"title":"The diva in the headlines","content":"When singer-actress-writer Annie Yi was announced as one of the contestants in reality show Sisters Who Make Waves, in which 30 mid-career female celebrities try to win a place in a new pop group, her odds of winning looked good (see WiC500). After all, the 52 year-old artist is a household name with 23 albums under her belt.\r\n\r\nSinger in need of some interview prep\r\n\r\nBut her popularity took a nosedive last week when she appeared on a talk show called Meaning. During the interview, Yi talked about juggling her career and family life (she has two children), but added a far less welcome sprinkling of trash-talk about other stars.\r\n\r\nFirst, Yi said that two of her teammates on Sisters Who Make Waves \u2013 Wang Likun and Wang Zhi \u2013 were tone deaf (\u201cI can\u2019t say they were not into it. In fact, they were very into it. Maybe they just don\u2019t have the ability,\u201d she dismissively told the interviewer of their vocal skills). She also claimed that she had lost her voice because she spent so much time coaching the other two.\r\n\r\nMaking news for the wrong reasons\r\n\r\nHowever, it was the way that she compared herself to the late Hong Kong singer Anita…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Annie-Yi-w-scaled.jpg","category":"Red Star","page":"17"},{"id":46557,"title":"Netizens fume as Russia celebrates the \u2018founding\u2019 of Vladivostok on weibo","content":"A hundred and sixty years is nothing but a blip in the longer run of Chinese history.\r\n\r\nThis was the view of many netizens last week when the Russian embassy in Beijing posted a video on its Sina Weibo account celebrating the founding, and annexation, of the far eastern city of Vladivostok.\r\n\r\nWhile the Chinese government makes no claims on the city \u2013 all border disputes with Russia were formally settled in 2008 \u2013 netizens responded that it is only a matter of time until their country regained what is rightfully their\u2019s. \u201cButcher! Robber! Get out of China!\u201d one incensed nationalist responded on weibo.\r\n\r\n\u201cVladivostok, Blagoveshchensk, Sakhalin, Khabarovsk are all Chinese territory,\u201d wrote another, listing several cities and islands in Russia\u2019s far east.\r\n\r\n<<ad>>\r\n\r\nThe weibo message celebrating Vladivostok\u2019s founding explained that the city\u2019s name means \u201cRuler of the East\u201d in Russian. \u201cThe history of Vladivostok began in 1860,\u201d it said in Chinese.\r\n\r\nLike Hong Kong, Vladivostok was signed away to foreign powers in the mid-1800s by China\u2019s Qing rulers (although Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty in 1997). Up to that point it was a relatively small settlement under Qing control, called Haishenwai or the Bay of Sea Slugs.\r\n\r\nThe Russian celebration of the anniversary was…","image":"https:\/\/www.weekinchina.com\/app\/uploads\/2020\/07\/Vladivostok-w-scaled.jpg","category":"And Finally","page":"18"}]}]}