Top business and technology news for March 21, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Huge Israeli delegation visits China."
Secretive billionaire reveals how he toppled Apple in China / Bloomberg
Bloomberg profiles Duan Yongping 段永平, the founder of the leading Chinese smartphone brands Oppo and Vivo. The two companies together shipped more than 147 million smartphones in China in 2016, beating Apple’s 44.9 million. Both brands have developed marketing approaches that appeal to local consumers, and their products surpass the iPhone on measures such as charging speeds and battery life while costing much less. A newly released model Oppo R9s Plus costs 3,499 yuan ($507) while an iPhone 7 costs 5,388 yuan ($781) in China. In 2016, Apple’s iPhone shipments plummeted 23.2 percent, shrinking Apple’s market share to just 9.6 percent — the lowest in about two years.
In related news, Reuters reports that on Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited the Chinese bike-sharing company Ofo in Beijing. Ofo claims that it operates in 43 cities in China with 2.2 million bikes. Its rival, Mobike, which has raised more than $300 million so far this year, just rolled out its operation in Singapore, according to Tech in Asia. For more on China’s bike-sharing companies, see “Bike sharing done right: A real Chinese innovation” on SupChina.
A year is a long time in Chinese business / Financial Times (paywall)
Real estate tycoon Wang Shi 王石 is back in the news after a year of struggling to retain control of Vanke, the company he founded that is one of the country’s largest property groups. One year ago, real estate and insurance magnate Yao Zhenhua 姚振华, who had accumulated the largest single stake in Vanke, made a bid to buy a controlling stake in the company. Unluckily for Yao, his hostile takeover coincided with a period of market turmoil in China. Government measures to restore stability tightened control over financial markets: One result was that Yao was banned from participating in the insurance industry for 10 years. Yao has not been detained or further penalized, but Wang is firmly back in charge of his company.
- Why PR chiefs are running Communist Party branches at China tech firms / SCMP
- China sits on financial house of cards, OECD finds / WSJ (paywall)
- China steps up battle against property bubble / Financial Times (paywall)
- China Premier Li says will further open services, industries / Xinhua
- China’s taxes on imported cars feed trade tensions with U.S. / NYT (paywall)
- China’s fitness boom energizes sportswear brands / Financial Times (paywall)
- Rise in QR code scams in China puts online payment security in the spotlight / SCMP
- Dianrong, Quark Finance launch innovative credit factory / TechNode
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