News roundup: Why do Americans find Chinese high school so hard? Plus Apple’s China challenges and Philippines-U.S. relations

Business & Technology

Top China news for October 26, 2016. Get this daily digest delivered to your inbox by signing up at Dmitry Kalinovsky, GuoZhongHua and VitaminCo



As China’s smartphone makers roll out premium devices, Apple reports a 30 percent drop in sales in the nation

Apple’s sales in Greater China fell the last quarter to $8.79 billion from $12.5 billion in the same period a year ago, as Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi released devices that showed them moving away from cheaper models. / Bloomberg

Defending dominance:

  • Opinion: Underdogs rising to the top of China’s smartphone market won’t stay there for long unless they focus on R&D and M&A / Bloomberg


  • Sinica backgrounder: The truth about the Chinese economy, from debt to ghost cities / SupChina
  • Experts question a Chinese webcam maker’s efforts to fix security holes after a U.S. internet attack / WSJ
  • Opinion: China’s much-hyped plans for debt-equity swaps could create more problems than they solve / Bloomberg
  • Opinion: Chinese leaders’ efforts to stave off a major recession are pitting rising debt risks against economic reforms, and it’s unclear which will win out / Bloomberg
  • Opinion: The U.S. trade deficit is contributing to growing inequality in China as big corporations benefit at the expense of workers / The Week



Duterte says he would be willing to undo deals with the U.S. on military bases, a key part of American regional influence

During a trip to Japan, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines said he would be open to renegotiating a 2014 agreement that lets the United States use five Philippine military bases. The statement contrasts with one he made a day earlier, when he indicated he wanted to keep the military alliance with the U.S. Despite his rhetoric and the economic deals he struck with China during his trip to the region, an expert said it’s “too simple” to characterize Duterte as anti-U.S. or pro-China. / The New York Times

Regional dynamics:

  • Opinion: The Philippines’ bolstering of its ties to China may inspire other Southeast Asian nations to do the same / ChinaFile
  • Before becoming president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte showed little support for the country’s South China Sea case against China / Quartz


  • China’s government enlists the country’s largest internet companies in an effort to fight fake reviews and plans a ‘social credit’ blacklist / Financial Times
  • Chaos ensues as Hong Kong’s new anti-Beijing lawmakers defy orders to bar them from the legislature / TIME
  • China announces plans for more military drills in the South China Sea and orders all other ships to stay away / Reuters



Some American high school students studying in China describe the program being ‘like a prison’

The students, part of a program offered through the U.S. State Department, undertook an intense daily regimen of Chinese language and culture classes from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., plus mandatory studying from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. “Language learning, especially through immersion, is an arduous process,” concluded one participant. “Looking back on the experience as a whole, however, shows me that a lot was accomplished between my dumpling disaster in Chengdu and this conversation at the bus stop.” / The World of Chinese

Educational experience:

  • Citing ‘Chinese values and national identity,’ officials remind Shanghai’s international schools with Chinese students of ban on imported curricula / Caixin
  • Children who spend two hours scaling a cliff to get to school will soon have a steel ladder to climb instead of vines / CNN
  • Nanjing now features a classroom-themed restaurant for those with primary-school nostalgia / Lonely Planet


  • Arnold Schwarzenegger goes big in China with roles in a $200 million historical epic and a Jackie Chan film / China Film Insider
  • ‘Parades’ of chained animals are the latest draw at the Chinese shopping mall that is home to the ‘world’s saddest polar bear’ / Quartz
  • The international rugby federation hopes, with a $100 million Alibaba-linked deal, to draw a million Chinese over the next five years to play the sport / ESPN