The “four great inventions of ancient China” are papermaking, gunpowder, movable type printing, and the compass. Xinhua News Agency has now drawn on results from a survey (in Chinese) on youths from 20 countries along the Belt and Road to create a list of the “four new great inventions.” The “four greats” are the subject of Xinhua’s top Chinese language news item for August 11.
Though the technology originated in Japan and Europe, China now has the world’s largest high-speed rail network, covering more than 20,000 kilometers; it is expected to more than double to 45,000 kilometers by 2030. According to Reuters, China’s ability to build high-speed rail projects more cheaply than its competitors also granted the technology a central place in the Belt and Road Initiative.
Ecommerce was not invented in China, but some might say it was perfected in China. With a massive online population of 751 million, China has the world’s biggest and fast-growing ecommerce market, with sales reaching $752 billion in 2016, accounting for roughly 13.8 percent of the country’s total retail sales. A series of online shopping events is scheduled throughout the year by various online shopping platforms. The extraordinary rise of ecommerce has also brought new opportunities to rural China. In 2016, online business owners in rural villages reached 8.11 million, creating more than 20 million jobs.
As we noted in March this year, China’s bike sharing — or, more accurately, on-demand bike rental — is a real Chinese innovation, and it continues to grow rapidly. In July, Ofo, one of China’s bike-sharing companies valued at around $2 billion (the other one is Mobike), announced a $700 million funding round from investors led by ecommerce giant Alibaba, Hony Capital, and CITIC Private Equity. On August 9, after launching its bikes in six overseas markets, including Singapore, the United States, and Britain, Ofo announced its expansion into Japan in cooperation with SoftBank, which will back the venture with $1 billion funding.
Earlier this week, Alibaba promoted a “cashless week” event to encourage use of its payment services, causing the People’s Bank of China to send a notice to its regional offices, ordering them to tone down such promotions for fear of misleading customers and interfering “with the normal currency flow of the yuan.” Meanwhile, the central bank has released a new regulation that requires online payment companies to connect to a centralized clearinghouse by October 15.
- Tourism – North Korea
Undaunted by tensions, Chinese tourists flock into North Korea / Reuters
“I just want the sense of nostalgia, to see a country that is poor, like (China was) when I was young,” said one man.
- Jiuzhaigou earthquake
Struggling to cope in a quake-hit tourist town / SCMP
Toll low from China quake but villagers fear high cost to tourism / Reuters
- Legal issues
Guizhou prosecutor under fire for praising negligent cadre / Sixth Tone
Net users slam airline boasting of priority treatment for cadres / Sixth Tone
Air pollution suspected for sharp rise in China lung cancer rate / SCMP
- Abandoned children
Chinese mother tries to mail her baby to an orphanage / CNN