Tech in Asia has an article highlighting five innovative ways that Chinese consumers are spending money using their phones, and only one of them is the on-demand rental services that media outlets — including us — have written about ad nauseum and that the market is now increasingly becoming oversaturated with. Here are the other four:
- Location-based freelancing through Alipay, which allows you to essentially pay someone in your immediate vicinity to do a small chore for you, for up to $30.
- Paid group challenges through a WeChat app called “Knowledge Circle,” where all participants buy in with up to $750 to complete a daily task for a set number of days, and risk losing their money unless they provide daily proof of completion.
- Tipping for content primarily on WeChat via QR codes, which have apparently become a reliable enough revenue stream for some bloggers that there was a fierce backlash when Apple attempted to shut down in-app tipping.
- Paying to ask questions via mobile app Fenda, which first became popular as a way to reach celebrities, but is now more often used to request advice from professionals like lawyers and psychiatrists.
Tech in Asia notes a report (paywall) from Beijing- and Shanghai-based internet research firm iResearch, which estimates that China’s mobile payment industry will reach $14 trillion by the end of this year, up from just $8.8 trillion in 2016.
China may ease ownership rules for electric vehicle makers / Caixin
“China will no longer require foreign companies that manufacture electric vehicles (EVs) in the country’s free trade zones to equally share control of their joint ventures with domestic companies.”
Shandong limits production of gas-powered cars / Sixth Tone
After laying off workers in the US, Tesla is recruiting in China / Quartz
China’s unmanned store bingobox seeks legal identity to open stores / TechNode
Unmanned noodle shop opens up in Shanghai, will fix you up a bowl in 45 seconds flat / Shanghaiist
First large transport drone takes off in China / AP
Belt and Road (?)
Chinese-led infrastructure boom mostly bypasses Pakistan’s banks / Bloomberg
Hot air? U.S. gas exporters rush to sell LNG to China / Reuters
China and US square off in race to master quantum computing / McClatchy Washington Bureau
More Chinese workers to get extra holidays to look after sick parents / SCMP