This week, thirteen Chinese airlines announced that passengers could use mobile phones on their planes after a regulatory easing.
- All the major Chinese airlines including Hainan Airlines, China Eastern, and Air China will allow passengers to use mobile phones inflight.
- Airplane mode must be used — to allow wifi but not cellular communication.
- Today Airmedia, a Nasdaq-listed company, announced a deal to put a lot of wifi on a lot of China Eastern airplanes. It’s likely other Chinese airlines will follow suit.
- In 2016, China Eastern became the first Chinese airline to offer inflight wifi, but initially only on international routes.
- Now if only they could fix the food!
- WeChat payments going global
WeChat Pay now allows users to bind overseas credit cards / TechNode
“This is the first time users are able to use WeChat Pay without having a Chinese bank account or credit card.”
Tighter regulation dents insurers’ premium income growth / Caixin (paywall)
“China’s insurance companies saw growth in their combined premium income slump by a third last year amid a regulatory campaign to rein in financial risk that included a crackdown on the sale of risky products.” Read on SupChina about some of the measures in that campaign.
- Protests over dodgy online investments, housing, and labor conditions
China faces protests after investment scheme collapses / AP
“The implosion of Qianbao.com adds to a string of failures of Chinese financial ventures blamed on fraud or mismanagement that have prompted protests and complaints of official indifference to the suffering of small investors.”
China’s middle-class in revolt / Index on Censorship
Chinese staff paid in bricks to top up unpaid wages / BBC News
Leiyang workers return to Shenzhen to demand long overdue compensation / China Labour Bulletin
- Box office
China’s box office is back thanks to piracy crackdown / Nikkei Asian Review (paywall)
“After coming to a screeching halt in 2016, the Chinese box office is back. Annual ticket sales returned to double-digit growth in 2017, helped by new rules that purge pirated movies from the internet, leaving no other option but to go to the movies for new releases.”
- Gray rhinos (?)
Chinese media told to tone down coverage of giant firms’ debt, finance woes / SCMP
Wanda chief vows to repay all overseas debt / Caixin
- Ecommerce + bricks and mortar
Tencent to back Carrefour in challenge to Alibaba in retail / Bloomberg
JD.com eyes fundraising, listing for logistics unit / Caixin
- Blockchain and cryptocurrencies
China’s banking regulator pushes blockchain adoption for credit market / Coindesk