Facebook’s Chinese gold mine

Access Archive

Dear reader,

No big news today, but below are the items that caught my eye.

Also: If you are in New York City, please scroll down to the bottom of this email for information on SupChina’s upcoming events in the city.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief

Year of the Pig, day 3: Status update

Facebook’s big China business

Paul Mozur and Lin Qiqing in the New York Times (porous paywall) look at Facebook’s China cash cow. It’s not too bad being blocked after all:

How Facebook’s tiny China sales floor helps generate big ad money

…In total, Facebook’s revenue from Chinese-based advertisers reached an estimated $5 billion in 2018, or about 10 percent of its total sales, according to Pivotal Research Group. That would be enough to rank Facebook somewhere around the seventh-largest listed internet company in China…

Huawei and 5G development

There’s no real news today (though in yesterday’s newsletter, we linked to news from Norway, Denmark, the U.K., Germany, and the EU), but lots of commentary and reporting of side stories:

Other trade war and Pacific Reset news


Our whole team really appreciates your support as Access members. Please chat with us on our Slack channel or contact me anytime at jeremy@supchina.com.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief



  • Xinjiang
    She fled China’s camps — but she’s still not free / Foreign Policy (porous paywall)
    “Speaking to a packed courthouse in eastern Kazakhstan in August 2018, Sayragul Sauytbay — an ethnic Kazakh Chinese national — provided some of the earliest testimony about Beijing’s vast internment camp system for Muslim minorities in its western Xinjiang region… In an interview with Foreign Policy, Sauytbay, 42, said she fears that she may be sent back to China and that despite the August court ruling, her status in the country remains in limbo.”

  • Foreign bar association responds to harsh sentencing of rights lawyer  
    China faces barrage of criticism over jailing of human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang / SCMP
    “Bar associations from England and Wales, Geneva, Germany, France and the International Association of Lawyers all criticized the Tianjin No 2 Intermediate People’s Court’s guilty verdict” against Chinese human rights lawyer Wáng Quánzhāng 王全璋, who was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for subversion. The sentence was delivered without an open trial — which the critics say “contravened the Chinese constitution and international conventions.”

  • Beijing influence ops — Australia’s reaction
    Billionaire’s ban from Australia seen as key pushback against Chinese foreign influence ops / AFP
    “Australia’s decision to ban a well-connected Chinese businessman for his political activity is being seen as a potential watershed moment, the start of pushback against Beijing’s long-running operations to buy influence overseas.”  

  • Beijing influence ops — Taiwan
    China lures Taiwanese into ‘brainstorming’ talks on island’s future / FT (paywall)
    “China has started pulling mainland-based Taiwanese businesspeople and students into ‘brainstorming’ sessions on the future of the de facto independent nation, as President Xi Jinping seeks to show progress in moving toward unification.”

  • Filipinos wary of Chinese labor
    How come there are so many Chinese workers here?: Inquirer / Straits Times

[T]he ubiquitous presence of Chinese nationals in the metropolitan landscape had been the talk of the town in the past two years. Last month, the Senate labor committee chaired by Senator Joel Villanueva set out a formal inquiry, and the initial findings were disturbing, to say the least.

The most startling revelation was that government officials do not even have accurate figures on illegal Chinese workers in the country, and how many of them are in jobs that, by mandate of the Constitution, should be for Filipinos.



Fireworks on Chinese Lunar New Year’s Eve

Many cities in China held massive fireworks shows to celebrate the start of the Year of the Pig. Here is a compilation of fireworks footage uploaded to the social video network Kuaishou!


The curator of old China: Tong Bingxue and his photographs

You may know Tong Bingxue 仝冰雪 from his Twitter account, where he frequently posts historical yet timely photos that reveal stories of a bygone China, far from modern reference points. But his real work happens offline, where he has collected old photographs of China for nearly two decades, becoming a historian and curator along the way. Tong sat down with us to talk about his work, from his first photo purchase for 50 yuan to now hosting exhibitions around the world.

Opinion: In dealing with China, the U.S. can draw on a Cold War lesson: Be more open

Scott Moore writes: Recently, China has seriously shaken America’s techno-confidence, and in response, U.S. policymakers have adopted a siege mentality. But the great techno-freakout of the past two years is hardly America’s first crisis of technological confidence. And the last one — a long battle for technological supremacy with the Soviet Union during the Cold War — shows that America’s real advantage has less to do with technology itself than with its culture of openness and innovation.


Sinica Podcast: Live from the US-China Business Council: The bilateral trade relationship in 2019

This week on the Sinica Podcast, we’re live from the US-China Business Council’s Forecast 2019 Conference in Washington, D.C. This show was recorded on January 31 — the day (and hour) that Donald Trump met with China’s top official in charge of trade negotiations, Liu He. Kaiser and Jeremy spoke with Tim Stratford, the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in the People’s Republic of China, and with Craig Allen, the president of the US-China Business Council. The wide-ranging conversation covers everything from technology policies to the structural changes that China is being asked to make to address U.S. complaints over unfair trade practices.



Starting off the new year with a bang

Access member Matt Chitwood took this photo in a rural village in Yunnan Province, and sent it to us with this caption: “Former village mayor, Mr Zhu, lights off a Roman candle to welcome the new year. Sometimes flames shoot out the bottom, too, I was warned, so he holds it far from his body.”

How did you start the Year of the Pig? If you like, share some photos with us at editors@supchina.com — we would love to hear from you!

SupChina events next week and beyond

In New York City, we are hosting several events:

Live Sinica Podcast with Zha Jianying

Spend Valentine’s Day with me, my Sinica co-host, Kaiser Kuo, and Zhá Jiànyīng 查建英, author of the books China Pop and Tide Players, on February 14!

We’ll record a live podcast about activism in the current Chinese political climate — specifically through the lens of Zha’s brother, a democracy activist who has been jailed and has seen firsthand how the state suppresses those accused of “subversion.” Zha recently wrote about her brother for the New Yorker in a story we highly recommend: China’s bizarre program to keep activists in check.

If you’d like to attend, please reserve your space here.

On February 28, we will have a SupChina Women’s Network Monthly Series event with Jolyne Caruso, CEO of The Alberleen Group — details here.

Finally, mark your calendars for the third annual SupChina Women’s Conference! Early-bird ticket sales are coming soon.