Links for December 13, 2019

BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:

Electronics giant Samsung is investing an additional $8 billion into its chip factory in the Chinese city of Xi’an to increase production of NAND flash memory chips, the city’s internet information office said in a post [in Chinese] published on its official WeChat account on Friday.

Baidu has launched its latest touch-screen smart speaker with facial recognition and child controls.

The smart speaker, named the “Xiaodu Smart Display X8,” is priced at 599 yuan ($85.77) and has an 8-inch display, voice and facial recognition, hand gesture controls and the ability to track eye movement, according to a company statement.

Yet another former senior executive from Kweichow Moutai Co. Ltd. has fallen from grace as an ongoing graft crackdown continues to rock the world’s most valuable liquor company.

  • Since August, Refinitiv [the financial information provider that distributes Reuters news to investors around the world] has blocked more than 200 stories about the Hong Kong protests plus numerous other Reuters articles that could cast Beijing in an unfavorable light.
  • Internal Refinitiv documents show that over the summer, the company installed an automated filtering system to facilitate the censoring. The system included the creation of a new code to attach to some China stories, called “Restricted News.”
  • As a result, Refinitiv’s customers in China have been denied access to coverage of one of the biggest news events of the year, including two Reuters reports on downgrades of Hong Kong by credit-rating agencies.

When Beijing introduced price caps for almost two-thirds of apartments in late 2016 as part of a program to provide homes for millions of middle-class citizens to buy, an array of cheap condominiums began springing up on the city’s outskirts. Three years on, the cramped, poor-quality units that are far from anywhere lie mostly empty.

POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

Much is made of fears that China may never get “rich” due to the weight of caring for an ageing population while still being a developing country. But many observers miss that Chinese policymakers have been preparing for “getting old before rich” for decades.

Beijing’s latest ageing policy paper not only prepares for population ageing directly, but also indirectly by pushing the economy even deeper in the direction of higher-productivity per capita sectors, meaning China be better prepared to accommodate the ageing era than is widely understood. The Chinese approach to economic demography also offers a pragmatic and timely policy lens for all countries, old and young, and rich and poor.

A partnership between the United States and “like-minded nations” will keep Asian countries secure in the face of competition from a rising China, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet said on Friday.

On a visit to Bangkok, Admiral John Aquilino, 56, criticized China’s construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea, a vital trade waterway with rich energy resources where Beijing has disputes with five nations.

“We are in competition with the People’s Republic of China,” Aquilino told reporters.

SOCIETY AND CULTURE:

About 90 percent of the parents of primary and middle school students in China believe that teachers should punish students who have made mistakes, according to a survey released yesterday by China Youth Daily [in Chinese].

Over 70 percent of the 2,005 respondents, 78.1 percent of whom are parents of primary and middle school students, said that if teachers do not dare punish their students, it will not be good for the students because their misconduct will not be corrected in time.