BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
Baidu considers secondary Hong Kong listing
Baidu eyeing secondary Hong Kong listing: report / TechNode
U.S.-listed Chinese search engine Baidu has reportedly completed an internal assessment for a secondary listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange, according to a Chinese media report published Monday.
Why it matters: A decision to proceed with the potential listing could expand the market capitalization for China’s largest search engine — currently $46 billion — and help shore up funds after a rough 2019.
Electric vehicle firm files for U.S. IPO
Chinese EV maker Lixiang files for U.S. IPO of at least $500 million: sources / Reuters
“Chinese electric vehicle maker Lixiang Automotive has filed for a U.S. initial public offering, aiming to raise at least $500 million.”
U.S. firms still going strong in China
Despite political woes, America Inc is still thriving in China / The Economist (paywall)
On December 31, Mr Trump tweeted that he will soon sign a “phase one” trade agreement with China. That will lead to some tariff cuts on Chinese imports, and to a presidential trip to Beijing for further haggling. When he visits, Mr Trump will surely hear grouses from his country’s firms about their troubles in China. What they are less likely to trumpet is how surprisingly well they are still doing there.
Blacklisted facial recognition on track for Hong Kong IPO
Megvii cleared for $500 million Hong Kong IPO / Reuters
Chinese artificial intelligence company Megvii’s plans for a $500 million Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) are back on track after its application was cleared by the city’s stock exchange…
Megvii — which was blacklisted by the U.S. administration in October — was asked to provide more information in November when the company faced the Hong Kong Stock Exchange listing committee to seek the go-ahead for the transaction.
Megvii, which is known for its facial recognition platform Face++, is aiming to be the first Chinese AI firm to go public.
The plan comes after the Trump administration in October placed Megvii on a banned trade list with seven other Chinese firms for their alleged involvement in human rights violations related to Beijing’s treatment of Muslim minority populations in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
South China Sea: Indonesia standoff
Indonesia mobilizes fishermen in stand-off with China / Reuters
In an unusually strong statement, President Joko Widodo told reporters: “There is no negotiation when it comes to our sovereignty.”
The stand-off since last month in the northern Natuna islands, where a Chinese coastguard vessel has accompanied Chinese fishing vessels, has soured the generally friendly relationship between Jakarta and Beijing.
Indonesia’s chief security minister, Mahfud MD, told reporters that around 120 fishermen from the island of Java would be sent to the Natuna islands, some 1,000 km (600 miles) to the north.
- Indonesia will never negotiate Natuna with China: minister / Jakarta Globe
The government has said earlier it has no overlapping jurisdictions with China and that it never recognizes the so-called nine-dash line — a territorial claim by Beijing that encompasses 90 percent of disputed areas in the South China Sea and goes deep into Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone in northern maritime borders.
State media ❤️ Kiribati after Taiwan switcheroo
Kiribati on right side of history by resuming diplomatic ties with China: Xi / Xinhua
The top story on Chinese state media today: “Chinese President Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 said on Monday that Kiribati’s President Taneti Mamau and his country stand on the right side of history by resuming diplomatic ties with China.” (In Chinese here.)
Context from the 2020 Red Paper:
The Solomon Islands ditched Taiwan, after weeks of speculation. After Kiribati also switched its relations to Beijing, Taiwan only counted four Pacific island nations among its 15 remaining diplomatic partners: Tuvalu, Palau, the Marshall Islands, and Nauru.
China said on Monday it hoped to expand newly restored ties with the Pacific state of Kiribati, site of a strategic but mothballed Chinese space tracking station, in comments that may further stoke U.S. anxiety about Beijing’s growing influence…
Kiribati had established diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 2003, prompting the break with Beijing.
Up until then, China had operated a space tracking station in Kiribati, which played a role in tracking China’s first manned space flight and is in a part of the world where the United States tests missiles and other military hardware.
A former Taiwanese ambassador to Kiribati…told Taiwan’s Central News Agency last year that China had never fully removed the tracking station in Kiribati and that it “could come back at any time.”
U.S.-China techno-trade war
Trump administration pressed Dutch hard to cancel China chip-equipment sale: sources / Reuters
The Trump administration mounted an extensive campaign to block the sale of Dutch chip manufacturing technology to China, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lobbying the Netherlands government and White House officials sharing a classified intelligence report with the country’s Prime Minister.
- China delegation reschedules U.S. trip after US President Donald Trump unilaterally announced January 15 date for ‘high representatives’ from Beijing to sign deal.
- The eagerness from the U.S. president to claim big ‘win’ from the phase one deal contrasts with Beijing’s more measured approach.
The Trump administration took measures on Friday to crimp exports of artificial intelligence software as part of a bid to keep sensitive technologies out of the hands of rival powers like China.
Under a new rule which goes into effect on Monday, companies that export certain types of geospatial imagery software from the United States must apply for a license to send it overseas except when it is being shipped to Canada.
Suppression of Hui Muslims
With husbands in camps, Hui women struggle to care for families / Bitter Winter (Italy)
“When almost all men from a village in northern Xinjiang [just over 60 households, primarily Hui Muslims,] were locked up in internment camps, their wives were left alone to run households.”
History as CCP propaganda
History and propaganda clash in China’s war museums / Nikkei Asian Review (porous paywall)
Until the 21st century, the Chinese government was largely focused on the history of its humiliation at the hands of the Western powers and Japan from the mid-19th century…Beijing’s historical focus has shifted from China’s historical humiliation to World War II and the quest for justice. Museums and commemorative sites have mushroomed across the nation, offering detailed explanations of Chinese suffering and Japanese atrocities. But China’s one-party state does not allow for competing historical views, and the Chinese Communist Party has taken an increasingly strident stand on the interpretation of the postwar period and the subsequent reconciliation between China and Japan.
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Cracking down on creeps on beaches
Hainan cracks down on nonconsensual filming by livestreaming hosts on Sanya beaches / SupChina
“As tourist complaints continued to pile up, Sanya [a popular beach resort on Hainan island] recently decided to take some action, announcing that it would initiate a crackdown on streamers who engage in improper behaviors such as catcalling female passersby and making physical contact with tourists without their permission.”
How geopolitics decides what toys children are allowed
The long arm of authoritarian China reached into my seven-year-old’s bedroom / The Sydney Morning Herald
Australian journalist Kirsty Needham just ended her assignment in Beijing. But she had trouble moving her son’s toy globe because it depicted Taiwan as a country.
The Chinese women working for Indian diplomats
The spice route / The Indian Express
“Meet the tiny network of Chinese women, who work the Indian diplomatic circuit in China and learn to puff the perfect chapati.”
Harbin ice festival opens
China’s ice festival features mass snow wedding and crystal towers / SCMP
China’s annual ice festival in Harbin has kicked off with couples lining up for a snow-themed mass wedding, swimmers braving frigid waters and frozen palaces rising from the ground.