BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
High-speed rail IPO oversubscribed
China’s $4.3 billion IPO highlights investor confidence in rail network / SCMP
- The 30 billion yuan ($4.3 billion) initial public offering for the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway line was oversubscribed 126 times.
- In 2018, the 1,300 km [807 mile] line reported an annual profit of 10.2 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), making it one of the most profitable parts of China’s rail system.
Tesla’s SUV production in China begins
Tesla set to expand China assembly with compact SUV / WSJ (paywall)
Tesla Inc. plans to build its Model Y compact sport-utility vehicle in China, the electric-car maker said Tuesday, in a move to expand the company’s production capabilities and boost sales in the world’s biggest auto market.
The Palo Alto, Calif., company said Tuesday that it is starting work related to production of the Model Y at Gigafactory Shanghai, Tesla’s first overseas plant.
General Motors Co. posted its biggest-ever sales drop in China last year and warned of another tough year ahead, underscoring the challenges that U.S. car makers are facing as the world’s largest auto market suffers its first protracted decline in nearly three decades.
Greater Bay Area
GBA in 2020: Same challenges, less drama / Greater Bay Insight
What lies ahead for the Greater Bay Area in 2020. Some key points:
- Infrastructure will keep improving.
- Digital payments will explode.
- Hong Kong’s wealth gap will widen.
- Macau will settle its casinos, but focus on Hengqin free trade area.
- GBA’s GDP will grow 5 percent to $1.65 trillion.
- Risks will come out of nowhere.
Internet included in proposed antitrust reforms
China targets internet giants in antitrust law overhaul / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
China has included the internet industry for the first time in an envisioned overhaul of its anti-monopoly laws, potentially giving regulators the power to rein in the country’s increasingly dominant technology giants.
Proposed revisions to the Anti-Monopoly Law, published last week, included language that accords regulators responsibility to monitor the impact that internet companies have on the online sector, their scale and their ability to control products and services. More broadly, companies found to have violated the law could be fined as much as 10 percent of their revenue or a maximum of 50 million yuan ($7.2 million) if they don’t generate significant sales, according to the revised rules posted [in Chinese] on the State Administration for Market Regulation’s website. The draft is currently open to public consultation.
Peer-to-peer lending sector likely to shrink further
China’s P2P lenders face tough 2020 amid tighter regulation / SCMP
- Once seen as a valuable source of credit for vulnerable consumers and businesses, China’s peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders have been embroiled in a wave of scandals.
- The internet-based lending industry faces ‘further industry contraction’ amid increased regulatory and capital requirements in 2020, analysts say.
Chinese chips may not comply with new California laws
Pay close attention to California’s new IoT law / China Law Blog
A few days ago, California passed the first U.S. information security law specifically targeting the Internet of Things (or IoT). We wrote about the law, SB-327, about a year ago when it first passed…
For a refresher, SB-327 took effect on January 1, 2020. It requires manufacturers of connected devices — essentially, IoT devices — to be equipped with “reasonable” security measures…
If your company is buying IoT-equipped chips or devices from China for use in products made in California, chances are that you cannot trust that the IoT chips comply with California law.
WeChat and insider trading
撤回也没用！微信聊天记录成证据，内幕交易亏了仍被罚60万 / The Paper
From The Paper’s Twitter account:
Even when withdrawn, WeChat messages can still be used as evidence for insider trading!
The chairman of an enterprise in Fujian, China is fined 600,000 yuan [$86,400] after getting insider info via WeChat to engage in the trading of more than 3 million yuan [$430,000].
SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:
Don’t panic about the Wuhan virus outbreak
U.S. warns citizens in China to avoid animals and sick people over mystery pneumonia virus / SCMP
- Outbreak in central city of Wuhan has seen 59 cases so far of the unidentified illness but Sars and bird flu have been ruled out.
- U.S. embassy in Beijing warns Americans to ‘be aware and practice usual precautions.’
China grapples with mystery pneumonia-like illness / NYT (porous paywall)
Sui-Lee Wee, one of the authors of this piece, explained on Twitter two reasons to not panic:
- We have not heard reports of any deaths yet. During SARS, deaths happened very quickly. Think the mortality rate of SARS was around 10 percent.
- We also don’t have reports of hospital workers being infected, signaling that the likelihood of human-to-human transmission is low.
- For more, see our roundup yesterday: Wuhan’s mystery pneumonia spreads
Spacecraft releases high-resolution Moon photos
China’s lander releases data, high-resolution images of the Moon / Ars Technica
A little more than one year ago, China’s Chang’e 4 spacecraft landed on the far side of the Moon. In doing so, it became the first-ever vehicle to make a soft landing on the side of the Moon facing away from Earth.
To mark the one-year anniversary, China released a batch of scientific data and images captured by five scientific payloads aboard the 1.2-ton spacecraft and its small Yutu 2 rover. Since the landing, the rover has driven a little more than 350 meters across the Moon’s surface, studying rock formations and taking additional photos.
Water Diversion Project seeks options for new section
Vast river diversion plan afoot in western China / China Dialogue
China’s premier, Lǐ Kèqiáng 李克强, has called [in Chinese] for options to be examined for the hugely ambitious western section of the South-to-North Water Diversion project.
The idea of diverting water from China’s wet south to its dry north was first proposed in 1952 [in Chinese]. Today, the project consists of an eastern, a central and several potential western routes. The central route, completed in 2014, takes water on a 15-day journey from Hubei province more than 1,400 kilometres north to Beijing and Tianjin. The eastern route began transferring water from Jiangsu to Shandong and Tianjin in 2013.
Starting this spring, Beijing will become the second Chinese city to impose a compulsory household waste-sorting policy, affecting some 21 million residents.
The capital’s top policymaking body unveiled a set of new rules December 18 to take effect May 1, requiring all households to sort trash by method of disposal, such as incineration, landfill, and recycling. The move follows similar rules imposed since July 2019 in Shanghai,.
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
Beijing blew its chances in Taiwan’s next election
Taiwan’s 2020 elections / Lowy Institute
A report on Taiwan’s upcoming January 11 election. Key points:
- Saturday’s elections are likely to reflect strong anti-Beijing sentiment.
- China is already looking past the elections to weaken the island’s democracy through overt and covert means.
- Whatever the result, Beijing will increase pressure on Taipei to open talks on unification.
China’s next crisis brews in Taiwan’s upcoming election / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“As Hong Kong seethes, the island’s pro-independence camp is gaining strength.”
Chinese students arrested after photographing U.S. naval facilities
Chinese students — again — charged with photographing base / Miami Herald
…[A] pair of Chinese nationals attending the University of Michigan — were arrested over the weekend and appeared in federal court in Key West on Monday on a charge of entering a U.S. Naval property for the purpose of photographing defense installations.
Since the fall of last year, a total of four Chinese nationals have been arrested on charges of shooting pictures of military facilities in Key West, drawing the sharp interest of U.S. counterintelligence investigators who have been probing suspected Beijing-led spying activities in South Florida, including visitors to President Donald Trump’s private club, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach.
Beijing bans imported textbooks
China bans imported textbooks for primary, middle schools / Sixth Tone
China’s education ministry published a new set of regulations [in Chinese] Tuesday forbidding the country’s primary and middle schools from using textbooks imported from foreign countries.
The Ministry of Education said all primary and middle schools, which together make up the country’s nine-year compulsory education period, cannot use teaching materials from overseas. The laundry list of varied instructions on the management of teaching materials spans nearly all levels of education.
During a press conference Tuesday [in Chinese], a ministry spokesperson said the new guidelines were introduced to “adhere to the correct political direction and value orientation.”
Taiwan pastor helps protesters fleeing Hong Kong
Interview: ‘We have arranged for them to go to school here’ / Radio Free Asia
As the Hong Kong protest movement has escalated, Taiwan pastor Ng ChhunSeng [黄春生 Huáng Chūnshēng has been quietly engaged in collecting goods and financial donations to support protesters fleeing to Taiwan for fear of arrest for “rioting,” a charge that carries a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment and which has been brought against large numbers of peaceful protesters since last June.
To date, he has raised some 15 million Taiwan dollars (around $500,000) at a time when donated funds in Hong Kong itself are being seized by the authorities.
Hong Kong protests, the police, and the economy
Tough to find people to join review committee on police behavior, says Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam / Hong Kong Free Press
Chief Executive Carrie Lam [林鄭月娥 Lín Zhèng Yuè’é] has said that it was difficult to find people to join an independent review committee to look into the causes of Hong Kong’s ongoing protests.
The committee was proposed by Lam to identify deep-seated issues at the heart of the unrest since June. Lam has said that the committee would not have any investigative power, unlike the independent commission of inquiry demanded by protesters.
- Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam insists she will remain in office to tackle challenges including protests and economy as Beijing replaces its top envoy in city / SCMP
- Hong Kong’ leader emphasises that her cabinet has been committed in past months to helping city overcome difficulties.
- Carrie Lam also believes she can work well with Luò Huìníng 骆惠, the new man in the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong.
Small crowds gather across Hong Kong for regular lunchtime protests / SCMP
“About 200 people take to streets in Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Kwai Chung, and Kwun Tong.”
South China Sea: Chinese and Filipino officials to meet
Officials from Philippines, China to meet on stalled South China Sea joint oil exploration deal: senator / SCMP
- Foreign affairs and energy officials from Beijing and Manila are looking to break the impasse on the deal, according to Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.
- Negotiations had foundered over which country’s laws should govern exploration activities in the Reed Bank, where they have overlapping claims.
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Chinese couple detained for five days after taking nude photos on children’s amusement park ride / SCMP
Man and woman shot pornographic images and videos and shared them on social media as part of publicity stunt, park operators say. The Nanning pair may also find themselves facing legal action.
Chinese farmers on social media
We interview the ‘King’, China’s famous beer drinking vlogger / That’s Guangzhou
Read more on SupChina: Childhood memories from a Chinese ‘stunt drinker’ and his global fans
Chinese farmers create a buzz, and a living, through video-sharing apps / SCMP
“Posting videos about life on the farm has become popular and is helping some find a way out of poverty.”