BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
Waiting for stimulus
World economy watches and waits for China’s Great Reboot / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“The government has not brought out the big stimulus guns, because they want to wait to see the extent to which activity can recover on its own,” said Andy Rothman, a former U.S. diplomat in Beijing who’s now an investment strategist at Matthews Asia.
China’s GPS rival one satellite away from completion
China’s BeiDou system one satellite closer to full operation / SCMP
The 54th and second-last of the constellation of the BeiDou navigation system was sent into a geostationary orbit by a Long March 3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan province, southwest China, state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday…
The last of the 30 BeiDou satellites in the third-generation system is expected to be launched in May, three years after the first one went into orbit.
Beijing’s most famous real estate company to go private?
Blackstone in talks to take developer SOHO China private in $4 billion deal — sources / Reuters
“Blackstone Group Inc is in exclusive talks to take SOHO China Ltd private in a $4 billion deal, said two sources, in one of its biggest bets yet on the Chinese market and which sent the target’s shares to a 21-month high.”
Online property tours a tough sell…
Tough sell: China’s agents shill homes via livestream amid epidemic / Sixth Tone
“Real estate companies are trying all sorts of online marketing tactics to stay afloat, encouraging employees to communicate with clients on social media, conduct online training classes, film short videos, and host livestreams.”
…But virtual tourist attractions draw big crowds
China’s tourist sites draw virtual crowds, real cash / Sixth Tone
Just like many other businesses — including beauty shops, nightclubs, and reality TV shows — the country’s tourism sector has also moved online, adapting to a time when social distancing is the new normal. Helping tourism-focused businesses stay afloat are large e-commerce platforms like Alibaba, which added an “online field trip” feature to its commercial livestreaming platform, Taobao Live, that allows museums, zoos, and aquariums to attract virtual crowds.
Delivery sector under pressure
China’s package couriers face mounting operating costs, industry group says / Caixin
“China’s package delivery sector is facing sharp increases in operating costs as transportation and temporary labor expenses jump amid the coronavirus epidemic, an industry official said.”
Agricultural sector resorts to drones
Chinese agriculture drone makers see demand rise amid coronavirus outbreak / CNBC
“In the first two months of 2020, we delivered 4,000 units of our newly released agricultural drones,” [said] a co-founder of XAG, a major agricultural drone maker based in the southern city of Guangzhou.”
All but four Apple stores have reopened
All but four of Apple’s stores in mainland China have reopened after coronavirus shutdown / CNBC
“Apple has 42 stores in mainland China and 38 of those are open again…Three stores in Tianjin, a major city in northwest China, and a retail location in Suzhou, a city west of Shanghai, remain closed.”
Shanghai Disneyland to reopen in stages
Shanghai Disneyland partially reopens / China Film Insider
On March 9, the Shanghai Disney Resort resumed operations of certain facilities and services including Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, although the main theme park still remains closed. As the first step of a gradual resumption, the Disney Resort reduces business hours and only allows a limited number of tourists at any given opening hour.
Bytedance eyes mobile game revenue
Bytedance scores its first video game license / TechNode
“TikTok owner Bytedance was on Friday granted its first mobile game license from Chinese regulators, according to records from an official database. The license…allows Bytedance to earn revenue from mobile games.”
SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:
COVID-19: New research and findings
Top coronavirus doctor in Wuhan says high blood pressure is major death risk / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
While there’s been no published research yet explaining why, Chinese doctors working in Wuhan…have noticed that infected patients with that underlying illness are more likely to slip into severe distress and die.
Most people who catch COVID-19…start showing symptoms roughly five days after infection, disease analysts at Johns Hopkins University said on Monday, in the largest such study of known cases world-wide.
More ‘aggressive’ COVID-19 strain more prevalent in Wuhan: study / Caixin (paywall)
“A new study by Chinese researchers suggests not only that two major strains of the deadly new coronavirus exist, but also that China’s intrusive lockdown measures at the center of the outbreak may have concentrated the more infectious strain in the disease-hit city of Wuhan.”
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
Dependency on China sparks debate in Europe
Coronavirus forces Europe to confront China dependency / Politico via SCMP
“In the midst of an already heated debate in Europe and across the West about over-reliance on Chinese tech equipment, the mounting supply chain problems are fuelling arguments for greater independence from Beijing’s manufacturing might.”
Taiwanese in Wuhan on their way home
Hundreds of Taiwanese to return from coronavirus center after Beijing and Taipei reach deal / SCMP
Taiwan asked to evacuate its citizens soon after Wuhan was locked down on January 23, but the two sides fell out after the mainland dispatched a China Eastern Airline plane to carry 247 Taiwanese back, one of whom was found to have contracted the coronavirus that causes COVID-19… Some 470 Taiwanese stranded in the Chinese province of Hubei were due to return to the island on Tuesday night following a compromise between Beijing and Taipei.
Uyghur diaspora in mental health crisis
‘Psychological torture’: Uyghurs abroad face mental health crisis over plight of relatives who remain in Xinjiang / SCMP
Several years ago, Ilshat Hassan contemplated buying a gun. He was receiving threats over the phone and online from people who took issue with his advocacy for the Uyghur people, he says, and feared for the safety of his family…
Struggling with anxiety and depression, Hassan, 58, is just one of many members of the Uyghur diaspora who say their mental health is in crisis, triggered or exacerbated by the situation facing family and friends thousands of miles away.
Reflecting on the Peace Corps ending its China program
The Peace Corps breaks ties with China / New Yorker (porous paywall)
Peter Hessler writes:
The Peace Corps had three goals: to provide useful assistance to “interested countries,” to improve understanding of the United States, and to help Americans understand the rest of the world… The Peace Corps has sent more than thirteen hundred volunteers to China, and the agency, which is now active in sixty countries, has always been viewed as removed from political spats. The U.S. had never ended a Peace Corps program because of a diplomatic conflict, but the timing of the decision about China seemed suspicious…
“For too long, Beijing has fooled organizations such as the World Bank and the World Trade Organization,” Rubio wrote. Scott chimed in: “I’m glad the Peace Corps has finally come to its senses and sees Communist China for what it is: the second largest economy in the world and an adversary of the United States.”
More deaths in makeshift hospital collapse in Fujian
Death toll rises following tragic hotel collapse in China / That’s Magazine
“20 have been confirmed dead and 41 injured. Ten victims remain trapped while emergency personnel continue their search.”
More information about the building collapse was included in our COVID-19 roundup yesterday.
Hong Kong imposes quarantines on some tourists
Hong Kong imposes mandatory quarantine on tourists from Italy, parts of France, Germany and Japan amid outbreak / Hong Kong Free Press
“The Hong Kong government is set to impose mandatory quarantine on anyone arriving from coronavirus-hit Italy as well as regions of France, Germany and Japan from Friday onwards, according to the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong.”
Increasing space for civil society to respond to COVID-19?
Civil society’s shifting role in the response to coronavirus / ChinaFile
Contributor Holly Snape explains how local and central policies at first hobbled domestic civil society organizations’ ability to respond to the coronavirus, limiting who could receive donations, and, critically, who could disburse them. Subsequent rule changes mean that groups are now freer to play a role in collecting and distributing funds and material goods — a hopeful sign for the management of this epidemic.
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Op-ed: Private spaces no longer exist amid COVID-19
Privacy in the time of coronavirus / ChinAI Newsletter
A translation of a March 6 blog post by Peking University’s Professor Hú Yǒng 胡泳. Hu writes that “the infringement of privacy by public health surveillance can be described as shocking” and that “private spaces have vanished without a trace” in efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus.
See also: The coming biosecurity state on SupChina.
Poetry-writing truck driver who can’t get home goes viral
‘I’m so tired’: Stranded trucker becomes unlikely hero of coronavirus lockdown / WSJ (paywall)
For more than a month, truck driver Xiào Hóngbīng 肖红兵 has been stuck living at a roadside service area more than 500 miles from home, with little to occupy his time besides writing poetry and corresponding with hundreds of fans captivated by his harrowing journey.
Precautions at Los Angeles restaurants
LA’s Sichuan Impression tests customers’ body temperature before entry / Eater LA
“Chinese restaurant Sichuan Impression is taking coronavirus precautions extremely seriously: It requires a body-temperature check before dining at any of its three Southern California locations. Since late January, staff have used infrared thermometers to determine if a customer has a fever, or any other symptoms related to the novel coronavirus.”
A new burden on online education goes online
Online classes have parents of young children working overtime / Sixth Tone
“China’s schools have settled on online education as a stopgap measure for coping with the COVID-19 epidemic, but the home study arrangement is posing a major headache for many parents of young children.”
American right-wing racializing of COVID-19
Politicians’ use of ‘Wuhan virus’ starts a debate health experts wanted to avoid / NYT (porous paywall)
“The debate over racism, the coronavirus and partisan politics has grown uglier by the hour, and it is precisely the type of geopolitical back-and-forth that health officials have tried to avoid since releasing more stringent guidelines for naming viruses in 2015.”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump is retweeting sycophants who call it “China Virus.”