BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
Can Huawei survive without Google?
Huawei struggles to get along without Google / WSJ (paywall)
China’s Huawei Technologies Co., barred by the U.S. from buying American technology, has found a lot of workarounds — but is having a hard time replacing Google, on which it has relied for a decade.
Without the search-and-software giant’s apps, smartphone fixtures around the world, the once-relentless march of Huawei’s phones is faltering.
Apple moves to reduce Foxconn reliance
Apple backs Chinese supplier’s move to challenge Foxconn / TechNode
Apple has advised one of its Airpod factories in China to make a major investment in a key supplier as the company moves to create an alternative to its longtime iPhone assembler, Taiwan’s Foxconn, according to a Nikkei Asian Review [porous paywall] report.
The deal would bring Luxshare-ICT, a lesser-known Chinese assembler of Apple’s Airpods, closer to producing iPhones, grabbing share from Foxconn.
Ecommerce wars: Pinduoduo overtakes JD.com…
Money-losing Pinduoduo overtakes JD.com as China’s second most valuable online retailer / Caixin
“Chinese ecommerce upstart Pinduoduo has overtaken rival JD.com to become China’s second most valuable online retailer after Alibaba, following a 5.26% rise in its shares on Tuesday that moved its market capitalization to $69.3 billion.”
…As JD-backed online grocer files for U.S. IPO
Chinese online grocer JD Daojia files for U.S. IPO / TechNode
“Dada Nexus, known as JD Daojia in China, filed its application on Tuesday with the U.S. securities regulator to offer shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange.”
JD-backed grocery unit could quintuple U.S. IPO target to $500 million / Caixin (paywall)
The company said in a prospectus filed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday that it would seek as much as $100 million. But the company could raise that target to over $500 million, said a company source who asked not to be named because the information has not been disclosed.
Video wars: Kuaishou sues Douyin
Kuaishou sues rival Douyin for ‘piggybacking’ on its name / Sixth Tone
Chinese video platform Kuaishou has filed a 5 million yuan ($705,000) lawsuit against Douyin, accusing its rival of “piggybacking” on the company’s user base by infringing its trademark.
According to a statement [in Chinese] in the lawsuit, which has been accepted by Beijing’s Haidian District court, Kuaishou claims Douyin used Kuaishou’s name to link to its own product page on 360 Mobile Assistant, a third-party Android app store. The plaintiff accused Douyin — known internationally as TikTok — of infringing Kuaishou’s trademark to display its own product, prompting users to download the rival app even when they searched for Kuaishou.
Property developer turns to pig farming
Developer China Vanke moves into pig farming as property fails to bring home the bacon / SCMP
Now China Vanke, the nation’s third-largest homebuilder, is poised to make an even more unlikely move: into pig farming.
According to job vacancies advertised on its website, Vanke is planning to breed 250,000 pigs a year as it aims to sell pork and other foods in an apparent attempt to weather China’s struggling property market.
China-E.U. summit likely to be held in June
China-E.U. summit on investment deal, COVID-19 likely to start next month, sources say / SCMP
China and the European Union are likely to hold their delayed summit early next month via a series of online meetings, sources familiar with the issue said, as Beijing seeks to stabilise its turbulent relationship with Brussels amid ongoing tensions with the United States.
The summit will be Beijing’s first major diplomatic event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and looks set to come hot on the heels of its annual legislative session, which gets under way on May 22 after a two-month delay…
Leaders and senior officials from the two sides have been in frequent contact in recent months, sharing knowledge about the coronavirus and cooperating on the development of vaccines, as well as accelerating their negotiations of a comprehensive agreement on investment, which began in 2013.
German firms to send employees back to China
German companies plan charter flight to send workers back to China / AFP via SCMP
“German companies are preparing to charter a flight to China this month, a business leader said on Wednesday, in a sign that Beijing may further ease a ban on most foreigners that was imposed to avoid importing virus cases.”
Luckin issues apology to staff
Luckin apologizes to staff after month-long fraud tumult / TechNode
Embattled Chinese beverage chain Luckin Coffee issued [in Chinese] an apology letter to its employees on Tuesday evening for the upheaval following its stunning fraud admission in early April.
Luckin had remained relatively silent about its moves following the April 2 disclosure of fraud to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The apology and appointment of new leadership [co-founder Guō Jǐnyī 郭瑾一 has been appointed acting CEO] on the same day mark a distinct change in leadership style.
Tencent’s sales grew 26% in Q1
Tencent’s earnings powered by lockdown gaming / FT (paywall)
Chinese technology giant Tencent has beaten earnings expectations, with sales growing 26% in the first quarter as coronavirus left customers trapped inside with time to spend on its hit games and other entertainment options. The social media and gaming group posted a profit of 28.9 billion yuan ($4.1 billion) on sales of 108 billion yuan [$15.2 billion] for the three-month period, well ahead of the 101 billion yuan [$14.2 billion] forecast by analysts.
Local governments turn to infrastructure stimulus
The coronavirus sees China’s local governments binge on off-the-books debt / WSJ (porous paywall)
China’s regional bosses are ramping up infrastructure spending, falling back on an old remedy to boost economic activity as the coronavirus pandemic curbs consumption and industrial production.
Off-balance-sheet entities are selling bonds to finance projects such as investing in warehouses, expanding underground metro networks, building data centers or renovating shantytowns.
SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:
Zoo forced to return pandas amid bamboo shortage
Bamboo shortage forces Canada to send two giant pandas back to China / SCMP
A Canadian zoo has decided to send two adult giant pandas back to China because the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted essential deliveries of fresh bamboo.
The Calgary Zoo said it previously had bamboo flown in from China directly, but flight cancellations had “removed this option.”
Unreviewed research to get more scrutiny
Preprint platforms tighten rules to deter bad coronavirus research / Caixin
“Online platforms that allow scientists to share unreviewed research are tightening publication rules amid a deluge of coronavirus papers of varying quality, according to a report published Thursday in the journal Nature.”
Drop in clean energy installation amid COVID-19
Installation of new wind and solar power plants plunges during outbreak / Caixin
China’s newly installed wind power capacity in the first quarter halved from the same period in 2019 to 2.36 million kilowatts. Meanwhile, installation of solar power plants suffered a 24% year-on-year drop in capacity to 3.95 million kilowatts, data from the National Energy Administration showed on Monday.
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
Chinese state media releases video on “America’s biological laboratories”
Center for Global and Strategic Studies in Pakistan on Twitter: “China Radio International (Urdu Service), Beijing has released a video interview regarding ‘International Concerns About America’s Biological laboratories.’ See Mr Khalid Taimur Akram, ED, CGSS talking to CRI, Beijing on the link below.”
Watch the video in Urdu here.
Former U.S. senator to lobby for Chinese-backed chemical firm
Bob Dole registers as lobbyist for Chinese-owned chemical company / Axios
“Former senator Bob Dole has registered to lobby on behalf of Wanhua Chemical (America) Co., Ltd., a Texas-based firm whose Chinese parent company is caught up in the U.S.-China trade war.”
Hong Kong police accused of gang rape and other abuses
Man dies after police arrest, raising concerns over treatment / Hong Kong Free Press
“A man’s death in police custody has raised concerns over the tactics used to subdue him during his arrest.”
Hong Kong woman who accused officers of gang rape defends claim after police chief says she must be arrested for lying / Hong Kong Free Press
“A woman who accused officers of gang-raping her in a police station has defended her claim after the force announced plans to arrest her on suspicion of providing false information.”
U.S. senator refuses to rule out Wuhan lab theory
Rubio: “We don’t have enough information” on coronavirus origins / Axios
“‘I’m not ruling out that it could be a lab accident, and some experts have not ruled it out either,’ said [Senator Marco] Rubio. ‘Though I can’t prove it and no one can because we don’t have enough information to disprove it or prove it.’”
China to conduct 11-week naval exercise
China’s navy gets back on training track with extensive drills / SCMP
“China will mount an unusually long military exercise in waters off the northern port city of Tangshan [200 km or 124 miles east of Beijing] to catch up on training missed during the coronavirus pandemic.”
Global Times threatens Taiwan
Rumored PLA drills plan on Dongsha Islands sparks fear in Taiwan / Global Times
Global Times summarizes on Twitter: “Landing exercises, aimed at taking over islands, have become PLA’s regular training subjects. Dongsha, Penghu and Taiwan are all islands. If Taiwan secessionists insist on secession, military exercises can turn into action any time: experts.”
Taiwan’s exclusion from WHO a public health risk — U.S. congressional report
WHO put nations at risk by excluding Taiwan from knowledge sharing, U.S. report says / SCMP
Taiwan’s exclusion from the World Health Organisation (WHO) during the coronavirus pandemic endangered its citizens and undermined global information sharing, a U.S. congressional report said, as pressure mounts for the island to be granted observer status at the health agency’s upcoming forum.
Op-ed: China can’t afford to let “one country, two systems” collapse
China can ill-afford causing a Hong Kong failure / FT (paywall)
Anson Chan 陳方安生 (Chén Fāngānshēng), former chief secretary of Hong Kong, writes:
Having failed to win the hearts and minds of the majority of Hongkongers, there is an air of desperation about Beijing’s increasingly repressive tactics. They are counter-productive, destined only to foment the resumption of protests as the threat from COVID-19 eases. They will also almost certainly prompt a wave of emigration and drive international business and media groups into safer jurisdictions, including Taiwan.
China announces more COVID-19 aid for Africa
After a brief lull, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian announces a raft of new COVID-19 aid programs for Africa / China-Africa Project (porous paywall)
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhào Lìjiān 赵立坚 announced a significant increase in Chinese government-sponsored COVID-19 medical aid missions in Africa. Zhao revealed on Monday that medical teams and relief supplies will be sent to three African countries in the coming days and weeks…“Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Algeria…”
Is the U.S. pressuring the U.K. to pick sides?
U.S. message to Britain in bilateral trade talks: it’s us — or China / Guardian
The U.S. government has been privately pressing the U.K. in bilateral trade talks to make a choice between the U.S. and China.
The U.S. is seeking to insert a clause that would allow it to retreat from parts of the deal if Britain reaches a trade agreement with another country that the U.S. did not approve.
The proposed clause made no mention specifically of China, but is seen by British diplomats in Washington as intended to be a lever to deter closer U.K.-China relations…
The paper [co-authored by former HM Treasury minister Ed Balls] cites an unnamed U.K. government official saying: “The talks could conclude with a political statement that pulls the U.K. towards an anti-China, anti-cooperative view of the world.”
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Picnics are the post-isolation activity of choice
Panic gives way to picnics as young Chinese emerge from isolation / Sixth Tone
Though heading to parks for an outing on a sunny day is hardly novel, the activity is becoming more visible as strict quarantine and social-distancing rules are relaxed amid declining coronavirus cases. Sales of picnic-related products have soared, with some vendors noting high demand for products such as picnic blankets and tents, according to multiple media reports [in Chinese].
The false promises of remote working
The false freedom of telework in the age of DingTalk / Sixth Tone
“Many of China’s white collar employees imagined telework as a refuge from their micromanaging bosses. Instead it just invited autocratic managers into their homes.”
Debunking the stigma around vocational high schools
Snapshots from a vocational high school / Gushi Newsletter
Even though our city has a booming economy, people can be very conservative. I’ve come across many parents…If it’s a son who doesn’t want to stay in school, they’ll beat them into submission. If it’s a girl, a junior high diploma is enough. In their eyes, enrolling a girl in vocational senior high school is a waste of their money. “Skip it if you can manage it” is a common refrain.
Martial arts coach sets Guinness World Record
Dude sets Guinness World Record for hitting ping pong balls with nunchucks / Shanghaiist
A Shanghai martial arts coach has managed to set another Guinness World Record with nunchucks mastery… In his latest Guinness record, 28-year-old year Xiè Déshèng 谢德胜 managed to hit 32 ping pong balls using his nunchaku. He didn’t have to actually return them, just hit them…
How provinces got their abbreviations
How China’s provinces came to have their single word abbreviations / Beijinger
An explainer on China’s single-character abbreviations for cities and provinces.