Links for Thursday, June 4, 2020

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BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:

China’s aviation authority said [in Chinese] Thursday that it would allow foreign airlines to increase flights between the country and other regions from June 8.

The online statement came about 12 hours after President Donald Trump’s administration issued an order to suspend Chinese passenger airlines from flying to the U.S. beginning June 16, with the option to take effect earlier.

Shares in Hong Kong-listed SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile (SGMW) were up as much as 120% during Wednesday’s trading session as Wuling microvans became the new coveted asset for would-be street vendors feeling warm vibes from the government.

Premier Lǐ Kèqiáng 李克强 on Monday gave his public support of the country’s “vendor economy,” as a way to address urban unemployment and revitalize the economy in the wake of COVID-19 downturn, after years of regulations that have seen many street vendors disappear from city streets. The day after the premier’s comments, Wuling Motors announced that it would “start selling a new model cargo van — officially a mainstay of the market economy!”

The U.K. is in talks with a rival to Huawei Technologies Co. as Boris Johnson’s officials revise the British government’s stance toward China in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Officials spoke with Japanese technology company NEC Corp. in May as part of efforts to diversify the range of equipment providers for the U.K.’s fifth-generation mobile networks, a person familiar with the matter said.

As part of the initiative, the cabinet plans [paywall] to allocate more than NT$10 billion to entice foreign chipmakers to set up R&D facilities locally, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report [porous paywall]. The government said Thursday it aims to subsidize as much as half of all research and development costs incurred by global chip companies that build centers on the island.

  • Electric vehicle charging network expansion
    BMW and China’s State Grid partner on EV charging network expansion / TechNode
    “BMW and Chinese power company State Grid on Wednesday announced a massive charging network expansion that would roughly double the number of charging piles for the carmaker’s vehicles in the country as it seeks to resolve a critical bottleneck in electric car adoption.”
  • Hong Kong firms raise funds at rapid rate
    Hong Kong firms currently raising funds at fastest pace all year / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
    “Seven companies have raised a total of $1.76 billion this week alone, the most both in terms of number of deals and amount since the start of the year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.”
  • Yuan grows in importance as market indicator  
    China’s yuan joins ranks of world’s most influential currencies / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
    “‘The yuan is definitely on my radar,’ said Stuart Simmons, a senior portfolio manager at QIC Ltd., which manages about A$83 billion ($53 billion). ‘I use it more as an indicator to take advantage of opportunities in markets.’”
  • Beijing’s blockchain vision for Hainan
    Hainan FTZ master plan counts on blockchain / TechNode
  • On June 1, the central government released its master plan for turning Hainan into the country’s largest free-trade zone, according to Xinhua (in Chinese).
  • The official plan calls for using blockchain technology in intellectual property transactions, in modernizing governance systems, and in finance, among other areas.
  • It also proposes (in Chinese) that by 2025, China should build a “National Blockchain Technology and Industrial Innovation Development Base” in Hainan.

SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:

China completed construction of a 22.6 billion yuan ($3.17 billion) ultra-high voltage electricity line [paywall] that for the first time will transport only clean energy.

It’s the first UHV line in the world built to transmit only carbon-free electricity, its developer, State Grid Corp. of China, said in a statement [in Chinese]. It will allow more renewables to be developed in Qinghai and Gansu provinces and deliver the electricity all the way to Henan in central China.

  • COVID-19 vaccine: The new space race?
    The global race for a coronavirus vaccine could lead to this generation’s Sputnik moment / Washington Post (porous paywall)
    “With testing underway on five experimental vaccines in China and four in the United States, the race to produce a vaccine for COVID-19 has taken on political dimensions that echo jockeying for technological dominance during the Cold War, including the space race after the launch of Sputnik in 1957.”

POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

SOCIETY AND CULTURE: