The Best Reads of the Week From Caixin

Dear reader:

Alibaba never seems to run out of ideas. It has launched unstaffed convenience stores and a “smart” gas station where a robot arm will fill up your tank. Next up: freshwater hairy crabs that are popping out of vending machines in Shanghai.

But away from the skyscrapers of Shanghai, in China’s agricultural fields, farmers are also innovating, deploying drones to do their crop dusting. In 2014, only about 500 drones were out spraying crops. That’s expected to jump to 15,000 this year.

Big jumps were taking place as well among the wealthiest of China. Xu Jiayin (Hui Ka Yan), 59, head of property giant Evergrande Group, was named China’s richest person on the latest Hurun Rich List, with a personal fortune of $44 billion. Wang Jianlin, the founder of Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd., dropped to fifth place, marking the first time in five years that Wang was not among the top three.

Another shakeup took place at China’s banking and insurance regulatory commissions. Two graft-busters were named to senior positions at the banking and insurance watchdogs, sending a message that upgraded anti-corruption investigations can be expected throughout China’s financial system.

Meanwhile, the Caixin China General Services Business Activity Index declined to 50.6 last month from 52.7 in August. It was the worst reading since December 2015. “The expansion in both manufacturing and services cooled in September, suggesting downward pressure on economic growth may re-emerge in the fourth quarter,” said Zhong Zhengsheng, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, a subsidiary of Caixin Insight Group.

These are five stories that I don’t want you to miss. Please share your comments on The Weekender section and on our other coverage at

Kind regards,

Deb Price

Managing editor, Caixin Global

Alibaba’s Latest Open Sesame: Live Crabs in Vending Machines

E-commerce giant rolls out high-tech vending machine pumping out seasonal local delicacy for Shanghai residents


The Alibaba vending machine controls its internal temperature and humidity to mimic the crabs' natural environment. Photo: Visual China


Chinese Farmers Turn to Crop-Dusting Drones

Manufacturers find profitable niche, but sow worries about overuse of pesticides, lax regulation


The national government and provincial authorities across China have doled out millions in subsidies in recent years to farmers looking to buy drones, such as the one pictured about that is crop-dusting a wheat field in Shandong province. Photo: Visual China


China’s 2017 Rich List Sees Fortune’s Wheel Turn

Head of real estate developer Evergrande becomes country’s richest man, as Wanda’s Wang Jianlin falls


Though Evergrade Group's Xu Jiayin (Hui Ka Yan) has taken the top spot on the Hurun Rich List this year, the total number of people on the list who made their fortunes in real estate dropped. Photo: IC


Two Determined Graft-Busters Put in Senior Posts at Banking, Insurance Watchdogs

Picks signal that anti-corruption investigations will continue in China’s financial systems


Li Xinran (left) has been a member of both central and regional corruption detection bodies, while Lin Guoyao has spent his entire official career working in government posts in Fujian province.


Services Sector Activity Weakens in September, Caixin Survey Shows

PMI for services companies shows lowest reading in almost two years, adding to pressure on economy


Photo: IC

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