Tuesday Tech Briefing: Apple, P2P, ZhongAn
BIG TECH COMPANIES
1. Apple Removes Illegal Lottery Apps From China Store
What: Apple confirmed it has recently removed gambling apps from its store to cooperate with regulators. According to state media, around 25,000 gambling apps were pulled.
Why it's important: “Apple has been subject to increasingly strict rules regarding its content in China amid a wider effort by regulators to create a ‘clean’ cyberspace, which includes enhanced censorship policies,” Reuters reported.
Big picture: In February, Apple moved its Chinese iCloud operations to China in order to comply with new legal requirements. (Source: Reuters)
2. Alipay Launches Online Tax Refund in South Korea
What: Alipay is tying up with Seoul-headquartered Global Tax Free to launch a paperless mobile tax refund function in South Korea, China’s largest online payment service provider announced Monday. It added the two firms plan to expand the tax refund service to other countries in Asia in the future.
Why it's important: The service will allow Chinese tourists to apply for and claim tax rebates on purchases made in South Korea on their mobile phone app, skipping in-city and airport tax refund counters altogether, the Chinese company said in a statement. (Source: Caixin)
3. Chinese Investors Protest in Shanghai's Financial District Over P2P Woes
What: About 300 investors in collapsed peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform PPMiao protested at the office of HuaAn Future Asset, one of PPMiao’s shareholders, in Shanghai on Monday. PPMiao earlier said it was shutting down because investors had withdrawn funds and some of its debtors were unable to pay back loans.
Why it's important: The protest is the latest sign of trouble for China’s P2P industry, which has seen 243 companies collapse since June.
Big picture: “P2P platforms gather funds from retail investors and lend to small corporate and individual borrowers, promising high returns. They started flourishing nearly unregulated in China in 2011. At a peak in 2015, there were about 3,500 such businesses.” (Source: Reuters)
DEALS & FUNDRAISING
4. SoftBank Invests in Chinese Online Insurer ZhongAn
What: Chinese online insurer ZhongAn International announced it will receive a strategic investment from SoftBank Vision Fund and start a new operating entity in partnership with the fund. ZhongAn, which did not specify the size of the investment, will use the investment in the fields of insurance, fintech and other technology businesses in overseas markets.
Why it's important: Founded in 2017 to explore international business development, ZhongAn International is a subsidiary of China’s first internet-only insurer ZhongAn Online Property & Casualty Insurance Co. Ltd. (Source: Securities Lending Times, link in Chinese)
5. Malaysian Leader Gets Close Look at China’s Technology
What: Technology cooperation has been high on the agenda of Mahathir’s five-day visit to China. The Malaysian leader visited the offices of DJI, the world’s leading drone-maker, and e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. He also witnessed the inking of a joint venture deal on new-energy cars between China’s Geely Automobile Holdings and Malaysian national car brand Proton.
Why it's important: Mahathir is on his first state visit to China after resuming power in May. The closely-watched visit could determine the fate of a number of China-Malaysia deals, which Mahathir has said he may postpone or scrap. (Source: Caixin)
6. Chinese Internet Users Exceed 800 Million
What: The number of Chinese internet users has exceeded 800 million, with mobile internet users accounting for 98.3% of all users at 788 million, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. Mobile payment app growth has stabilized, while short video application and sharing-economy transport apps are growing rapidly.
Big picture: Internet usage in the world’s most populous nation still has room to grow. The latest figures put China’s internet penetration rate at 57.7%, which is higher than the world internet penetration rate of 45.8% as of 2016, but lower than rates in the U.S. and Europe, which were at least 75% as of 2016, according to data from the International Telecommunication Union. (Source: Caixin, link in Chinese)
Compiled by Hou Qijiang and Qian Tong
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