Oct 17, 2018 05:22 PM

Wednesday Tech Briefing: ByteDance, Huawei, Leshi

1. ByteDance Aims to Cash in on Web Traffic With New E-commerce Platform

ByteDance, the owner of Chinese news aggregator app Jinri Toutiao, has launched its own e-commerce platform, Zhidian.

The internet company has seen huge profits from advertising and is now trying to cash in on its web traffic with e-commerce. Apps owned by ByteDance attract a total of 700 million monthly active users, but questions remain over whether it can succeed in the competitive e-commerce scene dominated by Alibaba and Pinduoduo. (Caixin, link in Chinese)

2. Creditors Take Losses in Leshi Stock Disposal

A court has ordered the disposal of 40 million shares of Leshi Internet Information and Technology owned by tech tycoon Jia Yueting and his brother to recoup funds to pay off debt, according to a regulatory filing.

The sale, however, raised just the equivalent of 10% of the unpaid debts because of a share price slide.

Financial institutions are swallowing huge losses for loans they extended to the embattled Jia to fund his aggressive business expansion over the years. Leshi had net negative assets of 476.5 million yuan by end of June, and Jia's smart car project is reportedly "running out of money." (Caixin)

3. Apple Apologizes to Chinese Phishing Scam Victims

Apple Inc. has apologized to victims of a recent phishing scam that saw Chinese Apple IDs and funds stolen.

The company released a statement this week saying that it is “deeply apologetic” and that only “a small number of our users’ accounts” had been hacked.

It’s the latest woe to besiege the smartphone maker. Apple made headlines earlier this month with reports suggesting its Chinese supply chain had been compromised. Abysmal sales in China of its latest iPhone also came to light even as company CEO Tim Cook visited to boost partnerships. (Wall Street Journal)

4. China’s Tesla Rival Steps on Accelerator

Newly listed electric vehicle (EV) startup Nio Inc. said it ramped up deliveries in September and is on track to deliver an ambitious 10,000 cars in 2018.

Nio delivered 1,766 EVs last month, up about 37% from August and up 170% from June when it first started deliveries, according to an announcement Monday.

Founded in 2014, Nio is hoping to cash in on China’s aggressive plans for electric vehicles. The company raised nearly 13 billion yuan ($1.88 billion) from investors and another $1 billion in its New York IPO last month. (Caixin)

5. Plug-in Hybrids Lead Growth of Chinese EV Market

Sales of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) from January to September have grown more than 130% year-on-year, compared to the 60% growth in sales of pure electric vehicles (PEV), according to figures released by Chinese authorities.

Overall, pure electric vehicles still dominate the Chinese EV market, accounting for a 63% share of sales from January to September.

The growth spurt is likely tied to the entry into the Chinese market of PHEV models by manufacturers such as BMW, Great Wall, and Geely. As with BEVs, PHEVs are exempt from the purchase restrictions set by five Chinese cities including Beijing. (Caixin, link in Chinese)

6. Smartphone Maker Reportedly Making Big Cuts to Workforce

Consumer electronics manufacturer Smartisan is reportedly laying off employees en masse at its headquarters in Chengdu, Sichuan provice. Though Smartisan denied the claim, a site visit suggested that few employees remain at the office. The layoff hints at a possible break-up between the company and its local government-backed investor.

Smartisan relocated its headquarters to the southwestern city of Chengdu in 2017, after an investment firm financed by the local district government injected capital into the struggling manufacturer. (STCN, Link in Chinese)

Compiled by Shujing He

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