Jan 02, 2019 06:12 PM

Wednesday Tech Briefing: Faraday Future Founder Settles Dispute With Evergrande

1. Faraday Future Founder Settles Investment Dispute With Evergrande

Chinese entrepreneur Jia Yueting settled his months-long dispute with real estate giant Evergrande Group over control of electric-car startup Faraday Future on the last day of 2018. The two parties agreed to withdraw and waive all current litigation and arbitration proceedings.

While Evergrande has gained control of Faraday’s China business, the Chinese branch of the company doesn’t yet have a concrete product. Faraday previously planned to make a simple-spec model, the FF81, in China. The model is still just a concept. Now, as their relationship has soured, the FF81 project has also fallen apart. (Caixin)

2. Samsung Shuts Tianjin Mobile Phone Factory

Samsung Electronics shut down its Tianjin mobile phone factory on the last day of 2018, as sales slump and labor costs rise in the country. Around 2,600 employees will either be offered jobs at other Samsung factories in China or receive severance.

Samsung ranked top in China with 20% of the market in 2013, but its share dropped to less than 1% this year as it faced intense competition from local rivals including Huawei and Xiaomi.

The company’s remaining plant is in Huizhou, near the manufacturing conurbation of Shenzhen and Guangzhou. It however plans to invest $2.4 billion on another Tianjin facility, which will make automotive batteries and capacitors. (Sina)

3. China Box Office Ends Year a Step Behind North America

China is inching closer to North America at the box office. The country’s cinemas raked in total receipts of $8.8 billion in 2018, according to industry tracker Maoyan. That was $2 billion shy of North America’s $11.9 billion, according to Comscore.

The top three films in China last year — “Operation Red Sea,” “Detective Chinatown Vol. 2” and “Dying to Survive” — all earned over 3 billion yuan ($436.13 million). (Caixin)

4. New E-Commerce Law Takes Effect

The new E-Commerce Law took effect on the first day of 2019, leaving some online merchants facing the prospect of either raising prices or quitting the industry, analysts said.

The law, which clarifies the parameters of the e-commerce industry, may see more merchants — especially those that operate more informally, such as through social media or as personal shoppers — needing to formally register and pay taxes, and will also increase the tax burden on major stores. It has closed some loopholes in the world’s largest online retail market, which was worth $4.2 trillion last year.

If the new law is strictly enforced, merchants’ legal compliance costs will grow by around 20%, lawyers have estimated. (Caixin)

5. Baidu’s 2018 Revenue Easily Beats Previous Year

Staff at Baidu Inc. started their first working day of 2019 with good news from founder and CEO Robin Li: the search engine giant’s total revenues for 2018 were over 100 billion yuan, far higher than the previous year’s 85 billion yuan.

The exact figure for 2018 was not made available. (Caixin)

6.Chinese Game-Makers’ Long Winter Begins to Thaw

Gaming companies can finally breathe a sigh of relief now that 80 games have received approval for release in China, after a 10-month freeze in the world’s largest gaming market.

The list of newly approved titles was made public on Dec. 29 by the country’s National Radio and Television Administration. The sector’s top two players — Tencent Holdings Ltd. and NetEase Inc. — were absent from the list. (Caixin)

Compiled by Bonnie Wang

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