Jan 08, 2019 06:50 PM

Tuesday Tech Briefing: Chinese Investors Flee Silicon Valley

1. Alibaba’s Jack Ma Gives Up Taobao Stake

Alibaba founder Jack Ma is no longer a shareholder of Taobao, company records show.

Ma, who announced his impending retirement last year, was previously one of only two shareholders in Taobao — China’s biggest online retail platform. The platform is now controlled entirely by a single corporation owned by five other members of Alibaba’s current management team.

Alibaba acknowledged the change in an official statement Monday, saying it had already been implied in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in July. But the company announced later in the day that Ma had “never transferred or given up his Taobao stake, nor is he planning to do so,” saying the change in records was a “normal” practice, “technically and legally speaking.”(Caixin)

2. Xiaomi Buys Stake in Home-Appliance Maker TCL

Xiaomi Corp. has purchased a stake in Chinese home-appliance giant TCL Corp. marking another step by the smartphone-maker into the home electronics market.

Xiaomi had bought 65.17 million shares, or 0.48% of the total, as of Friday. It’s not clear when the shares were purchased. The two companies also signed a cooperation pact late last month in which they agreed to jointly develop “smart hardware products and electronic devices,” according to a statement by TCL.

Xiaomi has recently boosted its bet on the so-called internet of things, as the world’s fourth-biggest smartphone-maker sees lackluster sales in its core smartphone business. Non-smartphone products, including smart TVs, make up a growing potion of the company’s revenue, it said in its latest quarterly financial report. (Caixin)

3. Chinese Tech Investors Flee Silicon Valley as Trump Tightens Scrutiny

Trump’s moves to curb China’s access to American innovation have practically halted Chinese investment in U.S. tech startups, Reuters reports. Instead, they’ve shifted their focus onto Southeast Asia, the new battleground for Chinese tech companies.

Chinese venture funding in U.S. startups reached a record $3 billion last year, before a new regulatory regime was approved in August. Since then, the funding has slowed down drastically, industry players told Reuters.

U.S. President Donald Trump has signed new legislation strengthening the government’s power to block foreign investment in US companies, and has been particularly vocal about stopping China from accessing strategic US technologies. (Reuters)

4. Chinese Companies Cool on Annual Vegas Tech Show Amid Trade War

Fewer Chinese merchants are attending the annual CES consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas kicking off this week, the South China Morning Post reports.

A total of 1,211 Chinese companies have registered to be part of the trade show this year as of Friday — down 20% from last year, compared to 1,751 companies from the US.

The dip in Chinese exhibitors comes amid a 90-day negotiation window in the months-long US-China trade war, which has seen billions of dollars of tariffs slapped on goods. (SCMP)

5. Qualcomm Claims 5G Leadership in New Phones Coming This Year

Qualcomm Inc., the largest maker of chips for smartphones, said it’s leading the charge to be the main supplier of technology for 5G phones coming this year and announced new products aimed at winning more orders in the automotive market.

The company said at CES that its chips will be in 30 devices with 5G connections coming to the market later in 2019.

Qualcomm’s technology dominated the mobile industry during the last two generations. But the San Diego-based chipmaker’s earnings have suffered amid slowing consumer interest in smartphones and a worldwide legal fight with Apple. (Bloomberg)

6. Huawei Launches New Laptop for U.S. Amid Security Scrutiny

Huawei introduced a new laptop for the U.S. market, the MateBook 13, ahead of this year’s CES trade show.

The launch comes as Huawei tries to shift its U.S. business into areas other than telecommunications, where its products have attracted intense government scrutiny.

The Windows-based MateBook 13 is a modified version of a laptop the company launched in China last November. (SCMP)

Compiled by Isabelle Li

Contact editor Teng Jing Xuan (

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