Jan 09, 2019 06:04 PM

Wednesday Tech Briefing: Troubled Ofo Dismisses Entire International Business Department

1. Troubled Ofo Dismisses Entire International Business Department

Bike-sharing company Ofo has dismissed its entire international business department, affecting over 50 employees.

The division’s general manager, Jeremy Chen, offered those dismissed new jobs in other divisions of the company, but they will receive only half their salaries for a few months, Chinese media has reported.

Ofo later called the move a “normal business adjustment,” and did not comment on Chen’s promises of job transfers. The move comes less than a month after concerned Ofo users lined up both online and offline in search of refunds from the company in the midst of its financial crisis. (Caixin)

2. Xiaomi Plunges After Billions of Shares Are Unlocked for Sale

Many Xiaomi Corp. investors, who could only watch as the stock shed $14 billion in market value since its July listing, are now able to join in on the selling. They sent Xiaomi’s stock sinking 5.4% Wednesday in early trading, and it ended the trading day down nearly 6.9%.

The day marked the end of a six-month lockup period that followed the company’s Hong Kong debut. More than 3 billion shares held by some employees and cornerstone investors who had been banned from selling them are now unlocked, equal to 19% of those outstanding.

Xiaomi is among the many Chinese companies that listed outside the mainland last year to see its shares fall below their initial public offering prices. Tencent’s music arm and Baidu Inc.-backed iQiyi have shared the same fate, raising questions about the previous hype surrounding these companies. (Bloomberg)

3. Six Arrested in Taiwan on Suspicion of Leaking German Tech to Chinese Firm

Taiwan has arrested six current and former BASF SE engineers accused of accepting bribes and sharing the German company’s technology with Jiangyin Jianghua Microelectronics Materials Co. Ltd.

Jianghua allegedly offered the accused 40 million yuan ($5.8 million) in return for help building a new factory in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu.

Taiwan officials have in the past accused mainland corporations of appropriating trade secrets by poaching talent. Such leaks are also a key U.S. complaint as the world’s two largest economies work to avert a damaging trade war. (Bloomberg)

4. Huawei Denies ‘Smart Rice’ Collaboration

Huawei has denied Tuesday night that it is working with Yuan Longping, China’s “Father of Hybrid Rice,” and says the company has no plans to cultivate rice.

Chinese media reported earlier in the week that Hu Houkun, Huawei’s rotating chairman, announced Monday the company has been working with Yuan to increase certain rice varieties’ salt tolerance.

The company’s official response did not say whether Hu had misspoke or was misquoted in earlier reports. (Caixin)

5. China Gives Highest State Science Award to Military Tech Experts

Chinese President Xi Jinping presented the country’s highest honor in science and technology to two military technology experts Tuesday morning.

Liu Yongtan, 82, a member of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, was awarded for his achievements in the field of radar technology.

Qian Qihu, 81, a member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, was honored for his contribution to national defense projects, particularly explosive weapons, including nuclear bombs. (Caixin)

6. Alipay Denies Name Change

Chinese fintech giant Alipay has denied reports that it’s changing its name.

The hashtag “Alipay Changes Name” (#支付宝更名#) appeared on Chinese social media Weibo on Tuesday and has been viewed nearly 2 million times, with some Chinese media outlets reporting that Alipay is now called Hanbao.

Alipay clarified later in the day that “recent changes of company names and legal representatives under Alibaba and Ant Financial are all part of normal internal business administration,” and that Alipay itself wasn’t getting a makeover. (Caixin)

Compiled by Isabelle Li

Contact editor Teng Jing Xuan (

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