Jan 11, 2019 02:20 PM

Friday Tech Briefing: China Issues Temporary 5G Licenses

1. Tesla Rival Nio Sells Record 11,348 Vehicles 2018

China’s Tesla wannabe Nio Inc. said its 2018 vehicle sales totaled 11,348 units, making it the first Chinese electric-car startup with annual sales over 10,000.

U.S.-listed Nio has partnered with conventional automaker JAC Motors to produce its pure electric ES8 model since 2016.

Nio also previously confirmed plans to set up its own manufacturing facility by 2020 in Shanghai. But that’s now being overshadowed by the recent groundbreaking of Tesla’s plant in the city, where the U.S. company plans to begin producing Tesla Model 3 cars by the end of this year. (Caixin)

2. WeChat Creator Takes On All Comers in Four-Hour Speech

WeChat creator Zhang Xiaolong, says the app’s mini-program feature, launched two years ago, needs a few more years to succeed.

Zhang, known for giving long speeches, spoke for four hours addressing criticisms of the ubiquitous social media app in Guangzhou this week.

Zhang also rejected reports that users are abandoning Moments, a function similar to Facebook’s News Feed.

WeChat's number of daily active users reached 1 billion last year, with 45 billion messages and 410 million calls made by users through the app each day. (Caixin)

3. Tencent Left Off List of Approved Video Games, Again

Chinese authorities Wednesday approved a second batch of video games after a freeze for most of last year but once again left industry leader Tencent Holdings off the list.

Tencent and domestic rival NetEase Inc. were missing from Wednesday’s list of 84 games, as well as the batch of titles approved on Dec. 31.

Tencent lost nearly a third of its share value last year from the January peak, partly due to the new-game freeze. Online games contributed 40% of Tencent’s revenues in the three months through September. (Caixin)

4. World's Largest AI Startup Readies $2 Billion Fundraising

SenseTime Group Ltd., an Alibaba-backed artificial-intelligence startup, is beginning preparations for a $2 billion fundraising round this year, sources told Bloomberg.

The Beijing-based firm was valued at more than $4.5 billion in its latest funding round last May. Its facial recognition systems have been adopted by policing bodies, retailers and health-care researchers across China and internationally.

Investors are handing billions of dollars to Chinese artificial intelligence startups from SenseTime to Face++, hoping to ride a wave of support from a government intent on becoming the world leader in the technology. (Bloomberg)

5. China to Issue Temporary 5G Licenses: Industry Minister

China will issue temporary licenses in selected cities this year to promote commercial use of the new, fifth-generation (5G) of wireless telecom technology, China’s industry minister said Thursday.

China is racing to embrace the technology which is expected to be a driving force in the next industrial revolution, although China’s tech heavyweights Huawei and ZTE face stiff headwinds in international markets. (Caixin)

6. Alipay Hits 1 Billion Global Users

Chinese online payment giant Alipay said Wednesday it had reached a landmark 1 billion users across the nine markets it has entered globally.

Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay dominate China’s mobile payment market, controlling more than 90% of the market, according to China-based data analysis firm Analysys.

As the China market becomes more saturated, Alipay has started targeting users outside the Chinese mainland and has formed partnerships with companies in countries such as Pakistan and South Korea. (Caixin)

Compiled by He Shujing

Contact editor Teng Jing Xuan (

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