Jan 25, 2019 05:49 PM

Friday Tech Briefing: Evergrande Buys Vehicle-Battery Company

1.Evergrande Buys Battery Maker, Furthering EV Push

China Evergrande Group announced Thursday that it will pay 1.06 billion yuan ($155.8 million) for a 58.07% stake in Shanghai CENAT New Energy, which produces lithium-ion batteries for vehicles.

This is the property developer’s second move into the electric-vehicle market in recent weeks. The group’s subsidiary Evergrande Health agreed on Jan. 15 to pay $930 million for 51% of National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), a Swedish electric carmaker.

The NEVS investment marked a fresh Evergrande effort to tap into the booming electric-car sector after its partnership fell through with U.S.-based startup Faraday Future, which is backed by debt-ridden businessman Jia Yueting. (Caixin)

2.Alibaba Film Unit Enters Production Partnership With Huayi

The film unit of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group will team up with Huayi Bros. Media Corp., one of China’s leading independent filmmakers, to make movies, TV shows and other filmed entertainment products, as the unit tries to claw its way back to profitability.

The partnership will see the pair aim to make 10 cinema films over the next five years. As part of the deal, Alibaba will also make a 700 million yuan ($103 million) loan available to Huayi over the five-year duration of the agreement. (Caixin)

3.Huawei Eyes Becoming Top Smartphone Seller Despite Rising Scrutiny

Huawei, the world’s second-biggest phone-maker behind South Korea’s Samsung, said Thursday its consumer business sales exceeded a record $52 billion in 2018. Huawei said it could become the world’s largest smartphone seller this year.

Huawei has won at least 30 commercial contracts globally, more than half of which are in Europe, for the next-generation 5G telecom network.

Huawei faces intensifying scrutiny amid accusations that the company poses security threats because of alleged links to the Chinese government, which the company denies. (Caixin)

4.WeChat ‘Blocks’ TikTok — Again

China’s most popular short-video platform TikTok has complained that new users are unable to log in to TikTok (known as Douyin in China) via WeChat.

TikTok said an inspection found no tech failures on its end, and assumes the problem is stemming from WeChat. WeChat told Caixin it would issue an official comment later this week

WeChat has previously restricted access to competitors’ app and articles — including TikTok — but says it does so because of violation of its usage policies. (Caixin)

5.Jack Ma: Europe Is Too Concerned With Privacy

Alibaba prefers doing business in Africa over Europe, as the latter is “too anxious” about data and privacy protections, the company’s founder Jack Ma said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Much of Alibaba’s core business — e-commerce and digital payments — involves exploitation of user data, so it’s unsurprising Ma considers such concerns to be minor compared to the benefits companies can deliver to customers who surrender their information.

Last year the EU implemented sweeping data-protection regulations that stipulate steep penalties for privacy violations. (Caixin)

6.Tencent Said to Weigh Potential Bids for Nexon

Tencent Holdings Ltd. is considering bidding for a major stake in gaming company Nexon Co., Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Private equity firms Hillhouse Capital and KKR & Co. are also considering bids, the people said.

South Korean billionaire Kim Jung-ju, who controls Nexon through his NXC Corp., is looking to sell down his stake. That is opening up opportunities for companies such as Tencent to optimize their portfolios with popular games as a crackdown on new games in China continues to hit local operators. (Bloomberg)

7.Canada's Envoy to China 'Misspoke' on Huawei CFO Case

Canada’s ambassador to China has apologized for saying Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou had “good arguments on her side” against extradition to the United States.

Ambassador John McCallum made his initial comments speaking to Chinese-language media on Tuesday.

I misspoke. These comments do not accurately represent my position on this issue,” McCallum said in a statement Thursday.

Diplomatic tensions have grown between China and Canada since Meng was arrested in Vancouver in December on the request of the U.S., which accused her of bank fraud and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. (Reuters)

Compiled by Shen Xinyue

Contact editor Teng Jing Xuan (

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