China Business Digest: Wuhan Ramps Up Testing, Sluggish Property Market Stirs Back to Life
Wuhan ramps up nucleic acid tests to target all of its residents, while China’s ailing property market shows signs of recovery. Meanwhile, Beijing hits back at Washington’s new restrictions on Huawei.
— By Timmy Shen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
** ON THE CORONAVIRUS
Wuhan conducts more tests
On Saturday, Wuhan conducted more than 222,000 nucleic acid tests (link in Chinese), almost doubling Friday’s number, according to data from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission. The city, the epicenter of China’s outbreak, has embarked on an ambitious program to arrange nucleic acid tests for all of its more than 10 million residents this month.
Over 8,000 quarantined in Northeast China
The northeastern provinces of Jilin (link in Chinese) and Liaoning (link in Chinese) had placed a total of more than 8,000 people in home quarantine or centralized quarantine as of Sunday after a cluster of new local cases appeared in the city of Jilin in Jilin province, official data showed.
The city of Jilin has removed six officials, including Li Pengfei, Communist Party chief of a lower level jurisdiction called Shulan, where the cluster emerged. Shulan has started to deploy even stricter restrictions since noon on Monday, banning almost all people from entering and leaving residential compounds that have confirmed or suspected cases.
Chinese scientists find more potential Covid-19 antibodies
A Chinese study published Wednesday in the journal Science “highlights the promise of antibody-based therapeutics and provides a structural basis for rational vaccine design.”
Chartered flights delayed
A chartered flight that was set to fly Chinese students home from the U.S. on Tuesday may be delayed (link in Chinese) as it has yet to receive the U.S. government’s approval. Another chartered flight which was scheduled to take off on Sunday was rescheduled to depart Monday.
Other virus news
• On Sunday, the Chinese mainland reported seven new infections (link in Chinese), including four imported cases in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region and three locally transmitted cases in Jilin province and Shanghai.
• As of Monday Beijing time, global infections reached over 4.7 million, including over 315,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
• A total of 33 people working in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd.’s headquarters in Beijing have shown fever symptoms (link in Chinese), but experts have confirmed that they don’t have the new coronavirus.
• China’s emergence from its coronavirus lockdowns may offer a guide for other nations as widespread testing, careful monitoring and greater precautions become normal. (Read the full story.)
• Covid-19 outbreaks continue to pop up in China, Germany and South Korea even as those countries have brought their domestic epidemics under control to a large extent, showing that this disease requires pervasive, continuing control measures. (Read this week’s cover story.)
Caixin’s coverage of the new coronavirus
** TOP STORIES OF THE DAY
Real estate market recovering
Property sales, based on total floor space, dropped 2.2% year-on-year in April, according to official data. That marked a strong improvement from a 16.5% decline in March, as demand recovered with the easing of the coronavirus outbreak.
China hits back at new U.S. restriction on Huawei
China’s commerce ministry said Sunday that the U.S. needed to immediately stop its “wrong actions” and it would take “all necessary measures” to defend Chinese companies’ legitimate rights in response to a U.S. move to further restrict the ability of blacklisted Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to develop semiconductors using American technology.
China names and shames 16 apps that infringe users’ rights
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology last week released a list of apps that infringe users’ rights (link in Chinese), including e-commerce platform Dangdang, Quora-like information aggregator Zhihu Daily and designated-driving service E-Daijia.
Huawei merges cloud services
Telecom giant Huawei has merged its public and private cloud services into a single system, and a single team will be in charge of all future cloud services, the company announced Friday. The move is widely seen as an effort to better compete with internet titans Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd.
SMIC receives more investment
Chinese leading chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp., also known as SMIC, is set to receive a $2.25 billion capital injection from state-owned China IC Fund II and Shanghai IC Fund II to ramp up capacity, according to a Friday filing by the company. (Read the full story.)
** OTHER STORIES MAKING THE HEADLINES
• Billionaire Jack Ma will step down from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp.’s board of directors on June 25, the company announced Monday. The news comes on the same day that SoftBank Vision Fund recorded an $18 billion operating loss for the fiscal year ended March 31.
• Chinese smartphone-maker Oppo Co. Ltd. has signed a deal to sell its products to Europe’s Vodafone Group PLC, one of the world’s leading wireless operators, and Oppo’s phones will become available to Vodafone customers from this month, the pair announced on Monday.
• Chinese Ambassador to Israel Du Wei was found dead in his home on Sunday. An initial investigation blamed health reasons, though an exact cause of death has yet to be determined.
• The third annual China International Import Expo (link in Chinese) trade fair will take place from Nov. 5 to 10 in Shanghai, the Ministry of Commerce said Monday.
• China’s air pollution levels surpassed concentrations over the same period last year for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began, fueled by an increase in industrial emissions, a new report has found.
• Self-driving startup Pony.ai Inc. announced Monday that it has obtained a license (link in Chinese) to carry out self-driving trials in which passengers are in vehicles.
• On the eve of the country’s biggest political meetings, policymakers face an altered post-pandemic landscape as they contemplate economic goals, deficit spending, special bonds and restructuring. Here’s what to watch for in the upcoming “Two Sessions.”
• China has fleshed out a policy on improving management of its trillions of dollars of state-owned financial assets, but finance authorities may still lack power over the personnel decisions of financial state-owned enterprises and probably face difficulty in reconciling their roles as both regulators and managers. (Read our in-depth story here.)
• Hong Kong-listed family doctor services provider Ping An Healthcare and Technology Co. Ltd. has removed Wang Tao from the positions of chairman, executive director and CEO, due to “personal reasons,” the company said in a Friday filing.
• Property giant China Vanke Co. Ltd. is looking to buy back up to 10% of its total shares (link in Chinese), a move which needs to be approved by shareholders at a general meeting, according to a Friday filing of the company.
• The Chinese authorities continue to encourage Taiwan-funded enterprises to go public on the mainland and support qualified ones listing on Shanghai’s STAR Market, according to an official document (link in Chinese).
** AND FINALLY
On Friday, the hungry people of Shanghai flocked to pick up a few of Popeyes’ signature buttermilk chicken sandwiches — or perhaps a couple of its biscuits — as the pandemic didn’t dissuade the American chain from making a splash with its new store in China, where it has major expansion plans.
** LOOKING AHEAD
May 18: Baidu, iQiyi and Bilibili results
May 19: Weibo, Sina results
May 20: Xiaomi, Lenovo results
May 21: Annual meeting of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)
May 22: Annual meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC), Alibaba results
Contact reporter Timmy Shen (email@example.com) and editors Yang Ge (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Josh Dummer (email@example.com)
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