China Business Digest: SAIC to Buy Car Rental Stake From Luckin Founder; Recently Publicized Swine Flu Isn’t New, WHO Says
A recently publicized swine flu virus in China is not new and has been under close surveillance, a WHO expert said amid rising fear of a new virus with “pandemic potential.” China’s leading car rental service company Car Inc. said it is reaching an equity sale deal with SAIC. Meanwhile, ByteDance could lose more than $6 billion after India banned its popular TikTok app, along with two others. And embattled Chinese entrepreneur Jia Yueting completes personal bankruptcy in the U.S.
— By Mo Yelin (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Han Wei (email@example.com)
** TOP STORIES OF THE DAY
Recently publicized swine flu isn’t new, WHO expert says
A recently publicized swine flu virus in China that some scientists said could have “pandemic potential” is not new and has been under close surveillance since 2011, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert said. A research paper published Monday in the U.S. science journal PNAS identified the pathogen, known as G4, as a strain of H1N1 swine influenza virus.
"It's important to reassure people that this is not a new virus ― this is a virus that is under surveillance," said Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program. "This is a finding from surveillance that's been carried out over many years."
SAIC to take over Luckin founder’s stake in car rental business
SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd., China’s largest automaker, agreed to pay as much as HK$1.9 billion ($254 million) for 28.92% of leading car rental services provider Car Inc. in a deal that would provide an exit for Lu Zhengyao, the founder of scandal-plagued Luckin Coffee Inc.
Hong Kong-listed Car Inc. disclosed the deal Thursday night. It was a surprise development after the company said last month SAIC’s smaller rival BAIC Group was the potential buyer.
Luckin board to meet, expected to seek chairman's resignation
The board of scandal-plagued Luckin is set to hold a special meeting late Thursday, a day after revealing results of an internal investigation that confirmed the company recorded billions of yuan in fake sales. In announcing the results of the internal probe, Luckin didn’t conclude whether co-founder and Chairman Lu Zhengyao was culpable.
Intel halts chip supply to leading Chinese server-maker
U.S. chip giant Intel confirmed to Caixin that it has stopped supplying its products to Inspur, China’s largest maker of computer servers. An Intel representative described the move as temporary and estimated the suspension would last for about two weeks. Intel took the step to allow the company time to make adjustments to comply with relevant U.S. laws, the person said.
ByteDance to lose over $6 billion from ban of its apps in India
ByteDance’s losses will likely reach over $6 billion after India this week said it would ban TikTok and two of tech unicorn’s other apps, an insider told Caixin (link in Chinese). That lost revenue would be more than all losses combined for the other 56 Chinese apps banned from India, the source added.
Embattled entrepreneur Jia Yueting completes personal bankruptcy process
Jia Yueting, founder of electric-car startup Faraday Future and once-highflying online video streamer Leshi, said in a public letter that his individual bankruptcy reorganization procedure was completed in the U.S. on June 26, about a year after it began.
** OTHER STORIES MAKING THE HEADLINES
• American faux-meat maker Beyond Meat Inc. said on Wednesday it would reach Chinese consumers in supermarkets for the first time through a partnership with Alibaba-backed supermarket chain Hema, also known as Freshippo.
• China’s three major state-owned airlines — Air China, China Eastern Airlines, and China Southern Airlines — on Sunday received their first ARJ21 aircraft, a short-haul 90-seater plane made by state-run Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China.
• Chinese food delivery giant Meituan recently invested more than 100 million yuan in a Shenzhen-based maker of indoor delivery robots, called PuduTech.
• Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like Chinese social media platform, is issuing $750 million in bonds, becoming the latest of the country’s internet majors to take advantage of positive sentiment to raise big money this year from international investors.
• Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has deleted his account on Sina Weibo, Reuters reported, citing an Indian government source and the Chinese company. This came days after India’s government banned 59 Chinese apps, including Weibo, as the relationship between the two Asian countries deteriorated.
** ON THE CORONAVIRUS
• A strain of Covid-19 that has infected more than 300 people in Beijing since early June could have originated in South or Southeast Asia, Reuters reported, citing a study by Harvard University researchers.
• The Chinese mainland reported (link in Chinese) three new coronavirus cases with symptoms Tuesday, with one case in Beijing. The Beijing figure marks the lowest number of new cases in the Chinese capital since a local outbreak began in the city more than two weeks ago.
• As of Thursday afternoon Beijing time, the number of coronavirus infections globally surpassed 10.7 million, with the death toll passing 516,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
• The number of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed 50,000 for the first time on Wednesday, after new cases had been lingering around 30,000 for days, according to a Caixin’s analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. The country reported a record 56,877 new cases during the 24 hours from 11 a.m. Tuesday to 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Tencent’s novel way of dealing with public relations fallout – self-deprecating humor – has earned praise from Chinese internet users. In a bizarre twist of events after the internet giant sued China’s best-known chili sauce brand, Lao Gan Ma, over unpaid advertising fees, a police investigation revealed that the internet giant was actually scammed by three people impersonating Lao Gan Ma marketing staff. On its Sina Weibo account, Tencent — in a somewhat sarcastic tone — jokingly asked the online public to message the account with tips if they suspected any similar fraud in the future.
** LOOKING AHEAD
July 3: Release of Caixin China services PMI
July 9: Release of China’s CPI and PPI data
Contact reporter Mo Yelin (firstname.lastname@example.org) and editors Yang Ge (email@example.com) and Michael Bellart (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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