China Business Digest: TikTok Partners With Oracle, Walmart as Microsoft Deal Collapses; Anbang Applies to Dissolve and Liquidate
TikTok submits proposal for partnership with Oracle as a deal with Microsoft collapses. Once high-flying Anbang moves toward dissolution and liquidation. And the U.S. ambassador in China is retiring. Meanwhile, Kai-Fu Lee apologizes after stoking public concerns with a comment that appeared to say fintech giant Ant Group Co. Ltd. may have shared users’ facial data with business partners.
— By Tang Ziyi (email@example.com) and Han Wei (firstname.lastname@example.org)
** TOP STORIES OF THE DAY
TikTok to partner with Oracle, Walmart as Microsoft deal collapses
TikTok entered a business partnership with Oracle Corp. in hopes of satisfying the Trump administration's national security concerns and avoid a business ban, dropping a deal with Microsoft to sell its U.S. assets. Oracle said it “will serve as the trusted technology provider” in the accord with TikTok. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday that the administration received a proposal over the weekend from TikTok and would review it this week.
Anbang to disband and liquidate as revamp ends
Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd. said Monday it will apply to the country’s top insurance regulator for dissolution and liquidation, putting an end to the once high-flying conglomerate. It came more than two years after the company was taken over by the state and embarked on asset disposals to dismantle risks.
Trump’s top China envoy to leave Beijing
Top U.S. diplomat to China Terry Branstad is retiring, the American Embassy said Monday after President Donald Trump touted the former Iowa governor’s expected campaign help in a swing state. The embassy’s statement resolved hours of uncertainty about Branstad’s status after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo thanked the envoy for his service in a series of tweets.
Nvidia agrees to buy chipmaker Arm from SoftBank for $40 billion
U.S. tech company Nvidia Corp. said it has agreed to buy U.K. smartphone chipmaker Arm Ltd. from SoftBank Group Corp. for $40 billion, as the latter has been offloading assets to pay down debt. Completion of the transaction is expected to take about 18 months, pending regulatory approval from the U.K., China, the European Union and the U.S. The deal came amid a high-profile ownership dispute between Arm and its Chinese joint venture.
Cover story: A quieter outbreak sickens thousands in Northwest China
Months before the global pandemic started in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of last year, thousands of residents near a biopharmaceutical plant in the northwestern city of Lanzhou were exposed to a highly contagious and hard-to-treat disease called brucellosis from contaminated exhaust at the plant. (Read the story here.)
JD.com’s fintech affiliate seeks 20 billion yuan in Shanghai listing
E-commerce giant JD.com Inc.’s fintech affiliate Jingdong Digits Technology Holding Co. Ltd., also known as JD Digits, said it hopes to raise about 20.4 billion yuan ($3 billion) in an IPO on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR Market.
China issues new rules to regulate financial holding companies
Chinese authorities have issued new rules to regulate the country’s financial holding companies in a bid to tighten supervision and curb systematic risks. The rules, set to take effect on Nov. 1, require nonfinancial companies that control two or more financial institutions to set up financial holdings firms.
Jiangxi cop detained after nearly $10,000 stolen from suspect’s digital wallet
A 55-year-old Jiangxi woman detained by local police over an organized crime case had more than 66,000 yuan taken from her phone’s WeChat account while it should have been locked up in evidence. Police officers involved are now under investigation, and one has been detained on suspicion of theft.
** OTHER STORIES MAKING THE HEADLINES
• Kai-Fu Lee, a renowned investor and AI technology advocate, apologized after stoking public concerns following a controversial comment that appeared to acknowledge that fintech giant Ant Group may have shared users’ facial data with business partners.
• China’s new homegrown navigation satellite system will power a pilot program in Shenzhen to regulate bike-sharing, taking advantage of its precise location tracking to solve the problem of messy bike-share parking in unpermitted areas.
• SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd., China’s biggest automaker, said it planned to take 10% (link in Chinese) of the country’s hydrogen-vehicle market by 2025, as the government steps up support for the clean energy cars.
• Surging demand for butler-like concierge services at millions of condominiums in China is creating one of the hottest sectors in the nation’s stock market. (Bloomberg)
• In August, sales by China’s 100 leading property developers rose over 30% year-on-year to 976.2 billion yuan, accelerating from 25.7% growth the previous month and marking the fifth straight monthly increase, according to property consultancy China Real Estate Information Corp.
• China on Friday banned pork imports (link in Chinese) from Germany after the country reported its first case of African swine fever.
** ON THE CORONAVIRUS
• On Sunday, the Chinese mainland reported 10 new Covid-19 cases with symptoms (link in Chinese), all imported, according to China’s top health body.
Caixin’s coverage of the new coronavirus
• As of Monday afternoon Beijing time, the number of coronavirus infections globally exceeded 29 million, with the death toll surpassing 924,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
** AND FINALLY
Walt Disney Co.’s live-action remake of “Mulan” had a weak opening in China, making 142.5 million yuan at the box office from Friday to Sunday, falling behind director Christopher Nolan’s action-thriller “Tenet,” which earned 182 million in the first three days of its debut, according to online ticketing platform Maoyan.
A still from “Mulan,” showing the eponymous character played by Liu Yifei.
** LOOKING AHEAD
Sept. 15: Release of China’s investment, industrial output and retail sales data
Contact reporter Tang Ziyi (email@example.com) and editors Yang Ge (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Gavin Cross (email@example.com)
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