Apr 23, 2021 09:05 AM

CX Daily: Audio Apps Rise in China, as Beijing Listens In

Audio /

Audio apps rise in China, as Beijing listens in

The brief rise and fall of U.S. audio drop-in app Clubhouse in China reflects the country’s big potential, but also the unique challenges facing audio-app makers seeking to tap it.

Back in February, the original Clubhouse — which lets users chat on topics in real time using ad hoc online groups — became an overnight sensation in the world’s largest internet market and quickly spawned a generation of imitators.

China’s online audio consumers already outnumber the populations of most countries, and the number is expected to keep growing strongly, according to a report (link in Chinese) released this month by iiMedia Research. The figure grew to 570 million last year from 490 million in 2019 and is expected to expand further to 690 million users in 2022, according to the report.

China-Australia clash /

China vows response to Australia’s cancelation of Belt and Road deals

China’s foreign ministry urged the Australian government to withdraw its “erroneous decision” to cancel two Belt and Road Initiative accords between the country’s Victoria state and China.

Labeling Australia’s decision as “political manipulation and irrational behavior,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a press conference Thursday that Canberra should immediately withdraw its decision, stop making irresponsible accusations and cease blocking normal bilateral cooperation. “Otherwise, China will respond resolutely,” Wang said without elaboration.

The Chinese Embassy in Australia also said in a statement that the decision “further shows that the Australian government is not sincere in its wish to improve China-Australia relations,” adding “It is bound to bring further damage to bilateral relations, and will only end up hurting itself.”

Related: Australia cancels China’s Belt and Road accord with Victoria



Entering China in 2007, DBS has opened 12 branches in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and other cities.


Singapore’s DBS takes control of rural lender in push into Bay Area

Singapore’s biggest bank, DBS, is putting its chips on China’s Greater Bay Area with the purchase of a 13% stake in Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank Corp., marking the first foreign investment in China’s small and medium-sized lenders since 2010.

The Singaporean bank will become the largest shareholder of the Shenzhen rural lender after the deal, under which DBS will pay 5.29 billion yuan ($814 million) for 1.35 billion new shares of the privately owned commercial lender.

The offer represents 1.01 times the book value of the Shenzhen bank’s shares as of Dec. 31, DBS said. The deal was approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Shenzhen office of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.

Digital currency /

China’s digital currency won’t have major impact on global financial markets, former central bank governor says

China’s central bank digital currency will not have a major impact on global financial markets as its use in cross-border payments is currently found mainly in small retail operations, Zhou Xiaochuan, former governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), said Wednesday at the annual Boao Forum for Asia.

In the future, the potential of cross-border use of the digital yuan will chiefly depend on whether the share of yuan in global transactions increases, rather than on the development of digitalization, he said. The choice is in the hands of market entities, which cannot be decided by China alone, he said.

Green financing /

China’s green bonds can no longer be used to fund certain fossil fuel projects

The proceeds from green bonds will no longer be allowed to go to certain fossil fuel energy projects, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said Wednesday, to bring the country’s green finance more in line with international standards.

The updated list of industries and projects eligible to be funded by green bonds no longer includes “the clean use of coal and other fossil energy,” the PBOC (link in Chinese) said in a statement.

The PBOC said the removal of fossil energy projects aims to make China’s green bond standards stricter. “Coal and other fossil energy are high carbon-emission projects in nature, and they are not supported by global mainstream green bond standards,” the central bank said.

Funds /

China sets up special fund to invest in Greater Bay Area projects

China’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is throwing more weight behind the massive Greater Bay Area project around South China’s Pearl River delta, setting up a special fund from the central government’s budget for direct investments, the commission said Monday.

The NDRC didn’t disclose the size of the fund to back projects in the nine Chinese mainland cities across the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Aiming to capitalize on the region’s already strong finance, manufacturing and technology capabilities, China is working to build an economic and innovation hub that could eclipse the San Francisco Bay area, Greater New York and Greater Tokyo.

Quick hits /

Chinese exchanges receive listing applications from infrastructure-related REITs

China now accepts U.S. travelers who have received American-made vaccines

Alibaba fintech arm agrees to buy 5% stake in Brazilian loyalty program giant Dotz



A power storage facility in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province. Photo: IC Photo

Storage /

China plans to double energy storage capacity within five years

China would rapidly expand its energy storage sector over the next five years under a new draft plan in promising news for the country’s battery manufacturers.

The Asian nation aims to nearly double its energy storage capacity to more than 65 gigawatts (GW) by 2025, according to proposals released for public consultation Wednesday by the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration.

The proposals (link in Chinese) exclude so-called pumped hydropower, paving the way for the industrial-scale deployment of technologies that store energy in batteries.

Delisting /

Struggling e-commerce firm Ruhnn taken private by founders

Three founders of Ruhnn Holding Ltd., a Chinese outfit that sells apparel through its own stable of online influencers, have taken their company private after two underwhelming years on the Nasdaq.

The trio of founders — Feng Min, Sun Lei and Shen Chao — purchased all of Ruhnn’s American depositary shares (ADSs) that they do not already own for $3.50 each, representing a discount of about 72% on the 2019 IPO price of $12.50, the company said Tuesday in a statement.

The company’s ADSs closed at $3.38 Monday, the day before the company asked the Nasdaq to suspend trading of its stock due to the privatization deal.

Corruption /

Senior nuclear official falls under graft probe

A senior official at one of China’s largest state-owned nuclear power companies is under investigation for suspected corruption, according to the ruling Communist Party’s official graft buster.

Liu Houcheng, a deputy chief economist at China National Nuclear Corp., allegedly committed “serious disciplinary and legal violations,” a common euphemism for graft, according to a statement (link in Chinese) posted Wednesday on the website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Related: Senior energy regulator expelled from party for corruption

Duty free /

China’s largest duty-free retailer plans Hong Kong listing

Shanghai-listed China Tourism Group Duty Free Co. Ltd. (CTGDF), parent of the country’s largest duty-free retailer China Duty Free Group, is preparing for a Hong Kong flotation after the company reported a surge in profits last year.

CTGDF is discussing a listing plan with intermediaries, pending approvals from the company’s board, shareholders and regulators, the company said Wednesday in a filing with the exchange.

CTGDF reported 2020 revenue of 52.6 billion yuan ($8 billion), up 8.2% from the previous year despite international travel halts during the pandemic. The company’s 2020 net profit surged 32.6% to 6.1 billion yuan.

Quick hits /

China urges U.N. to assess Japan’s ‘illegal’ wastewater plans

China regulator fines parent of BMW partner over false accounting

China’s Laiye bags $50 million in new funding to develop robotic automation tech

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