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BUSINESS & TECH

By Ding Yi / Jan 29, 2020 05:18 PM / Business & Tech

China’s tech companies are lending a helping hand in the country's fight against a coronavirus epidemic with about 6,000 confirmed cases and 130 deaths so far.

Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent were among the first tech giants donating money and medical resources to the most heavily impacted regions.

In a WeChat post on Sunday, Baidu announced that it had set up a 300 million yuan ($43 million) fund dedicated to supporting research and development of coronavirus treatments and disseminating related public health knowledge. The search giant has also added a new feature to its Baidu Maps app, tracking travelers’ movement across China in order to help contain the spread of the virus.

Alibaba said on the same day that it had set up a one billion yuan fund to purchase medical supplies for hospitals in Wuhan, capital of Central China’s Hubei province and the epicenter of the outbreak. The e-commerce giant’s healthcare arm, Alibaba Health, is also providing free telemedicine services to Hubei residents, allowing patients to access free medical consultations via the Alipay app.

Tencent has donated 300 million yuan to some of the most affected areas and is working with the country’s health authorities to make WeChat-based maps that show the locations of hospitals designated to receive patients potentially infected with coronavirus in more than 300 Chinese cities.

Huawei has played a role in construction of the Huoshenshan Hospital, an emergency facility under construction in the western suburbs of Wuhan to take in the influx of patients. The telecoms equipment maker announced on Weibo on Saturday that its Hubei office had helped local wireless carriers test 5G connections to the hospital, which is scheduled to start operation in early February.

Other tech companies including artificial intelligence firm iFlyTek, cybersecurity firm Qihoo 360 and short video platform Kuaishou have also pledged donations to support virus response efforts.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Genome Giant BGI Gets Regulator Approval to Sell Coronavirus Test Kits

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BUSINESS & TECH

By Ding Yi / Jan 29, 2020 12:38 PM / Business & Tech

China has approved for sale three medical products developed by genomics company BGI Group, amid efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak that is known to have infected more than 5,900 people and been linked to over 130 deaths.

The approved products, including two virus detection kits and a sequencing system, will help enhance the country’s ability to prevent and control the spread of the disease, BGI said in a WeChat post on Monday.

According to BGI, one of their test kits is able to identify the novel coronavirus in about three hours, while the other kit can assist doctors to differentiate and diagnose infections caused by the novel coronavirus and those caused by other respiratory pathogens.

The approved sequencing system should be able to provide a great deal of data for analyzing the evolution of the new virus, BGI added.

BGI said that it will send the first batch of 100,000 test kits to the country's worst hit regions. The Shenzhen-listed company has also reached agreements with several countries including Brunei, Thailand and Nigeria to supply them with test kits.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Chinese Genome Sequencing Firm to Supply Tech to Abu Dhabi Personalized Health Care Project


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By Bloomberg / Jan 29, 2020 10:20 AM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Apple’s China-centric manufacturing base is at risk of disruption after the Lunar New Year holiday as the company’s partners confront the coronavirus outbreak that has gripped the country and caused more than 100 deaths.

Virtually all of the world’s iPhones are made in China, primarily by Foxconn’s Hon Hai Precision Industry at its so-called iPhone City in Zhengzhou and by Pegatron at an assembly site near Shanghai. Each of those locations is more than 500 kilometers away from Wuhan in central China, the epicenter of the viral outbreak, but that distance doesn’t immunize them from its effects.

“Supply chain disruption is a worry if employees across Foxconn and other component manufacturing hubs in China are restricted,” said analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities Inc. “If the China outbreak becomes more spread it could negatively impact the supply chain which would be a major investor worry.”

An Apple spokeswoman declined a request for comment.

Foxconn said it is monitoring the situation in China and following all recommended health practices. It declined to comment on production in specific locations but said, “We can confirm that we have measures in place to ensure that we can continue to meet all global manufacturing obligations.”

Investors and analysts will be looking to Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to comment on the virus and its impact on Apple during Tuesday’s conference call to discuss the latest quarterly financial results. Cook tweeted over the weekend that Apple “will be donating to groups on the ground helping support all of those affected” by the virus.


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/ Jan 29, 2020 06:38 AM / Business & Tech

A customer holds boxes of face masks at a pharmacy in Hong Kong on Jan. 23. Photo: Bloomberg

A customer holds boxes of face masks at a pharmacy in Hong Kong on Jan. 23. Photo: Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) ― 3M Co. is ramping up production of protective face masks as a deadly coronavirus that has killed more than 100 people in China spreads despite travel restrictions and other worldwide efforts to contain the disease.

“We are focused on ramping up 24/7, not only in our China operations but in Asia, Europe and the U.S. to meet that demand,” 3M Chief Executive Officer Michael Roman said Tuesday in a phone interview.

Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 4,500 and killed 106 people, is a manufacturing, shipping and business hub for global corporations. As the virus has spread in China and beyond, airlines are suspending flights and global companies including Starbucks Corp. and office-sharing company WeWork are shutting locations. Facebook Inc., Nissan Motor Co. and banks from Credit Suisse Group to Morgan Stanley are telling staff to work from home.

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By Bloomberg / Jan 28, 2020 11:53 AM / Business & Tech

Facebook is restricting employee travel to China, while other big companies including Nissan Motor and Starbucks are taking measures to shield employees in areas hardest hit by a deadly viral outbreak.

The social media network’s employees based in China, and those who recently returned from trips to the country, are also being told to work from home, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing private communications.

As of January 28 Facebook are halting non-essential travel to China by all Facebook employees, said the person, adding that if workers have to visit the country, they will need specific approval. The company declined to comment.

Starbucks, is the most exposed U.S. restaurant chain operating in China, as measured by percentage of worldwide revenue and operating income, according to Guggenheim analyst Matthew DiFrisco. The Seattle-based chain, with about 4,100 cafes in China, said that it’s closing some locations, without providing more details.

Nissan plans to evacuate most of its expatriates and their family members from Wuhan using a chartered plane dispatched by the Japanese government, a company spokeswoman said in an email.


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By Bloomberg / Jan 24, 2020 02:16 AM / Business & Tech

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China proposed to halve its subsidy budget for new solar power projects this year to 1.5 billion yuan ($216 million) as the government steers its renewable energy sector away from reliance on financial support.

A total of 1 billion yuan will be allocated to large solar projects through a competitive auction process, and the remainder will be for residential solar systems, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said Thursday in a statement. The overall amount compares with 3 billion yuan planned in 2019.

The industry has braced for a cut in subsidies as manufacturing costs decline and China pushes for renewable energy to compete economically with conventional power sources such as coal and natural gas. It seeks to end national subsidies for new onshore wind farms starting in 2021 and offshore projects a year later.

The NEA is seeking feedback on the proposal, which is part of its clean energy policy for this year. Regional authorities are also asked to submit by mid-March their plans for subsidy-free solar and wind power projects, which can be approved and begin construction.

A government researcher forecast in December that 1.75 billion yuan of solar subsidies will be allocated in 2020. Finalizing the policy this early in the year could help capacity additions recover in the world’s biggest market to more than 40 gigawatts, according to the China Photovoltaic Industry Association.

The 2019 policy wasn’t announced until July last year, creating uncertainty for developers and causing installations to slump almost 37% to 28 gigawatts from a year earlier, BloombergNEF estimated.

Related: Solar Power Fades With End of State Support, but Seen Stabilizing in 2020


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By Lu Yutong / Jan 23, 2020 04:00 PM / Business & Tech

图/视觉中国

图/视觉中国

China’s commodities company Cedar Holdings has acquired London-based Stemcor Group, one of the world’s largest independent steel companies, according to a statement issued by Stemcor.

Cedar signed a fully-financed contract with Stemcor to acquire the company Monday during the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos. The deal is expected to be finalized in the first half of the year, the statement said, but details of the transaction have not been undisclosed.

The move aims to stabilize Cedar’s global supply chain, according to Gang Han, vice president of the company. Founded in 1997, Cedar is a private firm which built up commodity supply chains by setting up subsidiaries in fields like chemistry and non-ferrous metals. By the end of 2019, it extended its businesses to Europe, America and Africa.

“Stemcor has a well-established global sales network, which will offer potential synergies with the existing domestic and international business of Cedar Holdings.” Gang said.

Read the full story on Caixin Global later.

Contact reporter Lu Yutong (yutonglu@caixin.com)

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By Bloomberg / Jan 23, 2020 10:48 AM / Business & Tech

Chinese internet giant ByteDance is seeking a new chief executive officer for its TikTok business, a hugely popular video app that American politicians have targeted as a potential security threat.

It’s possible ByteDance is searching for a candidate who could help address questions in Washington or for someone with the skills to lead an independent business if it faces pressure to separate TikTok from the Chinese parent. It’s unclear how much autonomy this new CEO would have. A number of successful tech companies are led by CEOs who also have influence over product direction, including Facebook, Snap and Twitter.

The company has interviewed candidates in recent months for the CEO role, which would be based in the U.S., according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the search is private. In one potential scenario, the new CEO would oversee TikTok’s non-technical functions, including advertising and operations, while current TikTok chief Alex Zhu would continue to manage the majority of product and engineering out of China, one person said. The hiring process is ongoing and Bytedance has hired executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to help lead the process. The envisioned role could still change depending on who is selected, the people added.

A spokesman for TikTok declined to comment. Heidrick & Struggles didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Related: TikTok Outperforms Instagram to Become World’s Fourth Most Downloaded App in 2019


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By Bai Yujie and Han Wei / Jan 23, 2020 03:49 AM / Business & Tech

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Growth of railway transportation of coal slowed to a three-year low in 2019 as nationwide coal consumption weakens, ending a rapid two-year expansion.

Data from the National Development and Reform Commission showed that the total amount of coal transported via railway was 2.46 billion tons last year, up 3.2% from the previous year. That compares with growth of 13.3% in 2017 and 10.3% in 2018 when the country started to shift coal transport from roads to railways to reduce emissions.

The slowing transport growth also reflected weaker demand for coal. Official data showed that power generated by coal-fired plants totaled 517 million kilowatt hours in 2019, up 1.9% from a year ago. The increase was 4.1 percentage points lower than in the previous year.

Experts predicted that China’s coal consumption will total between 4.1 billion tons and 4.2 billion tons this year, growing at a slower pace than a year ago.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)


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By Dave Yin / Jan 23, 2020 03:41 AM / Business & Tech

Photo: Bloomberg

Photo: Bloomberg

As face masks and respirators fly off shelves in response to China’s spreading new respiratory disease outbreak, e-commerce companies are moving to block vendors from jacking up prices on health products.

E-commerce platforms Taobao, Tmall, JD.com, Pinduoduo and Suning.com all announced steps to curb overpricing of protective gear such as masks, used to cut down on inhaled pollutants and bacteria for the wearer. Some also included sanitizers, thermometers, air purifiers and more.

“We notified all mask vendors on Taobao and Tmall that they absolutely cannot raise their prices,” Alibaba-owned Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce company, said Tuesday night in a Weibo post that also promised “targeted subsidies.”

On Wednesday, many masks were out of stock on Taobao and JD.com. Some Taobao vendors asked for more than twice the normal price for certain respirators. According to local reports, prices reached more than 3.5 times the regular amount.

In a written note to Caixin, a spokesperson for group-buying platform Pinduoduo said the company would monitor for malicious pricing and intervene or pull a product listing if necessary. From Jan. 1-24 this year, sales of masks on the platform rose 310% year-on-year, the spokesperson said, while sales of vitamin C tablets rose 162% and sanitizing liquids more than 50%.

To address shortages, JD.com said it is shortening delivery times by bringing stock directly from assembly lines of mask manufacturers to warehouses, according to its social media post.

Chinese officials Wednesday confirmed (link in Chinese) 544 illnesses and 17 deaths caused by a new type of coronavirus, a category of pathogens that also caused the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) of 2003.

Believed to have originated in December at a now-shuttered seafood market in Wuhan, Hubei province in central China, the viral pneumonia has spread abroad to countries including Thailand, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

Contact reporter Dave Yin (davidyin@caixin.com)

Related: Wuhan Virus Update: Health Expert Warns of ‘Super-Spreader’ of Viral Pneumonia


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By Han Wei / Jan 23, 2020 03:09 AM / Business & Tech

Photo: Caixin

Photo: Caixin

Wuhan will suspend public transportation networks and ask its 11 million residents to remain in the city in a step to halt the spread of the viral coronavirus that first appeared there.

“Starting at 10 a.m. Jan. 23, citywide bus, subway, ferry and long-distance shuttle bus systems will be suspended,” a city government special office set up to control the disease said early Thursday in a statement (link in Chinese) published on a government-backed news portal. “Residents should not leave Wuhan except for special reasons. Departures from Wuhan at airports and railway stations will also be temporarily closed.” No timetable for resumption was given.

Wuhan, the capital city of central China’s Hubei province, has been the epicenter of the contagion of coronavirus, which has claimed 17 lives as of Wednesday. Officials have confirmed 544 cases of infection in China, including 444 cases in Hubei.

On Wednesday, the city government said it would install checkpoints on main roads to screen vehicles and travelers going in and out of the city for fevers. Authorities also required residents to wear masks in public areas including parks, cinemas, museums, shopping malls and restaurants.

Follow Caixin Global’s latest updates on the Wuhan coronavirus here.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)


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By Liu Shuangshuang, Yuan Ruiyang, Qian Tong and Mo Yein / Jan 22, 2020 03:44 PM / Business & Tech

图/IC photo

图/IC photo

The Chinese New Year has long been a battlefield for internet based companies to try and lure customers away from their rivals’ services using different promotions, including through direct cash payments.

According to Caixin’s calculations, this year, companies have pledged to give away nearly 15 billion yuan ($2.2 billion), mainly in the form of digital “hongbao”. Hongbao are traditional "red envelopes" containing money exchanged between friends and relatives. Digital versions, akin to wire transfers have developed in the era of smartphone apps.

Many companies began to offer digital hongbao long before the start of the week-long holiday, also known as Spring Festival, which kicks off Friday.

Among the largest spenders are Tencent, which said it would spend 1 billion yuan to promote its short-video service, called Weishi, seen as a challenge to ByteDance’s plethora of short-video platforms, including Douyin, also known as Tik Tok. ByteDance said it would hand out 2 billion yuan in digital hongbao.

Read the full story at Caixin Global later today

Contact reporter Mo Yelin (yelinmo@caixin.com)

Related: China’s Internet Giants Hand Out Billions of Yuan in Digital Red Envelopes

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By Qu Hui and Denise Jia / Jan 22, 2020 06:31 AM / Business & Tech

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The founder of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies shrugged off U.S. sanctions against his company, saying he was confident that Huawei can survive further measures.

Speaking Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Ren said he expects that the U.S. might further escalate sanctions against Huawei, but the impact on Huawei’s business would not be significant.

Huawei was put on a U.S. blacklist last year based on national security concerns, barring it from sourcing U.S. technologies. Huawei has spent several hundred billion yuan (dozens of billions of U.S. dollars) on a technological “Plan B” strategy.

Huawei has equipped more of its smartphones with its self-developed processors as it strives to reduce its dependence on U.S. technology. Last year Huawei launched its own operating system, HarmonyOS. Ren said in September the proprietary operating system would be able to compete with top rival systems within two years.

Ren also reiterated Huawei’s “pro-U.S.” position. Most of Huawei’s management expertise was learned from the U.S., and the Chinese company hired dozens of American consultants, Ren said. “Actually, our whole system is very much like an American company,” he said.

The U.S. doesn’t need to worry about China on technology as China is still in the early stages of science and technology development, Ren said.

Contact reporter Denise Jia (huijuanjia@caixin.com)

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By Dave Yin / Jan 22, 2020 03:47 AM / Business & Tech

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Telecom giant Huawei Technologies led the pack again in a ranking of China’s top software makers based on revenue in a report by the industry regulator saying the country’s software makers aren’t big and strong enough.

China’s top 100 software companies posted total revenue of 821.2 billion yuan ($119 billion) in 2018, up 6.5% from the previous year, according to a report issued Sunday (link in Chinese) by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

However, just $20.1 billion, or 16%, of this came from exports. In a statement, China’s industry regulator said local developers are still frail compared with foreign multinationals.

The MIIT said challenges to altering this include slowing revenue growth amid downward economic pressure, a decline in revenue from traditional businesses, rising labor costs and a shortage of talent, and rising difficulty in performing systems integration, a core service, as customer requirements grow.

Huawei topped China’s list of software makers by revenue for the 18th straight year, according to the report, though the company is better known as a hardware maker and faces headwinds in foreign markets.

Appearing for the first time in the top 10 were Alibaba Cloud Computing Co. Ltd., gadget maker Xiaomi and e-commerce platform JD.com. Appliance maker Haier Group, big data company Inspur, appliance maker Hisense, surveillance giant Hikvision, financial services conglomerate China UnionPay and energy and industrial software maker NARI Group were also among the top revenue generators, the ministry said.

The report did not disclose how much individual software companies sold but said the revenue of the top 100 companies represented 13.3% of the industry’s total and their profits grew 14.6% year-on-year.

“The industry is exhibiting ‘high gross profits, strong research and development,’” the ministry said in a statement. It said companies that ventured into cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence early and those that seized opportunities in smart finance, traffic and security markets seized major advantages for growth.

The top 100 companies spent 174.6 billion yuan on research and development in 2018, an increase of 12.6%, according to the report.

Contact reporter Dave Yin (davidyin@caixin.com)

Related: Huawei Helps China Overtake Germany in Receiving U.S. Patents


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By Han Wei / Jan 22, 2020 03:06 AM / Business & Tech

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A top health expert in China warned of potential risks of a so-called “super-spreader” in an outbreak of viral pneumonia that has sickened hundreds of people, fueling fears of challenges for controlling the disease.

A super-spreader is a patient who disproportionally infects more secondary contacts than others with the same disease. The World Health Organization often identifies a patient who sickens more than 10 secondary contacts as a super-spreader.

One such patient may already have appeared as the new coronavirus spreads across the country, claiming six lives as of Tuesday, Yuan Guoyong, a microbiologist who is a member of an expert senior team of China’s National Health Commission, said Tuesday to reporters.

Among 15 medical workers diagnosed with the virus in Wuhan, a central China city where the disease was first reported in December, 14 were infected by a single patient, Yuan said. There hasn’t been enough evidence yet, however, to confirm the person as a super-spreader, Yuan said.

Super-spreaders appearing during the process of virus mutation means greater challenges in controlling the spread of an epidemic. Yuan said health authorities will closely monitor how the virus is passed through contact with a single source.

Once a super-spreader is detected, the patient must be put under strict quarantine and receive special treatment, said Zhong Nanshan, a prominent Chinese epidemiologist who is heading the National Health Commission’s investigation into the outbreak. Blocking the emergence of super-spreaders is “key to controlling the spread of the virus,” Zhong said.

China yesterday confirmed that the new coronavirus, which has pneumonia-like symptoms including fever and difficulty breathing, can be spread via human-to-human transmission.

As of Jan. 21, the number of confirmed infections in China totaled 319, including 270 in Hubei, 10 in Beijing, 17 in Guangdong and six in Shanghai. The death toll reached six, all in Hubei. Outside China, one confirmed case was reported in Japan, two in Thailand and one in South Korea.

Follow Caixin Global’s latest updates on the Wuhan coronavirus here.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)


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By Bai Yujie and Lu Yutong / Jan 21, 2020 05:02 PM / Business & Tech

图/视觉中国

图/视觉中国

A number of Chinese airlines have seen a drop in their stock price amid public concerns over the outbreak of a new virus in China's central city of Wuhan, which has led to four deaths.

Shares in China’s three largest state-own airlines — Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines — fell 4.13%, 3.06% and 2.56% respectively on Monday, and stocks continued to tumble Tuesday morning. Some private airlines including Spring Airlines and China Express Airlines also reported drops on Monday.

The drop came amid the China's annual Lunar New Year rush, the largest annual human migration in the world when millions of people travel, often to their place of birth, to celebrate the festival. That's usually a boon for airlines.

But a transport analyst who asked not to be named told Caixin the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan may throw a spanner in the works. “The market is worried that (the epidemic) will affect flows of tourists and passengers” the analyst said.

China began this year’s travel season on Jan. 10, with the Ministry of Transport forecasting (link in Chinese) people in the country will take as many as 79 million international and domestic flights over the period, which officially ends Feb. 18.

Even before the coronavirus outbreak domestic aviation had been dealing with the consequences of the grounding of the embattled Boeing 737 Max. The grounding has crippled transport capacity which has caused some analysts to speculate that the cost of airline freight may rise.

Read the full story later on Caixin Global.

Contact reporter Lu Yutong (yutonglu@caixin.com)

Related: China’s Spreading Wuhan Virus Sends Jitters to Capital Markets

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By Denise Jia / Jan 21, 2020 05:19 AM / Business & Tech

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A Canadian court Monday began a hearing on whether a senior Huawei executive should be extradited to stand trial in the U.S. on charges of bank fraud and sanctions violations. The hearing is scheduled to run four days, but a ruling could take months.

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in late 2018 in Vancouver on the requested of the U.S. The American government seeks to try her on charges of fraud related to her dealings with HBSC Holdings Plc over transactions linked to Iran. After her arrest she was released on $10 million bail but has to stay in Vancouver under house arrest.

At the hearing, Meng’s lawyers said she shouldn’t be extradited because her alleged crimes don’t meet Canada’s legal tests for extradition. Huawei issued a video statement on Twitter with spokesman Benjamin Howes saying Huawei has confidence that Canada’s judicial system will prove Meng’s innocence.

Meng’s arrest has created a rift between China and Canada. Beijing on Monday repeated its calls for Canada to release Meng.

“This is entirely a serious political incident that abuses bilateral extradition treaties between Canada and the U.S., grossly violating the legitimate rights and interests of a Chinese citizen,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a routine press conference.

Contact reporter Denise Jia (huijuanjia@caixin.com) 

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By Zhang Yu and Han Wei / Jan 21, 2020 05:12 AM / Business & Tech

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Debt-ridden Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp. faces a looming compulsory delisting as its 2019 business sustained continued heavy losses.

The Shenzhen-listed company, an arm of embattled tech conglomerate LeEco, said Monday it expected to report a net loss for 2019 of about 11.3 billion yuan ($1.65 billion) following a net loss of 4.1 billion yuan in 2018.

The worsening results mean Leshi is likely to be delisted after it formally issues the 2019 results. The company registered negative net assets of 3 billion yuan at the end of 2018. Leshi’s Shenzhen-traded stock was suspended in May 2019.

In its estimate of results, Leshi attributed the widening loss to debt claims related to its sports and cloud service units. The company set aside 9.8 billion yuan for those claims, which are related to its promise to repurchase shares from investors in the two units if they failed to go public within an agreed period.

The once high-flying video streaming site is mired in massive debt woes since its parent LeEco was hit with a cash crunch after years of aggressive expansion. Leshi’s founder and largest shareholder, Jia Yueting, fled China to the U.S. and has not returned since the summer of 2017, leaving behind debts that reached 11.9 billion yuan at the end of 2018. Jia has been blacklisted as a debt defaulter by a Chinese court. In October, Jia filed for bankruptcy in the U.S.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)


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By Qian Tong and Denise Jia / Jan 21, 2020 05:08 AM / Business & Tech

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Wang Huiwen, a co-founder of Chinese food delivery company Meituan Dianping, will step away from daily management in December 2020, according to an internal email.

Wang, who has served as Meituan senior vice president since 2010, will remain as a board member and serve as a consultant, Chief Executive Officer Wang Xing said Monday in the email.

Wang Huiwen, 40, is a long-time business partner of Wang Xing. Before co-founding Meituan in 2010, they co-founded a social media platform and a real estate searching platform. At Meituan, Wang has been in charge of the core on-demand delivery business and the new ride-hailing service.

Wang started handing over responsibilities for the ride-hailing business to others since mid-2019, a Meituan employee told Caixin. The CEO said Wang has discussed his retirement plan many times.

In addition, Meituan Senior Vice President Liu Lin will become a senior consultant, citing personal and family reasons, and vice presidents Guo Qing and Li Shubin will join Meituan’s senior management team, the CEO said in the email.

Contact reporter Denise Jia (huijuanjia@caixin.com)

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By Ding Yi / Jan 20, 2020 02:34 PM / Business & Tech

Tesla has chosen Baidu as its new provider of mapping data services, a move that could improve user experience in China, the automaker announced on its social media Weibo account on Friday.

Baidu Maps will provide Tesla car owners with services including basic map displays, real-time road conditions, and search functions for specific locations via its own application program interface known as scalable vector graphics, Baidu told Caixin.

The map services will also offer accurate maps that support zooming without losing image quality.

However, neither Tesla nor Baidu explicitly identified the name of the mapping company Baidu Maps will be replacing. Navinfo, a Tencent-backed mapping firm that has partnered with Tesla since the latter’s entry into China in 2014, downplayed the announcement, saying on its own Weibo account that its cooperation with Tesla will not be affected.

Observers say that Tesla’s recent partnering with Baidu might stem from the search engine’s capabilities in high-definition mapping, one of the key technologies that enable autonomous driving, a field in which Tesla also operates.

In 2018, Baidu signed a deal with Great Wall Motors to equip the Chinese carmaker’s WEY-branded cars with high-precision mapping and self-positioning technologies, an important step toward making its Apollo self-driving platform marketable.

Established in 2017, Baidu’s open-source Apollo platform aims to give third-party partners access to the necessary technologies needed for the research and development of driverless cars including high-definition mapping, obstacle perception technology and cloud simulation service.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Tesla Eyes Design and Research Center for ‘Chinese-Style’ Cars


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