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By Runhua Zhao / Jan 18, 2019 06:19 PM / Society & Culture

A still from the popular trailer.

A still from the popular trailer.

Cartoon character Peppa Pig was once censored for being a “gangster icon.”

Now, she’s back, and spreading peace and love.

A 6-minute trailer for a Peppa Pig movie has gone viral on the Chinese internet, with over 330 million views on Weibo as of Friday. The live-action trailer stars real villagers, not actors, in Northern China’s Hebei.

In the trailer, an elderly peasant named Li Baoyu asks his friends and neighbors in the village who “Peiqi” is after hearing his grandson talk about it on a phone call from Beijing. Peiqi is Peppa’s Chinese name. In the end, Li figures it out – and presents his a Peppa Pig made out of scrap metal to his grandson for Chinese New Year.

The heartwarming film is a major change of pace for Peppa, who just last year was banned from appearing on some social media platforms including Douyin.

The cartoon figure and her family were deemed subversive after certain Chinese subcultures adopted her as a mascot. Rebellious kids wore stickers featuring Peppa as a symbol of their gangster-cool.

But her censorship on various platforms did not diminish Peppa’s fame. Produced by Alibaba Pictures and Entertainment One, the upcoming film is about Peppa learning Chinese New Year rituals, and will debut on Feb. 5.

Related: China’s Online Broadcasters Decide to Censor Selves


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By Teng Jing Xuan / Jan 18, 2019 05:20 PM / Politics & Law

Photo: Xinhua

Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Beijing’s new administrative center in outer district Tongzhou Friday, according to state news agency Xinhua.

This is Xi’s third stop on his trip to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, or Jing-Jin-Ji area, this week.

China had planned for years to shift its administrative center out to Tongzhou — around 20 kilometers east of downtown Beijing — in an effort to rein traffic congestion and air pollution in the capital’s denser inner districts.

The new location opened last Friday, and at least 35 city-level departments have already completed the relocation, CCTV said.

Related: Xi Pays 2nd Visit to Xiong’an, Emerging North China Sub-Center

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By Runhua Zhao / Jan 18, 2019 04:22 PM / Society & Culture

Fans of the herbal health company Infinitus. Photo: VCG

Fans of the herbal health company Infinitus. Photo: VCG

A woman in Shaanxi province says a Chinese herbal health company offered her money to retract allegations that her daughter fell ill as a result of the firm’s products.

Tian Shuping began purchasing Infinitus products after her three-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a bacterial infection in 2017. At the time, Infinitus franchiser Fan Le told Tian that there was no need to follow any prescription instructions because all the products were “natural.”

When the toddler later showed symptoms of abnormal sweating and yellowing eyes, Fan told Tian to continue using Infinitus products rather than seek medical advice.

When Tian finally took her daughter to the hospital, it was only after her condition had significantly worsened. Her daughter was diagnosed with health problems caused by the accumulation of the Infinitus drugs: cardiac damage, liver damage and rickets.

An Infinitus representative reportedly offered Tian compensation of 600,000 yuan ($89,000) if she agreed to retract the allegations she had made to the media, as well as withdraw her official complaint to government authorities, according to a recording of the conversation Tian provided to The Paper. The offer would have also required Tian to go on the record stating that her daughter’s symptoms were an individual case unrelated to product quality.

Tian refused. An Infinitus staffer later said Tian turned it down because she demanded 1 million yuan, but did not offer further details.

Infinitus is an affiliate of Hong Kong sauce-maker Lee Kum Kee.

No official investigation into the case has been launched.

Related: Chinese Firm’s Drug Recalled Over Cancer-Causing Impurity


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By Teng Jing Xuan / Jan 18, 2019 02:45 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Struggling Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad has appointed 27-year-old Chen Jiajun as its new CEO, the company announced Thursday.

Chen is Coolpad’s largest shareholder and previously served as director of commercial real estate at the Shenzhen-based property company Jingji. Chen’s appointment comes after Coolpad’s sudden dismissal of its previous CEO Jiang Chao on Jan. 11. Coolpad didn’t give a reason for dismissing Jiang.

Coolpad, once part of blacklisted entrepreneur Jia Yueting's LeEco business empire, was left in the lurch after Jia's businesses collapsed in 2017.

Read More: The Struggles of China’s Second-Tier Smartphone Firms


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By Bloomberg / Jan 18, 2019 11:59 AM / Business & Tech

People wear 3-D glasses while watch a movie in the Wanda Cinema Line Co. cinema at the Tongzhou Wanda Plaza shopping mall

People wear 3-D glasses while watch a movie in the Wanda Cinema Line Co. cinema at the Tongzhou Wanda Plaza shopping mall

Maoyan Entertainment, China’s biggest online movie ticketing platform, is seeking to raise as much as $345 million in a Hong Kong initial public offering.

The company is offering 132.4 million shares at HK$14.80 to HK$20.40 apiece, according to terms for the deal obtained by Bloomberg. Welight Capital and an affiliate of IMAX China agreed to buy a combined $18 million of stock as cornerstone investors, the terms show.

China’s box office sales hit a record high last year, driven by local films including “Operation Red Sea,” the patriotic story of a Chinese special forces unit battling Somali pirates and terrorists. Ticket receipts rose 8 percent to 56.6 billion yuan ($8.3 billion), data compiled by Maoyan Movie show.

Maoyan is taking investor orders from Friday to Jan. 24, when the offering is slated to price, the terms show. The company’s shares are expected to start trading Jan. 31.

Morgan Stanley and Bank of America are joint sponsors of the listing, while China Renaissance is sole financial adviser, according to a preliminary prospectus.

Related: Arthouse Film Gets Misadvertised as Crowd-Pleaser, Sending Producer’s Stock Tumbling

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By Noelle Mateer / Jan 18, 2019 11:56 AM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Several governments worldwide have blocked Huawei from working on their telecoms systems.

Now the Chinese firm has been rebuffed by a different kind of organization: the University of Oxford.

Oxford has placed an indefinite ban on accepting donations and research grants from Huawei, the university confirmed after reports emerged Thursday.

Reports emerged after the South China Morning Post gained access to an email – sent to Oxford doctoral students in the computer sciences – that said the university’s Committee to Review Donations had “decided to suspend Huawei as an approved gift donor/research sponsor.”

In a statement, a university spokesperson said Oxford had made its decision on Jan. 8 in “light of public concerns raised in recent months surrounding UK partnerships with Huawei. We hope these matters can be resolved shortly and note Huawei's own willingness to reassure governments about its role and activities.”

Existing grants from Huawei will still continue, the statement said.

Huawei has been spurned by governments and corporations citing security concerns over the company’s ties to the Chinese government.

Huawei has also been in headlines lately ever since its CFO, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada on suspicion of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

See more of our Huawei coverage here


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By Fran Wang / Jan 18, 2019 11:29 AM / Economy

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The Chinese government announced Friday that it has revised the country’s economic growth rate in 2017 to 6.8%, down from the previously published 6.9%.

The change was due to a reduction of 636.7 billion yuan ($94.0 billion) from the calculation of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2017, as more comprehensive data were obtained from various departments that only became available after the preliminary economic growth figures were released a year ago, according to a statement by the National Bureau of Statistics.

The decrease in 2017 GDP was mainly accounted for by smaller value-added figures from sectors including agriculture, forestry, husbandry, aquaculture, and manufacturing, a table attached to the statement showed.

The NBS routinely revises the GDP figures of the year before last in January, after publishing the preliminary data in January of the previous year.

Related: China 2017 GDP Growth Target at 25-Year Low

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By Zhao Runhua / Jan 18, 2019 11:23 AM / Business & Tech

A Tesla Inc. Model S electric vehicle sits on display at a showroom in Hong Kong. Photo: VCG

A Tesla Inc. Model S electric vehicle sits on display at a showroom in Hong Kong. Photo: VCG

Tesla is recalling 14,123 imported Model S electric cars in China, the country’s market watchdog confirmed Friday.

The affected cars were produced between Feb. 4, 2014, and Dec. 9, 2016, and the recall will take effect in April, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation said.

According a filing by Tesla, the company made the decision based on airbag safety concerns. Tesla said it would replace airbags on affected cars for free.

Related: 

Tesla Rival Nio Sold a Record 11,348 Vehicles 2018

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By Charlotte Yang / Jan 18, 2019 10:36 AM / Politics & Law

People attend a vintage Moutai liquor auction in Shanghai in 2011. Photo: VCG

People attend a vintage Moutai liquor auction in Shanghai in 2011. Photo: VCG

Kweichow Moutai, a fiery, sorghum-based liquor, has long been a fixture of Chinese state banquets and the tipple of choice for government officials.

But it’s also known for creating headaches for China’s corruption watchdogs, with expensive bottles of Moutai often misappropriated or used as bribes.

Authorities in Guizhou province, where Moutai is produced and where many officials have been caught illegally reselling the liquor, published a document Thursday detailing five rules forbidding locals to use Moutai for personal gain.

Officials and their family members must refrain from engaging in Moutai businesses, the document says. Officials cannot use their position to help others to get permits to sell or resell Moutai. With some exceptions, they also cannot accept or give Moutai as a gift.

Moutai is the liquor that China’s Premier Zhou Enlai toasted U.S. President Richard Nixon with to celebrate China’s opening to the U.S. in 1972.

But the liquor’s public image has taken a beating since China began a nationwide corruption crackdown in 2012. Moutai, along with Shanghai-made Chunghwa cigarettes, is now used as a shorthand for corruption in onscreen political thrillers.


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By Bloomberg / Jan 18, 2019 10:21 AM / Economy

Foreign investors are increasing their presence in China’s commercial real estate market, taking advantage of the deleveraging drive that’s squeezing the nation’s companies.

Overseas firms may be set to sustain a resurgence that last year sent their purchases to a record $9 billion nationwide and accounted for just over half of all sales in Shanghai. Blackstone Group LP and Singaporean developer CapitaLand are among those leading the charge.

The upswing comes just as some of China’s biggest private conglomerates -- like embattled HNA Group -- are unwinding overseas property buying binges. In some cases, they’re also selling domestic real estate.

“For years, every time a foreign investor prepared a bid, they’d ask me -- ‘how many domestic bidders do you have now?’ When I said ‘several,’ they were very upset,” said Colliers International Group Inc.’s’ head of China capital markets Betty Wang. “It totally reversed course last year.”

Offshore buyers are aided by a weak yuan that makes purchases cheaper and the tight financial conditions that mean many Chinese companies are more likely to be sellers than purchasers. The serious financial firepower on tap for foreigners includes the $15.6 billion raised for Asian property private equity funds last year, according to market research firm Preqin.

“China’s deleveraging drive pushed borrowing costs higher and damped domestic investor demand,” said Sam Xie, CBRE Group’s head of research in China. Foreign buyers have “an edge in financing,” he said.

Overseas firms bought 31% of commercial property nationwide last year, based on CBRE data for deals of $10 million and above. They may account for as much as 40% of sales in Shanghai and Beijing combined in 2019, according to Colliers. The constraints holding back local firms include rule changes in late 2017 that made it harder for property private equity funds to raise money.

CapitaLand and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte splashed out $1.8 billion on Shanghai’s tallest twin towers in the biggest purchase of 2018. Yields have been ticking up in the city’s central business district. Blackstone in December bought an office and retail complex in the city for $1.25 billion.

While the bulk of purchases by foreign investors are in Beijing and Shanghai, cities such as Hangzhou, Nanjing and Wuhan are attracting interest on the prospect of rising yields, according to CBRE’s Xie. Hot market segments include rental apartments and logistics, he said.

Commercial property investment by foreign firms surged 62 percent to 78 billion yuan ($9.1 billion) in 2018, the largest amount in data stretching back to 2005, CBRE said.

“While foreign investors have spent a lot, they haven’t used up their ammunition,” said Francis Li, Cushman & Wakefield’s head of capital markets in Greater China. “Foreign capital will be a sweeping force in China commercial property investments this year.”

Related: China Doubles Foreign Investment Limit in Opening-Up Bid

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By Han Wei / Jan 18, 2019 03:23 AM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

A high-profile advertising campaign launched by China Central Television, the state broadcaster, is under investigation by the state market watchdog for allegedly violating the Advertising Law and misleading consumers.

The State Administration of Market Regulation ordered its Beijing bureau to investigate CCTV’s National Brand Program following consumer complaints, the agency said Thursday in a statement published on its website.

The National Brand Program was launched by CCTV in 2016 as a major advertising project to heavily promote about two dozen brands including home appliance makers, e-commerce providers and food producers through TV commercials each year. The program also became a major source of CCTV’s advertising revenue.

However, the program has sparked debates over whether the broadcaster violated the advertising and market competition law by implying state endorsement to brands that bid to be included in the advertising program.

In a separate statement, the market regulation administration said media pitching “national brands” in advertisements misleads customers while hurting fair competition.

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By Han Wei / Jan 18, 2019 03:13 AM / Finance

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Global financial messaging provider Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) will set up a wholly owned subsidiary in Beijing in a move to tap the Chinese financial services market.

The Belgium-based organization, which describes itself on its website as “a global, member-owned cooperative and the world’s leading provider of secure financial messaging services,” signed a memorandum for a partnership with the Beijing municipal government Wednesday. The new venture will offer localized services in China and accept the yuan as a settlement currency, along with the U.S. dollar and the euro.

SWIFT also signed a letter of intent with China's Cross-Border Inter-Bank Payments System (CIPS) to deepen cooperation in cross-border payment services.

Gottfried Leibbrandt, SWIFT’s chief executive officer, said the new China venture is the company’s latest effort to support the yuan’s internationalization.

China's cross-border yuan settlement business reached 5.11 trillion yuan ($755 billion) in 2018, up from 4.36 trillion yuan in 2017, according to the central bank.

Related: How Did an Ambitious Cross-Border Settlement Firm’s Dream Turn Sour?

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By Zhao Runhua / Jan 17, 2019 05:47 PM / Business & Tech

during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Argentina and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 27

during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Argentina and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 27

A unit of CCTV is suing an app that allegedly illegally broadcast World Cup content.

The subsidiary of state-run CCTV – which is the exclusive 2018 World Cup broadcasting partner on the Chinese mainland – argued that Chinese app Jike provided unauthorized on-demand gif content involving 52 matches last summer, according to a Beijing court notice released Wednesday.

CCTV International Network said the service caused “illicit competition,” and significantly harmed CCTV’s material interests. The company is also demanding a 5 million yuan ($740,000) compensation from Jike parent company Shanghai Ruoyou Network Technology.

Jike said Thursday it has not yet received any notice from the court or CCTV International Network. The company also claimed that it found only user-created gifs, and no other World Cup-related content, on its platform during an internal check after hearing about the lawsuit from media.

The case is still under investigation.

Related: Prominent CCTV Host Accused of Sexual Assault

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By Zhao Runhua / Jan 17, 2019 05:23 PM / Society & Culture

Wang Zhian in 2015. Photo: VCG

Wang Zhian in 2015. Photo: VCG

A famous Chinese journalist is vigorously denying charges by Baidu that he “maliciously slandered” the tech giant.

Baidu lodged the complaint Friday, after the journalist, Wang Zhian, wrote about several high-profile deaths resulting from misleading medical advertisements. Baidu was linked to one of those cases, in which a patient died after a web search led him to ineffective experimental treatment.

Wang’s article, published Jan. 4 on his pubic WeChat account, focused on a recent incident involving Quanjian Group, which advertised spurious treatments that allegedly contributed to the death of a 4-year-old. Wang’s article then noted other examples of fraudulent medical treatments and misleading advertisements, and criticized China’s lack of regulation on the sector.

The article mentioned Baidu only twice, but it revived the well-reported accusation that the search engine had displayed ads for unsupported medical care and questionable health-care providers – including the case of 21-year-old college student Wei Zexi, who died after receiving ineffective treatment he learned about from Baidu.

Baidu argued that the health care groups were to blame, and said Wang had slandered Baidu by linking it with the scandals.

Baidu sent its complaint to Tencent-owned WeChat, which forwarded it to Wang.

Baidu said that “Quanjian and other medical care brands mentioned in Wang's article – not Baidu – have direct responsibility for the patients. [Wang’s] article has been a malicious slander on Baidu’s brand, and has thus seriously harmed our reputation. Please help delete the article, [or] we will consult the law to protect our proper legal rights.”

Wang posted screenshots of the complaint on his public WeChat account. He also asserted that what he said in the original article was all true and that, since he wasn’t even targeting Baidu, the company’s accusations were invalid.

Going a step further, Wang posted a summary of numerous “tragedies” connected to allegedly misleading information found via Baidu searches.

Wang, 50, was a well-respected reporter and TV veteran at state-run CCTV, and now runs his own investigative reporting team in Beijing. The team publishes articles on Wang’s WeChat news account.

“Tencent asked me if I would admit to Baidu’s charges. If I did, once the charges were confirmed, punishment on me would be lighter,” Wang wrote Thursday. “My reply: I won’t!”

Baidu told Caixin that it would offer no comment on the issue.

Related: China’s Highest Court Investigated Over Lost Ruling That Favored Private Company

Correction: An earlier photo misidentified Wang Zhian.

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By Charlotte Yang / Jan 17, 2019 03:45 PM / World

China’s Vice Premier Liu He will visit the U.S. for consultations on Sino-U.S. economic and trade issues, Ministry of Commerce’s spokesperson Gao Feng said at a press conference today.

Liu’s visit is at the invitation of U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Gao said.

Complete coverage of the U.S.-China trade war

By Charlotte Yang / Jan 17, 2019 11:56 AM / Economy

Foreign-exchange sales by China’s central bank hit a four-month low in December, government figures show, indicating easing pressure on the yuan to weaken.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) sold 4.0 billion yuan ($590 million) worth of foreign currency to banks last month, the lowest figure since August and down from November’s 57.1 billion yuan, according to Caixin’s calculations based on official data released Wednesday.

The sale left the central bank’s outstanding foreign-exchange purchase position at 21.256 trillion yuan, down from 21.260 trillion yuan in November.

A decline in the total indicates pressure on the yuan to weaken as companies and individuals preferred to hold foreign currency rather than the yuan, or to move assets overseas, which increases capital outflows. Therefore, a smaller fall suggests the demand for foreign currency was less strong.

December was the fifth month in a row the PBOC has sold its foreign-currency holdings.

Related: China Sets up New Forex Reserve Investment Arm

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By Bloomberg / Jan 17, 2019 11:41 AM / Business & Tech

A passenger looks at a smartphone on a subway train in Shenzhen. Photo: Bloomberg

A passenger looks at a smartphone on a subway train in Shenzhen. Photo: Bloomberg

Tencent will soon release a test version of a Game of Thrones game for smartphones, after winning exclusive Chinese rights to distribute the title based on the mega-popular TV series.

China’s largest social and media gaming company will be the sole distributor for Game of Thrones: Winter is Coming, developed by Yoozoo, Tencent said on its official WeChat account. It didn’t specify a launch date but said it would dovetail with the show’s final season airing from April.

The game will help jazz up a Tencent pipeline that suffered after Beijing clamped down on game approvals for months, aiming to weed out violence and other undesirable content. The HBO series based on George R.R. Martin’s series of books drew a record 12.1 million viewers for the previous season’s finale. Tencent said its upcoming mobile title is a simulation that will let players assume identities such as that of Tyrion Lannister, relive key moments like the infamous Red Wedding and visit well-known locales.

“When the eighth and last season returns in April, it will definitely cause a sensation and much discussion,” Tencent said. “By releasing the game at this time, the TV series will help attract more players.”

Yoozoo, the developer, was founded in 2009 and helps convert films into games. Tencent needs a boost after a grim year when China froze gaming approvals, curbing its ability to monetize two of its most popular games, including Fortnite. Beijing in December began resuming approvals but the backlog has accumulated to hundreds of titles.

Related: Video Site Censors Male Celebrities’ Ear Piercings

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By Bloomberg / Jan 17, 2019 09:58 AM / Business & Tech

A woman holds an advertisement for a girls bar in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo. Photographer: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg

A woman holds an advertisement for a girls bar in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo. Photographer: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg

In Tokyo’s Ginza, Seoul’s Gangnam and Beijing’s Chaoyang financial district a familiar scene plays out almost every night of the work week. As dusk falls, businessmen flock to karaoke and hostess clubs to close deals and build relationships in the liquor-lubricated intimacy of young women.

Call it bonding over vice. It’s a culture that sits uneasily with the #MeToo movement that has swept across Europe and the U.S. In parts of Asia, corporate men continue to openly drink with colleagues or business clients at venues where women escorts are paid to consume alcohol, sing karaoke and -- often illegally -- perform sexual favors, according to interviews with men and women including Regina Yuan, who works at a Shanghai-based startup.

For 27-year-old Yuan, her reality entails entertaining clients from out of town -- often for several evenings in a row -- sometimes drinking with them while picking up the bill, and shouldering most of the burden for her own safety. She said the roster of clients who visit such clubs includes prestigious Chinese investment banks, insurance and finance companies and increasingly, venture capital funds.

“You just have to think of yourself as a man,” Yuan said. “Pretty much going to hostess clubs is like a tourist destination when our clients and investors come to town. It’s like if you don’t take them there, you haven’t paid your respects to your guests.”

The tradition underscores the distance Asia has to go before women are treated as equals at work even as governments encourage them to stay in the labor force and rise to higher ranks. Beyond the salacious, hostess clubs are arenas of power display, where money is doled out, expenses can be murky and alcohol consumption feeds into one’s career trajectory. Some men, often junior, compare the experience to hazing. Women risk being left out -- and missing important networking opportunities -- or embracing the culture and opening the floodgates for misogyny.

The practice stands in contrast to the U.S., U.K. and France, where companies have been lambasted for conducting business in so-called gentlemen’s clubs or at venues with burlesque dancers. Uber’s managers were berated for visiting a hostess club in South Korea and traders attending the European Commodities Exchange came under fire for attending a show featuring semi-naked women.

Work Culture

While such male-bonding outings may occasionally occur in the U.S. and U.K., interviews show the practice remains embedded in the Asia work culture. In Japan, China and South Korea some startups, venture capital and finance companies say they try to enforce best practices, yet the conduct is hardly being eliminated. For investors, the prevalence of the clubs comes with a silver lining: the ability to differentiate between types of entrepreneurs, according to China Growth Capital’s Gong Yuan.

“There’s no better way to understand a founder than by looking at what bonding method this person uses,” Gong said. “The startups that emerged three years ago trying to transform traditional industries brought a lot of these questionable behaviors. Companies that have real technology just go on hikes.”

Remaining silent or leaving the company without making a fuss is often the choice for many women, part of the reason the hostess club culture can continue to thrive in Asia even with the gradual emergence of the #MeToo movement in the region, said Kumiko Nemoto, a professor at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies in Japan who has done extensive research on this subject.

“In order to have #MeToo happen on a broader scale in Asia, there needs to be a substantial population who share the knowledge of feminism, gender equality,” Nemoto said.

China’s Illegal Clubs

Prostitution and hostess clubs are illegal in China. Yet websites that help these venues recruit women show that thousands exist. High-end parlors in Beijing and Shanghai can charge 20,000 yuan ($2,900) for a room, alcohol included. Escorts who drink with clients can cost more than $280 each.

The hostess club culture emerged in China three decades ago, with the country’s reform and opening up. Japanese companies brought in their capital, along with their kurabus, often using such facilities as beachheads for conducting business, according to Zheng’s research.

Shunned by mainstream society, Chinese KTVs nevertheless openly promote their business -- and their host babes-- on China’s largest video-streaming sites operated by IQiyi Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. The production can be extremely professional: interior drone footage of mass rococo-style complexes that also function as saunas; promos of hostesses preened for the World Cup, Halloween or Christmas.

Madams, who are referred to as “mamis,” or managers, will tap the popular social media platform WeChat to churn business, shelling out videos and photos of the scantily clad women on their semi-public social media feed. Clients book rooms, select specific women and pay via WeChat -- all in one go.

IQiyi said in an emailed statement that it “applies strict community standards” to content and deletes anything inappropriate. Youku, owned by Alibaba, said in an emailed statement that it removes content deemed inappropriate. Jane Yip, a spokeswoman for Tencent, owner of WeChat, didn’t respond to requests for comment via email and text message.

Lisa Wang, a 34-year-old hostess in Beijing, knows the culture well. Hailing from China’s rust-belt Heilongjiang province, she has been a karaoke girl in the capital since 2013.

She manages a dozen women at a karaoke parlor, making 800 yuan in tips per guest. As a host she sings and drinks with clients, working from about 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. or even longer.

“It’s totally normal for people to come and do business here,” Wang said. “They know what their clients want and are trying to make them happy.”

When guests negotiate in the KTV rooms, she and her employees wait outside to give them privacy, though surveillance cameras blanket these facilities. Usually one person picks up the entire bill for the group. Receipts are seldom involved, as many pay out of pocket -- if there are, the men try to mask the expenses via other items and spread the cost among colleagues to avoid a lump-sum bill. Every now and then, some “very successful-looking woman” will join the men and pick up the bill, she said.

Back in Shanghai, startup employee Yuan isn’t optimistic, as she continues to slog through entertainment sessions with guests and her male colleagues.

“I don’t think this will ever change in China,” she said. “I don’t think #MeToo has had any significant impact in China. People are too busy making money to think about these matters.”

Related: China Signals End of Controversial Sex Work Detention Program

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By Han Wei / Jan 17, 2019 06:39 AM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. became the target of a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for alleged theft of trade secrets, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors are probing Huawei for allegedly stealing trade secrets related to the technology of a robotic device made by T-Mobile U.S. Inc, which was used in testing smartphones, the Journal reported, citing sources close to the matter.

The Journal said an indictment can be expected soon. Caixin could not immediately reach Huawei for comment.

The investigation arose out of civil lawsuits against Huawei filed by T-Mobile in 2014 accusing the Chinese company of misappropriating technology from T-Mobile, according to the report.

The case is another setback for Huawei, which is facing closer scrutiny by foreign governments related to its global initiative to roll out the next-generation 5G wireless telecom technology. Several countries, including Australia and New Zealand, have banned Huawei from their 5G network upgrades, citing national security concerns.

Last week, Polish authorities arrested then-Huawei executive Wang Weijing on charges of conducting espionage. Huawei subsequently terminated Wang’s employment.

Amid mounting pressures, Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei this week broke silence to dismiss spying accusations that have dogged the company. Ren said his company has never spied for the Chinese government and never would.

Related: Huawei's Founder Denies Spying

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By Han Wei / Jan 17, 2019 03:49 AM / Finance

Photo:Chinanews

Photo:Chinanews

China’s central bank Wednesday injected a record net 560 billion yuan ($83 billion) into the banking system through open-market operations in a move to expand liquidity amid slowing economic growth.

The People’s Bank of China said it would carry out reverse repos that pump 570 billion yuan into the financial system Wednesday, while 10 billion yuan of previous reverse repos will mature the same day.

The 560 billion yuan net injection is the highest ever recorded for a single day.

“At the peak of the tax season, the total liquidity of the banking system is falling rapidly,” the central bank said in a statement.

Chinese authorities have taken a raft of measures since last year, including expanding infrastructure spending, cutting taxes and reducing bank reserve requirements, to bolster an economy suffering from slowing growth amid a trade war with the U.S.

Wednesday’s injection came after the central bank announced cuts in banks’ reserve ratios earlier this month, which will free up a total of $116 billion for new bank lending.

Related:Central Bank Official Leaves Interest Rate Cut on the Table

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