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Xiaomi Leads India’s Smartphone Market with 26.1% Share
Trending in China: Are China’s Blue-Collar Wages Really Higher Than Graduate Salaries?
Trending in China: An End to Spam Calls? Real Estate Company to Give Money to Anyone Who Receives One
Trending in China: Patriotic War Film Overpowers Foreign-Made Feature, But Not Everyone Is Impressed
Shopify Partners with TikTok to Drive Online Sales
Lawson Tests Next Step of Convenience Store Evolution in China
PUBG Creator Krafton Hires Bankers for Possible Record IPO
Mobile Browser Crackdown Ensnares Big Names
Chinese Biotech Startup Genecast Bags $149 Million in Series E Funding Round
Founder and CEO in ‘Divorce’ With Dating App Momo
Chinese Medical Rehabilitation Robot Maker Fourier Closes $15 Million Funding Round
Caixin Investigation Uncovers Shady Business In Myanmar
Tencent Bets Big on Chinese E-Sport Firm, Leading $100 Million Funding Round
Chinese Companies Line Up to Take Advantage of Huawei’s U.S. Troubles
Trending in China: Social Media Applauds Jack Ma’s Detailed Critique of China’s Financial Sector
Trending in China: Female Student Fights ‘Period-Shaming’ – Social Media Discusses the Pros and Cons
Chinese Auto Tech Startup Closes $194 Million Series A Funding Round Led by Baidu
iQiyi to Create Genre-Specific Content to Meet Different Audience Demands
Gaw Capital Inks JV With Manbang Group to Develop Smart Logistics Properties in China
Tesla Recalls Nearly 50,000 U.S.-Made Cars in China over Suspension Problems

By Ding Yi / Oct 28, 2020 06:09 PM / World

Smartphone shipments in India rose 8% year-on-year to 50 million units in the third quarter of 2020, a little more than a quarter of which were sold by Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi.

For the three months through September, Xiaomi continued to be India’s biggest smartphone vendor with 13.1 million shipments, according to research firm Canalys. The sales figure represents a year-on-year increase of 9%.

Three other Chinese smartphone sellers were in the top five and they were Vivo, Realme and Oppo, which took the third, fourth and fifth spots with their respective market shares of 17.6%, 17.4% and 12.1%. The three all saw their shipments rise during the quarter, with Realme enjoying the biggest year-on-year growth of 23%, Canalys said.

Collectively, Chinese vendors made up 76% of the total smartphone shipments in India during the quarter, up from 74% a year ago, according to Canalys.

In recent months, Chinese vendors have tried to avoid becoming a target of rising nationalist sentiment in India amid geopolitical tensions between Beijing and New Delhi by reducing their marketing spending and building an image as important contributors to the South Asian country’s economy, said Canalys analyst Varun Kannan.

“Ongoing tensions between India and China has been a hot topic in the past few months, but we have yet to see a significant impact on purchase decisions of mass market customers,” said Kannan.

In the third quarter, South Korea’s Samsung was India’s second-largest smartphone seller with a market share of 20.4%.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Chinese Smartphones Thrive in India Despite Tensions


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Heather Mowbray / Oct 28, 2020 06:08 PM / Trending Stories

What’s trending?

The trending term #如何看待蓝领月薪高过大学生# (#BlueCollarSalariesBeatCollegeGrads?) has been viewed by 39 million social media users and commented on by nearly 2,000. As consumption in the third quarter recovers and China gears up for the “Double 11” shopping bonanza, orders at manufacturing plants have picked up significantly, and blue-collar workers are in increasing demand. According to a local media report this week, many now earn more than 10,000 yuan ($1,488) a month, far more than college graduates, who typically secure their first jobs with a starting salary of 4,000 yuan or $595.

What’s the story?

The National Economic Daily reported that in one electronics factory in Jiangsu on Tuesdays, workers recruited on salaries of 8,000 yuan a month were poached by the next door factory for 10,000 yuan as soon as they arrived. “All factories are short of people,” Zhou Feng, head of a recruitment firm, told the paper, illustrating that the previously sluggish factory recruitment sector was seeing a massive turnaround in its fortunes.

“Now we are even seeing talent inversion. According to recent recruitment data, the monthly salary of graduates is below 4,000 yuan, for college students it is 4,500 yuan, and for vocational high school graduates it is 5,000 to 6,000 yuan, while the monthly salary for many blue-collar positions is over 10,000 yuan,” reported the paper.

What are people saying online?

Commentators were wary of making too much of the story, reminding readers that Huawei recently offered 2 million yuan salaries to highflying PhD graduates. “Don’t compare the end point [of one group of workers] with the starting point on the other!” said one, garnering over 10,000 likes.

Many noted that manufacturing work is tough, and people in these kinds of jobs can only earn a good salary if they put in overtime and work shifts. “There is no eight-hour shift that earns 10,000 yuan,” pointed out one Weibo user.

A longer comment expanded on the theme, “No one is willing to work at the grassroots level [for long]. For example, welders, riveters, turners, steel workers, carpenters, bricklayers. These types of jobs are dirty and tiring, and college students may do it for a while, but the quality won’t be great. After graduating from university, they won’t want to work these types of jobs: it’s a matter of respect, but also simply about suffering. In this way, wage increases [for skilled factory work] will inevitably continue for a long time to come.”

“Does education determine wages? Of course not! Demand affects value, value determines costs, blue-collar shortages make jobs more highly prized. Talent will flow in at a high cost [to factories]. This is self-regulation of the market and there’s nothing wrong with it,” posited one free-market enthusiast.

Editor: Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related: Trending in China: Drink or Get Slapped! The Choices Facing New Recruits in China 


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Carol Yuan / Oct 28, 2020 05:37 PM / Trending Stories

What's trending?

Lianjia, a well-known real estate brokerage company in Beijing, announced that its agents will be banned from making spam calls to clients to promote sales.

What's the story?

Across China people complain about being pestered by spam calls from real-estate companies and agents, as well as other types of institutions like insurance companies. But one company in Beijing is trying to take advantage of the calls’ unpopularity by advertising the fact they have banned their employees from making them. On Oct 27, Beijing Lianjia announced that any time a customer receives a spam call from one of its agents, they should report it to the company and will receive 100 yuan for their trouble.

In 2016 Lianjia made a similar commitment but people had to go onto its website beforehand and register that they did not want to receive spam calls.

What are people saying online?

Many people have applauded the company’s new pledge, hoping that others will follow suit. However, others say it should not be up to the individual to make a claim. “The best solution is to legislate to protect personal privacy. I have been harassed by tutoring firms on the phone for more than a year, and I have tried various methods to report them, all useless,” read one comment.

Some people see it as merely a reflection that advertising money has moved online. “This is simply the springboard for all kinds of online promotions... If agents can't make calls, they will turn to online promotions,” another popular comment read.

Editor: Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)


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Heather Mowbray / Oct 28, 2020 05:19 PM / Trending Stories

What’s trending?

The big-name China-produced war film “The Sacrifice” was released in China on Friday and in three days took in over 350 million yuan, or $53 million, at the box office. By comparison, the foreign-made “Over The Moon,” a Netflix and Pearl Studios co-production tailored for the China market, earned just 4 million yuan despite a widespread cinema release Saturday.

But while the patriotic “The Sacrifice” was a money-spinner compared with its foreign-made competition, not all Chinese viewers were impressed.

What’s the story?

“The Sacrifice” was produced by Guan Hu, Frant Gwo and Lu Yang, three of China’s most successful directors, and stars actors from the recent war-themed blockbuster, “The Eight Hundred.”

Released to commemorate China’s role in the Korean War, which recently observed its 70th anniversary, “The Sacrifice” tells of a daring mission by Chinese forces to repair a bridge while under American attack. The theme seems to chime with current U.S.-Chinese “Cold War” sentiment in both countries.

In China, Hollywood and foreign films are set to lose out given the current political turmoil, despite China being one of the biggest markets for U.S. films.

Meantime, “Over the Moon”, a full-length animation themed around China’s annual Mid-Autumn Festival, was only given a release this weekend by Chinese authorities, three weeks after the actual holiday that fell this year on Oct. 1. Some suggest the screening of other patriotic war films took precedence during the festival period.

What are people saying online?

One popular comment on review site Maoyan criticized “The Sacrifice” saying, “this would be satisfactory for a low budget war film, but why all the fuss?” Others went further posting, “This is a bad film by famous directors. It had great material to work with, but at 122 minutes, it felt like a simple story cobbled together by three directors to con the audience into parting with their money. I won’t be watching films by these directors again.”

Although considered a decent enough story, “there are so many epic tales from the Korean War, so why focus on this one?” was another popular comment.

SPOILER ALERT: Others questioned the plausibility of elements of the plot. “Four meters of water and the soldiers are able to form a human bridge? How is that even possible?”

Editor: Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related: Gallery: China’s Struggling Cinemas Get Box Office Boost From Holiday 


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By Ding Yi / Oct 28, 2020 05:01 PM / Business & Tech

Canadian e-commerce company Shopify has clinched a deal with TikTok to let its merchants more easily sell products on the hugely popular short video app that is still under U.S. government scrutiny for its data processing activities.

Under the agreement, Shopify merchants will be able to create a TikTok For Business account by installing the TikTok channel app which will help them make video ads using their existing imagery that could nudge consumers to their Shopify stores for checkout, Shopify said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Some ad templates have been put in place so that the TikTok channel app can be used by merchants of any size, according to the statement.

The two companies will also work together to test new commerce features over the coming months that will further help merchants reach new audiences and drive sales on TikTok, the statement said.

The tie-up contrasts with TikTok’s Chinese sister app Douyin, which has recently announced plans to ban links to third-party e-commerce platforms such as JD.com and Alibaba’s Taobao on its live-streaming channels as it aims to build a closed-loop for its e-commerce business.

The TikTok channel app is now available in the U.S., where TikTok still faces the threat of being blocked over data security concerns, before expanding to other markets throughout North America, Europe and Southeast Asia in early 2021, according to Shopify.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: TikTok Downloads Surge After Pakistan Lifts 10-Day Blackout


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By Nikkei Asian Review / Oct 28, 2020 11:50 AM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Japanese convenience store chain Lawson will rapidly expand its presence in China by opening stores that cater to new-economy customers.

New stores will feature round-the-clock delivery and register-less mobile payments. Lawson has also tapped location technology to conduct market surveys for opening new stores.

China, which serves as a sandbox for Lawson to test out new innovations, will assume an increasingly prominent role in sustaining the company's growth for the next generation amid a slowdown in Japan.

Lawson has about 3,000 stores in China, or about triple the number three and a half years ago. The size of the operation puts it in the lead among foreign-owned convenience store chains and in fifth place overall.

The company plans to double that number to 6,000 by 2022, and further increase it to 10,000 by 2025. This aligns with the Chinese government goal of doubling the number of convenience stores to 300,000 by 2022, in a bid to improve quality of life.

Lawson has been fielding requests from local government authorities to open locations. The company's store count in China is all but guaranteed to surpass the roughly 14,000 outlets in Japan.

The Tokyo-based company first entered China in 1996. It used to directly manage most of the outlets, but has actively signed franchise contracts since 2014. Major local retailers signed on to the arrangement.

Lawson stores in China sell products that have become hits in Japan, such as Akuma No Onigiri rice balls or its brand of Basque-style cheesecake. The fact that Lawson differentiates itself from its Chinese competitors has led to growth in franchise contracts.

Scale is not the only way Lawson is making an impact in China. Since 2016, the chain has offered 24-hour delivery in which convenience stores serve as depots. The service makes use of drivers at Ele.me, a food delivery platform under Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding, and at Meituan Dianping, a rival backed by tech giant Tencent Holdings.

A mobile phone order can reach a customer within 30 minutes. The Lawson app gives customers immediate access to stores' inventory data so they can check product availability.

The delivery service is available at all of Lawson's Chinese minimarts. The operation accounts for 15% of sales in Chongqing, a key Lawson market, and 10% in other Chinese cities.

Lawson imported the service back to Japan in August last year. This time, the chain partnered with Uber Eats drivers, with more than 1,000 stores offering deliveries.

The company did the same with mobile checkout technology, trying it first in China before bringing it to Japan. The tech lets users pay for items by scanning product bar codes with their smartphones. This way there is no standing in line for a human cashier. As of September, 117 Japanese locations had adopted it.

At first, there were fears that the innovation would lead to shoplifting, but there have been virtually no problems in China since the tech was rolled out in 2017.

Lawson's business strategy in China is a step ahead in terms of store openings as well. The company has employed the services of AutoNavi, Alibaba's mapping unit, to analyze location data, incomes and other personal data in a prospective new operating area.

"For example, we know how many people in an income bracket congregated in the vicinity of a store during the noon hour yesterday," said Motonobu Miyake, the CEO of Lawson (China) Holdings.

The data gathering is able to accurately predict daily sales, which lends to efficient store openings. In Japan, such market data is largely limited to the twice-a-decade census, which can create discrepancies between projections and actual customer traffic. Lawson started using location data for some Japanese stores this month.

Some of Lawson's Chinese competitors are further ahead in the technology game. Bianlifeng, founded in 2016, made its name with freshly made dishes and cashier-free stores. Customers pay for items with QR codes and other cashless options while staff takes care of cooking and sales promotion.

"They take advantage of cashier-free registers by having store clerks perform high-added-value work," said an industry insider. Bianlifeng has grown into a formidable rival with 1,500 outlets in 20 cities.

Lawson took in 5.3 billion yuan ($790 million) in revenue from its Chinese stores last fiscal year, amounting to only 3% of group sales, excluding some regions and operations. Still, that represents four times the sales level of four years prior. The Chinese business is on track to post its first operating profit this fiscal year after a string of losses.

Once Lawson reaches 10,000 locations, the Chinese operation "can potentially earn an annual operating profit of over 10 billion yen ($95 million)," said a Lawson executive.

Back home, Lawson is facing a saturated market. The convenience store count in Japan shrank for the first time last year. The industry is also grappling with a shortage of workers.

For Lawson, China has served as a laboratory of sorts due to its digital innovations and relaxed regulations. Now the region is turning into a crucial segment on the earnings front as well.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related: Alibaba Snaps Up China’s Leading Hypermarket Operator


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By Bloomberg / Oct 28, 2020 11:17 AM / Finance

Krafton Inc., the company behind the hit mobile game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, said it hired Mirae Asset Daewoo to lead an initial public offering planned for next year, in what could be South Korea’s largest ever debut.

The company plans to accelerate its stock offering plans and has also hired Credit Suisse Group AG, Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the company said. The country’s Kakao Games Corp. went public last month and more than tripled in its first two days of trading.

Krafton could be valued at about $26 billion, based on the multiples for fellow Korean game makers Netmarble Corp. and NCSoft Corp., according to local media reports. That would make Krafton one of South Korea’s largest companies.

About $9 billion in stock may be sold in the sale, Maeil Business Newspaper reported. The country’s largest IPO to date was the $6 billion debut of KT Corp. in 1998, followed by Samsung Life Insurance Co.’s $4.3 billion share sale in 2010.

Krafton is backed by China gaming giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., which became the second-largest holder in 2018, when the company was known as Bluehole. Tencent held a 13.2% stake as of June 30, according to a regulatory filing. Co-founder Chang Byung-gyu owns the largest stake, controlling 41% when including shares held by his wife and other executives.

PUBG, as the studio’s biggest hit is known, is one of the pioneers of the “battle royale” format of online multiplayer games, popularized in recent years by titles such as Epic Games Inc.’s Fortnite.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related: Tencent’s PUBG Mobile Game Hits $3 Billion Milestone


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By Heather Mowbray / Oct 27, 2020 05:51 PM / Politics & Law

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Browsers operated by some of China’s biggest internet names were caught up in a crackdown by the cyberspace regulator, which requested them to be swept clean of “rumor-mongering,” “sensational headlines” and material that violates the “core values of socialism” by Nov. 9.

The initial targets of the campaign are browsers operated by Huawei Technologies, Alibaba Group Holding’s UCWeb, Xiaomi Corp., Tencent’s QQ, Qihoo-owned 360, Oppo and Sogou. The Cyberspace Administration of China’s campaign has become a topic of huge interest on social media, attracting millions of views and comments on Weibo.

Most mobile phone manufacturers have expanded beyond hardware to capitalize on powerful user bases for software. Built-in phone browsers have become an important point of contact, which has led producers to launch streaming services to further interact with their customers.

According to the CAC, browsers gather and amplify the dissemination of chaos by “self-media,” which have been accused of publishing news in violation of regulations, pushing information via pop-up windows, giving stories gimmicky titles, hyping up sensitive topics, making up information, rehashing old news, and posting vulgar and negative material.

An investigation by Southern Metropolis Daily in July 2019 into 10 popular mobile browsers revealed that advertising content was “a minefield of false information,” and readers were regularly diverted to online lending platforms and gambling sites. Pornographic content was regularly displayed in pop-up windows, a source of social media users’ complaints when learning of the latest crackdown. One popular comment on Weibo was, “Why wasn’t Baidu on the list?”

By Tuesday, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo had issued self-inspection and rectification announcements on their homepages.

Editor: Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related: China’s New Cyber Rules Tells Website Operators to Showcase Politically Acceptable Content


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By Ding Yi / Oct 27, 2020 05:22 PM / Finance

Photo: Visual China

Photo: Visual China

Genecast Biotechnology, a Chinese biotech startup that specializes in second-generation sequencing technology and bioinformatics, has closed its 1 billion yuan ($149 million) series E funding round led by China Structural Reform Fund, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Other investors include Taikang Asset Management, CCB Private Equity Investment Management, Hillhouse Capital’s venture capital unit GL Ventures and China Renaissance, according to the statement.

Genecast Biotechnology will use the proceeds from the financing round to develop new diagnostics products for tumors, accelerate the registration and application of its in vitro diagnostic devices and expand its marketing channels, according to the statement.

Founded in 2014, the Wuxi, Jiangsu province-based company has regional sales and services branches across 12 major cities in China. It has also built ties with nearly 500 top hospitals in China and more than 20 drug makers globally, according the company’s website.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Chinese Genomics Company BGI to Provide Ethiopia with Coronavirus Testing Kits Made at African Plant


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By Anniek Bao / Oct 27, 2020 05:13 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The founder of dating app Momo Inc., sometimes called the Tinder of China, is breaking up with his 10-year-old company.

Tang Yan, who founded Momo nearly a decade ago, will step down from his position as company CEO and hand over the reins to chief operating officer Wang Li, endorsing the successor in a press release Friday. “I can think of no one better to lead Momo than Li Wang,” he said.

This news comes as no surprise to Momo’s staff, who told Caixin that Tang has been removing himself from the company’s day-to-day business and handing over his duties to Wang since 2017.

Some say the entrepreneur appears to be abandoning a ship that has failed to reverse a long-term downward profit trend, which also saw its U.S.-listed stock lose more than half its value over the past year.

Read the full story here.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related: Poor Quarterly Earnings Break the Hearts of Investors in Dating App Momo


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By Ding Yi / Oct 27, 2020 04:53 PM / Finance

Photo: Visual China

Photo: Visual China

Chinese medical rehabilitation robot startup Fourier Intelligence has secured 100 million yuan ($15 million) in its series C funding round led by Vision Plus Capital.

The Shanghai-based company will use the capital raised to develop new rehabilitation robots and improve the flow of its upstream and downstream supply chains, according to a company statement released on Monday.

Founded in 2015, Fourier Intelligence mainly sells physical rehabilitation equipment and robots to hospitals, communities and families, many of which are designed to help patients rehabilitate limbs damaged by mobility-related injuries.

Fourier Intelligence also works with several foreign research centers and universities such as Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, formerly known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and the University of Melbourne, to build rehabilitation robots. Currently, the firm has branches in the southern Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Zhuhai, Singapore and Malaysia.

“Fourier Intelligence aims to help 50,000 to 100,000 rehabilitation institutions to improve their serving capabilities to benefit the elderly population of 250 million and tens of thousands of injured individuals (in China),” said Fourier chariman Gu Jie.

Fourier Intelligence predicts that China’s medical rehabilitation market will reach 100 billion yuan in the future, according to the statement, although it does not provide a timeframe for reaching this landmark.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: JD.com Expands Robot Delivery Service to New City


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By Tang Ailin, Fan Wenjun, Liang Shuting and Han Wei / Oct 27, 2020 04:46 PM / Politics & Law

Located in a border town in Myanmar, the Yatai City project is falsely described as an industrial and entertainment complex under China’s Belt and Road initiative

Located in a border town in Myanmar, the Yatai City project is falsely described as an industrial and entertainment complex under China’s Belt and Road initiative

A Caixin investigation examining court papers and public documents has uncovered the shady business history of a high-profile investment project in Myanmar was backed by a reclusive Chinese businessman who has done business under at least four names and has faced allegations of being connected to illegal gambling operations.

At the center of the controversy is an ambitious $15 billion project called Yatai City that aims to turn a quiet Myanmar border village into a Singapore-like business hub, according to public information. The main architect of what’s also known as the Myanmar Yatai Shwe Kokko Special Economic Zone is a 38-year-old expatriate Chinese businessman who goes by the name She Kailun and three others, based on Caixin reporting.

His Yatai City is a massive commercial project located in a small town on the Moei River in Kayin State, bordering Thailand. Developed by Hong Kong-registered Yatai International since 2017, the project is planned to cover 12,000 hectares. Yatai City is billed as an industrial and entertainment complex that will accommodate a vast range of services including tourism, commerce, logistics, finance and technology development, described as part of the China, Thailand and Myanmar Economic Corridor regional development plan and a model project under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative.

But in reality, Yatai City has nothing to do with the government-backed Belt and Road Initiative and doesn’t involve any direct investment from China, according to China’s embassy in Myanmar. The Chinese government has never allowed domestic investors to participate in overseas gambling projects, the embassy said.

Since 2019, local media outlets and NGOs in Myanmar published a series of reports questioning Yatai City’s business operations. In July, the CFOCE removed She as vice chairman and revoked his membership amid the investigation of Yatai City.

A Caixin visit to Yatai International’s office in downtown Beijing in late September found an empty room. The manager of the building said the office was vacant for nearly three weeks, but the lease was still valid.

Read full story here

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com) and editor Bob Simison (bobsimison@caixin.com).


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By Ding Yi / Oct 27, 2020 12:27 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Tencent, the world’s largest gaming company by sales, has led a $100 million funding round for Shanghai-based e-sports event organizer Versus Programming Network (VSPN), boosting its bet on the booming e-sports market.

After the funding round, which was also joined by Tiantu Capital, Susquehanna International Group and Kuaishou, VSPN plans to establish an e-sports research institute, build an e-sports culture park and further expand its global presence, according to a statement released by VSPN on Monday.

Founded in 2016, VSPN focuses on organizing e-sports tournaments and content creation. In May, the company launched its first overseas e-sports venue in Seoul.

“VSPN’s long-term company vision and leading position in e-sports production is vital for Tencent to optimize the layout of the e-sports industry’s development,” said Mars Hou, general manager of Tencent E-Sports, in a statement.

Tencent is making the investment after pushing for the merger of DouYu and Huya, the two major video game-centric live-streaming platforms in China, both of which counted Tencent as a major stakeholder.

Meanwhile, short video platform Kuaishou is also increasing its investment in game broadcasting in an effort to diversify its revenue sources. The Beijing-based firm says that its game broadcasts attract 220 million active users every month.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Tencent Engineers $11 Billion Combination of Huya and DouYu


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Anniek Bao / Oct 26, 2020 06:48 PM / World

It may be a “now or never” moment for smartphone makers vying to take advantage of Huawei Technologies’ current misfortunes as a victim to escalating U.S.- China political tensions.

Smartphone vendors are racing to ramp up purchases from parts suppliers, including panel-making TCL China Star Optoelectronics Technology Co. Ltd. (CSOT), as Huawei takes a big hit from a U.S. law that requires companies to obtain licenses if they want to sell chips made with U.S. technology that have been assembled overseas.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is the latest to have stopped delivering chip orders to Huawei because its manufacturing process relies heavily on U.S. technologies.

However, with surging demand from homegrown smartphone makers, Chinese panel maker CSOT, that delivered $419 million worth of products to Huawei last year, has not seen much of its production capacity stand idle.

Read the full story on Caixin Global later.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related: TCL Tech Plans $588 Million Deal to Boost Stake in Smaller Peer

Japan Parts-Makers See Orders Swell as Rivals Fill Void Left by Huawei


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Heather Mowbray / Oct 26, 2020 06:37 PM / Trending Stories

What's trending?

#马云真敢讲 #JackMaDaresSayIt

Jack Ma, China’s richest man and officially retired chairman of the country’s biggest online sales platform Alibaba, spoke on Saturday at the second Bund Summit in Shanghai. His words of advice for the finance sector made waves on China’s social media and have been trending for the last few days.

He addressed bottlenecks in China’s “adolescent financial system” and painted an optimistic picture of a sustainable green finance system in which “money found entrepreneurs” rather than the other way around. Jack Ma’s bold opinions have been lauded by social media users, millions of whom have read and watched the talk.

Ma called out credit firms that tie private firms up in debt, creating leveraged businesses with huge liabilities, to which Weibo responded with overwhelming support.

What’s the story?

In the context of a summit in which leaders tend to provide dry outlines of their endeavors, Jack Ma gave the audience a content-rich appraisal of the state of finance in China 20 years after the country joined the WTO, with a focus on the plight of private businesspeople.

He said China’s credit system remained in the control of major state banks that acted like “big rivers,” yet the system, “needs ponds, creeks and small channels, without which, floods and droughts will keep happening.” On the eve of a dual listing by Ant Group, the finance platform founded within Ma’s ecommerce ecosystem, the entrepreneur pointed to big data, cloud computing, and blockchain as technologies that should shake up finance.

What are people saying online?

Addressing the credit issue, one commentator on Weibo elaborated, “Loan sharks just sit at home buying at a low price and selling high, not caring about anything else…Alipay Sesame Credit has promoted credit reform, and Alipay has promoted bank reform. ATMs and banknotes are used less and less. If the banks were not state-owned, what would happen to them?”

Many people posted positive comments about Ma’s direct treatment of China’s finance failings. A representative one read: “Jack Ma dares to speak like this, and I’m immediately a fan.” Contrasting his words to those of other speakers at such events, people had the sense that “Only Jack Ma isn’t wearing the emperor’s new clothes.”

However, arguing that “Jack Ma doesn’t have to say these things,” some thought his boldness was somewhat foolish. “While others close one eye to certain issues in society, he’s like a hawk.”

Others pointed to Jack Ma’s power and influence. “If you criticize the capitalist Jack Ma, don’t be so carefree with your Alipay account,” said one, and suggested his products were part of the problem. “Ant Group’s profits are as high as 58%, and when money comes fast, arrogance is inevitable… Jack Ma is an outstanding representative of capitalists, and the purpose of capitalism is to maximize the interests of capitalists!”

Editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related Analysis: Jack Ma Needs a Refresher on How Financial Regulation Works


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Carol Yuan / Oct 26, 2020 06:05 PM / Trending Stories

What's trending?

The term "Sanitary pads mutual assistance box" 卫生巾互助盒 (weishengjin huzhuhe) is trending across Chinese social media after a female student in Shanghai decided to take a stand against “period shaming” and help her fellow female students.

What's the story?

On Oct. 21, a female student at East China University of Political Science and Law set up several boxes at prominent locations in the teaching building's restrooms on campus filled with sanitary pads for women to use when needed, inviting women who took pads to replenish the stock at a later date.

According to Xu Luming, the person behind the university mutual assistance box, the idea came from public welfare activist Liang Yu’s Weibo account. Xu hopes to help women overcome period-shaming, which refers to making females feel like their periods are something they need to hide, and that men will also pay attention to period shaming and related issues.

Xu’s action has now been copied by other female students in different universities, and some university administrative departments have also taken up the initiative.

What are people saying online?

Many social media users praised young women for helping each other, believing that this will not only help women generally but also make people pay more attention to women’s needs when it comes to periods. "Only girls can understand the helplessness of finding that they are menstruating but don’t have pads, and only girls can understand each other's feelings and help each other. I hope this move will familiarize boys with the period problem."

Demonstrating exactly what the activists are up against, some people have criticized the move as they disagree with the boxes being placed in common areas. "Occupying public space to help a small number of people solve psychological problems (period-shaming), seems improper" read one comment.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related: Why Tampons Have Yet to Catch On in China

 


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By Ding Yi / Oct 26, 2020 06:00 PM / Finance

ECARX, an auto tech startup backed by Chinese automaker Geely, has raised 1.3 billion yuan ($194 million) in its series A funding round led by Baidu, increasing its valuation to more than 10 billion yuan.

The proceeds from the financing round, which is also joined by U.S.-based Susquehanna International Group, will be used to develop car chips, high-definition mapping technology and autonomous driving technology, ECARX said in a WeChat post on Monday.

In July 2019, ECARX and Baidu’s Apollo autonomous driving platform signed an agreement to deepen collaboration in Xiaodu In-Car OS, an artificial intelligence (AI)-based IoV solution, voice technology and car-mounted maps.

ECARX also plans to establish a research and development center in Europe by the end of this year, according to the post.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Trending in China: Self-Driving Taxi Service Launched in Beijing, But Can We Drop the Human Drivers?


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By Ding Yi / Oct 26, 2020 05:05 PM / Business & Tech

Baidu-backed video streaming service iQiyi is betting big on developing three genre-specific content libraries in the coming year for lovers of scripted content.

The three content libraries will include the existing Mist Theater, which is known for airing suspense dramas, the new Sweet On Theater, which will focus on romance dramas and the new Laugh On Theater, which will feature comedy shows, iQiyi said in a company statement released on Friday.

The Mist Theater, which was launched this year as a stylized theater-like category for online dramas, has so far aired five drama series including “Kidnapping Game”, “The Bad Kids”, “Crimson River”, “Sisyphus” and “The Long Night’, with VIP subscribers reaching 68 million as of earlier this month, according to iQiyi.

Besides drama content, iQiyi will also expand its offerings in global sports, variety shows and animation, according to the statement.

Last month, iQiyi Sports, a joint venture between iQiyi and Super Sports Media, and FC Barcelona agreed to jointly create a dedicated channel in China for the top-tier Spanish football club in the 2020/2021 season, offering exclusive and non-exclusive video content including behind-the-scenes access, player challenges, training session and interviews.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Video Streamer iQiyi Kicks Up Its Sports Game with FC Barcelona Tie-Up


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By DealStreetAsia / Oct 26, 2020 03:12 PM / Finance

Real estate private equity firm Gaw Capital Partners announced on Friday that it has formed a joint venture (JV) with Chinese delivery firm Manbang Group to develop smart logistics properties and facilities across China.

Gaw Capital, which has over 15 years of experience investing in various mixed-use and commercial properties in Greater China, is joining hands with the mainland player to cash in on China’s massive logistics market.

China’s logistics market accounts for about 20 per cent of the industry globally, and the country is expected to remain as the world’s largest road transportation market in the next five years, according to McKinsey. The country’s scale of truckload transportation amounted to 3 trillion yuan ($449.7 billion) in 2019.

“The rise of the consumer class — helped by increasing disposable incomes, in addition to continued upgrades of telecommunication technology like 5G — is leading to a new wave of demand for logistics, not only in Tier-1 cities, but also in emerging cities in China,” said Humbert Pang, managing principal and head of China at Gaw Capital, in a statement.

“Given the long-term market inefficiencies and segmentation characteristics of China’s logistics industry, Manbang acts as an innovative pioneer that has built a data-backed ecosystem using artificial intelligence algorithms for comprehensive freight services that make the logistics industry more intelligent and efficient,” said Pang.

“The tech-supported smart logistics platform will further strengthen Gaw Capital’s competitiveness in China’s logistics market,” he added.

Through the launch of the JV, Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital plans to leverage its expertise in investment underwriting, financing, and development management to grow the new venture, while Manbang Group will provide support for site identification and subsequent operation management.

Manbang Group, a Guizhou, China-based Uber-like freight service that helps connect truck drivers with shippers via its mobile app, was created in 2017 through the merger of two domestic truck-matching platforms, Huochebang and Yunmanman.

The firm operates as a one-stop logistics portal that serves China’s highly segmented truck-hailing market, apart from providing value-added services that cover auto financing, truck energy, insurance, truck sales, and more.

It currently has over five million certified cargo owners and nine million certified truck drivers, contributing over 700 billion yuan ($104.9 million) in gross merchandise value (GMV) annually.

Zhang Hui, CEO of Manbang Group, said in the same statement: “Manbang Group will rely on its own technological advantages to empower the JV platform to better serve the various demands of small to medium-sized enterprises in the logistics industry.”

Gaw Capital runs in-house asset management operating platforms in retail, hospitality, property development, logistics and Internet data centre (IDC). Its investments span the entire spectrum of real estate sectors, including residential development, offices, retail malls, hospitality, logistics warehouses, and IDC projects.

The firm has raised six commingled funds targeting Greater China and the Asia Pacific regions since 2005. It manages value-add/opportunistic funds in Vietnam and the US, a Pan-Asia hospitality fund, a European hospitality fund, and also provides services for separate account direct investments globally.

It has raised equity of $15.6 billion since 2005 and commands assets of $26.7 billion under management as of Q2 2020.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related: Alibaba Invests $967 Million More in Logistics Partner YTO


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By Ding Yi / Oct 26, 2020 01:11 PM / Business & Tech

Tesla is recalling two of its most popular models which were made in the U.S. and exported to China over potential suspension problems. 

The recall affects 29,193 Model S and Model X vehicles manufactured between Sept. 17, 2013 and Aug. 16, 2017, and 19,249 Model S vehicles produced between Sept. 17, 2013 and Jan. 15, 2018, according to a notice by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation on Friday.

For the 29,193 Model S and Model X vehicles, Tesla will replace the rear linkages of their left and right front suspension. And for the 19,249 Model S cars, the company will replace the upper linkages of the left and right rear suspension. All replacements will be made at no cost to the car owners, according to the notice.

This is Tesla’s fourth recall of cars exported from the U.S. to China, with earlier recalls involving replacing faulty airbags made by Takata and fixing or preventing steering problems, according to CNBC.

The latest recall comes as Tesla is deepening localization in China with plans to make more core car parts, including electric motors and motor controllers, at its Shanghai factory where the bestselling Model 3 is built. Earlier this year, the U.S. carmaker selected China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) as one of its battery suppliers.

Last week, Tesla reported its fifth straight quarterly profit despite fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, with China playing a more important role in its global strategy due to enhanced production at its Shanghai plant. The company has increased its Model 3 production capacity at the Shanghai factory to 250,000 units a year, and priced the model lower than ever thanks to lower-cost batteries and higher level of local procurement, according to its third-quarter financial report.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Tesla to Start Exporting China-Made Model 3 Cars to Europe

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