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Trending in China: Did Sichuan Forget to Tell Chongqing About Their Joint Olympic Bid?
Alibaba’s Healthcare Unit Finds Tonic for Profits
Trending in China: Beijing Tackles Parking Shortage With Shared Spaces
Chinese Wireless Telecoms Operators Join Forces to Build 5G Base Stations to Reduce Costs
Ruhnn, Another U.S.-Listed Chinese Company Looks to Go Private
Unicorns surge to 500 in number as US and China account for 70%
Trending in China: Social Media Comes Out in Support of High Quality Fakes
Xiaomi-Backed IoT-Enabled Appliance Maker Sees Revenues Grow While Profits Slump
Chinese Startup WeRide Reports Promising Robotaxi Results
Trending in China: God recalls his hand – tributes to Maradona from Chinese social media after his death
Tesla to Manufacture Electric Car Chargers in China
China Restricts Livestreaming Spending and Blocks Underage Users from Tipping Performers
TikTok Granted One-Week Extension of Forced-Sale Deadline
Chinese Online Language Educator 51Talk Speaks the Language of Profit
Trending in China: Are Elderly ‘Collateral Damage’ in Increasing Technological Cashless World?
Trending in China: Black and White ‘Little Miracle’ Born to 22-Year-Old Panda in Washington
Facing U.S. Sanctions, Huawei May See Global Smartphone Share Slump to 4% in 2021
Chinese LGBTQ Dating App Owner BlueCity Acquires Youth-Focused Gay Platform Finka
Xiaomi-Backed Smart Wearables Maker Huami Sees Profits Slump Despite Revenue Growth
Baidu Maps Illegally Using Other Chinese Firm’s Mapping Info, Court Finds.

Heather Mowbray / Nov 27, 2020 07:07 PM / Trending Stories

What’s trending?

#川渝将共同申办2032年夏季奥运会 “#Sichuan and Chongqing’s joint application to host 2032 Summer Olympic Games” was trending on Friday.

What’s the story?

On Friday, a plan for a joint bid to host the 2032 Summer Olympics was published on the Sichuan provincial government’s website. The bid would include the cultural characteristics of Chengdu and Chongqing, according to the official notice.

According to Chengdu Business News, the provincial sports bureau confirmed that Chengdu and Chongqing are in agreement, and will “advance this matter step by step.”

However a reporter who asked for a comment from Chongqing revealed some officials in the municipality were unaware of the bid.

What are people saying online?

Weibo users are delighting in an apparent lack of communication between Sichuan and neighboring Chongqing. One fly-on-the-wall comment imagined the cadres’ conversation, “Chongqing Sports Bureau: “No idea!” Calls Sichuan Sports Bureau to find out what’s up.”

Inland provinces are the focus of government efforts to reduce poverty in the country and develop the economy more evenly. People expressed their approval of the bid on Weibo. “Lots of people are complaining that Shanghai, Guangzhou or Shenzhen should go first, but do you see such chubby faces in Sichuan and Chongqing? The Yangtze and Greater Bay areas are already well developed, but the southwest has just as many strengths.”

One 24-year-old Olympics fan asks, “Will 36-year-old volunteers still be needed?” Another wrote, “I hope I’m still living in the Sichuan area in 2032.”

The most popular comment so far was from a single person who sends a message to their future self, saying “I hope I have a kid who’s already a few years old by then.”

Related: Winter Olympics to Showcase Capital’s Fight Against Plastic Waste

 


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Ding Yi / Nov 27, 2020 07:03 PM / Business & Tech

Alibaba’s healthcare subsidiary AliHealth turned a profit in its latest reporting period, as medicine and healthcare product sales at its self-run online store grew significantly.

During the six months from April to September, Hong Kong-listed AliHealth made a net profit of 279 million yuan ($42 million), in sharp contrast to a 7.6 million yuan loss in the same period last year, according to the company’s latest financial report.

The company attributed the U-turn to a rapid user base expansion, the benefits of its April acquisition of a medicine e-commerce business from Ali JK Nutritional Products Holding Ltd., and fast sales growth for its self-run online pharmacy.

During the period, AliHealth’s revenue totaled 7.2 billion yuan, up 74% year-on-year. Nearly 84% of the total came from medicine and healthcare product sales at its online pharmacy, which jumped 75.7% year-on-year, according to the report.

AliHealth said its drugstore had 65 million active consumers as of the end of September.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)


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Carol Yuan / Nov 27, 2020 05:24 PM / Trending Stories

What’s trending?

The concept of “paid staggered shared parking” is trending on Weibo, after state-owned broadcaster CCTV released a video introducing the new strategy in Beijing.

What’s the story?

Beijing has been struggling with terrible traffic and difficulties in parking. But recently, the city seems to have found a new solution. According to CCTV, some parking lots have adopted a new shared parking policy — two car owners may use the same space day and night. Parking during the day will cost 600 yuan ($91) per month while the night shift costs 300 yuan.

Some office buildings have adopted the approach, renting out parking spaces to staff during the day and providing them to nearby residents at night. Government institutions are also renting out their exclusive parking spaces to the public to ease pressure.

Although this approach can ensure the full use of resources, many parking lot managers and users worry about investment and other risks associated with such a strategy.

What are people saying online?

Aside from praising the increasing utilization of space, social media users also expressed optimism about future management. “Only when this action starts can follow-up management gradually improve,” read one comment.

But people also worried about time management. “Arriving early and leaving late are problems, and I sense trouble when I think about it,” another comment read.


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Qu Hui and Ding Yi / Nov 27, 2020 05:13 PM / Business & Tech

China’s state-owned mobile carriers are embracing a plan to share resources in the construction of a 5G network in response to the government’s calls for industrywide collaboration in building, operating and maintaining the fifth-generation wireless networks to reduce costs.

China Unicom and China Telecom, two of China’s three major state-owned telecoms operators, have joined hands to install more than 300,000 5G base stations across the country in a way that has helped them “save over 60 billion yuan ($9 billion) in investment,”Wang Xiaochu, chairman of China Unicom, said Thursday at the 2020 World 5G Convention in the southern city of Guangzhou.

Wang was echoed by Ke Ruiwen, chairman of China Telecom, who said at the event that the partnership also helped accelerate construction speed, which could be duplicated in 5G base station projects in rural areas and along railway lines.

The number of 5G base stations jointly installed by China Unicom and China Telecom is basically equal to that of China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier based on number of subscribers, which has so far set up some 385,000 base stations across the country, according to China Mobile’s president Dong Xin.

Dong added that more than 90 million devices have been connected to its 5G network.

In August, China Mobile announced plans to build a 5G wireless system in partnership with China Broadcasting Network next year, but stressed that the two companies had no plan to establish a joint venture.

In June last year, state-owned China Broadcasting Network joined China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom to obtain a commercial 5G license from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

To date, China has installed more than 700,000 5G base stations, about 97% of which were built on existing sites, according to Liu Liehong, vice minister of the MIIT.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: China Has 66 Million Devices Connected to 5G, Official Says

 


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Ding Yi / Nov 27, 2020 05:03 PM / Business & Tech

Ruhnn Holding Ltd., a Chinese company that promotes e-commerce through online influencers, may say goodbye to the Nasdaq just a little more than a year after its listing there, as the U.S. government moves to crack down on Chinese companies on American stock exchanges.

Hangzhou-based Ruhnn’s board has received an offer to take the company private from three founders Feng Min, Sun Lei and Shen Chao, according to a company statement released on Wednesday.

The trio proposed to purchase the American depositary shares (ADSs) they do not already own for $3.4 each, representing a discount of more than 70% on Ruhnn’s offer price of $12.50 in April last year when the company was listed on the Nasdaq and raised $125 million, the statement said.

Ruhnn said that its board has formed a special committee to evaluate the proposed deal, adding that there can be no assurance any definitive offer will be made.

Ruhnn runs online stores on third-party e-commerce platforms, mostly under the names of key opinion leaders, and makes money through online sales of its self-designed products.

In the third quarter, Ruhnn saw its net revenue drop by 9% year-on-year to 248.5 million yuan ($36.6 million), which the company blamed on sluggish product sales, which slumped 38% year-on-year during the period, according to its latest earnings report.

However, the company’s net losses narrowed to 31.2 million yuan compared with a 50.1 million yuan loss a year ago, largely due to lower fulfilment spending, the cost of processing and delivering orders.

The buyout proposal is the latest in a series of U.S.-listed Chinese companies going-private, including well-known internet stalwart Sina Corp. and gaming firm Changyou.com.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Chinese E-Commerce Firm Ruhnn Focusing on Online Celebrities Sees Losses Narrow

 


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By Nikkei Asian Review / Nov 27, 2020 11:14 AM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The world's unicorn population has reached 500, doubling in two years amid traditional industries' increased digitization efforts and use of artificial intelligence.

Forter, a U.S.-Israel cybersecurity startup, became the 500th unicorn, a startup whose corporate value exceeds $1 billion, on Nov. 19, when its valuation reached $1.3 billion, according to U.S. research company CB Insights.

The U.S. leads the globe with 242 unicorns, followed by China with 119. The U.K. and India both have 24. South Korea has the sixth-largest unicorn population, with 11. Indonesia is No. 10 on the list with five, and Japan is No. 11 with four, including AI startup Preferred Networks.

Eighty-nine companies, many of which operate in the e-commerce and health care sectors, gained unicorn status despite concerns that the novel coronavirus would negatively impact fundraising.

Of the 122 companies that became unicorns in 2019, fintech companies accounted for 20% and AI companies made up 13%.

It took more than four years for the number of unicorns recognized by CB Insights to grew to 250, then two years for that number to double. The pace was expedited by institutional investors and other parties making bigger bets as low interest rates made startups and their potential high gains more attractive.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related: China Home to Six of the World’s Top 10 Unicorns, Hurun Report Says


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Heather Mowbray / Nov 26, 2020 06:42 PM / Trending Stories

What’s trending?

上海查获1.2亿元莆田造假球鞋

#Shanghai goods inspection uncovers Putian-made fake sneakers worth 120 million yuan

What’s the story?

Shanghai authorities are shining a light on the massive counterfeit shoe-producing hub in the coastal city of Putian in Fujian province after a raid in China’s commercial capital uncovered fake shoes worth up to 120 million yuan ($18.25 million).

A video dated Nov. 6 which was posted on the Weibo channel of local media group ‘021 Video’ purports to show the warehouse raid in which the shoes were found, showing stacks of goods and delivery boxes. The video is captioned with the discounted price tag of the knockoffs – amounting to 20% to 50% of the brand originals — with a production cost of between 50 yuan and 80 yuan a pair.

Since 2014, the Putian government has instigated repeated crackdowns on the counterfeit shoe business, which took root in Fujian at the beginning of the reform period when sport shoe companies sought cheaper production sites to Taiwan. While Jinjiang to the south hosts many Chinese shoe brands including Anta, Erke and 361, Putian continued to produce for big international brands as an OEM specialist, while new model samples regularly leaked into the black market.

In January, the flourishing overseas trade in fakes took a hit when it was raised as a point of contention in the U.S.-China trade negotiations. The current global economic slowdown caused by Covid-19 has seen the often small workshops pivot their business towards the domestic market, selling on e-commerce platforms under the guise of “internal purchase,” “end of line,” or “out of stock” goods.

What are people saying online?

Most comments under the raid video are positive towards Putian-made fakes, saying many are better than the real shoes, which is “remarkable.”

A survey on Weibo quizzes readers on if they have bought high quality counterfeits, to which the majority response is yes, as of Nov. 26. One purchaser glibly remarked, “I used real money to buy them, what’s so fake?”

Another questioned why branded sports shoes sell for thousands of yuan when they are so cheap to produce. “Are they worth it? Shouldn’t they just be sold for a few hundred? Why isn’t that aspect of the business brought into line?” the person asked.

Comparing shoes to other consumer goods, one Weibo user asked, “I don’t understand why shoes come under so much pressure when food isn’t quality checked (as well). Have shoes ever injured anyone?”

Editor: Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related: In Depth: China’s Exporters Find 1.4 Billion Domestic Consumers Are a Tough Sell

 


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By Ding Yi / Nov 26, 2020 06:07 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Viomi Technology, a Xiaomi-backed Chinese startup mainly engaged in developing Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled smart home products, may have mixed feelings about its third-quarter results as the firm appeared to enjoy solid revenue growth despite suffering a big drop in profit.

During the three months through September, Viomi generated 1.5 billion yuan ($219 million) in net revenue, representing a year-on-year increase of 39%, about 71% of which came from sales of its IoT-powered home appliances such as sweeper robots and air conditioning systems, according to its latest earnings report released on Wednesday. The rest of the revenue was derived from sales of its domestic water solutions and consumables.

While its revenues grew, Viomi’s quarterly net profit fell to 34.9 million yuan from 72.9 million yuan a year ago, as the company grew its expenses on product development, marketing and administration by 22%, 34.2% and 70.3% year-on-year, respectively.

However, Viomi bets big on its business prospects with the rollout of 5G network across China, with its founder and CEO Chen Xiaoping saying that the 5G era will “create numerous monetization opportunities for us” as its next-generation IoT-powered products are expected to enable various applications including content, consumption, entertainment and lifestyle in the home environment.

The U.S.-listed company said it expects its fourth-quarter net revenue to reach between 1.9 billion yuan and 2 billion yuan, representing a year-on-year increase of 9.1% to 14.8%.

Viomi’s stock closed down 8.76% at $5.73 on Wednesday.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Xiaomi-Backed Smart Wearables Maker Huami Sees Profits Slump Despite Revenue Growth

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By Ding Yi / Nov 26, 2020 05:21 PM / Business & Tech

Nissan-backed Chinese self-driving startup WeRide has so far provided a total of 147,128 autonomous rides for more than 60,000 passengers under a robotaxi pilot program it launched in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou a year ago, according to a statement emailed to Caixin.

More than 50% of the passengers surveyed used the robotaxi service for regular commutes, with 28% booking at least one ride a week and 15% ordering no fewer than three rides a week, WeRide said in the statement.

In November last year, WeRide opened up its robotaxi service to the general public free of charge in Guangzhou, allowing users to hail autonomous rides through either its WeRide Go app or an Alibaba-backed navigation app Amap in a designated area. Passengers are required to get on and off their robotaxis at designated points.

WeRide’s founder and CEO Han Xu said that the satisfactory operational data of its robotaxi service marks a step closer to the “commercialization of autonomous driving technology”, which is still undergoing road tests aimed at strengthening vehicles’ ability to tackle traffic problems by themselves without human intervention.

In China, WeRide rivals, including search giant Baidu, ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, Toyota-backed Pony.ai and Alibaba-backed AutoX, have all started trialing their own robotaxi services, although human drivers are present in case of emergencies.

Earlier this year, Han said that WeRide “will pursue fully driverless technology in the next two to three years.”

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: WeRide to Test Fully Autonomous Vehicles in Guangzhou


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Carol Yuan / Nov 26, 2020 03:58 PM / Trending Stories

What’s trending?

Chinese social media comes out in force to pay their respects to Diego Maradona, the Argentine soccer legend and one of the greatest players of all time, who died yesterday at the age of 60.

What’s the story?

Diego Maradona died at his home in Buenos Aires on Wednesday after suffering from a heart attack.

The former attacking midfielder led Argentina to soccer’s world championship in 1986, after scoring one of the most controversial goals - 'Hand of God' against England in the quarterfinals, followed by scoring a goal which many consider one of the greatest single runs in the tournament’s history.

He scored 34 goals for the national team and represented them in four World Cups. During his club career, he played for Barcelona and Napoli and won two Serie A titles with the Italian club.

However, Maradona had a complex personal life as he struggled with cocaine and alcohol abuse, as well as a well-documented troubled sex life.

What are people saying online?

Tributes to the soccer legend flooded Chinese social media despite the fact that many of the people posting were not even alive during the star’s playing days. “Although I never watched his games, he is my father's idol. Rest in peace,” one representative comment read.

The sad news also stirred memories for many people of the death of another legendary athlete earlier this year. “2020 has witnessed the fall of two sports superstars, Kobe and Maradona, at the beginning and the end of the year…” another popular comment read.


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By Ding Yi / Nov 26, 2020 01:16 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Tesla is seeking to localize the manufacture of its electric vehicle charging piles in China as of next year. The move is part of an ongoing effort to improve its charging infrastructure in the country which it sees as a key sales driver.

The U.S. carmaker plans to invest 42 million yuan ($6.4 million) in a new plant to produce the chargers which will be adjacent to its existing vehicle assembly factory in Shanghai, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing a document submitted to the Shanghai authorities by the company.

The plant, which is set to be completed in February, will have an annual production capacity of 10,000 chargers, according to the document. Tesla currently imports the chargers, usually installed in charging stations or car parks, from the U.S., Reuters said.

The news comes as Tesla is ramping up efforts to expand its charging network across China, where it operates over 490 supercharging stations in more than 250 cities as of early November.

In October, Tesla’s domestically-built Model 3 claimed the title of China’s second most sold electric vehicle model with 12,143 cars sold in the country, according to statistics provided by the China Passenger Car Association. The top spot was taken by the Hongguang Mini, a two-door micro electric vehicle launched by General Motors’ Chinese joint venture, with its sales nearly double that of the Model 3s during the month.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Tesla Plans to Start Exporting Cars Made at Shanghai Gigafactory


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By Anniek Bao / Nov 26, 2020 12:11 PM / Politics & Law

Chinese livestreaming companies will be forced to cap the amount of money viewers can spend on their favourite performers as part of new rules unveiled by the national media regulator this week, potentially eating into a lucrative source of revenue for the firms.

The rules call on streaming sites to set maximum values for single donations and also cap each user’s daily and monthly spending, which platforms take a cut of.

The new directive also tells platforms to verify the age and real identities of live-streamers and those who patronize them.

People found to be under the age of 18 will not be able to send virtual gifts or give tips, the regulator said in the notice published Monday, which followed reports of underage users spending excessive amounts of money on such platforms.

Read the full story here.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)


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By Bloomberg / Nov 26, 2020 11:44 AM / World

The Trump administration has given TikTok’s Chinese owner another week to complete a sale of its popular video-sharing app in order to resolve U.S. national security concerns.

The new deadline, which had already been extended by 15 days, is Dec. 4, TikTok’s parent ByteDance Ltd. said in a court filing Wednesday.

The fate of TikTok, an app that’s been downloaded more than 100 million times in the U.S., has been caught up for months in U.S. President Donald Trump’s crackdown on Chinese technology companies. The administration has argued that American’s private data gathered through the app could be siphoned off to the authoritarian regime in China, something TikTok has said it would never do. Trump had ordered in August that the app be sold to an American firm or face a ban in the U.S.

To assuage Trump’s concerns, ByteDance forged a deal in September to sell a stake of a spun out TikTok business to Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc. The deal was never finalized though, because the companies didn’t receive a sign-off from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., known as Cfius, a panel led by the Treasury Department.

A Treasury spokesperson said it granted ByteDance a one-week extension to allow time to review a revised submission that Cfius recently received.

TikTok has filed multiple challenges against the ban, which are winding their way through the court system, with deadlines in certain proceedings extending past January. Several judges have already blocked the ban from going into effect and the Commerce Department said it would comply with those court rulings as the government appeals.

Those cases could lapse when President-Elect Joe Biden takes office in January, unless he decides to enforce the Trump ban and defend the previous administration’s orders in court.

The penalties that ByteDance would face if it failed to sell TikTok to a U.S. company by the deadline were never clearly spelled out, though the order said the Justice Department could take “any steps necessary” to enforce the sale.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

Related: It’s No TikTok, But China’s No. 2 Short Video App Beats Larger Rival to Market


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Ding Yi / Nov 25, 2020 06:18 PM / Business & Tech

Chinese online language-training platform 51Talk continued to make money in the third quarter, as the company ramped up its marketing spend to enhance its brand awareness.

In the quarter through September, the U.S.-listed company reported net profit of 31.6 million yuan ($4.7 million), compared with a 32.8 million yuan net profit in the previous quarter and a 5.8 million yuan net loss a year ago, according to its latest earnings report.

During the period, 51Talk’s net revenue grew by 31.8% year-on-year to 538.5 million yuan, nearly 88% of which came from sales of its K-12 one-on-one courses, which generated 471.8 million yuan in revenue, up 46% year-on-year.

The healthy financial figures came as 51Talk’s quarterly marketing spending grew by 31.3% year-on-year, which the Beijing-based company’s chief financial officer Xu Min said helped “capture more market opportunities.” Product development expenses also increased by 14% year-on-year, the financial report said.

51Talk’s active user count reached 338,000 in the third quarter, compared with 258,200 in the same period last year.

The company said it expects its fourth-quarter net revenue to reach between 525 million yuan and 530 million yuan, representing a year-on-year increase of 32.2% to 33.4%.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Chinese Online Educator Fraud Suspect GSX Reports Losses

 


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Carol Yuan / Nov 25, 2020 06:16 PM / Trending Stories

What’s trending?

The hashtag #Are the elderly marginalized by technology# is trending on Chinese social media, and the General Office of the State Council is seeking solutions.

What’s the story?

Two recent news items raised public concerns over the issue of old people using the latest technology. An old man from Hubei province went to pay for his medical insurance in person only to be told by staff that they do not accept cash.

In another incident of technology seeming to work against old people a 94-year-old man was carried into the office by his relatives so that his face could be scanned as required to activate certain functions of his social security card.

After videos of these two incidents went viral on social media, the General Office of the State Council reminded both institutions and individuals that they cannot refuse cash; scanning the pandemic-era “health QR code” must not be the only way to enter a building; and hospitals must retain a proportion of on-site appointments as well as a human-to-human service window.

Some local departments have taken measures to solve what is increasingly being viewed as a technological divide, for example, Putian No.1 Hospital in Fujian province, set up a staffed channel for those without smartphones or health QR codes so that they could enter the hospital.

What are people saying online?

Referring to the Hubei cash case, one social media user felt that top down regulations had resulted in “formalism” (形式主义). “The department hasn’t considered the consequence of their rules, and then expects a grassroots officer to carry out orders. Without authorization how can they be expected to be flexible.” And one person said, “It’s ironic that the backdrop of the [Hubei] video is the phrase, “to serve the people.”

Some people offered possible reasons why service windows may refuse cash. “Many organizations stipulate that cash is not accepted, because of counterfeit banknotes and rebates. If cash is received, it will cause a lot of trouble for the grassroots staff,” another popular comment read.

Social media users applaud local policies introduced in response. “It’s not just the elderly. Sometimes young people can’t use smartphones in special circumstances. Such a policy should be widely implemented for everyone’s convenience,” read one comment.

Related: Lawson Tests Next Step of Convenience Store Evolution in China 


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Heather Mowbray / Nov 25, 2020 05:37 PM / Trending Stories

What’s trending?

#旅美大熊猫幼崽取名小奇迹 #U.S. Resident Panda’s Baby Named Little Miracle

What’s the story?

A giant panda cub born in Washington D.C.’s National Zoo to 22-year-old Mei Xiang in August was named according to tradition on his 100th day. On Monday, following an online poll in which almost 135,000 people participated, the cub was given the name Xiao Qiji (小奇迹) or “Little Miracle.”

The choice of name possibly refers to the exceptional circumstances of his birth at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic to an older panda inseminated with her mate Tian Tian’s frozen sperm. Chinese Ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, said the furry ambassador had again brought the Chinese and American people together. Little Miracle can be seen crawling around the panda enclosure 24 hours a day on the zoo’s dedicated panda-cam. His birth was also livestreamed.

All pandas abroad are the possession of China, and once Xiao Qiji is 4 years old, he will return to China according to the conditions under which his parents were loaned to the zoo. Pandas are thought to boost zoos’ visitor numbers and revenue. In 2013 the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland estimated that its overall income jumped by more than £5m to nearly £15m in a single year, following the arrival of two pandas from China in late December 2011. For Little Miracle to perform the same feat for the U.S. National Zoo during the pandemic may require a larger miracle.

What are people saying online?

The news was greeted with many Weibo users calling for Little Miracle’s mother, Mei Xiang, to be returned to China, as encouraging such an elderly panda to give birth was “irresponsible” of the American zookeepers. The most popular comment under the naming story was, “Let’s hope the 80-year-old mother of one of the zookeepers gives birth, as that would be a real miracle.”

Another said, “Mei Xiang is being abused, risking pregnancy at that age. We shouldn’t let her be sacrificed to international relations. Let her come home to peacefully live out her days.”

In the age of selfies and beauty filters one panda-cam fan asked if the image of Xiao Qiji had been whitened for the story.

Related: Trending in China: Blackpink and Angry – Social Media Criticize K-Pop Band Touching Baby Panda

 


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By Ding Yi / Nov 25, 2020 04:18 PM / World

Huawei may see its global smartphone market share fall to just 4% next year, as it struggles to lessen the effects of a crippling U.S. campaign that limits supplies of handset chips made with American technology to the Chinese tech giant, according to TrendForce.

If that becomes a reality, it will mark a dramatic drop for Huawei, which for the first time outgunned Samsung as the world’s largest smartphone vendor in the second quarter of this year with a global market share of 19.6%.

The forecast comes a week after Huawei announced an agreement to sell its budget smartphone brand Honor to a government-backed consortium in exchange for an opportunity to “save Honor’s industry chain” impaired by the current U.S. tech export restrictions.

Meanwhile, TrendForce also predicted that sales of Honor-branded smartphones will likely just account for 2% of the global phone market next year as whether the brand’s departure from Huawei will please the U.S. government to lift the ban remains to be seen.

In 2019, sales of Honor-branded smartphones accounted for 26.4% of Huawei’s total phone shipments, according to IDC.

However, Huawei’s woe appears to be good news for other major Chinese smartphone makers, including Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, which TrendForce said will raise their production targets to fill the vacuum left by Huawei.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Huawei May Become the World’s Biggest 5G-Phone Maker This Year


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By Ding Yi / Nov 25, 2020 12:47 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: IC

Photo: IC

BlueCity, the operator of China’s largest LGBTQ dating app Blued, has accelerated efforts to acquire assets to broaden its services since its U.S. initial public offering (IPO) in July.

On Wednesday, the nine-year-old company announced an agreement to spend 240 million yuan ($36 million) to buy 100% equity interests in Finka, a gay social networking app in China for young adults, according to a company statement.

After the completion of the deal, which is expected to close by mid-December, Finka, which had more than 2.7 million registered users in 2019, will continue to operate as a separate app, the statement said.

The buyout comes three months after BlueCity announced the purchase of China’s popular lesbian dating platform LESDO in what it called a “significant milestone” in implementing its strategy to serve subgroups within the broader LGBTQ community.

When talking about the acquisition of Finka, BlueCity’s founder and CEO Ma Baoli said that the deal is part of the company’s broader plan to build “a portfolio of apps and services designed to help community members across geographies and demographics.”

Ma added that BlueCity will continue to enrich its services through both organic growth and potential M&A opportunities.

Irrespective of a successful listing on the Nasdaq, BlueCity has yet to turn a profit. The company suffered a net loss of 3.3 million yuan in the second quarter of 2020, but its revenue grew 32.2% year-on-year to 247.4 million yuan, according to its earnings report.

The company said that its Blued app, which makes money through membership, livestreaming and advertising services, had 458,000 paying users as of the end of June.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (dingyi@caixin.com)

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Ding Yi / Nov 24, 2020 06:00 PM / Business & Tech

Huami, a wearable high-tech device maker which is part of Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi’s ecosystem, could not escape a financial quandary in the third quarter, as it enjoyed modest growth in revenue and shipments but suffered a dramatic drop in profit.

During the three-month period, Huami generated 2.2 billion yuan ($329.2 million) in revenue, representing a year-on-year increase of 20%, and shipped 15.9 million wearable products in total, including smart watches, smart bands and ear buds, compared with 13.7 million shipments in the same period of 2019, according to the company’s quarterly earnings report released on Monday.

Yet the figure for Huami’s quarterly net profit plummeted about 60% year-on-year to 81.1 million yuan, which could be attributed to significant growth in expenses. During the quarter, Huami’s spending on marketing and R&D reached 115.6 million yuan and 172.9 million yuan, up 104.2% and 38.8% year-on-year, respectively.

Huami’s chief financial officer Leon Deng said that the company will put expenses under control by “focusing on projects with higher return on investment,” without providing further details.

The company predicted that its fourth-quarter revenue will likely reach between 1.95 billion yuan and 2.15 billion yuan, compared with 2.11billion yuan in the same period of last year.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Smart Wearable Device Maker Huami’s Profits Slump in Second Quarter Despite Revenue Growth

 


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By Anniek Bao / Nov 24, 2020 05:57 PM / Politics & Law

Photo: IC

Photo: IC

An intellectual property court has ordered search giant Baidu to pay a fine of 64.5 million ($9.82 million) by the end of the week for continuing to use another company’s digital maps after the licensing contract expired.

Baidu said it would appeal the judgment and claimed that it did not infringe the copyright of navigation software developer NavInfo, and is counter-suing the company for violating the copyright of its own Baidu Map.

Its defence came unstuck due to over 200 pieces of “flawed information” that NavInfo inserted in its original maps as a kind of digital watermark, showing things like oddly- shaped water features and roads leading to nowhere.

Read the full story here.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

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