Links for Thursday, January 6, 2022 – SupChina – SupChina

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Tencent grows despite crackdown, divestments

Tencent’s WeChat app keeps growing despite Beijing crackdown / Bloomberg (paywall)

WeChat’s mini program ecosystem sees promising growth in its 4th year / TechNode

“WeChat’s app store-like mini program ecosystem attracted more than 450 million daily active users (DAUs) in 2021, up 12.5% from 400 million DAUs in 2020, according to figures released on Thursday by the Tencent super-app.”

Alibaba and Tencent rule another Chinese market: Video calls / Nikkei Asia (paywall)

“Zoom, Microsoft and Huawei struggle to compete with [the] duo’s vast user bases.”

Tencent offloads stakes in allies as it continues investment spree / TechCrunch

More fines for Big Tech

China tech giants slapped with fresh round of fines for antitrust violations / Caixin (paywall)

“China’s market regulator has slapped tech giants with a fresh round of fines for violating anti-monopoly rules — this time for failing to report their acquisition of stakes on other companies that gave them controlling power.”

Beijing Olympics backers aren’t deterred by backlash

Winter Olympics boost China’s supplier shares despite boycotts / Bloomberg (paywall)

“Shares of firms related to arena construction and heating-and-cooling systems have rallied in recent weeks, with Bingshan Refrigeration & Heat Transfer Technologies Co. surging the 10% limit for six straight days through Thursday.”

Beijing Games’ corporate brand gamble / Politico

“Corporate backers of the 2022 Beijing Olympics are gambling that Americans just don’t care. They’re betting that, despite a monthslong campaign by U.S. lawmakers and activists to try and leverage sponsorships as pressure against the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, their brands will skate away free from reputational damage.”

Bilibili late to the game on livestream sales

Bilibili climbs on livestream sales wagon, but may be too late / Nikkei Asia (paywall)

Hong Kong looks to art tourism despite the National Security Law

Hong Kong art hub taps growing market despite shrinking freedom / Nikkei Asia (paywall)

“The M+ museum of contemporary art, a centerpiece of Hong Kong’s plans to turn the West Kowloon Cultural District into an art destination, has been the subject of heavy buzz, attracting more than 370,000 visitors since it opened in November.”

Clothing manufacturers shut for Lunar New Year

Textile, apparel companies clock off early for Lunar New Year as demand slumps / Caixin (paywall)

“Key Chinese textile, dyeing and clothing factories are shutting down for Lunar New Year weeks early due to a combination of sluggish orders and supply disruptions caused by strict measures to contain regional COVID-19 flare-ups.”

Trip.com loses fraud lawsuit over third-party bookings

Trip.com loses lawsuit over undisclosed third-party bookings / Caixin (paywall)

China rolls out fast track for U.S. expats

U.S.-China Fast Track Channel makes it easier for businesspeople and their families to enter China, with caveats / SCMP (paywall)

“The programme helps cut the issuance time of PU letters — invitations issued by local Chinese authorities for travelers and their dependents — to between five and 10 business days.”

Honda plans production plant in Wuhan, and more on EVs

Honda’s China venture to build EV plant to expand lineup / Bloomberg (paywall)

“Honda Motor Co.’s China joint venture will build an electric-vehicle production plant in Wuhan as the Japanese automaker targets the world’s largest car market to drive its EV expansion.”

Tesla, chips and China: The auto storylines to watch in 2022 / Bloomberg (paywall)

China to slash taxes and fees for firms hit by the pandemic

China’s pandemic-hit businesses see tax cuts and fee reductions extended in bid to kick off new year on a high note / SCMP (paywall)

Property woes

Shimao default notice hammers bonds, stokes China property fear / Bloomberg (paywall)

Chinese developer R&F warns investors over bond repayment offers / Nikkei Asia (paywall)

Evergrande’s condemned towers on China’s Hawaii show threat / Bloomberg (paywall)

Rare price premium lures gas ships from China to Europe

Gas ships divert from China to Europe in price premium race / Bloomberg (paywall)

Online car services platform Tuhu shifts IPO from U.S. to Hong Kong

Tencent-backed Tuhu to move planned U.S. IPO to Hong Kong / Bloomberg (paywall)

China’s indebted railway still isn’t making money

China railway 2021 revenue basically flat from year before / Caixin (paywall)

Big banks order new office rules, Cathay cuts flights in Hong Kong

HSBC, UBS order Hong Kong office changes as COVID cases rise / Reuters

Cathay Pacific to further reduce passenger flights amid COVID restrictions / Reuters

Hong Kong airport sells big bond to fund expansion

HK sells one of biggest airport bonds amid virus, travel curbs / Bloomberg (paywall)

SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND ENVIRONMENT:

Hong Kong officials in hot water over attending large party with COVID suspect

Hong Kong officials under fire for partying despite COVID threat / Bloomberg (paywall)

“Hong Kong’s push to reimpose strict COVID-control measures suffered an embarrassing setback after it emerged 10 government officials had gone to a large party attended by a person believed to have COVID.”

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam slams officials for attending birthday party of over 100 guests including suspected COVID-19 patient / SCMP (paywall)

China’s first national botanical garden in Beijing

China’s first national botanical garden to prioritize conservation / Sixth Tone

“China is set to establish the country’s first national botanical garden in the capital Beijing, as the country steps up conservation efforts to better protect plant and animal biodiversity.”

China drafts plan to cut carbon quotas

China proposes cutting carbon quotas to help meet climate goals / Bloomberg (paywall)

Space station flexes giant robotic arm

Chinese space station reaches for next stage of construction with robotic arm test / SCMP (paywall)

“The Chinese space station has successfully grabbed and moved a cargo spaceship with its giant robotic arm.

China approves nations to use its huge radio telescope

China’s FAST telescope opened up to scientists from 14 countries last year / SCMP (paywall)

“China approved requests to astronomers from 14 countries to use the world’s biggest radio telescope for observations last year, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences.”

POLITICS AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS:

U.S., Germany, and Taiwan lend support to Lithuania as China hits back

U.S., Germany support Lithuania in spat with China over Taiwan / AP

U.S., Lithuania agree to address China’s ‘economic coercion’ / Bloomberg (paywall)

“The U.S. and Lithuania agreed to cooperate on ways to counter what they called China’s ‘economic coercion,’ comments that ratchet up simmering diplomatic tensions.”

Taiwan to support Lithuania with $200m fund after dispute with China / FT (paywall)

Taiwan pledges to invest in Lithuania amid Chinese pressure / AP

Yesterday on SupChina: Lithuanian president says Taiwan office naming was ‘a mistake’ after ‘unconventional measures’ from Beijing

Taiwan repatriates 21 people back to mainland China

Taiwan sends 21 back to mainland China, including self-proclaimed activist who swam across strait / SCMP (paywall)

“Taiwan has sent a self-proclaimed activist back to mainland China after convicting him of illegal entry to the island.”

China’s new slogan?

China’s propaganda machine is embracing a new slogan to entrench Xi Jinping’s status / SCMP (paywall)

“Among the messaging from China’s propaganda machine in 2022, expect to hear a lot more of the ruling Communist Party’s latest slogan — ‘the two establishments’ consolidating Xi Jinping’s powerful leadership status.”

Beijing limits religious content online ahead of Party congress

China bans online religious activity ahead of Party congress / Nikkei Asia (paywall)

“China will ban efforts to spread religion through online channels such as social media, with the Communist Party tightening restrictions on religious activity ahead of this fall’s party congress.”

I.O.C. says Beijing Olympics will continue as planned

I.O.C. assures teams Winter Olympics in Beijing will go ahead / AP

“A day after Switzerland’s team leader asked for talks about possibly postponing the Beijing Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic, the IOC promised officials worldwide on Wednesday the Winter Games will go ahead as planned.”

Japan and Australia sign defense pact

Japan and Australia sign defense pact in face of more assertive China / FT (paywall)

Australia, Japan sign defense pact as China concerns loom / AP

China to name peace envoy for Horn of Africa

China plans peace envoy for conflict-riven Horn of Africa / Reuters

China to appoint Horn of Africa envoy amid Ethiopia crisis / AP

“China’s foreign minister says his country will appoint a special envoy to the Horn of Africa region, where Ethiopia and Eritrea have been fighting forces from Ethiopia’s Tigray region and Somalia is in the grip of a political crisis caused by a long-delayed election.”

SOCIETY AND CULTURE:

‘Alternative schools that prioritise individual achievement and happiness over exams and test scores’

China’s innovative ‘happy schools’ popular with parents leaving the academically demanding mainstream education sector / SCMP (paywall)

“As more focus is placed on cracking down on China’s exam-obsessed school system, alternative schools are becoming increasingly popular.”

Chinese netizens mock “unbearably ugly” Beijing Olympics designs

‘Unbearably ugly’ Chinese uniforms go viral as social media users mock victory ceremony designs / SCMP (paywall)

Former student reflects on late Jonathan D. Spence

Drinks with the grand historian: Remembering Jonathan D. Spence / Sixth Tone

British spy chief claps back at China’s Bond spoof

Chinese state media gets rare response from British spy chief after posting ‘rib-tickling’ spy spoof online / AFP via SCMP (paywall)

“Britain’s spy chief on Thursday thanked China’s state news agency for the ‘free publicity’ after it posted a spoof of James Bond that mocked the Western intelligence community’s growing focus on threats posed by Beijing.”

Ice sculpture

China’s Harbin Ice Festival offers chills and thrills / Washington Post

Round-the-world traveler finally leaves Hong Kong after being curbed by COVID

‘I’ll always remember Hong Kong’: Traveler stuck 103 weeks on round-the-world odyssey without flying at last secures passage on a ship out / SCMP (paywall)

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