Viewpoint

12.21.18

A Look Back at China in 2018

Kyle Hutzler
In 2018, the outlook for China regarding its politics, economy, and relationship with the United States darkened considerably. The removal of presidential term limits and Xi Jinping’s interactions with the Trump administration prompted rare...

The Promise and Peril of Chinese Tech Investment in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In this week's show, we bring you two perspectives on the promise and peril of increased Chinese technology investment in Africa.Harriet Kariuki is an emerging markets analyst in Kenya where she surveys the digital landscape and local start-up...

China’s Social Credit System Spreads to More Daily Transactions

Jack Karsten and Darrell M. West
Brookings Institution
In May, enforcement of China’s social credit system spread to the travel industry, restricting millions of Chinese citizens with low social credit scores from purchasing plane and train tickets.

China's Ant Financial Raises $10 Billion at $150 Billion Valuation: Sources

Kane Wu
Reuters
The capital-raising comes ahead of a widely expected initial public offering.

China’s ‘Digital City’ Showcases Xi’s Grand Ambition

Yizhen Jia and Gabriel Wildau
Financial Times
Transformation of rural backwater into the new Shenzhen is still some way off.

China Now Has the Most Valuable AI Startup in the World

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg
Facial recognition company in China becomes richest-valued private AI startup.

Xiaomi Ceo Calls China’s Plan to Lure Tech Listings ‘Excellent’

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg
China’s trial program for encouraging technology giants like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to list their shares at home is drawing positive early reviews, a sign their stocks may soon be available in the world’s most populous country.

Alibaba Opens Car Vending Machine in China That Gives Free Test Drives for People with Good Social Credit

Thuy Ong
Verge
Alibaba and Ford signed a deal to form a partnership last year that would see both companies working together on new technological opportunities.

The Battle for Digital Supremacy

The Economist
Economist
“DESIGNED by Apple in California. Assembled in China”. For the past decade the words embossed on the back of iPhones have served as shorthand for the technological bargain between the world’s two biggest economies: America supplies the brains and...

China Tech Titan Alibaba Plans Stock-Market Homecoming

Julie Steinberg and Liza Lin
Wall Street Journal
Technology giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is working on a plan to list on a stock exchange in its home market, China, according to people familiar with the matter, more than three years after its blockbuster initial public offering in New York.

Facebook, Amazon Handicapped as They Follow China Playbook

Louise Lucas
Financial Times
Amazon and Facebook grabbed headlines with groundbreaking moves last week: segueing into bank accounts and music, respectively. Groundbreaking, that is, for the west—such moves are business as normal in China.

Alibaba's ‘Digital Free Trade Zone’ Has Some Worried about China Links to Malaysia

Nyshka Chandran
CNBC
Alibaba e-commerce platform in Malaysia raises concerns over impact on local firms.

Disney Can Stream Its Movies in China Again, Thanks to Alibaba

Alanna Petroff
CNN
Disney is trying again to get its movies and TV programs into China.

This Week in China Tech: Xiaomi’s 460 Investments, Tencent’s Gamble and a New ‘Blockchain Academy’

Bay McLaughlin
Forbes
China’s technology scene is always shifting, and this week we’ve seen big news coming from Xiaomi, Tencent, Wanda, Baidu, among others. Here are the some of the most interesting tech stories out of China you might not have heard about.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma Thinks He Knows How to Save China's ‘Left-Behind Children’ — He’s Asking Other Entrepreneurs to Buy In

Karen Gilchrist
CNBC
The founder and executive chairman of e-commerce behemoth Alibaba said that investing in rural boarding schools could provide a solution for China’s “left-behind children” and ensure a more prosperous future for the next generation.

China Chides Tech Firms over Privacy Safeguards

CNBC
China reprimanded three top tech firms on Friday over poor privacy protections, as tech companies face an increasing backlash from consumers and authorities over excessive data collection practices.

China and the US ‘Are about to Ride a Bumpy Journey,’ State News Agency Says

Huileng Tan
CNBC
China warned of a “bumpy journey” in trade with the U.S. and “retaliatory measures” a day after Washington blocked MoneyGram's proposed sale to a financial services firm affiliated with Chinese tech giant Alibaba...

Tech Titans Wage War in China's next Internet Revolution

Wall Street Journal
As Alibaba and Tencent do battle for supremacy, companies and consumers will be caught in the crossfire

China Faces Waste Hangover after Singles’ Day Buying Binge

Reuters
China’s Singles’ Day online discount sales bonanza on Saturday saw bargain-hungry buyers spend over $38 billion, flooding the postal and courier businesses with around 331 million packages - and leaving an estimated 160,000 tonnes of packaging waste.

China’s Tightening Grip on Tech Giants: DealBook Briefing

Amie Tsang and Michael J. de la Merced
New York Times
If the Chinese government goes through with a plan to gain board seats at some of its country’s top technology players, will that cause problems when those companies go hunting for deals overseas?

China's Two Largest Tech Companies Sign a Deal over the West's Biggest Music

Andrew Flanagan
NPR
Among the deals being signed that shape the way the world experiences culture, a new partnership will exert a great influence on the flow of content from the world's three remaining major record labels to an enormous and growing marketplace —...

Trump May Have Pushed Mexico into the Arms of China's Alibaba

Sophia Yan
CNBC
Mexico's Ministry of Economy and Alibaba will partner to get more Mexican products onto the tech firm's popular e-commerce platforms...

Alibaba and Tencent Are Showing How Companies Can Get around Beijing's Crackdown on Foreign Deals

Sophia Yan
CNBC
The firms, among China’s most important tech giants, are overseeing the merger of two companies they back. Chinese delivery firm 58 Suyun is combining with Hong Kong logistics company GoGoVan — both have raised funds from Alibaba, and Tencent backs...

In Urban China, Cash Is Rapidly Becoming Obsolete

New York Times
Almost everyone in major Chinese cities is using a smartphone to pay for just about everything. At restaurants, a waiter will ask if you want to use WeChat or Alipay — the two smartphone payment options — before bringing up cash as a third, remote...

In China, Shoppers Buy Bad Loans Online with Their Groceries

Bloomberg
Among the sneakers, diapers, and pet food for sale on Taobao, China’s biggest e-commerce platform, is a listing that may take up a little more space in the online shopping basket.

Alibaba Is Coming to Detroit to Sell Small Businesses the Chinese Dream

Josh Horwitz
Quartz
The Chinese e-commerce giant is pulling out all the stops to impress America at Gateway ’17, its biggest-ever public event in the United States.

Books

06.13.17

Fortune Makers

Michael Useem, Harbir Singh, Liang Neng, Peter Cappelli
Fortune Makers analyzes and brings to light the distinctive practices of business leaders who are the future of the Chinese economy. These leaders oversee not the old state-owned enterprises, but private companies that have had to invent their way forward out of the wreckage of an economy in tatters following the Cultural Revolution.Outside of brand names such as Alibaba and Lenovo, little is known, even by the Chinese themselves, about the people present at the creation of these innovative businesses. Fortune Makers provides sharp insights into their unique styles—a distinctive blend of the entrepreneur, the street fighter, and practices developed by the Communist Party—and their distinctive ways of leading and managing their organizations that are unlike anything the West is familiar with.When Peter Drucker published Concept of the Corporation in 1946, he revealed what made large American corporations tick. Similarly, when Japanese companies emerged as a global force in the 1980s, insightful analysts explained the practices that brought Japan’s economy out of the ashes—and what managers elsewhere could learn to compete with them. Now, based on unprecedented access, Fortune Makers allows business leaders in the United States and the rest of the West to understand the essential character and style of Chinese corporate life and its dominant players, whose businesses are the foundation of the domestic Chinese market and are now making their mark globally. —PublicAffairs{chop}

Trump Lies. China Thrives.

New York Times
We underestimate China — and attribute all of its surge in growth to unfair trade practices — at our peril. China has been fast and smart at adopting new technologies, particularly the mobile internet.

Alibaba Predicts Strong Sales in a Sign of Strength from China

New York Times
The Alibaba Group signaled on Thursday that for all the global worries about China’s rising debt and bloated state industries, its economy still enjoys a strong pillar of support: online shoppers.

Sinica Podcast

06.07.17

Kai-Fu Lee on Artificial Intelligence in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Kai-Fu Lee is one of the most prominent figures in Chinese technology. He founded China’s noted early-stage venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures after launching and heading up Google’s China operations during their years of growth from 2005 to...

Google Is Already Late to China’s AI Revolution

Wired
“Some of the major Chinese companies are some of the most sophisticated deep learning and data companies in the world.”

Books

05.02.17

China’s Mobile Economy

Winston Ma
China’s Mobile Economy: Opportunities in the Largest and Fastest Information Consumption Boom is a cutting-edge text that spotlights the digital transformation in China. Organized into three major areas of the digital economy within China, this ground-breaking book explores the surge in e-commerce of consumer goods, the way in which multi-screen and mobile Internet use has increased in popularity, and the cultural emphasis on the mobile Internet as a source of lifestyle- and entertainment-based content. Targeted at the global business community, this lucid and engaging text guides business leaders, investors, investment banking professionals, corporate advisors, and consultants in grasping the challenges and opportunities created by China’s emerging mobile economy, and its debut on the global stage.The year of 2014-15 marks the most important inflection point in the history of the Internet in China. Almost overnight, the world’s largest digitally-connected middle class went both mobile and multi-screen (smart phone, tablets, laptops, and more), with huge implications for how consumers behave and what companies need to do to successfully compete. As next-generation mobile devices and services take off, China’s strength in this arena will transform it from a global “trend follower” to a “trend setter.”Understand what the digital transformation in China is, and impact on global capital markets, foreign investors, consumer companies, and the global economy as a whole.Explore the e-commerce consumption boom in the context of the Chinese market.Understand the implications of the multi-screen age and mobile Internet for China’s consumersSee how mobile Internet use, its focus on lifestyle and entertainment is aligned with today’s Chinese culture.Learn about the mobile entertainment habits of China’s millennial generation and the corresponding new advertisement approaches.The development of China’s mobile economy is one of the most important trends that will reshape the future of business, technology, and society both in China and the world. China's Mobile Economy introduces you to the digital transformation in China, and explains how this transformation has the potential to transform both China and the global consumer landscape. —John Wiley & Sons, Inc.{chop}

Alibaba Acts on Vow about 1m U.S. Jobs

Paul Welitzkin
China Daily
Jack Ma announced on Tuesday that Alibaba will host a two-day conference in Detroit in June to teach U.S. businesses how to sell to the company’s 443 million customers in China on the world’s biggest e-commerce site.

China’s Uber worth $50 Billion after Raising More Cash

Alec Macfarlane
CNN
China’s homegrown answer to Uber is about to become the world’s second most valuable startup.

China’s HNA in Talks to Buy Controlling Stake in Forbes: Sources

CNBC
Acquisitive Chinese conglomerate HNA Group is in talks to buy a controlling stake in the owner of the publisher of Forbes magazine, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters

For Couriers, China’s E-Commerce Boom Can Be a Tough Road

Ryan McMorrow
New York Times
The Chinese e-commerce industry has been built on the backs of couriers—called kuaidi, or express delivery, in China. They number 1.2 million, and online retailers like Alibaba use them to zip packages to customers by scooter or three-wheeled...

Alibaba Looks to Bricks and Mortar With Bid for Mall Operator in China

Amie Tsang and Paul Mozur
New York Times
Alibaba is pushing further into the very sector that it helped to disrupt with a $2.6 billion bid for Intime Retail, a department store and mall operator in China.

China Is Mad About Hollywood Remakes

Lillian Lin
Wall Street Journal
Aiming to crack new frontiers in China, Hollywood studios are turning to something familiar: established American films and TV series that can be remade for Chinese audiences.

'Social' Feature Turns China’s Alipay Into a Hook-up App

Josh Chin
WSJ: China Real Time Report
Alipay update leads to suggestive content flooding the typically staid financial app

Swinging Singles' Day: Alibaba Holiday Drives Shoppers in China

Eva Dou
Wall Street Journal
China’s online-retail giant once again broke its sales record on the shopping day it helped create

How Alibaba Turned China’s Singles Day into the World’s Biggest Shopping Bonanza

Amanda Lee
Forbes
Sales this 11/11 are expected to reach $20 billion–-a 40% year-over-year surge

Alibaba Earnings Show It Again Defying China’s Slowdown

Paul Mozur
New York Times
Amid concerns about a slowdown of Chinese economic growth, China’s largest e-commerce company is showing that business on its platforms is holding steady

Alibaba Dethrones Baidu in China’s Digital Advertising Market

Uptin Saiidi
CNBC
Mobile ads are witnessing quick growth, but not everyone is in for a win this year.

Conversation

09.13.16

Can China’s Best Newspaper Survive?

Isaac Stone Fish, David Schlesinger & more
On September 9, the South China Morning Post’s Chinese-language website went dark with little explanation, leading to concerns that censorship might next spread to the newspaper’s English-language coverage. Can Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma, who has...

The South China Morning Post Has Suddenly Shut Down Its Chinese-language Website

Ilaria Maria Sala
Quartz
In one fell swoop, years of reporting from SCMP is gone.

Alibaba Faces Backlash Over Promises on Counterfeits

Kathy Chu
Wall Street Journal
E-commerce giant has said it would spare no expense in cracking down on sellers of fake goods on its sites; Ma’s latest comments irk brands.

Books

05.05.16

Alibaba

Duncan Clark
In just a decade and half, Jack Ma, a man from modest beginnings who started out as an English teacher, founded and built Alibaba into one of the world’s largest companies, an e-commerce empire on which hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers depend. Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO in 2014 was the largest global IPO ever. A Rockefeller of his age who is courted by CEOs and Presidents around the world, Jack is an icon for China’s booming private sector and the gatekeeper to hundreds of millions of middle class consumers.Duncan Clark first met Jack in 1999 in the small apartment where Jack founded Alibaba. Granted unprecedented access to a wealth of new material, including exclusive interviews, Clark draws on his own experience as an early adviser to Alibaba and two decades in China chronicling the Internet’s impact on the country to create an authoritative, compelling narrative account of Alibaba’s rise.How did Jack overcome his humble origins and early failures to achieve massive success with Alibaba? How did he outsmart rival entrepreneurs from China and Silicon Valley? Can Alibaba maintain its 80 percent market share? As it forges ahead into finance and entertainment, are there limits to Alibaba’s ambitions? How does the Chinese government view its rise? Will Alibaba expand further overseas, including in the U.S.? Clark tells Alibaba’s tale in the context of China’s momentous economic and social changes, illuminating an unlikely corporate titan as never before. —HarperCollins{chop}

The New Qualification for China’s Tech Elite: Goldman Sachs

Wei Gu
Wall Street Journal
Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial set to hire banker Douglas Feagin, latest in a string of Goldman alumni at Chinese Internet firms.

Traditional Red Envelopes Are Going Digital Thanks To China’s Largest Internet Companies

Catherine Shu
TechCrunch
This year, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent are all offering their own version of online red envelopes.

In ‘Communist’ China, Alibaba is Training People to Shop Online

Davey Alba
Wired
One strategy Alibaba has for trying to stem the economic slowdown is to make sure as many of China’s 1.3 billion people as possible can shop online.

China's Alibaba Pictures Ousts Senior Board Member After Graft Allegations

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
The company hasn't been able to contact the former Tencent executive since he was detained by authorities in July...

Conversation

12.15.15

Can an Alibaba ‘Morning Post’ Aid China’s Image Overseas?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, David Wertime & more
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is buying the Hong Kong media group of the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the leading independent English-language newspaper in the former British colony where freedom of the press has resisted control by the...

Media

12.14.15

R.I.P. SCMP?

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian & David Wertime
On December 11, Chinese Internet behemoth Alibaba announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Hong Kong’s flagship English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Post (SCMP). The announcement came as no surprise, as the ailing paper...

Alibaba Film Chief Grants First Interview: What China Can Do for Hollywood

Patrick Brzeski
Hollywood Reporter
In her first sit-down since becoming Jack Ma's top global film exec, Zhang Wei reveals what China's web giant can offer Tinseltown...

Mission Improbable—Jack Ma, China’s Biggest E-Commerce Tycoon, Wants To Be a Media Mogul Too

Economist
Jack Ma, Alibaba’s billionaire boss, wants to be a global media mogul.

With Help from 007's Daniel Craig, how Alibaba Turned 11-11 into China's Biggest Shopping Day

Julie Makinen
Los Angeles Times
Online shopping and entertainment fused into a consumerist juggernaut.

Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday: 100m hoppers Splash out on China's Singles' Day

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Last year 27,000 merchants joined and Alibaba’s sites grossed £6.1b.

Jack Ma to US: Quit Worrying So Much About China

Everett Rosenfeld
CNBC
"You American people worry too much about the China economy," Ma said at the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting...

‘Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation’ Revs to Record Opening Day in China

Pamela McClintock
Hollywood Reporter
The Tom Cruise movie scored the top opening of all time for a 2D Hollywood title with $18.5 million on Tuesday.

Caixin Media

09.01.15

Quantum Computing and Alibaba’s Leap of Faith

Building a quantum computer that processes data at speeds trillions of times faster than the world’s fastest computer, China’s supercomputer Tianhe-2, is the goal of a potentially game-changing venture launched by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and the...