Global Lens on China
Why Toyota Only Sold One Prius in China Last December
IF you’re reading this in China and you bought a Prius in December, congratulations -- you were the only one.
While Toyota Motor Corp.’s iconic gas-electric hybrid car continues to sell in other markets almost two decades after the first one was sold in Japan in late 1997, Chinese consumers have never warmed to the Prius, a mainstay of the U.S. green-car movement. This past year, sales almost completely flatlined, even as China’s cities continue to battle smog issues.
February 16, 2017, Thursday
Xiaomi Goes All-In On Retail to Revive China Smartphone Sales
AFTER pioneering online flash sales in China to reach the top of the smartphone market,Xiaomi Corp. is turning to old-fashioned retail to arrest its slide.
The phonemaker will roll out a chain of about 1,000 brick-and-mortar stores under the Mi Home banner over the next three years, as co-founder Lei Jun mimics a strategy that’s helped the Oppo and Vivo brands leapfrog Xiaomi to the top of China’s smartphone market. The new target accelerates plans outlined just last month to open 200 stores in 2017.
February 10, 2017, Friday
A Chinese photo app worth $4.5 billion is trending in the US — here's what it does
A popular Chinese photo-editing app has burst into popularity in the West, covering social feeds in airbrushed photos with huge, sparkling eyes.
Although Meitu has been around since 2008, it has become an overnight success and was trending in Apple's App Store on Thursday.
Business Insider |
January 19, 2017, Thursday
In 2017, China Is Doubling Down on AI
THIS year, China looks set to make larger waves than ever in artificial intelligence and augmented reality.
The nation’s search giant, Baidu, is leading the charge. Already making serious headway in AI research, it has now announced that former Microsoft executive Qi Lu will take over as its chief operating officer. Lu ran the applications and services division at Microsoft, but, according to the Verge, a large part of his remit was developing strategies for artificial intelligence and chatbots. In a statement, Baidu cites hiring Lu as part of its plan to become a “global leader in AI.”
MIT Technology Review |
January 17, 2017, Tuesday
The humble ballpoint pen has become a new symbol of China’s innovation economy
CHINA has grown by leaps and bounds during its quest for greater domestic innovation, becoming a world leader in sectors like robotics-based manufacturing and consumer software. But one of its most recent accomplishments is in an area that’s considerably more basic: ballpoint pens.
January 12, 2017, Thursday
China's famous elevated bus is now a giant roadblock
AFTER seizing the world's attention over the summer, China's futuristic elevated bus appears to have reached the end of the line.
Video of the road-straddling bus cruising over the top of cars during a test run spread like wildfire on social media back in August. But the quirky vehicle now sits idle at the test site in northern China, where it has become a hulking eyesore.
Billed as a potential answer to China's crippling traffic problems, the elevated bus is now the source of bottlenecks in the port city of Qinhuangdao. Cars traveling in both directions have to crowd together on the other side of the road to avoid the test tracks and the 26-foot-wide bus.
"The road is narrower, of course it affects traffic," said Wang Yimin, a local mechanic who was one of several residents who grumbled about the inconvenience.
CNN Money |
December 19, 2016, Monday
Lippi begins tenure as China coach, target still World Cup
MARCELLO Lippi starts mission almost-impossible on Tuesday as he bids to take China to the 2018 World Cup.
Lippi, who guided Italy to the 2006 World Cup title, was appointed in October to try and resuscitate China's floundering qualification campaign. He kicks off against Qatar in the south-western city Kunming.
China, which has qualified only once for a World Cup, has just one point from the first four games in Group A of third-round Asian qualifying, making victory against Qatar vital.
"We will focus on first dealing with the Qataris and then Korea Republic," Lippi was quoted as saying on the Asian Football Confederation's website. "Our chief aim is World Cup qualification. I hope we can achieve a miracle."
USA Today |
November 14, 2016, Monday
Will American Football Be The Next Big Video Game Trend In China?
IN 2014, the Chinese government set an ambitious goal to raise sports revenue from 0.6% of GDP, at the time, to at least 1.3% of GDP by 2025 or $750 billion. In comparison, sports comprise roughly 3% of the GDP of the United States. One of the largest sports moneymakers in the U.S. is American football. In 2015 the National Football League (NFL) generated a record-breaking $13 billion, which was an increase of $1 billion over 2014. The NFL also has an ambitious goal: to generate $25 billion by 2027, and one of the mechanisms will be via international expansion.
It seems that in this case the aim of the Chinese government and the NFL are in alignment, and they can work together to achieve both goals. In the words of Mark Waller, the NFL’s executive VP of International, “We don’t need a selling point. I don’t think anybody doesn’t understand the opportunity in China. It’s the world’s largest market, the world’s most developing sports market. There’s no real local sport that currently dominates. There’s huge interest in sports and athletes, which is growing, and a huge land of opportunity.”
October 31, 2016, Monday
Shopping in Australia, while in China
IN Sydney, a multi-million dollar export industry starts with a simple trip to the shops.
Laden with plastic bags that are almost too heavy to carry, we meet Rika Wenjing, a 24-year-old accountancy graduate from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.
She labours with tins of infant food, supplements and skin lotions from a discount chemist to sell to customers back home in China.
Rika has worked part-time for the past two years as a daigou, a freelance retail consultant.
She is glued to her phone and tablet, using the messaging app WeChat to build a network of 300 clients who aren't afraid to pay premium prices for trustworthy Australian goods.
October 24, 2016, Monday
From Rihanna's Dress to Paris Couture: This Is How Guo Pei Is Changing the Fashion Landscape in China
RIHANNA likes to make a grand entrance. But possibly the most dramatic in recent memory would have to be her arrival at last year's Met Gala, when she made her red carpet stroll in a remarkable 55-pound couture creation by Chinese designer Guo Pei. To this day, it's hard to not think of that moment when you mention Guo Pei or her work.
Of course, RiRi's star power helped, but in a single year, the Beijing-based couturier has built up an international presence, garnering worldwide recognition for her exquisite designs and her unwavering commitment to creating beauty, regardless of how long it takes (a shining example: Rihanna's dress took her 30 months to create). She also famously turned down a $700,000 offer to buy her masterpiece of a gown that was on display in the "China: Through the Looking Glass" exhibit at the Met, citing that it was invaluable, that the 50,000 hours she invested couldn't be quantified ("It's as if the piece has a life of its own that can't be bought," she explains).
October 9, 2016, Sunday