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Global Lens on China


In 2017, China Is Doubling Down on AI

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.”

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MIT Technology Review | January 17, 2017, Tuesday

The humble ballpoint pen has become a new symbol of China’s innovation economy

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.

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QUARTZ | January 12, 2017, Thursday

China's famous elevated bus is now a giant roadblock

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.

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CNN Money | December 19, 2016, Monday

Lippi begins tenure as China coach, target still World Cup

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."

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USA Today | November 14, 2016, Monday

Will American Football Be The Next Big Video Game Trend In China?

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.”

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Forbes | October 31, 2016, Monday

Shopping in Australia, while in China

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.

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BBC | October 24, 2016, Monday

From Rihanna's Dress to Paris Couture: This Is How Guo Pei Is Changing the Fashion Landscape in China

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).

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Yahoo | October 9, 2016, Sunday

China football boom offers golden goal for UK firms

China football boom offers golden goal for UK firms


FOOTBALL in China is enjoying a boom as investors not only snap up overseas clubs but also lure big name players and coaches to the nation's Super League.

Its government wants to see China become a footballing superpower, and that means that as well as big stars, the nation is also hungry to acquire knowledge and expertise from overseas.

That provides numerous potential business opportunities, from the grass roots to top tiers of Chinese football, for British firms and clubs to get a foot in the commercial door.

A team of 11 Chinese sports firms is currently in the UK until 2 October, on a visit organised by the UK government's Department for International Trade (DIT).

They have been attending the Soccerex football business convention in Manchester to make contacts and learn more about the game in the UK. All have different reasons for visiting this country.

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BBC | September 28, 2016, Wednesday

Is This The Most Expensive Apartment In China?

Is This The Most Expensive Apartment In China?


FOR years the southern city of Shenzhen has been famous for being China’s technology hub where you can find the headquarters of web giant Tencent and the country’s biggest smartphone maker Huawei. Lately, however Shenzhen is attracting attention for an entirely different reason: tiny apartments measuring six square meters priced at nearly 1 million yuan.

A local developer named Shahe Shiye has built 11 such mini-homes making up a 15-storey residential property project which is supposed to have a total of 169 apartments in the city’s Nanshan district. The tiny flats, dubbed “pigeon cage apartments” because of their small size, are equipped with bathrooms, kitchens, wardrobes and fold-down beds. These flats each costs 880,000 yuan ($132,000), or $22,000 per square meter. Larger apartments are available, ranging from 36 to 60 square meters.

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Forbes | September 27, 2016, Tuesday

Chinese outrage over 'ugly' restoration of Great Wall

Chinese outrage over 'ugly' restoration of Great Wall


CHINESE social media users were in an uproar Friday over restoration of a 700-year-old section of the Great Wall that has been covered in concrete, turning it into a smooth, flat-topped path.

Known as one of the most beautiful portions of the "wild", unrestored wall, the eight-kilometre (five-mile) Xiaohekou stretch in northeast Liaoning province was built in 1381 during the Ming Dynasty.

Photos posted online showed that its uneven, crumbling steps and plant growth had been replaced as far as the eye could see with a white, concrete-like cap.

"This looks like the work of a group of people who didn't even graduate from elementary school," said one user of China's Twitter-like Weibo platform. "If this is the result, you might as well have just blown it up."

"Such brutal treatment of the monuments left behind by our ancestors! How is it that people with low levels of cultural awareness can take on leadership positions?" asked another. "Why don't we just raze the Forbidden City in Beijing, too?"

Even the deputy director of Liaoning's department of culture Ding Hui admitted: "The repairs really are quite ugly," according to state broadcaster CCTV.

The Great Wall is not a single unbroken structure but stretches for thousands of kilometres in sections from China's east coast to the edge of the Gobi desert.

In places it is so dilapidated that estimates of its total length vary from 9,000 to 21,000 kilometres, depending on whether missing sections are included. Despite its length it is not, as is sometimes claimed, visible from space.

Emergency maintenance was ordered for Xiaohekou in 2012 to "avoid further damage and dissolution" caused by "serious structural problems and issues due to flooding" and was completed in 2014, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage said in a statement on its website in response to public and media outcry.

The government body has begun an investigation into the approval, implementation and outcome of the maintenance work, stating that it would deal with work units and personnel found to be at fault severely, "without justifying their mistakes".

Around 30 percent of China's Ming-era Great Wall has disappeared over time as adverse natural conditions and reckless human activities -- including stealing the bricks to build houses -- erode the UNESCO World Heritage site, state media reports said last summer. 

Under Chinese regulations people who take bricks from the Great Wall can be fined up to 5,000 yuan ($750), but plant growth on the wall continues to accelerate decay, and tourism, especially to undeveloped sections, continues to severely damage the world's longest human construction. 

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AFP | September 23, 2016, Friday

As China continues to grab increasing media attention worldwide, our partner runs a regular column to reveal what overseas media are saying about China and how they view the country's fast economic, social and cultural development.


Check it out at


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