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  1. Key Points The move comes amid heightened trade tensions between the U.S. and China. The discussions include asking telecommunications companies whether they can develop and produce equipment outside of China. The Trump administration essentially banned Chinese 5G telecom giant Huawei Technologies last month. The U.S. is considering a requirement that next-generation 5G cellular technology for domestic use be made outside of China, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing sources. The shift could force telecom giants like Nokia and Ericsson to move production outside of China in order to continue providing equipment to the U.S., the world's largest market for telecom equipment and services, the Journal said. President Donald Trump on May 15 declared a national emergency over threats on U.S. technology and blocked transactions that involve technology that "poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States." The administration then essentially banned Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies from the U.S. amid concerns about that Huawei's equipment and phones can be used to spy over wireless networks, which the Chinese company has repeatedly denied. The move to require equipment be made outside of China would come at a time of heightened trade tensions between the two countries. Under the 150-day review of the supply chain called for in Trump's executive order, the U.S. government will ask telecom companies if they can develop hardware like routers and switches, and software outside of China, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. The Journal said the conversations are in "early" and "informal" stages. The Wall Street Journal's story can be found here. Source
  2. "Everyone is in deep fear of having their own identity exposed," one demonstrator said. Thousands of protesters took take part in a rally against an extradition law proposed in Hong Kong. HONG KONG — College student Naida Lam didn't think much about her digital privacy until June 11. It was the night before massive protests in Hong Kong against a law that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China. Like many students, Lam, 20, had been using the encrypted messaging app Telegram, participating in group chats that were used to plan and coordinate ahead of the demonstration. But that night, Hong Kong authorities arrested the administrator of one of the largest of these groups. For Lam it was a wake-up call. "When my friends told me that another group's administrator got arrested, immediately I feared that something will happen in the group I was in," Lam said. "I left the group and changed all my privacy settings." The arrested Telegram administrator, Ivan Ip, 22, managed a chat of more than 30,000 members. While protesters were starting to gather around Hong Kong's government headquarters, police turned up at Ip's house and arrested him for conspiracy to commit public nuisance. It was not clear how the police were able to identify Ip, raising questions about whether officials had infiltrated the group itself. Lam said the arrest put people on alert that they could also be identified. "Everyone is in deep fear of having their own identity exposed on Telegram," Lam said, "and all were trying to help each other to hide our identities." The arrest did not appear to put a dent in the protests. Thousands of people occupied major roads and surrounded the Legislative Council building — the Hong Kong government's headquarters — preventing lawmakers entering for a meeting to discuss the bill. Protesters shine lights from their mobile phones during one of the demonstrations on June 16. A small group of the demonstrators clashed with police, overturning barricades and throwing objects at the officers, who fired pepper spray, tear gas and rubber bullets. The legislation was eventually postponed indefinitely, and Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, was forced to issue a public apology. But the digital crackdown nevertheless left its mark. Internet-savvy young people, who once only saw the upsides of a technology that helped them organize protests, have grown increasingly wary of surveillance. They are worried the extradition law is the latest step in Hong Kong, a semiautonomous capitalist city, being drawn into the murky legal system of mainland China. Beijing has created a sophisticated surveillance state, and has emerged as a world leader in facial recognition technology. It's a concern that extends beyond messaging apps. During the protests, there was the unfamiliar sight of people waiting in line to buy paper tickets at the city's train station. Usually they use a contactless digital card, named Octopus, but many were avoiding this because they feared leaving digital tracks. Meanwhile, others decided to clear their phone's location history, and delete any other data that might give away their whereabouts. Many discouraged their fellow demonstrators from taking photos and videos because they might be posted online. Shouts of "do not post it on social media" were heard throughout the marches. demonstrator outside the Legislative Council building on June 21. Tam, 24, who declined to provide his first name in fear of being prosecuted, was among the thousands who dressed in black and engaged in a sit-down protest outside the Legislative Council on Monday afternoon. "I usually use story mode for Instagram, as it is harder to leave a record," Tam said, referring to the app's feature where posts automatically disappear after 24 hours. "If I leave a record, I'm afraid it could be used against me in the future." As well as their digital efforts, many protesters deployed the more traditional tactic of wearing a mask, something that has become commonplace in Hong Kong in recent years. Protesters that spoke with NBC News said the realities of modern surveillance have changed even in the five years since Hong Kong's pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, which flooded the streets for 79 days in 2014. "People are now more aware of their own safety before taking any action. Some would even consult a lawyer's suggestion before acting," said John Jung, a 20-year-old university student. Jung, who runs one of the area's few civilian-led first-aid stations, said he and colleagues still used encrypted messaging apps, but now limit the number of people stored in the contacts list. "The lesser number of people knowing about our internal information the better," he said. "This is to prevent any form of information leakage." Source
  3. Another day, another shareholder suit. This time it’s Google in the spotlight. Shareholders have tabled a resolution which, if passed, would demand Google put the brakes on its controversial search engine efforts in China. The program, internally dubbed “Dragonfly,” is said to be a censorship-friendly search engine with the capability to hide results at the behest of Beijing, which administers one of the most restrictive internets in the world. The project remains largely secret, amid an internal upheaval and political pressure from the Trump administration to scrap the effort, but was later acknowledged by Google chief Sundar Pichai, describing China as an “important” market. The resolution, set to be voted on at the company’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, would instruct Google to conduct and publish a human rights impact assessment examining the impacts of a censored Google search engine in China. Open Mic, a non-profit representing shareholders worth $3 billion in Google assets, said Google should examine the human rights impact during Dragonfly’s development and not after. “The Chinese government already employs invasive, data-driven surveillance to track its citizens,” said Joshua Brockwell, an investment communications director at Azzad Asset Management, which supports the resolution. “The potential for it to weaponize data from Google searches could allow the government to expand its human rights abuses, including mass detentions of the Uighur minority.” Among recent crackdowns, China has come under international pressure in the past year for targeting Uighur Muslims and holding more than a million in detention. Google opposes the resolution, saying in its proxy statement: “Google has been open about its desire to increase its ability to serve users in China and other countries. We have considered a variety of options for how to offer services in China in a way that is consistent with our mission and have gradually expanded our offerings to consumers in China, including Google Translate.” A spokesperson for Google told TechCrunch it had “nothing more to add” beyond its proxy statement. It’s unclear how the vote will go, given the pressure on Google to evaluate the introduction of search into China. In context, the shareholder in the top 10 with the least amount of shares still has $3.9 billion in stock. Source
  4. Magic Leap Inc, a US startup that makes a headset to project digital objects onto the real world, accused one of its former engineers of stealing its technology to create his own augmented reality device for China. In a lawsuit filed June 17, Magic Leap alleges that Chi Xu, who left in 2016, exploited its confidential information to “quickly develop a prototype of lightweight, ergonomically designed, mixed reality glasses for use with smart phones and other devices that are strikingly similar” to the Florida-based startup’s designs. The lawsuit marks the latest accusation from an American firm of intellectual property theft by Chinese companies, a perennial sore point that’s helped escalate tensions between the world’s two largest economies. With more than US$2bil (RM8.35bil) in financing, Magic Leap is one of the better-funded startups delving into so-called augmented or mixed reality, a technology that gives users the illusion that fantastical, three-dimensional digital objects exist in the physical world. Xu, who founded Beijing-based Hangzhou Tairuo Technology Co, also known as Nreal, unveiled his own augmented reality glasses at a major Las Vegas trade show in January, touting them as lighter than the Magic Leap One, Forbes has reported. Apart from Magic Leap, Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc’s Google are also developing products for virtual or augmented reality. It remains to be seen whether anyone can turn the area into a big money-spinner. Magic Leap released its headset last August after seven years of secretive work and more than US$2bil (RM8.35bil) of investment. The startup alleges that Xu plotted during his roughly 13 months working there to launch his own competing company in China and “neglected his work duties” to acquire proprietary information. “Whereas Nreal purported to develop its Nreal Light product in under two years, Magic Leap developed its technology after extensive investment of time (multiple years), money (hundreds of millions of dollars spent on research and development) and human resources (hundreds of engineers),” according to the complaint. Xu is accused in the suit of breach of contract, fraud and unfair competition. Nreal is also named as a defendant. Representatives at Nreal had no immediate comment on the lawsuit, while Xu did not respond to a message sent to his LinkedIn account. Source
  5. STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - China’s Geely has picked Zenuity, a joint venture between its Volvo car marque and Swedish technology group Veoneer, as its preferred supplier for assisted and self driving software. Regulatory and technological challenges as well as soaring development costs mean carmakers have delayed forecasts for the mass adoption of self-driving cars and the Geely deal is a welcome boost for Zenuity. It said on Wednesday that the deal would encompass Geely’s range of car brands, which include Geely Auto, performance brand Polestar, subscription-based electric carmaker Lynk & Co and British sports car maker Lotus. Sweden’s Veoneer said earlier this year it was conducting a review and seeking new efficiency measures at Zenuity, as well as raising cash to shore up its working capital. Zenuity, whose customers include Volvo and Geely Auto, employs more than 600 people and in January won an approval to begin hands-free testing of its software for self-driving Volvos on Swedish highways. It is competing with larger rivals in self-driving technology, where U.S. companies are leading the way, with Google’s Waymo last year winning the first approval to test cars without safety drivers on Californian roads. Gothenburg-based Zenuity was formed in 2017 by Volvo, which Geely bought from Ford in 2010, and Autoliv, the former parent of Veoneer which then made a 1.1 billion Swedish crown ($115 million) capital injection in the venture. Source
  6. HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) - Last year, Wei Qing and his private equity investment team visited more than 20 Chinese electric vehicle manufacturing startups. The end result? They decided not to invest in any. “There are too many uncertainties from when a company tells a story in the early stage, to when it produces a sample car and raises funds, to the eventual mass production,” said Wei, managing director at Shanghai-based Sailing Capital. Wei, who declined to name the EV makers his team visited, said he thinks only a few of them will survive. Sailing instead decided to invest in an EV parts supplier, he added. His concerns reflect what bankers describe as increasingly tough funding times for Chinese EV makers which must jostle for attention in a crowded sector and produce convincing arguments about future profitability despite government cuts to EV subsidies and plans to phase them out. Numerous setbacks plaguing Tesla Inc in its quest for sustained profitability as well as a dramatic slide in sales and problems with some cars at Chinese startup Nio Inc have also put investors on their guard. This year, Chinese EV makers have raised just $783.1 million as of mid-June compared with $6 billion for the same period a year earlier and $7.7 billion for all of 2018, according to data provider PitchBook. One Hong Kong-based banker said he had been approached by at least a dozen EV makers seeking new funds but had to pass on most of them as they were not able to set themselves apart from the crowd. Even fundraising efforts that have gotten off the ground are not moving as fast as EV makers would like. “It is challenging,” said the banker who began working on one fundraising this year. “If you can get a meeting with investors, you can always tell a story, but some don’t even reply to your requests for a meeting.” He declined to be identified as the negotiations were not public. SUBSIDY WOES Eager to curb smog and jump-start its own auto industry, China has said it wants so-called new energy vehicles (NEVs) - which also include hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell cars - to account for a fifth of auto sales by 2025 compared with 5% now. Those ambitions have spawned a plethora of EV startups competing not just with each other, but also global automakers and Tesla, which plans to start production in China this year. About 330 EV firms are registered for some sort of subsidy, government data shows, although the number of more well established startups is much smaller, at around 50. But amid criticism that some firms have become overly reliant on government funds, Beijing has reduced subsidies, raised the standards needed for vehicles to qualify and flagged they will end altogether after 2020. That has led to sharp slowdown as vehicle prices rise. Sales of NEVs in May rose just 1.8% from a year earlier compared with 18.1% in April, and 62% growth for 2018. Surviving in the current funding environment, requires much cost discipline, Daniel Kirchert, CEO at Nanjing-based EV maker Byton, told Reuters. “Given the current situation, it is not enough for any startup to come up with good products and be fast to market. At least it’s equally important to manage cost. Not only fixed costs but variable cost,” he said. Byton, which is backed by state-owned automaker FAW Group and battery supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology Co (CATL) is one of a few EV makers with a fundraising round in train, seeking $500 million. Others include Leap Motor, backed by state-owned Shanghai Electric Group Corp and Sequoia Capital China, which is seeking $372 million as well as CHJ Automotive, founded by serial entrepreneur Li Xiang, which wants to raise as much as $500 million. Those with successful funding under their belts this year include Baidu Inc-backed WM Motor Technology Co Ltd which closed a $446 million round in March, according to PitchBook. Some have obtained money outside private equity. E-Town Capital, a Beijing government investment firm, will invest 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) in a joint venture with Nio, which could help Nio build its own plant. TESLA, NIO WEIGH But overall, industry funding prospects are much bleaker, particularly as Tesla and Nio struggle. Founder Elon Musk told Tesla employees last month the $2.7 billion the company recently raised would give it just 10 months to break even at the rate it burned cash in the first quarter. Shares in the industry pioneer have slid 32% in the year to date. Nio’s shares have been hit harder, down 60% this year on a cut to its delivery outlook, a halving in first-quarter sales from the previous quarter, increased competition and reduced subsidies. Its reputation has also been hurt after three vehicles caught on fire and by the inadvertent shutting down of a car on Beijing’s prestigious Changan Avenue after the driver initiated a software update. Nio declined to comment. “Some of the listed EV industry leaders are currently underperforming in the secondary trading market and that has created pressures for the sector’s short-term outlook,” said Brian Gu, president of EV startup Xpeng Motors and a former senior JP Morgan banker. “We are seeing investors become more cautious, selective and keenly focused on the frontrunners. I think this trend is likely to persist,” he said. An investor in WM Motor was more downbeat about the willingness of private equity investors to fund the industry. “Nio is probably the best among Chinese EV start-ups. Look where it stands now - how can that make us comfortable about writing cheques for other EV start-ups?” said the investor who also held Nio shares but sold them this year. Source
  7. (Reuters) - Apple Inc has asked its major suppliers to assess the cost implications of moving 15%-30% of their production capacity from China to Southeast Asia as it prepares for a restructuring of its supply chain, according to a Nikkei Asian Review report on Wednesday. Apple's request was a result of the extended Sino-U.S. trade dispute, but a trade resolution will not lead to a change in the company's decision, Nikkei said s.nikkei.com/31zCGhw, citing multiple sources. The iPhone maker has decided the risks of depending heavily on manufacturing in China are too great and even rising, it said. Key iPhone assemblers Foxconn, Pegatron Corp, Wistron Corp, major MacBook maker Quanta Computer Inc, iPad maker Compal Electronics Inc, and AirPods makers Inventec Corp, Luxshare-ICT and Goertek have been asked to evaluate options outside of China, Nikkei reported. The countries being considered include Mexico, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. India and Vietnam are among the favorites for smartphones, Nikkei said, citing sources who did not want to be identified as the discussions are private. Last week, Foxconn said it had enough capacity outside China to meet Apple’s demand in the American market if the company needed to adjust its production lines, as U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to slap further $300 billion tariffs on Chinese goods. China is a key market for Apple as well as a major production center for its devices. A group of more than 30 people from Apple’s capital expense studies team have been negotiating production plans with suppliers and governments over monetary incentives that could be offered to lure Apple manufacturing, the report said. A deadline has not been set for the suppliers to finalize their business proposals, Nikkei said, adding that it would take at least 18 months to begin production after choosing a location. Apple and Foxconn did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. Source
  8. Trump's meeting with Cook was disclosed by daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump. US President Donald Trump met with Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday to discuss trade and other hot-button issues facing the tech company as Trump deliberates whether to make good on his threat to hike tariffs on imports from China. Trump's meeting with Cook was disclosed by daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump during an event that Trump held with governors on skills development. Cook is a frequent visitor to the White House and has worked with Ivanka Trump on her job training and education initiatives. The president often name-checks Cook as a business leader who has brought jobs and investment back to the United States. On Thursday, Trump spoke with Cook about "trade, US investment, immigration and privacy," White House spokesman Judd Deere said. A spokesperson for Apple could not be immediately reached for comment. The meeting comes as Trump weighs whether to go ahead with proposed increases to tariffs in his trade war with China. He has said he will make a decision some time after the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan at the end of June, where he hopes to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump is using tariffs to push Xi to change a host of Chinese trade practices, but negotiations have flagged. Makers of consumer electronics like phones and tablets have escaped the brunt of tariffs to this point but likely would be affected by the next hike. US authorities are also preparing to probe market power of large technology companies, according to sources. Cook has defended his company, saying it has a moderate share of the market and is not too large. Source
  9. BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese authorities have launched an investigation into FedEx Corp over parcels delivered to the wrong addresses, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday. The report did not give details about the deliveries in question. FedEx did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Xinhua previously reported that China would investigate whether FedEx damaged the legal rights and interests of its clients after Huawei Technologies Co Ltd said this month the U.S. company diverted parcels destined for the Chinese firm’s addresses in Asia to the United States. FedEx said the packages were “misrouted in error”. The inquiry comes amid worsening trade relations between China and the United States, which saw the two governments slap new tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s goods last month. Washington also last month put Huawei on a blacklist that effectively blocks U.S. firms from doing business with the Shenzhen-based telecoms equipment maker. Source
  10. Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn says it has enough capacity to make all iPhones bound for the U.S. market outside of China if the current trade war between the two countries intensifies. That's according to Foxconn board nominee and semiconductor division chief Young Liu, who made the comments at an investor briefing in Taipei on Tuesday, reports Bloomberg. As the U.S.-China trade war gets more unpredictable, Foxconn – also known as Hon Hai – will "fully support Apple if it needs to adjust its production," he said. "Twenty-five percent of our production capacity is outside of China and we can help Apple respond to its needs in the U.S. market," said Liu, adding that investments are now being made in India for Apple. "We have enough capacity to meet Apple’s demand." Liu conceded that Apple has not given its Taiwanese partner instructions to move production out of China, but he said Foxconn is "capable of moving lines elsewhere according to customers' need." The Hon Hai senior executive said it will respond swiftly and rely on localized manufacturing in response to the trade war, just as it saw the need to have a base in the U.S. two years ago before the trade dispute began. Foxconn has been considering expanding its production plants in India as a way to diversify its supply chain away from China, where most of the Taiwan-based firm's facilities currently reside. Apple manufactures most of its iPhones through Foxconn, but the latter's growing India base provides security in the face of Apple's vulnerability to rising U.S.-China tensions over trade and technology. Foxconn already has plants in India, and in late 2017 it was reported that the firm would invest around $356 million to expand its facilities there to begin assembling Apple's high-end iPhones. Manufacturing iPhones in India could help Apple lower prices by allowing it to avoid a tariff that adds 20 percent to devices imported from China. Source
  11. Spain has extradited 94 Taiwanese to China to face telephone and online fraud charges, drawing protest from Taiwan's government. The suspects arrived Friday morning at Beijing airport on a chartered flight. Footage on state broadcaster CCTV showed uniformed officers escorting them off the China Eastern plane one-by-one. Taiwan's Foreign Ministry expressed "serious concern and strong regret," according to the island's official Central News Agency. The extraditions are the latest stemming from a 2016 investigation into Spain-based scam operations that targeted victims in China. Police from both countries raided 13 sites in Madrid, Barcelona and elsewhere in Spain in December of that year, the Chinese Public Security Ministry said. The amount of money involved totaled 120 million yuan ($17 million), the ministry said in a statement on its website. Similar scams operate from several countries and usually prey on Chinese. The callers typically masquerade as Chinese authorities and pressure or persuade the victims to transfer money to the scammers' accounts. Spain has extradited 225 suspects to date, including 218 Taiwanese. Taiwan split from China in 1949 during a civil war, but China still considers Taiwan part of its territory. The two sides agreed in 2009 to fight crime jointly, but Beijing broke off contacts after the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who is less friendly to China than her predecessor. Shortly before she took office, Beijing began demanding that Kenya, Malaysia, Spain and other countries send phone and computer fraud suspects to China, where they face almost certain conviction and stiff sentences. Taiwan's Foreign Ministry called on Spain on Friday to uphold the spirit of humanity and the principle of human rights and to cooperate with Taiwan in the fight against transnational crime, the Central News Agency reported. This case is China's first joint operation with a European country against telecom fraud and its largest international one to date against such crime, the Public Security Ministry said. Liu Zhongyi, the deputy director of the Chinese Criminal Investigation Bureau, said that the joint operation was challenging because of major differences in the law and law enforcement concepts between China and Spain. "We have overcome various difficulties," he told CCTV, adding that the operation has laid a foundation for future cooperation with other police forces. Liu said that there are still many criminal gangs in the China-Myanmar border area and in Southeast Asia that are trying to scam Chinese. He pledged to "find the suspects, no matter to which country or which place they have fled." Source
  12. China issues 5G licenses to local telcos, TV network Chinese government awards commercial 5G licenses to the country's three biggest telcos--China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom--as well as state-owned China Broadcasting Network, just as Huawei announces it will be deploying 5G technology in Russia, with tests to start this year. China has issued commercial 5G licenses to its three biggest telcos and state-owned China Broadcasting Network, as it looks to accelerate the deployment of the high-speed mobile technology ahead of its previous target. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) also adds that foreign companies are welcomed to partake in the development of the country's 5G industry. Its minister Miao Wei said foreign participants could "share the benefits" generated as a result of 5G adoption in the Chinese market. The ministry on Thursday awarded licenses to China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom in a move it said marked an accelerated push to deploy the mobile technology ahead of its original plan to commercialise 5G in 2020. China Mobile had said its 5G services would be available in more than 40 cities across China by end-September this year. "5G licensing will be a significant boost to the domestic economy, as it will drive the transformation and upgrading of the real economy, promote the application of 5G to various fields including manufacturing and agriculture, and boost digital economic growth," said Wang Zhiqin, who heads the IMT2020 (5G) Promotion Group, established by the MIIT to drive 5G development in China. "Issuing licenses for China Broadcasting Network, a new fourth 5G carrier, will help build a next-generation communication network," Wang said in a report by state-owned newspaper China Daily. "Granting four 5G licenses is conducive to fostering rational competition and investment in the market." He said the MIIT would take steps to help fuel 5G adoption, improve resource allocation, encourage companies to participate in 5G deployment, and integrate 5G with vertical markets. According to market figures from industry group GSMA, China is expected to become one of the world's largest 5G markets by 2025 when it will be home to 460 million 5G connections, or 28 percent of the country's total mobile connections. The China Academy of Information and Communications Technology also projected that 5G would generate US$1.54 trillion in economic output and more than three million jobs between 2020 and 2025. Miao said the high-speed mobile technology would spur new market opportunities and fuel the growth of China's digital economy, with sectors such as "industrial internet" and "internet of vehicles" expected to see high 5G adoption. Networking equipment manufacturer Huawei, which is battling a 5G trade ban in US, said it was ready to drive commercial adoption of 5G in the country. The Chinese vendor had invested US$2 billion in its 5G research and development efforts since 2009. The MIIT's announcement had come shortly after Huawei inked an agreement with Russian mobile operator MTS to deploy 5G technology in Russian, with test runs scheduled to commence this year as well as in 2020. The agreement was inked on the sidelines Chinese president Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow, where he met Russian president Vladimir Putin. Source
  13. SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) will roll out commercial 5G licenses “in the near future”, Xinhua said. It did not provide further details. Beijing had granted licenses at the end of 2018 to China’s three state-owned carriers to conduct trials for 5G deployment. It has yet to approve full commercial deployment, however. Source
  14. China’s saber-rattling on rare-earths trade has US officials looking for options Coal runoff could be a solution; Pentagon wants funding for rare-earths independence. Rare earth oxides. Clockwise from top center: praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium, and gadolinium. Peggy Greb, US Department of Agriculture On Wednesday, Chinese newspapers ran commentaries warning the United States that escalating trade tensions would result in China cutting off its rare-earth-minerals trade with the US. China is the dominant supplier of rare-earth minerals around the world. The minerals are used in all sorts of advanced materials and play a prominent role in the operation of electric motors, wind turbines, and military-related material. According to Reuters, China's official People's Daily ran an article saying: "Undoubtedly, the US side wants to use the products made by China's exported rare-earths to counter and suppress China's development. The Chinese people will never accept this!" The commentary continued: "We advise the US side not to underestimate the Chinese side's ability to safeguard its development rights and interests. Don't say we didn't warn you!" A similar message apparently ran as an editorial in the Global Times on Wednesday. US response: Get rare-earths from coal waste China has thus far imposed mild tariffs on the rare-earth ore coming to it for processing. This tariff has squeezed the bottom lines of the owners of the only US rare-earth mine at Mountain Pass, Calif. Mountain Pass ships its ore to China for processing into industrial-grade metal, because there are no comparable rare-earths processing plants in the US. An Australian rare-earth minerals company announced last week that it would join with a US chemical company to build a rare-earths processing plant in Texas, but such a plant is likely years away from becoming a reality. China restricted its rare-earths supply before, in 2010, when it cut its export quota by 40 percent and sent prices skyward. In 2012, the US asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to intervene, and in 2014, the WTO said that China's restriction of rare-earth-metals exports violated international trade law. Despite the high prices caused by China's export restrictions in 2010, the country is still the dominant supplier of processed rare-earth minerals. This is, in part, because processing the minerals can be environmentally taxing and wealthier countries like the US have little appetite for being home to a processing plant that creates a lot of (sometimes radioactive) waste. But a group of US senators in April reintroduced the Rare Earth Element Advanced Coal Technologies Act (REEACT) to try to glean some of these rare-earth minerals from coal-mining sludge. (An earlier version of the bill died in the Senate in 2018.) REEACT would spend $23 million each year between 2020 and 2027 to "conduct R&D on the separation of rare-earth elements from coal and coal byproducts." So far, researchers at West Virginia University (WVU) have been working at a pilot facility that's funded by more than $4 million in grants from the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). They hope the plant will be able to extract certain rare-earth minerals from sludge created during acid coal-mine drainage. Let’s hear it for sludge! Treated sludge from West Virginia coal mines contain heavy rare-earths in particular, which are valuable and have few suppliers outside of China. "Studies show that the Appalachian basin could produce 800 tons of rare-earth elements per year, approximately the amount the defense industry would need," according to a WVU press release from 2018. Paul Ziemkiewicz, a director of WVU's Energy Institute testified before Congress in mid-May to brief lawmakers about advancements in the field. Ziemkiewicz said that refining coal-mine sludge to deliver certain rare-earth minerals may have a lower regulatory hurdle than would normally be expected. "Recovering rare-earths from acid mine drainage doesn't require much permitting," Ziemkiewicz told Congress. "You've already got infrastructure, you've got a workforce, you've got SMCRA permits required by the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, and the state and Federal clean water permits." Though the permitting might be simple, it's unclear how quickly the process could be commercialized, especially if the REEACT bill fails to pass. In the meantime, the Pentagon late yesterday issued a report urging US action or securing rare-earths supply, according to Reuters. The report apparently urges the White House to use economic incentives under the Defense Production Act to bolster rare-earths production. Source: China’s saber-rattling on rare-earths trade has US officials looking for options (Ars Technica)
  15. NEW YORK: In all likelihood, the enduring physical legacy of China’s internet boom will not be the glass-and-steel office complexes or the fancy apartments for tech elites. It will be the plastic. The astronomical growth of food delivery apps in China is flooding the country with takeout containers, utensils and bags. And the country’s patchy recycling system isn’t keeping up. The vast majority of this plastic ends up discarded, buried or burned with the rest of the trash, researchers and recyclers say. Scientists estimate the online takeout business in China was responsible for 1.6 million tonnes of packaging waste in 2017, a ninefold jump from two years before. That includes 1.2 million tonnes of plastic containers, 175,000 tonnes of disposable chopsticks, 164,000 tonnes of plastic bags and 44,000 tonnes of plastic spoons. The total for 2018 grew to an estimated 2 million tonnes. People in China still generate less plastic waste, per capita, than Americans. But researchers estimate that nearly three-quarters of China’s plastic waste ends up in inadequately managed landfills or out in the open, where it can easily make its way into the sea. More plastic enters the world’s oceans from China than from any other country. Recyclers manage to return some of China’s plastic trash into usable form to feed the nation’s factories. The country recycles around a quarter of its plastic compared with less than 10% in the US. But in China, takeout boxes do not end up recycled, by and large. They must be washed first. They weigh so little that scavengers must gather a huge number to amass enough to sell to recyclers. For many overworked or merely lazy people in urban China, the leading takeout platforms Meituan and Ele.me are replacing cooking or eating out as the preferred means of obtaining nourishment. Delivery is so cheap, and the apps offer such generous discounts, that it is now possible to believe that ordering a single cup of coffee for delivery is a sane, reasonable thing to do. China is home to a quarter of all plastic waste that is dumped out in the open. Scientists estimate that the Yangtze River emptied 367,000 tonnes of plastic debris into the sea in 2015, more than any other river in the world, and twice the amount carried by the Ganges in India and Bangladesh. Takeout apps may be indirectly encouraging restaurants to use more plastic. Restaurants in China that do business through Meituan and Ele.me say they are so dependent on customer ratings that they would rather use heavier containers, or sheathe an order in an extra layer of plastic wrap, than risk a bad review because of a spill. Source
  16. Chinese Game of Thrones Pirates Unaffected By US ‘Trade War’ Last Sunday's Game of Thrones finale was enjoyed by millions around the world but those trying to view through the official channel in China were left disappointed. With the US-China trade war being blamed for the blackout, citizens turned to file-sharing sites where global politics are easily bypassed. Following its launch in 2011, Game of Thrones became one of the most talked about and loved TV shows in history. Eight years and dozens of Emmy awards later, episode six of season eight aired last Sunday, bringing the curtain down for the final time. While millions were able to soak up this momentous TV occasion, fans in China were left brokenhearted. Tencent Video, the Chinese platform that has held the local distribution rights to the HBO series since 2014, revealed that it would not be broadcasting S08EP06. Citing a mysterious “media transmission problem”, Thrones fans were told that if they wanted to watch the show, that would have to be at a later date. Strangely, however, HBO told the Wall Street Journal that there had been no problem delivering content to Tencent, leading to speculation that the show had become yet another casualty of the trade war with the United States. But even as officials bicker and argue, the flood of content across the Internet continues, seemingly untroubled by the political turmoil. If official channels aren’t able to provide what the public wants, then unofficial swarms of like-minded people will do their jobs for them. Since the announcement, TorrentFreak has been looking around various popular torrent and eD2K (yes, that’s still a thing) sites in China. We can safely say that obtaining the final episode of Game of Thrones is not a problem. While the above image suggests availability for uTorrent and BitComet, a pair of torrent clients that are well known in the West, Chinese users are more likely to opt for the popular ‘Thunder’ client. Owned by Xunlei, Thunder is one of the world’s most popular torrent clients. As shown below, links for all episodes in the series are easy to obtain via ‘thunder’ links, which can be thought of as a magnet link variant. Of course, if the Chinese are relying on Western video sources to satisfy their S08EP06 needs, many of them will find they meet a language barrier that needs to be overcome. While Tencent offered Chinese subtitles, pirates are also happy to oblige with hand-translated SRT files, to match the Amazon-sourced video. Finally, in addition to trade war speculation, a piece in Fortune noted that the final episode contained a point about democracy that may not have gone down particularly well with Chinese authorities. This, it’s suggested, may have something to do with the episode failing to air as planned. Whether that’s the case or not, Game of Thrones episodes are already subject to censorship edits in the region, a point not lost on Chinese pirates who enthuse in site comment sections about whether copies of the show are cut or uncut versions. Needless to say, due to Tencent’s “media transmission problems”, it’s likely that most if not all pirate copies currently circulating fit into the latter category. There are some things that not even the Chinese government and its Great Firewall can control. Source
  17. China to lead APAC tech spend, 5G race ahead of global markets China will remain Asia's largest in terms of tech spending, growing 4 percent this year and 6 percent in 2020, and lead global markets in the 5G race where its investments in telecommunications account for 57 percent of the country's overall spend. China is expected to remain Asia's largest spender in technology, forking out US$256 billion this year and US$273 billion in 2020, as well as lead global markets in 5G where the country's investments in telecommunications account for 57 percent of its overall tech expenditure. In fact, it has outspent the US by US$24 billion in 5G since 2015, with its three major telcos unveiling plans to launch commercial 5G networks by next year, according to Forrester. The research firm projected that tech spending in the Chinese market would climb 4 percent this year and 6 percent in 2020, despite ongoing trade tensions with the US that had slowed China's economic growth. Japan, at US$198 billion, would be the region's second-largest tech spender this year and, together with China, would contribute 60 percent of the total Asia-Pacific tech budget. Country's government has introduced initiatives to train 12,000 people in artificial intelligence skillsets, including industry professionals and secondary school students. India would place third at US$70 billion, Forrester predicted, while South Korea and Australia would each spend US$50 billion. Countries such as Taiwan, Indonesia, and Hong Kong would each spend between US$10 billion and US$30 billion, with Singapore as pack leader. "In addition to its slowly progressing smart nation vision, Singapore is doubling down on digital to boost the competitiveness of enterprises at home and in the rest of Asean," Forrester said. "Singapore also sees artificial intelligence (AI) as an important enabler of long-term sustainability. The entry of digital-native firms like Amazon and Alibaba into Southeast Asia should create the necessary urgency for sectors like retail and logistics in other Asean markets to begin a long-overdue digital transformation." However, growth in the Asia-Pacific region's technology spending would slow to 4 percent next year amidst bleaker market conditions and waning tailwinds, the research firm said. It noted that digital transformation initiatives in 2019 would be more pragmatic and focused on improving operational efficiencies and agility. China also adopt a similar outlook in its digital transformation efforts as businesses looked to navigate effects of the ongoing trade conflict and a slowing local economy. Its investment in telecommunications, though, would remain robust and China this year was "best positioned" to win the global race in 5G implementations, Forrester said. It added that South Korea also was gunning to be a key player in 5G and AI, and would continue to aggressively invest in 5G technology development this year. Local telco KT had set aside US$20.5 billion for its 5G Open Lab through to 2023 and was expected to roll out one of the first global commercial 5G networks this year. The research firm further noted that public cloud adoption was growing in Asia-Pacific, particularly China, Australia, and New Zealand. Spending in this market, comprising public cloud platform services, middleware, and applications would climb to US$24 billion in 2020, up from US$18 billion in 2018. Chinese businesses are projected to spend US$256.61 billion on tech this year and another US$272.84 billion in 2020, focusing their investments on transforming operations and improving efficiencies as they brace themselves for an uncertain geopolitical climate, says Forrester. SEA internet economy to hit 'inflection' value of $72B in 2018 Southeast Asian internet economy will be worth US$72 billion by year-end, fuelled by increasing number of mobile users and high-growth markets such as e-commerce and ride-hailing, reveals annual Google-Temasek study. https://www.zdnet.com/article/digital-economy-can-push-asean-gdp-up-1t-if-markets-operate-as-one/ Currently representing just 7 percent of GDP, Asean's digital economy can drive an uplift of US$1 trillion by 2025 across the region, but digital trade barriers and lack of seamless cross-border payments are key barriers. Huawei warns bans will increase prices and put US behind in 5G race Huawei's Eric Xu told CNBC that blocking the company's 5G networking products will increase prices and make it harder for the US to become No. 1 in 5G. However, it has been a huge benefit to the two Scandinavian suppliers: Ericsson and Nokia. APAC firms recognise AI as competitive advantage, but see corporate culture as key challenge Majority of Asia-Pacific business leaders see artificial intelligence as a key enabler in ensuring a competitive edge, but just 41 percent have actually adopted such tools, reveals a new study, which points to culture and skills as main challenges. Source
  18. A new website exposes the extent to which Apple cooperates with Chinese government internet censorship, blocking access to Western news sources, information about human rights and religious freedoms, and privacy-enhancing apps that would circumvent the country’s pervasive online surveillance regime. The new site, AppleCensorship.com, allows users to check which apps are not accessible to people in China through Apple’s app store, indicating those that have been banned. It was created by researchers at GreatFire.org, an organization that monitors Chinese government internet censorship. In late 2017, Apple admitted to U.S. senators that it had removed from its app store in China more than 600 “virtual private network” apps that allow users to evade censorship and online spying. But the company never disclosed which specific apps it removed — nor did it reveal other services it had pulled from its app store at the behest of China’s authoritarian government. In addition to the hundreds of VPN apps, Apple is currently preventing its users in China from downloading apps from news organizations, including the New York Times, Radio Free Asia, Tibetan News, and Voice of Tibet. It is also blocking censorship circumvention tools like Tor and Psiphon; Google’s search app and Google Earth; an app called Bitter Winter, which provides information about human rights and religious freedoms in China; and an app operated by the Central Tibetan Authority, which provides information about Tibetan human rights and social issues. Some bans – such as those of certain VPN apps and the Times – have received media coverage in the past, but many never generate news headlines. Charlie Smith, a co-founder of GreatFire.org, told The Intercept that the group was motivated to launch the website because “Apple provides little transparency into what it censors in its app store. Most developers find out their app has been censored after they see a drop in China traffic and try to figure out of there is a problem. We wanted to bring transparency to what they are censoring.” Smith, who said that the website was still in a beta phase of early development, added that until now, it was not easy to check exactly which apps Apple had removed from its app stores in different parts of the world. For example, he said, “now we can see that the top 100 VPN apps in the U.S. app store are all not available in the China app store.” The site is not able to distinguish between apps taken down due to requests from the Chinese government because they violate legal limits on free expression versus those removed because they violate other laws, such as those regulating gambling. However, it is possible to determine from the content of each app – and whether it continues to be available in the U.S. or elsewhere – the likely reason for its removal. Radio Free Asia, for instance, has been subject to censorship for decades in China. The Washington, D.C.-based organization, which is funded by the U.S. government, regularly reports on human rights abuses in China and has had its broadcasts jammed and blocked in the country since the late 1990s. That censorship has also extended to the internet – now with the support of Apple. Rohit Mahajan, a spokesman for Radio Free Asia, told The Intercept that Apple had informed the organization in December last year that one of its apps was removed from the app store in China because it did not meet “legal requirements” there. “There was no option to appeal, as far as we could discern,” said Mahajan. Libby Liu, Radio Free Asia’s president, added that “shutting down avenues for credible, outside news organizations is a loss – not just for us, but for the millions who rely on our reports and updates for a different picture than what’s presented in state-controlled media. I would hope that Western companies would be committed to Western values when it comes to making decisions that could impact that access.” An Apple spokesperson declined to address removals of specific apps from China, but pointed to the company’s app store review guidelines, which state: “Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where you make them available.” The spokesperson said that Apple, in its next transparency report, is planning to release information on government requests to remove apps from its app store. The Chinese government expects Western companies to make concessions before it permits them to gain access to the country’s lucrative market of more than 800 million internet users. The concessions include compliance with the ruling Communist Party’s sweeping censorship and surveillance regime. In recent years, the Chinese state has beefed up its repressive powers. It has introduced a new “data localization” law, for instance, which forces all internet and communication companies to store Chinese users’ data on the country’s mainland — making it more accessible to Chinese authorities. In accordance with the data localization law, Apple agreed to a deal with state-owned China Telecom to control and store Chinese users’ iCloud data. Apple claims that it retains control of the encryption keys to the data, ensuring that people’s photographs and other private information cannot be accessed by the Chinese state. However, human rights groups remain concerned. Amnesty International has previously stated, “By handing over its China iCloud service to a local company without sufficient safeguards, the Chinese authorities now have potentially unfettered access to all Apple’s Chinese customers’ iCloud data. Apple knows it, yet has not warned its customers in China of the risks.” Apple CEO Tim Cook has presented himself as a defender of users’ privacy. During a speech in October last year, Cook declared, “We at Apple believe that privacy is a fundamental human right.” It is unclear how Cook reconciles that sentiment with Apple’s removal of privacy-enhancing software from its app store in China, which helps ensure that the country’s government can continue to monitor its citizens and crack down on opponents. Cook appears to have viewed compliance with Chinese censorship and surveillance as worthwhile compromises. “We would obviously rather not remove the apps,” he said in 2017, “but like we do in other countries we follow the law wherever we do business. … We’re hopeful that over time the restrictions we’re seeing are lessened, because innovation really requires freedom to collaborate and communicate.” Source
  19. Ren Zhengfei speaks days after the arrest of another Huawei employee, this time in Poland Ren Zhengfei, founder and chief executive officer of Huawei Technologies Co. SHENZHEN, China—The founder and CEO of Huawei Technologies Co. said his company has never spied for the Chinese government—and never would—as he made a rare public appearance following the arrest of his daughter in Canada. “No law requires any company in China to install mandatory back doors,” Ren Zhengfei said Tuesday. “I personally would never harm the interest of my customers and me and my company would not answer to such requests.” Ren didn’t say what specifically he would do to resist such requests. All companies doing business in China are required by law to hand over customer data to the government in cases that touch on national security. In China, national-security threats are broadly defined and can include speech critical of the Communist Party. Ren said he missed his daughter, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, but was optimistic justice would prevail. Meng was arrested on Dec. 1 in Vancouver at the request of U.S. authorities, which accuse her of lying about the company’s business with Iran. She denies the charges. Huawei’s reclusive 74-year-old founder, a former army engineer, also praised President Trump as a “great president” and maintained Huawei is owned by its employees. The U.S. has raised concerns about Huawei’s ties to the Chinese state and that its telecom equipment could be used by Beijing to spy. More At [WSJ] Source
  20. Ransomware threatens to overheat and destroy mining rigs if victims don't infect 1,000 other devices or don't pay a 10 Bitcoin ransom. A new strain of ransomware has been observed targeting Bitcoin mining rigs. At the time of writing, most of the infections have been reported in China, the country where most of the world's cryptocurrency mining farms are located. Named hAnt, this new ransomware strain was first seen in August of last year, but a new wave of infections has been reported hitting mining farms earlier this month. Most of the infected mining rigs are Antminer S9 and T9 devices, used for Bitcoin mining, but there have also been reports of hAnt infecting Antminer L3 rigs, used for mining Litecoin. In rare instances, Avalon Miner equipment (used for Bitcoin), were also reported as infected, but in much smaller numbers. It is unclear how crooks first infect a mining farm's data center or equipment, but some Chinese security experts suggest that hAnt comes hidden inside tainted versions of mining rig firmware that has been making the rounds online since last summer. According to reports in Chinese media, once hAnt infects a mining rig, it immediately locks the device and prevents it from mining any new currency. When equipment owners connect to devices remotely (via a CLI) or manually (using LCD screens) the first thing they see is a splash screen depicting an ant and two pickaxes in green ASCII characters, similar to the red skull splash screen displayed by the NotPetya ransomware. Clicking anywhere on the screen or pressing any key loads the hAnt ransom note, in both English and Chinese text. The ransom note is somewhat unique when compared to ransom demands seen on desktop ransomware variants because victims are given a choice. They can either pay a 10 Bitcoin ($36,000) ransom to remove the ransomware from the mining rig, or they can download a malicious firmware update that they have to apply to other mining rigs to further spread the ransomware. If victims fail to pay the ransom or infect at least 1,000 other devices, the ransom note threatens to turn off the mining rig's fan and its overheat protection, leading to the device's destruction. There haven't been reports of any destroyed equipment just yet, suggesting that this is an empty threat, however, experts say hAnt could theoretically abuse an overclocking feature in the Antminer firmware to overheat and compromise devices. Instead, there have been reports that hAnt can also spread on its own, automatically, to other mining equipment connected to the same network, however, this mechanism hasn't been explained in more technical details, as of yet. However, an hAnt worm-like component would explain a report from Yibenchain, the Chinese news site which first broke the story. The news outlet cited an executive from BTC.Top, a local Bitcoin mining company, who claimed that hAnt infected over 4,000 devices within minutes. Besides financial losses caused by hAnt after the ransomware stopped normal mining operations, victims also reported losses caused by the time needed to reflash the infected mining equipment's SD card to remove the ransomware and install clean firmware. Last year, Bitmain, the company behind the Antminer line of mining rigs issued a security alert warning customers not to install firmware downloaded from other sites. The alert also includes basic advice on securing all types of mining rigs, not just Antminer equipment. The English version hAnt ransom note is available below: Source
  21. January 17, 2019 China company forces employees to crawl on road If you are one of those employees who fails to complete their targets on time, just thank the gods that you are not part of a Chinese company, which is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Workers from a Chinese company were recently forced to crawl on a road as punishment for failing to hit their year-end targets. The staff were on all fours as they made their way through the busy traffic with a man walking ahead of them holding a flag. Thankfully, the shocking process stopped when the police intervened, but not before the video made it online. In the video, it can be seen that the pedestrians were left shocked by the scene, as they witness the employees. According to reports, the company was temporarily shut down after the incident. After the video was posted, the incident received huge backlash over the insensitive behaviour. While someone commented saying, "I hope these companies which trample on their workers' dignity would be closed down." Some people also targeted the employees for silently accepting such kind of behaviour. People said, "How could they give up their dignity for money?" But this is not the first time that workers in a Chinese company were subjected to humiliating punishments. Remember when last year a footage of workers getting slapped for performing poorly went viral online? This is a prime example of taking insensitive behaviour and toxic workplace environment to despicable level. Source
  22. SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s plans for tax cuts targeting smaller companies will help to support employment and economic stability, and will expand the country’s tax base over the long term, Premier Li Keqiang was quoted as saying on Saturday. China's Premier Li Keqiang “Implementing tax cuts for small and micro enterprises is mainly to support employment,” Li said in comments posted on the Chinese government’s website. Developing and strengthening small companies is linked to economic stability and stable employment, he said. “Looking at the long term, this will continue to expand the tax base, conserve tax resources and ultimately achieve wins for mass employment, corporate profits and fiscal revenues,” he was quoted as saying, referring to the corporate tax cuts. Li’s comments come amid growing official concern over China’s slowing economic growth and its impact on the labor market. Chinese authorities plan to set a lower economic growth target of 6 to 6.5 percent in 2019, compared with “around” 6.5 percent in 2018, sources told Reuters, as weakening domestic demand and a damaging trade war with the United States drag on business activity and consumer confidence. Analysts expect that China’s economy grew around 6.6 percent last year, its slowest pace since 1990, and it is expected to cool further in coming months before a slew of support measures start to kick in. “The bottom line for the policymakers is social stability, which is crucially tied to the unemployment rate and job creation,” analysts at BoAML said in a recent note. “With U.S.-China trade risks still looming large, we believe policymakers would not hesitate to take pre-emptive measures to stabilize expectations on job stability.” More growth boosting steps are expected this year as policymakers seek to avert the risk of a sharper slowdown. China’s State Council, or cabinet, said on Jan. 9 that it would further reduce taxes for smaller companies. On Friday, Finance Minister Liu Kun said authorities would step up tax and fee cuts to lower corporate burdens. Source
  23. Times are tough in 2019 thanks to the US-China trade war and an escalating war of words between Washington and Beijing over tech leadership Chinese companies at CES all agreed though that while the trade war has adversely impacted their business in the US, it remains a very important market CES, the world’s largest client electronics commerce present held yearly in Las Vegas, has historically been an occasion for firms, from international names reminiscent of Sony, Samsung and Huawei to smaller Shenzhen-based suppliers, to indicate off their expertise, services – normally to an keen crowd. It has even been known as the ‘Chinese language Electronics Present’ lately due to the growing presence of members from China. However for Chinese language suppliers hoping to make use of the occasion as a technique to achieve new enterprise leads, occasions are robust in 2019 due to the US-China commerce struggle and an escalating disagreement between Washington and Beijing over management in a spread of innovative applied sciences and improvements, reminiscent of synthetic intelligence and 5G cell networks. China cools on world’s largest tech present as commerce struggle bites The US and China, the 2 largest economies on this planet, have slapped billions of {dollars} in tariffs on one another, sending markets reeling and commentators right into a frenzy over the long-term implications for US-China relations. However on the Design and Supply tent, the place part suppliers set out their wares, it was extra quiet then ordinary as rows of Chinese salespeople manning small cubicles stood forlornly in entrance of product shows, making an attempt exhausting to catch the attention of passers-by within the hope of snaring a sale. Chinese firms that the Publish spoke to at CES all agreed that the US-China commerce struggle has adversely impacted their enterprise with US clients, however all stated that whatever the lowering margins, the US market stays extraordinarily essential. “We’re positively affected by the tariffs, in actual fact certainly one of our large US clients is shifting their manufacturing operations outdoors of China to Vietnam to keep away from a rise in the price of doing enterprise,” stated Yuki, a saleswoman from Dongguan-based Ruiheng Digital Co. Ltd., which manufactures energy adaptors and circuit boards. Source
  24. New reports from The New York Times detail some of the mind-boggling statistics and gravity that the sensationally popular WeChat messaging app yields across China. In a separate report, the paper details a government led initiative to silence Chinese Twitter users via family related threats to even go so far as physically detaining violators. Although Twitter is blocked on China’s heavily censored internet, that isn’t halting President Xi Jinping’s efforts to eliminate what his government calls “suspicious internet activity”. The report recalls a specific interaction between a young Twitter violator who was caught by police. A Chinese Twitter user cried: As per the popularity of WeChat — the numbers are truly astounding. With approximately 800 million active internet users in China, there are over 1 billion active WeChat accounts. Basically, pretty much every single resident in China has at least one WeChat account, with many having multiple. If you’re unfamiliar with what exactly WeChat is, 9to5Mac’s Cam MacMurchy recently took a closer look at the expansive app, which you can read here. Source
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