Celia Chen

Celia Chen

Reporter for the Tech desk covering China's tech companies news

Celia Chen is a contributor to Inkstone. She covers technology for the South China Morning Post.

Location
Shenzhen
Language spoken
English, Mandarin, Cantonese
Areas of Expertise
China tech
Chinese residents grow nervous about facial data privacy
It took 20 minutes of arguing before the hotel in downtown Shenzhen, a tech hub in southern China, finally allowed Wang Qiyu to check in without taking a scan of his face. Wang, a software developer who returned to China two years ago after getting his doctorate in the US, said he felt harassed by the hotel.  “Airport, train stations, stores and hotels – almost every organization asks for facial data,” the 31-year-old said. “But no one tells me why they collect the data and how they protect it.” He is not alone: Chinese consumers, generally thought to be more accepting of trading privacy for security, are growing increasingly vocal about data privacy concerns as facial recognition becomes mo
Chinese residents grow nervous about facial data privacy
Chinese youth are falling for age-old fraud
It’s one of the oldest scams in the book – a caller says your kids are in trouble and asks for money. The surprise is that many people, often the elderly, still fall for this age-old trick. But a bigger surprise may be that the racket is getting a Gen Z makeover, and young people are falling for it. The accomplices: easy one-touch mobile payment transfers and the fact that most Gen Z, the digital natives who prefer online chats to voice calls, won’t think of calling the other party to check. For Xue Youbo, an 18-year-old college student, it was all over in a few seconds. The fraudster hacked into a social media account of one of Xue’s friends, enabling him to impersonate the friend and send
Chinese youth are falling for age-old fraud
Hate giving up data for access? Tell these Chinese all about it
At a restaurant in China’s southern tech hub of Shenzhen, 28-year-old engineer Wang Xiaoxu was hungry. But her hunger quickly turned to frustration and then resignation. Refusing to share her personal data with the ordering system, she was blocked from buying a meal. She gave up. “There were no paper menus, only a QR code that can be scanned on the table,” Wang said. “I had to agree with a request to collect my WeChat name, portrait and region and could not see the menu, make an order or pay my bill if I refused.” Wang’s experience is becoming an increasingly common problem in China, where people have been quick to embrace the convenience offered by digital services but slower to understand
Hate giving up data for access? Tell these Chinese all about it
Inside a Chinese detox center for internet addicts
For weeks, Li Jiazhuo’s mom watched him skip meals and forgo sleep to play online games for 20 hours a day. Then one afternoon in May, the 14-year-old was bundled away by two burly men. They said they were from the Education Bureau, there to investigate his skipping school. But they were orderlies from an internet detox center run by a former Chinese army colonel. “He had cut himself off from the real world,” said Li’s mother, Qiu Cuo, crying as she recounted the events of that afternoon. “We dared not block his access to the internet for fear he would harm himself. It was the end of my world.” Li is one of about 100 mostly teenage boys and girls at the Adolescent Psychological Development B
Inside a Chinese detox center for internet addicts
A tech hub takes blows to its ‘dragon’s head’
There’s a joke going around China that the trade war is really between Washington and one Shenzhen neighborhood: Yue Hai. The district is home to some of China’s biggest tech names: social media giant Tencent, telecoms maker ZTE and drone giant DJI.  “Rather than China, it seems the US government has started a tech war with Yue Hai. It is the district officer who should attend the negotiations with US President Donald Trump,” said the joke that has since gone viral. In Yue Hai’s restaurants and coffee shops, the main topic of conversation is now the US campaign against Huawei – also headquartered in Shenzhen. Many are now waking up to the possible blows the US-China trade and tech war could
A tech hub takes blows to its ‘dragon’s head’
Business book ‘The American Trap’ is selling like hot cakes in China
As photos of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei showing journalists around his office began to circulate this week, a book on his desk caught the eye of the public – The American Trap. It was a Chinese translation of Le Piège Américain, written by Frenchman Frederic Pierucci, a former executive with French rail transport company Alstom, about his five-year tussle with the US Department of Justice. It was co-authored by journalist Matthieu Aron. The American Trap, first released in France in January, was published in China in April, just as China and the US struggled to reach an agreement to end their trade war. Its Chinese tagline reads: “how to dismantle other countries’ business giants through no
Business book ‘The American Trap’ is selling like hot cakes in China
China’s soaring market for drone-flying farmers
It’s been 10 years since he worked at a carmaker, and Zhu Beibei still remembers the acrid stench of rubber tires. Then 19, it was his first job out of technical school in Wuhan, central China. He was paid 900 yuan ($134) a month and there was a lot of overtime. He quit after six months. “I had to wake up at 2pm and work until at least 10am,” Zhu, now 29, told the South China Morning Post. “Every day I worked like a robot.” After he left, he bounced around various jobs, including selling farm produce, before a friend asked him if he had ever flown a drone. He had not, but after five days of training he became a certified drone pilot and joined a pesticide-spraying drone company. Today, Zhu
China’s soaring market for drone-flying farmers
China wants to have its own Silicon Valley by 2035
China has announced ambitious plans to build its own “bay area” to rival Silicon Valley in technological might. The Chinese government has pledged to turn the so-called Greater Bay Area, which comprises 11 cities in southern China, into a global tech and financial center. The area is already the country’s most economically dynamic region, containing the tech hub of Shenzhen, the financial center of Hong Kong and the gambling hub of Macau. The initiative is part of China’s overall push to shift away from low-end manufacturing and build an economy driven by consumption and innovation. It also aims to bring the two former European colonies of Hong Kong and Macau, now semi-autonomous territories
China wants to have its own Silicon Valley by 2035
Is 12 hours of waiting worth $30 from the boss?
The people in this photo aren’t lining up to buy new iPhones or cronuts. They’re employees of Tencent Holdings, waiting outside the tech giant’s headquarters in Shenzhen to receive cash-filled red envelopes from company chairman Pony Ma and other senior management. A long line started forming from Tuesday morning for a chance to get a second of face time with Ma, China’s third-richest man. It is customary in many parts of China for companies or bosses to give their employees red packets to start the new work year, as a form of good wishes. (Although the Chinese economy’s slowdown is poised to hit its tech sector hard.) The most diehard employees were in place since before 8pm on Monday, me
Is 12 hours of waiting worth $30 from the boss?
Christmas comes early for China’s gamers
It could be a very merry Christmas for China’s gamers and game developers alike. After a nine-month freeze, the Chinese government is once again starting to approve video games for release in the country. Publishers in China are required to submit games for review to authorities before they can be sold in the domestic market, but the process had been suspended since April as Beijing tightened its control over gaming in China. Feng Shixin, an official with the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department, said on Friday that the country’s new gaming regulator has completed reviewing an initial batch of video games, which will soon receive licenses for domestic publication. “The first batc
Christmas comes early for China’s gamers