Latest news, features and opinion on China’s technology industry, including AI, the US-China tech war, 5G, smartphone makers and apps, and issues surrounding China’s Great Firewall.

China’s growth falls to 29-year low. Official says progress ‘unstoppable’
China’s economy grew by 6.1% in 2019, the lowest annual growth rate for 29 years, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday. The gross domestic product (GDP) figure came in a year in which the Chinese economy was hammered by US tariffs as a result of the trade war. The new data comes a day after China and the United States signed an initial trade deal on Wednesday, marking something of a ceasefire in the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies. However, despite falling to a new low since 1990, when political turmoil drove economic growth down to 3.9%, the 6.1% rate met the target range of between 6.0% and 6.5% set by the central government at the beginning of last year
China’s growth falls to 29-year low. Official says progress ‘unstoppable’
Shanghai to launch mandatory face scans for drug buyers
Shanghai is rolling out a drug collection terminal equipped with facial recognition technology for medicine buyers in an effort to stem abuse. At the new terminals, pharmacists and buyers of controlled medicines – such as those containing sedatives and psychotropic substances – will be asked to verify their identities by scanning their faces at pharmacies or hospitals, local media reported on Wednesday. The system, which scans both pharmacists and patients, is designed to flag potential and high-risk abusers as well as prevent health care professionals from colluding with patients in obtaining drugs illegally.  The move is expected to prevent potential abusers from obtaining prescription med
Shanghai to launch mandatory face scans for drug buyers
Made (mostly) in China 2025: Beijing wants to cut reliance on foreign tech
After the Trump administration showed itself willing and capable of blocking Chinese access to US technology as US-China tensions rose, Beijing may have learned. China is aiming to increase its reliance on domestic production for key components, including chips and control systems, to 75% by 2025, according to a former official. The target reflects Beijing’s determination to reduce its dependence on imports by expanding its national manufacturing innovation centers to 40 from the 15 at the end of 2019. Domestic production currently only provides around a third of the key components required by China, but Li Yizhong, a former industry and information technology minister, said this week that t
Made (mostly) in China 2025: Beijing wants to cut reliance on foreign tech
More people downloaded this Chinese app than Facebook
TikTok, the Chinese-owned short video platform popular among American teens, and Douyin, the domestic version of the service, became the world’s second-most downloaded app last year, according to market analyst Sensor Tower. TikTok and Douyin amassed a combined 740 million downloads last year, overtaking Facebook and Messenger, trailing only WhatsApp (which, like the Messenger app, is also owned by Facebook). As one of the rare Chinese-owned services that took off overseas, TikTok’s rise in the US has been met with pressure from lawmakers over national security concerns and alleged censorship.  The scrutiny has come at a time of mounting skepticism in Washington over China’s rising global in
More people downloaded this Chinese app than Facebook
US Senate proposes spending $1 billion to fight Huawei’s 5G dominance
New legislation introduced in the US Senate on Tuesday aims to create a viable Western alternative to China’s telecoms giant Huawei and undercut the country’s dominance in global 5G networks. The lack of global alternatives to Huawei has been one of the biggest problems in Washington’s bid to counter Chinese strength in 5G networks – the faster and higher capacity fifth generation of telecommunication systems. The Senate bill tries to address that gap. If passed, it would spend more than $1 billion to bolster US competitiveness, allocate new spectrum and support research and development in the telecommunications industry. “We are at a critical point in history for defining the future of the
US Senate proposes spending $1 billion to fight Huawei’s 5G dominance
What makes Elon Musk dance like nobody’s watching in China
The video came with a warning, for good reason. Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla, shared footage of him awkwardly dancing on stage at a Shanghai event for his electric car company.  In his own telling, the video of his flailing limps was “NSFW!!” – not safe for work – internet lingo usually applied to porn and other stuff you don’t want to be caught watching in the office. At Tesla Giga Shanghai NSFW!! pic.twitter.com/1yrPyzJQGZ — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2020 Scripted or not, Musk’s unabashed display of joy is testimony to the good fortune he’s had in China as he sought to expand Tesla’s sales and production.  The Shanghai event was held on Tuesday to mark the delivery to cust
What makes Elon Musk dance like nobody’s watching in China
6 hours spent online per day: China’s mobile population in numbers
Chinese mobile users are spending more time than ever on their devices, according to a report published by research firm QuestMobile on Thursday. From the beginning of 2019 to the end of last November, each user spent an average of 6.2 hours a day – or 1.8 full days a week – using mobile devices to get online. The number represents an 11.3% increase over the same period last year, data from QuestMobile showed.  The average number of apps they used per month also increased from 21.3 in 2018 to 23.6 in 2019, according to the report. 6.2 hours Average time Chinese users spend on their mobile devices per day A separate report by research firm eMarketer in May last year estimated that the average
6 hours spent online per day: China’s mobile population in numbers
China is struggling to break reliance on old economy
As China battles a trade war-fuelled economic slowdown, one of its main growth engines – the “new economy” – is stalling. The “new economy” has never been officially defined, but it is a concept loosely applied to a wide range of industries, from artificial intelligence and advanced manufacturing to fintech and web-based tourism. Beijing had hoped these industries would propel China from a traditional economy powered by unsustainable infrastructure investment and low-end manufacturing to a modern services-based economy. New research suggests this is not happening. Compared to 2014, the share of Chinese companies concentrated in the new economy has fallen.  Those companies that are in the ne
China is struggling to break reliance on old economy
Chinese bathrooms get coffee machines, face scan in ‘toilet revolution’
Since 2015, China has been engaged in a “toilet revolution” to clean up much-lamented public loos around the nation. Now the battle for better bathrooms is entering a new phase in places like Hangzhou. The capital of the eastern province of Zhejiang recently introduced a “smart” toilet, that turns answering nature’s call into a unique, relaxing and even pleasant experience.
Chinese bathrooms get coffee machines, face scan in ‘toilet revolution’