China technology

China technology

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.

The world’s second largest dam was built insanely fast thanks to AI
China’s newest hydropower will produce so much energy when completed in July that it will dwarf the production of America’s Hoover Dam.  Standing nearly 985 feet tall, and made with more than 8 million cubic metres of concrete, the Baihetan dam towers over the upper section of the Yangtze River.  It will power homes, office buildings and factories as far away as Jiangsu, a coastal province more than 1,240 miles to the east. But it is the speed of the project, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, that has raised the eyebrows of experts, even in China.  Despite many civil engineering difficulties, including treacherous terrain and a remote location, Baihetan has taken just four years to b
China is trying to make policy moves that won't shake the world
The rise of China has been one of the defining stories of the 21st century, and the country has officially become one of the few countries where domestic changes affect the rest of the world. If China stumbles, the whole world will feel a bruise. Which is why this year’s all-important political meeting, called Lianghui or “two sessions,” which wrapped up last week, was aimed at making sure China doesn’t trip on its own shoelaces. “Whether that be dual circulation economic strategy, innovation, tech self-sufficiency and arresting China’s population aging problem, there is a palpable sense that the focus of this year’s “two sessions” is about the internal challenges faced by China,” said Adam
China may not be able to stop overwork culture even if it wants
Legally, China promises to cultivate a healthy work-life balance. Labor laws limit employees to work 8 hours a day, or 44 hours per week, with overtime limited to 36 hours per month.   The reality is the polar opposite. Many workers in China are subject to a grueling work culture that is so ingrained it is drawing serious concern from Chinese lawmakers.  But people are doubtful that the “996” culture - working from 9am to 9pm for 6 days per week - will change anytime soon.  One official, Li Guohua, a deputy of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), suggested that regulators should clamp down on the overwork culture and “show their teeth” to companies participating i
China may become world’s first to bring AI to legal system
China may soon become the world’s first country to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into a legal system as authorities want to use the technology to overhaul its judicial operations. The hope is that AI can help monitor judges, streamline court procedures and boost judicial credibility, according to the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) work report released during China’s annual parliamentary sessions on Monday. The 14th five-year plan, outlined at the year’s “two sessions” political gathering, sets a roadmap to upgrade China’s legal system by 2025.  According to legal experts, the changes are part of China’s “smart court” initiative, a signature policy of SPC president Zhou Qiang. He want
How an anime site transformed itself into the YouTube of China
What was once a niche platform targetting fans of anime and comics has transformed itself into one of the Chinese tech industry’s biggest success stories.  Named Bilibili, an army of dedicated users known as “uploaders” has transformed the company from a prototype site built in three days by a recent college graduate to the “YouTube of China.” Originally called MikuFans, and later renamed to Bilibili, the company has leveraged a unique combination of original features and an avid fan base to make it the go-to platform for many content creators. This has made the company a big success, both with its users and with Wall Street. Since going public on the Nasdaq in early 2018, Bilibili’s share
Chinese work culture tries to find its Zen
China’s grueling 72-hour work week has become a defining feature of its rise into a modern tech powerhouse. But now, young entrepreneurs are hoping an older tradition can provide a guiding light. Known as “Buddhist entrepreneurs,” they are thumbing their noses at China’s controversial “996” work culture – which stands for working 9am to 9pm six days a week. Among those embracing the philosophy are Su Hua, the CEO of TikTok-like short video app Kuaishou, and Chen Rui, the chairman of one of China’s most popular video platforms Bilibili. They espouse a more chilled-out approach when it comes to work, choosing when, where and how many hours they work. But many entrepreneurs and investors are s
Chinese companies can create the next Clubhouse, just not in China
The surging popularity of Clubhouse has many people asking if it will take the mantle as the next up-and-coming startup, and Chinese companies see an opportunity to take advantage of the business model.  Just not in China.  Macro Lai Jinnan, the founder and CEO of Lizhi, a Chinese podcasting app, said in an interview with the  South China Morning Post that Clubhouse-like apps are unlikely to succeed in China because of the country’s strict content regulations, but he believes Chinese companies are still well-positioned to capitalize the new social audio app craze in other countries. “It will be very difficult to create a Clubhouse-like app in China. The form of Clubhouse will most likely be
35 may be too old to find work in China
Is 35 suddenly becoming “over the hill” in China? It certainly feels that way to some workers.  As the competition for jobs becomes more fierce among a pandemic-related economic slowdown, a growing number of employment ads are posting age limits of 35 for fresh applicants.  The problem is so widespread that state media has even branded it the “age 35 phenomenon.” In his forties, David Huang is one of the scores of Chinese workers above 35 feeling increasingly vulnerable.  After the small clothing factory he owned in the southern province of Guangdong closed last year, he now roams between wet markets and roadside stalls, trying to sell his remaining inventory of about 10,000 garments. “I’m
Clubhouse in China is a party that knows the cops are coming
UPDATE: Multiple media outlets are reporting that Clubhouse went offline in China on the evening of February 8.  Clubhouse, the hottest new social media app from Silicon Valley, is the talk of the town in mainland China because it has emerged as a rare space to discuss sensitive topics freely.  On China’s largest e-commerce platform, Taobao, a search using the keywords “clubhouse invitation” in Chinese generated more than two dozen results. An online shop in Shanghai, boldly calling itself “clubhouse invitation code,” has sold more than 200 invitations in the last month, with codes priced up to US$50. For users in mainland China, the app, which doesn’t support text or video, has offered a fr
Nobody really knows who owns data in China
Data is the new oil, or at least that is what technologists will have you believe. And much like battles over natural resources, there is a virulent debate about who owns the information.  Two of China’s largest tech companies – TikTok owner ByteDance and Tencent –  are locked in a legal fight about who owns the data created by their users. On Monday, the case was accepted by a court in Beijing, a move that experts said could become a “landmark” case as authorities ramp up antitrust efforts. Bytedance is accusing Tencent of blocking links to Douyin, its Chinese-version of TikTok, on WeChat and QQ, saying they are owners of the data their users create.  Tencent has vowed to countersue, accus