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An electronic ticker displays stock figures in Pudong's Lujiazui Financial District in Shanghai, China, on 29 January 2024. (Raul Ariano/Bloomberg)

Private equity in China heads for exits amid three-year stock slump

China ended 2023 with the world’s worst-performing equity market as the blue-chip CSI 300 Index fell for the third straight year, plunging 35% over 36 months, making it difficult for private equity and venture capital firms to exit their investments. How will these firms deal with the country's stock slump?
Sun Weidong has lived in the US for over 30 years, but more than half of that time on the streets of New York. (Screen grab from video)

American dream shattered: Chinese drifter with doctoral degree stirs debate in China

Recent news reports featured a Chinese man who slept on the streets of New York, who turned out to be a doctoral degree holder educated in Fudan University and the US. The story of how he did not return to China after getting a scholarship and became a US citizen but ultimately ended up on the streets drew reactions from the Chinese, who questioned why China should take him back.
The logo of China's Tencent Music Entertainment Group is seen next to an earphone in this illustration picture taken 22 March 2021. (Florence Lo/Illustration/Reuters)

China’s internet content kings struggle to keep users paying

China’s internet content industry has finally cultivated its first group of paying customers following years of heavy spending and heated competition. Maintaining momentum, however, will be a tall order.
The Alibaba Group logo is seen during the company's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival at their headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, on 11 November 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Big tech is changing in China, and so are its hiring plans

China’s tech sector has been making mass layoffs, freezing hiring and cutting pay since 2022, and there is little sign of a bounce-back. Cost reductions, efficiency enhancement or talent structure optimisation are often the words these companies use. But what is really weighing on the job market are sluggish business growth, intensified market competition and the unprecedented challenges of the business landscape amid new technology.
People dressed as topless “Batman” at the Halloween parade. (Weibo)

Shanghai youths release pent-up emotions at 'Halloween with Chinese characteristics'

Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing recaps this year’s Halloween parade in Shanghai, which saw young people expressing their thoughts on current affairs through their costumes. Will Halloween celebrations be as boisterous next year?
Li fired back against netizens, stating: “Sometimes you should reflect on yourself to find out why your salary hasn’t gone up after years of work. Have you been working hard enough?” (Internet)

How China's 'lipstick king' lost 63,000 livestream followers overnight

A livestreamer’s comments over the cost of an eyebrow pencil recently brewed a public opinion storm in China. While the incident may be stirred by the livestreamer’s insensitive comments, it speaks to the public’s deeper discontent with the grim economic outlook and employment prospects. Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing tells us more.
A group of “diving grandpas” from Tianjin recently went viral. (Screenshots from Weibo video)

When Tianjin's diving grandpas stop diving

Tourism in China is still recovering following the pandemic, and some areas see a surge of tourists after going viral on the internet. One such place is Tianjin, whose claim to fame is a group of “diving grandpas” diving off the 6-metre-high Shizilin Bridge, despite signs prohibiting such activities. Sadly, they have declared that they will stop doing so. How long will other such ground-up activities last?
A livestreamer promotes coal during a livestreaming session on the Douyin app, in this illustration picture taken on 15 June 2023. (Florence Lo/Illustration/Reuters)

WeChat’s short video e-commerce drive suffers from a lack of customers

Tencent is pushing hard into the crowded social video market through its three-and-a-half-year-old Channels platform, a function embedded in WeChat. It has hopes of deriving associated revenue from livestreamed e-commerce. But how will this platform compare to frontrunners in the field such as Douyin and Kuaishou?
A person tries an Oculus Meta Quest virtual reality headset at the Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona, Spain, on 28 February 2023. (Josep Lago/AFP)

Tencent, ByteDance gut metaverse units in virtual reality check

Major staff cuts at the metaverse units of ByteDance and Tencent have highlighted the sometimes disorganised ways that big tech firms have handled investments in new businesses. Now, grand development plans have been shelved, not so much because of a looming regulatory risk, but because of the difficulties of navigating a vaguely defined sector with patchy overall demand.