Digital economy

A news report on Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech in the city of Shenzhen is shown on a public screen in Hong Kong, 14 October 2020. (Roy Liu/Bloomberg)

Xi's five-year plan for Shenzhen: A hard road ahead?

Shenzhen has grown rapidly over the past 40 years, such that its GDP reached a massive 2.7 trillion RMB in 2019. Just this month, the Chinese government released a five-year plan to make Shenzhen a “pilot demonstration area for socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Amid plans for reforms and new initiatives, EAI academic Yu Hong asks: How much autonomy will Shenzhen have, and what challenges will it face?
A general view shows a market in Phnom Penh on 2 October 2020. (Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

Cambodia: Hard landing for China’s soft power?

Since the early 2000s, there has been an influx of Chinese nationals, investment, and development assistance as part of China’s projection of its soft power in Cambodia, most prominently in Sihanoukville. All this has led to resentment among Cambodians, amid China's seeming efforts to turn Sihanoukville into Cambodia's Shenzhen.
Robin Li, co-founder and chairman of Baidu.com Inc., poses during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on 23 January 2008. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg News)

What happened to Baidu, once China's golden boy of innovation?

Wang Yanbo picks apart news of Baidu’s alleged plans to raise up to $2 billion over three years to invest in a biotech start-up, which would use AI technology to develop drugs and help diagnose diseases. Is this yet another example of business giants flailing into unchartered territory to seek new growth? Wasn’t China’s multi-billion dollar search market Baidu’s to harvest once Google ceased its Chinese operations in 2010 amid cyberattacks and censorship issues?
Pedestrians in a crowded street surrounded by small shops in the city of Changsha, China's Hunan province, 7 September 2020. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

China's e-commerce giants saving youths from the brink of suicide

Statistics show that approximately 100,000 China youths die of suicide every year. In times of coronavirus, the risk of people having suicidal thoughts and possibly acting on them has also increased. Help comes in the form of “suicide interventionists” from China's e-commerce platforms. As online shopping becomes more prevalent, these portals are fast becoming the front lines of shopping for self-harm. Zaobao journalist Zeng Shi looks at how e-commerce companies are taking a proactive role in suicide prevention.
This photo taken on 1 September 2020 shows elementary school students attending a class on the first day of the new semester in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. (STR/AFP)

Why online education fails to thrive in China amid the pandemic

The pandemic has provided a chance for a review of online internet platforms. Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi explains why online education platforms are getting the shorter end of the stick and why this offers a lesson for others hoping to ride the digital wave.
A worker collects a package after it was delivered by an automated conveyer belt at a JD.com distribution center in Beijing on 16 July 2020. (Greg Baker/AFP)

China's e-commerce 'big four' locked in cut-throat battle

Media commentator Cai Enze frowns on the beggar-thy-neighbour approach of improving one’s business at a rival’s expense. In his view, big names in China’s internet market — Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and JD.com (known as BATJ) — should practise more openness and cooperation rather than rivalry and mutual blocks.
China and US flags are seen near a TikTok logo in this illustration picture taken on 16 July 2020. (Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo/Reuters)

Banning TikTok: A 'China Crusade' has begun?

Following TikTok’s shutting down in the Indian market, and the US’s announcement of its ban, countries such as Japan and New Zealand have also begun to consider imposing sanctions on TikTok. Does the crux of the problem lie in the company’s practices over user privacy and information security, or in the geopolitical struggle among the major powers? In the future, will other Chinese technology companies face the same fate as TikTok when they expand overseas?
A smartphone with the Huawei and 5G network logo is seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration picture, 29 January 2020. (Dado Ruvic/REUTERS)

Block Huawei's 5G? India could end up shooting itself in the foot instead

Senior military officers from India and China held the latest high-level talks to discuss border tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on 14 July. The talk which lasted for 15 hours took place at Chushul on the Indian side of the LAC, and contents of the discussion are yet to be made public. Although India and China have had their border disagreements, they are partners economically. Recently, the Indian government has banned 59 Chinese apps on grounds of national security, while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has deleted his Weibo account. India has also threatened to block Huawei's 5G system. What are the likely consequences? China academic Xu Hongbo examines the issue.
In this photo taken on 18 June 2020, welding works can be seen at the China-Laos Railway construction site. (Kai Qiao/Xinhua)

Amid a looming debt crisis, will China press the reset button on the BRI?

Since China launched its BRI in 2013, over 100 countries have signed agreements with China to work together on projects such as railways, highways, ports and other infrastructure. According to estimates from Refinitiv, there are over 2,600 projects in the BRI with a combined value of US$3.7 trillion. However, amid the pandemic spread, disruptions to global supply chains, anti-Chinese sentiment and clamours for debt relief, China is facing major hurdles and dilemmas on how it should forge ahead with the BRI. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu reports from Beijing.