Digital economy

Signs of Alibaba Group and Ant Group are seen during the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, 23 November 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Painful retrenchments at China’s internet giants

Even as the pandemic created greater demand for internet companies like Kuaishou, Alibaba and Meituan, these companies are finding their large staff numbers unsustainable, leading to a wave of major retrenchments over the past year or so. This is not just due to overexpansion, but also operational pressures that come with new regulations to protect employment rights. Zaobao journalist Meng Dandan reports.
People cross a road in the central business district in Beijing on 16 December 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

New regulations to thwart Chinese companies’ overseas listings?

New regulations announced by the Chinese authorities seem to have made it more complicated for Chinese companies to get listed overseas, even though the variable interest entity (VIE) structure is still in play. Given the added obstacles ahead, will Chinese companies still want to go through the trouble of seeking overseas listings? Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing reports.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat at the 16th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) and related Joint Steering Council (JSC) meetings on 8 December 2020. (Ministry of Communications and Information)

Singapore DPM: Singapore can help to better connect China with Southeast Asian markets

In this op-ed in conjunction with the 17th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) which will take place on 29 December, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat examines how Singapore-China relations go beyond the pandemic, into areas including digital connectivity, green energy efforts, economy and trade, and even "panda diplomacy". These efforts will bring the two countries closer together in the next chapter of bilateral relations.
A screen displays trading information for ride-hailing giant Didi Global on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, US, 3 December 2021. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Will China concept stocks pull out of the US completely?

Amid recent news of Chinese ride-hailing company Didi delisting from the New York Stock Exchange, Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong notes that China seems to be closing a regulatory loophole allowing companies to sidestep the Chinese authorities and get listed overseas. In turn, the US is taking action to require audit checks on Chinese companies that are already listed or want to get listed in the US. Is this a sign of financial decoupling between the US and China or will both sides reach an agreement on regulations?
Projects like The Sandbox are centred on NFTs. Players themselves can create their own digital assets in the game – such as costumes and weapons for their avatar – as an NFT. Players can likewise own virtual “land” in The Sandbox’s universe, similarly in the form of NFTs. The land units are represented in a map that forms The Sandbox metaverse. (The Sandbox/SPH)

If Chinese video producers and gamers can become metaverse creators

In this second article in a series on the metaverse, technology expert Yin Ruizhi says that video creation platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou, as well as sandbox games such as Mini World, might give an idea of how users can help create the virtual world in the metaverse if the financial and creative bar is lowered such that participating is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Visitors are pictured in front of an immersive art installation titled "Machine Hallucinations - Space: Metaverse" by media artist Refik Anadol, at the Digital Art Fair, in Hong Kong, China, 30 September 2021. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Metaverse: A bubble that could soon burst?

One of the hottest buzzwords recently is the metaverse. In this first article in a series on the topic, technology expert Yin Ruizhi explains what the metaverse is, what would make it viable and why creating the metaverse is still very much a pipe dream.
Two women participate in a livestreaming e-commerce contest in Anhui, China, 19 October 2021. (CNS)

Why half of Chinese youths want to be an influencer

Recently, an influencer from Zhengzhou in China reportedly repaid about six million RMB in back taxes, prompting people to question how much influencers or internet celebrities actually make. Do all influencers earn top dollar? Media commentator Yuan Guobao looks into the highs and lows of this volatile industry.
The China-US tech competition is intensifying, with experts saying that the US should maintain its lead, at least for now. (Philip Fong/AFP)

Technology and innovation race: US losing edge to China?

Observers of China-US competition have commented that a tech war is rapidly becoming the decisive battleground in the big power rivalry for global dominance. While there have been reports saying that the US may lose this war, visiting senior fellow at the RSIS Dr Cung Vu thinks that given the US's recognition of the importance of technology, and China's recent acts of reining in its tech companies, the US should continue to lead.
A woman guides a boy learning to cycle below power lines in Beijing, China, on 13 October 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Why China will continue to experience power cuts

Erik Baark takes a bird’s eye view of the structure of energy supply and demand in China, analysing how macro issues led to the September 2021 rash of power cuts across China. He notes that China's continued development needs energy, and a shift from heavy industries to services or high-tech fields does not mean that the country's energy needs will decrease. The Chinese government is looking to new and renewable energy resources to take the place of the old, but transitioning to new energy sources is not an easy process, especially when different actors are trying to protect their own terrain and a mindset change is necessary. It will be a tall order for the Chinese government to get local governments, old power grid corporations and the public to align with new policies and thinking. All this means that power cuts will not be going away anytime soon.