The phrase “metaverse” has been bandied about but what exactly is it and how far along is the project? Academic James Pang and entrepreneur Liang Xinjun explain that the implications of this development are larger than most think. The metaverse is not so much a sub-world to enter into on the side but the integration of the real and virtual worlds and economic systems, essentially creating a new world with new governance structures and norms. US and Chinese firms are, of course, racing to get a big slice of the future.
Huawei has long denied that it will enter the auto manufacturing industry. Instead, the company has emphasised its partnership with automakers to build autonomous driving technology. However, since the launch of a luxury electric SUV, the M5, the market has begun speculating whether Huawei’s stance on the auto business has changed.
Academic Pei Sai Fan says that one should dream big with the metaverse and not only see it as a new avenue of making money. By creating a new virtual universe from scratch, we can make good use of the blockchain-based metaverse to promote an equitable, more transparent and more inclusive rules-based international digital currency and financial system and enhance the global governance system to deal with issues facing all countries. This would require a global approach and China is well placed technologically to actively participate and lead the effort with like-minded nations in creating such a metaverse. It would be a pity if countries squandered such an opportunity to truly build a better world for all mankind.
In recent years and since the pandemic led to the surge in live streaming, e-learning and other online activities, the demand for cloud computing and related services has increased significantly. Chinese companies led by frontrunners Huawei, Tencent and Alibaba are launching into all-out competition in the cloud services sector. In particular, Huawei Cloud experienced a surge in year-on-year earnings of 168%, despite US sanctions. Huawei Cloud is also aiming to clinch the top spot in the sector, erstwhile occupied by Alibaba Cloud. Caixin journalist Zhang Erchi takes a deep dive into the issue to get a sense of who's really leading the fight. In part one of the story, he focuses on Huawei.
If being removed from app stores is not enough, ride-hailing giant Didi is making the headlines for another debacle. COO Jean Liu; her father, Lenovo founder Liu Chuanzhi; and her grandfather, the late patent lawyer Liu Gushu, are being vilified on Weibo for alleged misdeeds and being “traitors to the country”. Amid tense US-China relations and domestic nationalism in overdrive, will internet giants like Didi be easy targets and buckle under the pressure? Zaobao’s China Desk files this report based on various Chinese media sources.
Former journalist Teo Han Wue chuckles as he recalls his first assignment in China covering an international Confucianism conference in Qufu, Confucius’ hometown in Shandong. Telecommunications facilities then were a far cry from the advances in 5G or AI that China enjoys now. Even sending a facsimile was a comedy of errors.
Japan’s neighbours, China the most vociferous among them, have protested against Japan’s decision to dump contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean in two years’ time. On the other hand, Western countries have been accused of making minimal noise on account that it’s Japan. Is this another case of geopolitics politicising the situation? Would the world have reacted differently if it were China doing the dumping?
In the development of 1G to 4G technology, the US, Europe and Japan took turns to dominate. When it comes to 5G, China says that it has built the largest 5G network globally with other 718,000 5G base stations throughout the country, which is at least ten times the network in the US. China is also strong in 5G chip design and is making inroads in setting global standards for wireless networks. Is China getting a leg up in the tech race?
The conclusion of the EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement and the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) in the last days of 2020 sent a strong signal that the EU will not wait for the US to resume a leading role in the world economic order. Building partnerships with countries like China are just the impetus the EU needs to deepen integration and build better prospects for itself. In this move away from a US-centric view of the economic order, the EU is not alone.