Commercialisation

The logo of e-commerce app Pinduoduo is displayed next to mobile phones displaying the app, in this illustration picture taken on 25 October 2023. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

Pinduoduo's popularity a sign of Chinese consumption downgrading wave

Popular Chinese online shopping app Pinduoduo has done well in terms of profits, outdoing competitors such as Alibaba and JD.com. While a major factor is due to revenue from Pinduoduo's multinational e-commerce platform Temu, it may also be a sign that consumers in China are changing their spending habits and going for cost-effectiveness and value for money.
Yao Jianhua, one of the few old Beijingers who is still living in a hutong. (Photo: Li Shanyi)

[Video] The last few guardians of Beijing's hutong culture

While hutongs are a unique historical sight in Beijing, they are quickly disappearing as people move out and relocate to government housing with modern amenities. Those who remain are generally the older generation, while the look and function of hutongs is also changing. How much longer will hutongs last?
A parent takes a photograph of her child in traditional Tibetan clothing as she poses outside Potala palace in Lhasa, Tibet, on 27 June 2023. (CNS)

[Video] Tibet aims to boost tourism but not at the expense of security

Since the relaxation of anti-epidemic measures in China, officials have been ramping up efforts to promote tourism in Tibet. However, the dilemma between cultural preservation and developing the tourism industry, and that between security and economic development, are issues that could curb the autonomous region’s opening up to tourists. Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong shares findings from her media visit to Lhasa and Shannan.
Short video platforms Douyin and Kuaishou have focused on a new model of "goods seeking people". (Internet)

Newcomers Douyin and Kuaishou takes on tech giants to refresh the face of e-commerce

Technology expert Yin Ruizhi delves into the differences between traditional e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba and JD, and “interest-based” platforms such as Douyin and Kuaishou, and explores the possibilities for what e-commerce might look like in the future, as both types of platforms operate alongside each other.
The Xuanzang Temple in Nanjing. (Internet)

Corruption in China seeps into the Buddhist world

Amid the controversy over honouring Japanese war criminals, Xuanzang Temple in Nanjing has found itself in more hot water as its former abbot Chuanzhen was exposed for his connections in the business and official circles. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu gives a profile of this senior monk and what his secular activities mean for the temple and for Buddhism.
Southeast Asian governments have to step up cybersecurity and IP law enforcement. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Southeast Asia should confront the threat of economic espionage from China and elsewhere

China is known for using cyber weapons to pursue geostrategic goals. In recent years, entities linked to the Chinese state have carried out alleged economic espionage of commercial firms in Southeast Asia. The region is increasingly vulnerable as it is home to some of the most rapidly growing knowledge-intensive sectors in the world. To help themselves, Southeast Asian governments should be more proactive in discussing the threat of economic espionage with foreign states and committing to norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace.
In an aerial view, shipping containers and a container ship are seen at the Port of Los Angeles on 20 September 2021 near Los Angeles, California. (Mario Tama/AFP)

The truth behind the US’s huge trade deficit

Economics professor Zhang Rui notes that the US’s huge trade deficit cannot be looked upon in isolation from the dominance of the US dollar; when exporting countries hold more US dollars, they are more able to purchase US debt and support the US in issuing national debt and get US dollars to flow back to the US. This suggests that looking beyond the surface of its large trade deficit, the US's fundamentals remain strong and with the advantages it has in the capital account and services trade, there is little chance that its leading position in global trade can be usurped.
A man checks his phone while walking in Lujiazui financial district during sunset in Pudong, Shanghai, China, 13 July 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Kai-Fu Lee: Five ways artificial intelligence will put China ahead

Dr Kai-Fu Lee recently spoke at a summit reviewing the development of artificial intelligence. He gave five predictions about the industrial changes that would be brought about by the combination of artificial intelligence and other new technologies. Lee feels these changes would allow China to lead the world in science and technology in the next 20 years or so. This is the edited version of his speech.
Children play with a basketball in an alley in Beijing, China on 26 June 2021. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Cultural historian: Why do civilisations pass down their cultures?

Cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai remembers an email from a Hong Kong secondary student, who wanted a "substantial and authoritative" answer from him about the relationship between civilisations and their cultures. The 16-year-old had asked: What affects the passing down of cultural traditions? Should culture be passed on in its entirety? What role does commercialisation play?