Legal

Data room operators work at the headquarters of online shopping platform JD.com during the Singles' Day shopping festival in Beijing on 11 November 2020. (Greg Baker/AFP)

72-hour workweek in China's tech companies: Driving innovation or destroying workers?

News of young employees dying from overwork at major Chinese tech companies are not unheard of. Last December, a 22-year-old female employee at e-commerce giant Pinduoduo died after working long hours past midnight. China's intense efforts at increasing national competences in new and advanced technologies have seen it moving up the value chain from a low-cost manufacturer to an innovator in science and technology. But is the “996 culture” of working from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week, feasible and sustainable?
Alibaba Group co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma attends the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China, 17 September 2018. (Aly Song/REUTERS)

Alibaba probe: China's challenges in dealing with monopolies start with the state-owned enterprises

With the recent investigation into Alibaba for alleged monopolistic actions, Chinese legal expert Zong Haichao explores the need for balance in the measures taken by the Chinese government to curb monopolies. While many expect 2021 to be “year one” of the anti-monopoly era, Zong cautions that there are many challenges facing China's anti-monopoly moves, including the presence of state-owned enterprises and the lack of a sophisticated Chinese legislative structure.
A logo of Ant Group is pictured at the headquarters of the company, an affiliate of Alibaba, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, 29 October 2020. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Regulating new technologies: Singapore and China can work together

Law experts Tan Chong Huat and Amanda Chen observe that the recent halting of Ant Group’s dual listing on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges augur more regulatory changes in the micro-loans industry. While this lowers financial stability risk, will more of such regulations hinder fintech advancements? Where’s the middle ground? In their opinion, there is much that Singapore and China can learn from each other in the regulation of emerging technologies.
People walk past skyscrapers in the central business district in Beijing, China, on 24 November 2020. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Pick a side: China will counter US sanctions with lawsuits

China’s Ministry of Commerce recently released new rules targeted at blunting the suppressive impact of the US’s long-arm jurisdiction statutes on Chinese companies. The method, however, looks likely to put stress on third-party companies supplying to Chinese companies. Would this be a case of cutting off the nose to spite the face?
A soldier wearing a face mask gestures outside the Forbidden City in Beijing on 22 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Will Beijing roll out a 'national reunification law' targeting Taiwan?

A poster released by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council and a question by a Xinhua reporter sparked speculations of a possible “national reunification law”. Will Beijing roll out such a law targeting Taiwan, and would it set a timeline for “military reunification”? Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong examines the issue.
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to appear in Supreme Court for a hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 26 October 2020. (Darryl Dyck/Bloomberg)

Huawei's Meng Wanzhou: Can Canada rectify a bad start?

The arrest of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in December 2018 brought China-Canada relations to an all-time low. But the recent round of hearings in which the Canadian judge agreed to admit new evidence may turn things around. Hong Kong academic Wang Jiangyu says that China might now be getting their hopes up that Canada will not simply do the bidding of the US.
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to appear in Supreme Court for a hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on 29 October 2020. (Darryl Dyck/Bloomberg)

The waiting game: Will Huawei's Meng Wanzhou return home soon?

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has been living in limbo since she was detained in Vancouver on the back of an extradition request from the US in relation to bank fraud charges. A Canadian judge ruled last week that part of Meng’s statement had an “air of reality” and that she was entitled to providing some additional evidence “to a limited extent”. Does this signal an upward momentum for Meng’s lawyers to overturn the US’s extradition request? Much would depend on seemingly extraneous factors such as the outcome of the US presidential race, says Beijing correspondent Yang Danxu.
People pass an electronic stock board at The SGX Centre on 12 March, 2020. (SPH)

Singapore vs Hong Kong: Who will benefit more with greater legal market opportunities from US-China competition?

In the context of China-US competition, US-listed China concept stocks companies may find it advantageous to get secondary listings on the Hong Kong or Singapore stock exchange. US companies may also veer towards Singapore and Hong Kong when it comes to international arbitration cases. In the final analysis, will Singapore or Hong Kong have the edge?