Legal

Pedestrians walk past a SoftBank mobile shop in Tokyo, Japan, on 12 May 2022. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

How Japanese conglomerate SoftBank wrested back control of Arm China

Masayoshi Son, billionaire head of SoftBank Group Corp. may finally be able to push ahead with launching a US IPO for semiconductor and software design giant Arm Ltd., after wresting control of Arm China back from ousted CEO Allen Wu. It was no mean feat and a saga of twists and turns. But even now, some questions of Arm China’s shareholding and business remain unanswered.
An aerial shot of the collapsed "self-built" building in Changsha, Hunan province, China, on 29 April 2022. (CNS)

Building collapses in China call for more stringent checks on structural safety

An eight-storey building adjacent to the Changsha Medical University collapsed on 29 April, killing 54 people, mainly students. It turned out that the building was a "self-build" that had been modified by the owners rather than constructed by developers. Authorities are now clamping down on safety inspections of building structures, but is it a case of too little, too late?
Delivery workers drive their tricycles along a street in Beijing, China, on 5 January 2022. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

Plight of China's new generation of young migrant workers highlights pitfalls of labour reforms

Over the past three decades, China has implemented and revised its labour regulations in an effort to progress its market economy. Despite the strengthening of labour protection, young migrant workers have fallen through the cracks. Chinese economics professor Li Jingkui believes that the labour reforms have led to the social phenomenon of “Sanhe legends” — youths who are caught in an employment cycle characterised by poor working conditions, low wages and a lack of stability.
Paramilitary police members wearing protective face masks stand near surveillance cameras at the Bund, in Shanghai, China, 20 January 2022. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

China-focused multinational firms are facing increasingly complex legal environments

As one of the largest recipients of foreign investments, China has no shortage of publicly disclosed cases of corrupt business dealings. But transnational firms are still willing to take the risks and cultivate relationship-building strategies in their business activities. They are even prepared to face a “double jeopardy” situation when they are penalised in their home and overseas locations. But their operating environment could get even more challenging with the US and China clamping down on transnational crime, and the increasing use of domestic judiciaries to regulate extraterritorial legal matters.
People walk through an alley decorated with traditional lanterns near Houhai lake in Beijing, China, on 2 February 2022. (Noel Celis/AFP)

US academic: Equality is a myth, whether in the US or China

Wu Guo notes that equality is very much a mirage, whether in the socialist or liberal democracy conception of the term. The sum total of one’s head start in life is often tied to his or her family background. And often, no amount of levelling up can change that. But this does not mean that equality is of no relevance or should not be aspired to. Adopting an attitude of equality can help ensure that people’s rights are protected, even if the ideal of equality may never be achieved.
A man takes a photo of a screen broadcasting Chinese President Xi Jinping delivering his New Year speech, at a restaurant in Beijing, China, on 31 December 2021. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Is Chinese socialism superior?

Although the Chinese Communist Party believes in the great future of socialism, the basic contradictions of socialism that caused the demise of the Soviet Union are yet to be fully resolved in China, says Lance Gore. As a matter of fact, President Xi Jinping’s mantra of “returning to the party’s original mission” is inadvertently resurrecting some of the same problems that bedevilled classic communism.
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.
A digital recreation of the painting Along the River During the Qingming Festival (清明上河图, Qingming Shanghe Tu) is seen on display at the exhibition, A Moving Masterpiece: The Song Dynasty As Living Art, at the Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre, Singapore. (SPH)

Copying is a virtue in Chinese ink painting

Temporary orders to halt the KAWS public art installation exhibition led Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre CEO Low Sze Wee to ponder the copyright issues of Chinese ink paintings. He notes that many of Singapore’s first-generation artists like Chen Wen Hsi and Fan Chang Tien were educated in Shanghai in the 1920s and were deeply influenced by the Shanghai School. Copying was a common mode of learning, and students like Henri Chen Kezhan and Chua Ek Kay did their best to copy the works of their teachers. While they eventually developed their own styles over time, Low says it could be argued that their achievements were made possible by their formative years spent on copying.
Residents walk through Huanggang village in Shenzhen, China, on 11 October 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China needs to raise personal income to achieve common prosperity

Analyst Luo Zhiheng compares China's distribution of national income with 20 major economies and concludes that among other things, there is a need to address a lower-than-average share of personal income in China, in order to achieve common prosperity. The Chinese government can work towards the goal of fostering an olive-shaped income distribution pattern by adjusting the tax structure, providing more investment options to its people, and developing its social security network.