Hi folks, we are back with our weekly edition of China’s Digital Digest, wherein we bring you weekly updates on China’s digital space. The report takes a quick glance at China’s complex and rapidly evolving social media landscape by providing updates on the latest happenings across the social media industry. Here are the major highlights of the report.
1. Canada Says China-Linked ‘Spamouflage’ Campaign Targeted PM Trudeau
The Canadian government has said that it has detected a China-linked “Spamouflage” campaign that involved bots posting disinformation and propaganda on the social media accounts of members of parliament, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The Spamouflage campaign, using networks of new and hijacked social media accounts to post bulk messages, took place in August and September, and targeted dozens of MPs from across the political spectrum, the foreign ministry said in a statement. The messages included accusations against the MPs of criminal and ethical violations, a claim that Hawaiian wildfires were caused by a secret US military “weather weapon,” and deep-fake videos.
2. Anonymous Chinese Social Media Accounts Hit By Latest Crackdown
This week a number of popular Chinese social media accounts suddenly started closing or deleting large numbers of followers.
They were reacting to a new policy that will make it mandatory for social media users with a large following on Weibo to disclose their real names – raising concerns that it will violate the privacy of those who run popular accounts and increase the risk of personal information being exposed online. Analysts fear that the new rules will further discourage public expression on China’s internet, which already has some of the heaviest restrictions in the world.
3. Apple’s iPhone 15 Sees Discounts On Chinese E-Commerce Sites Ahead of Double 11
Apple’s new iPhone 15 series is already subject to steep discounts on Chinese e-commerce websites in the run up to this year’s Double 11 online sales extravaganza, with the iconic smartphone up against stiff competition from Huawei Technologies’ Mate 60 Pro 5G handset.
The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus were selling at around 800 yuan (US$109) and 900 yuan cheaper, respectively, than their official retail prices on Alibaba Group Holding’s Taobao platform. Meanwhile, on PDD Holdings’ Pinduoduo, the basic 128-gigabyte iPhone 15 was being sold at 5,198 yuan – 801 yuan less than its retail price.
4. Alibaba Inks Deal With Cambodia As E-Commerce Giant Doubles Down On Southeast Asia
Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group Holding has inked a deal with the Cambodian government to support the country’s digital economy and small business sector, using a trade framework initiated by company founder Jack Ma and showcasing the e-commerce firm’s commitment to the Southeast Asia market.
The Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia signed an electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) agreement with Alibaba on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing to enhance collaboration in e-commerce, cloud computing, digital talent and travel, according to the company. Alibaba’s collaboration with Cambodia includes the opening of 15 stores on the company’s business-to-business e-commerce platform for global trade Alibaba.com, where Cambodian enterprises can reach potential buyers from more than 200 countries, according to the company.
5. Chinese E-Commerce Giant JD.Com Kicks Off Singles’ Day Shopping Season
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has kicked off its Singles’ Day campaign this year, firing the first salvo in the world’s largest shopping festival, amid an industry-wide price war to win over consumers as the domestic economy turns a corner.
Within 10 minutes of its promotion’s 8pm start, JD.com’s user orders and overall transaction volume skyrocketed to achieve over four times last year’s figures, the Beijing-based company said in a statement. Its Singles’ Day campaign runs through November 13. JD.com eschewed the traditional presales period, making the firm’s vast inventory of over 800 million products – backed by a more than 30-day price guarantee – available for immediate purchase. The guarantee promises to compensate consumers for the difference in price if they find that items they bought on JD.com are more affordable elsewhere.
6. Baidu Completes AI-Based Search Engine Reconstruction, Says CEO Robin Li
At the 2023 Baidu World Conference, Baidu‘s CEO Robin Li officially unveiled “ERNIE 4.0”, the most powerful ERNIE model to date, achieving a comprehensive upgrade of the base model with significant improvements in understanding, generating, reasoning, and memory. ERNIE is Baidu’s independently developed industry-level knowledge enhancement foundation model. It is a three-layer foundation model technology system covering the foundation model, task-specific model, and industry-specific model.
The vast and diverse nature of the Chinese Social Media space makes it incredibly challenging to keep a tab on the rapid developments taking place. However, China’s Digital Digest brings you all the latest updates from there to keep you abreast of all the evolving trends.
To delve deeper into the findings of the October report, click here.