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China Digital Digest Weekly: Exploring the Chinese Digital Landscape

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. EU Tells TikTok to Keep Fighting Disinformation But Recognises Progress

The EU’s top tech enforcer has told TikTok’s CEO to “spare no effort” to counter disinformation but recognized the changes already made by the video-sharing platform.

The Chinese-owned app favored by younger online users is one of 19 platforms that face stricter rules on tackling illegal and harmful content online under a landmark EU law. TikTok said it pulled four million “violative” videos in the European Union in September, in its first transparency report since the Digital Services Act (DSA) came into force across the bloc. Under the DSA, all major platforms must publish a transparency report every six months.

2. China-Founded Shein Targets US$90 Billion Valuation In US IPO

Shein is touting its hopes for a valuation of as much as US$90 billion as it lays the groundwork for an eventual US initial public offering (IPO), a level that far exceeds how the fast-fashion giant is valued in private trades, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company has told prospective investors that it is aiming to fetch a valuation of US$80 billion to US$90 billion in a listing. The timing of the share sale remains uncertain given the market volatility. In private trades, Shein’s valuation has dropped below the US$66 billion it got in a funding round in May, the people said. Stakes that have recently changed hands in the secondary market valued the company at around US$50 billion to US$60 billion.

3. Alibaba’s Cainiao Proposes Buyout of Local Logistics Rival Best

Chinese logistics company Best, which counts e-commerce titan Alibaba Group Holding among its investors, said it has received a preliminary buyout offer from a consortium including local rival Cainiao, the logistics arm of Alibaba that is preparing a planned US$1 billion IPO in Hong Kong.

Best said in a statement that it had received a “preliminary non-binding proposal letter” from Best founder and CEO Shao-Ning Johnny Chou on behalf of a consortium of key figures and companies, including its chief strategy and investment officer, Denlux Logistics Technology Invest, Alibaba Investment, BJ Russell Holdings, and Cainiao Smart Logistics Investment. The letter, dated November 3, 2023, and shared by Best, proposes purchasing all outstanding shares in Best at a price of US$0.144 per ordinary share, or US$2.88 per American Depositary Share.

4. Alibaba’s Cloud Unit Unveils New Industry-Specific Tools Built On Its AI Model

Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology unit of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, has unveiled a suite of new industry-specific artificial intelligence (AI) tools, built on its large language model (LLM) Tongyi Qianwen, to make it easier for companies across various sectors to develop their own AI-enabled applications.

These AI tools, which Alibaba Cloud calls proprietary models, were introduced at the company’s annual Apsara Conference in Hangzhou, capital of eastern Zhejiang province, where the updated LLM Tongyi Qianwen 2.0 was featured. At least 10 industry-specific AI tools built on Tongyi Qianwen 2.0 were presented at the conference. Alibaba Cloud expected these tools to help enterprises unlock the transformative potential of generative AI – the technology behind ChatGPT and similar services – across various sectors, including customer support, legal counselling, healthcare, finance, documentation management, audio and video management, code development, and character creation.

5. Temu Sues US ‘Cybersquatters’ As It Seeks to End Legal Fights With Shein

Fast-growing online marketplace Temu, owned by Shanghai-based PDD Holdings, has filed a lawsuit against 20 websites in the United States for cybersquatting and offering unauthorized coupon codes, while the e-commerce app also looks to end its legal fights with major rival Shein.

The Chinese budget shopping platform has targeted website domains that imitate Temu, such as “” and “”, as well as offering coupon codes without authorisation, according to a complaint filed with the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Temu accused the sites of “trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin”, and promoting phishing and online fraud schemes. The company is seeking compensation for damages or US$100,000 for each use of the counterfeited use of Temu’s trademark. Temu has also asked the court to issue temporary bans on the sites accused of infringements during the course of the suit.

6. Baidu Launches Paid Version of Ernie, Its ChatGPT-Like Chatbot

Chinese search engine giant Baidu HAS launched a paid version of its ChatGPT-like product Ernie bot, charging 59.9 yuan ($8.18) per month. The subscription allows users to make 100 inquiries every three hours via Ernie Bot 4. Meanwhile, the more basic Ernie Bot 3.5 remains free of charge to the public. Ernie bot, which like ChatGPT is powered by generative artificial intelligence, was the first of many Chinese AI-powered chatbots to be unveiled this year.

7. NOWWA Serves Coffee With Baidu’s ERNIE Bot

Chinese coffee chain NOWWA Coffee has teamed up with tech giant Baidu’s GPT-style AI model ERNIE Bot for embedded services on the ERNIE app. ERNIE provides various personae with individual backgrounds and personalities for users to choose from for interaction.

With this collaboration, a NOWWA Coffee AI becomes available on the ERNIE app. Users can interact with the NOWWA chatbot to enquire about coffee-related facts and tips, or even ask for recommendations based on their needs. To boost interest, the NOWWA chatbot will also ‘drop’ vouchers and offers randomly to users.

8. McDonald’s Brings Back Old Favourites for Crocs Collab In Latest Marketing Effort

On November 7th, McDonald’s and Crocs announced the pair are bringing their co-branded clogs (and sandals) to China. The footwear is inspired by classic McDonald’s characters that are seeing a resurgence in recent years.

With a China-specific campaign and photoshoot with Harper’s Bazaar, the release oozes nostalgia and dopamine. The limited-edition collection contains three pairs of clogs, one representing McDonald’s in general, one with a Birdie the Early Bird theme and one modelled after Hamburglar, as well as a pair of sandals inspired by Grimace. Each pair comes with its own set of Jibbitz, or Crocs charms, in the same theme as the footwear.

Wrapping Up

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.


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