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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. Chinese E-Commerce Giant JD.Com Wins Antitrust Lawsuit Against Alibaba



Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com said it won an antitrust lawsuit against main rival Alibaba Group Holding, which was ordered by a Beijing court to pay 1 billion yuan (US$141 million) in damages, more than two years after the Taobao and Tmall operator was slapped with a record fine by market regulators for its monopolistic practices.



The Beijing High People’s Court ruled that Alibaba “abused its market dominance” and conducted the monopolistic tactic known as “ picking one from two”, which caused damage to JD.com’s business, according to a statement by the Beijing-based online retailer. JD.com hailed the court’s ruling, as it asserted that monopolistic practices, such as “picking one from two”, have hampered market competition and hurt the rights of brands, merchants, and consumers.


2. JD.Com, Alibaba’s Taobao Push ‘Refund Only’ Policy to Rival Pinduoduo’s Strategy



JD.com and Alibaba Group Holding’s Taobao are now offering a “refund only” policy so consumers can keep the goods they had bought but complained about – matching an option that budget online retailer Pinduoduo has had in place since 2021.



JD.com updated its platform rules to include the new refund policy covering goods shoppers have received, but they believe do not match up with the product description on the site. That initiative came days after Taobao added a similar policy to its platform rules, which also covers misleading product information and fraudulent goods.


3. Baidu’s Ernie Bot Surpasses 100 Million User Milestone



Baidu‘s artificial intelligence (AI) model, Ernie Bot, has reached a user base of 100 million, according to Wang Haifeng, Baidu‘s Chief Technology Officer, at the 10th WAVE SUMMIT Deep Learning Developer Conference held on 28th December.



This development comes after Baidu‘s concentrated efforts on pre-training model research and development since 2019, which led to the introduction of the Ernie Bot in March this year. In October, the base model of Ernie Bot was upgraded to version 4.0, enhancing its four fundamental AI capabilities – understanding, generation, logic, and memory. Over the past two months, the overall effectiveness of the Ernie 4.0 model has increased by 32%.


4. JD.Com Announces Significant Salary Increase, Frontline Employees’ Remuneration to Double Next Year



JD.com, Inc. announced through its WeChat official account that starting from January 1st, 2024, the annual fixed salary for front-line employees in JD.com‘s procurement and sales departments will increase by nearly 100%. In early 2024, all JD.com retail staff members will receive an average salary raise of no less than 20%.



The last official announcement of a large-scale salary increase on JD.com was two years ago. On July 13, 2021, JD.com announced that from July 1, 2021, to July 1, 2023, over two years, the average annual salary for employees will gradually increase from 14 months’ pay to 16 months’ pay. Additionally, there will be a direct salary increase for two months starting from the month of the announcement.


5. ByteDance Launches Offline Service “Dongdong Car Care”



Under the ByteDance umbrella, Dongchedi has launched an offline car maintenance service called “Dongdong Car Care” in collaboration with authorized stores. They have opened stores in Chongqing through local partnerships, marking Dongchedi’s first foray into offline car maintenance.



Before ByteDance entered the game, Alibaba, JD.com, and Didi, all internet platforms, have successively launched offline car maintenance services such as “Tmall Car Maintenance,” “Jingchehui,” and “Xiaoju Chefu,” all of which have offline stores. In March this year, Tmall Car Maintenance held its 2023 franchisee conference in Huzhou, Zhejiang Province. The conference presented a three-year report: there are 1,900 operating stores nationwide. According to data reported by China Internet Technology News, JD.com‘s “Jingchehui” has already opened over 1,400 stores in 163 cities across the country.


6. Xiaohongshu Denies IPO Speculation 




Despite speculation from Chinese media outlets focusing on IPO news, Xiaohongshu has denied any immediate plans to go public. These reports suggested a potential listing in Hong Kong as early as the latter half of 2024. It’s worth highlighting that Xiaohongshu, alongside several other internet platform companies, initiated investor roadshows in the United States in the first half of 2021. These companies boasted monthly active users (MAUs) in the tens or even hundreds of millions.


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 December report, click here.

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