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 would 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. US Lawmakers to Add Ban on TikTok on Government Devices in Spending Bill
US lawmakers will include a proposal to bar federal government employees from using the Chinese app TikTok on government-owned devices in a key spending bill.
The Senate last week voted on a bill sponsored by Republican Senator Josh Hawley to bar federal employees from using the ByteDance-owned short video app on government-owned devices. It was the latest action by US lawmakers to crack down on Chinese companies amid national security fears. The ban is set to be included in a massive omnibus measure to fund US government operations that is expected to be voted on this week.
2. Chinese Liquor Label Moutai to Restart Beer Business
Guizhou liquor giant Kweichow Moutai has made an investment in its beer brand which was established back in 1999, acquiring 100% of the latter with a registered capital of 54.1 million RMB ($7.7 million). According to a few alcohol media outlets, these are signs that Moutai has started to operate its beer business independently.
It’s reported that there are two reasons behind the liquor giant’s move. On one hand, Guizhou Xijiu was a liquor brand owned by Moutai which detached from the conglomerate this year, leaving an approximate shortfall of 20 billion RMB ($2.9 billion). In response to filling this gap, the company decided to re-engage in the beer industry.
3. US Lawmakers Unveil Bipartisan Bid to Ban China’s TikTok
Republican Senator Marco Rubio on Tuesday announced bipartisan legislation to ban China’s popular social media app TikTok, ratcheting up pressure on owner ByteDance amid US fears the app could be used to spy on Americans.
The legislation would block all transactions from any social media company in or under the influence of China and Russia, Rubio’s office said in a news release, adding that a companion bill in the US House of Representatives was sponsored by Republican congressman Mike Gallagher and Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi.
4. China’s Tech Hub Shares Big Data to Boost Cross-Border E-Commerce
Shenzhen, the southern Chinese tech hub, has set up the country’s first platform that uses big data collected by the government to support cross-border trade, as e-commerce becomes increasingly vital to the Chinese export industry.
The pilot initiative, which is the first trade data platform approved by China’s General Administration of Customs, will make its big data service available to companies, regulators, and local governments, according to an announcement on Sunday by the Qianhai economic zone, an area in west Shenzhen neighboring Hong Kong.
5. Jack Ma-Backed Alibaba's Free Trade Hub in Thailand Begins Trial Operation
A free-trade-zone project in Thailand, launched in 2018 by Alibaba Group Holding while company founder Jack Ma was still chairman, has finally started trial operation.
The digital hub in the so-called Eastern Economic Corridor – a special economic zone made up of three provinces in eastern Thailand – is part of the electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP), a multinational initiative backed by Ma to promote global trade. The initiative is currently being featured by the Global Digital Trade Expo, a six-day trade fair that opened on Sunday in Hangzhou, the capital of eastern Zhejiang province and home to Alibaba’s headquarters.
6. Bulgarian Luxury Brand By Far Opens First Flagship Store in China
Bulgarian designer accessories brand By Far has opened its first flagship store in all of Asia. Located in Shanghai’s Zhang Garden, this is the second flagship store in the world following its first store in Los Angeles.
Infusing the characteristics of the Shikumen houses in Zhang Garden into its two-story shop, By Far echoes the neighborhood’s unique charm through its design. On the first floor, a circular sofa is set up outside the retail space, forming a space for chatting, comfort, and relaxation. Meanwhile, the second floor is the “BY FAR living space”, meant for conceptual experiences, with a pink dressing room and lilac purple VIP salon for consumers to enjoy.
7. JD.Com Gears up Luxury Brands For New Year Celebrations
One of China’s largest online retailers, JD.com kicked off its 7th Luxury Gala on 16 December which will last 10 days. More than 50,000 special editions of high-end brands across all categories will be welcomed with up to 24 months’ of interest-free spending in celebration of the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year.
The Luxury Gala was initiated to establish a strong position for JD.com in China’s luxury market. This year’s event is under the theme of “self-loving new year gifts” to cater to the luxurious taste and refined lifestyle of Chinese consumers.
8. Airbnb China Joins Forces with Thailand’s Tourism Authority to Reboot Travel
Airbnb China, the former vacation rental company announced its formal partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand on 14 December, that the two parties will work together to further promote sustainable tourism and revive the industry in a post-pandemic era.
A joint report published by both sides indicates that Asia is expected to be the most popular holiday destination amongst Chinese tourists after China lifted international travel restrictions. According to the report, 80% of Chinese individuals have plans to travel to Thailand in the upcoming year mainly due to its beautiful natural landscapes and high social tolerance always has something to suit varying budgets. Bangkok and Chiang Mai have topped the list for most popular Thai destinations, with a choice rate of 76% and 64%, respectively.
9. Taiwan Investigates TikTok for Illegally Operating on the Island
Taiwan’s government has opened a probe into Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok on suspicion of illegally operating a subsidiary on the island, though the company’s owner denied the accusation.
TikTok, which is not widely used in Taiwan, has come under pressure mostly in the United States on concerns about China getting access to users’ personal data, which the company denies. In a statement late on Sunday, Taiwan’s China-policy-making Mainland Affairs Council said that on December 9 a working group under the Cabinet had discovered that TikTok was suspected of “illegal commercial operations” in Taiwan.
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.