22 China Stories That Caught My Eye


Deciphering China’s AI Dream An Oxford University study that systematically compares the state of AI in China vs the US. Punch-line “China’s AI capabilities are about half of those of America”

Huawei Probe Adds to U.S.-China Trade Tension Ahead of Talks The real trade war is happening in the tech sector as the US probes ZTE and Huawei – big Chinese tech companies. See President Xi’s response in next article.

Xi’s Speech at the Work Conference for Cybersecurity and Informatization . Well worth a read. China is desperate to become self-sufficient in tech hardware and not rely on the US or others.  “An Internet enterprise, however great its size is, however high its market cap is, if it critically relies on the outside world for core components…we must make breakthroughs in this difficult area of core technology, and strive to realize “overtaking on a twisting road” in a number of areas and aspects.”

How China Leapfrogged Ahead of the United States in the Fintech Race Excellent summary of how China’s poor payments infrastructure spurred its fintech revolution.

Chinese-American immigrants fall prey to WeChat’s misinformation problemDiscusses how Chinese-Americans (esp first generation) use WeChat for news and information, which creates its own echo chamber of fake news.

Beijing Set To Transform Itself Into a Tech Capital The government is investing over $2bn on an AI park that will boost Beijing’s bid to become the Silicon Valley of China.

What the Facebook Scandal Means in a Land without Facebook: A Look at China’s Burgeoning Data Protection Regime Punchline is that China views data protection as data security rather than data privacy. 

Politics and Society

China’s Live-Fire Drill in the Taiwan Strait: A Case Study in Psychological Warfare Discusses the impact of military drills near Taiwan on the broader region (which may be its aim).

Does China Want the Koreas to Reconcile?  A range of views on what China thinks – the main objective seems to be to drive the US out of the region.

China fails to get Indian support for Belt and Road ahead of summit Oops. The China-Pakistan corridor goes through Kashmir, which would therefore need India’s support. Modi is visiting China,let’s see what happens. So far the summit as delivered the usual niceties.

Japan and China’s foreign ministers pledge to pursue improved ties With Japan being affected by US tariffs as much as China, the ties between the two countries are getting closer.

The Quiet Revolution: China’s Millennial Backlash Fascinating glimpse of how Chinese millennials are rebelling against tradition and State.

Economics and Business

Will China Really Supplant US Economic Hegemony? Ken Rogoff argues that AI and robots will remove China’s edge in having a large manufacturing force

The 5 Major Digital Trends in China’s High-end Retail How China is innovating in retail

Deluge of Soured-Loan Sales Expected This Year. China is serious about cleaning up NPLs.

Intergovernmental Fiscal Reform in China Excellent IMF overview of China’s fiscal reform plan: reduce overlapping spending mandates amongst public sector bodies, centralise key functions away from local governments and improve transfer system. Deadline 2020

Raising tariffs on China without grabbing headlines An analysis on EU tariffs on Chinese imports

Japan ‘rare earth’ haul sparks hopes of cutting China reliance Major rare earth discovery in Japan could wean dependence off China 


A giant indoor farm in China is breeding 6 billion cockroaches a year. Here’s why AI + cockroaches = mass-produced medicine!

Wanted at Chinese Start-Ups: Attractive Women to Ease Coders’ Stress “Ms. Shen is a “programmer motivator,” as they are known in China. Part psychologist, part cheerleader, the women are hired to chat up and calm stressed-out coders”

Why you should read China’s vast, 18th century novel, Dream of the Red Chamber “Above all, reading (or prescribing) the novel feels like the antidote to facile stereotyping of Chinese culture. All the core topics are present: family dynamics; Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism; face and status; strategy and emotion.”

University Stands Out With Very Ordinary Job Ad  A university publishes the most honest job ad ever!