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How China’s Economy Bounced Back

CHANGMINGZHEN, China — The smell, salty and pungent, wafts through the freshly paved streets near the gleaming new factory.The factory is owned by a company called Laoganma, which makes a piquant chili-and-soybean sauce famous across China for its power to set mouths watering. In a time of global pandemic, when the jobs of working people around the world hang in the balance, the factory’s scents signal opportunity.Since it opened in March, when China was still in the grip of Covid-19, the factory has struggled to find enough machinery operators or quality control technicians. Now workers are flocking to …

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As Trump Clashes With Big Tech, China’s Censored Internet Takes His Side

After Twitter and Facebook kicked President Trump off their platforms, and his supporters began comparing his social media muzzling to Chinese censorship, the president won support from an unexpected source: China.“Legally he’s still the president. This is a coup,” said one comment, which included an expletive, that was liked 21,000 times on Weibo, the Chinese social media platform.“A country as big as the United States can’t tolerate Trump’s mouth,” another popular comment said. “U.S. democracy has died.”The comments were solicited by Guancha.com, a nationalistic news site, which created the hashtag #BigUSappsunitedtosilenceTrump# on Weibo. …

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YC-backed Blabla raises $1.5M to teach English through short videos

Short, snappy, entertaining videos have become an increasingly common way for young people to receive information. Why not learn English through TikTok-like videos too? That was what prompted Angelo Huang to launch Blabla.
Originally from Taiwan, Huang relocated to Shanghai in 2019 to start Blabla after working in Silicon Valley for over a decade. A year later, Blabla was chosen as part of Y Combinator’s 2020 summer cohort. The coronavirus had begun to spread in the U.S. at the time, keeping millions at home, and interest in remote learning was reviving.
“It was my eighth time applying to YC,” Huang, …

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Lack of Tiny Parts Disrupts Auto Factories Worldwide

The semiconductor shortage came out of left field, hitting the industry at a perilous moment. Sales have plunged worldwide. In Europe, for example, they were down 25 percent in 2020.This is all happening while automakers are trying to navigate a shift in basic technology from internal combustion engines to batteries, which has subjected them to new competition from Tesla, the California company that has become the most valuable automaker in the world by far, and emerging Chinese manufacturers like Nio.Exactly how long the shortage will last is unclear. It can take 20 to 25 weeks from the time new orders are placed …

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China’s Stronger Currency Could Be a Fig Leaf for Biden

HONG KONG — China’s economy has come roaring back from the depths of the coronavirus pandemic, and its currency has joined the ride.The currency, known variously as the yuan or the renminbi, has surged in strength in recent months against the American dollar and other major currencies. Through Monday, the U.S. dollar was worth 6.47 renminbi, compared with 7.16 renminbi in late May and close to its strongest level in two and half years.Many currencies tend to jump around in value even more, but Beijing has long kept a leash on China’s, so the renminbi’s leap looks …

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China’s search giant Baidu to set up an EV making venture

China’s search giant Baidu is extending its car ambitions from mere software to production. The company said Monday that it will set up a company to produce electric vehicles with the help of Chinese automaker Geely. Baidu, a dominant player in China’s internet search market for the last decade or so, will provide smart driving technologies while Geely, which has an impending merger with Sweden’s Volvo, will be in charge of car design and manufacturing.
The move marks the latest company in China’s internet industry to enter the EV space. In November, news arrived that Alibaba …

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A Year After Wuhan, China Tells a Tale of Triumph (and No Mistakes)

At a museum in Wuhan, China, a sprawling exhibition paints a stirring tale of how the city’s sacrifices in a brutal 76-day lockdown led to triumph over the coronavirus and, ultimately, rebirth.No costs appear to have been spared for the show, which features a hologram of medical staff members moving around a hospital room, heart-rending letters from frontline health workers and a replica of a mass quarantine site, complete with beds, miniature Chinese flags and toothbrush cups.But the exhibition is also striking for what is not included. There is no mention of the whistle-blowing role of Ai …

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China Issues New Rules Aimed at Trump’s Sanctions

China fired back at the Trump administration on Saturday with new rules that would punish global companies for complying with Washington’s tightening restrictions on doing business with Chinese companies.China’s Ministry of Commerce said that the rules, which went into effect immediately, were intended to counter foreign laws that “unjustly prohibit or restrict” people or companies in China from doing normal business. It said its measures were necessary to safeguard China’s national sovereignty and security and to protect the rights of Chinese citizens and entities.Although Chinese officials did not mention any specific country, the new rules …

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Hong Kong Website Doxxing Police Gets Blocked, Raising Censorship Fears

At one internet provider, China Mobile Hong Kong, the disconnection — of a type known as a drop action — indicates direct involvement by the telecom company. “A drop action is a specifically configured element of a D.N.S. firewall environment” Mr. April said. “This is not something the owner could have configured, intentionally or accidentally.”China Mobile Hong Kong, an arm of China Mobile, the Chinese state-run company, declined to comment. Two others tested by the Times, SmarTone and Hutchison Telecommunications, which are controlled by local conglomerates, did not respond to emailed requests for comment.Users of PCCW, another locally …

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Tencent investment stays on game in 2020

It’s no secret that Tencent, the Chinese tech giant behind WeChat and a handful of blockbuster video games, is an aggressive investor. Even during 2020 when the pandemic slowed down economic activity in many parts of the world, Tencent was charging ahead with its investment ambitions.
During the year, the company participated in more than 170 funding rounds that amounted to a total of 249.5 million yuan ($38 million), according to the Chinese startup database ITJuzi. That made 2020 the most active year to date for Tencent’s investment team, which had been delivering superior results in the last decade.
By January 2020, over 70 of …

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