Your semi-weekly dose of China's tech
May 5, 2022
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"It could cost billions if governments and companies have to slowly rip and replace old Hikvision products that can no longer be repaired. It will also take years for trusted surveillance equipment vendors . . . to meet exploding demand."

Eric Sayers, senior vice-president at consultancy Beacon Global Strategies, on US musing sanctions on Hikvision
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TechNode stories

What's going on at TechNode

1. Nio, Xpeng, Li Auto see dismal April deliveries as coronavirus lockdowns disrupt production
Nio and Li Auto’s vehicle deliveries halved in April compared to the previous month, while Xpeng saw a nearly 41% drop. These Chinese EV upstarts have cut production as China fights a new wave of widespread coronavirus outbreaks with frequent lockdown measures since late March.

The massive drop comes as a wave of omicron cases and strict lockdown measures have led to severe supply chain and logistical disruptions to automakers and parts suppliers in Shanghai and surrounding areas, a major auto manufacturing hub for the country.

2. Chinese gaming companies go overseas as home growth slows (feature)
Amid slowing growth and regulatory uncertainty at home, China’s gaming companies are increasingly eyeing overseas markets. Many of them have had impressive growth figures in international markets for some time, but the situation at home is driving them to view foreign gamers in a new light. Established players such as Tencent and NetEase – both of which are in the top five gaming firms in the world – are giving international growth new emphasis, while rising upstarts such as MiHoYo, FunPlus, and 37 Interactive Entertainment are seeing surging interest in their titles outside of China.

The diversity in terms of the size of Chinese gaming firms finding success abroad shows that there’s something of a relatively level playing field outside of a domestic market that is dominated by a handful of majors – even small indie game makers are able to strike it big when they look beyond their own backyard. Yet there’s no cheat code for doing well internationally and Chinese game firms face new modes of competition and significant cultural challenges when they venture outside of China. 

News feed

Bite-sized news updates on China’s tech world
Thursday, May 5
  • The Shanghai municipal government has released a second whitelist, allowing another 342 local companies to restart production after the city has been locked down for more than a month to prevent an omicron outbreak. Huawei, YTO Express, and Matsushita are among the newly-added companies, with most of the names based in the city’s Pudong district and focused on auto and semiconductor production. The new batch of approved firms brings the total number of companies now allowed to restart operations to 1,098 after the first whitelist of 666 companies was approved on April 11. Companies on these lists are given special passes allowing them to undertake transportation of goods in addition to resuming production but must observe an array of measures aimed at Covid-19 prevention. [Caixin, in Chinese]
  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continued to expand its provisional delisting list targeting Chinese companies on Wednesday. More than 80 US-listed Chinese tech firms, including prominent names such as JD, Pinduoduo, Bilibili, and NetEase, have been added to the list. These companies face possible expulsion from US exchanges for failing to provide evidence of their financial audits and disclose whether or not they are owned or controlled by a government entity. The US regulator has added close to 130 companies to the delisting list, identified under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act in the US. That’s more than half of the roughly 240 Chinese companies listed on stock markets in the US. [SEC]
  • China’s Covid-19 vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech releases its 2021 financial report on April 30, recording sales of $19.4 billion for the year, a 3,700% increase from sales of $510.6 million recorded in 2020. The company’s net income also grew by 7,700% to $14.5 billion for 2021. According to the financial results, this leap is due to higher sales of the Covid vaccine and the sales growth of the company’s other products. According to the report, the company has now provided 2.8 billion doses of its Covid vaccine globally. [Sinovac Biotech press release]
  • India has accused Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi of violating the country’s foreign exchange laws and moved to freeze INR 55.51 billion ($730 million) worth of Xiaomi India’s assets on April 27, Caixin reported on Monday. India’s announcement stated that Xiaomi India has transferred INR 55.51 billion to three entities under royalty payments since 2015. The announcement notes that Xiaomi did not receive any service from these entities. Xiaomi released an announcement on its social media accounts on Monday, claiming that “all our operations are firmly compliant with local laws and regulations.” [Caixin, in Chinese]
  • Tesla has confirmed plans to almost double car production at its massive factory in Shanghai, which will make the production base its “largest vehicle export hub” in the world, according to a letter sent by the company to local authorities on May 1. In the letter, the US automaker thanked Shanghai authorities for allowing business to resume and offered relevant support after weeks of shutdown due to the ongoing omicron outbreak in the city, adding that it will build a new plant on land nearby its existing plant. Tesla’s annual production capacity in Shanghai will reportedly reach 1 million vehicles, double its current output of around 500,000 vehicles. [South China Morning Post]
  • Baidu CEO Robin Li announced a new round of leadership changes on Thursday. Shen Dou, an executive vice president, will take charge of Baidu’s AI Cloud Group. This sector of the company was previously led by Haifeng Wang, in addition to his duties as chief technology officer. Shen’s appointment as leader of Baidu’s AI and cloud business is a sign that the company sees the sector as an important vertical. Shen served as a researcher and research project manager at Microsoft before joining Baidu in 2012. Since 2019, he has been executive vice president of Baidu’s Mobile Ecosystem Group, which provides services to Baidu App and Baijiahao. [TechNode reporting]

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