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China’s new tech soft power


Foreigners are tapping Chinese innovation to network and build businesses
International market: Foreign visitors to an expo in Nanning, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous
region, evince interest in forestry by-products and pay for them using WeChat Pay. [Photo by Peng Huan / for China Daily]

China’s innovations impress foreigners, change startup game, boost confidence

The consumption power of more than 1 million foreigners working or studying in China is disproportionately bigger than their tiny share (0.07 percent) of the total population – and whizzes of the country’s homegrown tech ecosystem are sitting up and taking notice, as the economy transitions from export and investment-led growth to a consumption-driven model.

Manufacturers of gadgets, providers of technology-enabled services, and developers of intellectual property like innovative technologies are all vying to make life easier for the relatively small but monetarily significant foreigner community in China.

French engineer Sebastien Bernard, 37, will probably agree. He came to work and live in Beijing four months ago. The first thing he was asked to do by his friends and colleagues was to download and install WeChat, the all-in-one killer app, on his smartphone.

He complied, and his life is much the better for it, he said. As it transpired, Bernard was e-invited to join a WeChat group.

Initially, 15 foreigners chatted with each other and shared their life experiences on the e-group. Gradually, the group grew to a 200-member community of sorts that shared not just useful information like job links or party invitations but, wait for it, e-commerce discount coupons and weekend getaway packages.

Friendly advice sensitized Bernard to other treasures on WeChat. Among many other things, he learned to use the app to order food, book a taxi ride, buy movie tickets, and make digital payments for e-commerce.

Using Chinese apps, some of his friends even play online games, and borrow or lend money using e-credit channels that are redefining inclusive finance.

According to a WeChat report, by May 2017, foreigners in China sent 60 percent more WeChat messages than Chinese users on average per month. They also use WeChat audio calls 42 percent more than Chinese users.

Notably, foreigners in China are good at using different functions or features of WeChat. On average, they use emojis 45 percent more than Chinese users per day. Typically, a foreigner sends 10″red packets” – cash e-gifts – per month. Nearly 65 percent of foreigners who use WeChat use the app’s digital payment tool WeChat Pay.

“Here in China, having WeChat and Alipay accounts is like being plugged into the world. The apps include almost every conceivable service that can help make modern life easy,” said Bernard.

Agreed Yang Qiguang, 26, a researcher from Columbia University’s Tow Center who is pursuing PhD at the Renmin University of China in Beijing.  

“Chinese companies are creating a tech ecosystem that helps everyone, including foreigners, to work and live in a more convenient way.”

Forming social networks using e-tools has become integral to modern life, particularly in urban areas – and China’s tech ecosystem perhaps performs this function better than any other, by bundling consumption-related conveniences, he said.

“The tech ecosystem here facilitates people, including foreigners, to spend more. It is also boosting the confidence of both domestic and foreign companies operating in China. They know they now have powerful and reliable e-tools like apps to drive sales in a humongous market with more than 1 billion consumers,” he said.

That’s not all. Yang said China’s tech ecosystem is fostering entrepreneurialism. Even foreigners living in China are beginning to use Chinese apps to start up in a variety of fields, including technology, education and entertainment. All this business activity is a long-term positive effect for the Chinese economy, he said.

Yang could well have been speaking about David Collier, 52, a Briton who has founded four startups so far, respectively in the United States, the United Kingdom and China.

Rikai Labs, his WeChat-based e-learning business in China, helps Chinese users to master the English language through proprietary automated software. Collier said every seven years, a big platform shift comes along – from web to mobile apps; from apps to messaging platforms – that creates huge opportunities.

“We chose to base our business on WeChat because it provides a great platform for a knowledge service. You have to build your business where people are spending their time, and the biggest messaging platform of all is WeChat,” he said.

“Also, we can use WeChat payment for instant payment, QR codes for marketing purposes and to track user acquisition channels. Now with WeChat’s mini programs, we can add interactive games and other features.”

There’s more. Links to Rikai Labs and related content can be shared socially online. “It provides a very compelling platform with real-time features, social distribution, marketing hooks and monetization,” Collier said.

But risks abound too, he said. Platforms such as WeChat have become extremely competitive for startups. “If you don’t move at high speed, riding with WeChat is like taking the maglev.”

Data, however, suggest that foreigners appear to have an edge over Chinese users in exploiting the local tech ecosystem for small businesses and online social networking, which actually helps businesses directly or indirectly.

A case in point is Baopals, a startup founded by three expatriates. Call it the English Taobao, if you will. Baopals is anchored in Taobao and Tmall, the online shopping platforms owned by Alibaba Group, China’s tech giant.

Foreign visitors to an expo in Nanning, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, evince interest in forestry by-products and pay for them using WeChat Pay. [Photo by Peng Huan / for China Daily]

In July 2015, Charlie Erickson, Jay Thornhill and Tyler McNew, all US citizens in their late 20s and early 30s, developed Baopals, a website that helps translate product information on the Chinese Taobao and Tmall into English. In one stroke, the trio thus opened up the astonishing world of Chinese e-commerce, or 800 million products, to non-Chinese consumers in China.

Baopals already boasts 40,000 registered users, with 16,000 of them joining last year alone, doubling the user count in 2017. A Baopals user buys 58 items on average per year, and spends about 2,500 yuan ($368) to 3,500 yuan annually.

In addition to English, the website has Korean and Russian versions, making e-shopping simpler for foreigners in China.

The website is going from strength to strength on the back of the trio’s innovations. It has introduced attractive sections like “The Cool, The Cheap& The Crazy”. It accepts Alipay, WeChat Wallet and China UnionPay for payments.

Although e-commerce destinations are dime a dozen in China, most of them are in Chinese, and cater to Chinese consumers, so Baopals stands out, said Thornhill.

“Even on Amazon China, the default language is Chinese. When you switch to English, you still see lots of content in Chinese. They just haven’t made the effort to serve China’s expat population properly,” he said.

That gap should spell business opportunities for those looking to start up, he said. “We are also changing the stereotype that Chinese goods are cheap products with low quality,” he said, adding that several products including Xiaomi air purifiers and Huawei products are very popular among foreigners.

According to Thornhill, Baopals’ revenue comes from service fee paid by shoppers. It charges a service fee of 5 percent of each item’s price, plus a small fixed fee based on the item’s price – 2 yuan for items priced below 30 yuan, and 8 yuan for items priced above 90 yuan. More than 2.3 million products had been sold by Jan 17 this year, a huge increase from the same period last year.

Given the experience in China, it is clear that homegrown technologies can succeed outside the mainland, he said. “This year is going to be a big year for Baopals, as we’ll be launching our global service. Expats leaving China can continue buying things they love here, and foreigners everywhere can discover the treasures of China’s online shopping.”

Agreed Yang from the Tow Center. China’s tech ecosystem, he said, provides foreigners on the mainland with well-rounded platforms to do business not only in China but across the world.

“It may take years for foreigners to build such infrastructure themselves. The time and energy saved during the process can be used for bolstering their own products and business.”

It’s not just small players such as Baopals that are drawing confidence from their success in China. Even e-payment giants such as WeChat Pay and Alipay, emboldened by their rapid adoption among foreigners in China, are confident of replicating their success worldwide.

Alipay has introduced its payment services, including departure tax refunds, at 10 major international airports in Japan, Thailand and New Zealand. Although the initial goal is to serve Chinese tourists traveling overseas, the larger plan is to roll out Chinese technologies worldwide and gain a global visibility and footprint.

So, it has struck cooperation agreements with local banks and companies in foreign markets, to provide e-payment services. For instance, its partners in Japan are Hida Credit Union and Kyoto Shinkin Bank, which helps attract Japanese users as well. Using such strategies, Alipay has accumulated more than 1 billion users in all, including 300 million outside China.

Sources:  China Daily/Asian News Network

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Why Huawei’s 5G technology is seen as a threat by the US


Reuters pic.

The term 5G stands for a fifth generation — to succeed the current fourth generation of mobile connectivity that has made video sharing and movie streaming commonplace.

The new technology will require an overhaul of telecommunication infrastructure.

The 5G will do more than make mobile phones faster — it will link billions of devices, revolutionising transportation, manufacturing and even medicine. It will also create a multitude of potential openings for bad actors to exploit.

The vulnerability helps explain the rising tension between the US and Huawei Technologies Co, China’s largest technology company.

Huawei is pushing for a global leadership role in 5G, but American officials suspect that could help Beijing spy on Western governments and companies.

“Huawei’s significant presence in 5G creates a new vector for possible cyber-espionage and malware,” Michael Wessel, a commissioner on the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission that advises Congress, said in an interview.

By connecting whole new classes of products, 5G “creates new vulnerabilities”.

The technology holds great promise. Forests of gadgets will communicate instantly via millions of antennas. Cars will talk to each other to avert lethal crashes, factory foremen will monitor parts supplies and doctors can perform remote surgery as video, sound and data flow without delay.

Connections will be 10 to 100 times faster than current standards — quick enough to download an entire movie in seconds.

Yet, US national security officials see billions of opportunities for spies, hackers and cyber-thieves to steal trade secrets, sabotage machinery and even order cars to crash.

Citing security threats, the US has been pushing allies to block Huawei from telecommunication networks. The US Congress has banned government agencies from buying the company’s gear.

Why is the United States intent on killing Huawei? Look at the data below:

Huawei employs more than 10,000 Phd degree holders as well as many talented Russian mathematicians.

Do you know how many Huawei employees earn more than 1 million yuan (RM603,280) a year? More than 10,000 people.

Do you know how many Huawei employees earn more than five million yuan a year? More than 1,000 people!

In China alone, Huawei’s research and development expenditure is 89.6 billion yuan.

Among the Big Three, Alibaba employs 30,000 people, Baidu 50,000, Tencent about 30,000, leading to a total of 110,000; but Huawei’s global employees total 170,000.

Alibaba’s profit is 23.4 billion yuan, Tencent’s 24.2 billion yuan, Baidu’s 10.5 billion yuan, and their profits total 58 billion yuan, but 70% is taken away by foreigners. Since 2000, Huawei has earned 1.39 trillion yuan from abroad.

In taxes, Tencent pays more than seven billion yuan a year, Alibaba 10.9 billion yuan, and Baidu 2.2 billion. Huawei pays 33.7 billion yuan, which is more than the total of the earlier three firms.

Huawei is a high-tech company, and technology represents the true strength of a country.

In China, many companies can’t last long because there are always other companies ready to replace them, but Huawei is irreplaceable.

Huawei is a 100% Chinese company that has not been listed and does not intend to go public because of the susceptibility to be controlled by capital (which the United States can simply print money to do).

Huawei is the first private technology company in China ever to join the league of the world’s top 100. The Chinese should be proud of Huawei.
FMT NewsKoon Yew Yin is a retired chartered civil engineer and one of the founders of IJM Corporation Bhd and Gamuda Bhd.

The views expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

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The price we pay to axe East Coast Rail Link (ECRL)


KUALA LUMPUR: Loss of jobs, harm to diplomatic ties with China, damage to the economy plus a RM20bil compensation are awaiting Malaysia if the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project is cancelled.

The billion ringgit 688km long track linking Selangor, Pahang, Trengganu and Kelantan is already 20% completed, says MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong on the trail of potential damage if the project set for completion in 2024 is axed now.

The Ayer Hitam Member of Parliament who issued an open letter to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Cabinet Ministers on the matter, said he earnestly hoped the Cabinet can explore the effects of axing the project.

The ECRL project whose construction contract was awarded to China Communications, Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) and financed by China is a hot topic in the past few days, and its fate is expected to be made known officia­lly this week.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia will be “impoverished” if the government proceeds with the ECRL project.

While not confirming that the project has been scrapped, Dr Mahathir said paying compensation is cheaper than bearing the cost of the project.

Below is Dr Wee’s letter in full:

An open letter to YAB Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers

The cancellation of the ECRL project and the bickering between two Cabinet ministers over the issue has become the talk of the town. I foresee this issue to be a hot topic in the Cabinet meeting this Wednesday (Jan 30).

Whether the cancellation of ECRL was discussed in previous Cabinet meetings or not, I earnestly hope the Cabinet can explore the effects of axing this project.

Take a moment to consider factors such as the friendship between the people of both countries, jobs and economy, diplomatic ties and the reputation of Malaysia.

On the bilateral relations between Malaysia and China, I can safely say that putting a stop to the ECRL project will harm the diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China.

If we put ourselves in China’s shoes, we will surely respond negatively as well if our overseas investment is treated as such.

A nightmare looms should China take any retaliatory action, such as reduce or even halt the import of commodities (palm oil in particular) from us.

If that happens, Felda, Sime Darby and other big corporations will be the first to feel the heat.

The livelihood of some 650,000 smallholders and their families will be directly affected.

From the economic perspective, the ECRL project is likely to boost the GDP growth of three east coast states by 1.5%.

It will also spur the development of the east coast, enhance connectivity between the east and west coast, and close the economic divide between the two coasts.

Through bridging the rural-urban divide, the overall development of Malaysia will be more balanced and comprehensive.

The rail link is 20% completed, with several tens of billions paid to the contractor.

On top of that, Malaysia will be penalised for cancelling the RM30bil loan from the EXIM Bank of China.

We will have to repay the loan and compensation within a short period of time.

From my experience in administering engineering projects, any breach of contract will result in a hefty penalty. The compensation for cancelling ECRL could reach RM20bil.

Financial losses aside, scrapping the ECRL will also bring a negative impact to Malaysia’s reputation in the international arena and erode Malaysia’s trustworthiness.

Judging from my past experience dealing with China and its officials, as well as the friendly gestures displayed by China so far, I can conclude that China is willing to achieve a win-win solution instead of situation where both sides lose out.

The Malaysian government can consider restructuring the project timeline or reducing the project scale, which are alternatives that work in Malaysia’s favour while maintaining the amicable ties between Malaysia and China.

The government should also keep the small and medium enterprises in mind.

Business owners in 150 related industries, including tens of thousands of contractors who have taken a loan to purchase equipment, will suffer greatly should ECRL be cancelled.

China is Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009, with bilateral trade figures reaching US$100bil. Business linkages and people-to-people exchanges have also flourished over the years.

Products such as palm oil, bird’s nest, Musang King, white coffee, etc, are exported to China, while people from both countries visit each other for vacations and academic exchanges, benefitting Malaysians of all races.

All these have contributed to the income of various communities and brought in foreign exchange earnings for the country.

It takes years to build a bilateral relationship, and only seconds to destroy it.

The Malaysian government should appreciate our friendship with China and try its best to achieve mutual benefits and common prosperity with China.

Prioritise the economy and the livelihood of the people, and put an end to the political game to discredit your opponents.

For the sake of the people in the east coast as well as the whole of Malaysia, the government should not cancel the ECRL project.- The Star

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Recession? No, not this year 2019


 

THE influential International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted slower global growth this year on the back of financial volatility and the trade war between the United States and China.

Turkey and Argentina are expected to experience deep recessions this year before recovering next year.

China, apart from fighting the trade war, is also experiencing its slowest quarterly growth since the 1990s, sending ripples across Asia. In the last quarter of 2018, China recorded an economic growth of 6.4%, which is the third consecutive quarter of slowing growth.

This has led to fears of China’s economy going into a hard landing and it possibly being the catalyst to spark global economic turmoil.

After all, it has been more than 10 years since the world witnessed the last recession in 2008 that was caused by a financial crisis in the US. If we are to believe the 10 to 12-year economic turmoil cycle, the next downturn is already due.

However, the economic data so far does not seem to suggest that the world will go into a recession or tailspin this year.

The bigger worry is what would happen next year.

The narrowing spread between the two-year and 10-year US Treasury papers would lead to banks being more selective in their lending. It is already happening in the US.

The impact is likely to be profound next year. When banks are more selective in lending, eventually the economy will grind to a halt.

But that is the likely scenario next year, assuming there is no fresh impetus to spur global growth.

At the moment, there is a significant amount of asset price depression due to slowing demand. The reason is generally because of the slower growth in China and the trade war.

China has fuelled demand for almost everything in the last few years. Companies and individuals from China drove up the prices of everything – from property and valuations of companies to commodities.

China itself is experiencing a slowing economy and the government has restricted the outflow of funds. Its overall debt is estimated at 300% of gross domestic product and banks are reluctant to lend to private companies for fear of defaults.

China’s manufacturing sector has slowed down because of the trade war. Companies are not prepared to expand because they fear the tariffs imposed by the US.

Nevertheless, the world’s second-largest economy is still growing, albeit at a slower pace. A growth rate of 6.4% per quarter is still commendable, although it is far from the 12% quarterly economic growth it recorded in 2011-2012.

The US, which is the world’s largest economy, is also facing slower growth this year. The Federal Reserve has predicted a slower economic growth of 2.3% in 2019 compared to the 3.1% the country recorded last year.

The ongoing US government shutdown is not going to make things easy.

As for Europe, the European Central Bank (ECB) has warned of a slowdown this year. The warning came just six weeks after the ECB eased off on its bond-buying programme that was designed to reflate the economy.

Business sentiments on Germany, which is a barometer of what happens to the rest of Europe, is at the lowest.

As for Malaysia, the country is going through an economic transition of sorts following the change in government. Government spending has traditionally been the driver of the domestic economy when global growth slows.

The new government has cut back on spending, which is a necessary evil, considering that many of the projects awarded previously were inflated. Generally, the cost of most projects is to be shaved by at least 10% – and some by up to 50%.

However, the projects with revised costs have not got off the ground yet and contractors have not been paid their dues. For instance, contractors in the LRT 3 project had complained of not getting payments for work done a year ago.

Fortunately, a new contract for the LRT 3 has been signed. Hopefully, the contractors will be paid their dues speedily and work recommences on the ground fast.

The volatile oil prices are not helping improve revenue for the government.

Domestic demand is still growing, although people complain of their income levels not growing. This is because companies as a whole are also not doing as well as in previous years.

Nevertheless, even the most pessimistic of economist is looking at Malaysia chalking up a growth rate of more than 4.5% this year, which is respectable. The official forecast is 4.9%.

One of the reasons for the optimism is that they feel government revenue is expected to be much higher than expected, giving it the flexibility to push spending if the global economic scenario takes a turn for the worse.

According to the Treasury report for 2019, federal government revenue is to come in at about RM261bil, which is 10.7% higher than in 2018.

The amount is likely to be much higher, allowing the government the option to put more money in the hands of the people. It also allows the government to reduce corporate taxes, a move that would draw in investments.

Malaysia has a new government in place. What investors are looking for are signs of where all the extra revenue earned will go. They are also looking for the next growth catalyst.

The trade war and financial volatility is causing structural shifts in the global economy. It is impacting China, the US and Europe.

Eventually, the global crunch will come, but it is not likely to happen this year.

By m. shanmugam

 

China demands U.S. to drop Huawei exec’s extradition as the latter don’t have law on their side


https://youtu.be/yqodKOkWRYQ

Huawei CFO has strong arguments in extradition case: Canadian diplomat

 FM urges Canada to make right choice 

China urged Canada to “make the right choice” on Thursday, after Canada’s ambassador to China John McCallum reportedly said the Huawei executive arrested in Vancouver at the request of the US has a strong case to fight extradition.

“Any one with normal judgment can see the nature of the incident, and we hope the Canadian side makes the right choice and not to ‘pull someone’s chestnuts out of the fire,'” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a daily briefing on Thursday.

Hua’s remark comes after McCallum told reporters earlier this week that Huawei’s chief finance officer Meng Wanzhou has a “strong case” to fight an extradition request.

“I think she has quite good arguments on her side,” said McCallum, CNN reported.

“One, political involvement by comments from US President Donald Trump in her case. Two, there’s an extraterritorial aspect to her case; and three, there’s the issue of Iran sanctions which are involved in her case, and Canada did not sign on to these sanctions.”

Echoing McCallum, Huang Feng, director of Beijing Normal University’s Institute for International Criminal Law, noted that the US extradition request has no merit as it does not follow the basic extradition principle of double criminality.

Double criminality states that a suspect could be extradited only if similar laws one breaks exist in the extraditing country. However, Canada has no such sanctions, said Huang.

Analysts stressed that even if the US files an extradition request at the last minute, it does not mean Meng would be extradited to the US, noting that every side has to weight their choice.

Such a request has to be reviewed and approved by Canada’s judicial department and local court, and though Canada’s judicial departments are unlikely to refuse the extradition, Huawei’s legal teams could exhaust every means of judicial remedy in Canada to stop the extradition.

The US government alleges that Meng helped Huawei dodge US sanctions on Iran and has indicated it will file a formal extradition request by the January 30 deadline, CNN reported Thursday.

Wu Xinbo, director of Fudan University’s Center for American Studies, told the Global Times that if Canada does agree to extradite Meng to the US in the worst scenario, bilateral ties will face unprecedented challenges.

The extradition will cause “downgraded diplomatic relations” between China and Canada, Wu said.

It will set a precedent of enterprises facing the harshest legal punishment for alleged misconduct they are charged of in a foreign country, said Wu.

US enterprises may face similar consequences in China, he said.

The current status of China-Canada relations does have a huge impact on bilateral exchanges and cooperation, but China is not responsible for that, Hua said.

The Canadian side has to take China’s concerns seriously and correct its mistakes to change the situation, she said.

US extradition mirrors Iran sanctions: just don’t have law on their side’ on Huawei case 

The US request to extradite Huaiwei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou goes against international law and mirrors its unilateral sanctions on Iran, which is opposed by the international community, Chinese Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

The US extradition request mirrors US sanctions on Iran. However, as everyone knows, Huawei has repeatedly stated its compliance with all applicable laws and regulations of the countries in which it operates, said Hua Chunying, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Hua noted that China opposes unilateral US sanctions against Iran outside the UN Security Council framework. The sanctions are not in conformity with international law and have met with international opposition, including US ally Canada,she said.

Hua’s comments came after the US Justice Department said on Tuesday it would continue to pursue the extradition of Meng and would meet all deadlines set by the US-Canada Extradition Treaty, Reuters reported, citing a statement released by US Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi.

Huang Feng, director of Beijing Normal University’s Institute for International Criminal Law, told the Global Times this accusation is farfetched because she was allegedly accused of bank fraud at HSBC, a UK-based banking giant, not a US one, and Meng’s activities were outside the US.

Canada’s Department of Justice said an individual can be extradited if the alleged activity in question is recognized as a criminal in both countries.

Huang said that the extradition request cannot be passed by Canada unless the US offers solid evidence to prove that Meng violated the laws of Canada and the US.

The US action goes against international law and is unjustified, said Hua, noting that it is part of the country’s political agenda to bully Chinese hi-tech firms and contain China’s rightful development.

Huang also noted he found it strange that the Canadian ambassador announced the US request before the US formally send its extradition request. “Normally, none would publish relevant information unless it’s formalized. So it seems like Canada is bluffing.”

Ren Zhengfei, Meng’s father and Huawei founder, said in an interview with foreign media on January 15, “I trust that the legal systems of Canada and the United States are open, just, and fair, and will reach a just conclusion,” Ren said, according to a transcript Huawei released to media.

Meng case to further complicate China-Canada-US ties

Editor’s Note:

The US has reportedly said to formally seek extradition of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou. Since Meng was arrested on December 1 in Vancouver, the deadline for the US to file a formal extradition request is 30 January, 60 days after the arrest. What is the implication of Washington’s move? How will it influence China-US-Canada relations? Global Times sought the opinion of two experts on the issue.

Li Haidong, professor with the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University

US President Donald Trump has been deeply troubled by the government shutdown and the Russiagate investigation

As the deadline nears, Washington may be too busy coping with the shutdown chaos to consider Meng’s case and make the formal extradition request. Ottawa is urging Washington to take the action.

Extradition is a strict cooperative law enforcement process between two jurisdictions. The US’ filing a request does not mean that Canada must immediately send Meng to the US. Canada has to conduct a judicial review procedure to weigh the request, during which Meng’s appeal will also be taken into account.

At least in the legal sense, if Meng’s appeal is credible and convincing enough, there is a good chance that Ottawa would hesitate to transfer her to Washington.

Nonetheless, it should be noted that Meng’s case is political in the garb of a legal procedure. If law is the only factor to be considered, I believe Meng will win the lawsuit; but when the political factors come into play, there would be increased uncertainty.

Meng’s case is a long-running battle. As long as it is not resolved, it would be tough to iron out China-US-Canada relations.

Washington is unwilling to see any of its allies strengthening relations with Beijing, but China-Canada ties should not be affected by the Meng incident. Canada should abandon its role as a US puppet to sully China’s image. The right thing for Ottawa to do is to immediately correct the mistake.

Chen Hongqiao, researcher at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies

Washington tends to make important decisions at the eleventh hour. It is used to taking a wait-and-see approach toward the two or more sides of the game, and then determine what measures to take.

In Meng’s case, the US has its own strategic requirement. It needs to observe the interaction between China and Canada to make up its mind. If China takes a tough stance, the US would act prudently. If Canada requires support, the US will provide it.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit the US on January 30 and 31 for the next round of US-China trade negotiations. The US may proceed to file a formal extradition request for Meng just days before Liu’s visit as a leverage to exert pressure on Beijing to pursue its interests in the trade talks. But the US side will not bring it up during the negotiations with Beijing.

According to Reuters, US President Donald Trump stated he would intervene in the Justice Department case against Meng if it is in US national security interest and US-China trade talks. His words signal that before Meng is extradited, he could apply the president’s diplomatic prerogative to intervene. The US has a system of separation of powers and its judiciary branch is independent. If Meng is extradited to the US, it would be difficult for Trump to exercise his influence.

Canada claims to be a country with the rule of law, and will deal with the US request based on laws and will not hand over Meng without careful consideration. In fact, Ottawa has been disappointed with Washington, complaining that the US is competing with China at the expense of Canada. On the surface, Meng’s incident is a legal issue, but politics and diplomacy play an important role.

Prepare for protracted game over Meng

The US Department of Justice confirmed on Tuesday that it will “meet all deadlines” to seek extradition of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, signaling an extraordinarily high probability of the US filing a formal extradition request before January 30.

Washington’s move will undoubtedly further intensify the dispute between the US and China over Meng’s case. China must not bear any illusion and should prepare for more complicated games.

The Chinese government and media should continue to disclose and condemn that Washington and Ottawa have violated the basic legal spirit. Their sophistry must bear diplomatic and public pressure, and not to be left unimpeded in the international arena, as if Huawei did commit serious crimes.

Arresting Meng is obviously part of the US actions to crack down on Huawei. Anyone with a brain can clearly see Washington’s intention to stop rising Chinese high-tech companies in the name of the law.

One thing should be made very clear: If Ottawa successfully assists Washington in the extradition of Meng, Beijing will retaliate against both of them without doubt.

The US’ official request for extradition does not mean an immediate transfer of Meng. The Canadian court will then have a month to hear the US evidence and weigh the request before making judgment. Meng can also defend herself and appeal. This process may last a few months, or even years.

As a private company, Huawei is incapable of confronting the US and Canada’s national system, but it can do its best to prolong the extradition process at most.

There has been a political purpose from the very beginning when news of Meng’s case broke. Since Washington and Ottawa have vowed to declare that this is a 100 percent legal procedure, this political persecution must be strictly tested by their legal system.

Ottawa is stuck in the middle of Washington and Beijing, and involved in the whirlpool of geopolitical disputes. Being a US puppet is not easy. Canada may realize that it bears the blame for its ally. Its emphasis on acting by law is only a self-spiritual support in the current predicament.

Canadian public opinion is sensitive to any evidence of political persecution in this case, which can provide a potential favorable factor for Meng’s defense and appeal.

Canada is a legal state under normal circumstances, and especially attaches importance to procedures and evidence. Although disguised as legal procedure, Meng’s case, a case of injustice, is bound to have loopholes. Huawei has already shown its confidence in the upcoming litigation process.

China-US ties may also undergo certain subtle changes at any time which might dilute US political motives for persecuting Meng. We should never abandon such hope.

Meng’s case has set an execrable precedent. Beijing’s reaction will shape the world’s understanding of China’s national strength and will. Beijing must not be furious or cowardly.

We should take corresponding actions step by step in resolute and orderly manner, and show the world that Chinese are with reason and with restraint.

Any countries and forces that persecute Chinese citizens and infringe on China’s interests will pay a heavy price. Global Times

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https://youtu.be/WbsOkFUXhD0

A whole new world – China luring talents from Malaysia & Singapore with lucrative salary


THE pull of the Chinese entertainment market is so great at the moment, actors from all over – including Malaysia and Singapore – are being drawn there.

There is a lot of money being spent in China, which broadly translates to more working opportunities as well as the potential for higher salaries.

According to London-based analyst IHS Markit, it is the world’s second biggest television market after the United States, as the country spent more than US$10.9bil (RM45bil) on TV programming in 2017.

China is also set to be the world’s largest film market by 2020, with its domestic theatrical revenue estimated to reach more than US$10bil (RM41bil) by then, according to reports.

Malaysia-born actress Tong Bingyu, 35, revealed that her pay for working on a single television drama series in China was the equivalent of a year’s salary in Singapore.

The former Mediacorp star, who used to go by the name Chris Tong and who had quit the Singapore company early last year, had previously claimed that was how much she was paid for her appearance on the upcoming Chinese TV period drama series One Boat One World.

She sounds hesitant when pressed, however. In a telephone interview recently, the 35-yearold says in Mandarin: “It’s true that it is possible to get a lot more money in China. The market there is huge and if you get picked for big projects, you can be well compensated.

“But I don’t want people to get the wrong idea that it’s easy money. Just because you pack up and move to China doesn’t mean you will be rich. It also depends a lot on luck and whom you know.”

Her stroke of luck came four years ago when she met a Chinese producer from popular TV channel Hunan Television through a good friend.

That producer eventually helped set her up for acting gigs in China.

Besides One Boat One World, Tong also snagged a role in the wuxia drama The Heaven Sword And Dragon Saber, which is based on Louis Cha’s novel of the same name.

Tong says of the producer: “She gave me so much solid advice. She pointed out very frankly that I’m not that young anymore and that I should diversify.”

Which is why Tong decided to try her hand at producing as well.

Currently, she is busy working as a producer on the Chinese action spy movie Zhi Sheng Si Yu Du Wai (Beyond Life And Death), which boasts a budget of 300mil yuan (RM182mil).

She was roped in after she met famed Hong Kong producer Manfred Wong, who is also behind the film.

Tong, who is managed by her Malaysian husband Kee Kai Loon, 40, says: “It’s stressful because I’m so new to this job, but it has also been very exciting. I’m suddenly asking questions like, ‘How much does this cost? What will it look like?’

“When I was at Mediacorp, I was such a passive person – I just went to work to act.”

The film, which she describes as an explosive actioner in the vein of China’s hit war films Operation Red Sea (2018) and Wolf Warrior (2015), is slated for release later this year.

Coming up, she will also produce a Chinese Web series, for which she declines to reveal the details.

When she was in Singapore, the actress played the lead in Mandarin TV series such as family drama Mightiest Mother-In-Law (2017) and nursing drama The Caregivers (2014).

“I will unlikely get the same star status as an actress in China and that’s OK. The reality is there are so many younger and more beautiful actresses who have been working in China for much longer than I have,” says Tong, who has been based out of Beijing for the past two years.

“I just take every day there as an opportunity to learn new things. Besides, now that I’m doing the producing thing, I realise that I’m loving it. If all goes well, I might be a producer full-time in the future.”

– By Yip Wai Yee, The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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