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Baidu Reported Massive Loss in Q1

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the Chinese search engine giant Baidu reported a massive loss in its just-released first quarter financial report. The report indicated that Baidu suffered a net loss of RMB 327 million (around US$49 million) in the first quarter. Last year, in same time period, Baidu reported a net profit of RMB 6.694 billion (around US$967 million). This is the first time since Baidu went public in 2005 that it has reported a loss. Immediately after the report was released, its stock price dropped by 16 percent and reached a three and a half year low. Instantly, the market value shrank by US$8.7 billion. Baidu’s Sr. Vice President who is Chief of the Search Engine Business Group Xiang Hailong resigned at the same time that the report was released. Baidu’s search engine represents the company’s core business and enjoys a near monopoly position in China’s search market, with government backing as well as a Google ban. Market experts expressed their belief that, by examining reports from other similar companies, Baidu’s report indeed reflected the adjustments in the economy.

Source: Sina, May 19, 2019

Beijing News: Beijing Announced Grain and Oil Market Stabilization Plan

Beijing News recently reported that the City of Beijing just announced and deployed an emergency response plan to balance the city’s grain and oil market. This is another emergency market control plan for life’s necessities, after the pork market and the vegetable market. As a “mega consumer city,” Beijing’s goal for the new emergency plan is to ensure that the market prices of grain and oil related products are controlled to be within certain ranges. The plan aims to control the price adjustments in the wholesale market. Based on past statistics, Beijing’s wholesale price fluctuations are typically more severe than those of the retail prices. The plan is to reflect the concerns related to the mid-to-long term impact under the complex domestic and international market pressure. Starting in 2013, Beijing established price control emergency funds within the government budget.

Source: Beijing News, May 13, 2019

Lianhe Zaobao: Google Partially Paused Business Relations with Huawei

Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao recently reported that, with the ban that the U.S. government issued, Google paused the execution of some of its business agreements with Huawei. Other than Google’s open-source version of Android, Huawei can no longer use Google applications on Android, such as Gmail and Google Maps. This will have an immediate impact on Huawei’s cellphones sold internationally. The overseas handsets, even the latest next generation models, are not going to be able to visit Google’s Google Play application store and popular apps. Some of the details are still being discussed internally at Google. This is a direct result of U.S. Department of Commerce’s new rules on controls applied to direct business activities with companies that may threaten the U.S. national security. Huawei is one of the 68 companies in 26 countries that are included on the black list. Reuters reported the news and the chief of the U.S. online tech news site The Verge confirmed it.

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, May 20, 2019

VOA: As the US-China Trade War Escalates, China’s Employment Situation Is Getting Grim

As the US-China trade tensions intensify, China expects a record 8.34 million college graduates to enter the job market this summer. It is believed that the recent increase in tariffs that the U.S. has imposed has made China’s export-dependent economy more vulnerable. China’s employment situation will become more and more severe for all job seekers, including college graduates. A recent survey showed that the actual employment rate this year was only 52 percent due to the fact that college graduates have not been able to find matching professions after their graduations. The survey found that this means that at least 4 million graduates will soon become unemployed, although many of them may choose to continue their studies. A report that Renmin University of China and the Career Platform Recruitment Network completed jointly found that, in the first quarter of this year, the number of job seekers in China increased by 31 percent compared to the same period last year. It was the highest increase since 2011. The report concluded that the China Job Market Prosperity Index has fallen to its lowest level since 2014. However, the latest official statistics describe a slightly different situation. According to official data, the unemployment rate in China’s urban areas remained at 5.2 percent in March, down 0.1 percentage points from February.

Source: Voice of America, May 17, 2019

RFA: Will Anti US Korean War Movies and Media Propaganda Incite the Chinese People to Hate the US?

Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that, as the US-China trade war is heating up, China’s CCTV has been changing its original program list and has broadcast anti-US films for three consecutive days. All three films were made in the 60’s with the Korean War as the background. At the same time, People’s Daily published an article saying, “There has never been a savior (for China) and, “The theory that the ‘U.S. has rebuilt China’ should be put to rest.” The article stated that “China’s development, in the end, is that the Chinese people continue to push forward reform and opening up under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and people’s hard work.” The article continued about the observation that there has never been a savior (for China). “Instead of revealing ignorance, it would be better (for the U.S.) to respect the facts, stop the unwarranted accusations against China, have a positive perspective when looking at China’s development, and do more things that are conducive to the normal and stable development of Sino-US economic and trade relations.” RFA quoted several comments. One comment stated that China’s current official propaganda was there to fool the Chinese people. “(The party) shifted the blame for the rising unemployment rate and inflation to the U.S. and used the circumstances to demonize the U.S.” Another comment stated, “On the one hand, the Chinese official media said that there has never been a savior. On the other hand, it seems contradictory and extremely stupid to advocate Mao Zedong as the savior of the Chinese people. The propaganda of the official media does not incite the hatred that is among the Chinese people. … If the United States were not good, why would so many officials send their children to the U.S. to study every year? In addition, many of their children also immigrate to the U.S. to get green cards. Why do they do that?”

Source: Radio Free Asia, May 17, 2019

Epoch Times: Huawei Has “Backdoor” into Dutch Telecoms Network

Epoch Times reported that the Dutch media recently revealed that mainland telecom giant Huawei has a “backdoor” into the network of a major Dutch telecommunications company, possibly in order to obtain customer information. According to a report the Dutch De Volkskrant published on the 16th, the Dutch intelligence and security agency AIVD is investigating whether China is conducting espionage. At the beginning of April, AIVD named China and Russia, warning the Dutch not to rely on the hardware and software equipment made by these two countries. It pointed out that China and Russia have adopted an aggressive network strategy against the Netherlands, jeopardizing the interests of the Netherlands.

According to Epoch Times, this is not the first time that Huawei was accused of installing a “backdoor” on its devices. At the end of April this year, Bloomberg broke the news that Vodafone, the world’s second-largest mobile operator, admitted that, a few years ago, it had discovered that the equipment supplied by Huawei to Vodafone’s Italian business had a backdoor. On March 29, the US technology website Lightreading reported that Microsoft engineers found the “backdoor” on Huawei laptops through the installed “Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection” used in Windows 10. On December 11, 2018, Fuji TV Japan quoted officials from the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party as saying that after disassembling Huawei equipment, the Japanese government discovered that there were “unnecessary parts” in the hardware. In 2017, a person who claimed to be an internal employee of Huawei disclosed in the social media that Huawei’s mobile phones and computers are equipped with spying software. In September 2015, the famous hacker media “The Hacker News” reported that G-Data, a security company from Germany, found that 26 Chinese-made smartphones, including Huawei, had pre-installed spyware in their firmware. In addition, Huawei is accused of having close ties with the Chinese authorities. It has actively participated in projects such as the Golden Shield Project and is the backbone enterprise for China’s Internet censorship and its national security monitoring system.

Source: Epoch Times, May 16, 2019