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CCP Tightens Media Control during the Fifth Plenary Session

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) cyber censorship authorities have further tightened their grip on the media in order to create a stable and peaceful political and public opinion atmosphere for the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the CCP held in Beijing between October 26 and 29.

On October 22, China Digital Times, a California-based bilingual news website covering China, published the instructions that Beijing had issued for the Fifth Plenary Session.

This notice issued to the media detailed the requirements for propaganda control. It covered five concerns: “political rumors,” “national leaders,” “ideology,” “stability maintenance,” and “others.” The topics under close scrutiny included “harmful political rumors and information involving slander and attacks from abroad,” “exploitation of high-level infighting and power struggles, the next generation leadership, information on the successor (to Xi Jinping),” “harmful information that attacks, ridicules, and spreads rumors about leaders and important speeches,” “harmful information about leadership personnel changes, such as factional infighting, and the inner circle of Xi Jinping,” “publishing information on Hong Kong independence, Taiwan independence and the speeches of people supporting Hong Kong and Taiwan independence,” “harmful information that attacks our country’s political system, social system, the Party and the state,” and “Complaints about the Fifth Plenary Session.”

The notice also prohibits Internet platforms from highlighting reports involving vicious criminal cases, massive social unrest, campus incidents, as well as unauthorized use of overseas news.

Source: Voice of America, October 27, 2020
https://www.voachinese.com/a/Tightening-media-control-has-become-new-political-normal-in-China-before-major-events-20201027/5637612.html

China to Discipline Mobile Browsers

On October 26, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country’s top Internet censorship authority, made an announcement on its Wechat account that a campaign is underway to shake up the mobile browsers, that is, the web browsers designed for use on mobile phones. The first batch of targets includes eight popular mobile browsers in mainland China: UC, QQ, Huawei, 360, Sogou, Xiaomi, vivo, and OPPO.

The announcement vowed to focus on three prominent problems. “The first is about online news and information that the ‘self-media’ illegally edited and published. The second is sensational headlines that feature malicious exaggeration, smear campaigns, and publicity stunts. The third is harmful information that violates ‘socialist core values.’”

Between October 27 and November 9, those who operate the browsers are required to “conduct in-depth self-inspection and rectification according to the list of issues and submit a rectification report and standard of contents to the cybersecurity authorities by 5:00 pm November 9.”

The cybersecurity regulators will inspect and reevaluate the self-inspections by the operators. For the mobile browsers that have outstanding problems after the inspection, there will be punishment as serious as the suspension of business.

Source: Cyberspace Administration of China, October 26, 2020
http://www.cac.gov.cn/2020-10/26/c_1605276242092309.htm

U.S. Communication Giants Establish 6G Alliance Bypassing 5G

Well-known Chinese news site Tencent News recently reported that it is widely acknowledged that the United States is behind in the global 5G competition and is not able to dominate the technological standards. Those in the U.S. have come up with a new strategy. They are skipping 5G and going straight to 6G. The top three American communications companies, together with Qualcomm, Microsoft, Samsung and Nokia have initiated a new 6G alliance to develop the next generation telecommunications technology. The intent of the alliance is to maintain U.S. leadership in the field. Apparently, Chinese companies like Huawei are excluded from the club. It is unclear at this point what the new 6G alliance will do and what exactly its goals will be. Professor Lu Tinjie, Standing Director of the International Telecommunication Union, said space Internet is not the true direction of the future. Instead, people should focus on computing-everywhere. The Americans can’t just bypass things.

Source: Tencent News, October 19, 2020
https://xw.qq.com/cmsid/20201019A0FS2B00

HKET: Huawei Asked Chinese Government to Block Nvidia-ARM Merger

Hong Kong Economic Times (HKET), the leading financial daily in Hong Kong, recently reported that anonymous sources revealed that Huawei is leading several large Chinese technology companies in lobbying the Chinese government to block Nvidia’s acquisition of ARM. Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) is one of the world’s largest chip makers headquartered in Silicon Valley. ARM is the British company whose chip architecture is the basis for nearly all commercial mobile CPUs (Central Processing Units). Along with other Chinese smart device manufacturers, ARM has also licensed Huawei’s mobile CPU chip design. If Nvidia, an American chip maker, acquires ARM, the U.S. government may require Nvidia to cut off supplying (and licensing) to its Chinese customers. Around 20 percent of ARM’s income comes from the Chinese market and around 95 percent (over 200 companies) of Chinese SoC (system on a chip) providers are based on ARM architecture. Huawei is urging the Chinese government to block this merger under the Chinese antitrust laws.

Source: HKET, October 22, 2020
https://bit.ly/2HzebMd

China Mobile Phone Makers Gain Market Share in the West Following Huawei’s Setback

A number of Chinese mobile phone manufactures have become the most active players in the world’s mobile phone market. They capitalized on the opportunity from the recent setbacks that Huawei suffered and have begun to gain market share in the Western world. According to an article in the economics section of the French Le Monde published on Thursday October 15, following two of the Chinese mobile phone manufactures, Oppo and Xiaomi, Vivo, based in Guangdong province of China, has begun to enter the European market. Vivo will debut in France on October 20th. In 2019, Vivo sold 110 million smartphones and ranked fifth in the world, with most of these sales made in Asia. Vivo has close to 10,000 engineers in research and development. Its team in France is recruited mostly from Samsung, Honor, Huawei, Nokia and other companies. Vivo has established partnerships with other telecom communication companies and large retailers, and has planned to rely on word of mouth to break ground. It may also soon announce a partnership with a popular sports event.

In a similar situation, Oppo has greatly benefited from its partnership with sports events this year. Following its advertising during Laurent Garros Tennis Tournament, Oppo’s online search volume quickly rose. Oppo was launched in France two years ago. From January to July of this year, its sales volume increased by 350 percent compared with the same period last year. It has since relocated its customer service department to France. The sale of another Chinese brand, Xiaomi, has experienced a similar growth in France. It entered the French market a little earlier than Vivo, and it predicts that its sales growth this year will be a little over 100 percent.

Source: Radio France Internationale, October 16, 2020
http://rfi.my/6h51.T

China’s Draft Data Security Law: Foreign Companies Caught in the Middle

In July of this year, the Chinese government introduced the Draft Data Security Law. Article 2 of that law states that the law’s jurisdiction extends to “organizations and individuals outside of” China who engage in data activities that harm China’s national security or the public interest of the Chinese people. It is expected that the law will take effect after being discussed and passed at the National People’s Congress next year.

Observers pointed out that the Chinese government may use Article 2 of the law, which extends the legal responsibility for data security to other parts of the world, to achieve its political purposes.

James Andrew Lewis, senior vice president and director of the Technology Policy Program at CSIS, (The Center for Strategic and International Studies) told Voice of America, “The bill gives Chinese authorities the ability to regulate data controllers, whether they are in China or outside of China, so it has an extra-territorial effect.”

Dr. Lynette Ong, an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said that the draft law is certainly a deterrent to foreign companies, just like the Hong Kong National Security Law. “In fact, the effect of this law is to legalize their (the government’s) actions … but this does not mean that, without this law, no action would be taken. If any foreign organization’s actions harm China’s interests, they would also take action, even if there were no such law.”

In addition, under Article 32, as long as the police or another law enforcement agency adheres to relevant law and procedures vis-à-vis a request to access data, data holders will be obliged to cooperate.

Professor Ong said that this legal provision may worry the chief executive of a foreign company. “If I were the chief executive officer of a data company, I might be worried about whether to continue to operate in China. I think data companies are particularly sensitive, because their customers have high expectations for data security. Therefore, if a certain standard cannot be met, they may leave mainland China completely. In fact, this will have a certain impact on the Chinese economy.”

 

In 2005, Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist, writer and poet, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for releasing a document of the Communist Party to an overseas Chinese democracy site. Yahoo!-China was later discovered to have facilitated his arrest by providing his personal details to the Chinese government.

Source: Voice of America, October 12, 2020
https://www.voachinese.com/a/China-data-security-law-its-impact-on-foreign-companies-in-China-20201012/5618170.html

Huawei Performed Poorly in First Month after U.S. Sanction

Well-known Chinese news site Tencent News recently reported that Huawei’s smartphone business suffered a significant decline one month after September when the U.S. sanction was fully in place. Based on retail market share statistics, Apple iPhone 11 seized the opportunity and ranked number one in China’s domestic smartphone market. Xiaomi models took the ranks from two to four. Huawei, which used to hold the top sales position, did not make it to the list of the top five. The Huawei P40 Pro model ranked number six. Apple iPhone 11 won the top place with only 4G models when the competition was offering 5G models. It seems that all those patriotic Huawei supporters who refused to touch Apple products disappeared. It is indeed a surprise that Huawei had no product this year that even made it into the top five club. Huawei has already lowered its output forecast for next year.

Source: Tencent News, September 28, 2020
https://xw.qq.com/cmsid/20200927A06LEM00

HKEJ: All Three Top Apple Suppliers Invested in India

The Hong Kong Economic Journal (HKEJ) recently reported that the three largest Apple suppliers – Taiwanese manufactures Foxconn, Pegatron and Wistron – are all betting high on India’s Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI). Anonymous sources revealed that the total additional investments that these three vendors have planned is now at the level of US$900 million. The US$6.65 billion PLI program is India’s new investment encouragement initiative to expand the total output of India’s smartphone manufacturing industry. Sources have said that Foxconn received 40 billion Rupees (around US$543 million), Pegatron received 13 billion Rupees (around US$177 million) and Wistron received 12 billion Rupees (around US$164 million). Today Foxconn’s Indian manufacturing volume can meet the full demand of Chinese buyer Xiaomi and it is planning to increase its iPhone volume. Wistron now produces 200,000 second generation iPhone SE per month in India and its plan is to double that figure by the end of this year. Pegatron does not operate in India at this time, but new factories are in the planning stage.

Source: HKEJ, September 29, 2020
https://bit.ly/2Gt5vGp