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Apple Takes Down Over 30000 Apps from China Store Amid Government Crackdown - Caixin Global
Apple kicked more than 30,000 apps off its Chinese App Store on Saturday, including over 26,600 games, possibly in response to a Chinese policy requiring paid games or games offering in-app purchases to obtain a government license before publication, according to statistics provided by research firm Qimai. The crackdown puts an end to the previous practice of allowing developers to sell games on the Chinese App Store while they were awaiting government approval, as Chinese regulators tighten their grip on apps which they deem could be used to spread sensitive content and the government increases efforts to combat gaming addiction. Early signs of Apples purge appeared in February, when the U.S. company asked developers to submit government licenses for their paid games and games with in-app purchases before June 30. In July, Apple extended the deadline to July 31, at which point developers would be banned from continuing to operate on the Chinese App Store if they failed to submit such licenses. Some industry experts said that the rule, which has been enforced by Chinas major Android app store since 2016, is expected to take a toll on small game developers, some of which could switch their revenue model to in-app advertising to steer clear of the approval process which is long and complex. As of Saturday, about 179,000 games remained on the Chinese App Store, of which some 160,000 were free, according to Qimai. Contact reporter Ding Yi ([email protected]) Related: Huawei and Apple Shine in Chinas Smartphone Market During Second Quarter
In Depth: China's Ambitious Plans to Land Rover on Mars Next Year - Caixin Global
If the Tianwen-1 mission is a success, the country would become the third nation to operate a craft on the red planet
The easiest way to send a spacecraft to Mars is to fling it into space at just the right angle. If done right, the probe will hurtle along a crazy-looking elliptical route for about nine months until it reaches the red planets field of gravity and begins circling its target. The best time to launch such a mission is once every 26 months, when the distance between Earth and Mars shortens to a mere 60 million kilometers the nearest the celestial neighbors ever get. Astronomers call this period close approach, and the next one will occur on Oct. 6. The run-up to close approach typically heralds a flurry of Mars missions, and this year is no exception. On Monday, an orbiter designed by the United Arab Emirates successfully blasted off from a space center in Japan, marking the first interplanetary mission by a Middle Eastern country. Next week, NASA plans to launch Perseverance, a rover designed to scour the planets surface for signs of life. China, too, has big plans. Sometime between Wednesday and mid-August, the Asian giant will launch Tianwen-1, a combined orbiter, lander and rover whose stated aims are to search for hints of life and analyze the Martian environment. As the countrys first solo mission to the red planet, Tianwen-1 underscores Chinas transformation into an elite spacefaring power. Its $8 billion space program outstrips every other country except the United States. If Tianwen-1 is successful, China will become only the third nation to operate a spacecraft on Mars, after the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The project is the latest in a bevy of attention-grabbing space expeditions that challenge a historically American-dominated field. Last year, in a first for humanity, Chinas Change-4 spacecraft achieved a soft landing on the dark side of the moon, sent out a rover to gather data and relay it back to Earth via satellite, and even germinated a seed onboard. Beijing also intends to begin launching a self-developed multimodule space station from 2021 and establish a permanent moon base near the lunar south pole. Even Tianwen-1 is part of a sustained engagement with Mars, with a sample-gathering mission to follow before 2030, according to state broadcaster CCTV. But first, the spacecraft has to get there. And given humanitys Mars landings so far have a less than 50% success rate, this is far from guaranteed. Seven minutes of fear After months careening through the cosmos, Tianwen-1s mission may quite literally go up in smoke in the space of a few minutes. Tianwen-1s journey will have three main phases. First, Chinas Long March 5 rocket will blast off from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in South Chinas tropical Hainan province, delivering the probe into the skies. Scientists on the ground will work to transfer the craft from Earths orbit to Marss. Then, the craft will move into a so-called parking orbit, scan the predetermined landing site, and split into its two main parts: the orbiter and the lander, which houses the rover. The orbiter will move into another orbit above Mars and relay information back to Earth. Meanwhile, the lander will begin the final and riskiest part of the mission something Chinese scientists have dubbed the seven minutes of fear. It will plunge into the Martian atmosphere at 48,000 kilometers (29,800 miles) per second and fight temperatures of thousands of degrees Celsius as it plummets toward the surface, said one of the probes chief designers, Zhang Rongqiao, in a recent interview with state broadcaster CCTV. The lander will deploy parachutes and reverse thruster engines to slow its descent and cushion the final impact. If everything goes to plan, next April it will release its rover, a golf cart-like vehicle with wing-like solar panels, to roam over the Martian surface. Looking for life Tianwen-1s mission brief is to research Marss geological features, soil chemistry, climate, environment and internal structures. It will probably also look for biomolecules and biosignatures molecules and other phenomena that usually appear in biological processes and which could provide scientific evidence of current or extinct forms of life. While China has not announced a final landing site, one candidate is Utopia Planitia, a large plain where NASA missions previously found large amounts of water ice. Contrary to public perception, ice is abundant on Mars, especially at its northern and southern poles, said Xu Luyuan, a postdoctoral researcher at a key national planetary science laboratory at Macau University of Science and Technology. Significant quantities of liquid water a prerequisite for all known life would upend how we think about Mars. But such a discovery is unlikely on a planet where the average temperature is a frigid minus 60 C. Nonetheless, some scientists think the planets long, deep gullies and flat, low-lying depressions indicate that water may once have flowed over its surface. And many other geographic features remain unexplored, such as Olympus Mons, a 27 kilometer-high mountain that is three times as tall as Mount Everest. The planets tempestuous climate is also good fodder for research. In reality, Mars is a volatile planet with very strong sandstorms. By researching this volatility, we may know its geological functions and atmospheric changes at surface level, Li Chunlai, the probes deputy chief designer and ground applications commander, previously said in an interview with CCTV. Looking for answers For Chinas scientific community, Tianwen-1 has been more than a decade in the making. According to probe designer Zhang, the idea of a Chinese Mars mission emerged while building the countrys first lunar orbiter, Change-1, in 2007. Four years later, the countrys first interplanetary probe, Yinghuo-1, piggybacked on Russias Fobos-Grunt Mars explorer when it blasted off from Kazakhstans Baikonur Cosmodrome. On that occasion, a mechanical failure stranded the craft in a low Earth orbit until it plummeted uncontrolled into the Pacific Ocean in January 2012. The flop convinced Chinese astronomers to go it alone on their next Mars project. In 2013, a group of experts put forward a two-step plan for exploring the red planet, according to CCTV reports. The plan was finally approved in January 2016. In April, the then-head of the China National Space Administration, Xu Dazhe, said on state television that the country will launch an exploratory satellite to Mars in the last year of the 13th Five-Year Plan, namely around 2020. In the northern province of Hebei, astronomers established what CCTV claimed was Asias largest experimental landing ground. The 140 meter-high, 120 meter-wide structure mimicked Martian geology and gravity, allowing scientists to model the crucial last moments of the landers descent in order to give it the best chance of survival. Tianwen-1, whose name means Questions to Heaven and references the title of one of Chinas best-known classical poems, was formally unveiled in November last year. If its planned launch goes smoothly, some of those questions may soon have answers. Contact reporter Matthew Walsh ([email protected]) and editor Joshua Dummer ([email protected])
Sequoia China Leads Nearly $100m Round in Storytelling App Kuaidian - Caixin Global
China Business Digest: SMIC to Raise $7.5 Billion in Shanghai IPO; Inner Mongolia Reports Case of Bubonic Plague - Caixin Global
Anxin’s $7 billion financial black hole prompts regulatory tightening of trust industry; Beijing reports one new Covid-19 case
The Chinese mainlands top maker of high-tech chips SMIC will raise $7.5 billion in the mainlands biggest IPO in a decade. Meanwhile a $7 billion financial black hole at former financial superstar Anxin is prompting the regulator to tighten its grip on Chinas trust industry. And an Inner Mongolia city is on alert after reporting a case of bubonic plague. By Lu Yutong ([email protected]) ** TOP STORIES OF THE DAY Mainland chipmaker SMIC to raise 53.2 billion yuan in Shanghai listing The Chinese mainlands top chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) will raise 53.2 billion yuan ($7.5 billion) in its Shanghai listing by offering 1.93 billion shares priced at 27.46 yuan each (link in Chinese), according to a company statement released on Sunday. The fundraising figure is more than double the estimated 20 billion yuan in its prospectus, and gives SMIC a price-to-earnings ratio of 83.44 around four times higher than its counterparts like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Anxins $7 billion financial scandal prompts policy targeting trust industry A 50 billion yuan financial black hole has been found in the books of Anxin Trust Co. Ltd., once lauded as Chinas most profitable trust company. Anxins collapse has prompted regulators to tighten their grip on Chinas 20 trillion yuan trust industry where billions of dollars of investments have been misappropriated to benefit the biggest shareholders and their affiliates. Inner Mongolia city on alert after reporting case of bubonic plague The city of Bayannur in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region confirmed a case (link in Chinese) of bubonic plague on Sunday, putting the area on a high level of alert. China reported five plague cases last year, four in Inner Mongolia and one in neighboring Gansu province. ** ON THE CORONAVIRUS The Chinese mainland added four coronavirus cases on Sunday (link in Chinese), including three imported ones and one domestic case in Beijing, according to the National Health Commission. Beijing has reported single-digit numbers of new cases for eight consecutive days, according to the local health commission. The number of the global infections had passed 11.5 million as of Monday noon Beijing time, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of fatalities had surpassed 533,000, with the U.S. number approaching 130,000. Read more Caixins coverage of the new coronavirus ** LOOKING AHEAD July 9: Release of Chinas CPI and PPI data Contact reporter Lu Yutong ([email protected]) and editor Yang Ge ([email protected]) Read more China Business Digest: Services PMI Notches Biggest Expansion in a Decade; Citic Securities, CSC Financial Again Deny Merger Report Register to read this article for free.
Scientists Identify New Swine Flu With Pandemic Potential - Caixin Global
Virus, known as G4, resembles H1N1 variant that spread worldwide a decade ago
Chinese scientists have identified a new form of swine flu virus with the potential to cause a pandemic, according to peer-reviewed research published Monday in the U.S. science journal PNAS. The pathogen, known as G4, genetically resembles the H1N1 variant that spread worldwide in 2009 and 2010. Experts said that there is no immediate danger of a new pandemic. Nonetheless, the virus carries all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans, said the researchers, who are affiliated with several Chinese universities and the countrys Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The paper comes at a time of heightened anxiety about virus strains jumping from animals to people and causing disease. The current Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed more than half a million people globally, is thought to have begun when a previously unknown, highly infectious coronavirus passed from animals to humans in central China. The researchers took 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in slaughterhouses across China between 2011 and 2018, which they used to isolate 179 flu viruses. Most were of the G4 variety, which has been predominant in pigs since 2016. Further testing revealed that G4 is highly infectious, binds easily to human cell receptors, and replicates efficiently within them. The scientists also found that it caused more severe symptoms in ferrets than other viruses. Ferrets are commonly used in flu research because they display similar symptoms to humans. Additionally, the researchers showed that human exposure to seasonal flu viruses does not develop effective immunity against G4. Some 10.4% of swine workers and 4.4% of the general population returned positive antibody tests for the virus, proportions that the researchers described as disconcerting. Younger workers showed higher infection rates than those over 35. Having bridged the species gap, the virus could become a pandemic threat in future if it starts transmitting readily between humans, experts said. Ian Mackay, a virologist at the University of Queensland in Australia, told Caixin in a phone interview that the virus ticks a lot of boxes for a potential pandemic pathogen. It does have a lot of the tools that make it quite a risk for spread somewhere down the track, with some adaptation, he said. Perhaps its already ready to go, it just hasnt had the opportunities. From the data presented, it appears that this is a swine influenza virus that is poised to emerge in humans, Edward Holmes, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Sydney, told Science magazine. Clearly this situation needs to be monitored very closely. However, other specialists said the virus cannot yet spread readily from person to person, a key characteristic of large epidemics. Theres no evidence that G4 is circulating in humans, despite five years of extensive exposure, tweeted University of Washington biology professor Carl Bergstrom. Contact reporter Matthew Walsh ([email protected]) and editor Joshua Dummer ([email protected]) Register to read this article for free.
Apple to Take Down Thousands of Games Without Government License from Chinese App Store - Caixin Global
Apple will reportedly start kicking unlicensed mobile games off its Chinese App Store next month, a move that will end the practice of allowing developers to sell games on the platform while they were awaiting government approval. The iPhone maker has informed Chinas developers that they must comply with a Chinese government policy from July that requires paid games, or games offering in-app purchases, to obtain government licenses before publication, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. The rule, which has been enforced by Chinas major Android app stores since 2016, is expected to affect about one-third of the reportedly 60,000 games currently available on Chinas iOS App Store that are either paid for or contain in-app purchases, the report said. The rule could deal a particularly heavy blow to small developers and may change how they operate. Some could switch their revenue model to in-app advertising to steer clear of the approval process associated with paid apps, or they might team up with larger developers like Tencent to obtain licenses, but in the process cede some of their autonomy. Apples move comes as the Chinese government cracks down on games which it considers to be spreading offensive content, and amid efforts to fight gaming addiction. In March, Apple removed the unlicensed pandemic simulation game Plague Inc. from its Chinese App Store after local regulators said some of its content was illegal. Contact reporter Ding Yi ([email protected]) Trending In China: Tencent Uses Facial Recognition to Fight Gaming Addiction Cue Happy and Angry Faces
Promising Vaccine Data Pushes Up Chinese Pharma Stocks - Caixin Global
Investors flock to Sinopharm and two units as human trials indicate experimental Covid-19 inoculation is safe and elicits antibodies
(Bloomberg) Sinopharm Group Co. surged the most since April 2015 to help lead a rally Wednesday among Chinese health-care stocks as trial results for a Covid-19 vaccine candidate rekindled investors enthusiasm for the sector. The vaccine candidate, developed by Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co., showed no serious adverse reactions during phase I and II clinical trials, according to a Weibo posting Tuesday by China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a subsidiary of Sinopharm. Trials indicated that the vaccine induced high levels of antibodies in almost all inoculated people, according to preliminary data from a clinical trial initiated in April involving 1,120 healthy participants between 18 and 59 years old. The news sent Sinopharm shares up as much as 15% in Hong Kong before they closed up 9.2%. China National Medicines Corp., a unit of Sinopharm, jumped the 10% limit in Shanghai while another subsidiary, China National Accord Medicines Corp., rose the daily maximum in Shenzhen. Six of the top 10 gainers in the Asia Pacific region were Chinese pharmaceutical or biotechnology stocks, including Sinopharm and the two units. Meanwhile, the health-care segment in the MSCI China Index rose 2.1%, hitting a fresh two-year high. As the world races to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus, Beijing has mobilized health authorities, drug regulators and research institutes to work around the clock with local enterprises. China has promised to share any successful vaccine globally. Using a killed version of the coronavirus, the vaccine developed by Sinopharm is among five Chinese experimental inoculations that have reached the crucial final stage of human testing before they can be approved for public use. Data collected from early phases of human trials of three of the five vaccines have suggested they are safe and capable of stimulating immune response to the virus in studies that enrolled hundreds of people. CNBG said it is proactively pushing forward late-stage Phase 3 trials overseas and has secured cooperative deals with several companies and institutes abroad. Earlier the company said it completed production facilities with a high degree of biosafety including one in Beijing with annual production capacity of 100 million to 120 million doses of vaccine. Another facility in Wuhan is set to be completed in late June or early July. CNBG said it expects its vaccine to reach the market as soon as the end of this year. Register to read this article for free.