Thursday Tech Briefing: Meituan Rebrands Mobike


1. Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine Inaccessible in China

Microsoft has confirmed that its search engine, Bing, is currently inaccessible in China.

Reports that Bing’s China service was down began circulating late Wednesday, prompting fears that it could become the latest foreign website to be blocked in the country, joining Google and Facebook.

Microsoft said it was “engaged to determine next steps,” without specifying a reason for the outage. (BBC)

2. Meituan to Retire Mobike Name as Major Overhaul Takes Shape

Internet giant Meituan Dianping will rebrand Mobike as “Meituan Bike” and move China’s leading shared-bike service into its own app, in its first major moves to overhaul the firm it bought for $2.7 billion in April.

The bike-sharing service will be incorporated into Meituan’s own suite of location-based services, which include ride-hailing and futuristic unmanned delivery projects, Meituan said.

Employees now working in Mobike’s Beijing offices will move to Meituan’s Beijing headquarters by the end of next month. (Caixin)

3. China Kills 9,300 Mobile Apps

China has shut down more than 700 websites and 9,300 apps since Jan. 3.

The latest round of shutdowns, part of a six-month campaign intended to eradicate “vulgarity” from the domestic internet, stands out for its scale and speed. Baidu and Sohu.com were ordered to suspend multiple news services just weeks ago. (Bloomberg)

4. China Expected to Become World’s Largest Retail Market This Year

China is expected to overtake the U.S. this year to become the world’s largest retail market, according to a report published by digital marketing research firm eMarketer on Wednesday.

At the global level, China’s total retail sales are expected to grow 7.5% this year to $5.636 trillion. That would put the country ahead of the U.S., which is expected to see retail sales grow 3.3% to $5.529 trillion.

Within China’s massive e-commerce sector, Alibaba will continue to dominate the market, eMarketer said. But Alibaba and No. 2 player JD.com face a growing challenge from newer rivals, most notably recently listed bargain e-commerce site Pinduoduo. (Caixin)

5. Baidu Draws Ire for Promoting its Own Content in Search Results

An article criticizing Baidu’s content platform Baijiahao has gone viral on Chinese social media, with some internet users saying the company is failing to provide a search service that provides useful results.

“Baidu.com is no longer where you search for online content in Chinese, but an in-site search of its self-made content,” the article says. When searches on Baidu for keywords such as “Brexit” and “Trump,” over half of the first-page results lead to Baijiahao content.

Launched in 2016, Baijiahao is a blog-style platform where about 1.9 million publishers post news and share information. (SCMP)

6. Qualcomm VP Hopes for Peace With Apple

Mark Snyder, senior vice president of Qualcomm, told Caixin on Tuesday that Qualcomm hopes to regain the harmonious relationship with Apple it used to have.

Qualcomm and Apple are engaged in a worldwide legal tussle involving dozens of patents. The litigation battle between the two sides began in January 2017, when Apple filed a lawsuit in the U.S, accusing Qualcomm of monopolizing the wireless-device chip market. In response, Qualcomm began to make counterclaims against Apple.

Noreen Krall, chief litigator and vice president of Apple, told Caixin that Apple hopes Qualcomm will become its supplier again. (Caixin, link in Chinese)

Compiled by Shen Xinyue

Contact editor Teng Jing Xuan ([email protected])

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