The China-Arab Expo – China’s latest top news

Business & Technology

A roundup of the top China news for June 2, 2017. Get this free daily digest delivered to your inbox by signing up at

Schmoozing the Middle East in Ningxia

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced that the third “China-Arab State Expo” is to be held in September this year in Yinchuan, the provincial capital of northwestern Ningxia. The region’s formal name is Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Roughly a third of its population of around 6 million people identify as Muslim, and most of them are Hui, a minority group who have generally found an easier coexistence with the Han Chinese majority than other Muslim ethnicities such as the Uyghurs of Xinjiang.

According to the Global Times, a MOFCOM spokesperson said that the second China-Arab State Expo had seen “the signing of agreements on 241 projects with combined investment value of 183.04 billion yuan ($26.84 billion).” The Global Times also notes that “the 2017 Expo will thoroughly carry out the spirit of the Belt and Road Forum that was held in May in Beijing,” with guests from invited countries along the Belt and Road route including “Indonesia, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and others, with Egypt as the guest of honor.”

The People’s Daily’s coverage of the expo is focused on the benefits that will come to Ningxia: In an article (in Chinese) subtitled “Opening up the massive opportunities of a connected Ningxia,” the Party newspaper says that aside from the growth of exports that the China-Arab State Expo and Belt and Road will bring, many well-known global companies have already set up shop in Ningxia, such as Starbucks, Amazon, and Associated British Foods (which makes Twinings tea).

Yinchuan is the site of what Kyle Haddad-Fonda calls “a lavish theme park that celebrates the history and culture of China’s largest Muslim ethnicity, the Hui.”

Mr. China in Brussels

Politico has profiled Luigi Gambardella, a type familiar to anyone who has spent time in business and diplomatic circles in Beijing and Shanghai. He is “the founder of the ChinaEU business lobby, a tireless — some would say relentless — advocate for deeper economic ties between Beijing and Brussels.” He is a somewhat controversial figure: The article mentions an “international outcry after his lobby sided with Russia, China and Middle Eastern states in an effort to give a United Nations body some control over the internet,” and “one memorable interview with China Daily,” when he called Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision for the internet “inspiring.”

Politico quotes “one telecoms exec” who calls Gambardella “a fantastic PR man, very energetic and very hardworking.” But Joerg Wuttke, the president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, called him “Radio Beijing,” and says, “He is not transparent because he is not clear about who he represents or what he does.”

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief

Women are building real businesses selling homemade knockoff clothing online

Simone McCarthy has a Q&A with Sara Liao on shanzhai fashion and “women’s digital work.”

See also a SupChina video on Shanzhai, China’s underground fashion phenomenon.

The politics of passing on

David Bandurski writes on how in China, the death of a esteemed comrade is never strictly a private matter.

Viral video Friday

Fascinations of the Chinese internet, May 29-June 2: A five-layer highway overpass, an angry nyotaimori girl, and more.

This week on SupChina:

This week’s news roundups are:

This issue of the SupChina newsletter was produced by Sky Canaves, Lucas Niewenhuis, Jia Guo, and Jiayun Feng. More China stories worth your time are curated below, with the most important ones at the top of each section.



China’s top courier breaks ties with Alibaba’s logistics giant

SF Express (顺丰速运 shùnfēng sùyùn), China’s largest delivery firm, and Cainiao Networks (菜鸟网络 càiniǎo wǎngluò), the Alibaba-owned logistics operating giant, have broken ties over a data dispute. SF became uncomfortable with repeated requests for data from its partner Cainiao, which handles logistics for over 80 percent of express courier packages in China, and on May 31 became the first part of Cainiao’s network to break a logistics arrangement, Caixin reports. SF made headlines in February this year when its founder, Wang Wei 王卫, became China’s third-richest man practically overnight as his company enjoyed a wildly successful listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.



Ivory prices down after ban, activists fear stockpiling

The Guardian reports that “the price of raw ivory in Asia has fallen dramatically” since the Chinese government banned the domestic legal ivory trade at the end of 2016. The Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) has been collecting ivory prices in Hanoi, Vietnam, for the past three years: In 2015, raw ivory was being sold for an average of US$1,322 per kilogram; this dropped to $750 per kilogram by October 2016, and down to $660 per kilogram in February this year.

Despite the fall in prices, the numbers of elephants being poached have not fallen, and there are worries that speculators are stockpiling ivory while it’s cheap, meaning that there will be no reduction in demand.



Regulator tries to tame online video, again

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT), China’s media watchdog, recently issued a notice banning online entertainment shows with “incorrect values” (不正确的价值取向 bù zhèngquè de jiàzhí qǔxiàng) in order to “further spread advanced socialist culture” and “cultivate a healthy and positive internet atmosphere.” The ban is aimed at any digital platform that can host video content. It emphasizes that shows streamed online are subject to the same standards of radio and TV programs, and that they should “consciously stay away from vulgar taste.”

The notice also prohibits the circulation of uncut footage or censored content from authorized shows, possibly a reaction to the wide online circulation of 14 minutes of violent scenes that were deleted from the version of the Hollywood film Logan screened in China in February.

On the social media platform Weibo, the notice drew a barrage of criticism (in Chinese) from internet users. One commenter wrote, “If there is a ranking of Chinese government departments that people hate the most, SAPPRFT must be the first.” Others, who were capable of jumping the Great Firewall, commented, “Since we can get access to Twitter and YouTube, why does SAPPRFT still think that these regulations will be effective?”

SAPPRFT has been trying to regulate online video since at least 2006 (before the film regulatory body SARFT merged with press and news regulator GAPP). However, whereas cinema and broadcast TV are completely under the control of SAPPRFT, online video is subject to regulation by a number of different government organizations, including the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). This means that SAPPRFT orders do not always have teeth.