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Honor announces first smartphone overseas after Huawei spin-off

Former Huawei sub-brand Honor on Tuesday announced its first smartphone in overseas markets following its separation from Huawei in November. The Honor 50 comes with pre-installed Google apps and services, unlike Huawei phones which are still banned from using those services because of US sanctions. The model will start at EUR 529 ($613.8) and will be available in over 40 countries. [Honor press release]

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Shenzhen wants to attract and develop more unicorns

The municipal government of Shenzhen plans to encourage more unicorn companies to go public on the city’s stock exchange, including attracting overseas-listed unicorns back to China and helping foreign unicorns list in the country, according to a draft proposal to strengthen market players released on Oct. 22. The southern Chinese tech hub also proposed setting up a system to discover and cultivate more unicorns in biomedicine, semiconductors, robotics, new energy, and other sectors. [Shenzhen government, in Chinese]

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ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming is China’s second-richest person: Hurun

ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming ranks second in Hurun’s China Rich List of 2021, published Wednesday. Zhang tripled his wealth last year, overtaking Pony Ma of Tencent and Jack Ma of Alibaba with $52.8 billion. Hit by China’s crackdown on video games, Pony Ma of Tencent dropped to fourth place on the list and lost 19% of his wealth to be valued at $49.2 billion. Alibaba’s Jack Ma, last year’s richest person, dropped four places to fifth with a value of $22.6 billion, partly due to the country’s antitrust drive. Zhong Shanshan, the founder of bottled water company Nongfu Spring, ranks first with $60.6 billion. [Hurun]

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Virtual human startup Next Generation receives new funding from NetEase

Next Generation, a startup focusing on creating AI-generated virtual humans, secured a Series A+ worth about $5 million, led by Chinese gaming giant NetEase. Other investors of the round include The Arena Capital, Shunwei Capital, and CCV Capital. The round follows a $5 million Series A this July. Next Generation has developed virtual avatars for popular Chinese celebrities such as Dilraba Dilmurat and Huang Zitao. The company also co-developed AI Merror, a virtual persona, with Microsoft’s voice assistant Xiaoice. [36Kr, in Chinese]