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Alipay’s new investment service goes offline due to compliance issue: report

Just days after launching, Alipay’s new investment advisor service has been taken offline due to “compliance issues,” 21st Century Business Herald reported Thursday, citing unnamed sources. Alipay’s financial platform Ant Fortune is collaborating with six other funds and financial institutions – including Aegon-industrial Fund, Southern Asset Management, and GF Fund Management – for the service, which launched on Jan. 4. It was intended to offer a fund portfolio chosen by Alipay’s financial advisors and based on the institutions’ fund libraries. The report quoted an unnamed source as saying that the compliance issue may be due to Alipay not being officially qualified to evaluate funds. [21st Century Business Herald, in Chinese]

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Former Baidu senior vice president joins Transsion: report

Former Baidu senior vice president Xiang Hailong joins Chinese smartphone maker Transsion, the company confirmed with Sina Tech on Thursday. Xiang will lead Transsion’s mobile internet services and software product development. Xiang worked for Baidu from 2005 to 2019, leading Baidu’s core search business. Based in Shenzhen, Transsion leads smartphone sales in Africa, according to Counterpoint. [Sina Tech, in Chinese]

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Chinese self-driving chip startup secures investment from Bosch

Boyuan Capital, an investment arm of German car supplier Bosch, has invested an undisclosed sum into Chinese semiconductor startup Black Sesame, making its first bet on artificial intelligence chips for self-driving vehicles in China. The chipmaker, already backed by Xiaomi, closed multiple rounds of funding with a post-money valuation of nearly $2 billion last year, according to a statement published on Wednesday. The world’s largest automotive supplier, Bosch has backed several Chinese startups including self-driving car brand Momenta and lidar developer Hesai. [Black Sesame press release, in Chinese]

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Dingdong Maicai plans massive job cuts: report

Chinese online grocer Dingdong Maicai is planning sweeping job cuts that will affect several business units of the company, according to Chinese media outlet Sina Tech. The reported workforce cuts will impact different departments, with the procurement team facing the largest reduction in the number of posts to just 50% of its current workforce, followed by a 30% cut for the algorithm unit, 30% for the operations team, and 10-20% for the firm’s recruitment arm. Dingdong’s headcount has already shrunk by around 10,000 compared with its peak, the report cites an employee of company as saying. The Beijing-based firm recorded a RMB 2.01 billion ($320 million) net loss in the third quarter of last year, more than doubling its RMB 828.6 million net loss over the same period of 2020. [Sina Tech, in Chinese]

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Chinese restaurant supplier Meicai cuts 40% more jobs ahead of Hong Kong IPO: report

Meicai, a Chinese app that supplies farm-to-table produce for restaurants, is starting a new round of layoffs which will affect around 40% of the company’s workforce, Chinese media outlet iFeng reported on Wednesday. The reported job cuts come just five months after a previous round of redundancies in September when the company cut at least half of its employees across several teams. The current adjustment is reportedly in preparation for a Hong Kong IPO aimed at raising $300-500 million in the first half of this year. The Beijing-based company shelved a US IPO plan last July as Beijing tightened restrictions on overseas listings for Chinese firms. [iFeng, in Chinese]

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Xpeng increases prices following China’s slashing of EV subsidies

Xpeng Motors has increased prices for all three of its available electric vehicle (EV) models, days after the Chinese government announced further cuts to existing subsidies for EV purchases on Dec. 31. The price bumps bring the cost of the P5 600P, the most expensive version of Xpeng’s second sedan model, to RMB 229,300 from RMB 223,900. For its premium sedan P7, the new price tags reflect an increase of up to RMB 5,900. Earlier this month, Tesla and Volkswagen also raised prices for their EVs in China to offset the subsidy cuts. [Sina Finance, in Chinese]

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WeChat’s workplace sister app WeCom reaches 180 million users

WeCom, the corporate communication and office tool created by Tencent’s WeChat team, has released figures showing that it currently has more than 180 million daily active users, up from 130 million at the end of 2020. The app’s enterprise clients nearly doubled from 5.5 million to 10 million during the same period. WeCom can also be used as a mini program within WeChat, potentially giving it a user base of more than 500 million via China’s ubiquitous messaging app. WeCom, formerly WeChat Work, faces competition from other Slack-like tools in China such as Alibaba’s DingTalk and ByteDance’s Lark. [Caijing, in Chinese]