Bite-sized news about China tech.

Tencent to assemble a team for metaverse projects: report

Oct 22, 2021
Tencent’s gaming studio, TiMi Studio Group, is assembling an international team to develop games for the metaverse, the South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday. “Metaverse” refers to an immersive digital world with foundations in virtual reality and mixed reality. An unnamed Tencent employee said the company referred to the “metaverse,” although the term wasn’t used in an internal Tencent letter about the project. [SCMP]

Tutoring unicorn Yuanfudao invests in down jackets company after tutor crackdown

Oct 21, 2021
Yuanfudao has invested in a down jackets subsidiary as the Tencent-backed online tutor tries to diversify its businesses after the country launched a sweeping crackdown on private education in July. The company has hired five people for an outdoor down jacket brand, local media Late Post reported on Tuesday. A Yuanfudao-affiliated firm acquired a clothing retailer in late September. Yuanfudao responded to local media on Wednesday that education remains their core business. [Late Post, in Chinese]

ByteDance confirms layoffs in some departments in China

Oct 20, 2021
ByteDance on Tuesday confirmed with local media that it is laying off employees in some departments as part of a “restructuring process.” It is unknown how many people were affected. Since Monday, many ByteDance’s Chinese employees have reported on social media that they had been laid off. Chinese media reported that at least 100 ByteDance workers in the eastern city of Wenzhou had been told to leave within two days on Oct. 12. Most affected employees were in the commercialization department, selling ads for popular apps such as Douyin and Toutiao. [National Business Daily, in Chinese]

Alibaba unveils advanced 5-nanometer chip based on Arm

Oct 19, 2021
Alibaba on Tuesday announced a new Arm-based chip that will power the cloud computing giant’s data centers. Known as Yitian 710, the chip features the most advanced 5-nanometer semiconductor technology. The chip is the third semiconductor Alibaba has introduced since 2019. Developed by Alibaba’s chip unit T-Head, the chip will only be available to the company’s data centers and will not be commercially available. Alibaba is China’s largest cloud computing provider by market share. [Bloomberg]

Foxconn to sell consumer EVs in Taiwan from 2023

Oct 19, 2021
Consumer electronics manufacturer Foxconn revealed its first three electric vehicle prototypes on Monday, with the Apple supplier hoping to deliver a sports utility vehicle with local auto partner Yulon Motor in Taiwan in 2023. Foxconn chairman Liu Young-Way also announced plans to deliver electric buses to a Taiwanese transport service provider in 2022, and that the company will sell a sedan to an undisclosed overseas automaker in the coming years, without revealing further details. [Reuters]

Xiaomi EV expects to begin mass production in the first half of 2024: Lei Jun

Oct 19, 2021
Xiaomi is targeting the first half of 2024 to mass produce its first electric vehicle, CEO Lei Jun reportedly said on Tuesday at its annual investor meeting. The company announced an electric vehicle subsidiary in March. Lei said the project is progressing ahead of schedule. Xiaomi shares rose more than 4.68% to HK$22.35 in Tuesday’s morning session. [The Paper, in Chinese]

Alibaba launches Shein-like fashion site for overseas shoppers

Oct 19, 2021
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba recently rolled out allyLikes, a fast-fashion online retailer similar to Shein. The site mainly targets North American and European shoppers. allyLikes is part of Alibaba’s efforts to expand its presence outside China in addition to cross-border shopping site AliExpress and Southeast Asian online retailer Lazada. [SCMP]

Kuaishou partners with NBA on short videos

Oct 19, 2021
Chinese short video platform Kuaishou has signed a multi-year strategic partnership with NBA China, according to a Monday announcement. The Douyin rival will become the league’s “official short video platform,” helping it recreate short videos from games and other content. The partnership also includes livestream shopping and offline events. [21st Century Business Herald, in Chinese]

JD Logistics invests $160 million to hit ambitious sustainability goals

Oct 18, 2021
JD Logistics announced today that it will invest RMB 1 billion ($160 million) in green supply chain projects. The company expects to increase its carbon efficiency by 35% within the coming five years. The company aims to cut half of its 2019 total carbon emissions level by 2030. JD Logistics plans to achieve the goal by using more recyclable packages and adopting innovative digital technologies. [JD Logistics press release, in Chinese]

Li Auto builds a new plant in Beijing

Oct 18, 2021
Li Auto has officially started building a new production facility in the outskirt of Beijing, expected to start production by the end of 2023, Chinese media reported Saturday. The new facility is built on the base of an old production facility owned by Korean automaker Hyundai. The Chinese EV maker unveiled its first manufacturing site in the eastern city of Changzhou in April 2019. The new plant will reportedly cost more than RMB 6 billion ($930 million) and double Li Auto’s annual production capacity to 200,000 vehicles. [Beijing Daily, in Chinese]

WeRide unveils new sensor hardware for autonomous vehicles

Oct 18, 2021
WeRide on Saturday revealed its latest self-driving sensor hardware called WeRide Sensor Suite 4.0. The Nissan-backed self-driving startup claims the updated hardware is 20% lighter than the previous generation and can speed up the mass production of autonomous vehicles. The hardware will come with two lidar sensors and can view objects up to 300 meters away, according to a company statement. [WeRide statement, in Chinese]