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Freshippo and Carrefour accuse Sam’s Club of forced exclusivity

Two grocery chains in China, Freshippo and Carrefour, have accused Sam’s Club of forced exclusivity, a monopolistic practice that has cost Chinese tech giants Alibaba and Meituan billions of dollars in fines this year. Companies that adopt the practice, also known as “choose one of two,” punish merchants or suppliers that sell or work with rival platforms. Both accusers are planning to expand aggressively with a membership-only retail model pioneered by the warehouse club operated by Walmart. [Sina Tech, in Chinese]

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Kuaishou short films hit 230 million monthly active users

Kuaishou revealed Friday that the number of people watching short films every day on the short-video platform has surpassed 230 million, about 78% of the app’s total daily active users. Those short movies and video series, made with mostly amateur actors and low budgets, have accumulated 770 billion views for the platform since it became popular in late 2019. In 2020, the number of short film producers on Kuaishou increased 32% year on year, and short film creators’ income exceeded RMB 1 billion. [Jiemian, in Chinese]

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Tencent to assemble a team for metaverse projects: report

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]

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Tutoring unicorn Yuanfudao invests in down jackets company after tutor crackdown

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]

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ByteDance confirms layoffs in some departments in China

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]

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Alibaba unveils advanced 5-nanometer chip based on Arm

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]