Beijing Orders Alibaba To Dump Media Assets That Rival China's Propaganda Machine
Beijing Orders Alibaba To Dump Media Assets
That Rival China's Propaganda Machine
BY TYLER DURDEN MONDAY, MAR 15, 2021 - 07:30 PM
Beijing is reviving its crackdown on the country's biggest tech
firms, reminding the world that the CCP is still focused on neutralizing any
and all threats to its control of the Chinese economy and its people. Even
after amending China's official ideology to include entrepreneurs among the
protected classes represented by the CCP (in addition to workers, farmers and
soldiers), Beijing, with President Xi at its center, has apparently decided
that Chinese tech firms won't follow the American model after all. Instead,
their growth and competitive capabilities will be curtailed for the sake of
stability at home.
After Tencent was censured and strict new requirements were
officailly imposed on Alibaba-owned Ant Group that will
prevent the company from growing, the Wall Street Journal reports
that next up on Beijing's to-do list is to force Alibaba to dump its array of
media outlets. Presumably, Beijing sees these outlets as an unwelcome
competitor to Beijing's own propaganda machine.
Alibaba's media portfolio includes ownership of the South China
Morning Post, Hong Kong's most widely read
English-language newspaper, which has an audience far outside of Hong
Kong. The paper often struggled with its coverage of the
unrest in Hong Kong, occasionally adopting the language of the CCP (like
referring to the demonstrators as "rioters") while still managing to
rankle Beijing with its detailed coverage of the demonstrations.
According to WSJ, the CCP has been "discussing"
whether to force the divestitures since early this year. Chinese
regulators have been "reviewing" a list of media assets owned by
Hangzhou-based Alibaba, which earns most of its money via
an online retail business. Officials were appalled at how extensive Alibaba's
media interests have become. Now, Beijing is asking Alibaba to devise a plan to
"curtail" its media holdings.
imagine if President Trump tried to force Amazon to sell the Washington Post.
In a statement delivered to WSJ, Alibaba said it's merely a
passive investor in these media companies, and doesn't exercise any sway over
"The purpose of our investments in these companies is to
provide technology support for their business upgrade and drive commercial
synergies with our core commerce businesses. We do not intervene or get
involved in the companies’ day-to-day operations or editorial decisions,"
the statement said.
Here's a roundup of Alibaba's media holdings courtesy of WSJ:
Alibaba owns 100%
of the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s premier English newspaper.
nearly 37% of Yicai Media Group, one of China’s most influential news
Alibaba owns about
30% of Weibo, a Twitter-like social media platform. Its stake is valued at
more than $3.5 billion.
Alibaba owns 6.7%
of Bilibili, a video platform that is popular among younger Chinese
people. Its stake is worth nearly $2.6 billion.
Ant owns 16.2% of
36kr, a U.S.-listed digital media outlet focused on technology. Its stake
is worth $25 million.
Alibaba owns 5% of
Mango Excellent Media, a subsidiary of government-run Hunan TV. Its stake
is worth about $819 million.
nearly 5.3% of Focus Media, China’s largest offline advertising network.
Its stake is worth nearly $1.2 billion.
Ant owned a 5.62%
stake in Caixin Media, one of China’s most respected news sources. It sold
its interest in 2019.
Shares of BABA were down on the news.
But Alibaba has a track record of interference that seems to
contradict this statement. Alibaba, which owns a stake in Chinese social media
giant Weibo, once made a slew of Weibo posts about a senior Alibaba executive
having an extramarital affair disappear, according to WSJ. Back in June,
China's internet watchdog publicly reprimanded Weibo for "interference
with online communication" and asked the company to "rectify the
A few months later, Xu Lin, a vice-director of the Party’s
central propaganda department, said during a November public forum that China
must "resolutely prohibit dilution of the party’s leadership in the name
of [media] convergence, resolutely guard against risks of capital manipulating
public opinion." Though he didn't cite Alibaba by
name, the implication was clear.
This isn't Beijing's first swipe against Alibaba - far from it.
Following founder Jack Ma's
disappearing act, Antitrust regulators are preparing to levy a
record fine in excess of $975MM over "anticompetitive practices" mentioned
above. An even bigger question looking ahead is whether Alibaba will also be
forced to divest its entertainment assets, holdings which are even larger than
its news offerings, and which include the Hong Kong-listed Alibaba Pictures
Group. Per WSJ, CCP members bristle at the notion that Alibaba has used its
media and entertainment holdings to influence government policy.
While this is a routine occurrence in the US, trying to
manipulate the CCP is verboten in China.
World’s 1st remote brain surgery via 5G network performed in China Published time: 17 Mar, 2019 13:12 · A Chinese surgeon has performed the world’s first remote brain surgery using 5G technology, with the patient 3,000km away from the operating doctor. Dr. Ling Zhipei remotely implanted a neurostimulator into his patient’s brain on Saturday, Chinese state-run media reports . The surgeon manipulated the instruments in the Beijing-based PLAGH hospital from a clinic subsidiary on the southern Hainan island, located 3,000km away. The surgery is said to have lasted three hours and ended successfully. The patient, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, is said to be feeling well after the pioneering operation. The doctor used a computer connected to the next-generation 5G network developed by Chinese tech giant Huawei. The new device enabled a near real-time connection, according to Dr. Ling. “You barely feel that the patient is 3,000 kilometers away,” he said.
Visualizing The Power Of The World's Supercomputers BY TYLER DURDEN FRIDAY, JAN 21, 2022 - 04:15 AM A supercomputer is a machine that is built to handle billions, if not trillions of calculations at once. Each supercomputer is actually made up of many individual computers (known as nodes) that work together in parallel. A common metric for measuring the performance of these machines is flops , or floating point operations per second . In this visualization, Visual Capitalist's Marcus Lu uses November 2021 data from TOP500 to visualize the computing power of the world’s top five supercomputers. For added context, a number of modern consumer devices were included in the comparison. Ranking by Teraflops Because supercomputers can achieve over one quadrillion flops, and consumer devices are much less powerful, we’ve used teraflops as our comparison metric. 1 teraflop = 1,000,000,000,000 (1 trillion) flops. Supercomputer Fugaku was completed in March 202
Too Much Power to the People? A Food Safety Site Tests the Limits Several national chain restaurants have been the target of complaints on IWasPoisoned.com since the site began in 2009. By KEVIN ROOSE FEB. 13, 2018 Dan Laptev, an electronics analyst, was making his way through the Charlotte, N.C., airport this month when he stopped at Starbucks for a light dinner — a ham-and-cheese sandwich and a cup of hot chocolate. He ate, drank, boarded his flight and got home. And that’s when the trouble started. Mr. Laptev spent much of that night hunched over the toilet with a violently upset stomach. Suspecting his Starbucks meal as the source of his ills, he sent a complaint through the company’s website, but got only an automated form email back. So he did the next best thing: He logged on to his computer and went to IWasPoisoned.com, a website that allows users to post reports of food poisoning, and submitted his saga. “I wanted to let people know to stop eating at Star