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By: Zhu Zijin Cora 朱子槿Edited by: CHEN Bingyi

Copyright infringement prevalent in Chinese social media

  • 2021-04-26

Melody Yin is typing the title of her work in the search box, but the first post that popped up was not hers. “I’m actually not upset at all,” said Ms Yin in one of the videos she posted talking about copyright. “Copying is so prevalent in we-media. I’ve found my post being copied twice.” “In fact, that’s much less than  other bloggers who have more followers,” she said. The 27-year-old part-time blogger has been publishing articles online since 2020, mainly focusing on self-development and daily life sharing. She has 14,000 followers on RED, or Xiaohongshu, meaning “Little Red Book”. She filed a complaint to the platform and the copycat post was removed. “That’s it. The platform did nothing else to protect the content makers’ copyright,” she said. Founded in 2013, Xiaohongshu has since gained popularity in the mainland and Hong Kong. The platform mainly features beauty and lifestyle content, as well as e-commerce. Today there are more than 12 million monthly active users, according to data platform iiMedia. It is not uncommon to see content makers like Ms Yin facing copyright infringement issues in China. But many are unhappy with the limited measures to punish and prevent future copyright tort. With COVID-19 lingering and people spending more time online, the competition among text or short video content makers to stand out is intensifying and copyright infringement. “When I’m watching Douyin, I often feel like I might have watched that piece before, or at least watched a similar one,” said university student,  Henry Wang Yun. Douyin is a popular short video platform, the Chinese version of TikTok. “There are so many posts with similar content. You can find copied versions even across different social media platforms,” Mr Wang said. Copyright refers to the owner’s “exclusive right to use the work”, …

Tap & Go unveils usage details of $5000 government consumption vouchers

  • 2021-04-23

Tap & Go, an e-payment service provider, became the first operator to announce details on the usage of the government’s HK$5000 consumption voucher set to launch this summer to boost the city’s economic activities which have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The government announced earlier this month that it has picked four stored Value Facility (SVF) operators to assist the implementation of its consumption voucher scheme. The selected SVFs are AlipayHK, Octopus, Tap & Go and WeChat Pay HK. Tap & Go, presented by Hong Kong Telecom (HKT) Payment Limited, is the only SVFs providing a physical debit card and it said eligible users could use it to receive the government’s consumption vouchers. “I usually shop at supermarkets, I could pay by using Tap & Go because it supports Visa and UnionPay, which is quite convenient,” said Ms Fung Ka-wai, 22, a current Tap & Go user. “There’s less options (SVFs), I have to follow the government’s regulations if I want to get these consumption vouchers,” she added. In Tap & Go mobile app, there is a separate interface for users to pay by using vouchers. Tap & Go would be provided with different payment methods through the app, for example Mastercard, UnionPay or Fast Payment System (FPS). New merchants who subscribe to HKT’s smart point of sales (POS) service could enjoy free terminal rental and no transaction fee will be charged for Tap & Go QR code and FPS QR code during consumption vouchers scheme period, HKT also said in its website.     Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said in his 2021-22 Budget speech that electronic consumption vouchers will be disbursed by instalments to each eligible Hong Kong permanent resident and new arrival aged 18 or above, so as to encourage and boost local consumption.

Sweeping changes to Hong Kong’s electoral laws move to the Legislative Council on April 14

  • 2021-04-08

The drastic overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system will be considered by the Legislative Council on Wednesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said today. To overhaul Legco's geographical constituencies, five key ordinances will be amended, she said, speaking at a Q&A session at the Legislative Council, including cutting the number of directly elected Legco seats, redrawing geographical election boundaries and vetting candidates to ensure a system of "patriots governing Hong Kong”. She said the government will hold three elections within a year once the bills are passed by lawmakers. “Any election manipulation and sabotage will be solved by law enforcement," said  Lam.  Under the proposed amendments, candidates for the Legislative Council and the Election Committee will require the approval of the Hong Kong Committee for Safeguarding National Security, established last year under the National Security Law. Mrs Lam said the new electoral system will restore order in the Legislative Council, adding that the pro-democracy camp hindered the government from understanding public opinion.  The government will also open a temporary civil servants school to train more patriotic political talents and deepen the understanding of “one country, two systems”, she said. An amendment of The Personal Data Ordinance will be prioritised, she added, saying that “the government is the largest victim of fake news”. 

Business

Goldman recommends “buy” Bilibili with expectation of soaring 40%

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Vikki Cai ChuchuEdited by: Zhou Yichen Gloria 周奕辰
  • 2021-04-02

Bilibili (9626) was rated ‘buy’ by Goldman Sachs on Thursday and with the stock expected to increase by 40% to HK$1,219 a share, compared to the current stock price of HK$870, due to its large and fast-growing user base and strong revenue.  IPOs in the Hong Kong stock market often have potential first-day rallies, but Bilibili’s stock price dropped 3.6% from an HK$808 issue price to HK$780 at its trading debut on Monday. The recent global declines in technology stocks and China’s crackdown on the country’s technology conglomerates put heavy pressure on Bilibili. Goldman Sachs said as the online video sharing and streaming platform with the most Generation Z users, Bilibili was expected to see its monthly active users to reach 400 million before 2023.  Besides, Bilibili has high quality and abundant content which are the fundamental elements for expanding its users. Bilibili also adopts multiple liquidity strategies which can generate more revenues. Bilibili’s revenues are mainly generated from mobile games, value-added services, advertising, and e-commerce and others. Its revenue in 2020 increased by 77% to 12 billion yuan (HK$ 14.3 billion) according to its prospectus. Monthly average users reached 202 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, up 55% over the same period in 2019. Guosheng Securities also gave a buy recommendation to Bilibili, according to an analyst report released on March 29, expecting the company to continue expanding its commercialization. Goldman Sachs affirms Bilibili’s community value and its understanding towards Generation Z in encouraging them to join the activities in Bilibili community in its report. The investment bank also said Bilibili has chosen a clear company development path and hopes it can keep thriving. Bilibili is building a video content ecosystem by providing various video content in satisfying its audiences’ entertainment, cartoon, technology and life skills viewing demand. …

Business

Chinese sportswear stocks jump after anti-Xinjiang cotton statement

Shares of Chinese sportswear makers extended gains on Friday in hopes of increased sales as leading foreign brands, including H&M and Adidas, faced backlash in China after western countries imposed sanction on the country amid a Xinjiang cotton row. Li-Ning (2331.HK) ended 2.9% higher at HK$51.45 after jumping nearly 11% on Thursday. Anta Sports (2020.HK) rose 5.61%, extending gains of 8.4% yesterday. Chinese consumers boycotted some foreign brands after the US along with the European Union, Canada and the UK announced a joint statement earlier this week for sanctions on Chinese officials over human rights violations in Xinjiang. Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwestern China produces about a fifth of the world’s cotton and supplies the material to many international brands. The anti-Xinjiang statement affected a number of fashion brands in China over Xinjiang cotton. Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M products were removed from major Chinese e-commerce platforms including Alibaba and JD.com, following calls by state media for a boycott over the retailer's decision to stop buying cotton from Xinjiang, according to media reports. Several other international brands, including Nike and Adidas, were also targeted by social media in Mainland China this week. The People's Daily, a Chinese government-backed newspaper, shared an image with the hashtag “I support Xinjiang cotton” in Chinese. This post triggers a boycott on Adidas, News Balance, H&M, Nike and Burberry, brands, which expressed concern about the alleged use of Uighur forced labour in the production of Xinjiang cotton. Adidas, New Balance, H&M and Burberry and their stock prices were lower. Adidas was at $155.71 (HK$1209.7) and H&M $4.56 (HK$35.43), down 5.25% and 3.38% respectively overnight. Chinese celebrities cut ties with brands rejecting Xinjiang cotton. “Me and my company artist - Eason Chan Yick-shun resolutely boycott any action vilifying China, Therefore, we decided to terminate all collaboration …

Business

Standard Chartered restores dividend while yearly profit more than halved

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Zhou Yichen Gloria 周奕辰Edited by: Zhu Zijin Cora 朱子槿
  • 2021-02-26

Standard Chartered PLC (2888) reported on Thursday a 68% decrease in net profit in 2020, due to lower interest rates and higher credit impairments under the COVID-19 pandemic.  The net profit of the London-based bank fell to $751 million (HK$ 5.8 billion) in 2020. But the company would pay a $0.09 (HK$ 0.7) per share dividend and restarted a $254 million (HK$ 1.97 billion) share buyback scheme. Standard Chartered's Hong Kong shares fell more than 5% after trading opened on Friday, and closed at HK$51.05. "The resumption of dividends was announced in December last year, which was good news at the time and made the company's stock rise," said Jacky Luo, partner and director of several companies. "After the release of the 2020 results, the decline in the bank income and the similar forecast of this year's income to last year, will make some investors feel not so positive, adjust their expectations, and make corresponding judgments on changes." The bank, which does most business in Asia, reported a 57% pre-tax profit drop to $1.61 billion (HK$ 12.5 billion) in 2020 from $3.71 billion (HK$ 28.8 billion) in the previous year, due to a total charge of $895 million (HK$ 6.9 billion) related to restructuring, goodwill impairment, and other items. The operating income slipped by 4% to $14.75 billion (HK$ 114 billion), with net interest income declining 11% to $6.88 billion (HK$ 53.4 billion). The credit impairments of the bank in 2020 surged more than double to $2.29 billion (HK$ 53.4 billion), with the majority booked in the first half of the year. Despite profit decline, Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters was confident that the company would recover from the epidemic. "We are weathering the health crisis and geopolitical tensions very well," he said in a company statement. “Our strategic transformation …

Culture & Leisure

Anti-pandemic measures baffle florists in Lunar New Year Fair

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Vikki Cai Chuchu、Kwok Chiu Tung 郭昭彤Edited by: Zhu Zijin Cora 朱子槿
  • 2021-02-12

On Lunar New Year's Eve, buyers crowded the Mongkok Flower Market for last-minute shopping while the 15 government-organized festival flower markets were relatively quiet due to anti-pandemic measurements, which curtailed the number of stalls by half, limited visitors and slashed operating hours. The Hong Kong government once decided to stop organizing this year’s Lunar New Year Flower Fair but changed its mind to announce on Jan. 19 that the 15 flower markets would be opened for the festive period of seven days but with crowd-control measures. Many Hong Kong florists who planned to join the Lunar New Year Flower Market had already taken alternative plans including renting pop-up shops and selling online. “We have rented a shop for selling flowers, but the government suddenly changed after two weeks,” said Hung Chun-kit, 31, one of the florists. He said that they were not able to return the deposit to the shop owner and the government measurement made them lose their head. Even though the government exempted the rents for the 2021 Lunar New Year Flower Markets, it would not be enough to compensate florists’ extra costs and reduced sales. “The scale has been downsized with crowd-control measurement, customer flow is fewer than before. It is hard to gain profit even though the Lunar New Year Flower Market was uncharged, ” said Mr Hung. The scale of the fair had been down to 50%, the number of booths is limited. Therefore, florists continued to rent empty shops to sell flowers because these shops have no crowded-control measurements. “The government announcements are messing around our businesses, and this is an erratic situation for our industry,” said Tse Wong Siu-yin, 45, chairperson of Hong Kong Flower Retailers Association. Lam Sze-ching, 72, a florist who won the bid but did not join the fair while …

Business

Hong Kong hotels struggle to stay afloat despite staycation fad

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Zhu Zijin Cora 朱子槿Edited by: Zhu Zijin Cora 朱子槿
  • 2021-02-12

Chui Yuk-hei, a 26-year-old event planner, checked into several luxury hotels in November. She enjoyed her stay at the Mandarin Oriental, the Peninsula Hong Kong and the Four Seasons. “I never tried them before because these top hotels were super expensive,” Ms Chui said, “but now they all offer affordable overnight staycation packages. It’s the best time to enjoy their services.” She spent about HK$9,000 on three hotels in total, less than half the original prices.  More Hong Kongers like Ms Chui are going on staycations, spending holidays in hotels this year. But amid the coronavirus gloom, staycations are not enough to boost revenues, and local hotels still face uncertainties. The fourth wave of Covid-19 infections started in the city in late November 2020. Before that, clusters of cases linked to staycations prompted the government to limit the number of guests in each hotel room to four people only. “Health concerns made many customers cancel their staycation, “ said Benson Soo Koon-chau, 46, manager of four-star One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences in Sai Wan.      “Staycation is a very up-and-down business,” Mr Soo said. “Many hotels’ staycation business has been largely affected. It’s unlike long-staying service, which people need to pre-pay, no matter whether they eventually check in or not.” One-Eight-One Hotel has increased the portion of long-term leases for customers staying longer than two weeks to earn more stable revenue, he said. “I won’t go on staycation any time soon. It’s not safe. Even before the fourth wave, I would check the health measures at each hotel first,” Ms Chui said.  The pandemic has hit hard on the city’s hospitality industry which already suffered from anti-government protests in 2019. The occupancy rate slumped to 39% in the first six months of 2020 from the previous year’s 90% for …