The popularity of smartphones means it’s easier than ever to follow our favourite celebrities on social media. One young lady has become an overnight sensation as she shows what it is like to live with no arms. She was only three when an accident resulted in both her arms being amputated, but she has gone on to lead a full life. She now live streams how she has taught herself to do many things the rest of us take for granted. Another popular account belongs to HoneyCC, who is one of the biggest stars on the video-sharing platform, Meipai, which launched in 2014. Her passion for social media began after an injury cut short her dancing career. She found a single picture could only say so much, and to really communicate you need to use a video. The explosion of social media has not gone unnoticed by the fashion world, which found that Chinese stars have a big influence on what fashions people buy. Stars have often endorsed products, but the promotion of brands through social media can be a lot subtler.
In 2016 Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi had fallen from first to fifth place among China’s smartphone manufacturers. They turned this around in 2017, and are currently on target to become the worlds second largest smartphone vendor, behind only Samsung. China is a unique market because of its size. A company can become a global sales leader without selling outside our borders. The top five phone vendors in the country are becoming more dominant, creating a group that is making it very difficult for new businesses to enter the market. These companies work hard to constantly come up with new ideas and improve technology to suit the Chinese people, the latest one being smartphone ID cards. Such ingenuity means even some of the big boys have a very small percentage of phone sales in China, like Samsung, which has just over 2% of the market.
China has become a major player in digital technology, and there’s much more untapped growth potential. China’s e-commerce transactions are estimated to be more than those of France, Japan, Britain, and the USA combined. Our technological expertise is producing software to handle the pace of growth. This was shown at the 4th World Internet Conference, where products were on display that were innovative in the fields of information technology, cloud calculation, and artificial intelligence. Recognising the talent available in China for AI development, Google is opening an artificial intelligence research centre. The Google AI China Centre will have a small group of researchers and several hundred China based engineers, which will help to keep China at the forefront of tomorrow’s technology.
According to a report by KPMG, 77% of Chinese people say online shopping is their favourite pastime. Out of everyone surveyed, 67% of those who took part were born after 1985. People born after this year are considered by many to be digital natives, as they grew up during a period where technology was becoming far more common in everyday life. It should come as no surprise that with such a huge number of people using apps to shop online, China is now playing a leading role in their development. This trend has been recognised by several large retailers, including the Swedish fashion group H&M. They are about to open the companies only online sales channel in China, apart from its official website.
If you’ve spent any time in a coffee shop in China, you’ll know just how popular social media is becoming in our culture, so it shouldn’t be surprising that things are looking good for WeChat, with more than half of China’s mobile users connected, putting it ahead of social media giant Facebook globally. As Facebook have discovered after the US presidential election, fake news is a real problem. Chinese social media is tackling this problem head on, by creating an AI that will detect any misinformation. We can’t see Donald Trump doing the same in the US anytime soon. It isn’t just our culture that seems to be falling for social media, it seems to be equally popular with the citizens of Thailand. This week it has been revealed 40% of Thai travellers take their reviews of locations in China from social media before travelling, choosing to trust real world opinions over those in glossy brochures. It’s good to know our opinions matter.
To celebrate its fourth anniversary, Chinese smartphone vendor OnePlus unveiled the OnePlus 5T in lava red. Demand is set to be high, as there will only be a limited number of handsets available in this colour, and we all like a bit of exclusivity. With China’s homegrown smartphones proving the most popular, OnePlus are probably on to a winner. Meanwhile, China smartphone maker Xiaomi wants to win over the Indian market, and is investing heavily in Indian start-ups to help improve its image, and speed up growth outside of China. Tencent has already secured the deal to bring Player Unknown’s Battleground (PUBG) to China, but now the popular PC game is being developed for smartphones, and Tencent is working on bringing the game to our smartphones soon. So if you enjoy fighting for your survival, soon you’ll be able to battle to the death wherever you go.
China understands the importance of technology education and is spending billions to ensure children and students of all ages have access to innovative teaching. STEMedu is authorised by the Ministry of Education, and is leading the charge to introduce science and technology into the education system, including training teachers to provide a more technology-focused education. With the rapid growth of China’s tech companies, there will be no shortage of opportunities, as proven by Alibaba and Tencent quickly moving up the league of the worlds largest companies. Overtaking Google, Apple, and Amazon will attract even more global attention, and help to secure China’s position on the global economic stage. Agriculture in China is being revolutionised by technology. No longer the domain of straw hats and hand tools, or long days spent labouring, graduate programs in topics like Protected Cultivation are smashing old stereotypes, and allowing farmers to become more efficient and profitable.
Israel has opened a China Cultural Center in Tel Aviv, to showcase clay-sculpting skills, as well as hosting art performances, cultural exhibitions, and academic seminars. It is hoped the center will help to strengthen the ties between the two countries by creating a better understanding of our culture in Isreal. While we try to strengthen future relationships on an international scale, our leaders in maritime archeology are looking to gain a better understanding of the past, and using shipwrecks to weave together the history of seaborne trade. At the same time as we are gaining a better understanding of the history of seaborne trade, we are also trying to preserve our cultural history. The launch of a website just for information about lost cultural relics is designed to help gather clues about missing artifacts, while at the same time deterring criminals from trying to steal any of our remaining artifacts.