NatWest + more things

5 minutes estimated reading time


FCA brings money laundering charges against NatWest | Financial Times – UK banks have a reputation for industrial scale money laundering; with the anti-laundering regulations only inconveniencing small players. That the NatWest my only surprise is that it wasn’t HSBC. Why HSBC rather than NatWest? HSBC have long had a reputation for money laundering. Secondly, HSBC’s handling of the Hong Kong protests, and then its strange pivot towards China despite its involvement in Huawei CFO case. Compare this to the NatWest that the UK government still partly owns due to the 2008 financial crisis


Dozens killed and Chinese factories torched in Myanmar’s deadliest day | Financial Times – interesting that anti government protestors think that China is backing the military coup. I think that it hints of a wider distrust in China; not only in the west, but also ASEAN countries – China has factories secured against vandalism in Myanmar but how can it protect itself from anti-China sentiment? | South China Morning PostBeijing is right to be cautious about anti-Chinese sentiment which could extend beyond Myanmar, says academic – research would indicate that widespread across the northern hemisphere and some of the southern hemisphere and would seem to be by design as an adjunct reaction to Chinese policies as the government only courted elites

Cover Story: The Clash of China’s Social Media Titans – Caixin Global – the Alibaba situation reminds me a lot of Chinese governance unravelling over-extended businesses like HNA – Beijing Asks Alibaba to Shed Its Media Assets – WSJ. More pain here – Alibaba browser pulled from Chinese app stores | Financial Times – Group accused over misleading advertising as Xi Jinping warns tech crackdown will continue

Alibaba is also suffering from increased competition – Pinduoduo revenues almost doubled in 2020; more active buyers than Alibaba but Pinduoduo aren’t being given a free pass either

Colin Huang steps down as Pinduoduo chairman | Financial Times – interesting when viewed in conjunction with what is happening at Alibaba

Interesting how Consumer Day on CCTV zeroed in on privacy – China State TV Exposes Wide Illegal Use Of Facial Recognition Cameras In Commercial Properties – China Money Network 

Of course, there was the usual kicking given to foreign brands in strategic areas – Ford, Infiniti in spotlight on China consumer rights show | Reuters – nothing to do with trying to promote Chinese electric car brands like Neha and NIO

Who is the CCP? China’s Communist Party in infographics | Merics – really useful infographic

Consumer behaviour

The Fat Zine shines a light on love and desire for fat people | Dazed Beauty 


Cyborg Ghosts, Space Dragon Boats, and the Deep Roots of Chinese Sci-Fi | Sixth Tone 


Vanguard suspends push for China fund licence | Financial Times – instead they are going to partner with Alibaba. I am not sure that this is a smart move, given current Chinese government sentiment to Alibaba and Ant Financial

EU’s investment deal will give it limited inroads into China | Financial Times – FT warning on this is timely

Daily chart – Young people stand to make dismal returns on their investments | Graphic detail | The Economist 


Zoflora gets a Makeover for the Instagram Generation – Marketing Communication News 

Hong Kong

Brain drain fears as quarter of young Hongkongers plan to emigrate | Telegraph – and that’s just the ones that will admit to it


Brand’s Aren’t Companies, They’re Universes – interesting opinion piece by High Snobriety


How Modern Marketing Can Use What Old-School Sales Letters | Gunning Marketing – not terribly surprising if you’re read

Pharma is riding a vaccine high, but reputational risks loom | Financial Times 


New Research Reveals Publishers Missing Out on +67% Facebook Traffic From Reshares – how much of this is down to the social advice to carefully optimise which content that you post on Facebook?


Vice have been doing some of the most consistently interesting coverage of information security stories that are accessible to the general public – A Hacker Got All My Texts for $16 – it has serious implications for SMS driven two-factor authentication – It’s time to stop using SMS for anything. | by Lucky225 | Mar, 2021 | Medium 

Line silently exposed Japan user data to China affiliate – Nikkei Asia – shit meet fan

Chinese scientists develop laser that can spot hidden object from more than a kilometre away | South China Morning Post 


Genius Makers, by Cade Metz — the tribal war in AI | Financial Times – interesting background

3G Sunset Spells Trouble for Many Medical Tracking Devices | EE Times 

Chiplets: A Short History | EE Times

China’s tech giants test way around Apple’s new privacy rules | Financial Times 

Huawei records biggest jump in patent ownership in 2020 | Financial TimesHuawei, which ranks as China’s top patent holder, holds a large proportion of its patents in telecoms equipment, particularly in 5G technology, where it dominates the global standard – am sure Qualcomm, Nokia and Ericsson would have something to say about this statement. Another take on the same story – Apple was one of the Top 10 Global Companies receiving Granted Patents in 2020 with TSMC making Impressive Gains 

Here’s how to sabotage your Zoom calls with fake technical issues, crying | Dazed – which shows Zoom is not only verbing but an intrinsic aspect of culture

Using deep fakes to get celebrity endorsements work hard at scale – Lay’s Messi Messages | Create personalised video invites from Lionel Messi 


UK spy agencies push for curbs on Chinese ‘smart cities’ technology | Financial Times – not terribly surprising given the security weaknesses of smart cities

Are We Prepared for Killer Robo-Drivers? | EE Times