中国 | china | 중국 初 | hygiene | 기본 在线 | online | 온라인으로 工艺学 | technology | 기술 无孔不入技术 | web of no web | 보급 기술 消费者行为 | consumer behaviour | 소비자 행동 艺术与设计 | design | 예술과 디자인 铭记 | branding | 브랜드 마케팅

ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Listening in – Podcasting provides a space for free thought in China | China | The Economist – I suspect that podcasting will represent a new frontier in censorship for Chinese regulators. China has an eco-system that allows paid subscription via podcasting platforms for experts in different fields such as business or investing. More China-related content here.

Mike Pompeo renews attack on HSBC as bank walks line between US and China | Financial Times – HSBC is about to get a lot of trouble coming its way. It has managed to make enemies of the Chinese government over Huawei, the US government over Hong Kong sanctions busting and the UK government over its support of the Hong Kong national security law. I don’t think that they will be able to wriggle out of the mess that they have got themselves into

Chinese Diplomats Helped Military Scholars Visiting the U.S. Evade FBI Scrutiny, U.S. Says – WSJ – not terribly surprising

Can virtual fit technology step up and replace fitting rooms? | Vogue Business – this could also accelerate the move to digital

Alibaba wants American brands. The same ones as Amazon | Vogue Business – this could kill and Amazon China

Rolls-Royce unveils “confident but quiet” rebrand by Pentagram – move away from skeuomorphic 3D branding lends itself better for apps online etc etc

Are creatives better at creativity? | Contagious – While we’re always interested in the nature of creativity, it’s important to put experiments like these into perspective – there’s a lot more to being an agency creative than what was tested here. After all, being good at keep-ups doesn’t mean you can play professional football.

Tech war chronicles: How a Silicon Valley chip pioneer landed in China  – Reuters – really interesting. MIPS, SPARC and RISC-V are arguably better architectures than ARM’s Core series of processors. MIPS has been ubiquitous in high performance computing to embedded electronics. It is very well understood, in terms of both design and writing software for it

Wilderness of Mirrors – The Burning Shore – great meditation on the nature of conspiracy theories and culture

KFC temporarily drops ‘finger lickin’ slogan in first global campaign – KFC believes its slogan is “inappropriate” at a time when hygiene is top of mind and so is dropping it temporarily, but is on the lookout for an interim replacement.

中国 | china | 중국 初 | hygiene | 기본 印度尼西亚 | indonesia | 인도네시아 공화국 台湾 | taiwan | 대만 在线 | online | 온라인으로 工艺学 | technology | 기술 思想 | ideas | 생각 零售业 | retailing | 소매업

Things that caught my eye this week

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Indonesia is a fascinating place in and of itself and comes up with all kinds of cultural nuggets. The latest one that I came across was the Vespa Extreme moped sub-culture. Vespa scooters are plentiful in Indonesia, as is the desire to invent. Car tuning culture is big amongst the middle class. But for those who need something more affordable Vespa Extreme builds are a site to behold. The South China Morning Post put together this great documentary film on the Vespa Extreme culture and its riders.

Like car culture there are meet-ups, cruises and even festivals organised.

Vespa Extreme Culture.

About half of the mobile game developers on iOS are based in China, the country’s universities turn out more programmers each year than anywhere else (including India). Yet China has still lagged behind other countries games in terms of incorporating technology and art. That’s where Black Myth: Wukong is supposed to come in. Sun Wukong is one of the names of the Monkey King in the Chinese literary classic Journey To The West. This has been a staple of Chinese animation and film for years.

Black Myth: Wukong

Could it be popular in China? It’s hard to tell from this pre-Alpha release footage. The biggest issues are likely to come from Chinese regulators. But hopefully the game won’t have to undergo the lengthy rewrites and changes foreign games have to do to comply. Instead the Chinese developers should be able to bake compliance in from the start. However, its China; so nothing is guaranteed.

German software giant SAP created a Tinder-like internal matching app to connect isolated employees for virtual lunches during remote work – its an interesting approach to things I guess. Home working lacks serendipity of working in an office. There is no water cooler moments. Social interactions are limited and Zoom analogues (Microsoft Teams, GoTo Meeting etc) burden the user with a heavy cognitive load. I just hope that this is opt-in at SAP, rather than ‘enforced’ or ‘serious fun’.

The Ikea Taiwan Facebook page faithfully created looks from their catalogue on Animal Crossing, much to the delight of their Taiwanese and Hong Kong based followers. The original post is here.

Ikea Taiwan Animal Crossing
The original Facebook post
Ikea Taiwan Animal Crossing
Front cover with Animal Crossing characters, but on Ikea furniture
Ikea Taiwan Animal Crossing
Side-by-side comparison between the original catalogue and a recreation using sets dressed in Animal Crossing
Ikea Taiwan Animal Crossing
Another example, all prices are in Taiwan dollars rather than Animal Crossing belles

More Ikea related content here.

Spotify is already encouraging media planners to start thinking about audio adverts for their client Christmas campaigns. More here; Spotify’s Christmas in Summer: Hear the Cheer

中国 | china | 중국 信息安全 |security | 정보 보안 初 | hygiene | 기본 商业 | business | 상업 工艺学 | technology | 기술 无线网络 | wireless |무선 네트워크 电信 | telecoms | 통신 经济 | economics | 경제학

ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Why Epic isn’t an innocent victim in the Fortnite battle with Apple, and why it deserves a loss today – BGR – interesting argument that goes against the popular media narrative. I wonder why Epic haven’t gone after console makers as well? Not all gamers might get the fact that Epic has created this crisis fully knowing it would breach the contract, fully knowing what Apple’s responses could be, and full knowing that Apple will call its bluff. That’s why it had all those lawsuits on hand and the viral commercial. Whether it expected Apple to go for the nuclear option, that’s debatable, but the same email chain above proves that Apple’s response was swift. From the moment Epic released the update, Apple let the company know that it’s risking losing access to its developer tools, which can hinder app development for games based on the Unreal engine that Epic licenses to other game makers.  The same response also details another dishonest behavior from Epic that shouldn’t be ignored. Epic took advantage of Apple’s developer tools to quietly push an update to the App Store that turned on an IAP payment functionality that Apple would never approve. Epic has been cheating, and that’s a company that’s supposedly working for other developers. That’s a company that other developers should trust when dealing with a hypothetical Epic App Store inside the App Store that would be governed by Epic’s own rules

Vietnamese tech firm sues TikTok, alleging copyright infringement – Reuters – VNG are a highly creative outfit. They do great games, their messenger platform has done well despite Vietnam allowing access to WhatsApp and Facebook. They had some challenges over IP over five years ago and have since built up their own stable of recording artists

Chinese-Made Smartphones Are Secretly Stealing Money From People Around The Worldhow cheap Chinese smartphones take advantage of the world’s poorest people. Current security concerns about Chinese apps and hardware have largely focused on potential back doors in Huawei’s 5G equipment. More recently, people have focused on how user data collected by TikTok could be abused by the company and the Chinese government. But an overlooked and ongoing threat is the consistent presence of malware on cheap smartphones from Chinese manufacturers and how it exacts a digital tax on people with low incomes

Why are prices so damn high by Eric Hellend – health, education and the Baumol cost disease

Jack Ma’s Ant Group Produces $3.5 Billion Profit in Six Months as IPO Looms – WSJ – one thing to remember is how Ma unilaterally bilked Yahoo! shareholders out of Ant Financial when Carole Bartz was CEO. Probably not a good investment for a foreigner in China

‘The new definition of luxury’: Highsnobiety unpacks how the landscape of high-end fashion has tilted toward accessibility – DigidayCarvalho said that through the recent research Highsnobiety performed, his team has learned that younger shoppers don’t care about exclusivity in luxury like previous generations did. Instead, they want accessibility. And for the most part, the designer brands that have successfully attracted a younger audience no longer have closed shop doors that only allow in certain clientele.  “Accessibility doesn’t mean that every consumer will have the means to purchase a product, but the doors are open for them,” he said. “The hope is that down the line” this 16- or 17-year-old will become a paying customer of the brand.” More luxury segment content and analysis here

Frasers Group announces deal for DW Sports | RTE – buying into gyms and fitness studio business

First, private equity holds us to ransom. Now it wants us to bail out its losses | Private equity | The GuardianIts excessive debts, once the route to fortunes and, it would say, “business discipline”, are crushing it. On top, the commercial property market no longer looks a one-way bet. It wants its vast mortgage debt guaranteed by the government, even though the interest charges drive the underlying companies into operating losses – but this has been apparent way before COVID. Private equity in these sectors has been like an unpleasant game of pass the parcel

Chick-Fil-A Fires Employee for a Menu Hack Video That Went Viral on TikTok | – the article points out the various different reasons why Chck-Fil-A is wrong. I get it, the challenge for businesses like this are:

  • The businesses provide a consistent experience – like McDonalds that’s their thing. This means very hierarchical structures.
  • Finally restaurants tend to make money on controlling the margins tightly, doing the right thing here would be going against pretty much every trait that makes them successful all of the time

Imagination in China lab RISC-V deal | EETimes Europe – RISC-V is often overlooked as a platform but is has great potential