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WeChat’s big data report shows Chinese people changing habits

by admin   |   Posted on Thursday, January 10th, 2019


Fu Fan, director of Wechat data analysis department, speaking at fifth annual conference of WeChat | REUTERS

WeChat, the most popular social media app in China, Wednesday published a big data report that shows changing habits of Chinese people.

According to the report released at WeChat’s fifth annual conference in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, nearly 1.1 billion active users send a total of about 45 billion messages every day.

They also made a quite startling revelation about the country’s recent nocturnal habits.

“We discovered our users went to bed later. They started to sleep at around 11:30 on average, 1.5 hours later than in 2015,” said Fu Fan, director of WeChat Data Analysis Department, at the conference.

Meanwhile, for the post-80s and post-90s generations, they spent on average about eight minutes on video calls while older people tended to stay talking a little bit longer.

Each generation also prefers different emojis, while its mobile payment feature has become a crucial part of many users’ lives regardless of their age.

“WeChat payment has become a basic device and a bridge for all walks of life, which can connect merchants with their target consumers and users. As of mid-October 2018, WeChat payment has increased by 50 percent compared with the same period last year,” said Bai Zhengjie, operations director of WeChat Pay.

Those numbers are just further evidence of WeChat’s success in China.

But some experts believe its dominance may be coming under pressure from a general change in online habits.

“When we’re talking about being a threat, it’s more in terms of the time spent on mobile shifting more towards Byte Dance’s products, which I think this is the trend we’ve seen over the past two or three years,” said Matthew Brennen, a tech analyst.

Facing the popularity of short video apps like Tik Tok, one month ago in its biggest update in four years, WeChat launched a significant feature,called “Time Capsule”.

The new feature resembles “Instagram Stories”, where users can post videos that disappear a day later.

Meanwhile, with “Top stories”, WeChat also changed the original “like” button in Wechat articles to “recommend”, allowing users to find other people with similar mindsets.

But it seems it may take some time before they really catch on.

“Time capsule is very interesting. But many people don’t know where to see them. Post them online is simply futile,” said a WeChat user.

Experts say competition is so fierce in China’s internet industry that even a super app like WeChat cannot afford to misjudge their users’ needs.
— Reuters

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Death toll rises to 12 in southwest China earthquake

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Courtesy: China Central Television (CCTV)

Twelve people died and another 125 were injured as of 08:30 Tuesday after two earthquakes hit southwest China’s Sichuan Province on Monday night, according to China’s Ministry of Emergency Management.

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit Changning County of Sichuan’s Yibin City at 22:55 Monday and another 5.1-magnitude earthquake occurred in Yibin’s Gong County at 23:36 Monday, according to local authorities. Ten villages and towns have been severely affected by the earthquakes.

“The earthquakes also damaged some houses, roads, power and communication facilities,” said Secretary General of the Yibin government Li Tinggen at a Tuesday press conference.

Li said Yibin has started an emergency response and 2,016 rescuers have been dispatched to alleviate the disaster.

“The city and counties quickly allocated all kinds of relief supplies from their disaster relief material repositories to affected villages and towns. At the initial stage, 450 tents, 5,300 quilts and 1,500 folding beds have been sent to affected areas,” Li said.

Yibin has started evacuation and relocation of local people and carried out medical aid for injured ones, Li said.

“After the earthquakes, the city and counties quickly dispatched 15 vehicles and 61 medical specialists with first aid equipment to the quake-stricken areas in order to treat the wounded.

All health centers of villages and towns in the epicenters conducted medical treatment for injured ones immediately after preliminary safety check of their buildings,” Li said. (REUTERS)

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China fronts maritime militia to propel interest in South China Sea – US Defense Report

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of China occupied Subi Reef at Spratly Islands in disputed South China Sea April 21, 2017. REUTERS/Francis Malasig/Pool

MANILA, Philippines – The United States Defense Department in a report revealed that China has long been establishing its power and expanding its domain even as early as 2002.

According to the US Defense Department’s 2018 Annual Report to Congress, the 21st century’s initial two decades are described as China’s “period of strategic opportunity”.

“They assess that international conditions during this time will facilitate domestic development and the expansion of China’s “comprehensive national power,” the report said.

According to the US, this is part of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) measure to support President Xi Jinping’s “China Dream of national rejuvenation” aimed at establishing “a powerful and prosperous China.”

Part of the plan is to mobilize maritime militia specifically the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM) which is an armed reserve force composed of civilians.

China is the only nation in the world that has a government-sanctioned maritime militia which vary in composition and mission depending on a specific unit and location.

Based on the report, “PAFMM plays a major role in coercive activities to achieve China’s political goals without fighting” specifically in relation to movements in the South China Sea.

It is guided by China’s military doctrine which states that “confrontational operations short of war can be an effective means of accomplishing political objectives.”

PAFMM has been involved in a number of confrontations at sea such as 2009 harassment of the USNS IMPECCABLE Surveillance Ship; the Scarborough Reef standoff in 2012; the Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig standoff in 2014; and the surge of large ships in waters near Senkakus Islands near Japan in 2016.

The US report said China uses its maritime militia for purposes of surveillance, logistical support, and for search and rescue operations.

In the past, China used to rent small fishing vessels from local fishermen or private fishing firms to execute its objectives but later on, China decided to build state-owned sea vessels for that purpose.

For instance, the Hainan provincial government in 2016 built 84 large fishing vessels with fine-scale features and built-in arsenal.

The government even reinstated into reserve force newly retired military personnel complete with subsidy and monthly salary.

In his speech during the anniversary of the Philippine Navy, President Rodrigo Duterte implied that the Philippines cannot and will not win any war against China given the latter’s maritime and armed capabilities.

The President’s remark was in relation to the recent incident in Recto Bank that involved a Chinese vessel which allegedly hit and caused a Filipino fishing boat to sink, endangering the lives of 22 Filipino fishermen.

“Iyang nangyari diyan sa banggaan, that is a maritime incident. Huwag kayong maniwala diyan sa mga politiko na bobo na. Gusto papunta ‘yung — papuntahin ‘yung Navy. You do not send grey ships there. Banggaan lang ng barko ‘yan.,” President Duterte stressed.

(The collision that happened, that is a maritime incident. Do not be swayed by politicians who insist on sending Navy personnel there. You do not send grey ships there. That was mere collision of sea vessels.)

“Do not make it worse because there is a — that’s a fertile ground for…And we are not yet as ready. And we can never be ready in a nuclear war. Stay out if trouble,” he added.

The Philippines in the past has attempted a show of force against China in the disputed waters in West Philippine Sea.

In 2012, BRP Gregorio Del Pilar was mobilized to man the Philippine territory in WPS when a Philippine Navy surveillance plane spotted several Chinese fishing vessels anchored in Panatag Shoal.

Panatag Shoal is about 124 nautical miles from the coast of Zambales and is part of the Philippines’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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Panelo: Chinese envoy won’t be summoned over Recto Bank allision

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte greets Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua on the sidelines of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee head Song Tao’s courtesy call on the President at Matina Enclaves in Davao City on March 27, 2019.

MANILA, Philippines – Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua will not be summoned over the allision incident involving Filipino and Chinese fishing vessels in Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

“The president, I think, is not inclined to do that,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

“Because ang feeling niya, ginagawa na nila, may statement na si Ambassador about seriously and cautiously studying the facts,” he added.

Panelo’s statement contradicts the earlier remark of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana that China’s representative would be invited to the Palace to explain about the matter.

Duterte on Monday described the sinking of a Philippine boat by a Chinese ship as a “little maritime accident.”

‘Wag kayong maniwala sa mga politiko na bobo, gusto papuntahin ‘yung Navy. You do not send gray ships there. Banggaan lang ng barko ‘yan,” the chief executive said in a speech during a Philippine Navy event in Cavite.

The president’s remark disappointed many, including the Filipino fishers.

READ: Filipino boat captain laments Duterte’s remark on West PH Sea allision incident

But Panelo explained, the President was just being cautious about the matter to prevent it from becoming an international crisis, which might affect trade relations between the Philippines and China and other sectors, including the ordinary fishermen visiting disputed territories and the Filipino workers in China.

“He doesn’t want this blown into an international crisis given the fact na matagal din na nabago ‘yung relasyon from the time ng previous administration na masama ang relasyon,” he said.

The Palace official also reiterated that the Philippine government would wait for the investigation to be concluded before taking any action.

Panelo said concerned agencies are already conducting further probe to clear any doubts on whether the incident was accidental or intentional, following the seemingly contradicting statements of some Filipino crew members.

“Kaya medyo nagkaroon ng doubt tuloy, of course, sinasabi ng Kapitan sinadya, sinasabi naman ng cook, mukhang ‘di sila nakita, with more reason na kailangang imbestigahan,” he said.

Panelo also floated the possibility of a joint investigation by the Philippines and China on the incident. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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