2. China used its “suspicious entity list” for the first time to sanction Lockheed Martin and Raytheon for arms sales to Taiwan. The move is believed to be a response to the US blacklisting of six Chinese organizations over the “spy balloon” drama in January. (CNN)
3. While the official death toll from China’s latest wave of covid infections is 83,150, estimates by epidemiologists are much higher, ranging from 970,000 to 1.6 million. (New York Times $)
4. Now is an inauspicious time for Chinese believers in the metaverse. Last week, ByteDance and Tencent announced layoffs in their virtual reality teams. (Yicai Global)
5. The return of the DiDi program to China shows the delicate balance between the government’s goals to curb big technology and stimulate economic growth. (Wired $)
6. ASML, a Dutch lithography machine company, has accused a former Chinese employee of stealing confidential information over the past couple of months. (Bloomberg $)
7. Bao Fan, a Chinese billionaire banker who brokered some of the biggest acquisitions in China’s technology industry, has gone missing. (BBC)
Lost in translation
Creating a charging infrastructure that can serve the rapidly growing number of electric vehicles in China has become a challenge. As China’s Time Weekly reported, during the Lunar New Year period, Chinese electric car owners had to wait for hours at gas stations before they could charge their cars. The same thing happened last summer, when intense heat knocked out the power grid in parts of China.
Currently, there are more than 12 EV owners for every public charging point in China, unable to charge at home in their densely populated urban areas. The lack of public infrastructure has inspired some owners to rent out their private charging points, as these points are unused 90% of the time. Profits from renting them out, which can reach more than 2,000 yuan ($290) each year, help pay for their installation costs. But so far, most owners of private charging points have not yet realized that sharing is an option: it is estimated that only 2.1% share with other EV owners.
One more thing
When Ford announced its plan to manufacture batteries with CATL, Quartz reporter Mary Hui noticed a fascinating historical parallel. In 2023, the deal helps the Chinese battery giant finally break into the U.S. market at a time when U.S.-China relations are rocked by scandals surrounding a Chinese spy balloon. Back in 2001, a deal between Ford and a Chinese automaker helped the American auto giant break into the Chinese market, and relations between the two countries were… interrupted by a scandal surrounding an American spy plane. Coincidence? I think not.