Beidou, the Chinese GPS

China, through the Information Office of the State Council, announced on Friday 27 December that its GPS-equivalent system, Beidou, will be fully operational with two satellites in geostationary orbit before June 2020.

The Chinese satellite geolocation system, Beidou, should cover the entire planet by June 2020.

The Chinese strike force to impose its system

The authorities did not hesitate first to impose it on their citizens and the country’s public services to convince users to prefer the Chinese system to Uncle Sam’s GPS history. According to Les Echos, in 2018, six million private cars were using Beidou in China, as were domestic airplanes, buses, postal services, and a large number of ships.

Also, based on this strategy, China has used its long-standing Silk Road project to encourage countries such as Pakistan, Laos, and Thailand to use Chinese technology. Today Beidou is present in 90 countries.

Enough to scare off American and European competitors. Especially since in the same conference, Ran Chengqi confirmed the project of an even more precise geolocation system planned for 2035.

A project launched in 2020

With this announcement, China has become a real competitor to the American geolocation system. For its part, the European Galileo project is experiencing multiple delays and breakdowns and its completion is not expected until 2023 with a 10-year delay.

Beidou, the name is a reference to the Chinese word for the Big Dipper, was launched in 2000, the year it began to be used in China. By 2012, the entire Asia-Pacific region was covered. Last year the project managers announced that they would be able to cover the planet in 2020, and the press conference held on 27 December confirms this forecast.

The director of the project, Ran Chengqi, announced, relayed by ABC, that the core of the system was completed with the launch of satellites in December. This launch brings the number of Beidou-3 satellites dedicated to the positioning service to 24. In all, some 30 satellites are being mobilized.

For some, the satellites sent into orbit will relay others that have become obsolete. In 2012, Beidou’s first satellite was put into service to set up an increasingly sophisticated system. ” We plan the launch of two more satellites into geostationary orbit before June 2020, and the Beidou-3 system will be completed,” said Ran Chengqi.

The project director was keen to highlight China’s space technology success story, describing “high-performance” indicators, new technology systems, accurate location, a mass production network, and a wide range of users.

Connected speakers: will Chinese technology giants be the new leaders?

In the connected speaker market, two giants have been competing for first place for a long time: Google and Amazon. But this situation could well be disrupted by the Chinese giant Baidu. According to the research firm Canalys, by being only present on its national market, managed to overtake Google in the second quarter of 2019.

China: conquering the connected speaker market

Already, in a previous report, Canalys revealed that, overall, China would outperform the United States in 2019 in the connected assistant market, ranking first. In the first quarter of 2019, China grew by almost 500% in the smart speaker market, with some 10.6 million products shipped.

Connected speakers: a market amid a metamorphosis

Has the US domination of the technology market come to an end? A new report from Canalys with edifying results confirms that we are at the turn of a new era, at least on the home automation side. With more than 200 million connected speakers sold in 2019 according to the specialist’s estimates, everyone naturally wants their share of the cake.

Amazon remains the leader, with a 25.4% market share for connected speakers. But the most exciting thing is not the confirmation of Amazon’s place at the top of the top, but the incredible breakthrough of the Chinese manufacturer Baidu. The latter is expected to grow by an estimated 3,700%, replacing Google, its Google Home, and other Google Home Mini.

Google and connected speakers: should the American web giant be worried?

Thus, according to Canalys’ latest report, Baidu, based in Beijing, is taking over the connected speaker market. In all, it would be some 4.5 million products shipped, and this only in the second quarter of 2019, representing 17.3% of the market share.

Baidu’s exceptional growth is the result of a precise and efficient economic strategy, driven by low-cost product launches. It was the case with the Xiaodu connected speaker launched at only 249 yuan, just under 32 euros, then offered at 89 yuan or about 11 euros. We will see if if this will be sustainable in the long term.

Baidu has developed an aggressive commercial strategy to conquer the connected speaker market. But is it designed for the long term?

Nevertheless, for Google, this observation is a poor consolation. The home automation sector being in constant movement. It is not impossible that Baidu, strengthened by its national results, will decide to try its luck on the international market. There is no doubt that the reign of the Web giants in the field of connected speakers would take a hit.

Faced with GAFAM – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft, the threat of the Chinese giants called BATX – Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and Xiaomi – is genuine. The Canalys report published at the end of August 2019 confirms the Chinese interest in home automation. Sales in this market are twice as high as those in the US market – 12.6 million units shipped compared to 6.1 million. Finally, in China alone, sales of connected speakers doubled in the second quarter of 2019.

Why China wants to ban Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

Created in 2009 by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin had its first successes in 2017, after having passed the $1,000 mark and then by reaching the $20,000 mark at the end of the same year. After a good year and half of bear market, at the beginning of April 2019, it once again created the buzz online, with a value of more than $5,000.

Only five countries have banned bitcoin mining worldwide.

Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ecuador, Kyrgyzstan, and Nepal. According to a report published on 9 April 2019, China is preparing to join this short list. Mining is part of a list of 450 industrial activities banned published by the National Development and Reform Commission (CNDR). All would have the same thing in common, the waste of resources or pollution caused by these activities considered unsafe by the Chinese authorities.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies consume a large amount of electricity.

Because of the complex calculations it requires, each Bitcoin transaction requires about 215 kWh of energy, more than the consumption of a the average Chinese household for two weeks. In China, the public consultation on this subject remains open until 7 May. The country had already taken measures to this end in 2017, banning virtual currency swaps as well as ICOs (Initial Coin Offering), fundraising that can be exchanged for cryptocurrencies.

The kilowatt-hour is the miner’s obsession

These are surprising decisions, considering that 58% of the world’s mining farms are located in China. It is difficult to believe China’s environmentalist ambitions in this area since the majority of the energy used in China for Bitcoin already comes from renewable energy sources.

Ghost towns, located near such dams, were even repopulated by miners, seizing the opportunity to mine at a lower cost.

A way to protect the Yuan?

This move allows the country to protect and to preserve the exchange rate of its national currency, the Yuan. According to experts, other states that have chosen to ban cryptocurrencies are most concerned about capital flight.

In China, the chosen decline in leadership has already begun. Recently, the authorities have raised its electricity prices, which has forced many miners to flee. It was too expensive, and they could no longer make their business profitable. Many have moved elsewhere, to Kazakhstan, Canada or Ukraine, where they have been able to set up near hydraulic dams. In any case, it is all great news for cryptocurrencies, which will be able to decentralize. The Chinese government will have less control over Bitcoin.

War between China and the USA for the electronic chip market

War between China and the USA for the electronic chip market

The tariff war raging between the United States and China was the main focus of the meeting between Xi Jinping and Donal Trump at the G20 in Buenos Aires.

This trade war affects traditional economic markets such as automobiles and steel. It also concerns a much more sensitive and vital sector for the future: technology (computer networks, artificial intelligence) and semiconductors.

Supremacy and dependence

Silicon Valley takes its name from Silicon, one of the most important chemical elements that make up electronic chips. The Pentagon strongly supported the California region because one of the first applications of electronic chips emerging from Silicon Valley was the guidance systems for nuclear missiles. These chips are now the foundation of the digital economy and national security. Cars have become rolling computers.

Banks are computers that manage the flow of money. American companies dominate the most advanced sectors of the industry. China, on the other hand, remains dependent on the outside world for its supply of quality electronic chips. And China intends to do the right thing.

The tariff war

Long before Donald Trump started his tariff war, China announced its intention to catch up. In 2014, Beijing announced the creation of an investment fund of one billion yuan (126 billion euros) to improve its national industry. China’s ambitions to create a high-tech industry worried Barack Obama and his administration, a wave of Chinese tenders for semiconductor companies confronted his administration during his last mandate. In particular, Barack Obama prevented Intel from selling some of its most potent chips to China in 2015. Other countries are also concerned, including Taiwan and South Korea, which have regulations in place to stop Chinese purchases of semiconductor companies and to stop the looting of intellectual property.

The limits of the Chinese offensive

Today, America has the advantage over China in the design and manufacture of high-end chips. With this war, the US can probably slow China down, but progress will be difficult to stop.

The attacks will even make China even more determined. Just as the emergence of Silicon Valley was based on the support of the American government, China combines the resources of the state and companies in the pursuit of its objectives. It has set up support and incentive programs to attract engineers from other countries, including Taiwan.

Companies like Huawei have proven their ability to innovate; the blocking of Intel chips in 2015 only encouraged China to develop its domestic supercomputer industry, such as the “Taihu-Light,” which is Chinese made. Also, China’s ambition to become a world power in the semiconductor field comes at the right time.

Hosting Your Site in China, Key to SEO Success

windows servers running

In China, the display speed of a page hosted out of Chinese mainland territory is much higher than 30 seconds! Yes I know this sounds insane but trust me this is the truth.

The variable quality of the internal network and the weakness of the network between European and Chinese operators partly explains this issue. On the other hand, the Chinese government has set up a firewall that filters foreign content. The rules of censorship are complex, and it is difficult to make a comeback after blocking a website.

You must not miss your first submission to the engines. For a good search engine optimization campaign on Baidu, your site must be imperatively hosted in China, with a Chinese IP address, and a domain name in “.cn” or in Chinese alphabet. Baidu awards, according to Chinese government guidelines, a bonus to local sites and gives a negative point to sites hosted outside its territory.

The ICP license: The holy grail to host a site in China

opportunites digitales comparateur hebergement en ligneThe ICP license is a permit issued by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which allows a publisher to publish a site in China. The ICP license distinguishes between merchant and non-dealer sites.

For a non-commercial site, a form in Chinese is to be filled on this site The response time can vary from a few days to several weeks. It is possible to resubmit a file in case of refusal, which is not final. The submission of the PKI file must be written in Chinese.

A site that offers online sales must obtain a commercial PKI license. The company wishing to obtain the ICP license must be located in China.

Do I need a host in Shanghai or Hong Kong?

To avoid obtaining the ICP license, some hosting companies are operating from Hong Kong. This solution does not address Chinese firewall filtering and the lower quality of Baidu SEO. A hosting service located in Shanghai helps to avoid censorship in this vast country.

The Chinese market specificities?

In the Chinese market, it is essential to protect your trademarks and domain names and to monitor their use on the Internet. An online risk monitoring platform: cybersquatting of domain names, brand abuse, risks are numerous.

It is essential to be accompanied by a law firm specialised in international law, as well as by lawyers in China for any local intervention.

For Foreign investors such as Opportunités Digitales, we highly advise you book a consultation with a business consulting and law firm operating locally!

Google Invests $550 Million in Chinese E-Merchant

google investing in

Google is multiplying its investments in Asia to take advantage of the development of the middle class. The Mountain View firm is this time placing 550 million dollars (about 475 million euros) in the Chinese e-merchant

Google is strengthening its presence in Asia. Mountain View has just invested 550 million dollars (about 475 million euros) in Chinese e-merchant, Alibaba’s number one competitor.

In return for this capital increase, Google would now hold a little less than 1% of the company’s capital.

In a joint press release, the two companies explain their desire to collaborate on a series of strategic initiatives, including the development of new retail solutions in Europe, the United States and Southeast Asia.


The goal is to combine’s supply chain experience (the e-merchant recently unveiled a highly automated warehouse in Shanghai that employs only four people) with Google’s expertise in data, marketing, and customer knowledge to develop new products online. This merger should, therefore, result, in the first place, in the promotion of’s products on the Google Shopping platform around the world.

Listed on the Nasdaq, is now valued at approximately $60 billion. Among the principal shareholders of is the American Walmart but also the Chinese Tencent, at the origin of the Wechat application and Alibaba’s great rival and its Alipay application.

In recent months, Google has accelerated its investments on the Asian continent to take advantage of the development of the middle class and the lack of infrastructure in retail and finance, in particular. Besides, Google recently acquired a stake in Indonesian Go-Jek, a specialist in tourism with chauffeur vehicles services, and according to Reuters sources could invest in the Indian e-merchant Flipkart.

Automobile: China ready to conquer the world

While the Chinese automobile market has entered a phase of slowdown, the government wants to liberalize its highly-regulated market by a persnickety bureaucracy. It believes that the local brands have acquired enough maturity to conquer the world. For foreign brands, this liberalization is a real relief, but they could nevertheless continue their activity under the format of joint ventures.

It’s a big bang waiting for the Chinese car industry! Xi Jinping announced his intention to liberalize the sector, one of the most regulated in the world. The Chinese President made this announcement in response to the protectionist bidding of US President Donald Trump. In reality, it would seem that China is mainly preparing to change its industrial strategy in the automotive sector.

Strong slowdown

The world’s largest automobile market, with 27 million registrations in 2017, is experiencing a sharp slowdown in its market. In 2017, sales increased by only 2.1%, according to PwC. This slowdown is very brutal since, in 2016, growth was still at double digits (+14%).

Except that production capacity has not stopped increasing. New outlets must, therefore, be found to avoid the crisis of overproduction. All the more so as the Chinese are turning more and more to the second-hand market, an emerging market but one that will divert a large proportion of consumers away from the new market.

The end of the bureaucracy stage?

Until now, there were only two ways to sell cars in China: either by importing them, for 25% customs duties or by obligatorily building them on the spot through a joint venture with a local manufacturer. This last option is authorized after a careful and sometimes long study (up to one year) of the file by the Chinese administration which will issue a license. This license can be as restrictive as it is binding.

The license obtained by Renault prevented it, for example, from selling cars that were too small, such as its big success, the Captur, or too large. The diamond brand has thus launched itself on the Chinese market with the Kadjar and the new generation Koleos. Another constraint, the French manufacturer had the obligation to launch a specific local brand, as well as 100% electric cars. These are all very costly and complex constraints from an operational point of view.

Also, Renault is in charge of all operations, although it is a 50-50 joint venture with the Chinese group DongFeng. Here again, there is a source of difficulty since Renault is forced to form alliances with a group that has more than ten joint ventures, including with directly competing groups such as PSA or Honda. Not to mention technology transfers, and the impossibility of consolidating accounts.

Tesla, first beneficiary?

All these regulatory constraints could therefore soon disappear, including a sharp reduction in customs duties. Except Xi Jinping didn’t say anything more. According to the Wall Street Journal, regulation on electric car joint ventures could disappear this year, which could be a real boon for Tesla.

But according to experts, these measures may not lead to the expected big bang. Firstly, because what is true at central government level will not necessarily be true at a local government level, which would continue to be a lock on the deployment of concessions or car quotas for large conurbations.

“The real opportunity will lie on the margins, i.e. on the building rules, which will be relaxed. Foreign manufacturers will certainly benefit,” confirms Guy Burney of Deloitte.

General Motors wants to keep its 10 JVs

In addition, foreign car manufacturers have been working in China for too long in this format, some since the 1990s. And the largest have constituted real constellations of joint ventures (JV). General Motors is thus at the head of 10 JVs which enable it to hold 14% of the Chinese market (more than 4 million cars sold). According to the Wall Street Journal, the first American automotive group would have no intention of changing anything of this configuration even if the regulatory constraints are lifted. According to the American economic daily, the manufacturers fear to start a war without mercy with their former partners if they did not have any more common interests.

Because if Xi Jinping takes such an initiative, it is not only because its domestic market has reached maturity, it is also because local players have themselves acquired an industrial and technological maturity, as Guy Burney explains :

“China has not only been making cars for 30 years, but it has also learned a lot. And beyond that, it now can reproduce the convergence between Detroit and Silicon Valley, in other words between car manufacturing and new technologies. China has not only large and mature manufacturers, but also an ecosystem of digital and technological players with global reach.

Xi Jinping, therefore, wants to push its brands to advance their pawns towards foreign markets. In the first half of 2017, barely 3% of national production was destined for export, but this figure was up by 26%.


China unveils stealth fighter FC-31 at Dubai Air Show

For the first time, the state conglomerate Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) presents its stealth fighter, the J-31 or FC-31 in its export version. The Chinese military industry wants to show the world that it is capable of developing a stealth aircraft of the same level as the American Lockheed-Martin’s F-35.


Even if it is only a model, the presence for the first time in an air show outside China of the twin-engine FC-31, developed by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of AVIC, caused a sensation at the Dubai Air Show, which opened its doors on November 8. A prototype of this combat aircraft made its first flight in 2012 and was presented in public in November 2017 at the Zhuhai Air Show in southern China. The presence in Dubai of Lin Peng, the FC-31 project manager at AVIC was symbolic because the Chinese want to offer this versatile and furtive hunter to foreign customers. To compete with the Lockheed-Martin F-35 in this particular market segment. Pakistan is reported to have expressed interest in some 30 aircraft.

The technical characteristics presented by the FC-31 position the apparatus in the category of the planes with low radar signature: angular and flat forms of the fuselage, armaments integrated in two holds (2 tons available), air inlets which disperse and cool the jet of gas to reduce the thermal signature, special coating on the fuselage to absorb the radar waves. The Chinese multi-purpose fighter also offers great similarities in its general appearance with the F-35. So much so that strong suspicions of technological looting were advanced by the Americans when the AVIC hunter appeared in 2016.

According to AVIC, the structure of the FC-31 can support between +9g and -3g, to carry four missiles of average range in its two holds, for a useful range of action with the combat of approximately 1 200 to 1 250 km. It does, however, have six external take-away points, both for weapons and spare fuel drums. We know little about the radar and the means of detection of the FC-31, except that it is equipped with a multi-spectrum radar and a new sensor located under the nose of the plane.

On the engine side, Lin Peng revealed that the FC-31 is now equipped with two Chinese engines, the Guizhou WS-13A 100 kilo-newtons thrust engine (with afterburner), offering the aircraft a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 (about 2,200 km/h). The prototype which was flying until now was equipped with Russian Klimov RD-93 engines of 84 kilo-newtons.

According to AVIC, the first flight of a production model should intervene in 2019, while the plane would obtain its initial operational capacity around 2022, for an entry in operational service in 2024. But according to many experts, this timetable is considered very optimistic. Chinese industry does not yet fully master complex stealth technologies. The quality of the coating applied to the fuselage, in particular, is essential to guarantee a low radar signature. Indeed, during the November 2017 introductory flights, international observers publicly expressed doubts about the aircraft’s handling.

Shanghai became the most attractive real estate market in Asia in 2016

Overlook of Shanghai Real Estate

Shanghai replaced Tokyo as the first destination for real estate investment in Asia in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to statistics from JLL, a professional investment management firm specializing in real estate services.

Globally, Shanghai was last year the fifth destination of property investment, after New York, London, Los Angeles and Paris.

According to JLL, the strong performance of Shanghai real estate market was pulled up by strong transactions, such as the $ 2.91 billion investment by ARA Asset Management in the Century Link complex last October. It was the largest real estate transaction in a single location in the Asia-Pacific region in 2016.

In the real estate sales sector, the largest transaction in 2016 was the $ 825 million purchase by Chongbang Real Estate Development of 80% stake in Jinqiao Life Hub in Shanghai.

“Chinese capital was the main driver of real estate volumes in 2016, with domestic investors often outnumbering foreign investors. We believe that China, especially in first-tier cities, remains attractive to foreign investors as the market matures, “said Zhou Zhifeng, China’s director of research at JLL.

According to JLL data, the total volume of real estate transactions in the Asia-Pacific region in the fourth quarter increased 21% year-on-year and 5% year-on-year. The total volume of real estate transactions in the fourth quarter was $ 15.5 billion in China, exceeding $ 7.4 billion in South Korea and $ 7.2 billion in Japan.

Shanghai's famous Nanjing Road

 Will Shanghai real estate be as expensive as London and Paris?

For the past five years, Shanghai apartment prices have been soaring. Between November 2015 and November 2016, prices rose in 12 major cities in the country to 12.6%, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. And in some cities, this figure can be multiplied by two. In Beijing, the increase was 26.4% in 12 months, in Shanghai it was 29%, and in Shenzhen 27.9%. In the center of Shanghai, apartments easily exceeds 100,000 yuan per square meter, about 13,600 euros. In comparison, according to figures published by the NBS last November, a house or flat in London costs approximately 10,500 euros per square meter (15,000 in the upper-class districts of Kensington and Chelsea), when Paris runs around 8 500 euros per square meter. In the end, property prices in Shanghai exceed those of the most expensive borough of the French capital, the 6th district with an average price per square meter of 12,000 euros.

The gap is widening

However, if real estate prices can be similar to these European cities and Shanghai, the average monthly income remains well below those in the UK or France: 8,664 yuan, roughly 1,150 euros. The surge in prices is, therefore, a major concern not only for the population but also for economists.

The gap between rural and urban areas is widening. More and more employees working in large cities have to move out of the city to afford a home. Real estate prices are only amplifying wealth gaps. According to Li Shi, a professor of economics at the Normal University of Beijing, this gap has multiplied by four during the last decade due to the fast growth of the property sector.

China has come to this point because of the government’s policy of transferring ownership of apartments held by labour units to tenants in the late 1990s at very low prices. A wave of urban residents thus became owners, leading to a gradual increase in prices, while in the countryside local governments still own most of the lands.

Find more information about Shanghai real estate here.