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China This Week, Feb. 13-19

Want to know about the hottest trending topics in China, you won’t see on TV or newspapers? Follow the weekly updates from U.S.-China Perception Monitor, “China This Week”. We are providing you with the most talked-about topics, most interesting points and must-know information of Chinese culture and society.

1. Messages from an Emperor long past

The Last Emperor was a 1987 film recalling the last days of Puyi, the last emperor of Qing Dynasty China and the last emperor before the end of Imperial China. Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and starring John Lone as Puyi, the titular “Last Emperor” the film became a financial and critical success, winning nine Academy Awards that year including Best Picture and Best Director.

John Lone not pictured
John Lone not pictured

Why am I talking about a 29 year old film? Because this week, the English-language writings of Puyi were trending across Chinese social media.

Writing 1

Written in cursive, you know, that thing you learned in Third Grade and never used again.)
Written in cursive, you know, that thing you learned in Third Grade and never used again.

The writings of Puyi varied on different topics and was released in the book Twilight in the Forbidden City a memoir of the Emperor Puyi written by Reginald Johnston, Puyi’s appointed tutor. Chinese netizens focused particularly on the cursive writing of Puyi, described as “elegant.” It even inspired many Chinese internet users to study English again.

2. And Here’s the News…

President Xi Jinping visited the studio of the “CCTV Evening News Bulletin” (Xinwen Lianbo), CCTV’s flagship television program. Sitting in the anchor’s chair last Friday and meeting with the staff of the News Bulletin. The CCTV Evening News Bulletin is one of the world’s most-watched programs, attracting a nightly audience of millions from Chinese media viewers. In the same trip, President Xi also visited People’s Daily, the official newspaper for Chinese Communist Party with a circulation of 3 to 4 million. Both agencies welcomed President Xi and described the visit as a way for the President to “walk into people’s lives.”

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. On the agenda tonight: me.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. On the agenda tonight: me.
Hey, look at me when I’m talking to you
Hey, look at me when I’m talking to you

Xi33. ApplePay Versus the World

Apple has begun its Apple Pay service in China. Apple Pay Vice President Jennifer Bailey claiming China could be Apple Pay’s largest market. The China Internet Network Center reports that China has 358 million people already buying goods and services via mobile phone by the end of 2015. Apple Pay already has a strong stake in the Chinese market, being Apple’s second-largest market by revenue and largest market for smartphones.

Phone1

Phone2

However, Apple’s online payment services face a variety of challenges. With even the US market skeptical of the service, it will be equally, if not more difficult, to convince the Chinese market that Apple provides the best option for online payment. Also,Apple will have to face two major competitors who already run online payment services.

Two major Chinese tech companies, Tencent Holdings Ltd which operates WeChat Payment and e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, who runs Alipay through its online finance service, Ant Financial Services Group, already have a strong hold of the Chinese online payment market. If Apple hopes to get a strong foothold in China against these corporate giants, it must be creative.

Phon3
Apple Pay, get it?

Even more creative than the person who came up with this.

4. The Mermaid: A Chinese cinema phenomenon

Earlier we talked about a Western film about China, but have we ever talked about a film made and produced in China? I don’t think so. If you’re disappointed, we apologize. If you’re relieved, brace yourselves.

Stephen Chow, the director behind 2004’s Kung Fu Hustle, broke box office records with his 2016 film, The Mermaid, is set to become Mainland China’s highest-grossing film of all time, smashing Lunar New Year box office records in both the Mainland and Hong Kong.

Mermaid

The film’s story revolves around the romance between a business tycoon and the mermaid, whose home the tycoon is destroying through his sea reclamation project and contains a strong environmental message.

The fantasy-romance film stars Deng Chao, Show Luo, Zhang Yuqi, and Lin Yun, all well-known famous actors and actresses in China. Combine that with an interesting plot and excellent storytelling and with Director Chow, a renowned, Hong Kong director, the film was set to be extraordinarily popular. On February 19 alone, the film made 2.45 billion RMB ($376.9 million USD) and has been setting records every day. It is currently the highest grossing film in the world even exceeding the films Kung Fu Panda 3 and Deadpool.

Mermaid2
Whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it right

By AARON WALAYAT, compiled by YAO SUN