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Tech Thursday Episode 26

Beijing’s self-driving car zone, Mobike’s shared cars, news app hiring Party editors, and Alipay’s year in numbers

Each Thursday, The World of Chinese takes the most ground-breaking, impressive, or just plain weird technological advancements related to the Middle Kingdom and serves them in bite-sized chunks to keep you up-to-date on the latest news in the world of Chinese technology.

Self-driving suburb 

Beijing has just announced that a special zone in Yizhuang, a suburb in its southeast region, will be kitted out for self-driving cars.

This move is in an attempt by the city to promote the development of autonomous driving technology. Roads will be enhanced in order to aid sensors that cars use to map out their routes. As reported in previous Tech Thursdays, Beijing was the first city in China to have passed regulations that permit the testing of self-driving cars on public roads. However, these vehicles will only be able to drive themselves in designated areas at particular times.

Party editors wanted

Jinri Toutiao was the number-one news app in the Chinese App Store at the time of writing. Unfortunately, last week the aggregator app was (along with Phoenix News) punished for allegedly spreading vulgar content and suspended for 24 hours. In the aftermath, the news service, which tailors feeds to its customers’ interests, is now in the business of hiring 2,000 content reviewers.

For those interested in applying, here are some pertinent requirements:

  • The job involves reviewing around 1,000 pieces of “content” per day
  • Candidates should have an interest in news
  • Must have a degree, as well as the ability to discern politically sensitive material
  • Communist Party members preferred

Some observers believe that the new development will effectively wreck Toutiao’s USP, so it’s just like other staid news sources.


As the bike-sharing landscape in China slowly becomes more monochromatic and (slightly) less congested, one of the bigger players has announced a new venture.

Starting in Guizhou province, Mobike will be rolling out a car-sharing service in a partnership with Xinte Motors. Mobike users will be able to rent out electric vehicles using the same app that currently houses their bike service.

This is not the first time that a bike-sharing app has entered a partnership with their more motorized cousins. Last year, Didi Chuxing, the popular taxi app, announced a partnership with Mobike rival and leading pictogram, ofo.


Some Alipay 2017 Numbers to blow your mind

With Jack Ma’s Single Day breaking all manner of records, it is unsurprising that his payment platform, Alipay, claims to have had a pretty good 2017. Here are some numbers that highlight that success:

  • 520 million Alipay users (up from 450 million in 2016)
  • 82 percent of users made purchases (up from 71 percent in 2016)
  • 40 million stores enabled mobile payment
  • Alipay credit records saved users 40 billion RMB in deposits
  • 200 million users used Alipay for social security, transport, or other public services



Ethan Yun is a contributing writer at The World of Chinese.

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