Here are our summaries of noteworthy news events of the week. Today, we turn the spotlight on China as the country continues its battle against the persistent smog. You’ll read about the government’s plan to build the world’s largest “smog chamber,” LinkedIn and its foray into the Chinese market, and 3,600-year old cheese found in Northwestern China.
- China’s Second-Richest Man Doubles Money on U.S. Cinemas
Wang Jianlin, China’s second-richest man, has seen the value of his controlling stake in AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (AMC) more than double in 18 months, delivering a $900 million gain. Wang, whose Dalian Wanda Group Co. operates the largest theater circuit in China, bought the No. 2 U.S. chain in August 2012 for $2.6 billion, including debt. He is said to have invested about $800 million. Wanda’s 80 percent stake is now worth $1.7 billion at the current price of $22.53. (Bloomberg)
- China to Build World’s Largest “Smog Chamber” to Solve Pollution Puzzle
China’s central government has approved the construction of a facility that creates artificial smog to allow scientists to devise new ways to reduce air pollution. Plans for the so-called “smog chamber” were apparently fast-tracked as the country continued to choke under heavy smog. The proposed Huairou complex will rival the world’s largest atmospheric simulation facility, the European Photoreactor, Euphore, and is said to be the largest in the world. (SCMP)
- LinkedIn Makes China Connections
LinkedIn, the networking site for professionals, has done what few other foreign online services have achieved— Linkedin has successfully set up its China operations. With the launch of a simplified Chinese version of its hugely popular “social” media site for professional contacts, it is set to exploit a gap in this potentially lucrative market. With four million Chinese users—according to CEO Jeff Weiner— LinkedIn has a long way to go to catch up with China’s native social media sites and apps, which number in the hundreds of millions. WeChat, the Chinese social media app of the moment, has a reported 272 million users. (CNN)
- Chinese Siri Built into WeChat Raked in a $10 Million Investment
Mobile voice search developer Mobvoi yesterday announced it received about $10 million in series B funding led by SIG in addition to previous investors, according to Technode. Mobvoi makes a service called Chumen Wenwen that was originally built on top of WeChat, China’s most popular messaging app. Right now, the service focuses on travel and lifestyle queries including restaurants, bars, shopping, navigation, weather, tourism, transportation, and even the nearest toilet. With this latest investment, founder Li Zhifei says he wants to turn his company into a leading comprehensive mobile voice search engine. (Tech in Asia)
- 3,600 year-old Cheese Found with Mummies in China
Grab a baguette and a little vintage 1600 BC wine from the ancient wine cellar, and start enjoying the latest ancient culinary discovery, the world’s oldest cheese. The cheese was found around the heads and necks of Chinese mummies that date back as early as 1615 BC. It’s the oldest cheese known. How did cheese, which usually goes bad so quickly, survive so many years? The people from the Bronze Age who buried the mummies interred “their kin underneath what looks like large wooden boats. The boats were wrapped so snugly with cowhide that it’s as if they’d been “vacuum-packed.” (Mother Nature Network)
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