Foreigners visiting China are increasingly stumped by its cashless society

Technically, it's illegal for Chinese merchants to refuse payment in cash, but this rule is hardly ever enforced, and China has been sprinting to a cashless society that requires mobile devices -- not credit-cards -- to effect payments, even to street hawkers. Read the rest

Pinduoduo: China's "Groupon on steroids"

Many westerners are familiar with Chinese tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent, but I'd never heard of Pinduoduo before today: it's gamified, group-purchasing bargain-hunting site founded by an ex-Googler four years ago, with 336m active monthly users and a $40b market-cap (analyst and author Rebecca Fannin calls it "Groupon on steroids"). Read the rest

How Wechat censors images in private chats

Citizen Lab has expanded its analysis of how censorship and filtering work on Chinese social media (previously). In (Can’t) Picture This 2 An Analysis of WeChat’s Realtime Image Filtering in Chats , researchers probe and document how Wechat complies with Chinese state censorship policies in private chats. Read the rest

The predictable dystopian trajectory of China's Citizen Scores

China's Citizen Score system combines surveillance of your social media and social graph with your credit report, your purchase history and state spy agencies and police files on you to produce a "trustworthiness" score -- people who score low are denied access to high-speed travel, financial products, and other services like private school for their kids. Read the rest