By Jill Shen and Susan Cunningham
13 April 2021
When Mi Jiayi was shopping for a car in Hangzhou in early 2020, there was no question in his mind it would be a Tesla. For the 30-year-old legal advisor with a local investment conglomerate, it would be the first car he ever owned.
His respect for Tesla CEO Elon Musk was one factor in the appeal of the brand. On test drives, he was attracted by the design and some of Tesla’s fancy technological features. “The vehicles look so gorgeous compared with some other cars in similar price ranges,” he recalled. “Also, its Autopilot system is good at detecting vehicles and pedestrians on the road,” Mi said (our translation).
Specifically, he was hoping to buy a Long Range Model 3, which was expected to become available sometime in 2020. The car boasted a driving range 50% longer than the Standard Range Plus model. In other words, it could be driven 223 more kilometers (139 miles) without a recharge.
At first, he had no interest in the standard-range version, which had been available for order in China since October 2019. But when he repeatedly asked about the long-range Model 3’s launch date at a local showroom, the sales staff told him it wouldn’t hit the market at least until the end of the year, Mi told TechNode. The sales staff finally convinced Mi and he placed his order in early March 2020, signing up for delivery in May. He was surprised when the vehicle was delivered on March 31, nearly two months earlier than expected. MORE
By Susan Cunningham
January 2, 2021
The most important theme of 2020 wasn’t the emergence of a technological innovation. Rather, it was how the pandemic supercharged certain existing trends in China while revealing cracks in the firmament we should have seen long before. At least, that’s what some thoughtful members of the TechNode community said in a remarkable display of consensus.
We asked them to reflect on the tech year in the time of coronavirus, and point to what we can anticipate in the year ahead.
They say that fast growth is likely over (and that’s a good thing). They say that many, many ordinary Chinese people lost their blind faith in giant tech (welcome as well). And governmental authorities began making firm strides toward regulation.
Whether pertaining to monopolies, fintech, or protection of personal data, long overdue regulations are now coming, our experts say, but what form they take will surely be a major source of worry, relief, and dispute in 2021. Will authorities, for example, regulate community group buying to protect vulnerable small enterprises?
Perhaps most significant of all, it turns out that tech trade wars were just beginning back in 2019. MORE
BANGKOK–Two Chinese Muslims are set to go on trial in 2016 on murder charges stemming from last August’s bombing that killed 20 people and injured 125. Thai authorities don’t appear eager to probe into their accomplices or motives, however. Nor will they charge the two with terrorism, despite the web of foreigners implicated in the pipe bomb explosion at a popular Hindu-Buddhist shrine in central Bangkok.
The first man to be arrested, Bilal Mohammed, originally claiming to be a Turkish citizen called Adem Karadeg, was discovered August 29 in an apartment in a Muslim neighborhood of northeastern Bangkok. In the same apartment were several hundred forged Turkish passports and a cache of bomb-making components–suggesting that more attacks might have been planned.
Only in late September did Thai police claim that 27-year-old Bilal was the “backpack bomber” himself–the yellow t-shirted man who left his pack containing a 5-kilogram pipe bomb on a bench at Erawan Shrine shortly before the explosion. According to his lawyer, Bilal has now confessed to the crime. Bilal previously said he had arrived in Thailand–with the help of traffickers–four days after the bombing. MORE