China Bans German Pork
China will ban pork and related products imported from Germany and return or destroy any products that have already been shipped, according to a joint statement by China's Ministry of Agriculture and General Administration of Customs.
This move came after Germany confirmed its first case of African Swine Fever (ASF) in a dead wild boar in the eastern state of Brandenburg. The disease apparently crossed into Germany from neighboring Poland after a large number of pigs contracted ASF last year.
The ban came just two days before Chinese president Xi Jinping was scheduled to discuss trade issues in a video meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, presidents of the European Council and European Commission, respectively. Analysts said the import ban has more to do with political considerations than concerns about China's pig farming industry, the Financial Times reported.
German is China's second-biggest supplier of pork products, with 17 percent in 2019, just behind Spain's 18 percent.
Chinese Moviegoers Disappointed By Disney's Mulan
Mulan was on many Chinese moviegoers' list for most anticipated movie in 2020, but after the first weekend's screening, despite ranking first at the box office by pulling in an estimated $41 million, the film came in for harsh criticism as well as a collective sense of disappointment from Chinese moviegoers.
On douban.com, a Chinese version of Rotten Tomatoes, the film only posted a 4.9 rating out of 10. The few positive reviews centered on the starring actress Liu Yifei's great performance and the high production value visuals in the big screen epic.
Much of movie goers' "disappointment" over the film centered on contrasting this live action movie with the huge success of the animated version of Mulan in 1998. A common criticism was that the comedic animation character, Muxu, who guided Mulan through her journey to be a brave solider, is entirely absent in the live-action version. Rather, Mulan's individualism, heroism and feminism is the focus, which moviegoers complain was "too much of a stretch."
Fintech Firms Aim For IPOs
While Ant Group is aggressively approaching its $30 billion IPO, other Chinese fintech firms like JD Digital Technology are also catching up with their own listing plans.
Also known as JD Digits, this affiliate company of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com is now seeking to raise 20 billion yuan ($2.9 billion) through its IPO on Shanghai's Star Market, which is focused on science and technology innovation, according to its prospectus filing that Shanghai stock regulators disclosed last Friday.
The 400-page prospectus detailed JD Digital Technology's anticipation for its positioning in the stock market. It claims to be the "first digital technology company" amid nearly 4,000 A-share listed companies, with an estimated valuation of 200 billion yuan ($28 billion.)
The company reported 9.070 billion yuan, 13.616 billion yuan and 18.203 billion yuan, respectively, in revenues from 2017 to 2019.
The firm has enlisted Guotai Junan and Minmetals Securities as joint sponsors of the listing, with CITIC Securities and Hua Jing Securities as financial advisers. JD.com founder Richard Liu holds a controlling stake in the firm.
FDA Approves Chinese "Breakthrough Therapy" for Rare Cancer
Shanghai-based biopharmaceutical company Junshi Biosciences announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy designation (BTD) for its Toripalimab injection, a treatment for a rare cancer, nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
"Junshi prioritizes cancer types with high prevalence in China such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma, lung and liver cancer, but we found that great unmet medical needs also exist in other countries where patients are endangered by this deadly disease," CEO Ning Li said in a statement.
He added that this is the first Chinese anti-PD-1 antibody granted the Breakthrough Therapy designation, which will allow the company access the the U.S. market and other countries.
There were 129,000 new cases of nasopharyngeal carcinoma worldwide in 2018. Although many patients can be cured if detected early, few are diagnosed until later stages, meaning most patients don't start treatment until the cancer has metastasized, according to ENDPOINTSNEWS.
The FDA's BTD designation is not intended to imply that a drug is medically a "breakthrough." Rather, BTD is a process expediting development and review of drugs intended to treat serious conditions where preliminary evidence indicates the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapies.