Weekly News 114 – Burger war – Chinese hero disappeared – Shanghai Disneyland – Uber-Didi story

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  • LEVEL 1: Burger King dressed in McDonald's for Halloween

    Last week in New York, a Burger King’s restaurant celebrated Halloween by draping itself with a huge white sheet in order to transform into a ghost. There were two big holes to make up eyes, with a yellow Mshape drawn above. Apparently, the name of the ghost was Mc Donald’s. But below the name was also written the following sentence: “Boooooo! Just kidding, we still flam grill our burgers. Happy Halloween”.

  • LEVEL 2: Search suspended for Chinese sailing hero

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    Fifty-year-old Guo Chuan, China’s first and only professional offshore sailor, was last heard from on last Tuesday. At that time, his boat had sailed about 1,000 kilometers off the Hawaiian island of Oahu. He was attempting to sail from San Francisco to Shanghai within 20 days. What happened remains unclear, but the Coast Guard confirmed on Wednesday that Guo was not in the cabin and only his lifejacket remained on board.

  • LEVEL 3: Wang Jianlin goes to Shanghai Disneyland to "Study"

    “Disneyland is fully built on American culture, but in China we place importance on local culture.” After promising to do all in his power to destroy Shanghai Disneyland, China’s richest man Wang Jianlin visited the resort on Wednesday for a quick tour. Rather than trying to burn the place down, the CEO of real estate and entertainment giant Dalian Wanda was there to “observe” and “study” the $5.5 billion resort accompanied by Disney executives, a company statement said. Wang even found time to pose for some pictures in front of the Enchanted Storybook Castle.

  • LEVEL 4: The Uber-Didi deal story

    In August, after an epic battle, Uber agreed to sell its business in China against $1 billion and 17.7% ownership stake in Didi. But it did not happen just like that… After 7 years at Alibaba, Cheng Wei, now AKA the “Uber Slayer”, launched Didi with 800,000 yuan support from his latest Alibaba’s manager. Through clever management and marketing tactics, luck also, by 2013 Didi was finally facing one single serious local competitor out of the 30+ original ones, Kuaidi Dache, who quickly got backed up by Alibaba. In response, Didi’s team managed to find support from Tencent. In 2014, their competition turned out to become intimately linked to Alipay and Wechat’s payment systems’ competition. Within few months, the companies spent together more than 2 billions yuan in discounts and subsidies to customers on the taxihailing apps. But with Uber eyeing China as its next big opportunity, Didi’s and Kuaidi’s investors eventually realized the two companies should better merge instead of fighting each other, and in February 2015 Didi was controlling 60% of the combined company. Still, Uber had a better app, powered by more stable technology, and was valued about 10 times Didi’s valuation ($45 billion). While Didi was consumed with its merger with Kuaidi, Uber was catching up: it controlled almost a third of the private car-hailing market in China within a few months. “At that time we felt like the People’s Liberation Army, with basic rifles, and we were bombed by airplanes and missiles” said Cheng. In May 2015, Didi went on the offensive and said it would give away 1 billion yuan in rides. But Uber matched it. In May 2016 Apple invested $1 billion in Didi, but 1 month later Uber raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. At that time, the message to both sides became clear: they were going to have to wage this destructive money-losing battle for a very long time. That’s what brought both companies’ bosses to the table of negotiation so they could finally “join hands”