Good evening. Did you know that CATL, the Chinese battery manufacturer, has created more billionaires than Google or Facebook? Our cover story this week explains the rise of the little-known Chinese company and its pivotal role in the Green Revolution. Elsewhere, we have infographics on APT41, one of China’s most infamous civilian hacking groups; an interview with Fred Bergsten on rewriting the rules of the US-China relationship; a report on the recent unrest in Soho China, once one of China’s hottest property developers; and an op-ed on recent data leaks that show China’s population is rapidly shrinking. If you are not already subscribed to Threadplease register here.

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Artwork by Sam Ward

The king of drums

By 2020, Chinese battery maker CATL was supplying nearly every electric car maker, giving the company a dominant position in the transition from fossil fuels. How did a Chinese company that few people have heard of beat the world’s top automakers at their own game? In this excerpt from his new book, Volt Rush: Winners and Losers of the Race to GreenHenry Sanderson explains the rise of CATL.


Data: WireScreen

Overview: Who is APT41?

APTs – or Advanced Persistent Threats, a term coined by the US Airforce – are a common source of Chinese cyberattacks. They are made up of talented civilian hackers who are often called upon by the government to carry out cyber intrusions on a global scale. This week, Garrett O’Brien’s infographics dive deep into APT41, one of the most aggressive and effective groups that has a long relationship with the Chinese government.


Interview with Fred Bergsten

C. Fred Bergsten has been one of America’s most influential economists for decades, serving under several presidents and founding, in 1981, the Peterson Institute for International Economics. In this week’s Q&A with David Barboza, he talks about rewriting the rules of the US-China relationship; China’s effect on the American psyche; why globalization has been on the defensive for 25 years; and why economic leverage is not working to change China’s behavior.

Fred Bergsten
Artwork by Kate Copeland


From left to right, Chairman Yan Yan, Chairman Pan Shiyi and CEO Zhang Xin at the Soho China annual results conference. March 8, 2016. Credit: Dickson Lee/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

So long, Soho?

From a failed takeover of US private equity giant Blackstone to an insider trading investigation, it’s been a tough year for Soho China, once one of China’s hottest property developers. . Katrina Northrop reports on broader issues in China’s property market and explains why many see Soho’s husband-and-wife founders as two more victims of Beijing’s crackdown on business moguls.


Credit: Javier Quiroga via Unsplash

Data Leaks Show China’s Population Decreasing Rapidly

Because China has always massaged its population numbers, there are endless debates about the true size and growth trajectory of the country’s population. But as Yi Fuxian, principal investigator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and author of Big country with an empty nestargues in this week’s editorial, a recent large-scale data breach provides much-needed clarity.

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