Good evening. On Friday, Netflix released a first look at its version of The Three-Body Problem, the hit sci-fi novel by Liu Cixin. Our cover story this week looks at the long and tortuous path of The Three-Body Problem‘s adaptation rights, including how Liu lost control over what is likely the most valuable IP ever produced by China. Elsewhere, we have infographics on Foxconn, which is under fire from Beijing; an interview with Mike Froman on the China trade question; a reported piece on the latest executives and officials caught in China’s financial clampdown; and an op-ed from Paul Triolo on China’s role in global AI governance. If you’re not already a paid subscriber to The Wire, please sign up here.
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For over a decade, China’s film industry has passed around and fought over the IP rights for “The Three-Body Problem” for ever-increasing sums of money — a saga that is nearly as complex and drama-filled as one of Liu Cixin’s novels. Grady McGregor reports on how Liu lost control over what is likely China’s most valuable intellectual property.
The Chinese authorities are probing the iPhone assembler as its founder Terry Gou’s political ambitions grow. This week’s infographics by Aaron Mc Nicholas look at Foxconn’s contribution to China’s position as the world’s foremost manufacturing center and examines the company’s efforts to diversify its business presence in other parts of the world.
As U.S. Trade Representative during the Obama administration, Mike Froman negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the biggest what-ifs in U.S.-China economic relations. Prior to his USTR role, Froman was a senior international economic official in the Obama and Clinton administrations. After leaving the government, he became vice chairman of Mastercard. This summer he started as president of the Council on Foreign Relations. In this week’s Q&A with Bob Davis — part of our series, “Rules of Engagement” — he talks about the U.S.’s need to figure out what it wants from China economically, the problem with tariffs and his regrets over TPP.
Illustration by Kate Copeland
On Monday, China announced that Zhang Hongli (also known as Lee Zhang) was being investigated. Until 2018, Zhang was a vice president at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s largest bank by total assets. Rachel Cheung reports on how Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive has widened, shaking industry and investor confidence.
The next six months will be crucial in determining how the West and China cooperate on regulating the fast-growing technology, argues Paul Triolo in this week’s op-ed.
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