It’s been one hell of a year to say the least, particularly for those of us based in China. We’ve seen ‘The Tweeter in Chief’ launch (and then halt) a trade war between the world’s two leading economic powers, Fan Bingbing disappear and then reappear (with a major fine to pay) and another record-breaking Singles’ Day haul for Alibaba. To wrap up 2018, our editorial team has put together a list of the year’s most unforgettable viral stories, recounting major occurrences that defined the worlds of sports, tech, arts, fashion and food. Here’s to another year of eclectic, weird and wonderful life in China, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
It's been a wild year in news. Here's a glance at the biggest news stories of 2018.
image via Wikimedia
Fan Bingbing was already one of China’s biggest celebrities, but the 37-year-old star made international headlines this summer for her sudden disappearance following tax evasion accusations from TV presenter Cui Yongyuan. After investigations by the Tax Bureau were completed, Fan was issued a whopping RMB884 million fine in October, and the actress has since apologized for her actions.
Click here for more stories about Fan Bingbing.
Image via Wikimedia
After nine years of construction, the 55-kilometer-long Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge finally opened to the public on October 24. As the world’s longest ocean-crossing bridge, commuters can travel from Hong Kong International Airport to Zhuhai by car in just 45 minutes.
Click here for more stories about the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.
Image via UNclimatechange/Flickr
In September, Alibaba cofounder and billionaire Jack Ma announced he’ll be stepping down as the ecommerce company’s executive chairman next year. Under his 12-month succession plan, Ma will hand the reins over to current CEO Daniel Zhang by September 10, 2019.
Click here for more stories about Jack Ma.
4. Didi Upgrades Security Measures in Response to Murders
Screengrabs via Didi
Following several unfortunate incidents across the country involving Didi Chuxing drivers, China’s largest car-hailing app rolled out a series of security functions to ensure the safety of passengers and its employees. These include a panic button, automatic audio recording for all rides, as well as a function that allows passengers to block unpleasant drivers and vice versa.
Click here for more stories about Didi.
Image via iFeng/Weibo
A Chinese family’s trip to Sweden in September became an international incident when they were denied an early check-in at a Stockholm hostel, and the police were called after an altercation. A video of the Zeng family screaming and being removed from the property by law enforcement went viral, and the incident was mocked by a Swedish comedy show. China later demanded an apology, and its Embassy in Sweden issued a travel warning for Chinese tourists following the dramatic affair.
Image via Pexels
Since the largest trade war in history began in July, China and the US have slapped tariffs on billions of dollars worth of products made in each other’s countries. This has affected the prices of everything from Californian wine and fresh fruit to stainless steel and aluminum.
Click here for more stories about the US-China trade war.
Images via Weibo
Tesla CEO Elon Musk was spotted eating a jianbing with his posse on the streets of Shanghai in July (confirming that he is indeed NOT a robot). In addition to enjoying local street food, Musk attended the inauguration of China’s first Tesla factory and met with government officials in Beijing during his weeklong visit. We’d say it’s a productive trip.
For more 2018 Year in Review coverage, click here.
[Cover image via Wikimeda, Weibo]