The DailyBrief

Wednesday January 4, 2017

In a bid to get ahead of the ride-hailing companies like Uber, a Chinese startup is giving taxi drivers the chance to earn extra bucks as they take their passengers from point A to point B. And if cash is a problem, fintech comes to the rescue with a QR code to enable mobile payments. As Johan Nylander writes, it is also tough to avoid the hard sell from a cabbie who could earn an extra 2,000 yuan (US$258) per month from Shenzhen-based Gogo Cheba’s [translated as “car bar”] mini convenience store – a 7-Eleven on wheels – selling everything from dried meat to chewing gum.

Politics took a nasty turn in an inland city in the southwestern province of Sichuan, Panzhihua, with a government official opening fire in a cabinet meeting, injuring two leaders of the community before shooting himself dead, writes Benny Kung. The provincial Communist Party mouthpiece Sichuan Daily confirmed on its Weibo account that party secretary Zhang Yan and mayor Li Jianqin of Panzhihua were shot by Chen Zhongshu, the head of the Bureau of Land and Resources in the city’s Convention and Exhibition Center.

Who would have thought a simple condiment once built empires, launched wars and sparked revolutions? Salt was the key commodity underpinning the wealth of nations. Why? Because we can’t survive without it. Asia Times writer Johan Nylander, turns to the books to mine a brief history of Chinese salt, which was once the oldest monopoly on the planet, and discover why it no longer is.

More than 260,000 documents related to Chiang Kai-shek, the Chinese political and military leader who served as the leader of the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975, will be made available to the public online later this year, writes Liu Hsiu Wen. Wu Mi-cha, Curator of Taiwan’s Academia Historica, said 50,000 documents will be released first on January 5, together with the launch of the new digital archives search system.

Hong Kong-born director Derek Yee Tung-sing channels his connection to the glory days of the wuxia (or martial arts) genre to bring a classic back to the big screen, writes Gillian Yu. Yee starred in the Chor Yuen-directed hit Death Duel back in 1977; now he has returned behind the cameras with a reworking of the tale into Sword Master 3D, tapping into modern filmmaking technology and turning to a new generation of talent, including the emerging mainland star Lin Gengxin and Taiwanese popstar Peter Ho.