He pushed Uber out of China. Then he got too big for Beijing

But Didi’s risky play for expansion and dominance — culminating in a disastrous IPO this summer — has caused it to run afoul of Beijing. And now, the company’s top executive faces a difficult balancing act: placating regulators at home and investors abroad, while fending off fierce competition.
Cheng, 38, who also goes by Will Cheng, is the youngest entrepreneur heading one of China’s biggest tech firms. He’s been busy in the nine years since Didi was founded: Cheng has knocked out a flurry of powerful opponents and amassed nearly 160 million monthly active users by the first quarter of this year in China alone, nearly double the amount of users that Uber has worldwide.
Cheng pushed forward with a US IPO despite indications that Beijing was unhappy.
But the ride-hailing behemoth is now in a precarious spot. It’s one of the most prominent targets of China’s sweeping crackdown on tech and private enterprise that has no end in sight. Its stock has fallen more than 40% since regulators began probing the company, erasing $34 billion in market value.
Earlier this summer, Chinese regulators banned Didi from app stores as part of an investigation into its data privacy and collection practices, threatening its future growth. The pressure could dismantle Didi’s stranglehold on the Chinese market unless the company can appease the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
Didi declined to make Cheng available for an interview, and the company did not respond to questions about Cheng or its business.

A swift and explosive rise

Before he founded Didi in 2012, Cheng was a sales manager at Alibaba. Starting as an entry-level salesperson making the equivalent of about $200 a month, he rose quickly and in seven years became the company’s youngest regional manager.
Cheng said he created Didi because he was fed up with being unable to get a taxi during a business trip, according to a profile published in June in the Business Times, a Chinese financial news outlet. The “pain” led him to think about how to fix the problem.
“I was thinking, how about creating a ride-hailing app, so there can be fewer poor losers that get soaked in the rain?” Cheng said, recalling a depressing experience in Beijing when he couldn’t hail a cab for hours during a storm, according to the media outlet.
Cheng founded Didi with just 100,000 yuan (roughly $15,000) of his own money, and another 700,000 yuan (roughly $110,000) from Wang Gang, an angel investor who supervised Cheng during his tenure at Alibaba. Wang’s initial investment was worth a billion dollars when Didi went public.
Didi learned to navigate the regulatory gray zone for ride-hailing services in China.
Like its tech peers Baidu (BIDU), Alibaba (BABA) and Tencent (TCEHY), Didi’s rise has been swift. When Cheng founded Didi, ride-hailing was still a regulatory gray area in China and taxis controlled the market. Cab shortages were common, as government-approved taxi operators lobbied to limit the supply of licenses. That fueled a boom in ride-hailing apps like Didi.
Unlike traditional taxis, ride-hailing companies don’t require expensive and difficult-to-obtain licenses for cars or drivers. Before the industry was regulated five years ago, many cities accused ride-hailing apps like Didi of running illegal taxi businesses. Didi argued that it was only providing a platform to connect passengers with cars owned by rental agencies or other third parties.
Didi had learned to navigate this gray zone. It even reimbursed drivers for the penalties authorities imposed on them for breaking local laws, to keep Didi drivers on the road and retain customers.
China’s central government at the time encouraged rapid innovation, and ride-hailing was never explicitly banned in China. And on July 28, 2016, ride-hailing was finally legalized in China. Days later, Didi acquired Uber China.
In a letter to employees after buying his “great rival,” Cheng and company president Jean Liu hailed the legalization as a “milestone.” They said the company’s service had been suspended more than 30 times in various places, and that “countless drivers” had their cars detained and were fined — but added that the country had finally embraced the “dawn of reform.”
“Reform and innovation always come with a cost,” they wrote. “The revolution of smart travel has just begun… [We want to] create a world-class tech company!”
After 2016, Didi continued to cement its command over Chinese ride-hailing, and by 2018 controlled 90% of the Chinese market. That year, the company expanded to Australia, Brazil and Mexico as it set its sights on customers outside of its home country.
Its rapid ascent included controversy, however. In 2018, two women passengers were killed by drivers working for Hitch, forcing Didi to suspend operations at its car-pooling offshoot. The killings led to government pressure on Didi to share real-time data with authorities about its vehicles and drivers, an arrangement the company had long resisted. In late 2018, it finally made concessions.

Trouble with regulators

That pressure foreshadowed Didi’s troubles this year. Beijing has taken a sharp turn against internet firms that it fears have grown too big and powerful, resulting in a massive clampdown that has affected tech, education, entertainment and other industries.
Under President Xi Jinping, the Communist Party is moving aggressively to rein in unfettered private enterprise and send a clear signal that Chinese organizations must work in lockstep with the government. Companies that have grown too big too quickly will be kept in check to ensure they are aligned with the government’s priorities.
Didi ran into trouble as it pushed ahead with a $4.4 billion initial public offering in New York, apparently despite evidence Beijing was unhappy. Regulators had expressed concerns about data security and suggested Didi delay its listing, according to Bloomberg.
Cheng went ahead, but like other Didi executives he kept a low profile during the IPO that fell on the eve of the 100th anniversary of China’s Communist Party. He didn’t ring the opening bell or broadcast the news on the company’s Chinese social media accounts.
Cheng and DIdi's other executives kept a low profile during the company's US IPO, skipping the bell-ringing fanfare altogether.
Just days later, the Cyberspace Administration of China banned Didi from app stores, preventing the company from signing up any new users. The internet watchdog accused the company of illegally collecting and mishandling user data — a trove of locations and routes containing sensitive information about Chinese traffic, roads and citizens.
“From the government’s perspective, Didi has become too big to control. Obviously it wants to limit Didi’s growth in China,” said Tu Le, founder and managing director for Beijing-based consultancy Sino Auto Insights. “The government also wants to make an example of Didi that no one can be out of the step with the Party.”
Didi also faces anger and suspicion from investors abroad.
American lawmakers and investors have called on the US Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate Didi’s IPO fiasco. Eurasia Group analysts said such demands “will at the very least intensify political pressure” on the regulator to enforce a recent law that prevents companies that refuse to open their books to US accounting officials from trading on US stock exchanges.
To many analysts, Cheng’s decision to press on with the IPO appeared confusing or reckless.
“No Chinese company can openly challenge the Chinese Communist Party and expect leniency,” said Alex Capri, a research fellow at the Hinrich Foundation. “[Didi] is too big and too powerful for its own good and its has already crossed a threshold with China’s leadership.”
The company may have had some justification in the form of investor pressure to list the company, as it had raised billions of dollars from venture capitalists. Another reason for urgency was a new data security law taking effect in September that requires all Chinese entities to obtain government approval before providing China-based data to foreign judicial or law enforcement agencies, according to Winston Ma, an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Law.

A ‘cutthroat market’

Didi still operates in China, since users who downloaded the app before July’s ban have access, and the company insists that it maintains “normal operations globally.” But hundreds of apps are racing to take advantage of Didi’s struggles and chip away at its market lead by aggressively expanding, advertising and offering steep discounts.
Old Didi rival Meituan, for example, revived its standalone ride-hailing app after Didi was removed from stores, offered coupons to new users and exempted new drivers from commission fees for a week. Other services backed by Alibaba and Geely Auto also advertised cash incentives or coupons.
“This is a cutthroat market,” said Tu of Sino Auto Insights. “Everyone wants to get into this multi-billion industry, including traditional car manufacturers.”
Hundreds of rivals are trying to grab market share away from Didi offering major discounts and spending lots of money on advertising.
Still, Tu said, rivals are unlikely to threaten Didi’s dominance entirely. He pointed out Didi has spent tens of billions to acquire customers, and that ride-hailing a tough business to tackle without a lot of financing since customers aren’t typically loyal to a brand if someone else can undercut their prices.
Initial government data suggested that Didi’s existing business didn’t take a hit after the ban, even if it couldn’t register new users. The company processed 13% more orders in July than it did in June, according to China’s Ministry of Transport.
“The government just wants a healthier market, not killing Didi,” Tu said, adding that he expected Didi to survive, albeit with a “less bold” expansion plan.
Capri, the Hinrich Foundation research fellow, was less optimistic about Didi’s future — particularly for as long as it keeps trading in the United States. “Parts of could be nationalized,” he said. “Beijing will also actively fund smaller competitors to even out the market and more easily exert control over the main players.”
“The longer it stays listed on the US market,” he added, “the more ire it will draw from Beijing.”

Published at Mon, 20 Sep 2021 12:44:03 +0000

This story originally posted here https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/20/tech/cheng-wei-risk-takers/index.html

Richard Madeley blasts Prince Harry and Meghan for ‘lecturing’ Brits on climate change

Richard has been making regular appearances on Good Morning Britain of late, hosting the show with Susanna.

He took to Twitter at the weekend to thank viewers for their support.

Following a week of fronting the programme, he tweeted. “Thanks for all the generous/funny/positive comments about me on the GMB breakfast show last week.

“And for anyone who felt the opposite way… er… I’m back on it next week, too. I can only apologise… see you all on Monday!” he added in view of his 217,800 followers.

Published at Mon, 20 Sep 2021 11:40:11 +0000

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Man Utd labelled Premier League title favourites because of three ‘very powerful’ players

On paper, the talented trio cited by Kleberson will be incredibly difficult to stop, although there are still a few creases which need to be ironed out to ensure their on-field success continues.

Fernandes and Ronaldo have not historically worked well together for the Portuguese national team, so they will have to work out how to get the best out of each other at Old Trafford.

Pogba, meanwhile, is set to be out of contract in 2022.

For one, the club will hope his ongoing negotiations are resolved quickly so as to not pose a distraction, but it could also mean they are only blessed with his talent for one more year.

Published at Mon, 20 Sep 2021 11:47:48 +0000

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Netflix and Apple TV+ clean up at the Emmys with ‘The Crown’ and ‘Ted Lasso’

Netflix has nabbed the most Emmys ever for a single platform with 44 including 11 for The Crown, more than double its nearest rival, HBO/HBO Max. The 2021 edition of the awards was also a watershed year for Apple TV+, which took home 10 Emmys including seven for its comedy series Ted Lasso.

To be sure, a huge chunk of Netflix’s Emmy harvest came from the 34 Creative Arts Emmys it won last week. However, it still took a further 10 primetime Emmys including acting awards for Olivia Colman, Gillian Anderson and Josh O’Connor in The Crown, along with Ewan McGregor in Halston. The Crown also won for writing and directing, while taking the prestigious best drama series prize. Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, won for best limited series.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: (L-R) Phil Dunster, Brett Goldstein, Hannah Waddingham, Jason Sudeikis, Juno Temple, Nick Mohammed, and Brendan Hunt, winners of Outstanding Comedy Series for ‘Ted Lasso,’ as well as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Goldstein), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Waddingham), and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Sudeikis), pose in the press room during the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards at L.A. LIVE on September 19, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Apple TV+ had its best Emmys yet with 10 total, including seven in primetime. It dominated the comedy series category with seven wins for Ted Lasso, including three in the acting category for Brett Goldstein and Hannah Waddingham (best supporting actors) along with Jason Sudeikis (best actor). Ted Lasso also took the award for best comedy series.

Thanks in large part to that series, Apple TV+ fared much better than its rivals. Disney+ did beat it with 14 awards total, up from eight in 2020, but only one of those was a primetime Emmy (Hamilton for best pre-recorded variety special). Amazon and Hulu were completely shut out in 2021, after both won Emmys in 2020.

HBO and HBO Max led all rivals with 130 nominations and took 19 Emmys, including 9 in primetime. The biggest winners last night were Jean Smart for Hacks (best actress in a comedy series) and Kate Winslet for Mare of Easstown(best actress in a limited series). After she was controversially shut out of the Golden Globes nominations, Michaela Coel took the prize for best writing in a limited series for I May Destroy You.

It was notable in 2018 when Netflix managed to tie a cable network, HBO (pre-HBO Max), for the most Emmy wins. This year, it beat all rivals by a long way, and streaming platforms overall took the top four spots. Whether that can continue when the pandemic starts to wane — and subscription growth declines — remains to be seen.

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Engadget.

Published at Mon, 20 Sep 2021 11:24:03 +0000

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Dune director says Marvel films ‘turn us into zombies’

The epic science-fiction adventure Dune hits cinemas in October and introduces viewers to the Atreides family for the first time since 1984. Director Denis Villeneuve has kept to his directing style, and attempted to make the sci-fi experience as cinematically pleasing as possible.

In a recent interview, Villeneuve was asked about director Martin Scorsese’s comments about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Scorsese infamously said he “didn’t think [Marvel movies were] cinema.” He went on: “I was asked a question about Marvel movies. I answered it. I said that I’ve tried to watch a few of them and that they’re not for me, that they seem to me to be closer to theme parks than they are to movies as I’ve known and loved them throughout my life.”

Villeneuve, who has won three Oscars for his sci-fi movies Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival, agreed with this sentiment.

He explained: “Perhaps the problem is that we are in front of too many Marvel movies that are nothing more than a cut and paste of others.”

He added: “Perhaps these types of movies have turned us into zombies a bit.” (Via El Mundo)

READ MORE: Dune director reveals what he cut out of the film – ‘It is painful’

Despite his comments about the Marvel series, Villeneuve added: “But big and expensive movies of great value there are many today. I don’t feel capable of being pessimistic at all.”

The Sicario director also touched upon the relevance of big-budget films in cinema and their connection to politics.

He mused: “Just think of the golden age of Hollywood to see that commercial films can make a different artistic proposal and, therefore, political.

“I have never felt like a loss or an impediment to have a generous budget to do what I wanted to do. Upside down.”

Villeneuve added: “Who said that a movie on a big budget can’t be artistically relevant at the same time? I am currently thinking of people like Christopher Nolan or Alfonso Cuarón.”

Dune fans have been left a little worried of late because of Villeneuve’s decision to split the Dune story in half. 

The events of Dune reportedly only span 50 percent of Frank Herbert’s original 1965 novel.

If Dune is not successful at the box office, and doesn’t get another film, the story will never be completed.

Thankfully, it looks like the international release of Dune has been extremely successful.

The film was recently in some parts of the world, including France, Russia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden, to a great first weekend.

As reported by Deadline, Dune earned a staggering $36.8 million at the box office over the first few days of its release.

$3.6 million of that revenue was delivered through IMAX over 142 screens worldwide.

The biggest markets in the world, the UK and the US, have yet to open the film.

This means the box office number will likely continue to increase over the next few months.

Dune hits cinemas October 21, 2021.

SOURCE

Published at Mon, 20 Sep 2021 11:10:15 +0000

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Do you want to work in a tech company? These are the skills they are looking for

This article was translated from our Spanish edition.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

What are companies looking for today? Over the years we have witnessed technological advances and how every day companies look for trained or experienced people in the technology sector, however, that is not all.

Nicolás Flor vía Unsplash

The demand for job profiles with technical and digital skills is growing and therefore talent is becoming one of the most difficult to find. In fact, according to a Q3 2021 survey by Manpower Group, 69% of companies globally report that they cannot find the professionals they need.

According to a report by albo , a commission-free account to receive, transfer and manage your money, technology-related jobs are the most demanded in the labor market in Mexico. However, these are the profiles that are scarce today. In the Aztec country, three out of every four companies say they have difficulties finding vacancies related to digital skills.

In April 2021, an increase of 15% in the offer of jobs related to technology in Mexico was reported, compared to the same period of 2020, also the increase is 58% more than in 2019, according to data from the search Indeed.

But, technological skills are not everything, the recruiters of these companies are also focusing on finding professionals with ” soft skills ” or soft skills necessary to fit into the culture of implementing new work styles.

What are the “soft skills” most demanded by 100% tech companies?

According to Elisa Sahagún, people lead of albo , they are the following:

  1. Responsibility for the result (Accountability) – Technology companies are increasingly betting on flexible work, without traditional established schedules. This entails having professionals who are “owners” of their projects, who take responsibility for the work and its results, be it at an individual level or a group project. To achieve this, proactivity and a commitment to quality are key aspects.
  2. Change agents focused on teamwork – One of the characteristics of technology companies is that changes are constant. Therefore, they look for profiles that feel comfortable with adapting to different circumstances, visions and situations and that, in addition, can “spread” this enthusiasm for improvement to their teams or coworkers.
  3. “Intrapreneurs”: Innovation and leadership – Tech organizations look for internal entrepreneurs, who are characterized by conviction, passion and drive to make things happen and who lead by example. These profiles are focused on innovation in ideas, processes, functions, etc. and they are not afraid to communicate it. They also look for challenges and challenges that drive them to continuous learning.
  4. Passion for working based on results – The modalities of remote or flexible work encourage professionals with high autonomy, who feel comfortable working based on very specific and precise objectives, regardless of the hours dedicated to achieving the results expected by the company. For this, companies look for profiles with experience in setting priorities and with self-organization.

Published at Mon, 20 Sep 2021 10:22:02 +0000

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Amazon starts probe over bribe to gov’t officials by its lawyers in India, report says

Amazon has launched an investigation into the conduct of its legal representatives in India following a complaint from a whistleblower who alleged that one or more of the company’s reps had bribed government officials, Indian news and analysis outlet the Morning Context reported on Monday.

The company is investigating whether legal fees financed by it was used for bribing government officials, the report said, which cited unnamed sources and didn’t identify the government officials. Amazon has placed Rahul Sundaram, a senior corporate counsel, on leave, the report (paywalled) added.

In a statement to TechCrunch, an Amazon spokesperson said the company has “zero tolerance” for corruption, but didn’t comment on the investigation.

“We take allegations of improper actions seriously, investigate them fully, and take appropriate action. We are not commenting on specific allegations or the status of any investigation at this time,” the spokesperson added.

India is one of the key overseas markets for Amazon. The American e-commerce firm has invested over $6.5 billion in its South Asian nation’s operations and aggressively expanded to multiple categories in recent years.

The new development comes months after Reuters reported that Amazon had secretly favored big sellers, misrepresented its ties with those firms, and used such arrangements to circumvent the South Asian nation’s foreign investment rules.

Amazon is also subject of an ongoing antitrust investigation in India. A top level executive at the company, which made an unsuccessful attempt to appeal against that investigation, was summoned and questioned earlier this year by local police over allegations that one of its political dramas on Prime Video hurt religious sentiments and caused public anger.

The company later issued a rare apology to users in India over the nine-part mini series.

Published at Mon, 20 Sep 2021 10:07:21 +0000

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Waspi woman survives on £50 a week. ‘I’d have starved without food parcels and friends’

More than 3.8 million women born in the 50s know what May has been going through. Too many also faced financial disaster after being caught out by moves to synchronise the State Pension age at 65 for both men and women, then increasing it again to 66.

Waspi women – which stands for Women Against State Pension Injustice – are now campaigning for compensation, having lost £50,000 in State Pension on average.

May Low from Burton upon Trent only found out two days before her 60th birthday that she would have to wait another six years before getting her pension.

That was despite working hard for 45 years, when it would normally take just 35 years of qualifying National Insurance contributions to be able to claim the maximum basic State Pension.

“I was a family support worker for social services doing emergency special needs fostering until ill-health put a stop to that,” she said.

May considers herself one of the lucky ones. Husband Peter was able to support her at first, but this depleted his own savings.

When Peter sadly passed away in October 2019, May felt the full devastating impact of her pensions injustice. “I was left with no money at all and had to apply for benefits.”

At that point, she was living on just £50 a week. That works out as a meagre £2,600 a year, roughly a tenth of the national average salary.

While support from friends and family was welcome, she found it embarrassing and humiliating to rely on handouts.

“My health was not good and failing by the day, yet the Government expected me to wait for my pension.”

READ MORE: State Pension age will climb past 68! 5 things you must know

May now gets the maximum Personal Independent Payment because of her disabilities, and lives on £131 a week – or £6,812 a year. “That’s just about manageable. Others have it worse,” she said.

She still has to rely on food parcels and friends, and released equity from her house to pay for essentials such as repairs, for mobility aids and disabled access.

The sooner Waspi women are compensated, the better, May said. “Some of us haven’t got a lot of time left.”

Some losses can never be recovered, though. “I regret the time the Government robbed me of, which I could have spent with Peter, my loving, supportive husband of 38 years.”

Published at Mon, 20 Sep 2021 07:26:00 +0000

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Covid: ‘Millions more people can die’ – 100 million vaccines to expire by December

Continuing his crusade on vaccinating people worldwide, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned: “Millions more people can die.” According to Airfinity, only two percent of the population in Africa is vaccinated. “We have extra vaccines,” Mr Brown assured, even after considering the Covid jabs due to be given to 12 to 15 year olds and the booster jabs. Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Monday, September 20, Mr Brown elaborated on his fears of Covid evolving.

“We’re all going to live in fear,” he said, warning of the potential for Covid to mutate in Africa, rendering current vaccines ineffective in Britain.

“We have these extra vaccines… we’re going to waste them,” Mr Brown said, referencing the stockpiles that Airfinity predict will go unused.

Ahead of a global summit on vaccines, the 70-year-old has sent politicians, including US president Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, and EU leaders the Airfinity research paper.

Airfinity’s analysis of vaccine stock in Western countries has found there are currently 500 million vaccine doses available to redistribute this month.

READ MORE: Booster jab invites sent out as 1.5m prepare for winter – will you get one?

By December, there may be 1.2 billion Covid vaccine doses that could be earmarked for donations.

The analysis considers the available supply of vaccines in the US, UK, EU, Canada and Japan – and the amount each country needs.

Included in this analysis is the Covid vaccination for everybody aged 12 years and older, and booster shots for the entire populations.

Covid vaccine manufactures are currently producing 1.5 million doses per month, with this said to increase.

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Airfinity’s co-founder and CEO Rasmus Bech Hansen said: “The world has reached a tipping point when it comes to vaccine availability and production.

“For large Western countries the challenge is no longer supply, but demand.

“The global supply chain is successfully increasing production and our detailed forecast shows that high income countries can have confidence that there is plenty of vaccines coming and this should reduce the need for stockpiling.”

Meanwhile, in the UK – up until September 18 (the latest Government’s data) – more than 48,573,881 people have had at least one dose of the Covid jab.

The Covid vaccines have been proven to be effective at reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalisation, and death.

Within the last seven days, there has been a decrease in the number of patients admitted to hospital.

In fact, the data suggests that there has been a 4.7 percent decrease in seven days.

This is favourable news, as the winter months are ahead, where respiratory viruses are known to spread more easily.

Why are respiratory illnesses worse in winter?

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pointed out that the first sign of influenza activity usually starts around October.

As the colder air sets in, the nasal passage – usually moist with mucus – is less efficient at trapping viruses, Medical News Today explained.

Viruses usually become trapped in snot, which is perpetually moved by tiny hairs called cilia inside the nose, which are then swallowed and neutralised by stomach acids.

As the temperature drops, and the nasal mucus clearance slows down, more people can become infected.

Published at Mon, 20 Sep 2021 07:40:00 +0000

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Archaeologists astounded by 1,000-year-old city beneath lake: ‘China’s Atlantis’

Christianity ‘turned to archaeology to promote bible’ says expert

The legend of the sunken city of Atlantis is a universal tale. Mentioned in ancient texts throughout history, it has been more recently fictionalised in books and films. Its story was told in two of Plato’s dialogues, the ‘Timaeus’ and the ‘Critias’ written about 360 BC.

While many refuse to believe that Atlantis is a fiction, no evidence for it has ever been found.

However, they may yet find solace in China’s ancient and lost underwater civilisation, the ‘Lion City’.

Even after centuries, the city remains fully intact, despite having been submerged under water since the late Fifties.

The forced flooding was carried out as part of the Chinese Government’s Great Leap Forward programme, making way for the country’s first hydropower plant.

Archaeology: The Lion City is over 1,000 years old and lies deep beneath a manmade lake

Archaeology: The Lion City is over 1,000 years old and lies deep beneath a manmade lake (Image: Youtube/Smithsonian Channel)

Great Leap Forward: The Chinese government constructed the dam during its economic leap forward

Great Leap Forward: The Chinese government constructed the dam during its economic leap forward (Image: Youtube/Smithsonian Channel)

A beautiful landscape was created, a waterway containing over 1,000 islands, each of them the top of a hill sprouting from deep below.

It sits at the bottom of the reservoir close to the Qiandao Lake near the picturesque Wu Shi Mountain.

Lou Shanliang was one of the first people ever to dive into the lake and explore what lay beneath it, having swam in the waters as a child, telling the Smithsonian Channel’s documentary, ‘China from above: Mountain and rivers’, that it is like “another world” below — the narrator describing it as “China’s Atlantis”.

Teaming up with cameraman Wu Lixin, the pair used cutting edge 3D scanning technology to bring the ancient Lion City back to life.

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Qiandao Lake: Each island is the top of a hill submerged underwater

Qiandao Lake: Each island is the top of a hill submerged underwater (Image: Youtube/Smithsonian Channel)

Thought to have been built somewhere between 25 and 200 AD, the city was at one point one of China’s most powerful cities and kept this status for centuries.

In 2014, after the authorities realised the city was still intact, they started to allow tourists to visit the area by diving.

The work of Mr Lou and Mr Wu marks the first time the city has been captured three dimensionally.

Mr Wu said: “If we want to get a comprehensive set of data, we have to revolve around the object and take many photos from different angles.

“Then, we input those photos into a computer programme.”

They created beautiful 3D images of some of the ancient stonework found underwater — great statues of lions and other figures.

Mr Wu said: “I hope that through our filming and exploration more submerged historic relics and the stories behind them can be brought to light again.”

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Lion City: Divers explore the ruins of the city

Lion City: Divers explore the ruins of the city (Image: Youtube/Smithsonian Channel)

Chinese history: The artefacts have mostly been dated to the 16th century

Chinese history: The artefacts have mostly been dated to the 16th century (Image: Youtube/Smithsonian Channel)

Much of the architecture that marvels in the lake dates to the 16th century, and is considered one of the gems of Chinese architecture.

Its existing city walls also date from this period, among the notable landmarks wide streets and 265 archways.

The ‘Lion City’, or ‘Shi Cheng’, reached its zenith between 1368 and 1644 when the Ming dynasty ruled China.

Its opulence is clear: five entry gates with an area of 62 football fields, with six main streets paved with stones all connected to each other.

Archaeological discoveries: Some of the most groundbreaking finds on record

Archaeological discoveries: Some of the most groundbreaking finds on record (Image: Express Newspapers)

Despite holding clues of China’s rich historical and cultural past, the Lion City was flooded in 1959.

At the flick of a switch, the metropolis was slowly submerged.

It now sits, at its deepest point, 130 feet below the surface.

History buffs and diving enthusiasts alike can now visit the city themselves.

Reconstruction: The divers were able to create high-spec 3D models of the underwater relics

Reconstruction: The divers were able to create high-spec 3D models of the underwater relics (Image: Youtube/Smithsonian Channel)

However, they must be a professional diver in order to take in its splendours.

In 2014, Qiu Feng, an excited local tourism official, recalled the team’s mission to see whether the lake was safe to dive in or not.

He said: “We were lucky. As soon as we dived into the lake, we found the outside wall of the town and even picked up a brick to prove it.”

Protected from wind, rain, and sun, the entire city has been branded a “time capsule” as almost every structure remains completely intact, including wooden beams and stairs.

Published at Mon, 20 Sep 2021 09:37:00 +0000

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