❌ China vs. Tech

The Hustle

What’s the best purchase you’ve ever made for $100 or less? Perhaps it’s a rice cooker. Or maybe a used back scratcher. Did you spend $100 on it? Or maybe $2? Whatever it is, we want to know. Tell us about it here.

Today’s rundown:

  • China cracks down hard: From algorithm rules to child gaming restrictions.
  • Chart: Food and drink companies face more lawsuits than ever.
  • Breath in…breath out: Headspace and Ginger merge to dominate mental health.

Let’s do it.

The big idea
map of China

China’s huge crackdown on tech, explained

From Apple to Facebook to Google, Big Tech firms in the US are facing various antitrust lawsuits.

But at present, these legal battles look like mosquito bites compared to what’s happening in China: Since February, Chinese tech companies have lost over $1T (that’s trillion) in market value in the wake of regulatory action.

The draft of new regulations…

… came out last week that will put restrictions on how China’s tech firms can use their algorithms.

Per TechCrunch, the changes will affect a wide range of categories, including:

  • Short videos
  • News aggregation
  • Ride-hailing
  • Food delivery
  • E-commerce

The proposal is stricter than the EU’s data rules

Under these laws, algorithms would have to:

  • Align with the state: Recommendations “should uphold mainstream values” and “not endanger national security.”
  • Be more transparent: Tech firms must create a system for the review of “algorithmic mechanisms.”
  • Be good for users: By not feeding them “addictive” content.
  • Be available to authorities: In case of a police investigation.

These guidelines are just the start.

China also just announced restrictions for online gaming

As of Sept. 1, kids under 18 will only be allowed to play 1 hour per day  from 8pm-9pm on Fridays, weekends, and holidays. The government is acting out of concern that overgaming causes health issues.

Gaming giants like $560B+ Tencent will enforce this rule with facial recognition and “real name verification systems,” per The Guardian.

While the broader algorithm draft regulation has yet to pass, we have a feeling the 1-party state will find a way to make it official.

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SNIPPETS

Hold my Juul: The FDA denied marketing applications for ~55k flavored e-cigarette products for failing to prove that the benefit to adult smokers outweighs the risk of underage use. #clean-energy

Drone deliveries: Google’s drone delivery service, Wing, reached 100k deliveries worldwide. #emerging-tech

Facebook’s facial recognition problem: The firm was fined $5.5m by South Korea for using facial recognition without consent 200k times. #privacy

Robinhood shares slid after SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said regulators may consider banning “payment for order flow”, which is the trading app’s main revenue source. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Crypto’s NFT Unicorn: CryptoPunks has reached $1B in lifetime sales. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Copy and paste: A recent look into Facebook’s data found the platform’s most popular posts are often plagiarized. #big-tech

A billy: China’s online population has surpassed 1B. #big-tech

Au Naturel
food and beverage lawsuits by year

The food and drink industry is facing a swarm of class action lawsuits

False advertising lawsuits in the food and drink space are popping up everywhere:

  • In June, Post agreed to a $15m settlement for marketing sugary cereals with healthy claims.
  • McCormick is facing a $3m settlement for advertising artificial ingredients as “natural.”

Elsewhere, one lawsuit claims Frito-Lay’s “hint of lime” chips don’t actually contain limes, and another says TGI Fridays’ “onion snacks” have no onions.

(Related: Check out this hilarious parody about how companies came up with the term “all natural.”)

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Mental Health
Ginger and Headspace logos

Ginger and Headspace are making a gigantic mental health platform

Two big apps in the mental health space are coming together like a wellness Voltron.

Headspace Health is a planned merger between:

  • Headspace: A Santa Monica-based meditation app with 70m users, and 2.1k companies using its B2B option.
  • Ginger: A San Francisco-based app that offers video therapy with licensed practitioners, plus behavioral health coaches you can text. Over 25m people have access to Ginger through health plans.

Combined, they’ll offer online mental health services including science-backed mindfulness and meditation tools, coaching, therapy, and psychiatry.

Headspace Health expects to reach ~100m people across 190+ countries through both D2C apps and 2.7k+ enterprise and health plan partners. And it’ll be worth an estimated ~$3B, per Yahoo Finance.

Online mental health services surged amid the pandemic

Headspace doubled its subscriber count while Ginger’s revenue tripled. Meanwhile:

  • Meditation app Calm saw downloads increase 3x
  • Therapy app Talkspace saw 144% YoY growth in Q1 and went public in June

But is it here to stay? And does it work?

University of Memphis researchers found therapeutic interventions worked just as well online, and even better for women.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was found to be just as effective online, though some techniques were better in person.

Online therapy can also be more accessible. There’s no commute and users can connect with any doctor in their state, making it easier to find professionals from certain demographics or with specific focuses.

Btw, if you’re looking for some mental wellness yourself, Healthline listed its top 10 favorite apps.

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AROUND THE WEB

☀️On this day: In 1955, General Motors’ William G. Cobb debuted his Sunmobile, the 1st solar-powered car in the world, at an auto show in Chicago.

🐾Haha: Do you ever feel like someone’s watching you? Is it… this corgi?

🖌️That’s cool: Artist Bas Uterwijk uses AI to make portraits of both historical and fictional figures, including Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, and Juliet Capulet. To do so, he combines several references, then tweaks the image.

🔮Cure boredom: Think of a person, character, object, or animal, and the great Akinator will try to guess it.

💻Life hack: Did you know your AirPods can attach to your MacBook for safe keeping? Yeah, neither did anyone else, apparently.

💡Useful: Need a quick backdrop for your website? This site has a whole bunch of free textures.

Meme of the day
meditation meme

Scary accurate (Source: Twitter / @Nishuane)

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