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Top Stories from 2019: The Year in Review

By Yulia Idemenko

Dec. 30, 2019
Top Reach Further stories from 2019
A look back at the top Reach Further stories from 2019

Year-end recap of the most popular Reach Further stories.

For businesspeople, the year was a rollercoaster. 2019 will go down in history as a breakout year for 5G and TikTok. On the other hand, the U.S.-China trade war continued to take its toll on the world economy. Despite the volatile economic climate, small businesses weathered the storms, adding millions of new jobs and taking advantage of technological advances. Check out this year’s highlights, as we look back at different sectors and review the top Reach Further stories.

1. Tech

As the world moves toward the 5G revolution, the technology that’s been compared in impact to the invention of the Gutenberg printing press, the world’s two tech superpowers—the U.S. and China—are facing off in a high-stakes battle over this next-generation tech. With 5G making its way into the mainstream, countries around the world are choosing which 5G operator to use—China’s Huawei and ZTE, Finland’s Nokia, or Sweden’s Ericsson. And in this selection, a divide is coming between the U.S. and its closest allies against China and other parts of the world. Find out how the U.S. and China are competing for global dominance in 5G technology at China and US Face Off in 5G “Splinternet.”

Woman using smartphone with 5G, against the skyline of Hong Kong
The world’s two tech superpowers are facing off in a high-stakes battle over 5G. (Photo credit): Gettyimages.com/d3sign

2. U.S.-China Business

The ongoing trade war between the two global powers has taken a toll on both countries, as well as the global economy. Under pressure from tariffs, Chinese exports to the U.S. fell 12 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2019, hurting Chinese businesses and American consumers alike. On the other hand, U.S. exports to China fell 19 percent, causing both immediate pain and long-term harm to U.S. exporters, who are losing market share in various industries. Learn more about what East West Bank CEO Dominic Ng has to say about restoring the U.S.-China relationship, now that both countries have reached a limited deal to halt the trade war, at Dominic's Take: Getting Down to Business—Putting the US-China Relationship Back on Track.

Dominic Ng, Chairman and CEO of East West Bank
Dominic Ng, Chairman and CEO of East West Bank

3. Entertainment

“Abominable” is an animated co-production from DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio and is a unique collaboration between animators from both the U.S. and China. Written and directed by Jill Culton, an American animator who created the cowgirl Jessie in Pixar’s “Toy Story” franchise, “Abominable” is a story about the journey of a magical Yeti called Everest and his three human friends as they travel across China. It’s also the first female-led, major-studio animated film with a central female character. Read the story behind this animated U.S.-China co-production that continues to captivate audiences on the both sides of the Pacific at Finding Your Way Home with “Abominable.”

Abominable poster
“Abominable," an animated U.S.-China co-production. (Photo credit): DreamWorks Animation

4. Innovation

From Facebook’s announcement of their blockchain digital currency, Libra, to the Chinese government’s plans to issue its first digital currency, digital assets and electronic payments are becoming more widely explored forms for financial transactions. Today, more businesses and financial institutions are beginning to adapt, adopt and become adept at cryptocurrency transactions. That includes smaller businesses, some of which have begun including digital currencies as a payment option for customers. Learn how cryptocurrency’s ecosystem is expanding and how businesses can add it as a payment method at Visa, Mastercard, or Bitcoin? Businesses Adopting Cryptocurrency Payments.

Businessman holding bitcoin symbol in his hand
More and more businesses are adding digital currencies as a payment option for customers. (Photo credit): Gettyimages.com/ Pattanaphong Khuankaew/EyeEm

5. Immigrant Entrepreneurs

When the Ong family came to the U.S. as refugees from Asia, patriarch Dayton Ong, was armed with nothing but a strong desire to create a better life for his family and achieve the American dream. After working as a dishwasher, he decided to open his own traditional herbal medicine store, called Wing Hop Fung, which translates to “Together, Forever, Prosper” in Cantonese. In over three decades, Wing Hop Fung has grown to become one of the biggest retailers of Asian herbs, teas and products in Southern California, especially under the direction of Lan Ong, the managing director and daughter of the founder. Read more about this immigrant entrepreneur and family business empire at A New Generation Takes Traditional Herb Shop Wing Hop Fung to the Next Level.

Lan Ong, managing director of Wing Hop Fung
Lan Ong, managing director of Wing Hop Fung

6. Lifestyle

Are short videos the future of digital media content? Judging by the popularity of TikTok, ByteDance’s 15-second video sharing app, and its competitors in China and beyond, it very well may be. Popular with millennials and Gen Z users, TikTok became one of the world’s top downloaded iPhone apps in 2018 with more than 500 million users across 150 countries—on par with Instagram, Facebook Messenger and Twitter. The short video market is growing by leaps and bounds, and in China alone, it is forecast to quadruple in size to $11.8 billion by 2020. Learn more about the short video craze and how it’s revolutionizing media content at 15 Seconds of Fame: Short Video Apps Taking the Mobile Market by Storm.

A person poses for the picture using Chinese short-form video sharing app TikTok
China’s short video market is growing rapidly. (Photo credit): -/AFP/Getty Images

7. Community

When Loren first came to America, she supported her family by selling cosmetics door-to-door. It was hard work with not much pay. Then she learned about Grameen America, a nonprofit microfinance program that’s committed to helping low-income entrepreneurs, especially women, by providing them microloans. After getting her first loan through Grameen, Loren continued building her business, and today, she owns her own mini-mart in Inglewood, California. Since it was established in 2008, Grameen America has disbursed more than $1.29 billion across 495,000 loans in the U.S. alone. Learn more about how this microfinance nonprofit is helping America’s underserved communities at Grameen America: Championing Business Success for Underserved Entrepreneurs.

Lorena, Grameen America microloan recipient
Grameen America, a nonprofit microfinance program committed to helping low-income entrepreneurs, especially women, through the power of microloans.
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Reach.Further


Reach Further by East West Bank is our business news magazine connecting you to emerging opportunities in the United States and Greater China, helping you gain the edge to succeed.

Discover stories from the frontlines of entrepreneurial life, financial tips for small and midsize businesses, and in-depth insights on US-China business, trade, tech, innovation, entertainment, lifestyle and more.

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