Forbidden in China, but Trump skirts ‘Great Firewall’ to tweet about Beijing trip

US President Donald Trump (L) looks up as he sits beside China’s President Xi Jinping during a tour of the Forbidden City in Beijing on Nov. 8, 2017. US President Donald Trump toured the Forbidden City with Chinese leader Xi Jinping as he began the crucial leg of an Asian tour intended to build a global front against North Korea’s nuclear threats. (AFP/Jim Watson)
Updated 09 November 2017
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Forbidden in China, but Trump skirts ‘Great Firewall’ to tweet about Beijing trip

BEIJING: US President Donald Trump went around and over the “Great Firewall” of China in a late-night tweet in Beijing as he thanked his hosts for a rare tour of the Forbidden City and a private dinner at the sprawling, centuries-old palace complex.
Many Western social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are banned in China. A sophisticated system has been built to deny online users within China access to blocked content.
That was not an issue for Trump, known for tweeting to his 42.3 million followers at any hour of the day, on Wednesday, the day he arrived in Beijing.
“On behalf of @FLOTUS Melania and I, THANK YOU for an unforgettable afternoon and evening at the Forbidden City in Beijing, President Xi and Madame Peng Liyuan. We are looking forward to rejoining you tomorrow morning!“
Trump even changed his Twitter banner, uploading a photograph of himself and Melania with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, during a Chinese opera performance at the Forbidden City.
The Twitter banner upload did not go unnoticed by Chinese state media, with state broadcaster CCTV flashing screenshots of the photograph on Thursday.
Trump’s visit was also the third-most talked-about topic on Chinese social media platform Weibo over the last 24 hours, trailing only the birthday of a singer in a Chinese boy band and a weekly Asian pop song chart.
Many people wondered how Trump managed to evade China’s tough Internet controls.
“I guess he must have done it via wifi on a satellite network,” said a user on Weibo.
Many foreigners log on to virtual private networks (VPNs) to access content hosted outside of China. Another option is to sign up for a data-roaming service before leaving one’s home country.
“The president will tweet whatever he wants. That’s his way of communicating directly with the American people. Why not?” a White House official said ahead of Trump’s arrival in Beijing on Wednesday.
Not all of Trump’s tweets in China were bright and cheerful.
“NoKo has interpreted America’s past restraint as weakness,” he tweeted about reclusive North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. “This would be a fatal miscalculation. Do not underestimate us. AND DO NOT TRY US.”


Netflix unveils $2 billion debt issue to fund new content

Updated 22 October 2018
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Netflix unveils $2 billion debt issue to fund new content

LONDON: Netflix announced its third tap of debt markets in a year on Monday, aiming to raise about $2 billion as the streaming video pioneer invests heavily in original shows and acquiring content to fend off intensifying competition.
Netflix bond prices were little moved immediately after the announcement, but can be expected to fall, as the additional debt adds to the company’s credit risk. Shares in the company dipped 1 percent in early trading.
Netflix said in April it planned to raise $1.5 billion in debt, after raising $1.6 billion in October last year, bringing the total to about $5 billion.
The company has consistently said that it expects to fund content acquisition through the high-yield bond market and is expected to spend around $9 billion on content this year, based on blockbuster third-quarter results announced last week.
The new debt will be in the form of senior notes denominated in US dollars and euros — a type of debt the company needs to repay if it goes bankrupt.
Bearish bets against Netflix’s existing $8.4 billion of junk-rated bonds have more than tripled this year to an all-time high of $347 million, Reuters reported last week.
“The short balance in the actual bonds reflects a view that (the bonds) will decline in value if or when they issue more debt,” said Samuel Pierson, analyst at IHS Markit.
Netflix’s total debt stood at $11.83 billion as of Sept.30.
Netflix said on Monday it intends to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes, which may include content acquisitions, production and development, potential acquisitions and strategic transactions.