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Today's Smart Brevity count: 868 words, a 3-minute read.
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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
China's push to implement a national social credit system attracts rapt attention around the world, though it is in its earliest stages — not yet influencing the daily lives of most Chinese citizens and largely opaque to outsiders.
But little noticed outside the country is that it's already affecting foreign businesses, which have been placed on blacklists or threatened with restrictions on market access.
The big picture: Five years ago, China announced that it intends to build a comprehensive system for tracking the reputations of every individual and firm throughout Chinese society, with the groundwork in place by 2020.
How it works: The current reality is a mess of programs administered by cities, provinces and the central government, and little certainty about who is in charge of knitting them together.
Officially, the system targets corruption and bad business practice. But experts worry that China, often accused of anti-competitive measures, could use blacklisting to legitimize arbitrary punishments against non-Chinese businesses.
According to translations of government documents that the U.S.–China Business Council (USCBC) shared with Axios, potential sanctions include:
"There's not a lot of direct impact on U.S. companies yet," says Jake Parker, vice president for China operations at USCBC, which represents U.S. firms doing business in China.
But early credit-related punishments have businesses on edge.
The Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.
What's next: Down the road, if the systems are integrated and data is shared across cities, provinces and government agencies, businesses will find themselves even more closely watched and their actions reverberating throughout the country.
Over Krasnoyarsk, July 28. Photo: TASS/Getty
Fire is engulfing vast areas of Siberia in an inferno much larger than the crisis in California last year.
Already, some 7 million acres of forest and other land have burned in Siberia, compared with 1.9 million in all of last year in California.
In the U.S., tomorrow is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, the 120th birthday of the scrumptious, hand-size treat, according to lore, reports the Boston Globe's Devra First.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Last week, Erica ranked the 5 scooter options in D.C. based on how comfortable and easy they are to ride, and she said Bird was far-and-away the best.
"If you factor in pricing, Bird is simply not worth the 'smoother' ride in my opinion. Instead, my chart will show that if your ride is 10 minutes or less, you are best off taking a JUMP. If your ride is 10 minutes or more, then Lyft and Spin are the most economical options."— Ned Ukrop, Washington D.C.
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