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0001376321 ZW Data Action Technologies Inc. false --12-31 FY 2021 China 2,236 4,247 0.001 0.001 100,000,000 50,000,000 35,332,677 35,332,677 26,062,915 26,062,915 1,600 750 1,746 1,055 305 750 10,476 3,045 1,445 1,600 0 0.83 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.02 2.11 0.05 2.24 4.25 6 0.83 0.83 2.09 1.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 1.03 15.38 10 9.09 15 17 19 1.0 0.47 0.31 0.24 0.08 0.15 0.04 0.25 0.04 0.19 0.03 10 10 5 5 3 3 3 10 10 5 3 4.50 3.0 0.47 4.04 0.38 0.56 2.0 25 25 31.0 23.3 18.3 24.5 12.3 10.2 2.31 0.92 3.59 3.59 18.7 4.4875 2.03 2.03 9.99 3.05 1.31 0.29 1.45 1.06 0.49 0.26 0.31 1.4927 1.4927 1.4927 1.4927 1.4927 0.04 0.02 11,329 1.4927 1.4927 1.4927 1.4927 1.4927 1.4927 1.4927 13.2 8.2 0.22 0.11 5.0 0.78 2.0 0.31 7.03 2.15 1.67 6.66 0.03 0.03 3.13 0.09 0.03 1.60 1.18 1.89 0.43 2 1.11 1.11 0.48 0.24 0.20 0.05 1 1.36 0.07 0.04 0.03 0.04 2.50 0.06 Including approximately US$2.15 million share-based compensation expenses. The Company's consolidated VIE, or a direct or indirect subsidiary of the Company's consolidated VIE. On September 25, 2019, as a result of the close on the first half of an unregistered private placement with a select group of investors, the exercise price of the warrants issued in the 2018 Financing that contain the “full ratchet” price protection in the event of subsequent issuances below the applicable exercise price (the “Down round feature”) was adjusted to US$1.4927. Less than 10%. A direct or indirect subsidiary of the Company. The placement agent warrants issued in the 2018 Financing were cashless exercised on July 2, 2021. As a result, the Company issued approximately 0.04 million shares of the Company’s restricted common stock, with a loss of approximately US$0.02million recognized in other income/(loss) account, which represented the difference between the fair value of these warrants on the date of the exercise and the cost of the Company’s restricted common stock issued, based on the close bid price of the Company’s common stock on the same date. Including approximately US$7.03 million share-based compensation expenses. All of the VIEs' assets can be used to settle obligations of their primary beneficiary. 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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE

 

SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

  
 

For the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2021

  
 

OR

  

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE

 

SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from __________  to __________; 

 

 

COMMISSION FILE NO. 001-34647

 

 

ZW DATA ACTION TECHNOLOGIES INC.

 

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Nevada

20-4672080

(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

  

Room 1106, Xinghuo Keji Plaza, No. 2 Fufeng Road, Fengtai District, Beijing, PRC

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

+86-10-6084-6616

(Issuer’s telephone number, including area code)

 

 

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class

 

Trading Symbol(s)

 

Name of Exchange On which Registered

Common Stock, par value $0.001

 

CNET

 

Nasdaq Capital Market

 

 

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:  None.

 

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Yes ☐ No ☒

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.
Yes ☐ No ☒

 

 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Yes ☒ No ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
Yes ☒ No ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a “smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large Accelerated Filer ☐Accelerated Filer ☐
  
Non-Accelerated Filer ☒  Smaller Reporting Company 
  
 Emerging growth company   

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. 

                      

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).
Yes    No ☒

 

The aggregate market value of the 28,015,384 shares of common equity stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant was approximately $56,030,768 on the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, based on the last sale price of the registrant’s common stock on such date of $2.00 per share, as reported on the Nasdaq Capital Market.

 

The number of shares outstanding of the Registrant’s common stock, $0.001 par value as of April 15, 2022 was 35,427,677.

 

2

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

PART I

 

1

ITEM 1

BUSINESS

1

ITEM 1A.

RISK FACTORS

17

ITEM 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

44

ITEM 2

PROPERTIES

44

ITEM 3

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

44

ITEM 4

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

44

PART II.

 

44

ITEM 5

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

44

ITEM 6

[RESERVED]

45

ITEM 7

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

45

ITEM 7A.

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

57

ITEM 8

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

57

ITEM 9

CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

57

ITEM 9A.

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

57

ITEM 9B.

OTHER INFORMATION

58

ITEM 9C.DISCLOSURE REGARDING FOREIGN JURISDICTION THAT PREVENT INSPECTIONS58

PART III.

 

58

ITEM 10

DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

58

ITEM 11

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

63

ITEM 12

SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

65

ITEM 13

CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE

66

ITEM 14

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEE AND SERVICES

67

PART IV.

 

68

ITEM 15

EXHIBITS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES

68

ITEM 16

FORM 10-K SUMMARY

74

 

3

 

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements relate to future events or our future financial performance. We have attempted to identify forward-looking statements by terminology including “anticipates”, “believes”, “expects”, “can”, “continue”, “could”, “estimates”, “expects”, “intends”, “may”, “plans”, “potential”, “predict”, “should” or “will” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. These statements are only predictions. Uncertainties and other factors, including the risks outlined under Risk Factors contained in Item 1A of this Form 10-K, may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels or activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.

 

Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Our expectations are as of the date this Form 10-K is filed, and we do not intend to update any of the forward-looking statements after the filing date to conform these statements to actual results, unless required by law.

 

We file annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and proxy and information statements and amendments to reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The SEC also maintains a website (http://www.sec.gov) that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding us and other companies that file materials with the SEC electronically. You may also obtain copies of reports filed with the SEC, free of charge, via a link included on our website at www.zdat.com.

 

 

 

Our Holding Company Structure and Contractual Arrangements with Our Consolidated Variable Interest Entities (VIEs) and Their Respective Individual Shareholders

 

ZW Data Action Technologies Inc. is not an operating company in China, but a Nevada holding company with no equity ownership in its VIEs. We conduct our operations in China through our PRC subsidiaries, our VIEs, with which we have maintained contractual arrangements, and their subsidiaries in China. PRC laws and regulations impose certain restrictions or prohibitions on foreign ownership of companies that engage in value-added telecommunication services. Accordingly, we operate these businesses in China through our VIEs, and rely on contractual arrangements among our PRC subsidiaries, our VIEs and their shareholders to control the business operations of our VIEs. As used in this annual report, “we,” “us,” “our company,” “the Company” or “our” refers to ZW Data Action Technologies Inc., a Nevada company, its subsidiaries, and, in the context of describing its operations and consolidated financial information, its consolidated affiliated entities in China, including, but not limited to, Business Opportunity Online (Beijing) Network Technology Co., Ltd. (“Business Opportunity Online”) and Beijing CNET Online Advertising Co., Ltd. (“Beijing CNET Online”). Investors of our common stock are not purchasing equity interest in our operating entities in China but instead are purchasing equity interest in a Nevada holding company.

 

A series of contractual agreements, including exclusive business cooperation agreements, exclusive option agreements, equity pledge agreements, and irrevocable powers of attorney, have been entered into by and among our PRC subsidiaries, our VIEs and their respective shareholders. Terms contained in each set of contractual arrangements with our PRC subsidiaries, our VIEs and their respective shareholders are substantially similar. For more details of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 1. Business—Our subsidiaries and our VIE Structure.”

 

The contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership in providing us with control over our consolidated VIEs and we may incur substantial costs to enforce the terms of the arrangements. Please refer to the discussion of uncertainties and risks in relation to our VIE Structure on page 11 under Business-Government Regulation contained in Item 1 and page 23 under Risk Factors-Risks Relating to Regulation of Our Business and to Our Structure contained in Item 1A of this Annual Report.

 

Our corporate structure is subject to risks associated with our contractual arrangements with our VIEs. Investors may never directly hold equity interests in our VIEs. If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our business do not comply with PRC laws and regulations, or if these regulations or their interpretations change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in those operations. Our holding company, our PRC subsidiaries, our VIEs, and investors of our company face uncertainty about potential future actions by the PRC government that could affect the enforceability of the contractual arrangements with our VIEs and, consequently, significantly affect the financial performance of our VIEs and our company as a whole.

 

There are also substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations and rules regarding the status of the rights of our Nevada holding company with respect to its contractual arrangements with our VIEs and their respective shareholders. It is uncertain whether any new PRC laws or regulations relating to variable interest entity structures will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. If we or any of our VIEs is found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or fail to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities would have broad discretion to take action in dealing with such violations or failures. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business and to Our Structure—If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our businesses in China do not comply with PRC governmental restrictions on foreign investment in industries in which we operate, or if these regulations or their interpretation change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties.”

 

We face various legal and operational risks and uncertainties associated with being based in or having our operations primarily in China and the complex and evolving PRC laws and regulations. For example, we face risks associated with regulatory approvals on offerings conducted overseas by and foreign investment in China-based issuers, the use of our VIEs, anti-monopoly regulatory actions, and oversight on cybersecurity and data privacy. We face risks associated with the lack of Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or the PCAOB, inspection on our auditors so determined by the announcement of the PCAOB issued on December 16, 2021, which may impact our ability to conduct certain businesses, accept foreign investments, or list on United States or other foreign exchange outside of China. These risks could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our common stock, significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors, or cause the value of such securities to significantly decline. For a detailed description of risks related to doing business in China, see “Item 1A.  Risk Factors—Risks Associated With Doing Business in China.”

 

2

 

PRC government’s significant authority in regulating our operations and its oversight and control over offerings conducted overseas by, and foreign investment in, China-based issuers could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to offer or continue to offer securities to investors. Implementation of industry-wide regulations in this nature may cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or be of little or no value. For more details, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Associated With Doing Business in China—The PRC government’s significant oversight and discretion over our business operation could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our listed securities.”

 

Risks and uncertainties arising from the legal system in China, including risks and uncertainties regarding the enforcement of laws and quickly evolving rules and regulations in China, could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our common stock. For more details, see “Item 1A.  Risk Factors— Risks Relating to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to you and us.”

 

Permissions Required from the PRC Authorities for Our Operations

 

We conduct our business primarily through our subsidiaries, our VIEs and their subsidiaries in China. Our operations in China are governed by PRC laws and regulations. As of the date of this annual report, our consolidated affiliated Chinese entities have obtained the requisite licenses and permits from the PRC government authorities that are material for the business operations of our holding company, our subsidiaries and our VIEs in China, including, among others, the ICP permits held by our PRC operating VIEs. However, given the uncertainties of interpretation and implementation of relevant laws and regulations and the enforcement practice by government authorities, we cannot assure you that we have obtained all the permits or licenses required for conducting our business in China. In addition, we may be required to obtain additional licenses, permits, filings or approvals for the services of our Internet platform in the future. For more detailed information, see “Item 1A. Risks Associated With Doing Business in China—We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties and changes in PRC licensing and regulation of internet businesses.”

 

In connection with our previous issuance of securities to foreign investors, under current PRC laws, regulations and regulatory rules, as of the date of this annual report, we, our PRC subsidiaries and our VIEs, (i) are not required to obtain permissions from the CSRC, (ii) are not required to go through cybersecurity review by the Cyberspace Administration of China, or the CAC, and (iii) have not received or were denied such requisite permissions by any PRC authority.

 

However, the PRC government has recently indicated an intent to exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers. For more detailed information, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Associated With Doing Business in China—The approval of and the filing with the CSRC or other PRC government authorities may be required in connection with our future offshore offerings under PRC law, and, if required, we cannot predict whether or for how long we will be able to obtain such approval or complete such filing.”

 

Cash and Asset Flows through Our Organization

 

ZW Data Action Technologies Inc. transfers cash to its wholly-owned Hong Kong subsidiary, by making capital contributions or providing loans, and the Hong Kong subsidiary transfer cash to the subsidiaries in China by making capital contributions or providing loans to them. Because ZW Data Action Technologies Inc. and its subsidiaries control our VIEs through contractual arrangements, they are not able to make direct capital contribution to our VIEs and their subsidiaries. However, they may transfer cash to our VIEs by loans or by making payment to the VIEs for inter-group transactions.

 

3

 

For the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, ZW Data Action Technologies Inc., through its intermediate holding companies, provided capital contribution of US$5.0 million and US$2.0 million to its subsidiaries in China, respectively. In addition, for the year ended December 31, 2021, ZW Data Action Technologies Inc., provided a US$2.0 million loan to one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, which loan was subsequently converted to capital contribution to that subsidiary during the first fiscal quarter of 2022. For the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, our VIEs received financing of US$4.25 million and US$nil from our subsidiaries, respectively. Our VIEs may transfer cash to our wholly foreign-owned enterprises (“WFOEs”) by paying service fees according to the exclusive business cooperation agreements. For the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, our VIEs did not paid any service fees to our WFOEs under the exclusive business cooperation agreements.

 

For the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, no dividends or distributions were made to ZW Data Action Technologies Inc. by our subsidiaries. Under PRC laws and regulations, our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs are subject to certain restrictions with respect to paying dividends or otherwise transferring any of their net assets to us. Remittance of dividends by a wholly foreign-owned enterprise out of China is also subject to examination by the banks designated by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or the SAFE. The amounts restricted include the paid-up capital and the statutory reserve funds of our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs, totaling US$13.2 million and US$8.2 million as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively. Furthermore, cash transfers from our PRC subsidiaries to entities outside of China are subject to PRC government control of currency conversion. Shortages in the availability of foreign currency may temporarily delay the ability of our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs to remit sufficient foreign currency to pay dividends or other payments to us, or otherwise satisfy their foreign currency denominated obligations. For risks relating to the fund flows of our operations in China, see “Item Risk Factors—Risks Associated With Doing Business in China—Any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs to make payments to us, or the tax implications of making payments to us, could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business or our financial condition.”

 

For the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, no assets other than cash were transferred through our organization.

 

ZW Data Action Technologies Inc. has not declared or paid any cash dividends, nor does it have any present plan to pay any cash dividends on its common stock in the foreseeable future. We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to operate and expand our business. See “Item 5. Market For Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities Dividend.”

 

Financial Information Related to the VIEs

 

For more detailed information, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Regulation of Our Business and to Our Structure—Condensed Consolidating Schedules.

 

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SUMMARY OF RISK FACTORS

 

An investment in our securities involves a high degree of risk. The occurrence of one or more of the events or circumstances described in the section titled Risk Factors, alone or in combination with other events or circumstances, may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results. In that event, the trading price of our securities could decline, and you could lose all or part of your investment. Such risks include, but are not limited to:

 

Risks Related to Our Business

 

 

We are susceptible to general economic conditions, natural catastrophic events and public health crises, and a potential downturn in advertising and marketing spending by advertisers could adversely affect our operating results in the near future.

 

 

We face significant competition, and if we do not compete successfully against new and existing competitors, we may lose our market share, and our profitability may be adversely affected.

 

Risks Relating to Regulation of Our Business and to Our Structure

 

 

Our operations are substantially conducted through our PRC Operating Entities, or VIEs, and through our contractual agreements with each of our PRC Operating Entities and their shareholders in China. If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our business in China do not comply with PRC governmental restrictions on foreign investment in industries in which we operate, or if these regulations or their interpretation change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties.

 

 

We rely on contractual arrangements with our PRC Operating Entities and their shareholders for our China operations, which may not be as effective in providing operational control as direct ownership.

 

Risks Associated With Doing Business In China

 

 

Our operations and assets in China are subject to significant political and economic uncertainties.

 

 

The PRC governments significant oversight and discretion over our business operation could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our listed securities.

 

 

Uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to you and us.

 

 

The approval of and the filing with the CSRC or other PRC government authorities may be required in connection with our future offshore offerings under PRC law, and, if required, we cannot predict whether or for how long we will be able to obtain such approval or complete such filing.

 

 

Substantial uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of cybersecurity related regulations and cybersecurity review as well as any impact these may have on our business operations.

 

 

Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with the Anti-Monopoly Guidelines for Internet Platforms Economy Sector and other PRC anti-monopoly laws and regulations may result in governmental investigations or enforcement actions, litigation or claims against us and could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

 

Our PRC operating VIEs engaged in ICP business have obtained their respective ICP permits and comply with the annual inspection and other related provisions. We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties and changes in PRC licensing and regulation of internet businesses.

 

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As substantially all of our operations are conducted through our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs, as a Nevada holding company, our ability to pay dividends is primarily dependent on receiving distributions of funds from our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs. Any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs to make payments to us, or the tax implications of making payments to us, could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business or our financial condition.

 

 

The audit report included in this annual report is prepared by an auditor who is not inspected by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and, as such, you may be deprived of the benefits of such inspection.

 

 

Our common stock may be delisted and prohibited from trading in the over-the-counter market under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, or the HFCAA, if the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or the PCAOB is unable to inspect or fully investigate auditors located in China. On December 16, 2021, PCAOB issued the HFCAA Determination Report, according to which our auditor is subject to the determinations that the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely. Under the current law, delisting and prohibition from over-the-counter trading in the U.S. could take place in 2024. If this happens there is no certainty that we will be able to list our common stock on a non-U.S. exchange or that a market for our common stock will develop outside of the U.S. The delisting of our common stock, or the threat of their being delisted, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment.

 

 

The potential enactment of the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act would decrease the number of non-inspection years from three years to two, thus reducing the time period before our common stock may be prohibited from over-the-counter trading or delisted. If this bill were enacted, our common stock could be delisted from the exchange and prohibited from over-the-counter trading in the U.S. in 2023.

 

Risks Related to our Securities

 

 

The NASDAQ may delist our securities from quotation on its exchange which could limit investors ability to make transactions in our securities and subject us to additional trading restrictions.

 

 

Insiders have substantial control over us, and they could delay or prevent a change in our corporate control even if our other stockholders wanted it to occur.

 

 

The market price of our Common Stock has been volatile, and will be likely continue to be highly volatile, which is beyond our control and may result in substantial losses to our investors.

 

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PART I

 

Item 1

BUSINESS

 

We are a holding company that conducts our primary businesses through our PRC subsidiaries and operating entities (the “VIEs”). We primarily operate a one-stop services for our clients on our Omni-channel advertising, precision marketing and data analysis management system.

 

We derive our revenue principally by:

 

 

distributing the right to use search engine marketing service we purchased from key search engines to increase the sales lead conversion rate for our clients’ business promotion on both mobile and PC searches;

   
 

selling Internet advertising space on our advertising portals and providing related data service to our clients through the Internet advertising management systems developed and managed by us; and

   
 

providing other e-commerce O2O advertising and marketing and related value-added technical services.

 

We generated total revenues of US$47.33 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, compared with US$38.41 million in 2020. Net loss attributable to our stockholders was US$2.75 million and US$5.22 million for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively.

 

In 2018, we commenced to expand our business into the blockchain industry and the related technology. With the introduction of blockchain technology, we aim to gradually shift our platform-centric services in the past towards decentralizing services, solving trust issues in business cooperation and services and enhancing user vitality and loyalties. We also plan to gradually shift from providing information services to providing transaction services for business opportunities so as to create a multi-industry and cross-chain value-based internet sharing business.

 

We initiated our Business Opportunity Social Ecosystem (“BOSE”) and engaged two unrelated parties to develop two blockchain-technology powered platform applications named BO!News and OMG, respectively. Total contract amounts for OMG and Bo!News was US$4.5 million and US$0.47 million, respectively. Our blockchain-powered platform together with the applications aim to build a social community which facilitates various types of users, such as business owners, entrepreneurs, suppliers and customers or any individual who is interested in starting up a business, to share business opportunities and related information and allows users to conduct certain business transactions that can be recorded and verified through the blockchain-technology applied by our applications. In return, as in our plan, our platform will use a reward point mechanism generated on blockchain in the form of token to keep track and award the users for their contributions to our platform applications. These reward points are not associated with any cryptocurrency and will not be listed in any crypto exchange can only be used within our BOSE, such as, exchange for the services and/or products offered by our platform.

 

As of December 31, 2021, we have completed the development and integration of our BO!News application, which provides a digitalized franchise management system for the SMEs and is available for downloads in the App stores. The upgraded version of the Bo!News comprises of three key features: Firstly, BO!News is a platform for the business owners and potential entrepreneurs to exchange projects information. The listed business will have an online space to display the brands information and other basic data, including franchise and merchandize fee, geographical location, number of franchise stores, ROI of the franchise and so forth. BO!News has a blockchain based information assurance checking feature, ensuring every business to provide reliable and truthful information with tracking or tracing of any changes hashed onto the blockchain. In this way, the accuracy of the business information presented to potential customers or readers cannot be tempered easily by the business itself.  Secondly, BO!News contains a social networking forum with an embedded blockchain reward point mechanism for contents-sharing and comments, to encourage interaction between business owners and their customers, and to activate more stickiness of the customers of the business by closing the gap of the information inequality and inaccuracy between the transaction parties, which helps good business to obtain sustainably organic growth. Last, Bo!News has a blockchain contracting feature, which provides a more efficient and trustworthy contractual relationship signed through the Internet without face to face meeting, and allows operating through blockchain to affirm irrevocability and traceability of the contract for the business conducted through the Internet. We charge the business owners basic monthly recurring fees for use the BO!News application, and commissions upon consummation of transactions through the application. In addition, we plan to provide in-app advertising spaces to attract Internet traffic and generate recurring Internet adverting revenues in future periods.

 

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OMG is originally planned to be developed for the use of small and medium brand stores’ reward/loyal points exchange. OMG App enables users (consumers and merchants) to integrate other stores’ reward/loyalty point cards into OMG point consolidation and exchange system built on the blockchain infrastructure platform, which helps consumers managing all of their different reward/loyalty points cards in a single way. Merchants will also get benefit of using it as a marketing platform to push their advertising or promotion to their and non-competitors’ customer bases.

 

However, due to the repeated regional COVID-19 rebound cases in many provinces in the PRC after the severe COVID-19 pandemic in the first fiscal quarter of 2020, temporary quarantine and business shutdown incurred and is expected to continue incur from time to time, which resulted in pandemic fears and in return severely affected the SMEs owners’ confidence in the expansion of their branded offline stores. As a result, we decided to suspend the launch of our OMG application. Alternatively, we enhanced the development of the blockchain infrastructure platform, i.e., Blockchain Integrated Framework (“BIF”) platform under the OMG development contract for retail business, which platform have membership management, trusted and decentralized payment management and Non-Fungible Token (“NFT”) management etc. features, so that the BIF platform can be further integrated into other blockchain application scenarios to provide data storage, assurance and analysis services to the SMEs.

 

Total development costs incurred for the BIF platform and the Bo!News application of approximately US$4.04 million and US$0.38 million, respectively, were both recognized as intangible assets as of December 31, 2021. The remaining contract amounts of approximately US$0.56 million in the aggregate was waived as agreed by all parties.

 

For the year of 2022, it will be a critical year for the transition and development of our company on the new business of the blockchain related services. We plan to further develop a more comprehensive and upgraded open-core version of BIF in the SaaS model with an open-end control panel, allowing our clients to use it to develop their own NFTs for their IPs and branding in China for the reauthorization use of both domestic and overseas users. BIF will be gradually developing into a monthly subscription model with a starting monthly fee and the fees will be increased in accordance with number of apps subscribed, transactions or the size of data stored through the platform. In addition, our clients will be able to self-code themselves based on the existing modules of the smart contracts for the customization on their own specific needs in a low-code practice, and extra usage fee will be charged on the top of monthly recurring revenue.

 

We have been building our blockchain infrastructure platform on Ethereum platform, and is now integrating with hyperledger solution to ensure the openness and easiness of the blockchain platform. The risks involved in our blockchain platform including but not exclusive to, the security risk, infrastructure risk, transition (blackhole) risk and so forth. As such, any malfunction, breakdown, divergence or abandonment of the Ethereum platform may have an adverse effect on the our blockchain-powered platform. As a result, we are in the process of testing and integrating with hyperledger and other public cross-chain solution, to minimize related risks and challenges.

 

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Impact of COVID-19 on Our Operations and Financial Performance

 

Our business is subject to the impact of natural catastrophic events, such as earthquakes, or floods, public health crisis, such as disease outbreaks, epidemics, or pandemics in China, and all these could result in a decrease or sharp downturn of economies, including our markets and business locations in the current and future periods. The outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in China resulted in increased travel restrictions, and shutdown of businesses, which has caused slower recovery of the China economy. We may experience impact from quarantines, market downturns and changes in customer behavior related to pandemic fears and impact on our workforce if the virus continues to spread. We experienced a decrease in revenue in 2020 due to the outbreak. COVID-19 affected a significant number of our workforce employed in our operations, and as a result we are experiencing a slow resumption of operations and may experience delays or the inability to delivery our service on a timely basis. In addition, one or more of our customers, partners, service providers or suppliers may experience financial distress, delayed or defaults on payment, file for bankruptcy protection, sharp diminishing of business, or suffer disruptions in their business due to the outbreak. Although the COVID-19 outbreak had largely under control within the PRC since the second fiscal quarter of 2020, there has been severe rebound cases incurred in large cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region since February 2022, which caused regional quarantines, travel and logistic restrictions, and business shutdown from time to time. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our results will depend on future developments and reactions in China, which are highly uncertain and will include emerging information concerning the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the actions taken by governments and private businesses to attempt to contain the coronavirus. The COVID-19 situation is likely to result in a potential material adverse impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition in the short run if it has become worse in China. Wider-spread COVID-19 in China and globally could prolong the deterioration in economic conditions and could cause decreases or delays in advertising spending and reduce and/or negatively impact our short-term ability to grow our revenues. Any decreased collectability of accounts receivable, bankruptcy of small and medium businesses, or early termination of agreements due to deterioration in economic conditions could negatively impact our results of operations.

 

Our Subsidiaries, Variable Interest Entities (VIEs) and Ownership Interest Investment Affiliates

 

As of December 31, 2021, our corporate structure is set forth below:

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/6d0c02963738ac474b161fc537bd77c0-orgchart.jpg

 

We were incorporated in the State of Texas in April 2006 and re-domiciled to become a Nevada corporation in October 2006. On June 26, 2009, we consummated a share exchange transaction with China Net Online Media Group Limited (“China Net BVI”) (the “Share Exchange”). As a result of the Share Exchange, China Net BVI became a wholly owned subsidiary of ours and we are now a holding company, which, through certain contractual arrangements with operating companies in the People’s Republic of China (the “PRC”), is primarily engaged in providing Internet advertising, precision marketing, e-commerce online to offline (“O2O”) advertising and marketing and the related data and technical services to SMEs in the PRC.

 

Our subsidiaries and our VIE Structure

 

Our direct wholly owned subsidiary, China Net BVI, was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands on August 13, 2007. On April 11, 2008, China Net BVI became the parent holding company of a group of companies comprised of CNET Online Technology Co. Limited, a Hong Kong company (“China Net HK”), which established, and is the parent company of, Rise King Century Technology Development (Beijing) Co., Ltd., a wholly foreign-owned enterprise (“WFOE”) established in the PRC (“Rise King WFOE”). In October 2008, Rise King WFOE acquired control over Business Opportunity Online (Beijing) Network Technology Co., Ltd. (“Business Opportunity Online”) and Beijing CNET Online Advertising Co., Ltd. (“Beijing CNET Online”) (collectively the “PRC Operating Entities” or the “VIEs”) by entering into a series of contracts (the “Contractual Agreements” or the “VIE Agreements”), which enabled Rise King WFOE to operate the business and manage the affairs of the PRC Operating Entities.

 

China has adopted a reformed system with respect to foreign investment administration, under which the Chinese government applies national treatment to foreign investors in terms of investment entry and the foreign investor needs to comply with the requirements as provided in The Special Administrative Measures for Foreign Investment (the “Negative List”). The Negative List will be issued by, amended or released upon approval by the State Council, from time to time. The Negative List will consist of a list of industries in which foreign investments are prohibited and a list of industries in which foreign investments are restricted. Foreign investors will be prohibited from making investments in prohibited industries, while foreign investments must satisfy certain conditions for investments in restricted industries, such as: there always a limitation on foreign investment and ownership. Foreign investments and domestic investments in industries outside the scope of the prohibited industries and restricted industries will be treated equally. The most recent version of the Negative List was promulgated jointly by the Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”) and the National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) on December 27, 2021, which came into effective on January 1, 2022 (the “2021 Negative List”).

 

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The business of the PRC Operating Entities falls under the class of a business that provides Internet content or information services, a type of value-added telecommunication services, for which restrictions upon foreign ownership apply. The 2021 Negative List retains the restrictions on foreign ownership related to value-added telecommunication services. As a result, Rise King WFOE is not allowed to conduct the business the PRC Operating Entities companies are currently pursuing. Advertising business is open to foreign investment but used to require that the foreign investors of a WFOE should have been carrying out advertising business for over three years pursuant to the Foreign Investment Advertising Measures as amended by MOFCOM and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”, currently known as the State Administration for Market Regulations, (“SAMR”)) on August 22, 2008, which was repealed in June 29, 2015. Before June 29, 2015, Rise King WFOE was not allowed to engage in the advertising business because its shareholder, China Net HK, did not meet such requirements. As a result, in order to control the business and operations of the PRC Operating Entities and consolidate the financial results of the two companies in a manner that does not violate the related PRC laws, Rise King WFOE executed the Contractual Agreements with the PRC Shareholders and each of the PRC Operating Entities.

 

Summary of the material terms of the VIE Agreements:

 

Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreements:

 

Pursuant to the Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreements entered into by and between Rise King WFOE and each of the PRC Operating Entities, Rise King WFOE has the exclusive right provide to the PRC Operating Entities complete technical support, business support and related consulting services during the term of these agreements, which includes but is not limited to technical services, business consultations, equipment or property leasing, marketing consultancy, system integration, product research and development, and system maintenance. In exchange for such services, each PRC Operating Entity has agreed to pay a service fee consisting of a management fee and a fee for services provided, to Rise King WFOE, which shall be determined by Rise King WFOE according to the following factors: the complexity and difficulty of the services, seniority of and time consumed by the employees, specific contents, scope and value of the services, market price of the same type of services, and operation conditions of the PRC Operating Entities. Each agreement shall remain effective unless terminated in accordance with the provisions thereof or terminated in writing by Rise King WFOE.

 

Exclusive Option Agreements:

 

Under the Exclusive Option Agreements entered into by and among Rise King WFOE, each of the PRC Shareholders irrevocably granted to Rise King WFOE, or its designated person, an exclusive option to purchase, to the extent permitted by PRC law, a portion or all of their respective equity interest in any PRC Operating Entities for a purchase price of RMB10, or a purchase price to be adjusted to be in compliance with applicable PRC laws and regulations. Rise King WFOE, or its designated person, has the sole discretion to decide when to exercise the option, whether in part or in full. Each of these agreements shall become effective upon execution and remain effective until all equity interests held by the relevant PRC Shareholder(s) in the PRC Operating Entities have been transferred or assigned to Rise King WFOE and/or any other person designated by Rise King WFOE.

 

Equity Pledge Agreements:

 

Under the Equity Pledge Agreements entered into by and among Rise King WFOE, the PRC Operating Entities and each of the PRC Shareholders, the PRC Shareholders pledged all of their equity interests in the PRC Operating Entities to guarantee the PRC Operating Entities’ and the PRC Shareholders’ performance of the relevant obligations under the Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreements and other Contractual Agreements. If the PRC Operating Entities or any of the PRC Shareholders breaches its/his/her respective contractual obligations under these agreements, or upon the occurrence of one of the events regarded as an event of default under each such agreement, Rise King WFOE, as pledgee, will be entitled to certain rights, including the right to dispose of the pledged equity interests. The PRC Shareholders of the PRC Operating Entities agreed not to dispose of the pledged equity interests or take any actions that would prejudice Rise King WFOE's interest, and to notify Rise King WFOE of any events or upon receipt of any notices which may affect Rise King WFOE's interest in the pledge. Each of the equity pledge agreements will be valid until all the obligations under the Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreements and other Contractual Agreements have been fulfilled, including the service fee payments related to the Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreement are paid in full.

 

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Irrevocable Powers of Attorney:

 

The PRC Shareholders have each executed an irrevocable power of attorney to appoint Rise King WFOE as their exclusive attorneys-in-fact to vote on their behalf on all PRC Operating Entities matters requiring shareholder approval. The term of each power of attorney is valid so long as such shareholder is a shareholder of the respective PRC Operating Entity.

 

As a result of these Contractual Agreements, we through our wholly-owned subsidiary, Rise King WFOE, were granted with unconstrained decision making rights and power over key strategic and operational functions that would significantly impact the PRC Operating Entities or the VIEs’ economic performance, which includes, but is not limited to, the development and execution of the overall business strategy; important and material decision making; decision making for merger and acquisition targets and execution of merger and acquisition plans; business partnership strategy development and execution; government liaison; operation management and review; and human resources recruitment and compensation and incentive strategy development and execution. Rise King WFOE also provides comprehensive services to the VIEs for their daily operations, such as operational technical support, office administration technical support, accounting support, general administration support and technical support for products and services. As a result of the Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreements, the Equity Pledge Agreements and the Exclusive Option Agreements, we will bear all of the VIEs’ operating costs in exchange for the net income of the VIEs. Under these agreements, we have the absolute and exclusive right to enjoy economic benefits similar to equity ownership through the VIE Agreements with our PRC Operating Entities and their shareholders. Due to the fact that Rise King WFOE and its indirect parent are the sole interest holders of the VIEs, we included the assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses of the VIEs in our consolidated financial statements, which is consistent with the provisions of FASB Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") Topic 810 “Consolidation”, subtopic 10.

 

Please refer to the discussion of uncertainties and risks in relation to our VIE Structure on page 11 under Business-Government Regulation contained in Item 1 and page 23 under Risk Factors-Risks Relating to Regulation of Our Business and to Our Structure contained in Item 1A of this Annual Report.

 

As of December 31, 2021, besides China Net BVI, China Net HK and Rise King WFOE, as discussed above, we have five other indirectly wholly-owned subsidiaries, ChinaNet Investment Holding Ltd, a British Virgin Islands company (“ChinaNet Investment BVI”), Grandon Investments Limited, a British Virgin Islands company (“Grandon BVI”), Winner Glory Limited, a Hong Kong company (“Winner Glory HK”), ChinaNet Online Holdings Co., Ltd., a PRC company (“ChinaNet Online Holdings”) and ChinaNet Online (Guangdong) Holdings Co., Ltd., a PRC company (“ChinaNet Online Guangdong Holdings”).

 

ChinaNet Investment BVI co-founded ChinaNet Online Holdings Korea, a Korean company (“ChinaNet Korea”) with four unaffiliated individuals and beneficially owns 15% equity interest in ChinaNet Korea. The business activities of ChinaNet Korea are currently dormant. Grandon BVI obtained a 15.38% equity interest in New Business Holdings Limited (“New Business” BVI) in fiscal 2021, for jointly developing blockchain, key opinion leader and e-sports platform and jointly operating IP data for e-sports and games with strategic partners. ChinaNet Online Guangdong Holdings beneficially owns a 10% and a 9.09% equity interest in Guang Dong WeFriend Co., Ltd. (“Guangdong WeFriend”) and Shenzhen Global Best Products Import & Export Co., Ltd. (“Global Best Products”), respectively. Guangdong WeFriend is primarily engaged in Internet private traffic operating, and Global Best Products is primarily operating an online marketplace for health products retailing.

 

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Our VIEs, VIEs subsidiaries and other ownership interest investment affiliates

 

As discussed above, through Rise King WFOE, we beneficially own two VIEs: Business Opportunities Online and Beijing CNET Online. Business Opportunities Online is primarily engaged in providing Internet advertising, precision marketing and related data service to the SMEs. The business activities of Beijing CNET Online are currently dormant.

 

As of December 31, 2021, Business Opportunity Online has the following directly or indirectly wholly-owned subsidiaries in the PRC: Beijing Chuang Fu Tian Xia Network Technology Co., Ltd. (“Beijing Chuang Fu Tian Xia”), Business Opportunity Online (Hubei) Network Technology Co., Ltd. (“Business Opportunity Online Hubei”), Beijing Chuang Shi Xin Qi Advertising Media Co., Ltd. (“Beijing Chuang Shi Xin Qi”), Beijing Hong Da Shi Xing Network Technology Co., Ltd. (“Beijing Hong Da Shi Xing”) and ChinaNet Online (Guandong) Technology Co., Ltd. (“ChinaNet Online Guangdong Technology”). Except for ChinaNet Online Guangdong Technology, which entity is primarily focuses on developing and operating blockchain technology-based products and services, all other Business Opportunity Online’s wholly-owned subsidiaries are engaged in providing Internet advertising, precision marketing and related data service to the SMEs.

 

As of December 31, 2021, through our operating VIEs, we also beneficially own a 19% equity interest in both Guohua Shiji (Beijing) Communication Co., Ltd. (“Guohua Shiji”) and Business Opportunity Chain (Guangzhou) Technology Co., Ltd. (“Business Opportunity Chain Guangzhou”), a 17% equity interest in Xiao Peng Education Technology (Hubei) (“Xiao Peng Education”) and a 15% equity interest in Guangzhou Gong Xiang Technology Co., Ltd. (“Gong Xiang Technology”), respectively. Business Opportunity Chain Guangzhou is primarily engaged in the development of livestream platform-based business promotion service and franchise consultancy service, Xiao Peng Education is primarily engaged in providing precision marketing services to online education service providers, Gong Xiang Technology is primarily engaged in providing franchise projects management and consultancy services and the business activities of Guohua Shiji is currently dormant.

 

Industry and Market Overview

 

Overview of the Advertising Market in China

 

According to the advertising spend forecasts released by Dentsu International in January 2022, the global advertising spend will reach US$745 billion, exceeding the 2019 pre-pandemic spending levels by US$117.2 billion, with an estimated growth rate of 9.2% year-over-year in 2022. Ad spend in the Asia Pacific is expected to grow by 5.9% year-over-year to US$255.4 billion in 2022, with a 61.1% digital share of all spend.

 

China’s advertising market is slowing in step with its economy and was also adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in the first fiscal quarter of 2020, however, still remains one of the key drivers of global growth of advertising. Beneficial from the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, Dentsu International forecasts that China’s total advertising spend will hit US$130.4 billion with a 6% year-over-year growth in 2022 and is expected to grow by 5.3% and 5.2% in 2023 and 2024, respectively.

 

The growth of China’s advertising market is driven by a number of factors, including the sustained economic growth and increases in disposable income and consumption in China. China was the second largest economy in the world in terms of gross domestic product (“GDP”), which amounted to US$177.27 trillion in 2021, with an average two-year growth of 5.1%. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the annual disposable income per capita in urban households increased to RMB47,412 in 2021, with a growth of 7.1%, after adjusted by the price factors.

 

Overview of the Internet Advertising Industry

 

According to the advertising spend forecasts released by Dentsu International in January 2022, global ad-spend growth continues to be dominated by digital channels, which reached US$355.7 billion and achieved 52.9% of the total ad-spend in 2021, and is expected to further increase to 55.5% of the total ad-spend in 2022.

 

In China, the Internet advertising market growth is expected to stem primarily from a higher internet penetration rate of just 73.0% by the end of December 2021, compared with 70.4% by the end of December 2020. Total internet users reached to approximately 1,032 million people by the end of December 2021, increased by approximately 42.96 million people, compared with that as of December 2020. (According to the 49th China Internet Network Development Statistical Report issued by China Internet Network Information Center (the “CNNIC”) in February 2022). According to the 49th CNNIC report, as of December 2021, the mobile internet user reached to 1,029 million people, compared with 986 million people as of December 2020, which accounted for 99.7% of the total internet users, as of both December 2021 and 2020.

 

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According to a report published by iResearch Inc. in October 2021, online advertising revenue in China reached RMB766.6 billion Yuan (approximately US$111.1 billion) in 2020 and was estimated to hit RMB934.3 billion Yuan (approximately US$144.8 billion) in 2021, up 21.9% year-over-year. Its growth is forecasted to slow in step with its economy in the next few years, with an estimation of a year-over-year increase of 18.8% and 16.0% in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

 

The diagram below depicts the Market Scale of China’s Online Advertising from 2016 to 2023:

 

https://cdn.kscope.io/6d0c02963738ac474b161fc537bd77c0-p7.jpg

 

High Demand for the Internet Advertising from SMEs and O2O Business in China

 

We believe that the Internet advertising market in China has significant potential for future growth due to high demand from the rapid development of SMEs and O2O business.

 

The development of the SME market is still in its early stages in China. Since their sales channels and distribution networks are still underdeveloped, they are driven to search for new participants by utilizing Internet advertising and precision marketing. The SMEs tend to be smaller, less-developed brands primarily focused on restaurants, garments, building materials, home appliances, and entertainment with low start-up costs. The Chinese government has promulgated a series of laws and regulations to protect and promote the development of SMEs which appeals to entrepreneurs looking to benefit from the central government’s support of increased domestic demand. SMEs are now responsible for about 50% of China’s tax revenues, 60% of China’s GDP and employment of approximately 80% of the urban Chinese workforce. SMEs are creating new urban jobs, and they are the main destination for new graduates entering the workforce and workers laid-off from state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that re-enter the workforce.

 

In recent years, the capital market, Internet giants and traditional offline services business in China have all accelerated their O2O business arrangement and development. With the advent of the mobile Internet era, the innovation of user needs, and applications have become the main trend of the Internet, including online payments, location-based services, online and offline interaction and more. Due to the slowdown of China’s economy growth in recent years, the competitive market pressure within the local life services industry has increased. Under these circumstances, more and more traditional offline service providers started to use the Internet-based tools (PC, tablet and mobile) to market and promote their products and services. The rapid development of social media and tools, such as: WeChat and Weibo, also have had a very important influence on the development of the O2O market, and using social media and tools to promote brands and maintain customer relationships has become an important adverting and marketing trend for all offline business.

 

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Our Principal Products and Services

 

Internet Advertising, Precision Marketing and Related Data Services

 

Founded in 2003 and 2011, respectively, 28.com and liansuo.com are two of the leading Internet portals for information relating to small business opportunities in China, and 28.com is one of the earliest entrants in this sector. In the past few years, we further developed and upgraded the system and tools of our advertising portals, including customer user interface, and integrated our mobile functions. Besides our advertising portals, we also have established solid partnership relations with key search engines in China which entitle us to the distribution of the right to use their search engine marketing service which allows our customers to invest in their online advertising and marketing campaign through multi-channel to maximize market exposure and effectiveness.

 

Our Internet advertising, precision marketing and related data services provide advertisers with tools to build sales channels directly in the form of franchisees, sales agents, distributors, and/or resellers, and have the following features which enable them to be attractive to the advertisers:

 

 

Allowing potential entrepreneurs interested in inexpensive franchise and other business ventures to find in-depth details about these businesses in various industries and business categories, with real-time and online assistance through an instant messenger;

 

 

Providing one-stop integrated Internet marketing and advertising services for SMEs by offering customized services and advertisement placement on various communication channels through intelligent based promotion systems;

 

 

Generating effective sales leads information; and

 

 

Bundling with advanced traffic generation techniques, search-engine optimization and marketing and other Internet advertising management tools to assist our clients with monitoring, analyzing and managing their advertising and data collected on our web portal.

 

We typically charge our clients a fixed monthly fee for the Internet advertising and related data services that we provide on our ad portals. For distribution of the right to use the search engine marketing service, revenue is recognized on a monthly basis and at a gross amount, based on the direct cost consumed through search engines for providing such services with a premium.

 

For the year ended December 31, 2021, we had approximately 800 clients who used our Internet advertising, marketing and data services, compared with 660 clients for the year ended December 31, 2020. We achieved US$46.7 million and US$35.6 million of Internet advertising, precision marketing and related data and technical services revenues for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively, which accounted for 98.6% and 92.7% of our total revenues for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively. The overall gross profit margin of this business segment increased to 2% for the year ended December 31, 2021 from -0.2% for the year ended December 31, 2020. The increase in performances of this business segment was directly resulted from the gradually economic recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak since the second half of fiscal 2020.

 

Other services revenues

 

For the year ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, we achieved US$0.66 million and US$1.55 million e-commerce O2O advertising and marketing service revenues, respectively.

 

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For the year ended December 31, 2020, we also generated an approximately US$1.25 million technical solution services revenues.

 

Sales and Marketing

 

For the year ended December 31, 2021, we derived 98.6% of total net revenues from our Internet advertising and the provision of related data and technical services, compared with 92.7% for the year ended December 31, 2020.

 

We employ experienced advertising sales people and provide in-house education and training to our sales people to ensure that they provide our current and prospective clients with comprehensive information about our services, the benefits of using our advertising, marketing and data services and relevant information regarding the advertising industry. We also market our advertising services from time to time by placing advertisements on television and other well-known portals in China, participating in domestic and international franchise exhibitions in China and other countries and acting as a sponsor to third-party programming and shows.

 

Suppliers

 

Our suppliers are major search engines and/or their authorized agents, Internet gateways, other advertising resources suppliers and technical service providers. For the year ended December 31, 2021, resources purchased from our largest supplier counted for approximately 73% of our total cost of revenues, compared with 78% for the year ended December 31, 2020.

 

Research and Development

 

We plan to increase expenditures to enhance the safety of our hardware and server that we depend on to support our network and manage and monitor programs on the network in future years. Whether we continue to further deploy newer technology will depend upon cost and network security. We also focus on enhancing related software systems enabling us to track and monitor advertiser demands and the related data collection and analysis. In the next few years, we intend to move our research and development efforts to mobile-based application system and data collection and analysis tools, and our blockchain-technology powered Business Opportunity Social Ecosystem.

 

Intellectual Property

 

As of December 31, 2021, we had twenty-four software copyright certificates issued by the State Copyright Office of the PRC, including, but not limited to, software systems covering monitor and management platforms on Internet advertising effects, analysis systems on Internet traffic statistics and Internet user behavior, analysis systems on log-based visit hotspot and browsing trails, analysis systems on mobile advertising platform and cloud-compute technology.

 

Competition

 

We compete with other Internet advertising companies for business opportunities in China, including companies that also distribute the right to use the search engine marketing services provide by key search engines in China, such as: Zhong Shi Lian Dong Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Jiu Xing Hu Dong Technology Co., Ltd., and Hao Shang Hui Media (Guangzhou) Co., Ltd, and companies that operate Internet advertising portals for business opportunities of the SMEs, such as 78.cn, zhaoshangbang.com and 1637.com etc. We compete for clients primarily on the basis of network size and coverage, location, price, the range of services that we offer and our brand name. We also compete for overall advertising spending with other alternative advertising media companies, such as wireless telecommunications, street furniture, billboards, frame and public transport advertising companies, and with traditional advertising media, such as newspapers, magazines and radio.

 

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Government Regulation

 

The PRC government imposes extensive controls and regulations over the media industry, including on internet, television, radio, newspapers, magazines, advertising, media content production, and the market research industry. This section summarizes the principal PRC regulations that are relevant to our lines of business.

 

Regulations on the Value-added Telecommunication Services and Advertising Industry in China

 

Foreign Investments in Value-added Telecommunication Services

 

The Negative List restricts foreign investments in value-added telecommunication services, including providing Internet information services (“ICP”). In accordance with the Regulations for the Administration of Foreign-Invested Telecommunications Enterprises (“FITE Regulations”), which were issued by the State Council of the PRC on December 11, 2001, became effective on January 1, 2002 and was subsequently amended on September 10, 2008, February 6, 2016, and March 29, 2022, respectively. The FITE Regulations stipulate that foreign invested telecommunications enterprises in the PRC (“FITEs”) must be established as Sino-foreign equity joint ventures. Under the FITE Regulations and in accordance with WTO-related agreements, the foreign party to a FITE engaging in value-added telecommunications services may hold up to 50% of the equity of the FITE, with certain exceptions as approved by the relevant government authorities, but no geographic restrictions on the FITE’s operations. On June 30, 2016, the MIIT issued an Announcement of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (the “MIIT”) on Issues concerning the Provision of Telecommunication Services in the Mainland by Service Providers from Hong Kong and Macao, which provides that investors from Hong Kong and Macau may hold more than 50% of the equity in FITEs engaging in certain specified categories of value-added telecommunications services.

 

For a FITE to acquire any equity interest in a value-added telecommunications business in China, it must satisfy a number of stringent performance and operational experience requirements. FITEs that meet these requirements must obtain approvals from the MIIT or their authorized local counterparts, which retain considerable discretion in granting approvals.

 

On July 13, 2006, the Notice of the Ministry of Information Industry on Intensifying the Administration of Foreign Investment in Value-added Telecommunications Services (the “MIIT Notice”), which reiterates certain provisions of the FITE Regulations, was issued. Under the MIIT Notice, if a FITE intends to invest in a PRC value-added telecommunications business, the FITE must be established and must apply for a telecommunications business license applicable to the business. Under the MIIT Notice, a domestic company that holds a license for the provision of Internet content services, or an ICP license, is considered to be a type of value-added telecommunications business in China, and is prohibited from leasing, transferring or selling the license to foreign investors in any form, and from providing any assistance, including providing resources, sites or facilities, to foreign investors to conduct value-added telecommunications businesses illegally in China. Trademarks and domain names that are used in the provision of Internet content services must be owned by the ICP license holder or its shareholders. On November 27, 2017, the MIIT promulgated the Notice Regulating the Use of Domain Names in the Provision of Internet-based Information Services, or the Domain Names Notice, which became effective on January 1, 2018. Under the Domain Names Notice, a domain name used by a provider of Internet-based information services must be registered and owned by the provider or, if the provider is an entity, by a shareholder or senior management of the provider.

 

Foreign Investments in Advertising

 

In accordance with the Administrative Provision on Foreign Investment in the Advertising Industry, jointly promulgated by the SAMR and MOFCOM on August 22, 2008 and became effective on October 1, 2008, foreign investors can invest in PRC advertising companies either through wholly owned enterprises or joint ventures with Chinese parties. However, the foreign investor must have at least three years of direct operations outside China in the advertising industry as its core business. This requirement was reduced to two years if foreign investment in the advertising company is in the form of a joint venture. The Administrative Provision on Foreign Investment in the Advertising Industry was subsequently repealed by the SAMR and MOFCOM on June 29, 2015.

 

In consideration of the above discussed restrictions on foreign investments in ICP and advertising business, our whole-owned subsidiary in China, Rise King WFOE, is ineligible to apply for the required licenses for providing Internet information services and was ineligible to apply for the required licenses for providing advertising services in China before June 29, 2015. Our ICP business and advertising business are operated by Business Opportunity Online and Beijing CNET Online in China. We have been, and are expected to continue to be, dependent on these companies to operate our ICP business and advertising business. We do not have any equity interest in our PRC Operating Entities, but Rise King WFOE receives the economic benefits of the same through the Contractual Arrangements.

 

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We have been advised by our PRC counsel, as of the date hereof, our current contractual arrangements with our VIEs and their respective shareholders are valid, binding and enforceable. However, there exist substantial uncertainties regarding the application, interpretation and enforcement of current and future PRC laws and regulations and their potential effect on our corporate structure and contractual arrangements.

 

On March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress of the PRC approved the Foreign Investment Law, which came into effect on January 1, 2020, replaced the trio of existing laws regulating foreign investment in China, namely, the Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law, the Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Enterprise Law and the Wholly Foreign-invested Enterprise Law, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations. The Foreign Investment Law embodies an expected PRC regulatory trend to rationalize its foreign investment regulatory regime in line with prevailing international practice and the legislative efforts to unify the corporate legal requirements for both foreign and domestic investments. However, since it is relatively new, uncertainties still exist in relation to its interpretation and implementation. For instance, under the Foreign Investment Law, “foreign investment” refers to the investment activities directly or indirectly conducted by foreign individuals, enterprises or other entities in China. Though it does not explicitly classify contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment, there is no assurance that foreign investment via contractual arrangements would not be interpreted as a type of indirect foreign investment activities under the definition in the future. In addition, the definition contains a catch-all provision which includes investments made by foreign investors through means stipulated in laws or administrative regulations or other methods prescribed by the State Council. Therefore, it still leaves leeway for future laws, administrative regulations or provisions promulgated by the State Council to provide for contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment. In any of these cases, it will be uncertain whether our contractual arrangements will be deemed to be in violation of the market access requirements for foreign investment under the PRC laws and regulations. Furthermore, if future laws, administrative regulations or provisions prescribed by the State Council mandate further actions to be taken by companies with respect to existing contractual arrangements, we may face substantial uncertainties as to whether we can complete such actions in a timely manner, or at all. Failure to take timely and appropriate measures to cope with any of these or similar regulatory compliance challenges could materially and adversely affect our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations.

 

Business License and permits for ICP and Advertising Companies

 

All PRC legal entities may commence operations only upon obtaining a business license from the relevant local branch of the SAMR.

 

On October 27, 1994, the Tenth Session of the Standing Committee of the Eighth National People’s Congress adopted the Advertising Law, which became effective on February 1, 1995, and was subsequently amended on April 24, 2015, on October 26, 2018, and on April 29, 2021. According to the Revised Advertising Law and its various implementing rules, companies engaging in advertising activities must obtain from the SAMR or its local branches a business license which specifically includes within its scope the operation of an advertising business. Companies conducting advertising activities without such a license may be subject to penalties, including fines, confiscation of advertising income and orders to cease advertising operations. The business license of an advertising company is valid for the duration of its existence, unless the license is suspended or revoked due to a violation of any relevant law or regulation. We have obtained such a business license from the local branches of the SAMR as required by existing PRC regulations. We do not expect to encounter any difficulties in maintaining the business license. However, if we seriously violate the relevant advertising laws and regulations, the SAMR or its local branches may revoke our business licenses.

 

On September 25, 2000, the State Council issued the Measures for the Administration of Internet Information Services (“ICP Measures”), and was subsequently amended on January 8, 2011. Under the ICP Measures, entities that provide information to online users on the Internet, or ICPs, are obliged to obtain an operating permit from the “MIIT or its local branch. ICP permits are subject to annual inspection. Our PRC operating VIEs engaged in ICP business have obtained their respective ICP permits and comply with the annual inspection and other related provisions. We do not expect to encounter any difficulties in maintaining the ICP operating permits. However, if we seriously violate the relevant ICP laws and regulations, the SAMR or its local branches may revoke our permits.

 

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Advertising Content

 

PRC advertising laws, rules and regulations set forth certain content requirements for advertisements in China including, among other things, prohibitions on false or misleading content, superlative wording, socially destabilizing content or content involving obscenities, superstition, violence, discrimination or infringement of the public interest. Advertisements for anesthetic, psychotropic, toxic or radioactive drugs are prohibited. There are also specific restrictions and requirements regarding advertisements that relate to matters such as patented products or processes, pharmaceutical products, medical procedures, alcohol, tobacco, and cosmetics. In addition, all advertisements relating to pharmaceuticals, medical instruments, agrochemicals and veterinary pharmaceuticals, together with any other advertisements which are subject to censorship by administrative authorities according to relevant laws or regulations, must be submitted to relevant authorities for content approval prior to dissemination.

 

Advertisers, advertising operators, including advertising agencies, and advertising distributors are required by PRC advertising laws and regulations to ensure that the content of the advertisements they prepare or distribute is true and in full compliance with applicable laws. In providing advertising services, advertising operators and advertising distributors must review the supporting documents provided by advertisers for advertisements and verify that the content of the advertisements complies with applicable PRC laws, rules and regulations. Prior to distributing advertisements that are subject to government censorship and approval, advertising distributors are obligated to verify that such censorship has been performed and approval has been obtained. Violation of these regulations may result in penalties, including fines, confiscation of advertising income, orders to cease dissemination of the advertisements and orders to publish an advertisement correcting the misleading information. In circumstances involving serious violations, the SAMR or its local branches may revoke violators’ licenses or permits for their advertising business operations. Furthermore, advertisers, advertising operators or advertising distributors may be subject to civil liability if they infringe on the legal rights and interests of third parties in the course of their advertising business.

 

We do not believe that advertisements containing content subject to restriction or censorship comprise a material portion of the advertisements displayed on our media network. However, there can be no assurance that each advertisement displayed on our network complies with relevant PRC advertising laws and regulations. Failure to comply with PRC laws and regulations relating to advertisement content restrictions governing the advertising industry in China may result in severe penalties.

 

Regulation on Intellectual Property

 

Regulation on Trademark

 

The Trademark Law of the PRC was adopted at the 24th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Fifth National People’s Congress on August 23, 1982 and amended on February 22, 1993, October 27, 2001, August 30, 2013 and November April 23, 2019, respectively. The Trademark Law sets out the guidelines on administration of trademarks and protection of the exclusive rights of trademark owners. In order to enjoy an exclusive right to use a trademark, one must register the trademark with the Trademark Office of China National Intellectual Property Administration under the SAMR and obtain a registration certificate.

 

Regulation on Patents

 

The Patent Law of the PRC was adopted at the 4th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Sixth National People’s Congress on March 12, 1984 and subsequently amended in 1992, 2000, 2008 and 2020. The Patent Law extends protection to three kinds of patents: invention patents, utility patents and design patents. According to the Implementing Regulations of the Patent Law, promulgated by the State Council of the PRC on June 15, 2001, and subsequently amended in December 28, 2002 and January 9, 2010, respectively, an invention patent refers to a new technical solution relating to a product, a process or improvement. When compared to existing technology, an invention patent has prominent substantive features and represents notable progress. A utility patent refers to any new technical solution relating to the shape, the structure, or their combination, of a product. Utility patents are granted for products only, not processes. A design patent (or industrial design) refers to any new design of the shape, pattern or color of a product or their combinations, which creates an aesthetic feeling and are suitable for industrial application. Inventors or designers must register with the State Intellectual Property Office to obtain patent protection. The term of protection is twenty years for invention patents and ten years for utility patents and design patents. Unauthorized use of patent constitutes an infringement and the patent holders are entitled to claims of damages, including royalties, to the extent reasonable, and lost profits.

 

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Regulation on Copyright

 

The Copyright Law of the PRC was adopted at the 15th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Seventh National People’s Congress on September 7, 1990 and amended on October 27, 2001, February 26, 2010, and November 11, 2020, respectively. Unlike patent and trademark protection, copyrighted works do not require registration for protection in China. However, copyright owners may wish to voluntarily register with the China Copyright Protection Center to establish evidence of ownership in the event enforcement actions become necessary. Consent from the copyright owners and payment of royalties are required for the use of copyrighted works. Copyrights of movies or other audio or video works usually expire fifty years after their first publication. The amended Copyright Law extends copyright protection to Internet activities, products disseminated over the Internet and software products. The amended Copyright Law also requires registration of the pledge of a copyright.

 

Regulations on Foreign Currency Exchange

 

Foreign Currency Exchange

 

Pursuant to the Foreign Currency Administration Rules promulgated in1996 and most recently amended in August 2008 and various regulations issued by SAFE and other relevant PRC government authorities, the Renminbi is freely convertible only to the extent of current account items, such as trade-related receipts and payments, interest and dividends. Capital account items, such as direct equity investments, loans and repatriation of investment, unless expressly exempted by laws and regulations, require the prior approval from SAFE or its local branch for conversion of the Renminbi into a foreign currency, such as U.S. dollars, and remittance of the foreign currency outside the PRC.

 

Payments for transactions that take place within the PRC must be made in Renminbi. Domestic companies or individuals can repatriate foreign currency payments received from abroad or deposit these payments abroad subject to applicable regulations that expressly require repatriation within certain period. Foreign-invested enterprises may retain foreign exchange in accounts with designated foreign exchange banks subject to a cap set by SAFE or its local branch. Foreign currencies received under current account items can be either retained or sold to financial institutions engaged in the foreign exchange settlement or sales business without prior approval from SAFE by complying with relevant regulations. Foreign exchange income under capital account can be retained or sold to financial institutions engaged in foreign exchange settlement and sales business, with prior approval from SAFE unless otherwise provided.

 

After a Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving Foreign Exchange Administration Policy on Direct Investment, or SAFE Notice 13, became effective on June 1, 2015, instead of applying for approvals regarding foreign exchange registrations of foreign direct investment and overseas direct investment from SAFE, entities and individuals will be required to apply for such foreign exchange registrations from qualified banks. The qualified banks, under the supervision of SAFE, directly examine the applications and conduct the registration. On October 23, 2019, SAFE issued the Circular on Further Promoting Cross-border Trade and Investment Facilitation, or SAFE Circular 28. Among others, SAFE Circular 28 relaxes the prior restrictions and allows the foreign-invested enterprises without equity investment as in their approved business scope to use their capital obtained from foreign exchange settlement to make domestic equity investment as long as the investments are real and in compliance with the foreign investment-related laws and regulations. In addition, SAFE Circular 28 stipulates that qualified enterprises in certain pilot areas may use their capital income from registered capital, foreign debt and overseas listing, for the purpose of domestic payments without providing authenticity certifications to the relevant banks in advance for those domestic payments.

 

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Our business operations, which are subject to the foreign currency exchange regulations, have all been implemented in accordance with these regulations. We will take steps to ensure that our future operations comply with these regulations.

 

Dividend Distribution

 

The principal laws, rules and regulations governing dividends paid by PRC operating subsidiaries and VIEs include the Company Law of the PRC (1993), as amended in 2018 and the Foreign Investment Law and its Implementation Rules (2019). Under these laws and regulations, PRC subsidiaries and VIEs, including wholly owned foreign enterprises, or WFOEs, and domestic companies in China, may pay dividends only out of their accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, its PRC subsidiaries and VIEs, including WFOEs and domestic companies, are required to set aside at least 10% of their after-tax profit based on PRC accounting standards each year to their statutory capital reserve fund until the cumulative amount of such reserve reaches 50% of their respective registered capital. These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends.

 

Tax

 

On March 16, 2007, the Fifth Session of the Tenth National People’s Congress of PRC passed the Enterprise Income Tax Law of the People’s Republic of China, or EIT Law, which became effective on January 1, 2008 and was subsequently amended on February 24, 2017 and December 29, 2018, respectively. On November 28, 2007, the State Council at the 197th Executive Meeting passed the Regulation on the Implementation of the Income Tax Law of the People’s Republic of China, which became effective on January 1, 2008 and was subsequently amended on April 23, 2019. The EIT Law adopted a uniform tax rate of 25% for all enterprises (including foreign-invested enterprises).

 

Under the EIT Law, enterprises are classified as either “resident enterprises” or “non-resident enterprises.” Pursuant to the EIT Law and the Implementation Rules, enterprises established under PRC laws, or enterprises established outside China whose “de facto management bodies” are located in China, are considered “resident enterprises” and subject to the uniform 25% enterprise income tax rate for their global income. According to the Implementation Rules, “de facto management body” refers to a managing body that in practice exercises overall management and control over the production and business, personnel, accounting and assets of an enterprise. Our management is currently based in China and is expected to remain in China in the future. In addition, although the EIT Law provides that “dividends, bonuses and other equity investment proceeds between qualified resident enterprises” is exempted income, and the Implementation Rules refer to “dividends, bonuses and other equity investment proceeds between qualified resident enterprises” as the investment proceeds obtained by a resident enterprise from its direct investment in another resident enterprise, however, it is unclear whether our circumstance is eligible for exemption.

 

Furthermore, the EIT Law and Implementation Rules provide that the “non-resident enterprises” are subject to the enterprise income tax rate of 10% on their income sourced from China, if such “non-resident enterprises” (i) do not have establishments or premises of business in China or (ii) have establishments or premises of business in China, but the relevant income does not have actual connection with their establishments or premises of business in China. Such income tax may be exempted or reduced by the State Council of the PRC or pursuant to a tax treaty between China and the jurisdictions in which its non-PRC shareholders reside. Under the Double Tax Avoidance Arrangement between Hong Kong and Mainland China, if the Hong Kong resident enterprise owns more than 25% of the equity interest in a company in China, the 10% withholding tax on the dividends the Hong Kong resident enterprise received from such company in China is reduced to 5%. If China Net HK is considered to be a Hong Kong resident enterprise under the Double Tax Avoidance Arrangement and is considered to be a “non-resident enterprise” under the EIT Law, the dividends paid to us by Rise King WFOE may be subject to the reduced income tax rate of 5% under the Double Tax Avoidance Arrangement. However, based on the Notice on Certain Issues with Respect to the Enforcement of Dividend Provisions in Tax Treaties, issued on February 20, 2009 by the State Administration of Taxation, if the relevant PRC tax authorities determine, in their discretion, that a company benefits from such reduced income tax rate due to a structure or arrangement that is primarily tax-driven, such PRC tax authorities may adjust the preferential tax treatment.

 

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Provisions Regarding Overseas Listing and Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors

 

On August 8, 2006, six PRC regulatory agencies, including CSRC, MOFCOM, SAT, SASAC, SAMR and SAFE, jointly promulgated the M&A Rules, which became effective on September 8, 2006, and was subsequently amended on June 22, 2009, to regulate foreign investment in PRC domestic enterprises. The M&A Rules provide that the MOFCOM must be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise and any of the following situations exist: (i) the transaction involves an important industry in China; (ii) the transaction may affect national “economic security”; or (iii) the PRC domestic enterprise has a well-known trademark or historical Chinese trade name in China. The M&A Rules also contain a provision requiring offshore SPVs formed for the purpose of the overseas listing of equity interests in PRC companies and controlled directly or indirectly by PRC companies or individuals, to obtain the approval of the CSRC prior to publicly listing their securities on an overseas stock exchange. On September 21, 2006, the CSRC issued a clarification that sets forth the criteria and procedures for obtaining any required approval from the CSRC. In December 2020, the NDRC and the MOFCOM promulgated the Measures for the Security Review of Foreign Investment, which came into effect on January 18, 2021. As these measures are recently promulgated, official guidance has not been issued by the designated office in charge of such security review yet.

 

To date, the application of the M&A Rules is unclear. Our PRC counsel has advised us that:

 

 

the CSRC approval requirement applies to SPVs that acquire equity interests in PRC companies through share exchanges and cash, and seek overseas listings; and

 

 

based on their understanding of the current PRC laws, rules and regulations and the M&A Rules, unless there are new PRC laws and regulations or clear requirements from the CSRC in any form that require the prior approval of the CSRC for the listing and trading of any overseas SPV’s securities on an overseas stock exchange, the M&A Rules do not require that we obtain prior CSRC approval because:  (i) the Share Exchange is a purely foreign related transaction governed by foreign laws, not subject to the jurisdiction of PRC laws and regulations; (ii) we are not a special purpose vehicle formed or controlled by PRC companies or PRC individuals; and (iii) we are owned or substantively controlled by foreigners.

 

However, the interpretation and application of the M&A Rules remain unclear, and the PRC government authorities have the sole discretion to determine whether the transaction is subject to the approval of the CSRC, especially when taking into consideration of the performance-based incentive option arrangement by way of the Share Transfer Agreements. If the CSRC or another PRC regulatory agency subsequently determines that CSRC approval is required for the transaction, we cannot predict how long it would take to obtain the approval. In addition, we may need to apply for a remedial approval from the CSRC and may be subject to certain administrative or other sanctions from these regulatory agencies.

 

Further, new rules and regulations or relevant interpretations may be issued from time to time that may require us to obtain retroactive approval from the CSRC in connection with the business combination. If this were to occur, our failure to obtain or delay in obtaining the CSRC approval for the business combination would subject us to sanctions imposed by the CSRC and other PRC regulatory agencies. These sanctions could include fines and penalties on our operations in China, restrictions or limitations on our ability to pay dividends outside of China, and other forms of sanctions that may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

If the CSRC or another PRC regulatory agency subsequently determines that CSRC approval is required for the business combination, we may need to apply for a remedial approval from the CSRC and may be subject to certain administrative punishments or other sanctions from these regulatory agencies. New rules and regulations or relevant interpretations may require that we retroactively obtain approval from the CSRC in connection with the business combination. If this were to occur, our failure to obtain or delay in obtaining the CSRC approval for the transaction would subject us to sanctions imposed by the CSRC and other PRC regulatory agencies. These sanctions could include fines and penalties on our operations in China, restrictions or limitations on our ability to pay dividends outside of China, and other forms of sanctions that may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

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The M&A Rules also established additional procedures and requirements expected to make merger and acquisition activities in China by foreign investors more time-consuming and complex, including requirements in some instances that the MOFCOM be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise. These rules may also require the approval from the MOFCOM where overseas companies established or controlled by PRC enterprises or residents acquire affiliated domestic companies. Complying with the requirements of the new regulations to complete such transactions could be time-consuming, and any required approval processes, including MOFCOM approval, may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions, which could affect our ability to expand our business.

 

On July 6, 2021, the State Council and General Office of the CPC Central Committee issued Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down Illegal Securities Activities in Accordance with the Law. The opinions emphasized the need to strengthen the administration over illegal securities activities and the supervision on overseas listings by China-based companies and proposed to take effective measures, such as promoting the construction of relevant regulatory systems to deal with the risks and incidents faced by China-based overseas-listed companies.

 

As a follow-up, on December 24, 2021, the State Council issued a draft of the Provisions of the State Council on the Administration of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies, and the CSRC released a draft of Administration Measures for the Filing of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies for public comments (the “Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listing”), which had a comment period that expired on January 23, 2022. The Draft Rules Regarding Overseas Listing lay out the filing regulation arrangement for both direct and indirect overseas listing, and clarify the determination criteria for indirect overseas listing in overseas markets. These draft measures propose to establish a new filing-based regime to regulate overseas offerings and listings by domestic companies. Specifically, an overseas offering and listing by a PRC company, whether directly or indirectly, an initial or follow-on offering, must be filed with the CSRC. The examination and determination of an indirect offering and listing will be conducted on a substance-over-form basis, and an offering and listing shall be deemed as a PRC company’s indirect overseas offering and listing if the issuer meets the following conditions: (i) any of the operating income, gross profit, total assets, or net assets of the PRC enterprise in the most recent fiscal year was more than 50% of the relevant line item in the issuer’s audited consolidated financial statement for that year; and (ii) senior management personnel responsible for business operations and management are mostly PRC citizens or are ordinarily resident in the PRC, and the principal place of business is in the PRC or carried out in the PRC. The issuer or its affiliated PRC entity, as the case may be, shall file with the CSRC for its initial public offering, follow-on offering and other equivalent offering activities. Particularly, the issuer shall submit the filing with respect to its initial public offering and listing within three business days after its initial filing of the listing application, and submit the filing with respect to its follow-on offering within three business days after the completion of the follow-on offering. Failure to comply with the filing requirements may result in fines to the relevant PRC companies, suspension of their businesses, revocation of their business licenses and operation permits and fines on the controlling shareholder and other responsible persons. Theses draft measures also set forth certain regulatory red lines for overseas offerings and listings by PRC enterprises.

 

Human Capital Resources

 

Employees Profiles

 

As of December 31, 2021, we had 85 full-time employees, 10 of whom are in sales and marketing, 34 of whom are in operations and support, 29 of whom are in management and administration and 12 of whom are in technology support and R&D.

 

Employee Benefit Plans

 

We are compliant with local prevailing wage, contractor licensing and insurance regulations, and have good relations with our employees.

 

16

 

As required by PRC regulations, we participate in various employee benefit plans that are organized by municipal and provincial governments, including pension, work-related injury benefits, maternity insurance, medical and unemployment benefit plans. We are required under PRC laws to make contributions to the employee benefit plans at specified percentages of the salaries, bonuses and certain allowances of our employees, up to a maximum amount specified by the local government from time to time. Members of the retirement plan are entitled to a pension equal to a fixed proportion of the salary prevailing at the member’s retirement date.

 

Generally, we enter into a standard employment contract with our officers and managers for a set period of years and a standard employment contract with other employees for a set period of years. According to these contracts, all of our employees are prohibited from engaging in any activities that compete with our business during the period of their employment with us. Furthermore, the employment contracts with officers or managers include a covenant that prohibits officers or managers from engaging in any activities that compete with our business for two years after the period of employment.

 

Corporation Information

 

Our principal executive offices are located at Room 1106, Xinghuo Keji Plaza, No. 2 Fufeng Road, Fengtai District, Beijing, PRC. Our telephone number at this address is (86 10) 60846616 and our fax number is (86 10) 88857816. For more information, see our corporate website at www.zdat.com.

 

Item 1A.

RISK FACTORS

 

In addition to the other information in this Form 10-K, readers should carefully consider the following important factors. These factors, among others, in some cases have affected, and in the future could affect, our financial condition and results of operations and could cause our future results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements that appear in this on Form 10-K or that we have made or will make elsewhere.

 

Risks Related to Our Business

 

We are susceptible to general economic conditions, natural catastrophic events and public health crises, and a potential downturn in advertising and marketing spending by advertisers could adversely affect our operating results in the near future.

 

Our business is subject to the impact of natural catastrophic events, such as earthquakes, or floods, public health crisis, such as disease outbreaks, epidemics, or pandemics in China, and all these could result in a decrease or sharp downturn of economies, including our markets and business locations in the current and future periods. Although the COVID-19 outbreak had been largely under control within China since the second fiscal quarter of 2020, there has been continuous rebound cases in China, especially in some large cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong since February 2021, and uncertainties associated with the future developments of the pandemic still exist, which resulted in unpredictable regional quarantines, travel restrictions, and shutdown of businesses, which has caused slower recovery of the China economy. We may experience impact from quarantines, market downturns and changes in customer behavior related to pandemic fears and impact on our workforce if the virus continues to spread. We experienced a decrease in revenue due to the outbreak. COVID-19 affected a significant number of our workforce employed in our operations, and as a result we are experiencing a slow resumption of operations and may experience delays or the inability to delivery our service on a timely basis. In addition, one or more of our customers, partners, service providers or suppliers may experience financial distress, delayed or defaults on payment, file for bankruptcy protection, sharp diminishing of business, or suffer disruptions in their business due to the outbreak. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic impacts our results will depend on future developments and reactions in China, which are highly uncertain and will include emerging information concerning the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the actions taken by governments and private businesses to attempt to contain the coronavirus. The COVID-19 situation is likely to result in a potential material adverse impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition in the short run if it has become worse in China. Wider-spread COVID-19 in China and globally could prolong the deterioration in economic conditions and could cause decreases or delays in advertising spending and reduce and/or negatively impact our short-term ability to grow our revenues. Any decreased collectability of accounts receivable, bankruptcy of small and medium businesses, or early termination of agreements due to deterioration in economic conditions could negatively impact our results of operations.

 

17

 

We may be subject to, and may expend significant resources in defending against, government actions and civil suits based on the content and services we provide through our Internet advertising and data service platforms.

 

PRC advertising laws and regulations require advertisers, advertising operators and advertising distributors, including businesses such as ours, to ensure that the content of the advertisements they prepare or distribute is fair, accurate and in full compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations. Although we comply with the requirements by reviewing the business licenses and the profiles of our clients, clients may post advertisements about business opportunities that are not legitimate and over which we have no control. On April 24, 2015, the Fourteenth Session of the Standing Committee of the Twelfth National People’s Congress adopted the Revised Advertising Law, which became effective on September 1, 2015 and was further amended on October 26, 2018 and April 29, 2021. The Revised Advertising Law further established the advertisement standards and restrictions of certain industries, such as: medical instruments, education and training, franchise and investments; defined separate standards and restrictions for Internet advertisements and reinforced the regulatory responsibilities of the related competent authorities. We cannot assure you that our operating entities will be fully in compliance with these new rules during normal course of business. Violation of these laws, rules or regulations may result in penalties, including fines, confiscation of advertising fees, orders to cease dissemination of the advertisements and orders to publish an advertisement correcting the misleading information. In circumstances involving serious violations, the PRC government may revoke a violator’s license for its advertising business operations.

 

We operate in the advertising and data service industry, which is particularly sensitive to changes in economic conditions and advertising trends.

 

Advertising and data service spending by our clients is particularly sensitive to changes in general economic conditions. For example, advertising and data service expenditures typically decrease during periods of economic downturn. Advertisers may reduce the amount of money they spend to advertise and obtain precision marketing data and data analysis on/from our advertising and data service platforms for a number of reasons, including:

 

 

a general decline in economic conditions;

   
 

a decline in economic conditions in the particular cities where we conduct business;

   
 

a decision to shift advertising and marketing expenditures to other available less expensive advertising media; and

   
 

a decline in advertising and marketing spending in general.

 

A decrease in the demand for advertising media in general, and for our advertising and marketing services in particular, would materially and adversely affect our ability to generate revenues, and have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

We face significant competition, and if we do not compete successfully against new and existing competitors, we may lose our market share, and our profitability may be adversely affected.

 

Increased competition could reduce our profitability and result in a loss of market share. Some of our existing and potential competitors may have competitive advantages, such as significantly greater financial, marketing or other resources, and may successfully mimic and adopt our business models. Moreover, increased competition will provide advertisers with a wider range of media and advertising and marketing service alternatives, which could lead to lower prices and decreased revenues, gross margins and profits. We cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully compete against new or existing competitors.

 

18

 

Key employees are essential to growing our business.

 

Key employees, such as our chief executive officer, head of our Internet advertising business unit, head of our new business development department and head of our research and development team are essential to our ability to continue to grow our business. They have established relationships within the industries in which we operate. If they were to leave us, our growth strategy might be hindered, which could limit our ability to increase revenue.

 

In addition, we face competition for attracting skilled personnel with increasing labor cost. If we fail to attract and retain qualified personnel to meet current and future needs, this could slow our ability to grow our business, which could result in a decrease in market share.

 

We may need additional capital and we may not be able to obtain it at acceptable terms, or at all, which could adversely affect our liquidity and financial position.

 

We may need additional cash resources due to changed business conditions or other future developments. If these sources are insufficient to satisfy our cash requirements, we may seek to sell additional equity or debt securities or obtain a credit facility. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased debt service obligations and could result in operating and financing covenants that would restrict our operations and liquidity.

 

Our ability to obtain additional capital on acceptable terms is subject to a variety of uncertainties, including:

 

 

investors’ perception of, and demand for, securities of alternative advertising media companies;

   
 

conditions of the U.S. and other capital markets in which we may seek to raise funds;

   
 

our future results of operations, financial condition and cash flow;

   
 

PRC governmental regulation of foreign investment in advertising service companies in China;

   
 

economic, political and other conditions in China; and

   
 

PRC governmental policies relating to foreign currency borrowings.

 

Our failure to protect our intellectual property rights could have a negative impact on our business.

 

We believe our brand, trade name, copyrights, domain name and other intellectual property are critical to our success. The success of our business depends in part upon our continued ability to use our brand, trade names and copyrights to further develop and increase brand awareness. The infringement of our trade names and copyrights could diminish the value of our brand and its market acceptance, competitive advantages or goodwill. In addition, our information and operational systems, which have not been patented or otherwise registered as our property, are a key component of our competitive advantage and our growth strategy.

 

Monitoring and preventing the unauthorized use of our intellectual property is difficult. The measures we take to protect our brand, trade names, copyrights, domain name and other intellectual property rights may not be adequate to prevent their unauthorized use by third parties. Furthermore, application of laws governing intellectual property rights in China and abroad is uncertain and evolving, and could involve substantial risks to us. If we are unable to adequately protect our brand, trade names, copyrights, domain name and other intellectual property rights, we may lose these rights and our business may suffer materially. Further, unauthorized use of our brand, domain name or trade names could cause brand confusion among advertisers and harm our reputation. If our brand recognition decreases, we may lose advertisers and fail in our expansion strategies, and our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

 

19

 

We may be subject to intellectual property infringement claims or other allegations, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and prospects.

 

We cannot be certain that we do not or will not infringe patents, copyrights, trademarks or other intellectual property rights held by external parties. From time to time, we may be subject to legal proceedings and claims alleging infringement of patents, trademarks, copyrights or other intellectual property rights, or misappropriation of creative ideas or formats, or other infringement of proprietary, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and prospects.

 

We rely on computer software and hardware systems in managing our operations, the failure of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

We are dependent upon our computer software and hardware systems in supporting our network and managing and monitoring programs on the network. In addition, we rely on our computer hardware for the storage, delivery and transmission of the data on our network. Any system failure that interrupts the input, retrieval and transmission of data or increases the service time could disrupt our normal operation. Any failure in our computer software or hardware systems could decrease our revenues and harm our relationships with advertisers and consumers, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Any failure or interruptions in the internet infrastructure, bandwidth providers, data center providers, other third parties or our own systems for providing our solutions to customers could negatively impact our business.

 

Our ability to deliver our solutions is dependent on the development and maintenance of the internet and other telecommunications services by third parties. Such services include maintenance of a reliable network backbone with the necessary speed, data capacity and security for providing reliable internet access and services and reliable telecommunications systems that connect our operations. While our solutions are designed to operate without interruption, we may experience interruptions and delays in services and availability from time to time. We rely on systems as well as third-party vendors, including data center, bandwidth, and telecommunications equipment providers, to provide our solutions. We do not maintain redundant systems or facilities for some of these services.  In the event of a catastrophic event with respect to one or more of these systems or facilities, we may experience an extended period of system unavailability, which could negatively impact our relationship with our customers.

 

Privacy and data security concerns, laws, or other regulations could expose us to liability or impair our operations.

 

Privacy and data security are rapidly evolving areas of concern and regulation.  Changes in laws restricting or otherwise governing data and transfer thereof could be difficult to comply with, result in increased costs, or impair our operations. Security measures that we implement may fail due to third-party attack, employee error or sabotage, or other causes.  Hacking techniques change frequently and therefore can be difficult to prevent. In addition, service providers could suffer security breaches or data losses that affect our customers’ information. A security breach could damage our reputation, resulting in loss of customers or reluctance of potential customers to try our platform, or civil or criminal liability.

 

The PRC Cyber Security Law, effective on June 1, 2017, stipulates that a network operator must adopt technical measures and other necessary measures in accordance with applicable laws and regulations as well as compulsory national and industrial standards to safeguard the safety and stability of network operations, effectively respond to network security incidents, prevent illegal and criminal activities, maintain the integrity, confidentiality and availability of network data.

 

On June 10, 2021, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the Data Security Law, which took effect on September 1, 2021. The Data Security Law establishes a classified and tiered system for data protection based on the level of importance of the data in the economic and social development, as well as the level of danger of the data imposed on national security, public interests, or the legal interests of individuals and organizations upon any manipulation, destruction, leakage, illegal acquisition or illegal usage. Furthermore, it is specified that the Cyber Security Law applies to the security administration of the cross-border transfer of important data collected and generated by operators of “critical information infrastructure” during their operations in China.

 

20

 

On August 20, 2021, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the Personal Information Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China (the “Personal Information Protection Law”), effective from November 1, 2021. The Personal Information Protection Law requires, among others, that (i) the processing of personal information should have a clear and reasonable purpose which should be directly related to the processing purpose, in a method that has the least impact on personal rights and interests, and (ii) the collection of personal information should be limited to the minimum scope necessary to achieve the processing purpose to avoid the excessive collection of personal information. Different types of personal information and personal information processing will be subject to various rules on consent, transfer, and security. Entities handling personal information bear responsibilities for their personal information handling activities, and shall adopt necessary measures to safeguard the security of the personal information they handle. Otherwise, the entities handling personal information could be ordered to correct, or suspend or terminate the provision of services, and face confiscation of illegal income, fines or other penalties.

 

On November 14, 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China published a discussion draft of Management Measures for Internet Data Security, or the Draft Measures for Internet Data Security, which provides that data processors conducting the following activities shall apply for cybersecurity review: (i) merger, reorganization or separation of Internet platform operators that have acquired a large number of data resources related to national security, economic development or public interests affects or may affect national security; (ii) listing abroad of data processors processing over one million users’ personal information; (iii) listing in Hong Kong which affects or may affect national security; (iv) other data processing activities that affect or may affect national security. The Draft Measures for Internet Data Security also provided that operators of large Internet platforms that set up headquarters, operation centers or R&D centers overseas shall report to the national cyberspace administration and competent authorities. The CAC solicited comments on this draft, but there is no timetable as to when it will be enacted.

 

We are making efforts to comply with the applicable laws, regulations and standards, but there can be no assurance that our measures will be effective and sufficient under these PRC laws. If we were found by the regulatory authorities to have failed to comply with these PRC laws, we would be subject to warning, fines, confiscation of illegal revenue, revocation of licenses, cancellation of filings, shutdown of our platform or even criminal liability and our business, results of operations and financial condition would also be adversely affected. In addition, in light of the evolving regulatory framework of China for the protection of information in cyberspace, we may be subject to uncertainties of and adjustments to our business practices, which may incur additional operating expenses and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

If we are unable to maintain appropriate internal financial reporting controls and procedures, it could cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations, result in the restatement of our financial statements, harm our operating results, subject us to regulatory scrutiny and sanction, cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information and have a negative effect on the market price for shares of our Common Stock.

 

Effective internal controls are necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports and effectively prevent fraud. We maintain a system of internal control over financial reporting, which is defined as a process designed by, or under the supervision of, our principal executive officer and principal financial officer, or persons performing similar functions, and effected by our board of directors, management and other personnel, to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

 

As a public company, we have significant additional requirements for enhanced financial reporting and internal controls. We are required to document and test our internal control procedures in order to satisfy the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which requires annual management assessments of the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting. The process of designing and implementing effective internal controls is a continuous effort that requires us to anticipate and react to changes in our business and the economic and regulatory environments and to expend significant resources to maintain a system of internal controls that is adequate to satisfy our reporting obligations as a public company.

 

21

 

Our management will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of our overall control environment and will continue to refine existing controls as they, in conjunction with the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors, chief executive officer and chief financial officer, consider necessary. We cannot assure you that we will not, in the future, identify areas requiring improvement in our internal control over financial reporting. We cannot assure you that the measures we will take to remediate any areas in need of improvement will be successful or that we will implement and maintain adequate controls over our financial processes and reporting in the future as we continue our growth.  If we are unable to maintain appropriate internal financial reporting controls and procedures, it could cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations, result in the restatement of our financial statements, harm our operating results, subject us to regulatory scrutiny and sanction, cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information and have a negative effect on the market price for shares of our Common Stock.

 

Our blockchain business is at an early stage and the PRC laws and regulations may have a potential effect.

 

As an initiation of our Business Opportunity Social Ecosystem, we developed our Business Opportunity Chain platform based on the blockchain technology to facilitate our company’s business. The laws and regulations governing the blockchain in China are developing and evolving and subject to changes.

 

The PRC government adopts a positive attitude to the blockchain technology and it has been mentioned several times in the national strategy reports. On March 2021, the 14th Five-year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development of the PRC was approved by the 13th National People’s Congress and firstly mentioned blockchain as a newly recognized manner to support digitalization of the economy. However, the PRC government authorities have strictly prohibited the Initial Coin Offering (the “ICO”) and any similar activities within the PRC by issuing the Announcement of the People's Bank of China, the Office of the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and Other Departments on Preventing the Financing Risks of Initial Coin Offerings on September 4, 2017. The Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, the Ministry of Public Security, the People's Bank of China and the State Administration for Market Regulation also issued the Risk Warning for Preventing Illegal Fundraising in the Name of "Virtual Currency" or "Blockchain" on August 24, 2018. The Internet Finance Association of China also issued a series of notices to remind the potential risks of ICO and the cryptocurrency trading to the PRC residents, including the Risk Warning on Guarding against the "Virtual Currency" such as Bitcoin on September 13, 2017, Risk Warning on Guarding against the Disguised Initial Coin Offering Activities on January 12, 2018 and Risk Warning on Guarding against the Offshore Initial Coin Offering Activities and the Cryptocurrency Trading on January 26, 2018.

 

We do not plan to initiate any ICO in China or any other jurisdictions. We have been advised by our PRC counsel, as long as we do not issue any virtual currency coins, we only need to record filing as required by the Cyberspace Administration of China's Regulations on the Management of Blockchain Information Services that went into effect on February 15, 2019. We do not believe that such record filing procedure will have a material effect on our blockchain-powered platform. However, as the laws and regulations governing the blockchain in China are developing and evolving and subject to changes, we cannot assure you that that our blockchain technology related business will continue to be compliance with the PRC law. If our practice is deemed to have violated any PRC law or regulations, our blockchain related business would be materially and adversely affected.

 

Given the continuing changing of the regulation regime and the government policy of this area in the PRC, an overall limited industry experiences in developing and operating a blockchain-powered platform, and our lack of operating history to serve as a transaction facilitation and verification services provider, our ability to generate substantial revenue from the blockchain-powered platform upon its launch remains unproven. It may be difficult for you to evaluate its performance and prospects.

 

22

 

Risks Relating to Regulation of Our Business and to Our Structure

 

If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our business in China do not comply with PRC governmental restrictions on foreign investment in industries in which we operate, or if these regulations or their interpretation change in the future, we could be subject to severe penalties.

 

Our operations are substantially conducted through our PRC Operating Entities, or VIEs, and through our contractual agreements with each of our PRC Operating Entities in China. PRC regulations restrict foreign investments in value-added telecommunication services, including providing Internet information services (“ICP”) and used to have restrictions on foreign investments in advertising business, which was lifted on June 29, 2015. In consideration of the restrictions on foreign investments in ICP and advertising business, our whole-owned subsidiary in China, Rise King WFOE, is ineligible to apply for the required licenses for providing Internet information services and was ineligible to apply for the required licenses for providing advertising services in China before June 29, 2015. Our PRC Operating Entities hold the requisite licenses and permits to provide Internet information services and advertising services in China. We have been and are expected to continue to be dependent on these PRC Operating Entities to operate our ICP and advertising business for the foreseeable future. We have entered into Contractual Agreements with the PRC Operating Entities, pursuant to which we, through Rise King WFOE, provide technical support and consulting services to the PRC Operating Entities. In addition, we have entered into agreements with our PRC Operating Entities and each of their shareholders which provide us with the substantial ability to control these affiliates.

 

As discussed above, the Foreign Investment Law, which came into effect on January 1, 2020, replaced the trio of existing laws regulating foreign investment in China, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations. The Foreign Investment Law stipulates three forms of foreign investment but does not explicitly stipulate the contractual arrangements under the VIE structure as a form of foreign investment. The Foreign Investment Law also stipulates that foreign investment includes “foreign investors invest in China through any other methods under laws, administrative regulations, or provisions prescribed by the State Council.”

 

Since the Foreign Investment Law is relatively new, uncertainties still exist in relation to its interpretation and implementation. There is no assurance that foreign investment via contractual arrangements would not be interpreted as a type of indirect foreign investment activities under the Foreign Investment Law in the future.

 

If our contractual arrangements will be deemed to be in violation of the market access requirements for foreign investment under the PRC laws and regulations, or furthermore we will fail to complete any actions to be taken by companies with respect to existing contractual arrangements as mandated by future laws, administrative regulations or provisions prescribed by the State Council in a timely manner, or at all, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities, including the SAMR and the MIIT, which regulates ICP and advertising companies, would have broad discretion in dealing with such violations, including:

 

 

revoking the business and operating licenses of Rise King WFOE and/or the PRC Operating Entities;

   
 

discontinuing or restricting the operations of Rise King WFOE and/or the PRC Operating Entities;

   
 

imposing conditions or requirements with which we, Rise King WFOE and/or our PRC Operating Entities may not be able to comply; or

   
 

requiring us or Rise King WFOE and/or PRC Operating Entities to restructure the relevant ownership structure or operations.

 

The imposition of any of these penalties would result in a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business and would have a material adverse impact on our cash flows, financial position and operating performance.

 

We rely on contractual arrangements with the PRC Operating Entities and their shareholders for our China operations, which may not be as effective in providing operational control as direct ownership.

 

We rely on contractual arrangements with our PRC Operating Entities and their shareholders to operate our ICP and advertising business. These contractual arrangements may not be as effective in providing us with control over the PRC Operating Entities as direct ownership. If we had direct ownership of the PRC Operating Entities, we would be able to exercise our rights as a shareholder to effect changes in the board of directors of those companies, which in turn could affect changes, subject to any applicable fiduciary obligations, at the management level. However, under the current contractual arrangements, as a legal matter, if the PRC Operating Entities or any of their subsidiaries and shareholders fail to perform its or their respective obligations under these contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and resources to enforce such arrangements, and rely on legal remedies under PRC laws, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief, and claiming damages, which we cannot assure you to be effective. Accordingly, it may be difficult for us to change our corporate structure or to bring claims against the PRC Operating Entities if they do not perform their obligations under its contracts with us or if any of the PRC citizens who hold the equity interest in the PRC Operating Entities do not cooperate with any such actions.

 

23

 

Many of these contractual arrangements are governed by PRC laws and provide for the resolution of disputes through either arbitration or litigation in the PRC. Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC laws and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. The legal environment in the PRC is not as developed as in other jurisdictions, such as the United States. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements. In the event we are unable to enforce these contractual arrangements, we may not be able to exert effective control over our operating entities, and our ability to conduct our business may be negatively affected. In addition, a PRC court or arbitration tribunal may refuse to enforce the contractual arrangements on the grounds that they are designed to circumvent PRC foreign investment restrictions and therefore are against PRC public policy.

 

Contractual arrangements we have entered into among the PRC Operating Entities may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and a finding that we owe additional taxes or are ineligible for our tax exemption, or both, could substantially increase our taxes owed, and reduce our net income and the value of your investment.

 

Under PRC law, arrangements and transactions among related parties may be subject to audit or challenge by the PRC tax authorities. If any of the transactions we have entered into among our subsidiaries and affiliated entities are found not to be on an arm’s-length basis, or to result in an unreasonable reduction in tax under PRC law, the PRC tax authorities have the authority to disallow our tax savings, adjust the profits and losses of our respective PRC entities and assess late payment interest and penalties.

 

If any of our PRC Operating Entities incurs debt on its own behalf in the future, the instruments governing the debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other distributions to us. In addition, the PRC tax authorities may require us to adjust our taxable income under the contractual arrangements with the PRC Operating Entities we currently have in place in a manner that would materially and adversely affect the PRC Operating Entities’ ability to pay dividends and other distributions to us. Furthermore, relevant PRC laws and regulations permit payments of dividends by the PRC Operating Entities only out of their retained earnings, if any, determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. Under PRC laws and regulations, each of the PRC Operating Entities is also required to set aside a portion of its net income each year to fund specific reserve funds. These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends. In addition, subject to certain cumulative limits, the statutory general reserve fund requires annual appropriations of 10% of after-tax income to be set aside prior to payment of dividends. As a result of these PRC laws and regulations, the PRC Operating Entities are restricted in their ability to transfer a portion of their net assets to us whether in the form of dividends, loans or advances. Any limitation on the ability of the PRC Operating Entities to pay dividends to us could materially and adversely limit our ability to grow, make investments or acquisitions that could be beneficial to our businesses, pay dividends, or otherwise fund and conduct our business.

 

Condensed Consolidating Schedules

 

The following tables presented the condensed consolidating schedules that depicted the financial position, cash flows and results of operations for our company, our consolidated subsidiaries, consolidated VIE, and any eliminating adjustments as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, and for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively. All amounts are presented in thousands of U.S. dollars.

 

24

 

  

As of December 31, 2021

 
  

The

Company

  

Consolidated

Subsidiaries

  

Consolidated VIE

  

Elimination

  

Consolidation

 
  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

 

Assets

                    

Cash and cash equivalents

  -   6,992   181   -   7,173 

Accounts receivable, net

  -   643   2,796   -   3,439 

Prepayment and deposit to suppliers

  99   2,444   5,287   (271)  7,559 

Due from related parties

  -   -   90   -   90 

Due from group companies

  38,878   12,037   159   (51,074)  - 

Other current assets

  -   1,653   4   -   1,657 

Long-term investments

  -   1,784   496   -   2,280 

Operating lease right-of-use assets

  -   1,998   21   -   2,019 

Property and equipment, net

  -   207   168   -   375 

Intangible assets, net

  -   7,523   -   -   7,523 

Long-term deposits and prepayments

  -   75   -   -   75 

Deferred tax assets, net

  -   -   441   -   441 

Total Assets

 $38,977  $35,356  $9,643  $(51,345) $32,631 
                     

Liabilities and Equity

                    
                     

Accounts payable

  -   -   1,119   -   1,119 

Advances from customers

  -   132   1,384   (271)  1,245 

Accrued payroll and other accruals

  247   59   83   -   389 

Taxes payable

  -   685   2,849   -   3,534 

Operating lease liabilities

  -   193   9   -   202 

Lease payment liabilities related to short-term leases

  -   42   110   -   152 

Due to group companies

  242   35,037   15,795   (51,074)  - 

Other current liabilities

  75   23   43   -   141 

Warrant liabilities

  2,039   -   -   -   2,039 

Operating lease liabilities-Non current

  -   1,897   10   -   1,907 

Long-term borrowing from a related party

  -   137   -   -   137 

Total Liabilities

  2,603   38,205   21,402   (51,345)  10,865 
                     

Total stockholders equity

  36,374   (2,849)  (11,759)  -   21,766 
                     

Total Liabilities and Equity

 $38,977  $35,356  $9,643  $(51,345) $32,631 

 

  

As of December 31, 2020

 
  

The

Company

  

Consolidated

Subsidiaries

  

Consolidated VIE

  

Elimination

  

Consolidation

 
  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

 

Assets

                    

Cash and cash equivalents

  -   4,020   277   -   4,297 

Accounts receivable, net

  -   1,265   1,244   (102)  2,407 

Prepayment and deposit to suppliers

  279   1,560   2,818   -   4,657 

Due from related parties

  -   -   61   -   61 

Due from group companies

  22,553   7,610   153   (30,316)  - 

Other current assets

  -   1,452   10   -   1,462 

Long-term investments

  -   -   67   -   67 

Operating lease right-of-use assets

  -   -   48   -   48 

Property and equipment, net

  -   28   32   -   60 

Intangible assets, net

  -   2,548   9   -   2,557 

Blockchain platform applications development costs

  -   4,406   -       4,406 

Long-term deposits and prepayments

  39   -   -   -   39 

Deferred tax assets, net

  -   70   536   -   606 

Total Assets

 $22,871  $22,959  $5,255  $(30,418) $20,667 
                     

Liabilities and Equity

                    
                     

Accounts payable

  -   440   270   (102)  608 

Advances from customers

  -   -   1,436   -   1,436 

Accrued payroll and other accruals

  260   61   168   -   489 

Taxes payable

  -   675   2,755   -   3,430 

Operating lease liabilities

  -   -   18   -   18 

Lease payment liabilities related to short-term leases

  -   95   108   -   203 

Due to group companies

  242   18,705   11,369   (30,316)  - 

Other current liabilities

  75   55   203   -   333 

Warrant liabilities

  1,505   -   -   -   1,505 

Operating lease liabilities-Non current

  -   -   32   -   32 

Long-term borrowing from a related party

  -   134   -   -   134 

Total Liabilities

  2,082   20,165   16,359   (30,418)  8,188 
                     

Total ZW Data Action Technologies Inc.’s stockholders’ equity

  20,789   2,857   (11,101)  -   12,545 

Noncontrolling interests

  -   (63)  (3)  -   (66)

Total stockholders equity

  20,789   2,794   (11,104)  -   12,479 
                     

Total Liabilities and Equity

 $22,871  $22,959  $5,255  $(30,418) $20,667 

 

25

 

  

For the year ended December 31, 2021

 
  

The

Company

  

Consolidated

Subsidiaries

  

Consolidated VIE

  

Elimination

  

Consolidation

 
  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

 
                     

Revenues

  -   5,192   46,928   (4,792)  47,328 

Cost of revenues

  -   6,292   45,730   (4,792)  47,230 

Total operating expenses

  7,742   4,537   1,409   -   13,688 

Loss from operations

  (7,742)  (5,637)  (211)  -   (13,590)

Other income/(expenses)

  11,305   (154)  (72)  -   11,079 

Income/(loss) before income tax expense and noncontrolling interests

  3,563   (5,791)  (283)  -   (2,511)

Income tax expense

  -   (70)  (107)  -   (177)

Net Income/(loss)

  3,563   (5,861)  (390)  -   (2,688)

Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests

  -   (63)  (3)  -   (66)

Net income/(loss) attributable to ZW Data Action Technologies Inc.

 $3,563  $(5,924) $(393)  -  $(2,754)

 

  

For the year ended December 31, 2020

 
  

The

Company

  

Consolidated

Subsidiaries

  

Consolidated VIE

  

Elimination

  

Consolidation

 
  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

 
                     

Revenues

  -   3,990   34,506   (88)  38,408 

Cost of revenues

  -   3,139   34,637   -   37,776 

Total operating expenses

  2,966   1,732   1,723   (88)  6,333 

Loss from operations

  (2,966)  (881)  (1,854)  -   (5,701)

Other income/(expenses)

  653   (6)  (24)  -   623 

(Loss)/Income before income tax expense and noncontrolling interests

  (2,313)  (887)  (1,878)  -   (5,078)

Income tax benefit/(expense)

  -   71   (214)  -   (143)

Net Loss

  (2,313)  (816)  (2,092)  -   (5,221)

Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interests

  -   3   2   -   5 

Net loss attributable to ZW Data Action Technologies Inc.

 $(2,313) $(813) $(2,090)  -  $(5,216)

 

26

 

  

For the year ended December 31, 2021

 
  

The

Company

  

Consolidated

Subsidiaries

  

Consolidated VIE

  

Elimination

  

Consolidation

 
  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

 
                     

Net cash (used in)/provided by operating activities

  (786)  (4,347)  (3,705)  -   (8,838)
                     

Net cash (used in)/provided by investing activities

  (16,325)  (9,073)  (647)  20,578   (5,467)
                     

Net cash (used in)/provided by financing activities

  17,111   16,328   4,250   (20,578)  17,111 
                     

Effect of exchange rate fluctuation

  -   64   6   -   70 
                     

Net increase/(decrease) in cash and cash equivalents

  -   2,972   (96)  -   2,876 
                     

Cash and cash equivalents, at beginning of the year

  -   4,020   277   -   4,297 

Cash and cash equivalents, at end of the year

 $-  $6,992  $181   -  $7,173 

 

  

For the year ended December 31, 2020

 
  

The

Company

  

Consolidated

Subsidiaries

  

Consolidated VIE

  

Elimination

  

Consolidation

 
  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

  

US$

 
                     

Net cash (used in)/provided by operating activities

  (835)  857   304   -   326 
                     

Net cash (used in)/provided by investing activities

  (5,415)  (2,654)  (25)  4,622   (3,472)
                     

Net cash (used in)/provided by financing activities

  6,250   4,912   (725)  (4,622)  5,815 
                     

Effect of exchange rate fluctuation

  -   1   24   -   25 
                     

Net increase/(decrease) in cash and cash equivalents

  -   3,116   (422)  -   2,694 
                     

Cash and cash equivalents, at beginning of the year

  -   904   699   -   1,603 

Cash and cash equivalents, at end of the year

 $-  $4,020  $277   -  $4,297 

 

27

 

Risks Associated With Doing Business In China

 

There are substantial risks associated with doing business in China, as set forth in the following risk factors.

 

Our operations and assets in China are subject to significant political and economic uncertainties.

 

Changes in PRC laws and regulations, or their interpretation, or the imposition of confiscatory taxation, restrictions on currency conversion, imports and sources of supply, devaluations of currency or the nationalization or other expropriation of private enterprises could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Under its current leadership, the Chinese government has been pursuing economic reform policies that encourage private economic activity and greater economic decentralization. There is no assurance, however, that the Chinese government will continue to pursue these policies, or that it will not significantly alter these policies from time to time without notice.

 

The PRC governments significant oversight and discretion over our business operation could result in a material adverse change in our operations and the value of our listed securities.

 

We conduct our operations in China through our PRC subsidiaries, our VIEs, with which we have maintained contractual arrangements, and their subsidiaries in China. Our operations in China are governed by PRC laws and regulations. The PRC government has significant oversight and discretion over the conduct of our business, and it may influence our operations, which could result in a material adverse change in our operation and/or the value of our securities. Also, the PRC government has recently indicated an intent to exert more oversight and control over offerings that are conducted overseas and/or foreign investment in China-based issuers. For example, on July 6, 2021, the relevant PRC government authorities made public the Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down Illegal Securities Activities in Accordance with the Law. These opinions emphasized the need to strengthen the administration over illegal securities activities and the supervision on overseas listings by China-based companies and proposed to take effective measures, such as promoting the construction of relevant regulatory systems to deal with the risks and incidents faced by China-based overseas-listed companies. On December 28, 2021, the NDRC, the MIIT, and several other administrations jointly published the Measures for Cybersecurity Review, effective on February 15, 2022, which required that, among others, operators of “critical information infrastructure” purchasing network products and services or network platform operators carrying out data processing activities, that affect or may affect national security, shall apply with the Cybersecurity Review Office for a cybersecurity review. In addition, a network platform operator holding over one million users’ personal information shall apply with the Cybersecurity Review Office for a cybersecurity review before any public offering at a foreign stock exchange. On November 14, 2021, the CAC released the draft Administrative Measures for Internet Data Security, or the Draft Measures for Internet Data Security, for public comments, which requires, among others, that a prior cybersecurity review should be required for listing abroad of data processors which process over one million users’ personal information, and the listing of data processors in Hong Kong which affects or may affect national security. Since the Draft Measures for Internet Data Security is in the process of being formulated and the Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down Illegal Securities Activities in Accordance with the Law remain unclear on how it will be interpreted, amended and implemented by the relevant PRC governmental authorities, it remains uncertain how PRC governmental authorities will regulate overseas listing in general and whether we are required to obtain any specific regulatory approvals from the CSRC, CAC or any other PRC governmental authorities for our offshore offerings. If the CSRC, CAC or other regulatory agencies later promulgate new rules or explanations requiring that we obtain their approvals for our future offshore offerings, we may be unable to obtain such approvals in a timely manner, or at all, and such approvals may be rescinded even if obtained. Any such circumstance could significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to continue to offer securities to investors and cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or be worthless. In addition, implementation of industry-wide regulations directly targeting our operations could cause the value of our securities to significantly decline. Therefore, investors of our company and our business face potential uncertainty from actions taken by the PRC government affecting our business.

 

28

 

Uncertainties in the interpretation and enforcement of PRC laws and regulations could limit the legal protections available to you and us.

 

The PRC legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes. Unlike the common law system, prior court decisions may be cited for reference but have limited precedential value.

 

In 1979, the PRC government began to promulgate a comprehensive system of laws and regulations governing economic matters in general. The overall effect of legislation over the past four decades has significantly enhanced the protections afforded to various forms of foreign investments in China. However, China has not developed a fully integrated legal system, and recently enacted laws and regulations may not sufficiently cover all aspects of economic activities in China. In particular, the interpretation and enforcement of these laws and regulations involve uncertainties. Since PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contractual terms, it may be difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection available to you and us.

 

Furthermore, the PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules, some of which are not published on a timely basis or at all, and which may have a retroactive effect. As a result, we may not be aware of our violation of any of these policies and rules until sometime after the violation. Such uncertainties, including uncertainty over the scope and effect of our contractual, property (including intellectual property) and procedural rights, and any failure to respond to changes in the regulatory environment in China could materially and adversely affect our business and impede our ability to continue our operations.

 

PRC regulations relating to mergers and acquisitions of domestic enterprises by foreign investors may increase the administrative burden we face and create regulatory uncertainties.

 

The Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, (the “M&A Rules”), which adopted by six PRC regulatory agencies, took effect as of September 8, 2006 and was subsequently amended on June 22, 2009.  This regulation, among other things, has certain provisions that require special purpose vehicles, or SPVs, formed for the purpose of acquiring PRC domestic companies and controlled by PRC individuals, to obtain the approval of the CSRC prior to publicly listing their securities on an overseas stock market. However, the regulation does not expressly provide that approval from the CSRC is required for the offshore listing of the SPV which acquires, directly or indirectly, equity interest or shares of domestic PRC entities held by domestic companies or individuals by cash payment, nor does it expressly provide that approval from CSRC is not required for the offshore listing of a SPV which has fully completed its acquisition of equity interest of domestic PRC equity prior to September 8, 2006. On September 21, 2006, the CSRC published on its official website a notice specifying the documents and materials that are required to be submitted for obtaining CSRC approval.

 

It is not clear whether the provisions in the regulation regarding the offshore listing and trading of the securities of a SPV applies to an offshore company such as us which owns controlling contractual interest in the PRC Operating Entities. We believe that the M&A Rules and the CSRC approval are not required in the context of the share exchange under our transaction because (i) such share exchange is a purely foreign related transaction governed by foreign laws, not subject to the jurisdiction of PRC laws and regulations; (ii) we are not a SPV formed or controlled by PRC companies or PRC individuals; and (iii) we are owned or substantively controlled by foreigners. However, we cannot be certain that the relevant PRC government agencies, including the CSRC, would reach the same conclusion, and we still cannot rule out the possibility that CSRC may deem that the transactions effected by the share exchange circumvented the M&A rules, the PRC Securities Law and other rules and notices.

 

If the CSRC or another PRC regulatory agency subsequently determines that the CSRC’s approval is required for the transaction, we may face sanctions by the CSRC or another PRC regulatory agency. If this happens, these regulatory agencies may impose fines and penalties on our operations in the PRC, limit our operating privileges in the PRC, delay or restrict the repatriation of the proceeds from this offering into the PRC, restrict or prohibit payment or remittance of dividends to us or take other actions that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, reputation and prospects, as well as the trading price of our shares. The CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies may also take actions requiring us, or making it advisable for us, to delay or cancel the transaction.

 

29

 

The M&A Rules, along with foreign exchange regulations discussed in the above subsection, will be interpreted or implemented by the relevant government authorities in connection with our future offshore financings or acquisitions, and we cannot predict how they will affect our acquisition strategy. For example, our operating companies’ ability to remit dividends to us, or to engage in foreign-currency-denominated borrowings, may be conditioned upon compliance with the SAFE registration requirements by such Chinese domestic residents, over whom we may have no control. In addition, such Chinese domestic residents may be unable to complete the necessary approval and registration procedures required by the SAFE regulations. Such uncertainties may restrict our ability to implement our acquisition strategy and adversely affect our business and prospects.

 

The approval of and the filing with the CSRC or other PRC government authorities may be required in connection with our future offshore offerings under PRC law, and, if required, we cannot predict whether or for how long we will be able to obtain such approval or complete such filing.

 

On July 6, 2021, the relevant PRC government authorities issued Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down Illegal Securities Activities in Accordance with the Law. These opinions emphasized the need to strengthen the administration over illegal securities activities and the supervision on overseas listings by China-based companies and proposed to take effective measures, such as promoting the construction of relevant regulatory systems to deal with the risks and incidents faced by China-based overseas-listed companies. As a follow-up, on December 24, 2021, the State Council issued a draft of the Provisions of the State Council on the Administration of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies, and the CSRC issued a draft of Administration Measures for the Filing of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies for public comments. These draft measures propose to establish a new filing-based regime to regulate overseas offerings and listings by domestic companies. Specifically, an overseas offering and listing by a PRC company, whether directly or indirectly, an initial or follow-on offering, must be filed with the CSRC. The examination and determination of an indirect offering and listing will be conducted on a substance-over-form basis, and an offering and listing shall be deemed as a PRC company’s indirect overseas offering and listing if the issuer meets the following conditions: (i) any of the operating income, gross profit, total assets, or net assets of the PRC enterprise in the most recent fiscal year was more than 50% of the relevant line item in the issuer’s audited consolidated financial statement for that year; and (ii) senior management personnel responsible for business operations and management are mostly PRC citizens or are ordinarily resident in the PRC, and the principal place of business is in the PRC or carried out in the PRC. The issuer or its affiliated PRC entity, as the case may be, shall file with the CSRC for its initial public offering, follow-on offering and other equivalent offering activities. Particularly, the issuer shall submit the filing with respect to its initial public offering and listing within three business days after its initial filing of the listing application, and submit the filing with respect to its follow-on offering within three business days after the completion of the follow-on offering. Failure to comply with the filing requirements may result in fines to the relevant PRC companies, suspension of their businesses, revocation of their business licenses and operation permits and fines on the controlling shareholder and other responsible persons. Theses draft measures also set forth certain regulatory red lines for overseas offerings and listings by PRC enterprises.

 

There are substantial uncertainties as to whether these draft measures to regulate direct or indirect overseas offering and listing would be further amended, revised or updated, their enactment timetable and final content. As the CSRC may formulate and publish guidelines for filings in the future, these draft measures did not provide for detailed requirements of the substance and form of the filing documents. In a Q&A released on CSRC’s official website on December 24, 2021, the respondent CSRC official indicated that the proposed new filing requirement will start with new issuers and listed companies seeking follow-on financing and other financing activities. As for the filings for other listed companies, the regulator will grant adequate transition period and apply separate arrangements. The Q&A also pointed out that, if compliant with relevant PRC laws and regulations, companies with compliant VIE structure may seek overseas listing after completion of the CSRC filings. Nevertheless, the Q&A did not specify what would qualify as a “compliant VIE structure” and what relevant PRC laws and regulations are required to be complied with. Given the substantial uncertainties surrounding the latest CSRC filing requirements at this stage, we cannot assure you that, if ever required, we would be able to complete the filings and fully comply with the relevant new rules on a timely basis, if at all.

 

On December 27, 2021, the NDRC and the Ministry of Commerce jointly issued the Special Administrative Measures (Negative List) for Foreign Investment Access (2021 Version), or the 2021 Negative List, which became effective on January 1, 2022. Pursuant to the Special Administrative Measures, if a PRC company engaging in the prohibited business stipulated in the 2021 Negative List seeks an overseas offering and listing, it shall obtain the approval from the competent governmental authorities. Besides, the foreign investors of the issuer shall not be involved in the company’s operation and management, and their shareholding percentages shall be subject, mutatis mutandis, to the relevant regulations on the domestic securities investments by foreign investors. As the 2021 Negative List is relatively new, there remain substantial uncertainties as to the interpretation and implementation of these new requirements, and it is unclear as to whether and to what extent listed companies like us will be subject to these new requirements. If we are required to comply with these requirements and fail to do so on a timely basis, if at all, our business operation, financial conditions and business prospect may be adversely and materially affected.

 

30

 

In addition, we cannot assure you that any new rules or regulations promulgated in the future will not impose additional requirements on us. If it is determined in the future that approval and filing from the CSRC or other regulatory authorities or other procedures, including the cybersecurity review under the Measures for Cybersecurity Review and the Draft Measures for Internet Data Security, are required for our offshore offerings, it is uncertain whether we can or how long it will take us to obtain such approval or complete such filing procedures and any such approval or filing could be rescinded or rejected. Any failure to obtain or delay in obtaining such approval or completing such filing procedures for our offshore offerings, or a rescission of any such approval or filing if obtained by us, would subject us to sanctions by the CSRC or other PRC regulatory authorities for failure to seek CSRC approval or filing or other government authorization for our offshore offerings. These regulatory authorities may impose fines and penalties on our operations in China, limit our ability to pay dividends outside of China, limit our operating privileges in China, delay or restrict the repatriation of the proceeds from our offshore offerings into China or take other actions that could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects, as well as the trading price of our listed securities. The CSRC or other PRC regulatory authorities also may take actions requiring us, or making it advisable for us, to halt our offshore offerings before settlement and delivery of the shares offered. Consequently, if investors engage in market trading or other activities in anticipation of and prior to settlement and delivery, they do so at the risk that settlement and delivery may not occur. In addition, if the CSRC or other regulatory authorities later promulgate new rules or explanations requiring that we obtain their approvals or accomplish the required filing or other regulatory procedures for our prior offshore offerings, we may be unable to obtain a waiver of such approval requirements, if and when procedures are established to obtain such a waiver. Any uncertainties or negative publicity regarding such approval requirement could materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, financial condition, reputation, and the trading price of our listed securities.

 

Any failure or perceived failure by us to comply with the Anti-Monopoly Guidelines for Internet Platforms Economy Sector and other PRC anti-monopoly laws and regulations may result in governmental investigations or enforcement actions, litigation or claims against us and could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

The PRC anti-monopoly enforcement agencies have strengthened enforcement under the PRC Anti-Monopoly Law in recent years. On December 28, 2018, the SAMR, issued the Notice on Anti-monopoly Enforcement Authorization, pursuant to which its province-level branches are authorized to conduct anti-monopoly enforcement within their respective jurisdictions. On September 11, 2020, the Anti-Monopoly Commission of the State Council issued Anti-monopoly Compliance Guideline for Operators, which requires operators to establish anti-monopoly compliance management systems under the PRC Anti-Monopoly Law to manage anti-monopoly compliance risks. On February 7, 2021, the Anti-Monopoly Commission of the State Council published Anti-Monopoly Guidelines for the Internet Platform Economy Sector that specified circumstances where an activity of an internet platform will be identified as monopolistic act as well as concentration filing procedures for business operators, including those involving variable interest entities. On March 12, 2021, the SAMR published several administrative penalty cases about concentration of business operators that violated PRC Anti-Monopoly Law in the internet sector.

 

On October 23, 2021, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress issued a discussion draft of the amended Anti-Monopoly Law, which proposes to increase the fines for illegal concentration of business operators to “no more than ten percent of its last year’s sales revenue if the concentration of business operator has or may have an effect of excluding or limiting competition; or a fine of up to RMB5 million if the concentration of business operator does not have an effect of excluding or limiting competition.” The draft also proposes for the relevant authority to investigate transaction where there is evidence that the concentration has or may have the effect of eliminating or restricting competition, even if such concentration does not reach the filing threshold.

 

31

 

Given that we do not hold a dominant market position in the relevant markets and we have not entered into any monopolistic agreement, our PRC legal advisor, Beijing Kunrong Law Firm, is of the view that we are in compliance with the currently effective PRC anti-monopoly laws in all material aspects; however, if the PRC regulatory authorities identify any of our activities as monopolistic under the PRC Anti-Monopoly Law or the Anti-Monopoly Guidelines for the Internet Platform Economy Sector, or identify us holding a dominant market position or of abusing such dominant position, we may be subject to other investigations and administrative penalties, such as termination of monopolistic act and confiscation of illegal gains. There are significant uncertainties associated with the evolving legislative activities and varied local implementation practices of anti-monopoly and competition laws and regulations in China, especially with respect to the enactment timetable, final content, interpretation and implementation of the amended Anti-Monopoly Law. If it is enacted as proposed, it will be more difficult to complete the acquisition transaction. It will be costly for us to adjust our business practices in order to comply with these evolving laws, regulations, rules, guidelines and implementations. Any non-compliance or associated inquiries, investigations and other governmental actions may divert significant management time and attention and our financial resources, lead to negative publicity, liabilities or administrative penalties, therefore materially and adversely affect our financial conditions, operations and business prospects. If we are required to take any rectifying or remedial measures or are subject to any penalties, our reputation and business operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

Substantial uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of cybersecurity related regulations and cybersecurity review as well as any impact these may have on our business operations.

 

The cybersecurity legal regime in China is relatively new and evolving rapidly, and their interpretation and enforcement involve significant uncertainties. As a result, it may be difficult to determine what actions or omissions may be deemed to be in violations of applicable laws and regulations in certain circumstances.

 

Network operators in China are subject to numerous laws and regulations, and have the obligations to, among others, (i) establish internal security management systems that meet the requirements of the classified protection system for cybersecurity, (ii) implement technical measures to monitor and record network operation status and cybersecurity incidents, (iii) implement data security measures such as data classification, backups and encryption, and (iv) submit for cybersecurity review under certain circumstances.

 

On November 7, 2016, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress issued the Cyber Security Law, which imposes more stringent requirements on operators of “critical information infrastructure,” especially in data storage and cross-border data transfer.

 

On December 28, 2021, the CAC, the NDRC, the MIIT, and several other administrations jointly published the Measures for Cybersecurity Review, effective on February 15, 2022, which provides that certain operators of critical information infrastructure purchasing network products and services or network platform operators carrying out data processing activities, which affect or may affect national security, must apply with the Cybersecurity Review Office for a cybersecurity review. However, the scope of operators of “critical information infrastructure” under the current regulatory regime remains unclear and is subject to the decisions of competent PRC regulatory authorities. As advised by our PRC counsel, Beijing Kunrong Law Firm, the exact scope of operators of “critical information infrastructure” under the Measures for Cybersecurity Review and current PRC regulatory regime remains unclear, and is subject to the decisions of the relevant PRC government authorities that have been delegated the authority to identify operators of “critical information infrastructure” in their respective jurisdictions (including regions and industries). PRC government authorities have wide discretion in the interpretation and enforcement of these laws, including the identification of operators of “critical information infrastructure” and the interpretation and enforcement of requirements potentially applicable to such operators of “critical information infrastructure.” As an internet platform, we are at risk of being deemed to be an operator of “critical information infrastructure” or a network platform operator meeting the above criteria under PRC cybersecurity laws. If we are identified as an operator of “critical information infrastructure,” we would be required to fulfill various obligations as required under PRC cybersecurity laws and other applicable laws for such operators of “critical information infrastructure” thus currently not applicable to us, including, among others, setting up a special security management organization, organizing regular cybersecurity education and training, formulating emergency plans for cyber security incidents and conducting regular emergency drills, and although the internet products and services we purchase are primarily bandwidth, copyright content and marketing services, we may need to follow cybersecurity review procedure and apply with Cybersecurity Review Office before making certain purchases of network products and services. During cybersecurity review, we may be required to suspend the provision of any existing or new services to our users, and we may experience other disruptions of our operations, which could cause us to lose users and customers therefore leading to adverse impacts on our business. The cybersecurity review could also lead to negative publicity and a diversion of time and attention of our management and our other resources. It could be costly and time-consuming for us to prepare application materials and make the applications. Furthermore, there can be no assurance that we will obtain the clearance or approval for these applications from the Cybersecurity Review Office and the relevant regulatory authorities in a timely manner, or at all. If we are found to be in violation of cybersecurity requirements in China, the relevant governmental authorities may, at their discretion, conduct investigations, levy fines, request app stores to take down our apps and cease to provide viewing and downloading services related to our apps, prohibit the registration of new users on our platform, or require us to change our business practices in a manner materially adverse to our business. Any of these actions may disrupt our operations and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

 

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On November 14, 2021, the CAC published a discussion draft of the Administrative Measures for Internet Data Security, or the Draft Measures for Internet Data Security, which provides that data processors conducting the following activities shall apply for cybersecurity review: (i) merger, reorganization or division of Internet platform operators that have acquired a large number of data resources related to national security, economic development or public interests affects or may affect national security; (ii) listing abroad of data processors processing over one million users’ personal information; (iii) listing in Hong Kong which affects or may affect national security; or (iv) other data processing activities that affect or may affect national security. There have been no clarifications from the authorities as of the date of this annual report as to the standards for determining such activities that “affects or may affect national security.” The CAC has solicited comments on this draft until December 13, 2021, but there is no timetable as to when it will be enacted. As such, substantial uncertainties exist with respect to the enactment timetable, final content, interpretation and implementation. The Draft Measures for Internet Data Security, if enacted as proposed, may materially impact our capital raising activities. Any failure to obtain such approval or clearance from the regulatory authorities could materially constrain our liquidity and have a material adverse impact on our business operations and financial results, especially if we need additional capital or financing.

 

The interpretation and application of these cybersecurity laws, regulations and standards are still uncertain and evolving, especially the Draft Measures for Internet Data Security. We cannot assure you that relevant governmental authorities will not interpret or implement these and other laws or regulations in ways that may negatively affect us.

 

We may be adversely affected by the complexity, uncertainties and changes in PRC licensing and regulation of internet businesses.

 

The PRC government extensively regulates the internet industry, including the licensing and permit requirements pertaining to companies in this industry. Internet-related laws and regulations in China are relatively new and evolving, and their interpretation and enforcement involve significant uncertainty. As a result, it may be difficult to determine what actions or omissions may be deemed to be violations of applicable laws and regulations in certain circumstances. Our PRC operating VIEs engaged in ICP business have obtained their respective ICP permits and comply with the annual inspection and other related provisions. However, we cannot assure you that we have obtained all the permits or licenses required for conducting our business in China or will be able to maintain our existing licenses or obtain any new licenses if required by any new laws or regulations. In addition, due to the increasing popularity and use of the internet other online services, it is possible that additional laws and regulations may be adopted with respect to the internet or other online services covering issues such as user privacy, pricing, content, copyrights and distribution. The adoption of additional laws or regulations may decrease the growth of the internet or other online services, which could in turn decrease the demand for our products and services and increase our cost of doing business.

 

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We derive a substantial portion of our sales from China.

 

We derive a substantially portion of our sales from China. We anticipate that sales of our services in China will continue to represent a substantial proportion of our total sales in the near future. Any significant decline in the condition of the PRC economy could adversely affect consumer demand of our services, among other things, which in turn would have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.

 

Currency fluctuations and restrictions on currency exchange may adversely affect our business, including limiting our ability to convert Chinese Renminbi into foreign currencies and, if Chinese Renminbi were to decline in value, reducing our revenue in U.S. dollar terms.

 

Our reporting currency is the U.S. dollar and our operations in China use the local currency as their functional currencies. We are subject to the effects of exchange rate fluctuations with respect to any of these currencies. For example, the value of the Renminbi depends to a large extent on Chinese government policies and China’s domestic and international economic and political developments, as well as supply and demand in the local market. On July 21, 2005, the Chinese government changed its policy of pegging the value of Chinese Renminbi to the U.S. dollar. Under the new policy, Chinese Renminbi may fluctuate within a narrow and managed band against a basket of certain foreign currencies. It is possible that the Chinese government could adopt a more flexible currency policy, which could result in more significant fluctuation of Chinese Renminbi against the U.S. dollar. We can offer no assurance that Chinese Renminbi will be stable against the U.S. dollar or any other foreign currency.

 

The income statements of our operations are translated into U.S. dollars at the average exchange rates in each applicable period. To the extent the U.S. dollar strengthens against foreign currencies, the translation of these foreign currencies denominated transactions results in reduced revenue, operating expenses and net income for our international operations. Similarly, to the extent the U.S. dollar weakens against foreign currencies, the translation of these foreign currency denominated transactions results in increased revenue, operating expenses and net income for our international operations. We are also exposed to foreign exchange rate fluctuations as we convert the financial statements of our foreign operating subsidiaries and VIEs into U.S. dollars in consolidation. If there is a change in foreign currency exchange rates, the conversion of the foreign subsidiaries and VIEs’ financial statements into U.S. dollars will lead to a translation gain or loss which is recorded as a component of other comprehensive income. We have not entered into agreements or purchased instruments to hedge our exchange rate risks, although we may do so in the future. The availability and effectiveness of any hedging transaction may be limited and we may not be able to successfully hedge our exchange rate risks.

 

Although Chinese governmental policies were introduced in 1996 to allow the convertibility of Chinese Renminbi into foreign currency for current account items, conversion of Chinese Renminbi into foreign exchange for capital items, such as foreign direct investment, loans or securities, requires the approval of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, which is under the authority of the People’s Bank of China. These approvals, however, do not guarantee the availability of foreign currency conversion. We cannot be sure that we will be able to obtain all required conversion approvals for our operations or those Chinese regulatory authorities will not impose greater restrictions on the convertibility of Chinese Renminbi in the future. Because a significant amount of our future revenue may be in the form of Chinese Renminbi, our inability to obtain the requisite approvals or any future restrictions on currency exchanges could limit our ability to utilize revenue generated in Chinese Renminbi to fund our business activities outside of China, or to repay foreign currency obligations, including our debt obligations, which would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

We may have limited legal recourse under PRC laws if disputes arise under our contracts with third parties.

 

The Chinese government has enacted laws and regulations dealing with matters such as corporate organization and governance, foreign investment, commerce, taxation and trade. However, their experience in implementing, interpreting and enforcing these laws and regulations is limited, and our ability to enforce commercial claims or to resolve commercial disputes is unpredictable. If our new business ventures are unsuccessful, or other adverse circumstances arise from these transactions, we face the risk that the parties to these ventures may seek ways to terminate the transactions, or, may hinder or prevent us from accessing important information regarding the financial and business operations of these acquired companies. The resolution of these matters may be subject to the exercise of considerable discretion by agencies of the Chinese government, and forces unrelated to the legal merits of a particular matter or dispute may influence their determination. Any rights we may have to specific performance, or to seek an injunction under PRC law, in either of these cases, are severely limited, and without a means of recourse by virtue of the Chinese legal system, we may be unable to prevent these situations from occurring. The occurrence of any such events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We must comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

 

We are required to comply with the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits U.S. companies from engaging in bribery or other prohibited payments to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. Foreign companies, including some of our competitors, are not subject to these prohibitions. If our competitors engage in these practices, they may receive preferential treatment from personnel of some companies, giving our competitors an advantage in securing business or from government officials who might give them priority in obtaining new licenses, which would put us at a disadvantage. Although we inform our personnel that such practices are illegal, we cannot assure you that our employees or other agents will not engage in such conduct for which we might be held responsible. If our employees or other agents are found to have engaged in such practices, we could suffer severe penalties.

 

Changes in foreign exchange regulations in the PRC may affect our ability to pay dividends in foreign currency or conduct other foreign exchange business.

 

The Renminbi is not a freely convertible currency, and the restrictions on currency exchanges may limit our ability to use revenues generated in Renminbi to fund our business activities outside the PRC or to make dividends or other payments in United States dollars. The PRC government strictly regulates conversion of Renminbi into foreign currencies. Over the years, foreign exchange regulations in the PRC have significantly reduced the government’s control over routine foreign exchange transactions under current accounts.  In the PRC, the State Administration for Foreign Exchange, or the SAFE, regulates the conversion of the Renminbi into foreign currencies. Pursuant to applicable PRC laws and regulations, foreign invested enterprises incorporated in the PRC are required to apply for foreign exchange registration certificates. Currently, conversion within the scope of the “current account” (e.g. remittance of foreign currencies for payment of dividends, etc.) can be effected without requiring the approval of SAFE.  However, conversion of currency in the “capital account” (e.g. for capital items such as direct investments, loans, securities, etc.) still requires the approval of SAFE.

 

Any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs to make payments to us, or the tax implications of making payments to us, could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business or our financial condition.

 

As substantially all of our operations are conducted through our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs, as a Nevada holding company, our ability to pay dividends is primarily dependent on receiving distributions of funds from our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs. Relevant PRC statutory laws and regulations permit payments of dividends by our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs only out of their retained earnings, if any, as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations and after it has met the PRC requirements for appropriation to statutory reserves. Paid in capital of the PRC subsidiaries and VIEs included in our consolidated net assets are also not distributable for dividend purposes.

 

In accordance with the PRC regulations on Enterprises with Foreign Investment, a WFOE established in the PRC is required to provide certain statutory reserves, namely general reserve fund, the enterprise expansion fund and staff welfare and bonus fund which are appropriated from net profit as reported in the enterprise’s PRC statutory accounts. A WFOE is required to allocate at least 10% of its annual after-tax profit to the general reserve until such reserve has reached 50% of its registered capital based on the enterprise’s PRC statutory accounts. Appropriations to the enterprise expansion fund and staff welfare and bonus fund are at the discretion of the board of directors. The aforementioned reserves can only be used for specific purposes and are not distributable as cash dividends. Rise King WFOE is subject to the above mandated restrictions on distributable profits. Additionally, in accordance with the Company Law of the PRC, a domestic enterprise is required to provide a statutory common reserve of at least 10% of its annual after-tax profit until such reserve has reached 50% of its registered capital based on the enterprise’s PRC statutory accounts. A domestic enterprise is also required to provide for a discretionary surplus reserve, at the discretion of the board of directors. The aforementioned reserves can only be used for specific purposes and are not distributable as cash dividends. All of our other PRC subsidiaries and PRC VIEs are subject to the above mandated restrictions on distributable profits.

 

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In accordance with these PRC laws and regulations, our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs are restricted in their ability to transfer a portion of their net assets to us.  As of December 31, 2021 and 2020, net assets restricted in the aggregate, which include paid-in capital and statutory reserve funds of our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs that are included in our consolidated net assets, were approximately US$13.2 million and US$8.2 million, respectively.

 

The current PRC Enterprise Income Tax (“EIT”) Law also imposes a 10% withholding income tax for dividends distributed by a foreign invested enterprise to its immediate holding company outside China, which were exempted under the previous EIT law. A lower withholding tax rate will be applied if there is a tax treaty arrangement between mainland China and the jurisdiction of the foreign holding company. Holding companies in Hong Kong, for example, will be subject to a 5% rate, subject to approval from the related PRC tax authorities.

 

The ability of our PRC subsidiaries to make dividends and other payments to us may also be restricted by changes in applicable foreign exchange and other laws and regulations.

 

Foreign currency exchange regulation in China is primarily governed by the following rules:

 

 

Foreign Exchange Administration Rules (1996), as amended in August 2008, or the Exchange Rules;

   
 

Administration Rules of the Settlement, Sale and Payment of Foreign Exchange (1996), or the Administration Rules.

 

Currently, under the Administration Rules, Renminbi is freely convertible for current account items, including the distribution of dividends, interest payments, trade and service related foreign exchange transactions, but not for capital account items, such as direct investments, loans, repatriation of investments and investments in securities outside of China, unless the prior approval of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (the “SAFE”) is obtained and prior registration with the SAFE is made. Foreign-invested enterprises like Rise King WFOE that need foreign exchange for the distribution of profits to its shareholders may effect payment from their foreign exchange accounts or purchase and pay foreign exchange rates at the designated foreign exchange banks to their foreign shareholders by producing board resolutions for such profit distribution. Based on their needs, foreign-invested enterprises are permitted to open foreign exchange settlement accounts for current account receipts and payments of foreign exchange along with specialized accounts for capital account receipts and payments of foreign exchange at certain designated foreign exchange banks.

 

Although the current Exchange Rules allow converting Chinese Renminbi into foreign currency for current account items, conversion of Chinese Renminbi into foreign exchange for capital items, such as foreign direct investment, loans or securities, requires the approval of SAFE, which is under the authority of the People’s Bank of China. These approvals, however, do not guarantee the availability of foreign currency conversion. We cannot be sure that it will be able to obtain all required conversion approvals for our operations or the Chinese regulatory authorities will not impose greater restrictions on the convertibility of Chinese Renminbi in the future. Currently, most of our retained earnings are generated in Renminbi. Any future restrictions on currency exchanges may limit our ability to use retained earnings generated in Renminbi to make dividends or other payments in U.S. dollars or fund possible business activities outside China.

 

The audit report included in this annual report is prepared by an auditor who is not inspected by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and, as such, you may be deprived of the benefits of such inspection.

 

Our independent registered public accounting firm that issues the audit reports included in our annual reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), as auditors of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (the “PCAOB”), is required by the laws of the United States to undergo regular inspections by the PCAOB to assess its compliance with the applicable laws of the United States and professional standards. Because our auditor is located in the People’s Republic of China, a jurisdiction where the PCAOB is currently unable to conduct inspections and access critical accounting records without the approval of the Chinese authorities, our auditor is not currently inspected by the PCAOB. Inspections conducted by the PCAOB outside of China have identified deficiencies in those firms’ audit procedures and quality control procedures, which may be addressed as part of the inspection process to improve future audit quality and prevent accounting irregularities. This lack of PCAOB inspections in China prevents the PCAOB from regularly evaluating audit documentation located in China and its related quality control procedures. As a result, investors may be deprived of the benefits of PCAOB inspections.

 

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Our common stock may be delisted and prohibited from trading in the over-the-counter market under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, or the HFCAA, if the PCAOB is unable to inspect or fully investigate auditors located in China. On December 16, 2021, PCAOB issued the HFCAA Determination Report, according to which our auditor is subject to the determinations that the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely. Under the current law, delisting and prohibition from over-the-counter trading in the U.S. could take place in 2024. If this happens there is no certainty that we will be able to list our common stock on a non-U.S. exchange or that a market for our common stock will develop outside of the U.S. The delisting of our common stock, or the threat of their being delisted, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment.

 

As part of a continued regulatory focus in the United States on access to audit and other information currently protected by national law, in particular China’s, the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, or the HFCAA, has been signed into law on December 18, 2020. The HFCAA states if the SEC determines that we have filed audit reports issued by a registered public accounting firm that has not been subject to inspection for the PCAOB for three consecutive years beginning in 2021, the SEC shall prohibit our common stock from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the over-the-counter trading market in the U.S. Accordingly, under the current law this could happen in 2024.

 

On December 2, 2021, the SEC adopted final amendments to its rules implementing the HFCAA (the “Final Amendments”). The Final Amendments include requirements to disclose information, including the auditor name and location, the percentage of shares of the issuer owned by governmental entities, whether governmental entities in the applicable foreign jurisdiction with respect to the auditor has a controlling financial interest with respect to the issuer, the name of each official of the Chinese Communist Party who is a member of the board of the issuer, and whether the articles of incorporation of the issuer contains any charter of the Chinese Communist Party. The Final Amendments also establish procedures the SEC will follow in identifying issuers and prohibiting trading by certain issuers under the HFCAA.

 

On December 16, 2021, PCAOB issued the HFCAA Determination Report, according to which our auditor is subject to the determinations that the PCAOB is unable to inspect or investigate completely.

 

The HFCAA or other efforts to increase U.S. regulatory access to audit information could cause investor uncertainty for affected issuers, including us, and the market price of our common stock could be adversely affected. Additionally, whether the PCAOB will be able to conduct inspections of our auditor before the issuance of our financial statements on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2023 which is due by March 31, 2024, or at all, is subject to substantial uncertainty and depends on a number of factors out of our control. If we are unable to meet the PCAOB inspection requirement in time, we could be delisted from Nasdaq and our common stock will not be permitted for trading “over-the-counter” either. Such a delisting would substantially impair your ability to sell or purchase our common stock when you wish to do so, and the risk and uncertainty associated with delisting would have a negative impact on the price of our listed securities. Also, such a delisting would significantly affect our ability to raise capital on terms acceptable to us, or at all, which would have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, and prospects.

 

The potential enactment of the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act would decrease the number of non-inspection years from three years to two, thus reducing the time period before our common stock may be prohibited from over-the-counter trading or delisted. If this bill were enacted, our common stock could be delisted from the exchange and prohibited from over-the-counter trading in the U.S. in 2023.

 

On June 22, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed a bill known as the Accelerating Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, to amend Section 104(i) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (15 U.S.C. 7214(i)) to prohibit securities of any registrant from being listed on any of the U.S. securities exchanges or traded over-the-counter if the auditor of the registrant’s financial statements is not subject to PCAOB inspection for two consecutive years, instead of three consecutive years as currently enacted in the HFCAA.

 

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On February 4, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the America Competes Act of 2022 which includes the exact same amendments as the bill passed by the Senate. The America Competes Act however includes a broader range of legislation not related to the HFCAA in response to the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act passed by the Senate in 2021. The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate will need to agree on amendments to these respective bills to align the legislation and pass their amended bills before the U.S. President can sign into law. It is unclear when the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives will resolve the differences in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act and the America Competes Act of 2022 bills currently passed, or when the U.S. President will sign on the bill to make the amendment into law, or at all.

 

In the case that the bill becomes the law, it will reduce the time period before our common stock could be delisted from the exchange and prohibited from over-the-counter trading in the U.S. from 2024 to 2023.

 

If we become directly subject to the scrutiny involving U.S. listed Chinese companies, we may have to expend significant resources to investigate and/or defend the matter, which could harm our business operations, stock price and reputation.

 

U.S. public companies that have substantially all of their operations in China have been the subject of intense scrutiny by investors, financial commentators and regulatory agencies. Much of the scrutiny has centered around financial and accounting irregularities and mistakes, a lack of effective internal controls over financial reporting and, in many cases, allegations of fraud. As a result of the scrutiny, the publicly traded stock of many U.S. listed China-based companies that have been the subject of such scrutiny has sharply decreased in value. Many of these companies are now subject to shareholder lawsuits and/or SEC enforcement actions that are conducting internal and/or external investigations into the allegations. If we become the subject of any such scrutiny, whether any allegations are true or not, we may have to expend significant resources to investigate such allegations and/or defend our company. Such investigations or allegations will be costly and time-consuming and distract our management from our business plan and could result in our reputation being harmed and our stock price could decline as a result of such allegations, regardless of the truthfulness of the allegations.

 

Future inflation in China may inhibit our activity to conduct business in China.

 

In recent years, the Chinese economy has experienced periods of rapid expansion and high rates of inflation. These factors have led to the adoption by Chinese government, from time to time, of various corrective measures designed to restrict the availability of credit or regulate growth and contain inflation. High inflation may in the future cause Chinese government to impose controls on credit and/or prices, or to take other action, which could inhibit economic activity in China, and thereby harm the market for our services.

 

The enforcement of the PRC Labor Contract Law and other labor-related regulations in the PRC may adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress enacted the Labor Contract Law on January 2008 and amended it on December 28, 2012. The Labor Contract Law introduced specific provisions related to fixed-term employment contracts, part-time employment, probationary periods, consultation with labor unions and employee assemblies, employment without a written contract, dismissal of employees, severance, and collective bargaining to enhance previous PRC labor laws. Under the Labor Contract Law, an employer is obligated to sign an unlimited-term labor contract with any employee who has worked for the employer for ten consecutive years. Further, if an employee requests or agrees to renew a fixed-term labor contract that has already been entered into twice consecutively, the resulting contract, with certain exceptions, must have an unlimited term. With certain exceptions, an employer must pay severance to an employee where a labor contract is terminated or expires. In addition, PRC governmental authorities have continued to introduce various new labor-related regulations since the effectiveness of the Labor Contract Law.

 

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Under the PRC Social Insurance Law and the Administrative Measures on Housing Fund, employees are required to participate in pension insurance, work-related injury insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, maternity insurance and housing funds and employers are required, together with their employees or separately, to pay the social insurance premiums and housing funds for their employees.

 

These laws designed to enhance labor protection tend to increase our labor costs. In addition, as the interpretation and implementation of these regulations are still evolving, our employment practices may not be at all times be deemed in compliance with the regulations. As a result, we could be subject to penalties or incur significant liabilities in connection with labor disputes or investigations, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

 

We may have difficulty establishing adequate management, legal and financial controls in the PRC.

 

We may have difficulty in hiring and retaining a sufficient number of qualified employees to work in the PRC. As a result of these factors, we may experience difficulty in establishing management, legal and financial controls, collecting financial data and preparing financial statements, books of account and corporate records and instituting business practices that meet Western standards. We may have difficulty establishing adequate management, legal and financial controls in the PRC.

 

You may experience difficulties in effecting service of legal process, enforcing foreign judgments or bringing original actions in China based on United States or other foreign laws against us and our management.

 

We conduct a substantial portion of our operations in China and a substantial portion of our assets are located in China. In addition, some of our directors and executive officers reside within China. As a result, it may not be possible to effect service of process within the United States or elsewhere outside China upon some of our directors and senior executive officers, including with respect to matters arising under U.S. federal securities laws or applicable state securities laws. It would also be difficult for investors to bring an original lawsuit against us or our directors or executive officers before a Chinese court based on U.S. federal securities laws or otherwise. Moreover, China does not have treaties with the United States or many other countries providing for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgment of courts.

 

It may be difficult for overseas regulators to conduct investigation or collect evidence within China.

 

Shareholder claims or regulatory investigation that are common in the United States generally are difficult to pursue as a matter of law or practicality in China. For example, in China, there are significant legal and other obstacles to providing information needed for regulatory investigations or litigations initiated outside China. Although the authorities in China may establish a regulatory cooperation mechanism with the securities regulatory authorities of another country or region to implement cross-border supervision and administration, such cooperation with the securities regulatory authorities in the Unities States may not be efficient in the absence of mutual and practical cooperation mechanism. Furthermore, according to Article 177 of the PRC Securities Law, or Article 177, which became effective in March 2020, no overseas securities regulator is allowed to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within the territory of the PRC. While detailed interpretation of or implementation rules under Article 177 have yet to be promulgated, the inability for an overseas securities regulator to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within China may further increase difficulties faced by you in protecting your interests.

 

PRC enterprise income tax law could adversely affect our business and our net income.

 

On March 16, 2007, the National People’s Congress of the PRC passed the revised Enterprise Income Tax Law (or EIT Law), which took effect on of January 1, 2008 and was subsequently amended on February 24, 2017 and December 29, 2018, respectively. The EIT Law imposes a unified income tax rate of 25% on all companies established in China. Under the EIT Law, an enterprise established outside of the PRC with “de facto management bodies” within the PRC is considered as a resident enterprise and will normally be subject to the enterprise income tax at the rate of 25% on its global income. The EIT Law, however, does not define the term “de facto management bodies.” If the PRC tax authorities subsequently determine that we should be classified as a resident enterprise, then our global income will be subject to PRC income tax at a tax rate of 25%.

 

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With the introduction of the EIT Law, China has resumed imposition of a withholding tax (10% in the absence of a bilateral tax treaty or new domestic regulation reducing such withholding tax rate to a lower rate). Per the Double Tax Avoidance Arrangement between Hong Kong and Mainland China, a Hong Kong company as the investor, which is considered a “non-resident enterprise” under the EIT Law, may enjoy the reduced withholding tax rate of 5% if it holds more than 25% equity interest in its PRC subsidiary. As China Net HK is the sole shareholder of Rise King WFOE, substantially all of our income will derive from dividends we receive from Rise King WFOE through China Net HK. When we declare dividends from the income in the PRC, we cannot assure whether such dividends may be taxed at a reduced withholding tax rate of 5% per the Double Tax Avoidance Arrangement between Hong Kong and Mainland China as the PRC tax authorities may regard our China Net HK as a shell company formed only for tax purposes and still deem Rise King WFOE in the PRC as the subsidiary directly owned by us. Based on the Notice on Certain Issues with respect to the Enforcement of Dividend Provisions in Tax Treaties, issued on February 20, 2009 by the State Administration of Taxation, if the relevant PRC tax authorities determine, in their discretion, that a company benefits from such reduced income tax rate due to a structure or arrangement that is primarily tax-driven, such PRC tax authorities may adjust the preferential tax treatment.

 

Investors should note that the EIT Law provides only a framework of the enterprise tax provisions, leaving many details on the definitions of numerous terms as well as the interpretation and specific applications of various provisions unclear and unspecified. Any increase in our tax rate in the future could have a material adverse effect on our financial conditions and results of operations.

 

Under the EIT Law, we may be classified as a resident enterprise of China. Such classification will likely result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and holders of our securities.

 

Under the EIT Law, an enterprise established outside of China with its “de facto management body” in China is considered a “resident enterprise,” meaning that it can be treated the same as a Chinese enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes. The implementing rules of the EIT Law defines “de facto management body” as an organization that exercises “substantial and overall management and control over the production and operations, personnel, accounting, and properties” of an enterprise. Currently no interpretation or application of the EIT Law and its implementing rules is available, therefore it is unclear how tax authorities will determine tax residency based on the facts of each case.

 

If the PRC tax authorities determine that China Net is a “resident enterprise” for PRC enterprise income tax purposes, a number of unfavorable PRC tax consequences could follow. First, we will be subject to enterprise income tax at a rate of 25% on our worldwide income as well as PRC enterprise income tax reporting obligations. This would mean that income such as interest on offering proceeds and other non-China source income would be subject to PRC enterprise income tax at a rate of 25%. Second, although under the EIT Law and its implementing rules dividends paid to us by our PRC subsidiaries would qualify as “tax-exempt income,” we cannot guarantee that such dividends will not be subject to a 10% withholding tax, as the PRC foreign exchange control authorities, which enforce the withholding tax, have not yet issued guidance with respect to the processing of outbound remittances to entities that are treated as resident enterprises for PRC enterprise income tax purposes. Finally, a 10% withholding tax will be imposed on dividends we pay to our non-PRC shareholders.

 

Our Chinese operating companies are obligated to withhold and pay PRC individual income tax in respect of the salaries and other income received by their employees who are subject to PRC individual income tax. If they fail to withhold or pay such individual income tax in accordance with applicable PRC regulations, they may be subject to certain sanctions and other penalties, which could have a material adverse impact on our business.

 

Under PRC laws, Rise King WFOE and the PRC Operating Entities will be obligated to withhold and pay individual income tax in respect of the salaries and other income received by their employees who are subject to PRC individual income tax. Such companies may be subject to certain sanctions and other liabilities under PRC laws in case of failure to withhold and pay individual income taxes for its employees in accordance with the applicable laws.

 

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In addition, the SAT has issued several circulars concerning employee stock options. Under these circulars, employees working in the PRC (which could include both PRC employees and expatriate employees subject to PRC individual income tax) are required to pay PRC individual income tax in respect of their income derived from exercising or otherwise disposing of their stock options. Our PRC entities will be obligated to file documents related to employee stock options with relevant tax authorities and withhold and pay individual income taxes for those employees who exercise their stock options. While tax authorities may advise us that our policy is compliant, they may change their policy, and we could be subject to sanctions.

 

The non-U.S. activities of our non-U.S. subsidiaries and VIEs may be subject to U.S. taxation.

 

We conduct a substantial portion of our business through our operating subsidiaries and VIEs in China and are subject to income tax in the PRC. ZW Data Action Technologies Inc. is a Nevada corporation and is subject to income tax in the United States. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “U.S. Tax Reform”) was signed into law on December 22, 2017, which significantly modified the U.S. Internal Revenue Code by, among other things, reducing the statutory U.S. federal corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017; limiting and/or eliminating many business deductions; migrating the U.S. to a territorial tax system with a one-time transition tax on a mandatory deemed repatriation of previously deferred foreign earnings of certain foreign subsidiaries; subject to certain limitations, generally eliminating U.S. corporate income tax on dividends from foreign subsidiaries; and providing for new taxes on certain foreign earnings.

 

The U.S. Tax Reform includes provisions for a new tax on global intangible low-taxed income (“GILTI”) effective for tax years of non-U.S. corporations beginning after December 31, 2017. The GILTI provisions impose a tax on foreign income in excess of a deemed return on tangible assets of controlled foreign corporations (“CFCs”), subject to the possible use of foreign tax credits and a deduction equal to 50 percent to offset the income tax liability, subject to some limitations. The new GILTI tax would be imposed on us when our subsidiaries and VIEs that are CFCs generate income that is subject to Subpart F of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code beginning after December 31, 2017, and any such resulting U.S. corporate income tax imposed on us would reduce our consolidated net income.

 

Risks Related to our Securities

 

Insiders have substantial control over us, and they could delay or prevent a change in our corporate control even if our other stockholders wanted it to occur.

 

Our executive officers, directors, and principal stockholders hold approximately 21% of our outstanding Common Stock. Accordingly, these stockholders are able to exert substantial influence over all matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of directors and approval of significant corporate transactions. This could delay or prevent an outside party from acquiring or merging with us even if our other stockholders wanted it to occur.

 

There may not be sufficient liquidity in the market for our securities in order for investors to sell their securities.

 

There is currently only a limited public market for our Common Stock and there can be no assurance that a trading market will develop further or be maintained in the future. As of April 14, 2022, the closing trade price of our Common Stock was $0.60 per share. As of April 15, 2022, we had approximately 610 shareholders of record of our Common Stock, not including shares held in street name. In addition, during the past two fiscal years our Common Stock has had a trading range with a low price of $0.56 per share and a high price of $6.19 per share.

 

The market price of our Common Stock may be volatile.

 

The market price of our Common Stock has been and will likely continue to be highly volatile, as is the stock market in general. Some of the factors that may materially affect the market price of our Common Stock are beyond our control, such as changes in financial estimates by industry and securities analysts, conditions or trends in the industry in which we operate or sales of our common stock. These factors may materially adversely affect the market price of our Common Stock, regardless of our performance. In addition, the public stock markets have experienced extreme price and trading volume volatility particularly for companies whose primary operations are located in the PRC. This volatility has significantly affected the market prices of securities of many companies for reasons frequently unrelated to the operating performance of the specific companies. These broad market fluctuations may adversely affect the market price of our Common Stock.

 

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The outstanding warrants may adversely affect us in the future and cause dilution to existing stockholders.

 

We have warrants outstanding to purchase up to 5,001,705 shares of our Common Stock, of which 2,030,865 will expire on December 14, 2023, and the remaining 2,970,840 warrants will expire on August 18, 2024. The exercise prices of these warrants range from $2.03 to $4.4875 per share, subject to adjustment in certain circumstances. Exercise of these warrants may cause dilution in the interests of other stockholders as a result of the additional Common Stock that would be issued upon exercise. In addition, sales of the shares of our Common Stock issuable upon exercise of these warrants could have a depressive effect on the price of our stock, particularly if there is not a coinciding increase in demand by purchasers of our Common Stock. Further, the terms on which we may obtain additional financing during the period any of these warrants remain outstanding may be adversely affected by the existence of these warrants as well.

 

We may need additional capital and may sell additional securities or other equity securities or incur indebtedness, which could result in additional dilution to our shareholders or increase our debt service obligations.

 

We may require additional cash resources due to changed business conditions or other future developments, including any investments or acquisitions we may decide to pursue. If our cash resources are insufficient to satisfy our cash requirements, we may seek to sell additional equity or debt securities or obtain a credit facility. The sale of additional equity securities or equity-linked debt securities could result in additional dilution to our shareholders. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased debt service obligations and could result in operating and financing covenants that would restrict our operations. We cannot assure you that financing will be available in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all.

 

We have not paid dividends in the past and do not expect to pay dividends in the future, and any return on investment may be limited to the value of our stock.

 

We have never paid any cash dividends on our Common Stock and do not anticipate paying any cash dividends on our Common Stock in the foreseeable future and any return on investment may be limited to the value of our stock. We plan to retain any future earning to finance growth.

 

Techniques employed by manipulative short sellers in Chinese small cap stocks may drive down the market price of our common stock.

 

Short selling is the practice of selling securities that the seller does not own but rather has, supposedly, borrowed from a third party with the intention of buying identical securities back at a later date to return to the lender. The short seller hopes to profit from a decline in the value of the securities between the sale of the borrowed securities and the purchase of the replacement shares, as the short seller expects to pay less in that purchase than it received in the sale.  As it is therefore in the short seller’s best interests for the price of the stock to decline, many short sellers (sometime known as “disclosed shorts”) publish, or arrange for the publication of, negative opinions regarding the relevant issuer and its business prospects in order to create negative market momentum and generate profits for themselves after selling a stock short.  While traditionally these disclosed shorts were limited in their ability to access mainstream business media or to otherwise create negative market rumors, the rise of the Internet and technological advancements regarding document creation, videotaping and publication by weblog (“blogging”) have allowed many disclosed shorts to publicly attack a company’s credibility, strategy and veracity by means of so-called research reports that mimic the type of investment analysis performed by large Wall Street firm and independent research analysts.  These short attacks have, in the past, led to selling of shares in the market, on occasion in large scale and broad base.  Issuers with business operations based in China and who have limited trading volumes and are susceptible to higher volatility levels than U.S. domestic large-cap stocks, can be particularly vulnerable to such short attacks.

 

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These short seller publications are not regulated by any governmental, self-regulatory organization or other official authority in the U.S., are not subject to the certification requirements imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in Regulation AC (Regulation Analyst Certification) and, accordingly, the opinions they express may be based on distortions of actual facts or, in some cases, fabrications of facts.  In light of the limited risks involved in publishing such information, and the enormous profit that can be made from running just one successful short attack, unless the short sellers become subject to significant penalties, it is more likely than not that disclosed shorts will continue to issue such reports.

 

While we intend to strongly defend our public filings against any such short seller attacks, oftentimes we are constrained, either by principles of freedom of speech, applicable state law (often called “Anti-SLAPP statutes”), or issues of commercial confidentiality, in the manner in which we can proceed against the relevant short seller. You should be aware that in light of the relative freedom to operate that such persons enjoy – oftentimes blogging from outside the U.S. with little or no assets or identity requirements – should we be targeted for such an attack, our stock will likely suffer from a temporary, or possibly long term, decline in market price should the rumors created not be dismissed by market participants.

 

The NASDAQ may delist our securities from quotation on its exchange which could limit investors ability to make transactions in our securities and subject us to additional trading restrictions.

 

Our Common Stock is traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“NASDAQ”), a national securities exchange. On February 17, 2022, we received a notice (the “Notice”) from NASDAQ indicating that our Common Stock failed to comply with the $1.00 minimum bid price required for continued listing on The Nasdaq Capital Market under Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(a)(2) based upon the closing bid price of the Common Stock for the 30 consecutive business days prior to the date of the Notice. To regain compliance, the minimum bid price of the Common Stock must meet or exceed $1.00 per share for a minimum ten consecutive business days at any point prior to August 12, 2022. 

 

We are presently evaluating various courses of action to regain compliance. There can be no assurance that we will be able to regain compliance with Nasdaq’s rule or will otherwise be in compliance with other Nasdaq listing criteria. If NASDAQ delists our Common Stock from trading on its exchange, we could face significant material adverse consequences including:

 

 

a limited availability of market quotations for our securities;

   
 

a determination that our Common Stock is a “penny stock” which will require brokers trading in our Common Stock to adhere to more stringent rules and possibly resulting in a reduced level of trading activity in the secondary trading market for our Common Stock;

   
 

a limited amount of news and analyst coverage for our company; and

   
 

a decreased ability to issue additional securities or obtain additional financing in the future.

 

If we become directly subject to the scrutiny involving U.S. listed Chinese companies, we may have to expend significant resources to investigate and/or defend the matter, which could harm our business operations, stock price and reputation.

 

U.S. public companies that have substantially all of their operations in China have been the subject of intense scrutiny by investors, financial commentators and regulatory agencies. Much of the scrutiny has centered around financial and accounting irregularities and mistakes, a lack of effective internal controls over financial reporting and, in many cases, allegations of fraud. As a result of the scrutiny, the publicly traded stock of many U.S. listed China-based companies that have been the subject of such scrutiny has sharply decreased in value. Many of these companies are now subject to shareholder lawsuits and/or SEC enforcement actions that are conducting internal and/or external investigations into the allegations. If we become the subject of any such scrutiny, whether any allegations are true or not, we may have to expend significant resources to investigate such allegations and/or defend our company. Such investigations or allegations will be costly and time-consuming and distract our management from our business plan and could result in our reputation being harmed and our stock price could decline as a result of such allegations, regardless of the truthfulness of the allegations.

 

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ITEM 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

None.

 

ITEM 2

PROPERTIES

 

The following table summarizes the location of real property we currently lease.  We do not own any real property.

 

Item

 

Address

1

 

Room 1106, Xinghuo Keji Plaza, No. 2 Fufeng Road, Fengtai District, Beijing, PRC

2

 

2nd Floor, No. 15 First Changzheng Road, Xiaogan City, Hubei Province, PRC

3

 

10th Floor, Tower A, No. 68 First Helong Road, Baiyun District, Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, PRC

 

The property listed in Items 1 above is our principal executive office and is used by all of our business segments. The property listed in Items 2 is the office for our operating VIE in Xiaogan City, Hubei province, and is primarily used by our Internet advertising and data service business segment. The properties listed in Item 3 is the offices for our subsidiaries and operating VIEs in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, and are primarily used by our Blockchain technology and Ecommerce O2O advertising and marketing business segments.

 

We believe that our existing facilities and equipment are well maintained and in good operating condition and are sufficient to meet our needs for the foreseeable future.

 

ITEM 3

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

 

We are currently not a party to any legal or administrative proceedings and are not aware of any pending or threatened legal or administrative proceedings against us in all material aspects. We may from time to time become a party to various legal or administrative proceedings arising in the ordinary course of our business.

 

ITEM 4

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

 

Not applicable.

 

PART II.

 

ITEM 5

MARKET FOR REGISTRANTS COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

 

Our Common Stock has been listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol “CNET” since October 29, 2013. Prior to that time, from September 14, 2010 through October 28, 2013, our Common Stock was listed on Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “CNET”. Prior to that time, from March 4, 2010 through September 13, 2010, our Common Stock was listed on the NYSE AMEX under the trading symbol “CNET.”  Prior to that time, our Common Stock was quoted on the OTC Bulletin Board (“OTCBB “) under the trading symbol “EMZG”, until August 14, 2009, when our ticker symbol was change to “CHNT”.

 

On August 18, 2016, we filed a Certificate of Amendment to our Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State of Nevada to effect a one-for-two and one-half (1 for 2.5) reverse stock split of the Company’s Common Stock, which became effective on August 19, 2016. When the Reverse Stock Split became effective, each two and one-half shares of issued and outstanding Common Stock were converted into one newly issued and outstanding share of Common Stock. No fractional shares were issued in connection with the reverse stock split. Any fractional shares of Common Stock that would have otherwise resulted from the reverse stock split were rounded up to the nearest full share. The Reverse Stock Split did not change the par value of the Common Stock and had no effect on the number of authorized shares of Common Stock of the Company.

 

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Holders

 

As of April 15, 2022, there were approximately 610 record holders of our Common Stock.

 

Dividends

 

We have never paid any dividends on our Common Stock and we plan to retain earnings, if any, for use in the development and growth of our business. Payment of future dividends, if any, will be at the discretion of the board of directors after taking into account various factors, including current financial condition, operating results and current and anticipated cash needs. If we ever determine to pay a dividend, we may experience difficulties in completing the administrative procedures necessary to obtain and remit foreign currency from China for the payment of such dividends from the profits of our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs.

 

Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans

 

See “Item 11. Executive Compensation” for the aggregate information regarding our equity compensation plans in effect on December 31, 2021.

 

Equity Repurchases

 

During the fourth quarter of our fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, neither we nor any “affiliated purchaser” (as defined in Rule 10b-18(a)(3) under the Exchange Act) purchased any shares of our Common Stock, the only class of our equity securities registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act.

 

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

 

Any previous sales of unregistered securities by the Company have been previously disclosed in our reports on Form 10-Q or Form 8-K, as applicable, filed with the SEC.

 

ITEM 6

[RESERVED]

 

ITEM 7

MANAGEMENTS DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

 

Forward-Looking Statements

 

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations in conjunction with our audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K. Our audited consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The following discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including, without limitation, statements regarding our expectations, beliefs, intentions or future strategies that are signified by the words expect, anticipate, intend, believe, or similar language. All forward-looking statements included in this document are based on information available to us on the date hereof, and we assume no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Our business and financial performance are subject to substantial risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. In evaluating our business, you should carefully consider the information set forth under the heading Risk Factors and elsewhere in this Form 10-K. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.

 

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Overview

 

Our company was incorporated in the State of Texas in April 2006 and re-domiciled to become a Nevada corporation in October 2006. As a result of a share exchange transaction we consummated with China Net BVI in June 2009, we are now a holding company, which through certain contractual arrangements with operating companies in the PRC, is engaged in providing Internet advertising, precision marketing, ecommerce O2O advertising and marketing services and the related data and technical services to SMEs in the PRC.

 

Through our PRC operating subsidiaries and VIEs, we primarily operate a one-stop services for our clients on our Omni-channel advertising, precision marketing and data analysis management system. We offer a variety channels of advertising and marketing services through this system, which primarily include distribution of the right to use search engine marketing services we purchased from key search engines, provision of online advertising placements on our web portals, provision of ecommerce O2O advertising and marketing services as well as provision of other related value-added data and technical services to maximize market exposure and effectiveness for our clients.

 

Basis of presentation, critical accounting policies and management estimates

 

Our consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”) and include the accounts of our company, and all of our subsidiaries and VIEs. All transactions and balances between our company and our subsidiaries and VIEs have been eliminated upon consolidation. We prepare financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP, which requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities on the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the financial reporting period. We continually evaluate these estimates and assumptions based on the most recently available information, our own historical experience and various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Since the use of estimates is an integral component of the financial reporting process, actual results could differ from those estimates. We considered the policies discussed below to be critical to an understanding of our financial statements.

 

Foreign currency translation and transactions

 

We conduct substantially all of our operations through our PRC operating subsidiaries and VIEs, PRC is the primary economic environment in which we operate. The exchange rates used to translate amounts in Renminbi (“RMB”), the functional currency of the PRC, into our reporting currency, the United States Dollar (“U.S. dollar” or “US$”) for the purposes of preparing our consolidated financial statements are as follows:

 

  

As of December 31,

 
  

2021

  

2020

 
         

Balance sheet items, except for equity accounts

  6.3757   6.5249 

 

  

Year Ended December 31,

 
  

2021

  

2020

 

Items in the statements of operations and comprehensive loss

  6.4515   6.8976 

 

Revenue recognition

 

In accordance with ASC Topic 606 “Revenue from Contracts with Customers”, our revenues are recognized when control of the promised goods or services are transferred to our customers, in an amount that reflects the consideration we expected to be entitled to in exchange for those goods or services.

 

For the distribution of the right to use search engine marketing service, the provision of advertising placement services, we recognize revenues over time when we consider the services have been delivered to our customers, with the related benefits being simultaneously received and consumed by our customers. For technical solution services provided, we recognized revenues either at a point in time upon completion of the service performance obligation, when we had the enforceable right to the payment of the services delivered to the customers or recognized ratably over the period the services were provided, if the customers simultaneously received and consumed the benefits provided by us.

 

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For the distribution of the right to use the third-party’s search engine marketing service, we recognize the revenues on a gross basis, because we determine that we are a principal in the transaction, who controls the service before it is transferred to the customers.

 

Lease

 

We lease office spaces from unrelated parties during our normal course of business. We account for these leases in accordance with ASC Topic 842 “Leases”. Other than office spaces leases, we do not have any other contract that is or contains a lease under ASC Topic 842.

 

Our lease contracts do not contain any option for us to extend or terminate the lease, and do not contain the option for us to purchase the underlying assets. Based on the noncancelable lease period in the contract, we consider contract-based, asset-based, market-based and entity-based factors to determine the term over which we are reasonably certain to extend the lease, and then determine the lease term of each contract. Our lease contracts only contain fixed lease payments and do not contain any residual value guarantee. Our lease contracts do not contain any nonlease component and are classified as operating leases in accordance with ASC Topic 842-10-25-3.

 

Our office spaces lease contracts with a duration of twelve months or less meet the definition of short-term leases under ASC Topic 842. As an accounting policy, we elected not to recognize right-of-use asset and related lease liability to these short-term leases. Instead, we recognized the lease payments of these short-term leases in our consolidated statements of operations and comprehensive loss on a straight-line basis over the lease term.

 

As the implicit rates of our leases cannot be readily determined, in accordance with ASC Topic 842-20-30-3, we then use our incremental borrowing rate as the discount rate to determine the present value of our lease payments for each of our lease contracts with a duration of over twelve months. The discount rate used by us for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020 was 6%, which was determined based on the interest rate expected to be used by the commercial banks in the PRC for the 1-5 years long-term loan, if lent to our company on a collateralized basis.

 

Recent issued or adopted accounting standards

 

In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-13, “Financial Instruments-Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments”. The amendments in this ASU require the measurement and recognition of expected credit losses for financial assets held at amortized cost. The amendments in this ASU replace the existing incurred loss impairment model with an expected loss methodology, which will result in more timely recognition of credit losses. In November 2018, the FASB issued ASU No. 2018-19, “Codification Improvements to Topic 326, Financial Instruments-Credit Losses”, which among other things, clarifies that receivables arising from operating leases are not within the scope of Subtopic 326-20. Instead, impairment of receivables arising from operating leases should be accounted for in accordance with Topic 842, Leases. For public entities, the amendments in these ASUs are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, including interim periods within those fiscal years. In November 2019, the FASB issued ASU No. 2019-10, “Financial Instruments-Credit Losses (Topic 326), Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815), and Leases (Topic 842)-Effective date”, which deferred the effective date of this ASU until fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2022, including interim periods within those fiscal years, for SEC filers that are eligible to be smaller reporting companies under the SEC’s definition. Our company, as a SEC smaller reporting company, has not adopted the amendments in this ASU and is currently evaluating the impacts on our consolidated financial position and results of operations upon adopting these amendments.

 

In December 2019, the FASB issued ASU No. 2019-12, “Income Taxes (Topic 740): Simplifying the Accounting for Income Taxes”. The amendments in this ASU simplifies the accounting for income taxes by removing certain exceptions and enhances and simplifies various aspects of the income tax accounting guidance in ASC Topic 740. We have adopted the amendments in this ASU on January 1, 2021 and the adoption of this ASU did not have a material impact on our consolidated financial position and results of operations.

 

A.            RESULTS OF OPERATIONS FOR THE YEARS ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2021 AND 2020

 

The following table sets forth a summary, for the periods indicated, of our consolidated results of operations. Our historical results presented below are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for any future period. All amounts, except number of shares and per share data, are presented in thousands of U.S. dollars.

 

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