Rebalance – China Innovation Yearbook 2021

Country/area: China

Organisation: Beijing Huxiu Information Technology Co., Ltd.; Beijing Data Visualisation Technology Ltd.

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 30/12/2021

Credit: Huxiu: Xiaoxin Wang, Jing Chu, Qi Sun, Min Li; Beijing Data Visualisation: Yinan Dong, Zhiliang Shen, Shuyang Li, Huaiqi Chen


HUXIU is an information aggregator focusing on technology and innovation. We aim to provide efficient information to users with creative thoughts. We help our audience gain insights into the world and be more creative and innovative.

Truth, quality, personalization, and productiveness are HUXIU’s principles of content distribution.

Beijing Data Visualisation is a Chinese independent data visualization company. With the founders from Caixin and FT Chinese, the team is dedicated to practicing data journalism and exploring data visualization innovations, trying to lower the threshold of deep reading, help people understand complex numbers, and expand the reach of quality content.

Project description:

In 2021, due to the erratic COVID-19 pandemic, strong regulatory policies and increasing global uncertainty, China’s investment landscape, entrepreneurial innovation, and wealth accumulation have changed significantly. Using Chinese stock market data, primary market financing data and personal wealth data in the past 5 years, we attempted to capture the changes of innovation and investment in China. The project used industry as the main criteria, supplemented by relevant companies and entrepreneurs, trying to provide a perspective on the current macroeconomic situation.

Impact reached:

Since its release on December 30, the work has effectively reached more than 50 million people on all mainstream platforms, and the relative topics have been read by more than 3 million people and widely exposed on the Chinese internet. On the first day of launch, the website was read by nearly 50,000 people, and the audience was enthusiastic to participate, with about 30,000 times sharing. The data is still growing.

Readers praised the work as “valuable” and “the best review of the year”, which has provided the audience with highly innovative insights and industry thinking. Many readers praised the release of “Rebalance – China Innovation Yearbook 2021” as a “premium reading experience”.

Techniques/technologies used:

When dealing with the capital market data, as it involves 5 years of changes, and the data covers all industries, we used Python as the main data cleaning and analysis tool. As for the personal wealth data, we used both Python and Microsoft Excel to see the data trends and changes.

The graphics and chart design were finished using Adobe Illustration.

In terms of the product, the design uses small balls with changing shapes to reflect the main concept of “Rebalancing”. Considering the user experience, we used light and shadow to create a pseudo-3D effect for the small balls in case of slowing the loading speed.

The whole mobile interactive website is written in JavaScript, mainly using zepto.js, scrollama.js, anime.js libraries. Technically, the animation effect of the balls on the cover encountered a big problem in adapting to different cell phone models, and finally switched to CSS to achieve better dynamic effects.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The main difficulty with this project was finding the focus and the balance between comprehensiveness and the focus.

We wanted to find the direction of changes in Chinese innovation and investment through market data. Since capital markets change rapidly, to find out long-term trends by sector and reflect annual changes in 2021, we needed to find the right metrics and then make purposeful trade-offs.

Ultimately, we identified the core indicator as the average monthly total market capitalization of each industry, which could be a way to reflect annual changes and hedge against the impact of mid-year variability at the same time.

In terms of stock market data, we looked primarily at the market capitalization changes in the three years before and after the emergence of the COVID-19 epidemic; in terms of primary market financing, we looked at changes in financing volume by sector over the last five years; and in terms of individual wealth, we looked at where the leaders in 2021 were in the past and how they related to the industries they were in. These data relationships may be very redundant in textual terms, but data visualization provides readers with a clearer picture of how the landscape has changed.

What can others learn from this project?

We were trying to provide a formal exploration for presenting the capital market, the changing economic environment, and the direction of innovation. Through a dual line of narrative thread, we presented a more ambitious narration in a relatively short space.

In terms of presenting annual changes, it is difficult for readers to figure out the trends by just looking at the data or even line charts because so many industries and companies were involved. While in an interactive work, highlighting and simple text guidance allows readers to focus on the highlighted content, and other complex content could be left for readers to explore on their own.

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