Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘china’ Category

Well That Was Quick

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Well it was just yesterday that The New York Times was reporting it looked as though Facebook might be making new inroads into the Chinese market.

Then, overnight, the Times further reported that a Chinese government database, which had shown Facebook had gained approval to open a subsidiary in Zhejiang province, no longer had a record of the registration.

Now the approval has been withdrawn, according to a person familiar with the matter who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the record.

And the Times wrote that the move doesn’t bode well for Facebook’s Chinese renaissance:

While the about-face does not definitively end Facebook’s chances of establishing the company, it makes success very unlikely, the person said. The decision to take down the approval, the person added, came after a disagreement between officials in Zhejiang and the national internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, which was angry that it had not been consulted more closely.

Facebook back in China?  Don’t hold your breath.

Written by turbotodd

July 25, 2018 at 10:49 am

Posted in 2018, china

Tagged with , ,

Xiaomi’s Float Stumbles

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Happy Monday.

CNBC is reporting that shares of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi stumbled on their debut, slipping as much as 6 percent.

The company’s Hong Kong offering was priced at 17 Hong Kong dollars, and opened for trade down more than 2 percent and slipping as much as 5.88 percent during the session.

Some analysts were quoted in the story as thinking the valuation was too high. 

Hao Hong, head of research at BOCOM International, explained:

“The share was priced at a very high valuation multiple, substantially higher than its global peers. Even though Xiaomi remained to be a very good story, I think the market is at a stage where you have to prove yourself first before the market can give you a good valuation,” Hao Hong, head of research at BOCOM International, told CNBC.

Meanwhile, back at The New York Times, Paul Mozur goes deep on AI and surveillance in China in a piece entitled, “Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras.”

For some reason, the movie “Minority Report” kept coming to mind as I read through his chilling story.

The Net: There are an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras watching its Chinese citzens’ every move, and their surveillance system is getting smarter every day, partially due to a boom in surveillance-related startups in the country.

And no Orwell jokes, please…China is well past that point.

Written by turbotodd

July 9, 2018 at 9:56 am

Posted in 2018, china, smartphone

Tagged with ,

Didi Chuxing Cha-Ching

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Greetings from the Big Apple.

I arrived here over the weekend to visit some friends and prepare for some meetings in NYC. 

The weather has been beyond spectacular — if I’d have planned ahead, I would have brought my golf clubs and teed up in the middle of 5th Avenue to attempt my first mile long drive.

But instead, I’m following the attempts of China’s Didi Chuxing Technology Co. to drive for a humongous IPO that The Wall Street Journal is claiming could happen as soon as this year.

Didi operates China’s largest ride-sharing platform and is expanding in Latin America and other parts of Asia, and according to the Journal report, is hoping to garner a valuation of at least $70 to $80 billion if it goes public.

The report also suggests that Didi is looking to “amass a large war chest to fend off rivals in China and other countries.”

But the company is also apparently looking to develop a smart car customized for ride-sharing and looking for auto makers that could manufacture such a car. 

The car is anticipated to be an electric vehicle and would be connected to the internet, allowing Didi to monitor data from the car for safety by applying artificial intelligence technology.

The Journal article suggests this worries some automakers, as it would put companies like Didi (and potentially others who move in this direction) in direct competition, one which could put the Didis of the world in the driver’s seat when it comes to the “operating system” for cars (i.e., the software).

Written by turbotodd

April 24, 2018 at 8:12 am

China’s Self-Driving Rules

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Reuters is reporting that China has laid out national guidelines for testing self-driving cars, and cites its source as the China Daily newspaper.

The rules indicate that vehicles must first be tested in non-public zones, that road tests can only be on designated streets, and that a qualified person must always sit in the driver’s position, ready to take over control.

Autonomous vehicles have become a “key plank” in Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” push.

In other Chinese Internet-related news, China’s rough equivalent to Twitter, Sina Weibo, reversed itself earlier today of an edict to ban gay content, according to a report from CNBC.

On Friday, Weibo announced plans to remove posts containing pornographic cartoons, videos that promote violence, homosexual content, and violent video games, arguing that it was making these moves to comply with Chinese law.

But over the weekend, Weibo endured a major backlash from Weibo users, and in a post from today the company said it would no longer target “homosexual content” (but would continue forward cleaning up pornographic and violent posts).

CNBC’s story points out that homosexuality was decriminalized in China in 1997, and “later removed from an official list of mental illnesses.”

Written by turbotodd

April 16, 2018 at 2:35 pm

Open Sesame

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Lest my blog become too Western-centric, it’s time to return to the China Internet watch, this time for Alibaba’s earnings.

Please remember, Jack Ma’s empire is vast and ever-expanding, with businesses that include two of the world’s largest and most popular online retail marketplaces, Taobao and Tmall, an affiliation with Ant Financial, its new Digital Media and Entertainment Group, and Alibaba.com and Alipay (among others).

Earlier today, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. indicated its third-quarter revenue jumped 56 percent, beating expectations, according to a report from Reuters.

The group also raised its full year forecast, and announced its 33 percent stake in Ant Financial. 

As Reuters reports, Alibaba is looking for new areas such as cloud computing, payments, and offline retail to maintain its rapid growth rates that make it one of the world’s most valuable companies, with a current market cap of $523 billion.

Alibaba’s cloud business was reported to have crossed 1 million customers globally in the quarter ended last September.

In other words, Alibaba is huuugggeee, and getting huger all the time.

Written by turbotodd

February 2, 2018 at 9:37 am

A Powerful Reading

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Chinese tech giant Alibaba’s research unit has said its deep neural netowrk model is the first to beat humans in the Stanford Question Answering Dataset, according to a report from ZDNet.

Alibaba’s research unit, the Institute of Data Science on Technologies, said it had developed a deep learning model that attained a score of 82.44 in Exact Match on the Stanford Question Answering Dataset. Humans had clocked a previous score of 82.304.

More background:

Squad comprised more than 100,000 question-and-answer sets based on more than 500 Wikipedia articles, in which participants were required to build machine-learning models to respond to the questions. These models would be evaluated by Squad, which then would run the model on the test set.
– via ZDNet

Commenting on the Squad score, Alibaba IDST’s chief scientist of natural language processing Si Luo, said: “That means objective questions such as ‘what causes rain’ can now be answered with high accuracy by machines. We believe the technology underneath can be gradually applied to numerous applications such as customer service, museum tutorials, and online responses to medical inquiries from patients, decreasing the need for human input in an unprecedented way.”
– via ZDNet

Written by turbotodd

January 16, 2018 at 9:19 am

Finding a Mate

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If you’re in the market for a new Samsung smartphone, you’ll have to wait until Mobile World Congress in late February for the Galaxy S9 announcement.

ZDNet is reporting that DJ Koh, president of Samsung’s mobile business, said its first flagship smartphone of the year will be unveiled at MWC (where they will also announce the on sale date).

If, on the other hand, you were looking for the new Huawei Mate 10, it’s looking more and more like you’ll be needing to acquire it not from a major telecom vendor if you’re a prospective customer in the U.S.

As Android Police reported recently, The Information reported that the U.S. and House intelligence committees sent letters to the FCC back in December alleging Huawei was a security threat, and expressed “concerns” that the company was working with U.S. telecom providers to sell smartphones here in America.

The AT&T deal died a few weeks after members of the U.S. Senate and House intelligence committees wrote to the Federal Communications Commission raising concerns about reports that Huawei had struck a deal with a major telecommunications carrier. The Dec. 20 letter, reviewed by The Information, cited an intelligence committee report on the Chinese firm’s alleged ties to the Communist Party and China’s intelligence and security services. “Additional work by the Intelligence Committees on this topic only reinforces concerns regarding Huawei and Chinese espionage,”
– via Android Police – Android News, Apps, Games, Phones, Tablets

Android Police goes on to report that Verizon is facing similar pressure.

You can read CNET’s review of the Huawei Mate 10 here.

Also in the China Internet news front…9to5Mac writes that Apple has announced a date for when it will hand over operations of iCloud data services for residents of mainland China to Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Ltd., a cloud partner in the Middle Kingdom.

GCBD will manage a new Apple data center in China that will eventually store all iCloud data for Chinese customers. Affected customers are now being notified about the transition which will start on February 28. Apple reassured users that the data will be protected by the same encryption standards as its current US policies and that no special backdoors will be created. This means that customers who live within mainland China will see the physical storage location of their data change, although it should go unnoticed in terms of available iCloud features and functionality. All of a user’s data will not move across to the new geographic location, but the process is beginning from February 28.
– via 9to5Mac

According to 9to5Mac, the switchover will happen automatically on February 28, and Apple customers in China will be “notified in due course.”

Written by turbotodd

January 10, 2018 at 11:27 am

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