Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘china’ Category

Apple’s Price Hike, China’s DRAM Scam

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This week’s was the first Apple event I haven’t watched in quite some time.  Maybe years.

Is my love affair with Apple products over?

No, if anything, quite the opposite.

I use quite a number of Apple products.  

I just tend to hang on to them.

My 2011 Apple MacBook Air still works fine, albeit a little more slowly.

I love my AirPods (how’d we ever live without those!?)

And a few months ago I bought a used iPhone 7 Plus on Gazelle, and that was a big upgrade in terms of screen size and storage from my SE.

No, I just don’t need any more Apple stuff (new or otherwise), and I’m not the only one.

People aren’t upgrading as much as they used to, and that’s been particularly the case for the iPhone.

Which is likely why as part of this week’s announcement, the prices rose for both the new MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air (to $1,299 and $1,199 respectively).

Not outrageous hikes, and considering that a high-end iPhone can now cost as much or more as the MacBook Air…I guess it all depends on how you view it and what you need. Apple reports its latest earnings today after market close.

Meanwhile, there’s another story that appeared on the horizon, which was that a Chinese state-owned company was charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets of U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology Inc. 

According a report from Bloomberg, Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. and Taiwan’s United Microelectronics Corp. were indicted in California along with three individuals.

These indictments come just as Attorney General Jeff Sessions apparently “plans to announce Thursday a new initiative to respond to Chinese efforts to obtain American technology and trade secrets.”

Bloomberg writes that Micron is the only U.S.-based company that manufactures dynamic random-access memory, or DRAM, and that China didn’t possess DRAM technology before the alleged theft.

Written by turbotodd

November 1, 2018 at 1:13 pm

Posted in 2018, china

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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

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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

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