Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘china

Bring in the Robots

leave a comment »

China’s Shenzhen-based AI and humanoid robotic company Ubtech has raised a Series C worth some $820 million according to TechNode China, a sum that sets a new financing record for the largest investment raised in a single round by an AI firm.

Ubtech’s self-proclaimed mission is to “bring the robot into every home, and truly integrate intelligent robots into the daily lives of everyone creating a more intelligent way of life.”

Yes, but can Ubtech’s robots do my laundry and take out my trash?

The new funding round was led by none other than Tencent, but also included a host of other investors ranging from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China to Telstra. 

Ubtech founder and CEO Zhou Jian said the new round of funding has brought in invaluable investors and the investment will be dedicated to facilitating Ubtech’s future commercialization plans. Zhou said the investment will be used in three main areas including R&D, market expansion/branding, and recruitment.

The company said it will devote more resources to developing adult-sized humanoid robots and will focus particularly on the R&D of servo systems used in robotics, movement control algorithms for walking, and computer vision.

The company is already offering a $299.99 “StormTrooper” Robot that allows one to use voice commands and facial recognition to…well, it seems you get to define the mission.

May the robotic force be with them….oh, and Happy Star Wars Day!

Written by turbotodd

May 4, 2018 at 12:11 pm

Posted in 2018

Tagged with ,

Didi Chuxing Cha-Ching

leave a comment »

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

leave a comment »

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

No Big (Qualcomm) Deal

leave a comment »

First, let me thank the rest of the world for their concern for Austin, Texas, and the two horrific bombings that occurred here yesterday, and the other that killed another man on March 2nd. 

To recap, that’s three bombings in ten days that have left two people dead and three people wounded after opening packages left at their doors.

While police have suggested none of these packages were delivered by the usual suspects — USPS, UPS, FedEx, Amazon — it is enough to make you second guess picking up any package off your front porch.

Coincidence these bombings occurred the first full weekday swing of SXSW Interactive, where the world’s media has descended? Or that the bombs were all placed at the homes of minorities?  

Austin Police either don’t know or aren’t saying yet, but it’s hard not to harken back to Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber), whose methods weren’t entirely dissimilar (although in his case Kaczynski was targeting individuals involved in developing modern technologies).

While we wait to learn more, President Trump has taken the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and decided to block Broadcom’s proposed buyout of Qualcomm, citing national security concerns.

Despite Broadcom’s having agreed to move its headquarters from Singapore to the U.S. in an effort to save the deal, CNBC reports that both companies were ordered to immediately abandon it post haste.

But Bloomberg suggests there was more at stake, some geopolitical and technological chess being played by the world’s biggest state actors. 

Their suggestion: CFIUS was concerned Broadcom would cut back on R&D funding at Qualcomm, which in turn would strength China-based Huawei, giving Chinese companies like they and ZTE the upper hand in steering the direction of wireless communications development, most notably 5G. Never mind the fact that the U.S. House Intelligence Committee blacklisted Huawei and ZTE in 2012, again citing security risks.

Bloomberg reminds us that Huawei uses Broadcom’s chips in networking products such as the switches that direct data between connected computers…and Qualcomm also works with Huawei. So if China’s 5G (and beyond) standards start to become just that, well, it leaves the American telcos potentially out in the cold Beijing snow.

Huawei is among China’s top filers of international and domestic patents, ranging from data transmission to network security, and Bloomberg suggests Huawei may even own a 10th of essential patents on 5G, and has been “angling for full-scale of commercialization of 5G networks by 2020.”

There’s a lot of money, and ergo, influence, at stake in the 5G decision. And apparently it’s not one that the Trump Administration  wants to possibly leave in the hands of President Xi.

Written by turbotodd

March 13, 2018 at 9:42 am

Posted in 2018, 5G, telecommunications

Tagged with , , ,

Open Sesame

leave a comment »

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 Snap Investment

leave a comment »

Happy Hump Day.

Chinese Internet firm Tencent has taken a roughly ten percent stake in the popular messaging app, Snap, according to a report by CNBC.

Tencent runs the WeChat messaging app, as well as online payment platforms and games.

Snap shares took a beating yesterday afternoon to the tune of 20 percent in after hours trading after reporting average revenue per user was up 39 percent YOY, but failing to meet Wall Street estimates.

Tencent is one of largest Internet companies in the world, featuring a variety of services that include social networking, e-commerce, mobile games, multiplayer online games, as well as it’s well-known instant messenger Tencent QQ.

Its WeChat mobile messaging service has over 1 billion monthly active users and is known as China’s “App for Everything,” including instant messaging, commerce, and payment services.

Written by turbotodd

November 8, 2017 at 8:55 am

Posted in 2017, china, messaging, snapchat

Tagged with , ,

China Construction Bank (Asia) and IBM Developing Bancassurance Powered by Blockchain

leave a comment »

China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation Limited and IBM today announced the development of the first blockchain-enabled bancassurance project in Hong Kong. Built on the IBM Blockchain Platform, the solution is designed to streamline CCB (Asia)’s bancassurance process and greatly enhance customer experience and the quality of services delivered through faster transaction processing time and increased transparency.

Bancassurance is an arrangement whereby a bank and an insurance company form a distribution partnership in which the sales associates of the bank can sell the insurance company’s products to the bank’s client base and through the bank’s channels. The arrangement can be hindered by delays in data transmission or incomplete information.

By working with IBM, CCB (Asia) and all parties on the blockchain now have a shared view of required policy data in real-time, reducing the need for time-consuming status checks which can delay processing time.

This is accomplished through a shared, immutable ledger used for recording transactions. It helps establish accountability and transparency among network participants, enabling CCB (Asia) and its partner insurers to deliver the services more efficiently.

The solution is now under testing with insurance providers and their clients and is expected to be available in the third quarter of this year.

The IBM Blockchain Platform which underpins the project is the first enterprise-ready blockchain service based on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric version 1.0. Hyperledger is an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies.

Written by turbotodd

September 21, 2017 at 11:52 am

Posted in 2017, banking, blockchain, china, ibm

Tagged with , ,

%d bloggers like this: