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

Posts Tagged ‘china

No Big (Qualcomm) Deal

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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

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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 Snap Investment

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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

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

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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 , ,

Big Commerce In China

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China's Taobao is just one of thousands of Chinese-based e-commerce properties helping propel China into the world's single largest digital marketplace. So far in 2012, Alibaba (Taobao's parent company) has generated over $157 billion U.S. in gross merchandise volume, making it the largest e-commerce property in the world.

China’s Taobao is just one of thousands of Chinese-based e-commerce properties helping propel China into the world’s single largest digital marketplace. So far in 2012, Alibaba (Taobao’s parent company) has generated over $157 billion U.S. in gross merchandise volume, making it the largest e-commerce property in the world.

You read in my last post about last Monday’s “Cyber Monday” tidings according to the IBM Digital Benchmark.

Well, TechCrunch is reporting from comScore data that the holiday shopping juggernaut continues well beyond Cyber Monday.

comScore’s data found that e-commerce spending for the first 30 days of this November-December 2012 holiday season has amounted to a respectable $20.4 billion, a 15 percent increase over the same time period last year.

During the past week alone, comScore reported three individual days surpassing $1 billion in spending, according to the TechCrunch post by Leena Rao, with the peak, of course, coming on Cyber Monday at $1.46 billion.

Of course, all that might seem like chump change when you hold it up against some e-commerce numbers coming out of China, via a post on VentureBeat.

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba alone has sold an estimated $157 billion U.S. in gross merchandise volume this year, which VentureBeat observes surpasses Amazon and eBay combined.

In fact, Alibaba is believed to have garnered a $3 billion single sales day earlier this year.

But the real story here may be Jack Ma’s “Alipay,” Alibaba’s payments processing unit, which now has over 700 million registered users.

According to a recent report from the folks at eMarketer, China’s antiquated banking system and low usage by consumers of credit cards is benefiting the e-commerce industry there.

Alipay, now China’s largest third-party online payment solution, essentially provides escrow payment services that not only facilitate e-commerce transactions in China, but also reduces risk to consumers, because with Alipay, they have the ability to verify whether or not they are satisfied with their purchases before releasing funds to the seller.

And Alipay isn’t just limited to the Chinese marketplace. It now handles transactions in 12 foreign currencies, including in U.S. dollars, Japanese yen, and the euro.

According to the eMarketer report, Alibaba is also upgrading its COD payment infrastructure, investing some $79 million U.S. in a portable device that Alibaba says will consolidate logistics records with credit/debit card payment information in a single terminal.

It’s Alipay’s intent to install thousands such devices across China’s first- and second-tier cities (think Beijing, Shanghai, etc.) by the end of this year, which will help with China’s broader goals of fomenting increased internal consumer consumption.

Of course, if you’re News Corporation, and you’re in the iPad publishing business, no amount of Chinese e-commerce facilitatin’ payment devices are going to help a fledgling business model.

Earlier today, News Corp. finally bifurcated its publishing and entertainment businesses, and seemingly as a minor sidebar, also conceded defeat of its The Daily iPad app effective December 15.

The Daily had been News Corp’s digital pride and joy, a valiant attempt at delivering a daily news publication via the iPad only 100,000 people wanted.

At 99 cents a week, that apparently was not revenue enough even close to maintaining a viable business, so The Daily will now be put to bed.

Ever-reliable media critic website Poynter noted The Daily had two key lessons of failure from which we could all learn.  One, they had no clarity on its intended audience (I thought that was supposed to be iPad users!), and two, one platform, the iPad, just wasn’t enough in a multi-device world.

Perhaps they should have instigated a Chinese edition? Surely they could have drummed up a few more hundred thousand from a population of 1.3 billion!

Written by turbotodd

December 3, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Live @ IBM InterConnect 2012: A Q&A With IBM’s Steve Wilkins On The Asian-Pacific Economic Juggernaut

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Steve Wilkins is the vice president for IBM Software Marketing in its Global Growth Markets organization, where he is responsible for all marketing of the IBM Websphere, Tivoli, Information Management, Rational and Lotus brands, generating leads via advertising, the Web, events and direct marketing in Asia — Korea, China, India, ASEAN and Australia — and with colleagues in other growth markets in central and eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America.

IBM’s vice president for IBM Software Marketing in our Global Growth Markets organization, Steve Wilkins, has a unique perspective on the Asia-Pacific region, and was also instrumental in helping make the IBM InterConnect event a reality here in Singapore.

The last time I saw Steve, we were sharing a cab in Seoul, South Korea, comparing notes about our respective BlackBerry Bolds and various mobile travel applications we had been trying to help us maintain our sanity while on the road.

That was only a short two years ago, and the fact that neither of us continues to carry the Bold says more about just how fast the market is moving, in Asia and beyond, than can I! (We both carry iPhones these days, along with my newfound Nokia 1280 “global” phone acquired here in Singapore this week.)

I sat down with Steve here in Singapore to get the lowdown on the Asia-Pacific market. Steve offered insights ranging from the slowdown and structural shifts we’re witnessing in China (shifts that are creating massive new economic opportunity for individuals and businesses alike) to the ability of Asia-Pacific telecommunications providers to keep pace with the massive growth in mobile computing in the region!

Thanks again to Steve for taking the time to share his wisdoms and insights about this incredibly exciting area of the globe, one that offers massive opportunity but which also requires close attention be paid to the idiosyncratic needs and customs of the various countries that the region constitutes.

You can see our interview here.

IBM SmartCamp Finalist Profile: Palmap — Building Virtual Bridges, Online And Off

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Palmap's Dr. Ronald Zhang explains to the IBM SmartCamp Global Finals audience how Palmap's point of sale and indoor mapping technology will change the way people live and shop, not only in China but around the globe.

Dr. Ronald Zhang left his home city of Beijing to attend the University of Central Florida, and didn’t go back home for eight years.

When he returned, how found there were new buildings and roads and shopping malls, and he almost didn’t recognize the place, never mind couldn’t find his way around.

After catching the American entrepreneurial bug during his time in the States, along with his PhD, Dr. Zhang concluded that what was missing in the GPS, location-based services market was the inside out view.

Google Streetview and Keyhole had captured the outside in view, but Dr. Zhang explains that people spend 90% of their time indoors — at shopping malls, restaurants, and the like.  Where was the data feed for them?

And that’s how Palmap came to be founded, a Shanghai-located company now with offices also in Beijing and Xi’an.

Though American entrepreneurialism may seem to be far removed from the Confucian approach to orderly development in the East, that’s precisely what drew Dr. Zhang to the U.S. “With American entrepreneurs, there are no rules, boundaries, you can just go mad and crazy, and only be limited by your imagination. More and more, that’s what’s happening in China, but here (in the U.S.), there’s a spirit that we want to bring back to China.”

Dr. Zhang went on to explain such people “don’t necessarily make revenue yet” but that “they have services that can change the world and make life better.”

His idea for Palmap started around the time the iPhone was released, and he explained that “the Internet changed everything in China, and those technologies are implemented by people like us. So that’s my dream, to do something with my own mind.”

Zhang’s ultimate vision with Palmap is to bridge the divide between click-n-mortar and brick-n-mortar, or as he explained it, “online to offline.”

Between those two endpoints — and not unlike his transcendence of two very different worlds, the U.S. and China — Dr. Zhang and his team plan on making a lot of people happy…and then, and perhaps only then, will the money follow.

Written by turbotodd

February 2, 2012 at 1:16 am

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