Turbotodd

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

Posts Tagged ‘china

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

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A Deal’s a Deal

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Happy Monday…err, Tuesday. 

If you’re here in the U.S., here’s hoping you had a nice, long holiday weekend, and that you took a few moments to remember the memory of the service men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice. They really are our nation’s heroes.

Now, even though it’s a Tuesday and not a Monday, there are some tech deals already looming and/or happening this week.

Reuters is reporting that Alibaba’s fintech affiliate Ant Financial has raised $10 billion, valuing the company at $140 billion.

In this round, Reuters reports that a number of global sovereign wealth funds and private equity firms joined the fundraising as main investors, including funding from Carlyle Group LP and VC firm Sequoia Capital.

Ant is controlled by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd founder Jack Ma. As Reuters reports, it was spun off from Alibaba when the group went public, and has diversified over the years into credit services, asset management, and online banking, as well as owning the Alipay payment platform.

In a deal closer to home, private equity firm KKR has said it will acquire BMC Software from an investment group that includes Bain Capital, Golden Gate Capital, and others.

According to a report from ZDNet, BMC has pivoted from mainframe software to being more of an IT service management play and cloud management and application optimization provider.

BMC Software had gone private in 2013 in a deal worth $6.9 billion.

And not to be outdone, the city of London has introduced a contactless payment scheme for buskers that will allow passers-by to use card readers to show their support for the city’s street performers. 

The BBC report indicates that the organization Busk in London is working with iZettle on the scheme and would be made available to buskers in all the capital’s boroughs over the coming months.

Written by turbotodd

May 29, 2018 at 9:29 am

Posted in 2018, payment systems

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Bring in the Robots

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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

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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

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

Tagged with , , ,

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

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