The idea is simple: By keeping and aggregating records throughout the government’s various ministries and departments, Chinese officials can gain insight into how people behave and develop ways to control them.According to the planning outline released by the State Council, China’s cabinet, in mid-2014, the system’s objective is to encourage individuals to be trustworthy under the law and dissuade against breaking trust to promote a “sincerity culture.”Even so, an intricate web of social credit systems is coming to China—only perhaps not in the way, or at the speed, that’s generally expected.The concept of a system of social credit first emerged in 1999 when officials aimed to strengthen trust in the country’s emerging market economy.However, the focus quickly shifted from building financial creditworthiness to encompass the moral actions of the country’s enterprises, officials, judiciary, and citizens.Lower-rated citizens had a harder time accessing social welfare and government housing.
Beijing Traffic Management Bureau announced on October 22 that it will add Alipay and WeChat Pay, two of China’s most popular mobile payment tools, to its online traffic security management platform, our sister site TechNode Chinese is reporting.Since October 22, Beijing citizens in seven districts including Mentougou, Daxing, Shunyi, Huairou and Miyun will be able to pay their public transportation fines by scanning QR codes on the new fine bill through either Alipay or WeChat Pay.Paying for traffic fine in China usually involves long queues at traffic departments or bank outlets or complicated payment through online banks.Over 68.2% of the traffic fines are being paid through offline channels, local media reported.Automobile drivers can pay by scanning QR code on the fine bill within four hours after the bill is issued.The QR code will be disenabled once the payment is achieved.
Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might … blast off this rock and kick some intergalactic butt!That dream comes true for an imaginative schoolboy during Ubisoft’s two-minute film touting the recent release of its Starlink: Battle for Atlas game.Our story opens on Earth, as the kid walks through the woods at dusk and spies a shooting star.“One day, I’ll go up there, to space,” he whispers.Fast forward maybe 15 years (in his mind’s eye, presumably), and he’s all grown up, at the controls of a space-fighter, tooling around the universe on fantastic adventures.His youthful narration continues over cinematic scenes of his older self-zipping through the skeletal remains of an ancient star beast, gliding past mecha-saur beasties, and engaging in a dazzling orbital dogfight.
ClearTax, a startup that helps individuals and businesses file tax returns online, has raised US$50 million in a series B round led by Composite Capital.ClearTax, run by Defmacro Software, [had] previously raised US$12 million from SAIF Partners along with US$2 million in seed funding from Sequoia Capital India, and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund Angel in 2016.The investment by Hong Kong-based Composite Capital marks the VC firm’s first foray into India.Bangalore-based ClearTax will use the fresh funding to accelerate growth, and plans to invest in tech infrastructure and doubling its engineering team.It’s also looking to expand its product offerings and services for millennials.ClearTax provides solutions for income tax filing, goods and services tax compliance, and mutual fund investments.
Much of Jack Ma’s understanding of business strategy comes directly from the author’s novels.The following is an edited excerpt from Alibaba: The Inside Story Behind Jack Ma and the Creation of the World’s Biggest Online Marketplace by Liu Shiying.The excerpt was provided by HarperBusiness publishing.You can buy a copy here.Few in China can resist the addictive novels of Jin Yong (the pen name of Louis Cha); Jack Ma succumbed many years ago and has modeled his life on the martial code described in the stories.He has said he has “one idol in his heart,” and that is Louis Cha.
What happened: Xiaomi fans in Beijing are no doubt squealing over founder Lei Jun’s announcement that the Mix 3 model will officially launch in the Forbidden City.This morning, Lei posted an event flyer on Weibo with the brief caption, “ Xiaomi Mix 3 launch event, 10/25, see you at the Forbidden City!” (our translation).According to the poster, the event appears to be a partnership between Beijing’s Palace Museum and Xiaomi and will be streamed live on 70 platforms.The theme of the party is in keeping with the Mix 3’s advertising, which has heavily featured the slogan “Art x Technology.”Why it’s important: With most if not all of the Mix 3 features already “leaked,” the launch event isn’t likely to hold surprises for Xiaomi faithful.However, it may help to build further hype for a device that’s been advertised as one of the world’s first 5G phones, with a maximum RAM of 10 GB.
Some Google News users are reporting that the app used an excessive amount of background data.The first report of the issue was said to have been made in June, while the most recent was made just last week.Google says it is looking into the issue.Google News appears to have a bug that is causing it to use huge amounts of background data without users knowing.The issue, which was reported on the Google forums and spotted by The Verge, has apparently affected users in Japan, the U.S., and the U.K.The initial post was made by a user named J J F at the beginning of September.
Computer scientists at the University of California San Diego have developed a new technology that can encode, transform and edit video faster--several orders of magnitude faster--than the current state of the art.They presented their work at the ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing, Oct. 11 to 13 in Carlsbad, Calif.The system, called Sprocket, was made possible by an innovative process that breaks down video files into extremely small pieces and then moves these pieces between thousands of servers every few thousands of a second for processing.All this happens in the cloud and allows researchers to harness a large amount of computing power in a very short amount of time.SPROCKET doesn't just cut down the amount of time needed to process video, it is also extremely cheap.For example, two hours of video can be processed in 30 seconds with the system, instead of tens of minutes with other methods, for a cost of less than $1.
Ofo founder replaced as bike-sharing firm’s representative amid rash of lawsuits —SCMPWhat happened: Founder and CEO of bike-rental platform ofo Da Wei has removed himself from its position of legal representative of the firm.The role was taken over by Chen Zhengjiang, head of the firm’s hardware supply department.The move comes amid mounting lawsuits from unpaid suppliers including Shanghai Phoenix Bicycles and Tianjin Flying Pigeon Cycle Manufacturing.The former is suing ofo for a total of $10 million.Why it’s important: Ofo has been in a lot of trouble for the past few months, retreating from international markets amid a cash crunch.
What happened: Chinese ride-hailing company Banma Kuaipao (斑马快跑) is now rebranded as “Banma Ride-hailing” (斑马网约车).Banma recently completed a new round of funding, raising RMB 300 million from QJY Capital.The company also signed a strategic partnership agreement with Zotye Auto, under which Zotye Auto will provide Banma with new energy and gasoline vehicles.The company plans to move its R and operation headquarter to Beijing from Wuhan in the near future for the purpose of recruitment.Why it’s important: Banma has obtained 125 licenses in China—more than Didi Chuxing and many other competitors have.The company said it has been focusing on obtaining licenses in second and third-tier cities, while other competitors like Didi Chuxing, Shenzhou, Shouqi focus on first-tier cities.
Deep breath: There's oxygen on Mars.It's just not readily breathable on the surface, and according to a Jet Propulsion Laboratory-led team, there's the possibility of subsurface life on Mars, according to findings published in Nature Geoscience on Monday.The team looked at the Curiosity rover's 2016 discovery of heavily-oxidised rocks on Mars, and discoveries by researchers of underground lakes of briny water suggesting H20 is possibly still flowing on Mars today.The combination of oxygen in rocks and the potential for oxygen in subsurface reservoirs gave the scientists reason to believe some level of life could be sustained on a subsurface level."We found something very surprising: Many brines can exist in different places on Mars," Vlada Stamenkovic, a JPL scientist and lead author on the paper, told Popular Mechanics."They fully suffice to allow the aerobic breathing for microbes and even sponges, which are the simplest animals."
Starting in mid-November, customers will be able to return certain items sold by third-party sellers on Walmart.com to Walmart stores.WalmartWalmart has partnered with "hundreds" of its third-party marketplace sellers to offer free two-day shipping on "millions more" items on Walmart.com.The shipping offer applies to orders over $35.These items join a selection of items that Walmart sells directly to customers, which also have free two-day shipping for orders over $35.Walmart is also simplifying the returns process for items sold by these sellers.Walmart is beefing up its online offerings with a little help from its friends.
Neat, a Hong Kong-based fintech company, today announced a US$3 million funding round led by China-based venture capital firm Linear Capital […] Existing investors including Dymon Asia Ventures and Portag3 Ventures also participated in the latest round, as well as Hong Kong-based Sagamore Investments.For any business going global opening a bank account abroad can be a challenge.Neat offers a superior, faster, and more flexible alternative to a traditional corporate bank account for companies to seamlessly establish their business in the global market.Neat – which has customers in more than 100 countries – offers online, multi-user banking accounts aimed at enterprises.Companies can set up a Neat Business account in 10 minutes, and they get a Hong Kong bank account number as well as Mastercard debit cards.Users get access to a dashboard that provides an overview of their company’s finances, and allows them to make and receive payments, manage payroll, and handle expenses.
Telecoms.com periodically invites third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues.In this piece Bengt Nordstrom of Northsteam explains how regulation, M and consolidation in the European telecoms market have divided opinion over the industry’s future direction.They contend that fewer national operators can devote more resources to better networks and services for their customers, including 5G.They maintain that four-player national markets promote competition and therefore guarantee low prices and high service quality for consumers.Both markets have already consolidated to three operators, but regulators are still prepared to offer spectrum to new players.However, the overwhelming cost of building an entire nationwide network from scratch along with gaining access to suitable mast sites is the reason why we shouldn’t expect new players to enter the fray in Germany and Belgium.
Weeks after opening pre-orders for its more expensive iPhone models, Apple finally began to take preorders for its latest midrange phone iPhone XR on October 20.To meet potential strong demand from Chinese users, the US smartphone giant has bet over 2 million (or 65%) of its first batch of 3 million iPhone XR handsets inventory on the Chinese market, local media reported citing people familiar with the matter.Compared with iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max whose price is up to RMB 12,799, lots of analysts predict the iPhone XR will become the bestseller for the future two quarters with its more affordable price tag where users can start at RMB 6499. iPhone XR’s lower price range will bring down iPhone’s average pricing, but it may achieve high shipments by attracting users who want to seek replacements for their iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone 7, Robert Cihraf, an analyst from Guggenheim told local media.He expects iPhone XR shipment to account for 40% of iPhone shipments by Q4 this year, and 50% by Q1 next year.Extra attention to the Chinese market in inventory arrangement, especially for the inexpensive iPhone XR, speaks to Apple’s plan to appeal to customers in China.The country is Apple’s most important emerging market but where the company has seen continuous declines.
Zero's approach to building electric motorcycles has been one of evolution rather than revolution, and it's a formula that has been pretty successful.It's also one that it is continuing with its 2019 model refresh which it announced on Monday.In case you're unfamiliar with Zero Motorcycles, it is one of the biggest players in the small but burgeoning field of electron-powered motorcycles.It was one of the first to try and build an electric motorcycle that catered to motorcycle enthusiasts, and not just alternative fuel fans.Its bikes are still less hardcore than those of other manufacturers, but that arguably makes them more suitable as daily transportation.For 2019, its most significant changes come in the form of more power and longer range for most models in its lineup.
Supermicro tells customers it is looking for Chinese spy chips on motherboards ‘despite lack of proof’ – SCMPWhat happened: Computer hardware firm Supermicro said yesterday (October 22) that it would review its motherboards for malware chips, which according to a report by Bloomberg had been planted by Chinese spies during the manufacturing process in China.The company said that it was undertaking a “complicated and time-consuming” review of its products the lack of proof that the chips existed.Why it’s important: Compromised Super Micro motherboards allegedly made their way into the servers of multiple US government agencies and 20 companies, including Amazon and Apple.Bloomberg claimed that their use would give Beijing access to internal networks.However, Supermicro has denied the claims, while Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the article should be retracted.
Karma Automotive, best known as the company that bought the carcass of Fisker, is still cranking out its continuation Karma (which it calls the Revero) and it announced on Monday that it is making an extra luxurious limited production version called the Aliso.Just as a refresher, the Karma Revero is a warmed over version of the Fisker Karma that made its debut in 2012.It is a plug-in hybrid that will do less than 50 miles on electricity before its not-especially-efficient 2.0-liter gasoline engine kicks in.It produces around 400 horsepower and over 900 pound-feet of torque and will make the sprint to 60 in 5.4 seconds.The base price for one is $130,000.The special Aliso version is limited to just 15 units and starts at $145,000.
Walmart's two-day deliveries inventory is about to get a lot bigger.The world's largest retailer said Monday it's adding millions more items to Walmart.com's two-day shipping program starting next month, just ahead of the holiday shopping season.Walmart's website offers over 75 million products, with millions of them already available for free two-day shipping, so long as a customer spends at least $35.Walmart was able to significantly expand its two-day shipping program with the help of third-party merchants who list their items on Walmart.com.Smaller sellers who want to join the two-day shipping program will be able to team up with third-party shippers, including Deliverr.Plus, customers will for the first time be able to return some of these outside merchants' items in stores.
JPMorgan signed an agreement with financial technology company Plaid that will give its customers better control over their personal data.Plaid connects bank accounts with fintech apps like Robinhood, Venmo and Acorns.The deal marks an important development in how JPMorgan is thinking about fintech companies and the financial data they touch.JPMorgan on Monday signed an agreement with Plaid, a technology company that connects bank accounts with fintech apps like Robinhood, Venmo, and Acorns, that will give its customers better control over their personal data.Plaid will access JPMorgan's customer data through a secure application programming interface or API, allowing customers to share their financial information more easily and safely.Banks including JPMorgan have pushed back against so-called screen scraping, another way for fintech apps to companies to access customer data that generally is viewed as less secure.