Andy Haas

Andy Haas

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China
Tesla has secured the plot for its mega factory in Shanghai, local media is reporting (in Chinese).The US electric car maker and Shanghai Urban Planning and Land Resource Administration Bureau today signed the contract for land use right transfer.Elon Musk’s EV company reached a preliminary agreement with the Shanghai government to build a factory capable of producing 500,000 vehicles a year.The new facility is expected to significantly boost Tesla’s production in China, the world’s largest electric car market.After registering a new company in Shanghai on May 10, which is owned by Tesla Motors HK, it took Tesla only another 3 months to secure a plot for its first factory outside of the US.While the price has not been confirmed, earlier this month Bloomberg reported that the auction price is around RMB 1 billion yuan ($145 million).
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AsiaCollect, a startup that provides credit management services in emerging markets, has acquired Indian rival Creditseva for an undisclosed sum.Founded in Vietnam and now based in Singapore, AsiaCollect allows banks and non-bank lenders to outsource management of their non-performing loans (NPLs) – in other words, money that they have lent to businesses and individuals that isn’t being repaid on time.Using AI tech and psychometric analyses, AsiaCollect claims to offer debt collection and repayment solutions that result in “an optimal outcome for debtor as well as creditor.” It automates the contacting of debtors through automatic text messaging, interactive voice recordings, and predictive phone dialing.In addition to outsourcing and advisory services, the Hyderabad-based startup also buys NPLs from lenders, and provides software to its clients.AsiaCollect already operates in Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.The acquisition of Creditseva will help it to tap the Indian market for unsecured consumer NPLs, which it estimates to be worth US$150 billion.
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Helpling, a German household services marketplace with Singaporean roots, has netted a “seven-figure” investment from Swiss media group Tamedia.This comes as Helpling – which belongs to the Rocket Internet lineage – acquired the Swiss business of Book A Tiger, a German competitor that was also part of Tamedia’s tech investment portfolio.Book A Tiger has decided to focus on serving its home market, Helpling said in a statement.Founded in 2014, Helpling connects homeowners with cleaners, taking inspiration from the now-defunct Homejoy in the US.It claims to have served hundreds of thousands of households and supported tens of thousands of service providers on its platform.It’s active in 10 countries across three continents.
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Honestbee created a buzz when it launched its first brick-and-mortar store in Singapore, which is touted to have a couple of world firsts – the first checkout system that requires almost no intervention from the shopper, and the first grocery collection system that relies entirely on robots.See: Behind Honestbee’s big offline move and rapid expansion to 1,000 employeesThese features, along with many others, make it the “smartest” supermarket in Southeast Asia – though the verdict is still pending on its actual benefits to shoppers.See: Behind Honestbee’s big offline move and rapid expansion to 1,000 employees(All photos and videos by Tech in Asia.)This helps keep out shoplifters, too.
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My son, one month after his 5th birthday, finished his first single player video game, Super Mario Odyssey.Jumped on the mushrooms, found all the 'moons', punched Bowser with comically large boxing gloves and rescued the Princess.He'd learned that practice makes perfect or, at least, practice leads to .What if we'd spent more time on learning his sight words, or learning to write letters, or even just building a really sick tower with LEGO?I played them constantly as a child and obsessively as a teenager.You've read the headlines: video games are addictive, video games rot your brains, video games are to blame for everything from childhood obesity to high school shootings.
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Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings REUTERS/ Mike CasseseNetflix faces a host of new rivals in the streaming video business, including Disney.That's because there's more than enough room to grow in streaming for years into the future, he said.Yes, the streaming market is getting increasingly crowded with AT, Apple, Disney, and Facebook all rushing in.But Netflix isn't worried about hitting a ceiling in the streaming business and being forced to find growth in other markets anytime soon."There is so much growth ahead that's possible in streaming video entertainment, so we're just going to focus on that for a very long time," Hastings said during a webcast for investors and analysts following Netflix's third-quarter earnings report on Tuesday.
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If Hufflepuff is your Hogwarts house of choice, then seeing the popular off-Broadway play Puffs should be on your magical to do list as a Harry Potter fan.Puffs -- also called by the play's full title "Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic" -- reimagines events from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter book series from the perspective of the Hufflepuff house.Harry Potter fans will be able to catch the comedic wizarding play as it debuts online through the theatrical streaming service BroadwayHD on October 18.Puffs will then be available via iTunes and Amazon on November 22.Puffs tells the story of three geeky young wizards from the house of Hufflepuff and their misadventures spanning seven years as they attend Hogwarts as students.The groundbreaking part of this streaming announcement is that Puffs will be the first major Broadway or off-Broadway show to be accessible to see online when the show is still happening live.
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Although it is unclear when humans first started farming rice, the oldest paddy fields--in the lower Yangzi River Valley--date back to 4000 BC.Although the resulting rice plants are super-producers that feed much of the world's population, they rely on human assistance and cannot withstand harsh environmental conditions.A team of researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in India led by Dr. P.V.In special cases, the resulting RNA fragments trigger a silencing cascade, shutting down the activity of genes that are similar to the initial target gene.The scientists showed that miR397 silenced several members of the laccase gene family via a silencing cascade.Laccase genes, of which there are 30 in the rice genome, encode proteins that promote woody tissue formation, thereby providing mechanical strength.
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Amazon today updated its Paperwhite Kindle with several much-needed features — not the least of which is that it’ll now survive a dip in the pool.The new Paperwhite has a flush-front screen and twice the amount of storage as its previous iteration, coming in 8 GB at a minimum and 32 GB if you need even more room.It’s also thinner and lighter, at 182 grams and 8.18 mm thick.For comparison, the previous version came in just over 200 grams and 9 mm.The display is the same as the old version — six inches, 300 ppi — but it now comes with IPX8 waterproofing, just like the more expensive Kindle Oasis.It can withstand immersion in shallow water for up to 60 minutes, just in case you forget about it after dropping it in the bath.
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Netflix may have made a name for itself with edgy dramas, but it's swollen into a giant on our big fat appetite for sappy love stories.Netflix' Summer of Love, a programming campaign that lumped a bunch of teen-focused romantic comedy releases during the northern hemisphere's summer, hit the bull's eye, the company said in its third-quarter earnings report on Tuesday.More than 80 million Netflix accounts watched at least one of those films, like To All the Boys I've Loved Before, Netflix said.To put that in context, 80 million accounts is more than half of Netflix's total subscribers worldwide.To All the Boys I've Loved Before was a particular standout, as one of the streaming giant's "most viewed original films ever."In typical Netflix form, the company didn't provide detailed statistics about how many people watched individual titles, nor did it give hard numbers for the size of the audience for To All the Boys.
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A famous "giant" alligator nicknamed "Chubbs" got ready for another round of golf over the weekend.The nearly 15-foot gator went viral in 2016 after casually strolling across the grass at Buffalo Creek Golf Course in Palmetto, Florida, as shocked golfers stared.Afterward, Sarasota resident Charles Helms shared a short clip of the "monstrous" creature on social media — and the "dinosaur" instantly became a social media celebrity.“This alligator was so large he would only move slowly about 100 feet at a time before having to lie down and rest so he probably wasn’t in as much danger as it may have appeared.An alligator expert may refute that; I’m just going on what I have been told," Helms told Golf.com in May 2016.This weekend, the famous resident returned to the golf course.
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Mercedes-Benz has discovered a power-steering problem with its highly touted Sprinter vans.This has impacted Amazon, which recently became Daimler AG's biggest Sprinter buyer with an order of 20,000 Prime-branded Sprinter vans for its last-mile delivery program.Amazon had previously ordered 5,000 vans.One Amazon delivery service provider discovered the power-steering problem in about a quarter of its Mercedes-Benz vans, according to an employee of the courier company who asked to remain anonymous.Mercedes-Benz has identified a power-steering problem plaguing its highly touted Sprinter vans.This has impacted Amazon, which recently became Daimler AG's biggest buyer of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans with an order of 20,000 vehicles — up from a previous order of 5,000 vans — for its growing last-mile delivery program.
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This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service.Business Insider Intelligence Consumers are finally starting to adopt smart home devices, with nearly 60% owning at least one device.This presents an opportunity for e-commerce companies to enter the smart home and encourage purchasing through the devices.The smart speaker has become the face of the smart home in many ways, attracting the lion's share of attention as companies look for ways to take advantage of the growing platform.But there's a problem: Consumers aren't using the smart speaker to actually buy products very often.Instead, one of the clearest opportunities outside of the smart speaker is home goods and grocery replenishment through large appliances.
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Twitter’s Periscope livestreaming application Tuesday announced the ability for creators to assign chat moderators for their broadcasts, as well as new replay editing tools for them to tweak their videos for future replays.Periscope said in a blog post that prior to going live with their streams, creators can assign chat moderators to monitor comments and mute people who are posting objectionable comments.If someone is muted by a chat moderator, they will not be able to chat for the remainder of that livestream, and other viewers will be able to see that they have been muted, whether viewing the stream via Periscope or Twitter.Once the livestream ends, creators can see who was muted by chat moderators and elect to block those people from commenting on future livestreams.Creators can select Comment Moderation via their Periscope profiles to add comment moderators, and more information is available here.Periscope also revealed three tools that creators can use to enhance replays of their livestreams.
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Google became the latest name in a long list of high-profile companies to drop out of an investment conference in Saudi Arabia late last night, amid building criticism of the state's handling of a missing journalist.A well-known critic of Saudi Arabia's policies, US resident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.Turkish sources have suggested that Khashoggi was killed inside the building.Google Cloud chief executive Diane Greene will no longer be attending the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh next week, the company said in a statement provided to Reuters.No reason was given for the change in decision.Greene's withdrawal follows a number of business leaders pulling out of the conference, including the bosses of JP Morgan, Ford, Blackstone and Blackrock.
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Social media sites such as Twitter can reinforce certain political viewpoints or biases by surfacing posts they think its users want to see.It's a problem that Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey admits the company is trying to solve, but he's not blaming it on the algorithms."I think Twitter does contribute to filter bubbles, and I think that's wrong of us and we need to fix it," Dorsey said at the WIRED25 conference in San Francisco on Monday.Dorsey noted that the site by design allows users to follow certain accounts, which could skew their perception of the world.If users followed a certain topic or interest, they might see more tweets from people with different viewpoints, he said.Twitter needs to give users more tools to break down these bubbles, Dorsey acknowledged.
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Making courageous moves amid a lot of uncertainty has colored the life of Christene Barberich, the global editor in chief and co-founder of Refinery29, the lifestyle-focused media company.Take, for example, an essay she wrote in 2015 about her five miscarriages.“It was incredibly terrifying, but also liberating,” Barberich recalled.“I wrote it for myself at first, and then I showed it to one of my co-editors, and said, ‘Is this crazy?But in fact, serving as City’s executive editor “was one of the most extraordinary creative experiences I’ve ever had.”Barberich—who has held posts at now-defunct Gourmet magazine, The Daily and The New Yorker—took another leap when she helped found Refinery29 in 2005.
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Zipline, a Bay Area startup, inked a deal with the government of Rwanda in 2016 and now uses small, autonomous planes to deliver medical supplies, and in particular blood, to rural communities across the African country.“It’s a pretty cool paradigm shift for people who think all technological revolution is going on in US, and it’ll trickle down to poor countries,” says Zipline CEO, Keller Rinaudo, presenting his vision for drone deliveries on stage at the WIRED25 summit in San Francisco on Monday.It’s one of many companies now trying to make click-to-drone deliveries a reality, and between them all, they’ve demonstrated drops of everything from Slurpees to automatic defibrillators for patients who seem to be having a heart attack, as parts of limited tests sanctioned by the FAA in the US.Rinaudo is convinced that it’s the latter type of life saving delivery that will help make drones mainstream and acceptable.“It would have been harder if we said we were delivering burritos, I think.”In Rwanda, Zipline launches from a base in the capital Kigali to bypass muddy, impassable roads and zip over mountains that would make the trek by truck too long, even in the best weather.
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U.S. advertisers are forecasted to increase their spend on addressable TV by 35 percent between ahead of 2019 with the total amount of spend tipped to surpass $3 billion, according to eMarketer estimates.Ad-tech companies and media owners are now attempting to capitalize on latent demand with U.S. media giant and publicly-listed measurement outfit this week unveiling their latest wares in the sector.Meanwhile, regulators in Europe are beginning to doubling-down on privacy post GDPR—this time, with Twitter in the crosshairs.LiveRamp unveils Data Plus Math offeringToday, LiveRamp and Data Plus Math inked a deal in which the pair will aim to provide advertisers and media owners with better measurement of their campaign executions carried out on addressable TV.The partnership will provide media traders with campaign performance insights through Data Plus Math’s MediaFX Platform—currently used by more than 12 of the largest U.S. media companies—and will be based on IdentityLink, LiveRamp’s audience identification offering.
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Instacart's network crashed late Sunday, leaving customers waiting hours for food deliveries that never arrived."I waited close to 6 hours for my order before canceling it," one customer tweeted.Some customers said they were unable to cancel orders that were automatically rescheduled to the middle of the night or the following day.The network issue has since been resolved, and impacted customers can now cancel or reschedule their orders, according to someone with knowledge of the company's outage.Dozens of Instacart customers are furious after a network outage left them waiting all night for food deliveries that never arrived."They screwed up my order yesterday.
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