Among its spotlight features are an ultrawide screen designed to highlight movies and TV shows shot in anthromorphic widescreen and a triple rear camera setup paired with a powerful camera app that borrows tech from Sony’s CineAlta group.It’s 167mm in length and 72mm wide, and it measures 8.2mm thick — only a hair pudgier than the Galaxy S10 (7.8mm) but thinner than the iPhone XR (8.3mm).Moreover, the company says it’s in talks with game developers such as Epic Games, Gameloft, and Tencent to optimize titles like Fortnite, Asphalt 9, and Arena Valor for the added real estate.You’re currently on your own where content discovery is concerned.Sony is finally jumping on the three-sensor bandwagon, following in the footsteps of Huawei, LG, Samsung, and others.Particularly disappointing are the overzealous “beautification” sliders in portrait selfie mode, which turn skin into a pasty mess.
BMW will set up a computing center with one of its China allies, online gaming giant Tencent, to push forward the commercialization of driverless vehicles in the world’s biggest vehicle market.Why it matters: BMW is accelerating the pace of major strategic moves as it draws closer to the mass production of its first L3 autonomous vehicle model in China in 2021.The German automaker on Monday announced it partnered with Chinese navigation map provider NavInfo to develop high-definition (HD) maps necessary for driverless cars.BMW started testing autonomous vehicles on experimental 5G networks earlier this year, as part of the alliance with state-owned carrier China Unicom.Shanghai authorities granted the car maker road test licenses in May 2018, making it the first global OEM permitted to test self-driving cars on roads in China.Details: The computing center will begin initial operations before the end of year, focusing on safety validation of the L3 and early research for L4 technologies before mass production of the L3 vehicle in 2021, the company said in an announcement.
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China is BMW’s largest market, and the German automaker knows in order to capture the country’s demanding consumers, its future models must support robust autonomous driving capability.By law, foreign entities can’t host China-based data without local partnerships.Apple noticeably works with a Chinese firm to store user emails, text messages and other forms of digital footprint in the country.The Chinese tech giant, which is best known for WeChat and runs an expanding cloud computing business, said on Friday it’s setting up a data computing and storage platform for the German premium carmaker.In February, Here — a Google Maps alternative partly owned by BWM — joined forces with Chinese navigation service Navinfo which would help Here collect data locally.It’s perhaps by no coincidence that Navinfo and Tencent both bought small shares in Here three years ago.
Sometimes, I miss the days when Tencent needed to be a copycat to maintain its dominant industry position.Back in those days, Tencent hadn’t completely perfected its imperial dominance, and was consolidating ground in all directions.Adopting a defensive strategy, when a product posed a threat to Tencent, it would simply copy it.This was terrible in that there was nowhere to go where you could avoid Tencent’s reach.But on the other hand, back in that time entrepreneurs hadn’t yet given up hope, and were still willing to challenge Tencent in the first place.Back then, Tencent was the enemy of the entire internet even as it dominated, a contradiction that exploded into the public consciousness at the turn of the decade.
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China’s public cloud services market continued to grow at a rapid pace in 2018, according to a report released Wednesday, as tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent ramp up their cloud business to serve increasing demand from the domestic market.According to market intelligence firm IDC, China’s infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) public cloud market grew 86.1% year on year to $4.65 billion, accounting for nearly 13% of the global market.Demand in China has been on the rise over the past five years thanks to the internet industry’s explosive growth as well as policy support.Cloud computing has emerged as a new battleground for Chinese tech giants.Foreign service providers like Amazon and Microsoft are eyeing China’s lucrative market, but their expansion efforts have largely been restricted by local regulations.Details: The report shows that four Chinese cloud services providers—e-commerce firm Alibaba, WeChat owner Tencent, state-owned China Telecom, and software company Kingsoft Cloud—have ranked among the top 10 global IaaS providers by market share.
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Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has named Xin Lijun, president of JD’s local lifestyle service group, the chief executive officer of its healthcare subsidiary JD Health, and JD Retail CEO Xu Lei was appointed chairman of the business unit.Why it’s important: As economic headwinds persist amid decelerating growth, JD.com is diversifying beyond its core e-commerce business.The market size of China’s online healthcare industry is forecasted to reach RMB 20.4 billion (around $3 billion) in 2019 according to data from data analytics firm iResearch.Retail online pharmacy sales, a sector which is one of JD Health’s core businesses, makes up the lion’s share of the total market, 89.2% in 2017, the iResearch data showed.Many Chinese tech giants are doubling down on their healthcare investments.Alibaba has its smart hospital plan and Tencent has invested in multiple healthcare startups and is building up offline services.
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Chinese consumers are spoiled with apps for just about everything they need to do in daily life – and that now includes sorting trash.After Shanghai residents complained about the difficulty in sorting waste into different categories under a new rule that came into effect July 1, China’s biggest internet companies jumped in with apps to help out.The new rule requires waste to be binned according to four categories: biodegradable, dry, toxic and recyclable.Residents who fail to follow this face hefty fines and a possible reduction in their social credit scores.Tencent, which operates the ubiquitous messaging app WeChat, introduced a mini-program, Master of Trash Sorting, for users in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou, which instructs them how waste should be sorted and disposed of based on keywords.Alipay, the financial arm of Alibaba, announced earlier that it had deployed its AI and augmented reality technologies to a mini-program for waste sorting in Shanghai and other cities in China.
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WeChat is rolling out a new service enabling business clients to use unique QR codes on every single one of their products, allowing them access to more specific data on their individual customers, reported SinaTech.Why it matters: The expanded offering is the latest move by Tencent to focus more on business clients, rather than users.The Shenzhen-based recently unveiled new initiatives for third-party vendors of WeChat mini-programs to help more businesses establish a presence on the Chinese lifestyle platform.The firm has been expanding services for enterprises this year, while rival Alibaba has taken similar steps to support small and medium-sized enterprises.“Through the “one object, one code” system, brands can connect every product and consumer, send product info, bring users into official accounts, provide anti-counterfeit services, send out red packets and targeted marketing, as well as carry out user and data management.”Details: The service will allow companies to better track offline consumer behavior with data gathered and sent in real-time.
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Alibaba is reportedly planning to spin off its team responsible for developing its AliOS Auto operating system and integrate it with Banma Network Technologies, a joint venture (JV) between the company and Chinese automaker SAIC, in a move to gain more control over the company.Alibaba’s progress in selling its proprietary operating system AliOS to other clients has been hampered by internal resistance from SAIC, the country’s largest automaker, which wants to maintain an edge in competition, according to 36kr citing multiple former executives.Details: The AliOS Auto team will be integrated into Banma, and Alibaba hopes to then pry more share from SAIC to lead the joint venture, according to 36kr citing a person with knowledge of the matter.Banma’s in-vehicle information service platform has been on pause pending an update for months according to some users, and top executives including the CEO, CTO, and CFO have left.A Banma spokeswoman told TechNode that the company had updated its software more than 10 times for each car model over the past year to fix bugs and enhance user experience, although each update was not labeled with version numbers.Banma issued a blanket denial to TechNode on Wednesday of all assertions in the 36kr report.
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Instagram launched IGTV in 2018, and is pushing creators to explore what’s possible for mobile video.Snap is delivering plenty of premium mobile video content with its Snap Originals, and has more on the way.On that note, mobile video producers should direct their attention to a format Chinese media companies have been experimenting with: the vertical drama (竖屏剧; shùpíngjù).Chinese internet giant Tencent first dipped its toes into the vertical drama category in 2018, releasing short romcom series like My Boyfriend-ish Sister (我的男友力姐姐;Wǒ de nányǒulì jiějiě) and My Idiot Boyfriend (我的二货男友; Wǒ de èr huò nányǒu).Soon after, iQiyi, a production company under the other Chinese giant Baidu, released the slice-of-life sitcom Ugh!Don’t Come Over (颜东先生别过来; Yán dōng xiānshēng bié guòlái), a gay romantic series produced by Manman, an app dedicated to digital comicstrips.
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The report claims that users are unknowingly contributing to a database of blacklisted images.Why it matters: Chinese companies are required to police content on their platforms to avoid government censure.Realtime categorization of images is computationally intensive and more complex than analyzing text sent within a chat.Tencent has found ways to minimize processing times, with users of WeChat not even realizing that a photo failed to be delivered.“Tencent implements realtime, automatic censorship of chat images on WeChat based on text contained in images and on an image’s visual similarity to those on a blacklist.”—CitizenLab researchers Xiaong Ruohan and Jeffrey Knockel
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China’s biggest live-streaming platform Douyu announced on Wednesday it raised $775 million after pricing its US initial public offering (IPO) at the low end of the indicated range.Why it’s important: The deal is so far the largest Chinese IPO in the US in 2019, eclipsing that of Luckin Coffee which raised $645 million, according to Reuters, citing market data.The Tencent-backed video game live-streaming platform in April filed its IPO application to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), following its largest Chinese competitor Huya, which listed in May last year.The company delayed its IPO roadshow in May amid the intensifying US-China trade war.Details: The Wuhan-based company sold American depositary shares (ADS) at $11.5 each, compared with a previously stated target of $11.5 to $14.0, said the company on Wednesday.The company’s market cap reached $3.73 billion after the pricing.
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Payments giant Visa has invested in Gojek as part of the ride-hailing unicorn’s ongoing series F fundraise.Indonesia-based Gojek said it plans to use proceeds from this round to support the acceleration of its payment services across Southeast Asia.The two firms will also work together to innovate payment solutions for digital-first consumers and Southeast Asia’s unbanked and underserved population.The companies “share a collective vision of enabling convenient and seamless transactions for consumers across socio-economic groups,” said Aldi Haryopratomo, CEO of Go-Pay, the startup’s digital wallet.Gojek’s ongoing funding round includes backing from companies such as Google, Tencent, JD.com, Asta, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Motors, and Mitsubishi UFJ Lease and Finance.
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Inadequate understanding of blockchain applications is the greatest barrier to adoption of the technology in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the majority of respondents to a recent poll by consulting firm Ernst & Young.Why it matters: Despite banning cryptocurrency activities, China wants to be a front-runner in blockchain development.Businesses in China are encouraged to develop and apply blockchain solutions which fall within regulatory compliance.However, the survey results signal potential for a gap between policy goals and widespread industry adoption.Chinese tech giants including Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and JD have been experimenting and applying blockchain solutions to areas such as electronic invoicing, gaming, medical prescriptions, financial services, and logistics.“Trust is a key factor and current barrier for companies in Asia-Pacific.
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Giants Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent have a combined market valuation of roughly US$1 trillion and a commanding market share of China’s consumer internet industry.Alibaba enjoys a controlling stake in iconic Southeast Asian ecommerce company Lazada, as well as a minority stake in Indonesian ecommerce unicorn Tokopedia.Fellow Indonesian unicorn Gojek recently closed a US$1.2 billion funding round that saw Chinese giant Tencent as its lead investor.Baidu solidified its own presence in Southeast Asia following a US$200 million joint venture fund with Asia Mobility Industry, making clear its ambitions to be a regional leader in autonomous driving.With solutions poised to transform the global industry, what does this next chapter mean in practice?The Fourth Industrial Revolution is delivering a seismic digital transformation to our global industry.
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UBTech Robotics, a Shenzhen-based manufacturer of human-like robots backed by Tencent, said that it is considering listing on Shanghai’s new STAR Market.Why it’s important: The promising robotics company’s choice to list in the mainland is music to Beijing’s ears.Shanghai stock exchange’s new tech board is an attempt to woo homegrown companies from listing overseas.UBTech raised $820 million and was valued at $5 billion in its last funding round in May 2018.It has been earning profits since.“We are preparing for the public markets .
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Alibaba founder Jack Ma has been competing with one man to be the richest person in China for at least two years now.Tencent operates the popular messaging app WeChat, which has more than 1 billion active users and whose vision Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been trying to follow.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.Alibaba founder Jack Ma is arguably the most well-known tech billionaire in China, having grabbed headlines with his eccentric dance performances and presided over bizarre mass weddings for employees.But there's another face in Chinese tech that we should be looking out for: Ma Huateng, also known by his nickname Pony, who has for years been jostling with Jack to become the richest man in China.As of July 2019, Pony Ma has a net worth of $32.8 billion, compared to Jack Ma's $34.6 billion.
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The following article is an adapted translation of this piece, originally published by Lanchi Venture Capital on WeChat and republished on 36Kr.It has been edited and reorganized.Since late 2018, China’s tech industry has been haunted by large-scale layoffs across almost every vertical: ecommerce, games, bike-sharing, livestreaming, hardware, travel, AI, and so on.Even giants and unicorns like Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, Meituan, Didi, NetEase, Sina, Ctrip, and more have laid off workers or undertaken “staff optimizations.”At Lanchi VC, we recently brought together founders from our portfolio of tech firms to talk about their experiences in the realms of layoffs and tech entrepreneurship.What follows is some of what we heard, including personal stories and wisdom from experienced entrepreneurs.
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In 2019, after the government took a huge bite out of Tencent’s earnings by freezing video game monetization approvals, CEO Pony Ma caught the CSR bug and changed the firm’s mission statement to “technology for social good.” Here I translate the second half of an article that delightfully wanders from online dispute resolution to AI chess and the EU’s GDPR, all the while meditating on the responsibility that tech giants have to society more broadly.On the one hand, unlike the limited range of industrial pollution, the internet and technology are “everywhere.” The boundaries between online and offline are becoming increasingly blurred.But its intervention often leads to a disaster both for companies and users.Back to Tencent itself: Its games business has suffered a setback.But why do some prefer to put the games before the children or vice versa?These things are clear offline, but once it’s online, the dynamic changes.
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Meicai, the Chinese app that allows farmers to sell their produce directly to restaurants, aims to raise at least $500 million in new funding to fuel expansion in China’s costly fresh-foods market, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.The report comes a week after the company was accused of faking sales data.Why it’s important: While tech giants Alibaba, JD, and Meituan are changing the household fresh grocery shopping experience, fresh food platforms like Meicai are trying to bring similar changes to the country’s 10 million small and medium-sized restaurants and produce shops.E-commerce leaders Alibaba and JD.Com have already added groceries to their main sites, while Tencent-backed Meituan launched a similar platform Meituan Maicai in Beijing and Shanghai this year.In addition to the core business-facing model used to offer fresher, lower-priced ingredients to restaurants and produce shops, Meicai is also serving individual customers, thereby competing directly with the above platforms.Details: Bloomberg source says the potential deal would raise its valuation to between $10 billion and $12 billion, up from $7 billion last September.
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