China’s Alibaba Group has decided to power app searches for its mobile operating system using technology from U.S.-based Quixey, a company in which it invested. Quixey, which runs a mobile app by the same name, made the announcement on Friday, a year after it received funding from Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant perhaps best known for its huge IPO on the New York Stock Exchange last month.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. is putting a positive spin on China’s investments aimed at making its chip industry a competitive, global powerhouse. “We think our business opportunity in China will grow, will be bigger, with this development,” said Mark Liu, co-CEO of TSMC during a conference call to discuss earnings. This week, China announced it had set up a fund to develop the country’s semiconductor industry, with local media reporting that the initial investments could amount to 120 billion yuan (US$19.5 billion).
Alibaba’s mutual fund Yuebao garnered a lot of attention when it first launched last summer, and at first, it grew extremely fast. But by this July, it had begun to stagnate, and now according to the latest numbers, investment in Yuebao is actually dropping. Back in July, Yuebao held RMB 574 billion (US$92 billion) in assets, making it the fourth-largest money market fund in the world. But this past Friday, Tianhong Asset Management Co. (which manages Yuebao’s funds and which is also owned by Alibaba) announced Yuebao’s latest numbers: RMB 534 billion (US$87 billion).
[SAN FRANCISCO] Hewlett-Packard has begun sounding out private-equity firms in China to buy its corporate-networking business in the country, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation. HP is expected to sell at least 51 per cent of the business, H3C Technologies Co, which could be worth roughly US$5 billion in a full sale, the business daily said. HP declined to comment on the report.
CHINA – China Telecom Corp Ltd and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd could soon jointly invest in a new content delivery network (CDN) company that would speed up Chinese users’ Internet access, a Chinese paper reported on Friday. The proposed firm would be run by China Telecom’s cloud computing subsidiary, according to a 21st Century Business Herald report citing an unnamed senior China Telecom employee. Rumours of a CDN joint venture between the country’s second- and third-largest carriers have existed for more than year.
The leaders of Facebook and Apple were in China this past week on separate missions with the same goal: gain better transparency and more access to the Chinese market. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was in Beijing for an event at a local university, and Apple’s Tim Cook met with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai to review security concerns. When Facebook’s multi-billion-dollar initial public offering launched more than two years ago, details of its prospectus shed light on Facebook’s possible entry into China.
China’s internet is littered with companies that thrive in part thanks to the country’s strict censorship. Baidu, Weibo, and Youku are now web giants due to blocks put in place on Google, Twitter, and Youtube. The popular western photo sharing social network Instagram has eluded the Great Firewall until recently, operating freely and successfully in the Middle Kingdom. But the site and app became inaccessible from China starting near the end of September this year, likely due to the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong that earned the ire of Beijing officials.
[BEIJING] Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook said the company is planning to open 25 retail stores in China within the next two years, according to a Chinese transcript of an interview posted by web portal Sina.com. Apple, which currently earns about 15 per cent of its revenue in Greater China, has 15 outlets in the country. The Apple chief executive made similar comments Monday on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call. “We’re investing like crazy in the market,” Cook said on the call.
BEIJING: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg impressed during a 30-minute Q&A session at Tsinghua University on Wednesday (Oct 22) when he addressed the crowd and fielded questions in Mandarin. According to a post on his Facebook page, topics discussed during the session included “connecting the world, Internet.org, innovation and the early days of Facebook”.
(Updated on October 23: Yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook held talks in Beijing with Vice Premier Ma Kai “on user data protection.” Apple has acknowledged concerns about iCloud lapses in China (see this new support page) but has not apportioned blame for the attacks. GreatFire reported on October 20, shortly after this post was published, that Apple promptly changed the iCloud.com DNS in China so as to avoid the attack. Today Cook tweeted a photo of his visit to a Foxconn factory. Note: this article was published originally on October 20.)
Xiaomi, the Chinese mobile company that’s now China’s most valuable startup by a mile, announced another step in its plan for world domination today: its servers are going global. Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra announced the company’s plans via Facebook, and he says the server globalization will come in three phases:
Israeli venture capital firm Carmel Ventures announced today that it has closed a fourth round of funding worth a total of US$194 million. And interestingly, this latest round includes investment from “several leading Asian strategic investors” including Chinese tech companies Baidu and Qihoo 360. Carmel Ventures did not disclose how much either of the Chinese tech giants invested, and a representative from Baidu confirmed to Tech in Asia that the company had participated in the funding round but declined to comment further.
Chinese Internet services company Baidu, Inc. is currently using deep learning algorithm, a new subfield of artificial intelligence (AI), to improve its search engine technology and other computing tasks. Deep learning is an area of machine learning that intends to train computer hardware and software to replicate the behavior of the human brain by using data representations. Andrew Ng, former artificial intelligence chief of Google, is currently leading Baidu’s AI research and development lab in Silicon Valley, California.
NEW DELHI: China-based mobile Internet browser company UCWeb today said it has partnered with leading e-commerce firms including Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal for a 15-day Diwali shopping festival. “The idea is that you can browse and compare the product prices via UC Browser, to find the best available deals from Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Myntra, Jabong, Homeshop18 and Shopclues,” the company said in a statement.
Intel Capital, the VC arm of chipmaker giant Intel, has just dished out a sizable chunk of its US$100 million China Smart Device Innovation Fund to invest in five Chinese startups. As the name of the fund suggests, they’re making smart gadgets or services either as wearables, mobile, or for the home. While they each might have their merits, they’re not the most exciting Chinese smart startups that we’ve seen. (For those, see our list of 12 of China’s hottest hardware startups.)
If you earn a living off of your own online web store, Alibaba wants your business. The Chinese ecommerce behemoth is partnering with Bigcommerce, a service provider for online retailers, to help international web vendors source products from Alibaba.com, the company’s flagship business-to-business marketplace.
HONG KONG: For Apple in China, trouble seems to be the new normal. Cybersecurity monitoring groups and security experts said on Monday that Apple’s online data storage service, known as iCloud, was the target of a new attack that sought to steal users’ passwords and then spy on their activities. Starting over the weekend, when many users across China tried to sign into their iCloud accounts, they may have been giving away login information to a third party, in what is called a man-in-the-middle attack.
Niko Partners forecasts that the revenue of the games industry in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, could reach $1.7 billion by 2017. The Vietnamese industry, despite being only 10 years old, is promising, with a high growth rate of 50-100 percent per annum and approximately 20 million gamers. However, PC and console games are not dominated by domestic games developers, including major companies like VNG, which is valued at $1 billion, and VTC and FPT, the largest information technology group in the country. An analyst estimated that 90 percent of the PC games available in the market are sourced from China.
WASHINGTON: Apple said on Tuesday (Oct 21) its iCloud server has been the target of “intermittent” attacks, hours after a security blog said Chinese authorities had been trying to hack into the system. Apple did not specifically mention China, but posted a security bulletin citing the hack attempts, and indicating its cloud computing platform had not been breached.
Nexenta (@Nexenta), the global leader in Software-Defined Storage (SDS) (#softwaredefinedstorage), today announced a partnership with Beijing-based server manufacturer SuperCloud. SuperCloud is a joint venture between the Beijing government and Cloud Valley. The company is one of the innovative companies working within the auspices of Cloud Valley. Cloud Valley was founded by noted Chinese Internet entrepreneur Edward Tian, and is now home to nearly twenty companies focusing on cloud computing hardware, software and services.