Tag Archives: China

Overview of The Economy of China

The thriving economy of China is dictated by the People’s Republic of China. This has been the dominate force driving the economy since 1978. Currently China economy ranks it #4 in the world so there is no doubt the regulations of the People’s Republic of China are working well for the people of China. However, the biggest criticized of the Chinese economy is that it appears the rich people keep on getting richer and the poor people never escape from poverty.

To help with the growing gap in the different social classes China underwent a political balancing act to help rectify the situation. This process was introduced in the 1990’s. The government worked hard to instill market reform. China really seemed to do well with the changed until the energy crisis that occurred in the late 1990’s.

One issue that many countries must contend with is unemployment. China appears to have the opposite problem. Since 2005 they have had a shortage of workers in the labor force to keep up with the continuous growth.

Skilled workers are needed for the corporations and technology while unskilled laborers are needed for tending to the farms. China is the 3rd worldwide in the amount of production annually in their factories. Agriculture is a huge part of the Chinese economy with more than 300 million people working in that area. The foods grown in China are highly exported. It is estimated that their food exports feed up to 20% of the world’s population.

The growth of China has some of the leaders in the country worried though. They are continually increasing the amount of natural resources they consume on an annual basis. The pollution and other environmental problems that come from the high number of factories are a concern. China’s economy is certainly growing, but it has a long way to go, which means there are lots of opportunities available.

China will become the world’s safest and largest investment economy in times to come given the following factors: huge market potential, rich labor resources, comparative advantage in labor cost, sound corporate governance and stable government and society. All these factors will further attract the inflow of foreign capital into China. In short, China’s economy will grow even faster in the future.

In the next ten years, China’s economy will still increase at a rate 7% – 8%. In 2020 years, should price index remains the same as today, GDP will amount to 38 trillion, per capita GDP will reach 26,000 yuan. 

However, the level of per capita GDP is still very low in China now, GDP per capital growth is still at a slow rate. GDP per capita will have to be further increased in order to raise China’s standard of living to bridge the present income gap between the rich and poor.   Satisfaction of consumers needs can be the main driver in raising China’s living standards. Domestic demand will increase as the economy grows. Therefore, extensive production of goods and services can further push and sustain the economy’s growth.

Moreover, there are abundant human resources in China, and labor cost in China is much lower than the other industrialized countries. China’s education system is also being fast developed; thus, more people will achieve higher level of education than in the past. With comparative advantage in cheap labor cost and increase of human capital brought about by education, future for China’s economy can be only even brighter.  

China’s labor force will get even bigger as the China is urbanizing at a fast pace, changing from a rural and agricultural society to an urban and industrialized society. Through this transition, more manpower can be utilized. Urban infrastructure will be further enhanced and an increase in urban population will bring about higher consumption level, thus driving the economy further.

The presence of such a big market, coupled by the increase in consumption power of the population brought about by urbanization, will create greater prospects for almost every industry. Market will become more efficient and industries will grow even faster than before. Domestic demand for goods and services will grow, creating better opportunities for production and investment.

Tesla builds another giant 50-Supercharger station in China

Tesla appears to be rushing toward its seemingly impossible goal to have 10,000 Superchargers online by the end of the year. In recent days and weeks, the company has been opening mega Supercharger stations with record numbers of stalls.

The latest is a new 50-stall Supercharger station in China, which makes it the biggest in the world equal to another station in China.

The news follows the launch of Tesla’s two new 40-stall stations in the US yesterday.

Tesla already had a 50-stall station in China, which became the biggest in the world when it opened in Shanghai last month. Now, Tesla updated its Supercharger station at the Baolong Plaza in Beijing from 20 stalls to 50 stalls.

Jason Man, a Tesla owner in China, keeps updated on the local Tesla charging infrastructure and says that a new impressive picture of the giant updated charging station started to make the rounds on Chinese social media:

It makes sense that Tesla is focusing on expanding its Chinese charging infrastructure since China is already the biggest market for electric vehicles, or any vehicles for that matter, and Tesla profited from the demand by tripling its sales to over $1 billion in the country in 2016.

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Tesla continues to have strong sales in the country this year, where it leads foreign electric car sales with no close second.

The company keeps growing in the market with Model S and Model X alone by expanding its presence with more stores, service centers, and Superchargers, but local manufacturing and Model 3 are expected to be needed to take the automaker to the next level in China.

Earlier this month, CEO Elon Musk said that he expects that Tesla will have a factory running in China in about 3 years.

With this new station, over the space of just a few weeks, Tesla opened 4 new record-breaking Supercharging stations – now bringing the total number of Supercharger stalls to over 7,500.

Electrek’s Take

Tesla is still a long way from their goal of 10,000 Superchargers by the end of the year, but they currently have over 80 stations under construction and several of them have 20+ stalls, according to Supercharge.info.

If they can bring most of them online over the next month, they should get pretty close to their goal.

Furthermore, Tesla recently demonstrated the ability to bring Superchargers online rather quickly. They added over 50 stations and 600 stalls over the last month and they deployed the new Supercharger corridor going to its giant Powerpack project in Australia in just 2 weeks.

I find it hard to believe that they will reach their goal with just about 6 weeks left in the year, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it is impossible – especially if they keep opening those new giant Supercharger stations like those in California and China.

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Tesla builds another giant 50-Supercharger station in China

Audible.com Launches Dedicated Chinese Content Offering

Audible.com launches dedicated Chinese content offering at http://www.audible.com/chinese (Graphic: Business Wire)

 

NEWARK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Audible, Inc., the world largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment, today announced the launch of Audible in Chinese, a tailored listening destination where US and other international Chinese-speaking audiences can discover Chinese audiobooks and audio dramas on audible.com.

The Audible in Chinese catalogue at launch comprises over 300 audiobooks and audio dramas in Mandarin and will grow to include many more over the coming months. A dedicated landing page (www.audible.com/chinese) houses a curated content library featuring best-selling contemporary mysteries and thrillers, romances, classics, children’s titles, Chinese translations of popular English content, Chinese language learning materials and other categories, as well as helpful text and video guides for Chinese-speaking customers. Among the titles available today are 鬼吹灯 – 鬼吹燈 (Candle in the Tomb), 步步惊心 – 步步驚心 (Scarlet Heart), and 西游记 – 西遊記 (Journey to the West). 童谣经典选 – 童謠經典選 (Classic Nursery Rhymes) is also available as a special free download.

“Audible.com currently offers content in 38 languages, and I am excited to extend our catalogue to include Chinese in such a dedicated way,” said Audible Chief Content Officer Andy Gaies. “For the first time, Chinese-speaking audible.com customers can now explore and enjoy a diverse library of authentic content. Through these incredibly produced titles, Audible can now offer the tens of millions of Chinese speakers outside of China compelling listening experiences.”

Audible in Chinese is available to audible.com customers, and new customers can download any one of the Chinese titles included for free with a 30-day trial of the service. For more about Audible in Chinese, please visit www.audible.com/chinese.

ABOUT AUDIBLE, INC.

Audible, Inc., an Amazon.com, Inc. subsidiary (NASDAQ:AMZN), is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio content, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible was created to unleash the emotive music in language and the habituating power and utility of verbal expression. Audible content includes more than 375,000 audio programs from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers. Audible is also the provider of spoken-word audio products for Apple’s iTunes Store.

Source:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171107005696/en/Audible.com-Launches-Dedicated-Chinese-Content-Offering

Chinese Traders Continue Investments in Bitcoin With a Huge Premium

Despite the Chinese government’s crackdown on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency exchanges, local traders have invested in Bitcoin with a huge premium during its recent rally.

As Cryptocoinsnews previously reported, the Bitcoin price achieved a new all-time high at $5,920 last week, moving closer to the $6,000 region. Analysts including billionaire hedge fund investor Mike Novogratz predicted the Bitcoin price to surge even further in the mid-term, as an increasing number of institutional investors engage in cryptocurrency and Bitcoin trading.

When the price of Bitcoin was rapidly approaching the $6,000 mark and broke through $5,800, local investors and traders in China rushed to invest in Bitcoin, regardless of the imposition of a nationwide ban on cryptocurrency exchanges that requires leading Bitcoin exchanges such as OKCoin and Huobi to halt their services by the end of October.

On October 13, Bitcoin trades in the Chinese market facilitated by OKCoin and Huobi were processed at over $6,013, as the demand for Bitcoin from local investors began to surge. While leading Bitcoin markets such as Japan, the US, and South Korea processed trades at around $5,800, Chinese investors were purchasing Bitcoin with premiums in the range of $200 to $300.

Reasons For the High Premium

Until late 2016, the South Korean Bitcoin market demonstrated a massive premium in contrast to major markets like the US, because of its limited liquidity. At the time, the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market was dominated by Korbit and Coinone, and Bithumb, currently the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, were yet to evolve into a major platform in the South Korean market.

Consequently, South Korean investors traded Bitcoin at a rate that was around 5 to 10 percent higher than the global average price.

In June, South Korean fintech company BitHolla CEO Alireza Beikverdi explained:

“Unlike China, which has massive mining operations taking advantage of an accidental government subsidy in the form of overinvestment in underused infrastructure and cheap energy, there is no mining activity to speak of. Therefore, Bitcoin and Ethereum must be imported from abroad, driving up the domestic premium in Korea.”

More to that, the strict capital controls and financial regulations imposed by the South Korean government which heavily restricts the outflow of capital from within the country to overseas markets contributed as a factor to the demonstrate premiums in the South Korean Bitcoin market.

Since then, the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market has grown significantly. The South Korean Bitcoin market is the third largest in the world by trading volume, while its Ethereum market is the largest market internationally, with over 32 percent in market share.

Source:

https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/why-traders-in-china-have-invested-in-bitcoin-with-a-huge-premium/

‘Once Upon a Time’: Chinese fantasy-romance features complex plot, crazy visuals

Personal identity is as complicated as the plot in “Once Upon a Time,” a CGI-heavy Chinese fantasy-romance. Heroine Bai Qian (Liu Yifei) is a goddess who can transform into a multi-tailed white fox. She’s also the exact double of Susu, the lost love of Prince Ye Hua (Yang Yang), who looks just like — well, that’s supposed to be a surprise.

The movie was directed by Zhao Xiaoding and Hollywood special-effects veteran Anthony LaMolinara (whose credits include 2004’s “Spider-Man 2”). The elaborately costumed actors travel through a computer-generated magical universe and interact with animated characters (mostly realistic, although one incongruously resembles Sprout, Green Giant’s former spokes-vegetable). The imaginative visuals upstage the battle scenes and amorous intrigues.

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“Once Upon a Time” derives from a Chinese novel, “Three Lives Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms” (published in English as “To the Sky Kingdom”). The story is so involved that a recent Chinese-TV adaptation of the book ran for 58 episodes. This movie’s condensed telling is somewhat bewildering, although the essentials eventually become clear. But then they’re really just a pretext for such fairy-tale wonders as an underwater city, a living island and a hummingbird air force.

Source:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/movies/once-upon-a-time-chinese-fantasy-romance-features-complex-plot-crazy-visuals/2017/08/10/aec881ce-77a5-11e7-9eac-d56bd5568db8_story.html?utm_term=.81111d033139

A Chinese warehouse reportedly cut its labor costs in half with a fleet of tiny robots

It’s a disconcerting narrative to the American government, but the US is being outspent and out-scaled by the implementation of robots in China. Asia produces more robots than the rest of the world combined, and Chinese workers fear unemployment at the hands of robots more than anyone else. Even the Obama White House warned (pdf) that to stay competitive America needed to further invest in artificial intelligence and software that helps allow robots to operate in dynamic environments.

Shentong Express, a Chinese shipping company, showed off a mildly-dystopian automated warehouse last week that reportedly cut its labor costs by half, according to the South China Morning Post. In a video, tiny orange robots made by Hikvision ferry packages around an eastern China warehouse, taking each parcel from a human worker, driving under a scanner, and then dumping the package down a specific chute for it to be shipped.

The human’s main job in the video appears to be picking up packages and placing them label-up on top of the robot, a task modern robotics is only just starting to put into warehouse production. A spokesperson told the Post that Shentong is using the robot in two of its warehouses, and hopes to expand use to the rest of the country.

Just because little robots appear to be sorting boxes in this warehouse doesn’t we’ll all be out of work—data from Amazon suggests that even with 45,000 of its own robots in fulfillment centers, the American company still is looking to hire more and more humans for other tasks.

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A Chinese warehouse reportedly cut its labor costs in half with a fleet of tiny robots

China to ban petrol and diesel cars, state media reports

China is joining France and Britain in announcing plans to end sales of petrol and diesel cars.

China’s industry ministry is developing a timetable to end production and sale of traditional fuel cars and will promote development of electric technology, state media on Sunday cited a Cabinet official as saying.

The reports gave no possible target date, but Beijing is stepping up pressure on automakers to accelerate development of electrics.

China is the biggest auto market by number of vehicles sold, giving any policy changes outsize importance for the global industry.

A deputy industry minister, Xin Guobin, said at an auto industry forum on Saturday his ministry has begun “research on formulating a timetable to stop production and sales of traditional energy vehicles,” according to the Xinhua News Agency and the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily.

France and Britain announced in July they will stop sales of petrol and diesel automobiles by 2040 as part of efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.

Source:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-petrol-diesel-car-ban-gasoline-production-sales-electric-cabinet-official-state-media-a7938726.html

Alibaba Deploys Blockchain to Secure Health Data in Chinese First

Alibaba is partnering with Chinese authorities to launch the country’s first application of Blockchain technology in the medical sector.

Taking place in the city of Changzhou, Ali Health will work with local government to use Blockchain to secure data in a pioneering approach.

“Ali Health’s Blockchain technology connects information by using our current equipment and systems,” Zhang Zhihong, director at Zhenglu Town Health Center in Changzhou told local news resource Yicai Global.

“It is cost effective and safe. With Blockchain, health centers and district hospitals are interconnected so that the people can enjoy convenient medical services.”

Full details of the scheme are still forthcoming, but will involve creation of “a number of data security nets” and storage of data in ciphertext with “strict access controls and operational privileges.”

Alibaba

The move is just the latest state-sanctioned Blockchain experiment to get the green light in China, this week also seeing tax processes begin working with the technology.

Worldwide, an increasing number of countries have turned to Blockchain for medical record security, including Estonia and most recently India.

The latter this month announced a joint partnership with City University London to create a consortium to study how the technology can protect healthcare and Internet of Things infrastructure in the wake of the WannaCry cyberattacks.

When ransomware attackers struck in May, the UK’s National Health Service was paralyzed due to insufficient security and extensive use of legacy hardware and software.

Source:

https://cointelegraph.com/news/alibaba-deploys-blockchain-to-secure-health-data-in-chinese-first

China Yikatong launched an app for ‘most’ Android devices but not Apple

Apple continues to be locked out of China’s massive mobile payments space. The latest reminder came this week when Beijing’s transportation system opened up to smartphone payments… via an Android app.

Already Tencent’s WeChat Pay and Alibaba’s Alipay services dominate China’s mobile payment space, which is estimated to have processed $3 trillion last year, but now Apple has missed out being part of what is sure to be a very convenient usage case.

The Financial Times reports that Beijing’s public transport payments company Yikatong launched an app for ‘most’ Android devices that allows commutes to ditch their physical card and pay fares via their phone.

Apple isn’t included most likely because its operating system doesn’t support third party payments like Yikatong, instead favoring its own Apple Pay. But it is also worth noting that iOS accounts for just 16 percent of all smartphones in China, according to data from Kantar as of March. Though the figure in urban areas is likely to skew in Apple’s favor, it doesn’t dominate which may be another factor.

 

It’s unclear whether potential iPhone owners would go to the lengths of buying an Android device just to use the transportation app, but it’s another piece of anecdotal evidence that shows the difficulty Apple is up against in China, where revenue was down 10 percent year-on-year in its most recent quarter of business.

Apple recently removed the popular tip feature from chat app WeChat, a move that some believe might tempt its users to move over to Android where it continues to exist. While WeChat itself, far and away the most popular Chinese app, has ‘leveled the playing field’ in some ways by standardizing parts of the mobile experience for users whether they are on iOS or Android, the latter of which is often (far) cheaper.

That said, analysts are optimistic that the forthcoming next iPhone — which has been heavily linked with a range of new features — can sell well in China if Apple is able to differentiate it from previous models. Time will tell, but missing out on wide deployments like Chinese public transport remains a blow.

Source:

Beijing’s public transport system gets an app for paying fares — but Apple isn’t invited

China’s expertise in fighting desertification can help others

China’s Kubuqi Desert, the seventh biggest in the country, earned its reputation as “the sea of death” because of its harsh conditions and the abject poverty in which its people live.

Situated in Inner Mongolia, sand dunes have swallowed grasslands where people lived and raised sheep as recently as 50 years ago.

 

Sandstorms known as the Yellow Dragon pollute the air as far as Beijing, more than 1 200 km away, causing asthmatics and those suffering from other chest ailments to be rushed to hospital. Plumes even cross the Pacific reaching the West Coast of the US.

In the past 30 years China formulated a game plan to tackle desertification in these parts and the Chinese believe the model can be replicated in different parts of the world as drought, poverty and scarce water are a serious problem.

 

Environmentalists have described the effects of climate change as a “deadly dance” as the poles melt, temperatures rise and soil degrades.

Scientists increasingly warn about the pitfalls of mining, infrastructure development and drying water beds. Land gives way to sand because of overuse, the clearing forests and stress on water resources.

To find solutions to the growing problem of desertification, delegates and leaders from different countries have been invited to attend the seventh Kubuqi International Desert Forum which will be held later this month.

One of the discussions on the agenda is the work of Chinese company Elion Resources Group. The company has saved more than 6000km2 of land from desertification through growing a “green wall” – cultivating traditional Chinese medicinal plants and building a solar energy centre.

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The medicinal plant of choice is liquorice, which thrives in this tough environment . It has stimulated industries to improve the lives of the local people who earn an income through farming the plant and leasing land to grow it. These plants also help slow down desertification and gradually transform the desert areas into arable lands.

The green wall or barrier of trees helps counter the effects of sandstorms and rehabilitate the land.

The executive secretary-general of UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Monique Barbut, has hailed the rehabilitation of the desert as a model for the global community because it emphasised the balance between the ecosystem, the economy and the people.

According to Elion’s researchers, deserts cover nearly 40 million km2 of the Earth, accounting for a quarter of its land surface. More than 110 countries and about 1 billion people around the world have been affected by desertification.

According to a UN study, large parts of Africa and Asia are at risk, as are some parts of North America.

Barbut recently spoke at the UN convention where the Joint Action Initiative to combat desertification, rehabilitate degraded land and mitigate the effects of drought was launched.

The initiative aims to make China’s ambitious rejuvenation of the old Silk Road environmentally sustainable.

The “One Belt One Road” plans to boost economies from China, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean to parts of Africa, Asia and Europe. But these plans could prove futile as many of the countries along the belt are affected by desertification and drought.

According to the UN News Centre, Barbut called for the international community to come up with long-term solutions to “battle the ravages of drought and flood which are destroying communities”.

She warned that drought and floods devastate families and destabilise communities because they lead to mass migrations – leaving the vulnerable open to human rights abuses and long-term security threats.

She said the UK Ministry of Defence estimates up to 60 million Africans risked migration as a result of desertification in the next two decades.

She believes China’s experience in rehabilitating man-made deserts back to health and its knowledge could benefit initiatives such as Africa’s Great Green Wall and the re-greening in southern Africa.

The African-led project aims to grow 8 000km of trees and plants across the width of Africa to provide food and jobs.

Environmentalists believe this is an opportunity for China to spearhead work in a climate change-resilient world and to make its mark in green development.

Peters is the Live Editor of Weekend Argus. She is on a 10-month scholarship with the China Africa Press Center.

Source:

http://www.iol.co.za/weekend-argus/opinion/chinas-expertise-in-fighting-desertification-can-help-others-10094457

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Suits Up With $140M Overseas; ‘Despicable 3’ Nabs China Records – International Box Office

Among the benchmarks, Homecoming had the highest launch of the Spider-Man franchise (in like-for-like markets and at today’s rates), and DM3 is now the Gru-viest opening weekend ever for an animated movie in China. It also pushed the Despicable Me franchise across the $3B mark worldwide.

Swinging into 56 overseas markets, Sony’s Homecoming set a new bar for Peter Parker on 23,400 screens — and there is joy on the Culver City lot today. The Jon Watts-directed film landed No. 1 starts in 50 of 56 offshore plays and still has 38% of rollout ahead, including in such key hubs as China, Japan, France, Germany and Spain. Combined with domestic, the global launch total is $257M.

 

In the same set of markets that opened this session, and at current exchange rates, the Tom Holland-starrer is tracking ahead of Marvel cousin Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 (+20%); previous incarnation The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (+30%) and rival superhero Wonder Woman (+59%).

The Sony/Marvel mash-up came in well above pre-weekend predictions which topped out at $110M before folks started to become more bullish in the past few days. With today’s estimate, sources are pointing to emerging markets which helped bolster the major plays like Korea, Mexico, Brazil, the UK and Russia.

Even without China and Japan, Asia was a huge launch with $61.3M and Korea the only major in the mix. And it was major. SMH netted a $25.8M 5-day there for the 3rd biggest opening ever for a Hollywood film.

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Likewise, Latin America was strong with $32.4M led by Mexico ($12M) and Brazil ($9.1M). In the latter, SMH is the biggest opening of all time for the month of July.

In IMAX, SMH grabbed $18M from 669 screens for the 2nd biggest global opening for a Sony title in the format. The international portion is $7M from 277 screens for IMAX’s top bow of all time with a Sony pic.

Of the reboot’s performance, Sony’s President of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution, Josh Greenstein, tells Deadline, “We couldn’t be more thrilled about Spider-Man’s triumphant return to the box office.” For Sony and creative partners at Marvel, this is “a giant win” and the studio is certainly welcoming it after a fair bit of time in the doldrums.

Offshore exits are still being gathered, but the general consensus is that the movie will continue to play amid some more serious offerings, and notably has captured a broad audience. That includes men and women under 25, plus the core Marvel base and a big swath of family business — particularly in Latin America where markets like Mexico and Brazil scored strong numbers propelled by the all-audience component (see more below).

With a $140M debut in 56 markets, Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming has topped the launch of all previous pics in the franchise when considering like-for-like plays and at today’s exchange rates.

The last entry, Amazing Spider-Man 2, opened to $97M in like-for-like markets and at today’s exchange rates. Its non-restated ultimate IBO was $506M, led by China, the UK, Korea, Japan and Mexico. China and Japan have yet to open the current film.

Korea is by far the leader on Homecoming this weekend with a 5-day $25.8M start for the 3rd biggest launch of a Hollywood movie ever. SMH dominated at No. 1 with over 80% of the market — its first weekend is already bigger than Transformers: The Last Knight’s total after three frames. Korea is a strong Marvel market, and has done well by Spidey before.

Each of the 11 Asian markets to open this frame did so at No. 1 for $61.3M across the region. India, another solid Spidey hub, roared out of the gate with $6.5M, including previews. Indonesia was worth a very strong $6.9M, and Taiwan weaved $4.8M out of five days.

In Latin America, Mexico led the proceedings with $12M and Brazil was next at $9.1M for the biggest July opening ever. The region was worth $32.4M, pointing to the power of the family pull that SMH exacts. There were No. 1s in 9 plays.

While France and Germany are still to come, the UK led Europe with $11.8M amid strong competition and hot temperatures. A three multiple looks possible here, putting Spidey near the top of the charts for the year so far.

Elsewhere, Russia grossed $7.8M and Australia swung to $7.6M.

One of the softer markets was Italy with $3.1M. That’s not all that surprising given Italy can be a real crap-shoot in the summer as vacations kick in and moviegoing is not top of mind.

Each of the last three Spider-Man titles swung from strength-to-strength internationally, and introducing Tom Holland in Captain America: Civil War teed overseas audiences up for this new standalone spin. Also factoring, Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark has been heavily featured in the marketing and the actor participated in specialty stunt interviews overseas.

Holland was tireless in his promotional efforts, traveling everywhere from Mexico to France, the UK, Spain, Singapore, Russia and Korea. Those visits dovetailed with a nuanced and targeted campaign in global markets.

Next up for Peter and pals (and foes) are Germany and France this week.

Source:

‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Suits Up With $140M Overseas; ‘Despicable 3’ Nabs China Records – International Box Office

Chinese Province Larger Than Texas Just Ran For An Entire Week On Only Renewable Energy

While the U.S. flounders on environmental action and a growing number of cabinet officials out themselves as climate deniers, China continues to make waves as an emerging leader in this space.

 

Chinese state media announced this week that the sprawling province of Qinghai in the country’s northwest had run for seven consecutive days entirely on renewable energy. The province, which is larger than Texas, relied only on wind, solar and hydroelectric power from June 17-23, reported Xinhua. These renewable energy sources reportedly provided Qinghai and its population of 5.8 million with 1.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity — equal to about 535,000 tons of coal.

 

Qinghai’s fossil fuel-free week was part of a trial that the Chinese government initiated to see if an entire province could successfully achieve zero emissions for an extended period of time. Wang Liming, deputy governor of Qinghai, told China Daily this month that the experiment would set a new global clean energy record.

“It will break the current record of four days held by Portugal,” he said, referring to the four days in May last year when the European nation of 10 million ran on just renewable energy.

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As Grist notes, Qinghai is a hub for clean energy in China. Located on the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau, the province gets plenty of sun (more than 3,000 hours of daylight every year) and is home to the world’s largest solar farm. Also the location of the headwaters of Asia’s three largest rivers ― the Yellow, Yangtze and Mekong ― Qinghai’s hydropower potential is immense.

 

“Qinghai is the country’s important warehouse of natural resources and it plays a vital role in the development of the nation’s green industry,” said Miao Wei, China’s minister of industry and information technology, this month, according to China Daily.

China has been positioning itself as a global leader of green energy in recent years. In January, the Chinese government announced plans to spend $360 billion on renewable energy by 2020, an investment they could create 13 million jobs.

With its commitment to clean energy development and reducing its coal consumption, China is set to overachieve the pledges it made in the Paris climate agreement, according to a recent Climate Action Tracker report. Together with India, China’s climate commitments have been so significant that they could offset the negative impacts that President Donald Trump’s climate policies could have on the globe, the report’s authors said. 

 

“Five years ago, the idea of either [China or India] stopping — or even slowing — coal use was considered an insurmountable hurdle, as coal-fired power plants were thought necessary to satisfy the energy demands of these nations. Yet, recent observations show they are now on the way towards overcoming this challenge,” the report said. “This stands in contrast to the decisions of the U.S. administration under President Trump, who appears intent on going in the opposite direction.” 

Source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/qinghai-china-renewables-week_us_5954d053e4b02734df3020c7

How China changed Hong Kong: views from the city

Hong Kong is preparing to mark the 20th anniversary of the handover of the territory from the UK to China. The moment will bring thousands on to the streets – some to celebrate and others to protest. Here the Guardian asks six Hong Kong residents about their memories of 1997 and their thoughts on the city’s future.

Yau Wai-ching, disqualified lawmaker

Hong Kong people have been forced to pay for a deceit.

Yau Wai-ching in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan district.
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Yau Wai-ching in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan district. Photograph: Benjamin Haas for the Guardian

At midnight on 30 June 1997, I remember a heavy rain and my eyes nearly closing, almost falling asleep. But I didn’t. I was forced to concentrate on my parent’s old television screen, watching two flags: one was the flag of United Kingdom, the other was China’s. I tried to ask my mom about what was happening on that screen, but I could not understand, except for the one phrase that I learned that evening: handover.

Nothing changed the next day. In my world as a six-year-old I was waiting till September when I would become a primary 1 student. My parents said the handover meant nothing to them as they still had to work and pay taxes. Everything seemed to remain unchanged, exactly what the Chinese government promised to the Hong Kong people.

But then year by year, Cantonese began to be replaced by Mandarin, our constitutional laws made in the 1980s have been amended and “interpreted” by the Chinese government, and values among Hong Kongers changed after an influx of more than a million immigrants from China since 1997. Those mainlanders have come to dominate much of the social atmosphere. Locals are now always blamed as discriminating against those new immigrants if we ever expressed a different viewpoint and sometimes we are even slandered as fascists or racists.

In these past 20 years, Hong Kongers still believe in law and justice, fairness and democracy, but we no longer believe in the system and rules created by the Chinese government. Instead of becoming more like Hong Kong, the Chinese government will use any type of propaganda or immigration policy to make us more like them.

We have started to realise that the United Kingdom and China signed a treaty in 1984 that was supposed to protect Hong Kong, but it has turned out to be a deception and a joke. Since the handover all Hong Kong people have been forced to pay for that deceit.

Holden Chow, pro-establishment lawmaker

Hong Kong is part of China and we are Chinese: this is a fact and never in dispute.

Holden Chow at his office in Hong Kong’s legislative council.
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Holden Chow at his office in Hong Kong’s legislative council. Photograph: Benjamin Haas for the Guardian

I was in UK back in 1997 doing my A-levels, and I returned to Hong Kong before 1 July to witness the handover ceremony. As a patriot, I was always happy to see the handover and the establishment of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. I believe the “one country, two systems” works well: Hong Kong indeed has been able to sustain prosperity and with the full support from central government, we even have survived global economic crisis.

Full Story Source:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/28/how-china-changed-hong-kong-views-city-handover-1997-uk-residents

‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ Dawns With $48M In China – International Box Office

Refresh for latest…: Rolling out in 41 overseas markets this weekend, Paramount’s Transformers: The Last Knight opened in China today with an estimated $47.9M (RMB 330.76M). That’s 69% above Transformers: Age Of Extinction’s June 27, 2014 bow in local currency. Par puts the opening day for Last Knight at No. 3 for an import ever in the Middle Kingdom (including Thursday’s midnight shows). The debut sets the film on track for a $100M+ weekend launch there.

We are waiting on a full international box office estimate through Thursday on the 5th installment in the $3.8B worldwide grossing franchise, and Michael Bay’s last turn at the helm. Korea, which started previews on Wednesday is at $3.4M through yesterday. Of that, $2M was from previews and $1.4M from opening day. (Through today, per unofficial estimates, it’s at about $5.2M).

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In 2014, Transformers 4’s first China day came in around $30M. That film was made under a co-operation agreement and shot locally. Transformers 5 has a local marketing partner in Wanda (owner of the most screens in the Middle Kingdom) with Weying Technology and Huahua also investing. Bay and the team traveled last week to a premiere in Guangzhou. Chinese singer Jason Zhang, who performed a promotional song for the film, was also in attendance.

Ahead of the weekend, industry sources were pointing to an offshore opening of $167M-$200M, with China as ever the swing. The $47.9M start there portends a $100M+ debut frame in the market. The last film bowed to $92M across three days in the PROC and went on to be, at the time, the biggest import ever, finaling at $320M. It has since been overtaken by Furious 7 and The Fate Of The Furious.

Source:

‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ Dawns With $48M In China – International Box Office

China clamps down on live-streaming services

The Chinese government has cracked down on three of the country’s top live-streaming services over their apparent broadcast of unsuitable political content.

Weibo, the Nasdaq-listed microblogging site, disclosed that it had received a notice from The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (‘SAPPRFT’) asking it to remove illegal content and user accounts.

“The SAPPRFT had recently requested the local competent authorities to take measures to suspend several companies’ video and audio services due to their lacking of an internet audio/video program transmission license and posting of certain commentary programs with content in violation of government regulations on their sites, and Weibo is named as one of these companies,” Weibo wrote in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported that similar notices were issued to Phoenix New Media — the company behind ifeng.com — and video site AcFun.

It some ways it was inevitable. First came the investors with money, then we saw incredible revenue growth as the medium took off — now the government arrives with regulations for some of the edgier content out there.

 

News of this week’s clampdown comes after regulators forced WeChat and Weibo to close down celebrity gossip outlets using the services to disseminate news. China’s strict new cybersecurity laws went into effect on June 1. Although the exact details of how they will impact businesses is unclear right, containing online media seems to be one of the major focuses.

This is the second controversy that Weibo has dealt with this past month. Overseas-based users of the Chinese service found themselves unable to publish videos or photos during the weekend of the 28th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Weibo blamed the situation on a systems upgrade, but the timing of the restriction made it seem like a method to prevent content that would be deemed unsuitable by authorities. The Chinese government has never acknowledged nor commented uponthe events that took place in Tiananmen on June 4, 1989 — which resulted in upwards of 300 deaths as troops forcibly suppressed student-led protests.

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Source:

China clamps down on live-streaming services

Tesla expands in China with largest Supercharger station in Asia and new stores

Tesla China tripled its sales in 2016 to over $1 billion with over 11,000 deliveries and they continued their streak during the first quarter 2017 with a record quarter.

In order to support its growth, the company is expanding in the country with new Supercharger stations and new stores.

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The automaker announced yesterday that it opened three new stores and completed the expansion of Asia’s largest Supercharger station over the last week alone.

They wrote in a press release (translated from Chinese):

“In the fourth year since our introduction in China, Tesla continues to strengthen its commitment to investing and expanding the service network and facilities in order to allow more Chinese customers to join us and to experience intelligent, convenient and environmentally friendly pure electric mobility.”

One of the new stores they opened last week is located at the ‘Galaxy COCO Park’ in Shezhen:

It’s the fourth store in the Shezhen region. They are also adding 3 more Supercharger stations around the city.

Finally, Tesla is also continuing its Supercharger expansion in the country.

Last month, the automaker announced a greater than anticipated expansion of its fast-charging network, which especially involves installing more charging stalls per station.

Tesla’s Supercharger stations had an average of 6 stalls per station and the biggest ones had between 8 and 12 stalls. A few had up to 20 stations, but now Tesla is planning stations with dozens of Superchargers – even some with between 50 and 100 stalls.

In China, they have 530 Superchargers at 110 different stations. Last week, Tesla expanded the Supercharger located in Beijing Huamao Center to 20 stalls – making it the largest in Asia.

It looks like China remains an important market for Tesla in the short-term, especially since the recent success that they have been having the country. In the long-term, it will likely involve local production, which has been rumored for years, and the introduction of the Model 3.

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Source:

Tesla expands in China with largest Supercharger station in Asia and new stores

China’s WeChat blocked in Russia

Chinese internet giant Tencent said Saturday its messaging app WeChat had been blocked in Russia, adding it was in touch with authorities to resolve the issue.

WeChat, known as Weixin in China, is the world’s most popular messaging service, with 889 million global users by the end of 2016.

As well as messaging, it also offers payment, ride-hailing and other services, and Tencent has ambitions to spread the app beyond China.

It is unclear how many users WeChat has in Russia.

“We’re experiencing a block and we’re deeply sorry,” a Tencent official said on a company microblog.

“Russian regulations say online service providers have to register with the government but WeChat doesn’t have the same understanding (of the rules),” the official added.

A spokesman for Russia’s telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor said the messaging service “did not provide its contact information for the register of information distribution organizations.”

“We are sending letters to iTunes and Google Play to block the app. We await a reaction. If it does not follow, access to the messenger will be limited through telecom providers,” Vadim Ampelonsky told state-run RIA Novosti Friday.

Earlier in the week, Roskomnadzor placed Blackberry Messenger and Line on its list of banned services for the same reasons, RIA reported.

A law passed in 2014 requires foreign messaging services, search engines and social networking sites to store the personal data of Russian users inside Russia.

Sites that breach the law are added to a blacklist and internet providers are obliged to block access.

The law prompted criticism from internet companies but entered into force in September 2015, with professional networking site LinkedIn blocked after it was found to have broken the law. 

China also has strict internet regulations.

Communist authorities censor online content they deem politically sensitive, while blocking some Western websites and the services of internet giants including Facebook, Twitter and Google with a vast control network dubbed the Great Firewall of China.

Tencent became China’s most valuable firm in September, beating state-owned telecom behemoth China Mobile and nearly reaching half of Apple’s valuation.

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Source:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2017/05/08/chinas-wechat-blocked-in-russia.html

5 Travel Destinations That Are Cheaper Due to a Strong U.S. Dollar

The past year or so has brought great news for American travelers, as the U.S. dollar has surged in value against other currencies. That means it’s cheaper for Americans to travel overseas. We took a look at some countries where the exchange rate is notably improved from 2014, when the U.S. dollar was considerably weaker. These five destinations are particularly attractive now.

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1. China

If you’ve had your eye on China for a while, now is a good time to book a trip. The dollar is currently strong in comparison with the yuan, which was devalued by 6.6 percent in 2016. The U.S. dollar is now 14 percent stronger against the yuan than it was in 2014, meaning travel there for Americans should be about that much cheaper.

There is plenty for the adventurous traveler to see in this vast country, with some of the most famous tourist sites, including portions of the Great Wall of China, situated in or near Beijing. A tour of the wall and the imperial palace known as the Forbidden City costs around 240 yuan. At $35, that’s about $5 cheaper than it would have been in 2014, thanks to the exchange rate. Everything from hotels to internal flights should be cheaper, too.

Switzerland-©-Boris-Stroujko-Shutterstock

2. Switzerland

According to the World Economic Forum’s biennial Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, Switzerland ranked last in “price competitiveness” in 2015, making it the most expensive country to travel to. But the strengthening dollar is making it a little more affordable. The local currency is the Swiss franc, which, at the time of writing, was worth about one U.S. dollar. That’s 13 percent less than the franc’s high point in 2014.

According to Lonely Planet, it costs the average midrange traveler around 200–300 Swiss francs a day to travel in Switzerland. With the current 13 percent savings on the exchange rate, you could save $26–$39 a day when compared to the same trip in 2014.

Switzerland is a stunning country, where imposing castles from the Middle Ages dot the mountainous landscape. No trip to Switzerland would be complete without a trip to the Swiss Alps, which have long attracted visitors for hiking and skiing.

Switzerland’s cities, such as its capital, Geneva, are clean and home to some of the most important international organizations, such as the World Health Organization. Smaller villages such as Gruyères have a fairy-tale charm. The town is famous for the Gruyère cheese that is produced there, and offers authentic fondue and tours of the cheese factory where you can learn how the cheese is made.

sweden

3. Sweden

According to Lonely Planet, the average midrange traveler spends about 1,000–2,000 Swedish krona a day. That translates to $111–$222, a whopping $92 cheaper per day cheaper than it would’ve been in 2014.

With its many coastal islands and inland lakes, Sweden’s geography has long made it a destination for those looking to spend time on the water, engaging in activities such as kayaking. If you enjoy winter sports, Sweden is also an amazing cross-country skiing and dog-sledding destination. You may even be able to catch a glimpse of the ethereal northern lights in the northern region of Lapland — in particular, the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko National Park.

Even for city dwellers, water is an integral part of life. The Swedish capital, Stockholm, is built across 14 islands connected by 57 bridges. Stockholm is an elegant city, with lively music, art, and fashion scenes. Other cities, such as Visby, contain medieval ruins amid charming cobblestone streets.

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4. Spain

With the euro falling in value against the U.S. dollar (down 24 percent since 2014), travel has become more favorable to the 19 countries that make up the eurozone. You could consider a traditionally more expensive destination such as France or Italy, and watch your dollars go further than they have in years. Or you could head to more affordable Spain, where a beer in some parts of the country will cost you just a little over a dollar.

Spain is a diverse country, made up of 50 provinces and five languages, including the official Castilian Spanish, as well as Basque and Catalan.

The Pyrenees mountains offer wonderful recreation opportunities, including winter skiing and hiking along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage routes. The coast features good diving in the Mediterranean Sea. If a buzzing night life is more your scene, head for the tourist-heavy but beautiful islands of Ibiza and Mallorca.

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5. Mexico

The dollar-to-Mexican-peso exchange rate is extremely advantageous at the moment, with one dollar worth about 20 pesos. This rate is 54 percent better than it was in 2014. Since this destination is in North America, you won’t have to worry about expensive airfare either.

Mexico is a fascinating country to explore, with beautiful colonial architecture in towns such as Campeche, Guanajuato, and Zacatecas, which have put significant effort into conserving historic buildings.

The Pacific coast is a great destination for surfing and lazing on pristine, white beaches, and it’s often overlooked by tourists heading to the Caribbean meccas of Cancun and Playa del Carmen (which offer their own charm, to be sure).

Living in Mexico City, I will admit to a bit of a bias for this cosmopolitan capital, which offers a vast art scene, delicious cuisine, and no shortage of music and entertainment options to visitors from all over the world.

Regardless of where you choose to go, one thing for sure is that 2017 is shaping up to be the year of the American traveler. Take advantage of a strong dollar and see how far you can go.

Source:

http://www.wisebread.com/5-travel-destinations-that-are-cheaper-due-to-a-strong-us-dollar

Alibaba launches program to help 1 million U.S. businesses sell to China

SAN FRANCISCO  — When Jack Ma, executive chairman of Chinese mega-company Alibaba, met with President Trump in January, he made a promise – the online sales platform would give 1 million U.S. small businesses entrée to the Chinese market.

On Tuesday, Ma will announce he’s launching a program to make good on that promise. Alibaba plans a conference in Detroit on June 20 and 21 to teach U.S. businesses how to sell to the company’s 443 million customers in China.

The two largest small business markets in the world are the United States and China, and “connecting them seems like a good idea – good for the United States and good for China,”  Alibaba President Michael Evans told USA TODAY.

While Americans are familiar with the idea that most of their consumer goods come from China, China does import some consumer goods from the United States. Alibaba sees an opportunity to greatly increase those.

Currently, the site has 7,000 U.S. businesses, mostly large companies and big-name brands. Over the next five years, Alibaba hopes to increase that to more than 1 million, with the vast majority made up of small businesses. When Ma met with then president-elect Trump, he said the plan would create 1 million U.S. jobs.

 

As a first step towards that, the company  hopes to invite as many as 2,000 U.S. small business owners, entrepreneurs, and farmers to Detroit, focusing on products it believes Chinese consumers want.

The aim is three-fold. First, Alibaba needs to educate attendees about the business opportunity that China represents.

Next it plans to tell them how the nuts and bolts work of selling to China is done, everything from finding a partner company in China to the logistics of shipping, to dealing with foreign exchange.

Finally it will play matchmaker, introducing Americans to small Chinese businesses that maintain digital storefronts on Alibaba’s Tmall site.

“We’re going to be very involved in the end-to-end process, establishing the connection and the facilitating it,” said Evans.

Source:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/04/25/alibaba-launches-program-help-1-million-us-businesses-sell-china/100827290/

Chinese travellers are cutting up their United Mileage cards in anger

Oh boy. United Airlines is trending on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter — but it’s not pretty.

On Monday, United forcibly removed an Asian man from a Chicago-Louisville flight. In disturbing footage, the security staff are seen struggling with the passenger, before he is removed from his seat and dragged down the aisle with a bloodied mouth.

The incident was top on Weibo on Tuesday, with the hashtag #美联航强制乘客下机# , or “United forces passenger off plane.”

Over 180 million users have engaged with the trending topic, and have collectively posted 890,000 comments.

The outrage is China appears to have come from a media quote from a passenger onboard the flight, Tyler Bridges.

“He said, more or less, ‘I’m being selected because I’m Chinese’,” Bridges had told the Washington Post.

United has said that the four passengers selected to disembark were picked at random. It’s also denied accusations that the man was picked because of his race.

Despite this, the translated comment has sparked fresh outrage on Weibo, where people are boycotting the airline and cutting up their membership cards.

Source:

http://mashable.com/2017/04/11/united-airlines-china-weibo/?utm_cid=hp-h-2#O86Qty59oaqo

 

China is Showing Explosive Growth in Patent Application Filings

The United Nations’ intellectual property agency says China is showing “extraordinary” growth in international patent applications, putting Chinese applicants on track to outpace their U.S. counterparts within two to three years. Francis Gurry, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”), says China posted nearly 45-percent growth in such patent applications last year, saying “the country continues its journey from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China.'”

Overall, the United States was first for the 39th straight year and accounted for nearly 56,600 applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, followed by Japan at over 45,200 and China at nearly 43,200. China’s state-owned ZTE Corporation in Shenzhen, one of the world’s biggest suppliers of network switching gear, was the No. 1 applicant last year, topping crosstown rival Huawei. U.S.-based Qualcomm was third.

Patent law, a form of intellectual property law, is designed to encourage inventors to disclose their innovations in technology for the purpose of promoting the common good by offering the incentive of a limited-time monopoly on such technology. A patent grants its holder the exclusive right to prohibit others from making, using, importing, and selling the patented innovation for a limited period of time. 

WIPO’s findings come on the heels of a November 2016 report from the agency after China became the first country to file 1 million patent applications in a single year. Gurry said at the time that the bulk of China’s 1.01 million applications were for domestic protection in patents, trademarks and industrial design, with only some 42,154 filed abroad.

Such innovation in China in terms of patentable inventions is particularly interesting given the country’s seemingly unending production of counterfeit goods. In a U.S. Customs raid at the Port of Tacoma in Washington State, U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the past week seized an ocean cargo container of 2,100 LCD televisions from China with counterfeit trademarks and four containers of ceiling fans with improper safety labels. Moreover, a shipment of 950 microphones and cables was also seized because the merchandise was labeled as being made and “Manufactured in the U.S.A.,” but the boxes they came in said made in China. 

The recent bust represents just one of a truly significant trade issue; last year, 83 percent of Homeland Security’s counterfeit seizures originated in mainland China or Hong Kong. 

Source:

http://www.thefashionlaw.com/home/china-is-showing-explosive-growth-in-patent-application-filings

China May Soon Surpass America on the Artificial Intelligence Battlefield

The rapidity of recent Chinese advances in artificial intelligence indicates that the country is capable of keeping pace with, or perhaps even overtaking, the United States in this critical emerging technology. The successes of major Chinese technology companies, notably Baidu Inc., Alibaba Group and Tencent Holding Ltd.—and even a number of start-ups—have demonstrated the dynamism of these private-sector efforts in artificial intelligence. From speech recognition to self-driving cars, Chinese research is cutting edge. Although the military dimension of China’s progress in artificial intelligence has remained relatively opaque, there is also relevant research occurring in the People’s Liberation Army research institutes and the Chinese defense industry. Evidently, the PLA recognizes the disruptive potential of the varied military applications of artificial intelligence, from unmanned weapons systems to command and control. Looking forward, the PLA anticipates that the advent of artificial intelligence will fundamentally change the character of warfare, ultimately resulting in a transformation from today’s “informationized” (信息化) ways of warfare to future “intelligentized” (智能化) warfare.

The Chinese leadership has prioritized artificial intelligence at the highest levels, recognizing its expansive applications and strategic implications. The initial foundation for China’s progress in artificial intelligence was established through long-term research funded by national science and technology plans, such as the 863 Program. Notably, China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016–20) called for breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, which was also highlighted in the 13th Five-Year National Science and Technology Innovation Plan. The new initiatives focus on artificial intelligence and have been characterized as the “China Brain Plan” (中国脑计划), which seeks to enhance understandings of human and artificial intelligence alike. In addition, the Internet Plus and Artificial Intelligence, a three-year implementation plan for artificial intelligence (2016–18), emphasizes the development of artificial intelligence and its expansive applications, including in unmanned systems, in cyber security and for social governance. Beyond these current initiatives, the Chinese Academy of Engineering has proposed an “Artificial Intelligence 2.0 Plan,” and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China has reportedly tasked a team of experts to draft a plan for the development of artificial intelligence through 2030. The apparent intensity of this support and funding will likely enable continued, rapid advances in artificial intelligence with dual-use applications.

 

China’s significant progress in artificial intelligence must be contextualized by the national strategy of civil-military integration or “military-civil fusion” (军民融合) that has become a high-level priority under President Xi Jinping’s leadership. Consequently, it is not unlikely that nominally civilian technological capabilities will eventually be utilized in a military context. For instance, An Weiping (安卫平), deputy chief of staff of the PLA’s Northern Theater Command, has highlighted the importance of deepening civil-military integration, especially for such “strategic frontier technologies” as artificial intelligence. Given this strategic approach, the boundaries between civilian and military research and development tend to blur. In a notable case, Li Deyi (李德毅) acts as the director of the Chinese Association for Artificial Intelligence, and he is affiliated with Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Concurrently, Li Deyi is a major general in the PLA who serves as deputy director of the Sixty-First Research Institute, under the aegis of the Central Military Commission (CMC) Equipment Development Department.

Source:

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/china-may-soon-surpass-america-the-artificial-intelligence-19524

Live-streaming in China now requires a broadcast license if you’re not a citizen

Live streaming is taking off in China, but foreigners won’t be able to join in the fun.

Foreigners are reporting having their accounts suspended on big streaming platforms, where popular users are raking in big bucks through virtual gifts and other micro-donations.

Users on both Yizhibo, which is backed by Chinese social media giant Weibo, and Blued, China’s most popular gay social networking app, have received vague suspension notices, Sixth Tone reports.

Anton, a Ukrainian national living in China, said he was suddenly cut off during a broadcast session on Jan. 12.

“The app sent me a message saying I had broken some rules, but I was just broadcasting,” the Blued user said.

“Then, staff told me there was a new national regulation.”

These events come shortly after Chinese officials enforced a new set of regulations last year, stating that non-Chinese streamers had to first apply to the Ministry of Culture before starting their own live-streaming channels.

The law may be in place, but proper instructions to streaming services appear to be unclear. An unnamed employee from one of the streaming companies told Sixth Tone that details have not yet been released on how foreigners can apply for their broadcasting licences.

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Live-streaming apps are massively popular in China, with some 300 million people in the country having used such apps in 2016.

To put that into context, the population of the entire U.S. is slightly over 300 million.

Many live-streamers broadcast every aspect of their everyday lives, from playing games online to putting on makeup, with some treating it as a full-time job. 

Especially popular live-streamers have earned millions off such apps, and users are able to present virtual gifts to their favorite live-streamers, which can later be monetized.

Source:

http://mashable.com/2017/02/16/live-stream-china-foreigners/#T1Eyy4DjUSqS

China’s latest robot police officer can recognise faces

This intelligent robot in China could be the cop of the future.  AnBot is the first robot in China trained to carry out security checks and has started working in one of China’s busiest airport, reports the People’s Daily Online. 

The droid will patrol the departure hall of terminal three at Shenzhen International Airport in southern China.

The 4ft 9in robot has four high-definition digital cameras and is able to use mobile face recognition.

Images are then passed on to security stations where they will be analysed. 

The 165-pound robot is designed with four main capabilities which are independent patrol, face recognition, intelligent service and emergency response. 

The droids have a top speed of 11 miles per hour (18kph) and can even taser people. 

The taser is activated by someone in the control room. 

According to China.org.cn, the robots can also answer questions about flight information. 

The aim is that some pressure can be taken off airport police during the airport’s busy periods. 

AnBot was developed by Shenzhen Public Security Bureau, the National University of Defense Technology and a domestic technology company. 

It’s hoped that more robots will be deployed in other terminals of the airport. 

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Source:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/peoplesdaily/article-3803748/Robotic-policeman-Anbot-begins-patrolling-China-trouble-makers-ruthless-TASER.html

Mobile Esports Income to Level Up in China

Esports have grown popular enough in China that Alisports, the unit of Alibaba that owns the World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) video game tournament, announced last month that the international competition’s finals would remain in the country for the next 10 years. Revenues from live video game competitions like WESG are expected to surge in China in the coming years, with mobile garnering a growing share.

A January 2017 report from International Data Corporation (IDC) said that mobile esports revenues in China hit RMB17.1 billion ($2.75 billion) in 2016. But compared to projected future revenues, that’s small change: IDC predicts mobile esports revenues will total RMB53.7 billion ($8.62 billion) in China by 2020, up 214% vs. 2016.

Mobile, however, is still just the little brother when it comes to esports in China. A December 2016 report, also from IDC, found that client-end gaming—which takes place via a network connection to the main game server, often on a desktop or laptop—pulled in RMB32.7 billion ($5.25 billion) in revenues in 2016. That’s nearly double mobile’s tally.

Esports are already widely recognized as a pastime in China. According to video game research firm Newzoo, internet users in China accounted for 28% of all internet users worldwide who were aware of esports in 2016—more than the share for either Europe (22%) or North America (15%).

Source:

https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Mobile-Esports-Income-Level-Up-China/1015166

Which Country Reads the Most?

According to the NOP World Culture Score Index, India is the country that reads the most, with over 10 hours per week. Thailand and China are second and third, with 9.24 and 8 hours per week respectively. Below you will find the list of the 30 countries that reads the most.

Hours Spent Per Week Reading

1. India — 10 hours, 42 minutes
2. Thailand — 9:24
3. China — 8:00
4. Philippines — 7:36
5. Egypt — 7:30
6. Czech Republic — 7:24
7. Russia — 7:06
8. Sweden — 6:54
8. France — 6:54
10. Hungary — 6:48
10. Saudi Arabia — 6:48
12. Hong Kong — 6:42
13. Poland — 6:30
14. Venezuela — 6:24
15. South Africa — 6:18
15. Australia — 6:18
17. Indonesia — 6:00
18. Argentina — 5:54
18. Turkey — 5:54
20. Spain — 5:48
20. Canada — 5:48
22. Germany — 5:42
22. USA — 5:42
24. Italy — 5:36
25. Mexico — 5:30
26. U.K. — 5:18

 

27. Brazil — 5:12
28. Taiwan — 5:00
29. Japan — 4:06
30. Korea — 3:06

Are you surprised at who is and isn’t on the list?

Source:

http://examinedexistence.com/which-country-reads-the-most/

Google Play and iOS apps demand surges in India and China

India leapfrogged both the US and Brazil to become the nation that downloaded the most apps from Google’s Play Store, according to analytics firm App Annie.

It also claimed that China became the biggest source of revenue for Apple’s iOS App Store for the first time.

However, the BBC understands that Apple’s own figures contradict this.

They suggest China still lagged behind the US and Japan last year. The tech firm has, however, not commented on the 2016 Retrospective report.

A spokeswoman for Google also declined to comment.

Google and Apple both take a cut of software sales and in-app fees from third-parties that publish on their respective platforms.

Their differing successes are explained by the fact that Google Play does not operate in China, while iPhones have a much smaller share of the Indian market than they do in most other countries.

San Francisco-based App Annie’s research is widely used by app publishers and others involved in the digital industries.

“We are always confident with the data we release in our reports, attributing the estimates to a veritable degree to accuracy,” a spokeswoman said.

In total, it said more than 90 billion apps were downloaded via the two stores over the year.

Shopping apps

The popularity of Google Play downloads in India is linked to the fact that the nation became the world’s second largest smartphone market in 2016, according to the United Nations, based on the number of people with mobile data subscriptions.

Only China has more users, but because of local restrictions they mostly download Android apps from marketplaces run by local tech firms such as Baidu, Tencent and Huawei.

The report indicates more than six billion apps were downloaded in India from Google Play over the 12 months, allowing the nation to narrowly beat the US’s tally.

“An Indian smartphone user has more shopping apps on their phone than a UK user,” App Annie’s Paul Barnes told the BBC.

“Social and messaging apps have [also] been exceptionally popular – WhatsApp in particular is one of the most widely used apps in the country.

“This has created a fairly unique app market in India, where gaming is slightly less dominant than we’ve seen in other emerging markets, such as China.”

Mr Barnes added that India was likely to maintain its Play Store lead for some time to come and could top 20 billion downloads by 2020.

“I think if you look at the fact that smartphone penetration is still only 30% in India, then we expect to see that growth in downloads accelerate.”

Westward bound

App Annie’s claim that China had overtaken the US as the biggest revenue source for the iOS App Store was based in part by its success in the final three months of the year.

More than $2bn (£1.7bn) was spent locally in the last quarter, the report said, which compared to about $1.5bn (£1.2bn) in the US for the same period.

“There’s been a real surge in 2016, which has been something of a surprise,” Mr Barnes acknowledged.

“With China, local games are particularly popular. The companies NetEase and Tencent have done incredibly well.”

The report highlighted the Fantasy Westward Journey series – role-playing titles based on a 15-year-old PC game – as being particularly successful. They have generated more than $800m (£664m) for NetEase in China since it released the first title in March 2015.

The report added that Tencent’s QQ social network also made substantial gains in 2016. Its games are free to play, but the firm sells weapons and other virtual goods within them, as well as making money from adverts.

App Annie acknowledged that Japanese iPhone owners still spent more on average than any other nationality.

But Mr Barnes said Chinese users were catching up quickly.

“China has actually increased per person spending on games 10 times since 2014,” he said.

In total, Apple and Google’s app stores generated $35bn (£29bn) in revenue in 2016, according to the report, representing a 40% gain on 2015.

Source:

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-38643130

THE SCI-FI AUTHOR BRIDGING AMERICA AND CHINA

Ken Liu says he could never miss the beginning of any story. So while growing up in China in the 1980s, he sprinted from school to his grandmother’s house each afternoon. She dialed the Chinese radio to the correct station, and the duo listened to tales of kingdoms and romance in the Pingshu tradition. When the shows finished, Liu raced through a couple of questions with grandma to clarify what went over his head. Then he’d run back to class.

Today, Liu knows what it’s like to be behind the scenes of a hit that titillates, just as those radio shows did. In his case, it’s sci-fi and fantasy novels. Liu is the translator responsible for bringing Chinese sci-fi authors to America — and is the writer of a few impressive books himself. He translated two of three books in Cixin Liu’s (no relation) science-fiction trilogy The Three Body Problem, which has garnered praise from both President Obama and Mark Zuckerberg. His translation was the first Chinese-to-English text to win the highest honor in sci-fi land, the Hugo Award.

That goes on the shelf next to prior Hugos for his own writing: best short story (“The Paper Menagerie” and “Mono No Aware”) in 2012 and 2013. “Ken exploded on the scene,” says Lightspeed magazine editor and top sci-fi anthologist John Joseph Adams. He thinks Liu may be the writer he’s accepted the most to his many publications, which form the constellation of the modern science-fiction canon. NPR’s book critic called Liu’s epic trilogy, The Dandelion Dynasty, “beautiful, nuanced, fierce, original and diverse.” Soon, Liu will be headed to the screen: TheGrace of Kings sold to the Chinese production company DMG in October 2016.

“I don’t particularly care about the kinds of things fantasy and sci-fi readers care about,” Liu says — though he says he finds his materials mainly in scientific papers. “I’m not interested in predicting the future.” He’s more interested in using metaphor to untangle our contemporary reality: In The Dandelion Dynasty, factions vie for power in a make-believe, rebellious, unstable empire. (Game of Thrones, anyone?)

In six years, Liu has published more than 100 short stories. In “Paper Menagerie,” a young Chinese-American boy’s mom makes origami that comes to life. “Single Bit-Error,” a tale of love lost after a car crash, uses programming language as metaphor. “Mono No Aware” tells the story of a Japanese boy who earns a coveted spot on an American evacuation ship from Earth (hit by an asteroid). “Everything passes, Hiroto,” the boy remembers his late father saying. “That feeling in your heart: It’s called mono no aware. It is a sense of the transience of all things in life.”

Liu references his heritage in The Grace of Kings not by writing characters of his ethnicity, but through the aesthetic of his futuristic world landscape — “silkpunk,” mixing Victoriana and East Asian classical antiquity. The world uses East Asian technological sources like bamboo, silk and wind power, while Liu drew from Chinese historical romances and foundational narratives well known in Chinese culture.

At first, most Chinese sci-fi was imported translations of authors like Jules Verne. In 1932, the same year as Aldous Huxley came out with Brave New World, Chinese author Lao She wrote a dystopian satirical novel set on Mars called Cat Country. But the communists pushed most sci-fi aside beginning in the 1950s.

Source:

http://www.ozy.com/rising-stars/the-sci-fi-author-bridging-america-and-china/74506