Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei survived a famine, but can he weather President Trump?


https://youtu.be/rqRItBZOp5g

  • Ren Zhengfei leads Huawei Technologies, one of the world’s largest manufacturer of telecommunication hardware and mobile phones.
  • Ren is the son of school teachers and grew up in a mountainous town in southern China’s Guizhou Province.
  • Ren held technician posts in China’s military and worked for Shenzhen South
    Sea Oil before establishing Huawei with the equivalent of $3,000 in 1987.
  • Huawei today does business in more than 170 countries with 180,000 employees.

Mr Ren Zhengfei survived Mao Zedong’s great famine and went on to build a telecom giant with US$92 billion in revenue that strikes fear among some policymakers in the West.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) – At the sprawling Huawei Technologies campus in Shenzhen, the foodcourt’s walls are emblazoned with quotes from the company’s billionaire founder and chief executive Ren Zhengfei.

Then there’s the research lab that resembles the White House in Washington. Perhaps the most curious thing, though, are three black swans paddling around a lake.

For Mr Ren, a former People’s Liberation Army soldier turned telecom tycoon, the elegant birds are meant as a reminder to avoid complacency and prepare for unexpected crisis. That pretty much sums up the state of affairs at Huawei, whose chief financial officer, Ms Meng Wanzhou, who’s also Mr Ren’s daughter, is in custody in Canada and faces extradition to the United States on charges of conspiracy to defraud banks and violate sanctions on Iran.

The arrest places Huawei in the cross-hairs of an escalating technology rivalry between China and the US, which views the company, a critical global supplier of mobile network equipment, as a potential national security risk.

Hardliners in President Donald Trump’s administration are especially keen to prevent Huawei from supplying wireless carriers as they upgrade to 5G, a next-generation technology expected to accelerate the shift to Internet-connected devices and self-driving cars.

Mr Ren is a legendary figure in the Chinese business world. He survived Mao Zedong’s great famine and went on to build a telecom giant with US$92 billion (S$126 billion) in revenue that strikes fear among some policymakers in the West. Huawei is the No. 1 smartphone maker in China, and this year eclipsed Apple to become second maker globally, according to research firm IDC.

Though it has a low profile compared with China’s Internet giants, Huawei’s revenue last year was more than Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings and and Baidu Inc combined. About half of its revenue now comes from abroad, led by Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The company’s high-speed global expansion has come under fire for years, starting with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US’ derailing of an acquisition in 2008. More recently, Australia, New Zealand and the US have blocked or limited the use of Huawei gear.

The arrest and prosecution of Ms Meng in US courts comes amid a far bigger US-China struggle for technology dominance in the decades ahead – and could have huge, and potentially severe, consequences for Huawei. Mr Ren declined an interview request from Bloomberg News.

“It gives Trump a bargaining chip,” said Mr George Magnus, an economist at Oxford University’s China Centre. “She’s the daughter of the CEO, Ren Zhengfei, himself a former PLA officer, and Huawei’s alleged dealings with Iran are just the latest in a string of concerns.”

An outright ban on buying American technology and components, should it come to that, would deal Huawei a crushing blow. Earlier this year, the Trump administration imposed just such a penalty on ZTE Corp, also a Chinese telecom, and threatened its very survival before backing down.

Both Huawei and ZTE are banned from most US government procurement work.

A full-blown, commercial ban in the US would not only apply to hardware components, but also cut off access to the software and patents of US companies, Mr Edison Lee and Mr Timothy Chau, analysts with Jefferies Securities, wrote in a report.

“If Huawei cannot license Android from Google, or Qualcomm’s patents in 4G and 5G radio access technology, it will not be able to build smartphones or 4G/5G base stations,” they note.

The company’s legal troubles in the US may also spill into other markets.

“Government telecommunication infrastructure requirements are essentially locking out the Chinese supplier in critical growth markets,” noted Morningstar Research equity analyst Mark Cash in an e-mail. “Additionally, telecom providers without government imposed restrictions may start limiting their usage of Huawei equipment for their 5G network build-outs.”

If there’s a Darth Vader in the minds of Chinese national security hawks in Washington worried about China’s rising tech power, it’s Mr Ren. In China, though, he’s feted as a national hero, who rose from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of wealth and status in Chinese society.

His grandfather was a master of curing ham in his village in Zhejiang province, which afforded Mr Ren’s father the chance to become the village’s first university student, according to a 2001 essay by Mr Ren about his upbringing, which was published on a website linked to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

His father, Mr Ren Moxun, was a Communist Youth League member, who later worked as a teacher and an accountant at a military factory, but who kept up his rebel fervour under the Kuomintang by selling revolutionary books.

After moving to rural Guizhou province, he met his wife Cheng Yuanzhao and gave birth to Mr Ren Zhengfei, the oldest of two sons and five daughters.

The family lived on modest teaching salaries. In one of Mr Ren’s speeches, he remembered how his mother read him the story of Hercules, but withheld the ending until he came home with a good report card.

Famine Years

During the Great Leap Forward campaign that started in the late 1950s, a famine came to his home town after Communist Party industrialisation and collectivisation policies went off the rails. Mr Ren recalled in his essay how his mother stuffed into his hand each morning a piece of corn pancake while asking about his homework. His good grades gained him entry to the Chongqing Institute of Civil Engineering and Architecture.

After graduation, he worked in the civil engineering industry until 1974, when he joined the PLA’s Engineering Corps as a soldier, and worked on a chemical fibre base in Liaoyang. Huawei says he rose to become deputy director, but did not hold military rank. He does, however, often pepper his speeches with military references.

“Our managers and experts need to act like generals, carefully examining maps and meticulously studying problems,” Mr Ren said in a speech posted on a website for Huawei employees.

Mr Ren’s Communist Party credentials aren’t as deep as his father’s. He attended the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party in 1982, and once cited the party’s dogma of “a struggle that never ends” when defending the company’s tough work hours.

But Mr Ren was a bookworm as a child and was denied acceptance into the Communist Youth League, according to the book Huawei: Leadership, Culture And Connectivity, a book co-authored by David De Cremer, Tian Tao and Wu Chunbo.

He didn’t become a Communist Party member in the PLA until late in his military career. However, a 2012 House permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report on Huawei asked why a private company had a Communist Party Committee, which has become common among China’s Internet giants.

Mr Ren retired from the army in 1983, and joined his first wife to work at a Shenzhen company involved in the city’s special economic zone. It was around then that he had to sell off everything to pay a debt related to a business partner, and lost his job at Shenzhen Nanyou Group, as well as his first marriage, according to Ren Zhengfei And Huawei by author Li Hongwen.

Comeback Play

After a period of sleepless nights while living with family members, Mr Ren saw an opportunity. When China began its economic opening under Deng Xiaoping, the telephone penetration rate was lower than the average rate in Africa, or 120th in the world. He founded Huawei with four partners in 1987 with 21,000 yuan in initial working capital, just above the minimum threshold required under Shenzhen rules.

Huawei started out as a trader of telecom equipment, but the company’s technicians studied up on switchboards and were soon making their own. Workers put in long hours in Shenzhen’s swampy heat with only ceiling fans. Mr Ren kept up morale with subtle gestures, like offering pigtail soup to workers putting in overtime.

The company became known for its “mattress culture” in which workers would pass out on office mattresses from exhaustion. In 2006, a 25-year-old worker Hu Xinyu, who had made a habit of working into the wee hours and then sleeping at the office, died of viral encephalitis. Some Huawei employees subsequently committed suicide.

The deaths triggered a revision of the company policy on overtime, and the creation of a chief health and safety officer role.

It wasn’t the only move Mr Ren made to stabilise morale. He used to pay his workers only half their salaries on payday, but eventually decided to convert the other half of employee salaries and bonuses into shares. The company’s 2017 report shows that he has a 1.4 per cent stake, giving him a net worth of US$2 billion.

Wolf Culture

Huawei struggled for market share, with foreign companies using so-called “wolf culture” of aggressive salesmanship, which sometimes materialised in the form of Huawei employees flooding sales events with several times more salespeople than competitors.

The company ventured into international markets in the 2000s, with telecom equipment that was more affordable than products of competitors such as Cisco Systems. Huawei later admitted to copying a small portion of router code from Cisco and agreed to remove the tainted code in a settlement.

Mr Ren since stepped up the company’s research and development. Of its 180,000 employees, about 80,000 are now involved in R&D, according to the company’s 2017 report, and the company has been known to recruit some of China’s top talent out of universities.

The company recently refocused on existing markets after the US government called Huawei a national security threat, and cited concerns over its possible control of 5G technologies. Mr Trump signed a Bill banning government use of Chinese tech including Huawei’s, and has even contacted allies to get them to avoid using Huawei equipment.

Collectively owned by its employees, the company is known for a culture of discipline, in which no one, Mr Ren included, has their own driver or flies first class on the company dime. Lately, Mr Ren has been warning employees against using fake numbers or profit to enhance performance. The company set up a data verification team in 2014 within the finance department, which was overseen by Mr Ren’s daughter.

In a recent speech posted on the Huawei employee network, however, he called for patience with critics, but rejected foreign intervention. “We will never give in or yield to pressure from outside,” he said.

That maxim is going to be soon put to the test by the US Department of Justice.

Source: Bloomberg

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https://youtu.be/3z58zHmz-6k https://youtu.be/17KDxqffVFI Professor Dr. Wang Former Executive of Halliburton DID HUAWEI VIOLATE .

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Internet Protocol Version 9 第一代互联网 IPv9, Quantum Computing, AI and Blockchain: The Future of IT


Internet Protocol Version 9 第一代互联网 IPv9 

Great news and why Washington is harboring so much envy and hatred against China.

After watching the video “National Sovereign Network IPV9 officially unveiled”, I realized why cyber security is national security and what enabled the US Government to amass so much wealth from every other country in the world.

Day after day and each time we surf the internet, read our emails, WeChat, QQ, WhatsApp, etc., and use WiFi for whatever reasons including video streaming on smartphones and smartTVs, we have to use the United States Internet protocol IPV4. This is the parent server and the main root server for WWW or the worldwide Internet.

China had signed an agreement with the United States to rent the worldwide Internet for 20 years from the year 2000. Every year, China and the rest of the world have been, and currently still pay rents to the United States monopoly. The annual rents are increasing with the ever rising increase in usage, including 500 billion in 2007 and 1.8 trillion in 2017. By the end of 2020, it is estimated to be even more which is only the rent from China alone! Every other country in the world are also paying rents for Internet usage to the US. How much is that transfer of wealth! How can a country not be rich when it possesses such a humungus monopoly? If the ordinary American people ain’t receiving a share of this fabulous windfall, then their country’s elites like Trump, Clinton, Bush, Wall Street banksters like Goldman Sachs, etc., can perhaps be made to divulge their secret.

Thankfully for China (also quite likely for Third World countries) by 2014, China independently developed the IPV9 parent server and the main root server with independent intellectual property rights. Having achieved this quantum leap, China tried to negotiate with the United States to introduce to the world its new IPV9 protocol. Not surprisingly, it was rejected.

Then in 2015, a team of Chinese delegation of technological experts unveiled and gave a test introduction of IPV9 to members of the UN General Assembly. The team of experts were able to prove that both the security and quality of IPV9 far exceeded that of the United States’s IPV4 and IPV6.

The two nations were then given the opportunity to present their case at the end of which the UN Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of China’s IPV9.

After further discussions, the UN General Assembly handed over management of the worldwide internet to China for 100 years. That is to say, when the current lease with the US expires in 2020, China will assume leadership and management of the worldwide internet with its superlative IPV9 parent server and the main root server.

All the receiving and transmitting stations in China have now been completed. To date, 25 countries have signed lease agreements with China with the rest of the world to follow. In 2019, IPV9 will be put into trial operation. When the lease with the US expires in 2020, the old and outdated American IPV4 will be closed and China’s new generation Internet, namely the “Internet of Things IPV9”, will be up and running. If Internet IPV4 and IPV6 made the United States brilliant, then the Internet of Things IPV9 will bring immense glory and blessings to China and the rest of the world for the next hundred years!

Quantum Computing, AI and Blockchain: The Future of IT – Talks at Google

Prof. Shoucheng Zhang discusses three pillars of information technology: quantum computing, AI and blockchain. He presents the fundamentals of crypto-economic science, and answers questions such as: What is the intrinsic value of a medium of exchange? What is the value of consensus and how does it emerge? How can math be used to create distributed self-organizing consensus networks to create a data-marketplace for AI and machine learning?

Prof. Zhang is the JG Jackson and CJ Wood professor of physics at Stanford University. He is a member of the US National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He discovered a new state of matter called topological insulator in which electrons can conduct along the edge without dissipation, enabling a new generation of electronic devices with much lower power consumption. For this ground breaking work he received numerous international awards, including the Buckley Prize, the Dirac Medal and Prize, the Europhysics Prize, the Physics Frontiers Prize and the Benjamin Franklin Medal.

He is also the founding chairman of DHVC venture capital fund, which invests in AI, blockchain, mobile internet, big data, AR/VR, genomics and precision medicine, sharing economy and robotics.
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China’s GPS rival BeiDou to go global


 APA
model of the BeiDou Navigation System is displayed during the 12th
China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai earlier
this month.
HONG KONG/BEIJING: China is taking its rivalry with the U.S. to the heavens, spending at least $9 billion to build a celestial navigation system and cut its dependence on the American-owned GPS amid heightening tensions between the two countries.

Location data beamed from GPS satellites are used by smartphones, car navigation systems, the microchip in your dog’s neck and guided missiles — and all those satellites are controlled by the U.S. Air Force.

That makes the Chinese government uncomfortable, so it’s developing an alternative that a U.S. security analyst calls one of the largest space programs the country has undertaken.

A model of the Beidou navigation system satellite. Photographer: Imaginechina

“They don’t want to depend on the U.S.’s GPS,’’ said Marshall Kaplan, a
professor in the aerospace engineering department at the University of
Maryland. “The Chinese don’t want to be subject to something that we can
shut off.’

“They don’t want to depend on the U.S.’s GPS,’’ said Marshall Kaplan, a professor in the aerospace engineering department at the University of Maryland. “The Chinese don’t want to be subject to something that we can shut off.’’

The Beidou Navigation System, currently serving China and neighbors, will be accessible worldwide by 2020 as part of President Xi Jinping’s strategy to make his country a global leader in next-generation technologies.

Its implementation reverberates through the corporate world as makers of semiconductors, electric vehicles and airplanes modify products to also connect with Beidou in order to keep doing business in the second-biggest economy.

Assembly of the new constellation is approaching critical mass after the launch of at least 18 satellites this year, including three this month. On Nov. 19, China launched two more Beidou machines, increasing the number in operation to more than 40. China plans to add 11 more by 2020.

A rocket carrying the 24th and 25th Beidou navigation satellites takes off in Xichang in Nov. 2017. Photographer: Wang Yulei/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Beidou is one element of China’s ambitious campaign to displace Western dominance in aerospace. A state-owned company is developing planes to replace those from Airbus SE and Boeing Co., and domestic startups are building rockets to challenge the commercial-launch businesses of Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin.

Next month, China is scheduled to launch Chang’e 4, a lunar probe that would be the first spacecraft to the far side of the moon. A Mars probe and rover also are scheduled for liftoff in 2020.

“It is classic space-race sort of stuff,’’ said Andrew Dempster, director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research in Canberra.

China started developing Beidou in the 1990s and will spend an estimated $8.98 billion to $10.6 billion on it by 2020, according to a 2017 analysis by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The system eventually will provide positioning accuracies of 1 meter (3 feet) or less with use of a ground support system.

Chinese space-tracking ship Yuanwang-3 monitor the launch of a rocket carrying a Beidou satellite in Oct. 2018. Photographer: Imaginechina

By comparison, GPS typically provides accuracies of less than 2.2 meters, which can be improved to a few centimeters with augmentation systems, the commission said.

“The Beidou system has become one of the great achievements in China’s 40 years of reform,’’ Xi said in a Nov. 5 letter to a United Nations committee on satellite navigation.

The system, named after the Chinese word for the Big Dipper star pattern, is at the core of an industry that will generate more than 400 billion yuan ($57 billion) of revenue in 2020, according to a forecast by the China Satellite Navigation Office.

Beidou Boom

China has increased the pace of satellite launches for its navigation system

Sources: China Satellite Navigation Office, International GNSS Service

*July satellite part of Phase-II

Beidou also has potential for export as part of China’s “Belt and Road’’ initiative to build political and economic ties through funding of infrastructure projects in other countries, the U.S.-China security commission said.

NavInfo Co., a maker of electronic maps that’s backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., wants to begin mass producing semiconductors for navigation systems using Beidou in 2020, said Wang Yan, a project director.

Employees prepare a NavInfo car for data collection in Beijing, June 2018.

Photographer: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg

Beijing-based NavInfo, which supplies Tesla Inc. and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, expects annual demand of 15 million Beidou-linked chips for autonomous vehicles. In September, NavInfo started providing Beidou-enabled mapping and positioning services for the Singapore government.

“China needs to have its own satellite navigation system from a long-term, strategic perspective,’’ Wang said. “Beidou is the only option.’’

That carries potential implications for the balance of power between the nations, as Beidou’s deployment likely will fuel creation of a supply network for China’s People’s Liberation Army.

“The PLA will additionally have its own domestic ‘industrial chain’ on which to draw for secure components,” the U.S.-China commission said.

Qianxun Spatial Intelligence Inc., a Shanghai-based venture between e-commerce titan Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and state-owned defense contractor China North Industries Group Corp., provides positioning services for cars, public safety and civil aviation using Beidou and other networks.

To help stay competitive against budding Chinese counterparts, foreign companies are including Beidou compatibility in their products. Qualcomm Inc., the biggest maker of chips used in smartphones, has been supporting Beidou “for a long time,” the San Diego-based company said. Those chip sets also are used in wearables and automobiles.

Most smartphones from global sales leader Samsung Electronics Co. support Beidou in addition to GPS, the Suwon, South Korea-based company said, as do handsets from local rivals Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Corp., according to state media. Huawei is the nation’s top-selling brand.

China also is the largest auto market, and the government wants all car-navigation systems to be Beidou-compatible within two years. Volkswagen AG -– the market leader in passenger car sales — is changing the equipment in its vehicles to enable network access, the company said.

“At the moment, Volkswagen Group China does not sell cars with Beidou-enabled equipment, but the next infotainment system generation for cars in the Chinese market will be rolled out in 2020,’’ the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said. “This system will be ready to receive Beidou information.”

Toyota Motor Corp. is in discussions with companies about Beidou, the Japanese automaker said.

Comac C919 Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

In the sky, a regional jet developed by state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China, or COMAC, last year became the first plane to use Beidou.

Avionics-systems maker Rockwell Collins Inc., a supplier to Airbus, Boeing and COMAC, doesn’t offer products that can access the Chinese satellite network, the company said.

That may have to change. The Chinese government eventually will require airlines flying in the country to add Beidou equipment, Kaplan said.

“They will have to have the Chinese system on board,’’ he said, citing the government’s security concerns. “The Chinese will require airlines to have both systems.’’

— With assistance by Bruce Einhorn, Dong Lyu, Jie Ma, Sam Kim, and Ian King

Environmental impact of cryptocurrency


Ten years ago, an anonymous cryptographer laid out the principles of an online currency that would operate beyond
the reach of governments and central banks. — dpa

BITCOIN was supposed to solve the problems of analogue currencies. Instead, it created a new one: an enormous amount of global energy consumption that rivals the power usage of an entire country like Ireland.

According to findings of a new study, the implementation of this cryptocurrency could lead to enough emissions being produced so that global temperatures rise 2°C by 2033.

The study, which was published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that the hardware and electricity needs of Bitcoin alone could significantly impact climate change for the worse.

“Currently, the emissions from transportation, housing and food are considered the main contributors to ongoing climate change. This research illustrates that Bitcoin should be added to this list,” said Katie Taladay, one of the paper’s co-authors from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The technical design of how transactions are processed causes Bitcoin and many of the growing numbers of rival cryptocurrencies to consume an enormous amount of energy in so-called Bitcoin mining centres around the world.

And yet the digital currency Bitcoin is still enjoying hype as one of the greatest financial phenomenons of our time.

The foundation for Bitcoin was laid out 10 years ago when an anonymous cryptographer using the name “Satoshi Nakamoto” published a paper laying out the principles for autonomous digital money.

The ideas it contained were revolutionary: No control by central banks, no national borders.

Instead, a mechanism called blockchain would provide trust and security in the system. In broad strokes, blockchain is a publicly viewable ledger of transactions, each saved one after the other.

But as the cryptocurrency’s wild fluctuations and electricity needs have attracted a lot of media attention, the ramifications of the latter have only recently been brought to light.

In a different article published in May by financial economist and blockchain specialist Alex de Vries, the electricity consumption of Bitcoin was estimated to be around the same as the electricity use of the Republic of Ireland.

De Vries also predicted that Bitcoin could be using as much as half of a percent of the world’s total electricity consumption by the end of this year.

“To me, half a percent is already quite shocking. It’s an extreme difference compared to the regular financial system, and this increasing electricity demand is definitely not going to help us reach our climate goals,” de Vries said.

“With the ever-growing devastation created by hazardous climate conditions, humanity is coming to terms with the fact that climate change is as real and personal as it can be,” said Camilo Mora, associate professor of geography in the College of Social Sciences at UH Manoa, Hawaii.

“Clearly, any further development of cryptocurrencies should critically aim to reduce electricity demand,” Mora, the lead author of the new study warns.

So as Bitcoin celebrates 10 years since its creation and it gains more and more supporters each year, we should probably take a moment and give this energy-sucking technology a re-think. – dpa By AMY WALKER

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World’s first artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor


The new AI anchors, launched by Xinhua and Beijing-based search engine operator Sogou during the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, can deliver the news with “the same effect” as human anchors because the machine learning programme is able to synthesise realistic-looking speech, lip movements and facial expressions, according to a Xinhua news report on Wednesday.
“AI anchors have officially become members of the Xinhua News Agency reporting team. They will work with other anchors to bring you authoritative, timely and accurate news information in both Chinese and English,” Xinhua said.
The AI anchors are now available throughout Xinhua’s internet and mobile platforms such as its official Chinese and English apps, WeChat public account, and online TV webpage.

https://youtu.be/GAfiATTQufk

The world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor made “his” debut at the ongoing fifth World Internet Conference in east China’s Zhejiang Province.

The news anchor, based on the latest AI technology, has a male image with a voice, facial expressions and actions of a real person. “He” learns from live broadcasting videos by himself and can read texts as naturally as a professional news anchor.

The AI news anchor was jointly developed by Xinhua News Agency, the official state-run media outlet of China, and Chinese search engine company Sogou.com.

According to Xinhua, “he” has become a member of its reporting team and can work 24 hours a day on its official website and various social media platforms, reducing news production costs and improving efficiency.

Celebrity anchors are regarded as important assets at major news networks in the US. The highest paid news anchor, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, is reportedly paid US$100 million a year, while Diane Sawyer at ABC and Sean Hannity at Fox News earn US$80 million each. Celebrity anchors in China are generally paid a lot less because they work for state-run TV stations but they often earn extra money from product endorsements and book sales.

But AI anchors may one day challenge the human variety because of their ability to work 24 hours a day provided human editors keep inputting text into the system.

Xinhua said the achievement was a  “breakthrough in the field of global AI synthesis”, pioneering the synthesis of real-time audio and video with AI-created anchors in the news field. Search engine Sogou, which also does research and development in AI, is providing the underlying technology for the project.

The AI technology has a “endless prospects” because it will greatly improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of producing daily TV news reports, Xinhua said, adding that it could also quickly generate breaking news reports to improve the timeliness and quality of such reports. – South China Morning Post
China’s AI race via @SCMPgraphics  http://bit.ly/2NdeiK4 #AI #ArtificialIntelligence #Dataviz #infographic

 

Malaysia’s Broadband Plans Not Up to Speed Yet


Still waiting: Some existing users are
exasperated as they have yet to enjoy the higher broadband speeds
promised by their service providers.

Broadband users also complain of not enjoying lower prices

PETALING JAYA: The telcos may have announced lower prices and faster Internet speeds, but many existing fixed broadband users are complaining that they have yet to enjoy these benefits.

On Sunday, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) announced that Telekom Malaysia (TM), Maxis, Celcom and Time have introduced new entry-level plans below RM100 that are more than 30% cheaper.

But the price reduction and speed increase brought about by the Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing (MSAP), which was implemented on June 8, have yet to trickle down to consumers.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said in a statement he was aware that not all existing fixed broadband users are enjoying higher speeds and lower prices.

“I found that the packages do not lower the price of services to existing customers. This means that they cannot benefit from the new packages immediately,” said Gobind.

“I will meet with the telco representatives to discuss this matter in the near future. At the same time, I would also like to emphasise that telcos that have offered the new packages should ensure the services are actually implemented.”

Gobind said MCMC is required to monitor the implementation of the new plans and manage all complaints received and to take firm action where necessary to ensure that the services provided are in line with what was promised.

MaxisOne Home Fibre subscriber Leela Krishnan is disappointed that she has yet to receive any update from Maxis.

“No SMS, e-mail or call from the company to tell how MSAP would affect my monthly bill, or what new plans are available for me,” said the graphics designer, 44.

Maxis said the upgrade was not automatic for existing customers as they have to first pick one of two plans – 30Mbps at RM89 or 100Mbps at RM129 per month.

They can do so at the Maxis page, bit.ly/2gacJxB, but will be recontracted for 24 months. Also, customers who break the new contract will incur a RM500 penalty.

Maxis said recontracting is necessary as it is providing a new router which is capable of maximising the higher speed for WiFi, and at no cost to the consumer.

Astro IPTV customers have also been left hanging on the status of their packages as the company has yet to announce anything.

Idzla Hafiz, 34, who is using the Astro IPTV 10 package, said he is paying RM148 for a mere 10Mbps broadband speed, and he has not received any updates.

“I hope I won’t be paying the same amount next month because that means I will be spending RM59 more than Maxis users and still get a lower speed,” he said.

An Astro spokesman told The Star that the company is still in discussion with its broadband partners – Time and Maxis.

“Discussions are progressing well and we hope our broadband partners will extend the same benefits to our Astro IPTV customers,” the spokesman said, adding that it hopes to make an announcement soon.

Meanwhile, TM’s free upgrade for existing users, which started in August, is expected to go on until the first quarter of next year, as it says it has over 800,000 subscribers to upgrade.

Unifi Home 20Mbps or lower subscribers will be upgraded to 100Mbps, 30Mbps to 300Mbps, 50Mbps to 500Mbps and 100Mbps to 800Mbps.

Public relations consultant Daniel Yao, a Unifi customer of seven years, said it is “ridiculous” that Unifi introduced a cheaper plan for new users but long-time users are still stuck in the same plans.

He said Unifi informed him that the only way to opt for the cheaper and faster plan is to terminate his current package and sign up for a new one.

“That means I need to sign a new contract and redo the whole thing at a TM office,” he added.

TM’s Streamyx customers, especially in the outskirts, have also been complaining to MCMC on Twitter that they are still not being upgraded to Unifi and are being forced to pay more for lower speeds due to lack of infrastructure.

“I found out that there are no suggestions provided to address the issues faced by existing Streamyx users, therefore this is something I need to tackle immediately,” said Gobind.

As at press time, TM has yet to respond to queries from The Star.

Celcom, which offers its Home Fibre plans only in Sabah, said it has upgraded all existing customers to the higher speeds and lower prices since September without recontracting.

All its Home Fibre users, starting from 10Mbps, were upgraded to 100Mbps, and their bill reduced to RM120 per month.

The telco said those who have yet to receive their upgrades can contact its customer service line at 1-300-11-3282.

Time also claims that it has upgraded all its existing users and notified them via e-mail.

The 100Mbps plan (RM149) was upgraded to 500Mbps (RM139) while the 300Mbps (RM189) and 500Mbps (RM299) plans were both upgraded to 1Gbps (RM189).

However, the new subscription fees will only be reflected in bills that are issued from Oct 15 onwards.

If users are still facing slow speeds, it recommends that they restart their router and perform another speed test.

It is best done via a desktop or laptop connected to the router via an Ethernet cable, as users may not be able to get the full speed via WiFi.

If nothing works, users can get in touch with Time via 1800-18-1818 or cs@time.com.my.

Source: The Star by angelin yeoh, mei mei chu, and sharmila nair

Broadband users also complain of not enjoying lower prices

PETALING JAYA: The telcos may have announced lower prices and faster Internet speeds, but many existing fixed broadband users are complaining that they have yet to enjoy these benefits.

On Sunday, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) announced that Telekom Malaysia (TM), Maxis, Celcom and Time have introduced new entry-level plans below RM100 that are more than 30% cheaper.

But the price reduction and speed increase brought about by the Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing (MSAP), which was implemented on June 8, have yet to trickle down to consumers.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said in a statement he was aware that not all existing fixed broadband users are enjoying higher speeds and lower prices.

“I found that the packages do not lower the price of services to existing customers. This means that they cannot benefit from the new packages immediately,” said Gobind.

“I will meet with the telco representatives to discuss this matter in the near future. At the same time, I would also like to emphasise that telcos that have offered the new packages should ensure the services are actually implemented.”

Gobind said MCMC is required to monitor the implementation of the new plans and manage all complaints received and to take firm action where necessary to ensure that the services provided are in line with what was promised.

MaxisOne Home Fibre subscriber Leela Krishnan is disappointed that she has yet to receive any update from Maxis.

“No SMS, e-mail or call from the company to tell how MSAP would affect my monthly bill, or what new plans are available for me,” said the graphics designer, 44.

Maxis said the upgrade was not automatic for existing customers as they have to first pick one of two plans – 30Mbps at RM89 or 100Mbps at RM129 per month.

They can do so at the Maxis page, bit.ly/2gacJxB, but will be recontracted for 24 months. Also, customers who break the new contract will incur a RM500 penalty.

Maxis said recontracting is necessary as it is providing a new router which is capable of maximising the higher speed for WiFi, and at no cost to the consumer.

Astro IPTV customers have also been left hanging on the status of their packages as the company has yet to announce anything.

Idzla Hafiz, 34, who is using the Astro IPTV 10 package, said he is paying RM148 for a mere 10Mbps broadband speed, and he has not received any updates.

“I hope I won’t be paying the same amount next month because that means I will be spending RM59 more than Maxis users and still get a lower speed,” he said.

An Astro spokesman told The Star that the company is still in discussion with its broadband partners – Time and Maxis.

“Discussions are progressing well and we hope our broadband partners will extend the same benefits to our Astro IPTV customers,” the spokesman said, adding that it hopes to make an announcement soon.

Meanwhile, TM’s free upgrade for existing users, which started in August, is expected to go on until the first quarter of next year, as it says it has over 800,000 subscribers to upgrade.

Unifi Home 20Mbps or lower subscribers will be upgraded to 100Mbps, 30Mbps to 300Mbps, 50Mbps to 500Mbps and 100Mbps to 800Mbps.

Public relations consultant Daniel Yao, a Unifi customer of seven years, said it is “ridiculous” that Unifi introduced a cheaper plan for new users but long-time users are still stuck in the same plans.

He said Unifi informed him that the only way to opt for the cheaper and faster plan is to terminate his current package and sign up for a new one.

“That means I need to sign a new contract and redo the whole thing at a TM office,” he added.

TM’s Streamyx customers, especially in the outskirts, have also been complaining to MCMC on Twitter that they are still not being upgraded to Unifi and are being forced to pay more for lower speeds due to lack of infrastructure.

“I found out that there are no suggestions provided to address the issues faced by existing Streamyx users, therefore this is something I need to tackle immediately,” said Gobind.

As at press time, TM has yet to respond to queries from The Star.

Celcom, which offers its Home Fibre plans only in Sabah, said it has upgraded all existing customers to the higher speeds and lower prices since September without recontracting.

All its Home Fibre users, starting from 10Mbps, were upgraded to 100Mbps, and their bill reduced to RM120 per month.

The telco said those who have yet to receive their upgrades can contact its customer service line at 1-300-11-3282.

Time also claims that it has upgraded all its existing users and notified them via e-mail.

The 100Mbps plan (RM149) was upgraded to 500Mbps (RM139) while the 300Mbps (RM189) and 500Mbps (RM299) plans were both upgraded to 1Gbps (RM189).

However, the new subscription fees will only be reflected in bills that are issued from Oct 15 onwards.

If users are still facing slow speeds, it recommends that they restart their router and perform another speed test.

It is best done via a desktop or laptop connected to the router via an Ethernet cable, as users may not be able to get the full speed via WiFi.

If nothing works, users can get in touch with Time via 1800-18-1818 or cs@time.com.my.

Source: The Star by angelin yeoh, mei mei chu, and sharmila nair

Related:

Broadband prices come down – Nation
You can now get Unifi Pro 100Mbps with unlimited data for RM129 …

Gobind to immediately tackle issue of existing broadband and Streamyx users not getting upgraded

Bringing telecom industry up to speed – Business News

 

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SY Lau, a Malaysian took China’s WeChat by storm

Unknown Chinese startup creates the world’s most valuable Bytedance


Independent moves: Bytedance has become among the most successful major Chinese tech companies in creating an
international base without the backing of giants Alibaba and Tencent. — Reuters

 

Building a vision: Over five years, Zhang has grown the app into one of the most popular news services anywhere, with 120 million daily users. — Bloomberg

Said to be valued at over $75 billion in new round of funding.

Bloomberg reports that when  Zhang Yiming first shopped the idea of a news aggregation app powered
by artificial intelligence six years ago, investors including Sequoia Capital were skeptical
.

Back then, the question was how a 29-year-old locally trained software engineer could outsmart the numerous news portals operated by the likes of social media behemoth Tencent Holdings. and extract profit
where even Google had failed.

Zhang, now 35, proved them wrong. Today his company, Bytedance Ltd., is on its way to a more than $75 billion valuation — a price tag that surpasses Uber Technologies. to top the world, according to CB Insights.
The latest in a long line of investors who’ve come around is Softbank Group., which is said to be planning to invest about $1.5 billion.  Bytedance now counts KKR & Co., General Atlantic and even Sequoia as
backers. Much of its lofty valuation stems from the creation of an internet experience that’s a cross between Google and Facebook.

35-Year-Old Unknown Creates the World’s Most Valuable Startup

 

News aggregation app evolves into a multi-faceted media goliath

 

WHEN Zhang Yiming first shopped the idea of a news aggregation app powered by artificial intelligence six years ago, investors including Sequoia Capital were sceptical.

Back then, the question was how a 29-year-old locally trained software engineer could outsmart the numerous news portals operated by the likes of social media behemoth Tencent Holdings Ltd and extract profit where even Google had failed.

Zhang, now 35, proved them wrong.

Today his company, Bytedance Ltd, is on its way to a more than US$75bil valuation – a price tag that surpasses Uber Technologies Inc to top the world, according to CB Insights.

The latest in a long line of investors who have come around is Softbank Group Corp, which is said to be planning to invest about US$1.5bil. Bytedance now counts KKR & Co, General Atlantic and even Sequoia as backers.

Much of its lofty valuation stems from the creation of an internet experience that’s a cross between Google and Facebook.

“The most important thing is that we are not a news business. We are more like a search business or a social media platform,” Zhang said in a 2017 interview, adding that he employs no editors or reporters.

“We are doing very innovative work. We are not a copycat of a US company, both in product and technology.”

What’s remarkable is Zhang was able to do it all without taking money from the twin suns of China’s internet: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent.

It’s the first startup to emerge from the dwindling cohort of mobile players that hasn’t sought protection or funds from either of the two. In fact, it has often locked horns with them, in court and elsewhere. And it’s arguably more successful at engaging youthful audiences abroad.

The story of how Bytedance became a goliath begins with news site Jinri Toutiao but is tied more closely to a series of smart acquisitions and strategic expansions that propelled the company into mobile video and even beyond China. By nurturing a raft of successful apps, it has gathered a force of hundreds of millions of users and now poses a threat to China’s largest Internet operators.

The company has evolved into a multi-faceted empire spanning video service Tik Tok – known as Douyin locally – and a plethora of platforms for everything from jokes to celebrity gossip.

But as with Facebook at the same stage of its life, Bytedance now faces questions over when or even how it will start making a profit.

“The predominant issue in China’s internet is that the growth in users and the time each user spends online has slowed dramatically.

“It is becoming a zero-sum game, and costs for acquiring users and winning their time are increasing,” said Jerry Liu, an analyst with UBS.

“What Bytedance has created is a group of apps that are very good at attracting users and retaining their time, in part, leveraging the traffic from Jinri Toutiao.”

Despite its seeming isolation, it’s become the most successful major Chinese tech company in creating an international base, venturing via apps like Tik Tok into the US, South-East Asia and Japan.

Even Tencent’s WeChat had to pump the brakes on its own overseas initiative four years ago.

What Zhang perceived in 2012 was that Chinese mobile users struggled to find information they cared about on many apps.

That’s partly because of the country’s draconian screening of information. Zhang thought he could do better than incumbents such as Baidu, which enjoyed a near-monopoly on search.

The latter conflated advertising with search results, a botch that would later haunt the company via a series of medical scandals.

There was little Toutiao could do about censorship – in fact, the company’s been repeatedly excoriated by authorities for failing to filter content and been forced to clean up its services with alarming regularity.

But Zhang held fast to his early vision of delivering content that mattered to users through AI. The closest American equivalent was Facebook’s news feed.

After falling flat with the bulk of China’s venture capital stalwarts, Zhang eventually secured investment from Susquehanna International Group.

It began offering the news app in August 2012. The platform studied what users read and searched for, then referred information and articles based on those habits. The more people used it, the better the experience, and the longer people stayed.

By mid-2014, daily active users had climbed to more than 13 million.

Sequoia finally came to the table, leading a funding round of US$100mil.

“We push information, not by queries, by news recommendations,” Zhang said in the interview last year.

But it was video that really propelled Bytedance into the big leagues.

Streaming services have always been popular in China. Even during the desktop era, companies like YY Inc championed a model where people sang and danced in virtual showrooms to win online gifts from fans. Later, outfits like Kuaishou fuelled that penchant for zany showmanship.

Bytedance saw an opportunity, but made its videos much shorter: 15 seconds, to be precise.

Around September 2016, it quietly launched Douyin. The app let users shoot and edit footage, add filters and share them across platforms like the Twitter-like Weibo or WeChat.

That format appealed to shorter millennial attention spans and became an instant hit, so much so that WeChat later blocked direct access to the app.

A year after, Bytedance acquired Musical.ly for US$800mil. It saw synergy between the buzzy teen US social video app created by Chinese co-founders and Tik Tok, and is now in the process of combining them. Tik Tok and Douyin had a combined 500 million users as of July.

The challenge now is in translating buzz and viewership into dollars. The company is expanding its ad sales operations, particularly for Toutiao.

Several media buying agencies said its massive reach and the attention it draws is a natural lure for marketers. Many said Bytedance is even pulling spending away from Tencent.

Bytedance, which previously cut a deal with Cheetah Mobile to sell ad space, has brought most of its ad sales in-house, said Kenneth Tan, the chief digital officer for Mindshare China, an agency.

“From a pricing perspective, they are expensive for what they are. They definitely charge a premium,” Tan said. “But that has not been an inhibitor for the large brands.”

There’s a big caveat, however. Brands remain cautious about Bytedance’s regulatory issues, particularly given Beijing’s historic unpredictability around censorship.

This year, it had to shut down a popular joke-sharing app in April just as it appeared to take off. It also suspended Douyin and its bread-and-butter Toutiao around the same time.

That’s “a potential risk to brand collaboration,” said Sherry Pan, general manager for China at the agency Magna Global. — Bloomberg

Related: 

Khazanah to see foreign appointments – Business News

 

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