Archive for ‘Technology’

30/08/2014

Houses in Shanghai are not built, they’re printed[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn

A Chinese company recently built 10 full-sized houses using a giant printer.

Houses in Shanghai are not built, they're printed

The detached, one-story houses now standing in the Shanghai Hi-Tech Industrial Park, in the city’s Qingpu district, look like ordinary buildings. But they were “printed out” in less than a day with “contour crafting“, commonly known as 3-D printing technology.

‘Mirror’ perfect fit for shoppers  Four huge printers measuring 32 meters long, 10 meters wide and 6.6 meters tall were used to make the houses, which were built layer by layer.

“It’s not only cost-effective but also environmentally friendly,” said Ma Yihe, inventor of the printers, who is also president of the Shanghai Winsun decoration and design company.

“Unlike traditional construction, the new technology doesn’t produce any waste,” said Ma, who has been working in the 3-D printing construction industry for 12 years.

The materials used to make the houses are a mixture of quick-drying cement and recycled industrial waste, which help lower construction costs by up to 50 percent. For the moment, the company is keeping the recipe for the cement a secret.

Meanwhile, the houses can withstand just about any safety test, Ma said.

via Houses in Shanghai are not built, they’re printed[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn.

15/08/2014

Online sites shake up hidebound retailing in India – Businessweek

Finding a way into India’s vast but vexing market has long frustrated foreign retailers. Now, overseas investors are pouring billions of dollars into e-commerce ventures that are circumventing the barriers holding back retail powers such as Wal-Mart and Ikea.

Some investors see India as the world’s next big e-commerce opportunity, with the upcoming mammoth public stock offering of Chinese online giant Alibaba hinting at the potential.

Online shopping is still in its infancy in India at $2.3 billion of an overall $421 billion retail market in 2013, according to research firm Crisil. But it is growing fast and the potential of reaching a mostly untapped market of 1.2 billion people has sparked a funding-and-expansion arms race.

Flipkart, a Bangalore-based company founded in 2007 by two former Amazon employees, last month announced it had raised $1 billion in mostly foreign capital after building its registered users to 22 million.

A day later, Amazon raised the stakes with founder Jeff Bezos saying the company would pour $2 billion into developing its India business.

Snapdeal.com, another Indian e-commerce contender, has raised at least $234 million in the past year, and recently local media have reported that Rajan Tata of India’s Tata Group conglomerate is considering a personal investment in the company.

via Online sites shake up hidebound retailing in India – Businessweek.

06/08/2014

China Investigates Microsoft, Symantec – Businessweek

For years, U.S. politicians have been calling Chinese telecom-equipment makers Huawei Technologies and ZTE (000063:CH)threats to American security. But making charges about national security is a game that China can play, too. Following Edward Snowden’s disclosures of U.S. spying, the Chinese government seems eager to show American companies that they will pay a price for U.S. government actions.

Why China Is Investigating Microsoft and Symantec

That’s a lesson that Microsoft (MSFT) and Symantec (SYMC) are learning now. An antivirus company from Silicon Valley, Symantec competes in China against local favorites such as Beijing-based Qihoo 360 Technology (QIHU). According to reports by Bloomberg News and the Chinese media, China has instructed government departments to stop buying antivirus software by Symantec and its Moscow-based rival, Kaspersky Lab. Symantec software has back doors that could allow outside access, according to an order from the Public Security Ministry. Not coincidentally, Qihoo’s New York-traded shares rose 2.7 percent on Monday, following reports of the move against Symantec and Kaspersky.

Symantec is trying to contain the damage. Although the official People’s Daily newspaper reported on Sunday that the government had banned both Symantec and Kapersky, Cupertino (Calif.)-based Symantec says the action is more limited. “It is important to note that this list is only for certain types of procurement and Symantec products are not banned by the Chinese government,” the China Daily reported Symantec commenting in a statement. “We are investigating this report and will continue to bid for and win government projects in China.”

via China Investigates Microsoft, Symantec – Businessweek.

05/08/2014

Seaplane about to enter trial production – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

China expects to test-fly next year its first domestically developed seaplane, which is intended to be the world’s largest amphibious aircraft, according to an executive at the company working on it.

Seaplane about to enter trial production

Trial production of the TA-600 aircraft, formerly known as Dragon-600, will start in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, around the end of this year or the beginning of 2015, as the design has been completed, said Fu Junxu, a senior manager of China Aviation Industry General Aircraft, a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corp of China, the country’s leading aircraft maker.

Fu said contractors will deliver large parts to the company before the end of this year, and the aircraft’s maiden flight is planned to take place in 2015.

The aircraft, with a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 metric tons and a maximum range of more than 5,000 kilometers, will be larger than a Boeing 737 and could be used for a variety of operations such as passenger transport, marine environmental monitoring, firefighting and maritime search and rescue, Fu said.

Powered by four turbine engines, the TA-600 will be the world’s largest amphibious aircraft, surpassing Japan’s Shin Maywa US-2. It is designed to carry up to 50 people during search and rescue missions.

The company’s market research estimates there is demand for 60 of the seaplanes in China.

The country began developing the aircraft five years ago, Fu said.

Wang Ya‘nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, said the TA-600 would fill a vacancy of modern seaplanes in China, which has long ignored the development of such aircraft.

“The old saying ‘A thousand days the country nurtures its soldiers and all for one day’s battle’ applies to the development of amphibious aircraft. People say such equipment is becoming useless, but will eventually realize they are indispensable in maritime operations,” Wang said, referring to the continuing search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

“If the Chinese navy had such large, modern seaplanes as the TA-600, it would be much easier for it to search at sea,” he said.

Rescue agencies are among the largest operators of seaplanes due to their efficiency and their ability to both locate and rescue survivors of emergencies at sea. Land-based aircraft cannot rescue people, and many helicopters are limited in their capacity to carry passengers and in their fuel efficiency compared to fixed-wing aircraft, Wang said.

China now has at most five SH-5 maritime patrol amphibious aircraft, which are old and cannot perform modern maritime tasks, Wang added.

via Seaplane about to enter trial production – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

05/08/2014

Samsung Loses Top Spot to Micromax in India – India Real Time – WSJ

Samsung Electronics Co.005930.SE -0.08% was dethroned as the top cellphone seller in India last quarter as local rival, Micromax Informatics Ltd., undercut and outsold the Korean company for the first time in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Micromax which was launched only five years ago, has taken the pole position in the Indian market—the second largest in the world in terms of handset sales—by undercutting the prices of Samsung and other international brands.

In the April-through-June quarter Micromax’s market share reached 17% of the Indian market compared to Samsung’s 14%, according to Counterpoint Technology Market Research, a research and consulting company based in Hong Kong.

Samsung, the world’s largest cellphone company by sales, is facing tough competition from Micromax and other Indian handset sellers. The South Korean company lost its top spot in terms of handset volumes as it has shifted its focus to smartphones and away from the less-expensive feature phones, said Neil Shah an analyst at Counterpoint.

Micromax has been more successful than most at targeting the Indian consumer. In the past five years it has come out of nowhere by investing heavily in advertising, distribution and developing a portfolio of relatively inexpensive handsets for Indians.

Samsung may be trying to claw back some of its market share. The company, last week, added three more smartphones to its “affordable” category of handsets priced below 10,000 rupees.

via Samsung Loses Top Spot to Micromax in India – India Real Time – WSJ.

30/07/2014

Indian online retailer Flipkart raises $1 billion – Businessweek

India’s largest online e-commerce company, Flipkart, says it has raised $1 billion in new capital as the company gears up for competition with Amazon‘s push into the Indian market.

Flipkart Flipkart Flipkart!!

Flipkart Flipkart Flipkart!! (Photo credit: samratm)

The company says the funds will be used to invest in expansion, especially in mobile technology.

Flipkart is sometimes called the Amazon of India. It was founded by two Indian brothers who left Amazon and came home to found their own online retailer.

Flipkart says it has 22 million registered users and handles 5 million shipments per month.

Amazon’s India division has been making a big push in the country’s small but fast-growing online retail market. It has been running front-page advertisements in newspapers and touting one-day delivery.

Flipkart itself recently acquired Indian online fashion retailer Myntra to strengthen market share.

via Indian online retailer Flipkart raises $1 billion – Businessweek.

25/07/2014

Consumers Drive Chinese Internet But Enterprise Use Lags – China Real Time Report – WSJ

By some measures, China’s Internet dwarfs that of the United States.

China has the world’s largest Internet population with 618 million users, well over twice as many as in the U.S. China also has the world’s largest online retailing industry, with e-commerce giants like Alibaba that sprawl far larger than the likes of eBay EBAY +1.08%.

But a new study by the McKinsey Global Institute argues that enterprise use of the Internet is still lagging in China and that the country’s businesses will need to catch up in this area to unlock economic gains.

“The Web is just beginning to penetrate many Chinese businesses – and the most sweeping changes are yet to come,” said the report, which was published this week.

MGI estimates that increased adoption of Web technologies like cloud computing and big data by China’s enterprises can add 0.3 to 1.0 percentage points to China’s GDP growth rate. By 2025, it could translate to annual economic gains of between 4 trillion yuan ($645.5 billion) and 14 trillion yuan, the research firm said.

China’s Internet has outpaced the U.S. among consumers. Alibaba’s online shopping platforms Taobao and Tmall have nearly twice as many active buyers than the U.S. site eBay. Jonathan Woetzel, one of the MGI study’s authors and a partner of the firm, told The Wall Street Journal that Chinese consumers spend more time shopping online and make more purchases than their American counterparts.

“China’s consumer generation has shown up at the same time as the Internet,” he said. “They have the money, but the offline shopping platforms like malls haven’t been built up fast enough to accommodate their expectations and needs. So more of them shop online.”

But when it comes to China’s businesses, they still lag in use of Web technologies, he says. The typical Chinese company spends 2% of revenue on IT, half of the international average, according to an MGI survey of CIOs. The enterprise cloud adoption rate in China is 21% compared to 55%-63% in the U.S.

Some sectors that stand the most to benefit in China include the financial services, health care and automotive industries, MGI says. Big data can help financial firms manage risks and reduce non-performing loans, while remote monitoring of chronic diseases can save costs for the health care industry.

via Consumers Drive Chinese Internet But Enterprise Use Lags – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

15/07/2014

Software products bring hot career choices as India looks beyond IT services | India Insight

When Zomato was setting up shop six years ago, the online restaurant search service had to woo engineers, but many weren’t interested in working for an unknown company. Instead, they wanted to work for larger and prestigious names. Slowly, that is changing.

Indian companies such as Zomato and Flipkart, which make their own technology products rather than provide services are becoming more attractive to the country’s engineering school graduates, and are hiring more people as they alter technology industry hiring patterns.

“We had to convince parents to let their kids work with us. Most people had no idea of what a products startup can offer,” said Gunjan Patidar, Zomato’s chief technology officer, talking about the company’s early days. “They know about Infosys and TCS because that’s where their cousins and friends have worked.”

Backed by Silicon Valley-based venture capitalists, these homegrown companies are not afraid to match salary packages offered by established foreign companies, and offer perks such as employee stock options.

Not everyone is born to be an engineer, but in India, many parents are determined to make it so for their children. India produces about 80,000 engineering graduates every year, according to Sandhya Chintala, vice president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies.

Engineering is considered a prestigious profession. In India’s close-knit family system, jobs can be associated with upward mobility, and can make a son or daughter a better marriage prospect. Children often have no say in the decision.

Working in information technology services with hundreds of thousands of employees, such as Tata Consultancy Services or Infosys, which handle other companies’ technology needs, has long been the easiest way for graduates to go abroad on job assignments, adding to their perceived social worth.

“I often say in India people first become engineers and then they decide what to do with their lives,” said Girish Mathrubootham, founder and chief executive of online customer support platform Freshdesk, which recently raised $31 million in funding from private equity firms Tiger Global, Accel Partners and Google Capital.

Freshdesk lost a potential employee in the early days to TCS because the employee’s parents wanted him to work for a well known company, Mathrubootham said. “Now we have an employee who went to work with Honeywell, but she came back within six months.”

via Software products bring hot career choices as India looks beyond IT services | India Insight.

11/07/2014

Flipkart Fights to Keep India E-Commerce Lead Over Amazon – Businessweek

In 2007, when Indian software engineers Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal were starting their online bookstore Flipkart.com out of a two-bedroom apartment, they faced a challenge Amazon.com (AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos never had: how to collect payment. At first the two, who aren’t related, accepted credit cards, but because few Indians use them, they needed a way to conduct e-commerce in cash. Payment-on-delivery was the obvious solution, but Flipkart didn’t want third-party couriers to carry large quantities of its money. So in 2010 the company decided to remake itself as a version of both Amazon and United Parcel Service (UPS).

A courier for Flipkart finishes loading his backpack as he prepares to deliver packages at a distribution hub in Bangalore

Becoming a delivery service brought a slew of infrastructure problems. India has no standardized street address system, and road conditions are rough. Often a building name, street, and series of landmarks are needed to locate a house. And customers have to be home to receive a package. “You cannot leave anything outside the door, because it will just disappear,” says Ashok Banerjee, Flipkart’s former vice president for logistics, now chief technology officer for e-business at Symantec (SYMC) in California.

The entrepreneurs looked at distribution as a technology problem. “The advantage we had was we were not a logistics company trying to do e-commerce,” says Mekin Maheshwari, head of human resources. “Because we were creating the systems completely in-house, we could actually solve it.” With venture funding from Tiger Global Management, Flipkart’s engineers developed systems to determine the best warehouse locations; it has six across the country. It alerts customers by text several hours before a scheduled delivery and has a lab dedicated to improving the final stage of deliveries, from local warehouses to buyers.

via Flipkart Fights to Keep India E-Commerce Lead Over Amazon – Businessweek.

30/06/2014

Indian Rocket Launches Five Foreign Satellites Into Space – India Real Time – WSJ

The Indian Space Research Organization launched five foreign satellites into space on Monday morning. The shot’s main cargo was Spot-7, a high-resolution earth-observation satellite belonging to Airbus Defence & Space Co. of Europe. It also carried four other smaller satellites: AISAT from the German Aerospace Center; NLS7.1 and NLS7.2 from Canada’s University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies’ Space Flight Laboratory; and VELOX-1 from Nangyang Technological University, Singapore.

It follows the November launch of a spacecraft to Mars, the first such attempt at interplanetary exploration by an Asian country.

The cost of launching the five satellites wasn’t revealed. India’s Mars satellite, dubbed Mangalyaan, or Mars craft, in Hindi, cost $73 million. Speaking at Monday’s launch, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted that amount is less than what it took to produce “Gravity,” the blockbuster Hollywood movie about space. “Gravity” cost about $100 million to make.

via Watch: Indian Rocket Launches Five Foreign Satellites Into Space – India Real Time – WSJ.

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