Archive for ‘Technology’

18/12/2014

India’s tech opportunity: Transforming work, empowering people | McKinsey & Company

Millions of Indians hope for a better future, with well-paying jobs and a decent standard of living. To meet these aspirations, the country needs broad-based economic growth and more effective public services. Technology can play an important role in enabling the growth India needs. The spread of digital technologies, as well as advances in energy and genomics, can raise the productivity of business and agriculture, redefine how services such as healthcare and education are delivered, and contribute to higher living standards for millions of Indians by raising education levels and improving healthcare outcomes.

India’s tech opportunity: Transforming work, empowering people

Empowering technologies in India

McKinsey’s Noshir Kaka and Anu Madgavkar discuss how India could transform its economy by employing 12 technologies.

A dozen empowering technologies

A new McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report identifies a dozen technologies, ranging from the mobile Internet to cloud computing to advanced genomics, which could have a combined economic impact of $550 billion to $1 trillion a year in 2025. The selection of the 12 technologies for India was based on a similar process established by MGI’s earlier work on disruptive technologies.1 For India, we used additional criteria to identify the technologies that would have a direct impact on the country’s economic and social challenges in the coming decade. As a result, we include technologies such as electronic payments, which are well established in other parts of the world but not well developed in India. By 2025, however, electronic payments could help 300 million Indians join the country’s financial system.

We group the 12 technologies into three areas: digitizing life and work, smart physical systems, and energy technologies:

digitizing life and work—the mobile Internet, the cloud, the automation of knowledge work, digital payments, and verifiable digital identity

smart physical systems—the Internet of Things, intelligent transportation and distribution systems, advanced geographic information systems (GIS), and next-generation genomics

energy—unconventional oil and gas (horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing), renewable energy, and advanced energy storage

Each of these technologies has the potential for rapid adoption in India between now and 2025 (exhibit) …

via India’s tech opportunity: Transforming work, empowering people | McKinsey & Company.

16/12/2014

Logistics Hold India’s E-Commerce Companies Back – Businessweek

Laxminarayan Krishnamurthy figured a Samsung (005930:KS) Galaxy Core 2 smartphone would make a perfect gift for his wife. So he ordered one from New Delhi-based e-retailer Snapdeal.com. When the package arrived, it contained a brick and a bar of soap but no phone. When he contacted the company, Krishnamurthy was told the phone was stolen by unscrupulous middlemen transporting the package. So he took his complaints to Facebook (FB).

Logistics Are Holding India’s E-Commerce Companies Back

“Had ordered a samsung mobile through snapdeal and we got a soap bar!!!” Krishnamurthy wrote. “The worst customer service ever received!!! Beware of snapdeal guys!!”

Anjana Swaminathan, a Snapdeal spokeswoman, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

via Logistics Hold India’s E-Commerce Companies Back – Businessweek.

11/12/2014

Alibaba Tries to Make a Visit to the Doctor Easier – Businessweek

China’s overburdened healthcare system is ripe for reform, and leading technology companies see opportunities in becoming part of the solution.

A Chinese nurse adjusts the infusion rate for a patient at a hospital in Xiangyang city, central China's Hubei province on Jan. 20, 2014.

Take the current system of booking time to see a physician, which is both inefficient and abusive. In order to see a doctor at a leading hospital in Beijing or another major Chinese city, a patient must queue up starting at around 5am and wait in line for several hours just to book an appointment for later that day. Sometimes the patient has the option of buying a hospital slot, typically at an exorbitant fee, from a professional scalper.

In July, Alipay, the popular e-payment system launched by Alibaba Group, began a pilot project to allow patients to book appointments at select hospitals through a smartphone app. A handful of hospitals in Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Kunming, Wenzhou, and Nanchang now participate. It sounds like a simple and intuitive step that should have been tried long ago; notably it’s a technology company, not a medical institution, that’s leading the change.

via Alibaba Tries to Make a Visit to the Doctor Easier – Businessweek.

04/12/2014

Intel to invest $1.6 billion in China factory | Reuters

Intel Corp (INTC.O) will invest $1.6 billion (1 billion pounds) to upgrade its factory in the city of Chengdu in western China, the latest sign of how the chipmaker is deepening ties in a market that is proving increasingly troublesome for some U.S. technology peers.

Indonesian youth walk past an Intel sign during Digital Imaging expo in Jakarta March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Beawiharta

As part of the upgrade, Intel said in a statement on Thursday it would bring its most advanced chip-testing technology to China. In exchange it will receive local and regional government support for construction.

“Deploying our newest advanced testing technology in China shows our commitment to innovating jointly with China,” Intel executive vice president William Holt said in the statement. “The fully upgraded Chengdu plant will help the Chinese semiconductor industry and boost regional economic growth.”

The announcement comes three months after Intel purchased a minority stake in a government-controlled semiconductor company to jointly design and distribute mobile chips, an industry that China considers to be of strategic importance.

Intel’s fortunes in China contrast with the travails of its rival, Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O), which is expected to announce in the coming days a potentially record-breaking settlement with Chinese antitrust regulators.

China’s investigation into San Diego-based Qualcomm, as well as a spate of recent probes against firms including Microsoft Corp, have prompted an outcry from foreign business lobbies. They say the Chinese government is increasingly adopting strong-arm tactics to yield technology-sharing or other arrangements beneficial to domestic industry.

The government, meanwhile, has defended its regulatory scrutiny as even-handed. It has pointed to a history of Qualcomm and Microsoft facing similar antitrust probes in Western countries.

Analysts say there is a broad recognition that foreign companies must do more to stay in China’s good graces.

via Intel to invest $1.6 billion in China factory | Reuters.

03/12/2014

Under Pressure: The 10-Story Machine China Hopes Will Boost Its Aviation Industry. – China Real Time Report – WSJ

The engineers started closing the rollerdoor the moment they saw a foreigner walking toward them.

Standing around laughing in blue overalls and yellow hard hats, they went quiet the moment I started walking up the drive. I asked if I could take a peek behind the door. They said it was a secret.

Still, I managed to catch a glimpse of two floors’ worth of the 10-story-tall machine Beijing hopes will play a major role in driving China’s aviation and aerospace industries: an 80,000-ton closed-die hydraulic press forge.

Repeated requests for a tour of the forge were declined. Both Zhang Jian, the head of propaganda at Erzhong Group, the company that built and operates the forge, and Wang Yu, the secretary of the board of directors of Erzhong’s Shanghai-listed unit, said that the forge is “confidential.”

It’s not immediately clear what about the machine – which is painted green with Erzhong Group printed across it in red Chinese characters – is so secret.

The machine is the biggest of its kind in the world. The biggest forge in the U.S. can exert only 50,000 tons of pressure, and is operated by Alcoa AA +0.93% in Ohio. France has a 65,000-ton machine, and Russia has a machine capable of exerting 75,000 tons of pressure.

But the technology China is using is nothing new. It is based on modifications of Russian designs from the 80s, according to a person involved in the development process.

More sensitive is was China can potentially do with it.

Press forging involves shaping a piece of metal under high pressure by squeezing it into a mold. That alters the flow of the metal’s grain – its internal structure – allowing engineers to create stronger and lighter components than would be possible by just beating them into shape or welding them together. Greater pressure results in stronger components.

The Erzhong forge can exert up to 80,000 tons of downward pressure using five columns. Flipped upside down, it could lift China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier, with room to spare for a handful of submarines. Airbus is using the Russian forge to make landing gear components for the A380, the world’s biggest passenger plane. Having the world’s biggest forge should allow China to produce large components of higher strength than possible elsewhere.

The technology was pioneered during WWII by Germany, which didn’t have a sufficient supply of steel and so had to mold its air force out of more brittle, but lighter metals, according to Tim Heffernan, a writer who has researched the U.S. forge program. The end of the war brought the start of the jet age, and the U.S. government provided support for the building of forges around the country, so that the country was able to produce light planes that were sufficiently strong to withstand supersonic speeds.

Alcoa’s forge has been producing parts for Boeing and Airbus for decades. The company says it supplies almost all forged wheel and brake components for U.S. military aircraft and helicopters, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the U.S. military’s newest fighter jet.

Erzhong hasn’t explicitly said what the forge will be used for, but academics involved in its development process said there are potential military applications.

The first component produced by the forge at its official launch in April last year was the landing gear for the C919,  China’s long-awaited and much behind schedule narrow-bodied passenger aircraft being built by the Commercial Aircraft Company of China.

via Under Pressure: The 10-Story Machine China Hopes Will Boost Its Aviation Industry. – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

20/11/2014

Fossil-hunting: Bone China | The Economist

A GIANT, pinkish femur juts out of the ground, longer than a person is tall. The area is littered with the fossilised vertebrae, leg and arm bones and skull of this Hadrosaurus. For 70m years it and other dinosaurs have lain buried here. Now the site in Zhucheng, in Shandong province in eastern China, is known as “dinosaur valley” for its more than 10,000 fossils found to date. The hunt for dinosaurs only properly began in China in recent decades. Already more species have been identified there than in any other country.

The bonanza is explained by China’s great expanses of rock from the Mesozoic era, when “fearful dragons”, as they are called in Chinese, roamed. In many areas rivers, floods, sandstorms and earthquakes buried the animals soon after they died, so preserving them. An unusually large amount of the rock from this era is now close to the surface, so the troves of bones, eggs and footprints have been uncovered comparatively easily. A recent discovery in Liaoning province, the Changyuraptor yangi, is the largest known four-winged flying reptile and marks another vital step on the evolutionary path from dinosaurs to birds.

A rise in science funding also lies behind China’s dinosaur bounty: rather like the Chinese economy, Chinese palaeontology is in its rapidly emerging stage, says Xu Xing of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who himself has found more than 40 new species. Fossils are frequently uncovered at the country’s many construction sites, along the routes of new railways, for example.

Selling fossils is illegal in China. But many farmers now make far more money flogging fossils (including fake ones) on the black market than they do from their crops. Attempts to build a tourist industry around dinosaurs have been less lucrative. Farmers will have to be better compensated for their fossil discoveries if scientists are to win the battle of the bones.

via Fossil-hunting: Bone China | The Economist.

11/11/2014

COMAC signs deal for 30 C919 jets with China Merchants Bank: source | Reuters

Chinese state-owned plane maker Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) has signed an initial agreement to sell 30 of its C919 single-aisle commercial jets to the financial leasing arm of China Merchants Bank (600036.SS), a person with direct knowledge of the deal told Reuters on Tuesday.

The nose of China's home-grown airliner C919 is unveiled in Chengdu, Sichuan province, July 31, 2014.  REUTERS/China Daily

The order, sealed at China’s premier air industry trade show in Zhuhai, lifts COMAC’s order book for the C919 to 430, mostly from domestic companies. Still in development, the C919 will be the first Chinese-built jet of its type, targeted at eventually competing with Boeing Co (BA.N) and Airbus Group NV (AIR.PA).

Financial terms of the order weren’t disclosed.

via COMAC signs deal for 30 C919 jets with China Merchants Bank: source | Reuters.

11/11/2014

Airbus aims to double China component sourcing value to $1 billion by 2020 | Reuters

European jet maker Airbus Group NV (AIR.PA) aims to double the annual value of aircraft components it sources from China to $1 billion by 2020, the firm’s China Chief Operating Officer, Rafael Gonzalez-Ripoll-Garzon, said on Tuesday.

A flight test engineer holds an Airbus Group flag after the first flight of the Airbus A320neo (New Engine Option) in Colomiers near Toulouse, southwestern France, September 25, 2014.  REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

The Airbus executive’s comment, made on the sidelines of China’s premier airshow in Zhuhai, came as the European firm’s chief rival Boeing (BA.N) said it’s also seeking to ramp up China component sourcing.

Kent Fisher, Boeing Commercial Airplane’s vice-president and general manager of supplier management, said that over the next few years his company is looking to double the $2 billion worth of aircraft parts it has sourced from China in total over the last 30 years. Fisher was speaking at a separate press briefing at the air show and didn’t provide further details.

Boeing also said it had signed a deal with Aviation Industry Corporation of China to produce composite tail parts for the Boeing 777 program, beginning in 2017.

Airbus and Boeing have been competing fiercely in China, which will need over 6,020 new planes worth $870 million the next 20 years, according to Boeing’s latest forecast.

Both have been increasing their sourcing in China, using locally made composite materials and parts like emergency doors in aircraft like the Airbus A330 and Boeing B787 jets.

via Airbus aims to double China component sourcing value to $1 billion by 2020 | Reuters.

11/11/2014

China unveils sophisticated stealth fighter aircraft | Reuters

China unveiled a sophisticated new stealth fighter jet at an air show on Tuesday, a show of muscle during a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama for an Asia-Pacific summit.

A J-31 stealth fighter of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force is seen during a test flight ahead of the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, November 10, 2014. REUTERS/Alex Lee

China hopes the much-anticipated J-31 stealth aircraft, developed by the Aviation Industry Corp of China (Avic), the country’s top aircraft maker, will compete with U.S.-made hardware in export markets.

The twin-engine fighter jet was unveiled at the China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in the southern city of Zhuhai, an annual event at which China shows off its military technology, a Reuters witness said.

The J-31 conducted a demonstration but was not put on display afterwards although a mock-up version was on show.

via China unveils sophisticated stealth fighter aircraft | Reuters.

07/11/2014

Alibaba Looks Ahead to ‘Singles Day’ – Businessweek

So far, Alibaba (BABA) is doing a good job living up to the hype that surrounded its record-setting initial public offering. The Chinese e-commerce company yesterday, Nov. 4, reported its first earnings numbers since its IPO raised a record $25 billion in September, and Alibaba’s sales for the quarter increased 54 percent, to 16.8 billion yuan. Although higher costs for integration of newly acquired businesses and other marketing expenses helped drive its earnings down 39 percent, to 3 billion yuan, that result was still better than many analysts had expected.

Merchandise is prepared for Singles' Day online sales on Nov. 5, 2014 in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, China

“The China retail business is proving to be a powerhouse,” wrote Rob Sanderson, managing director with MKM Partners, in a report published Nov. 4. China’s market, he added, offers “impressive growth even at a very large scale.”

via Alibaba Looks Ahead to ‘Singles Day’ – Businessweek.

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