Archive for ‘Technology’


Cisco joins flurry of U.S.-China tech partnerships | Reuters

Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O) said Thursday it would form a joint-venture with Chinese server maker Inspur to sell networking and cloud computing products in China, where the Silicon Valley firm faces political pressure and declining sales.

Chuck Robbins, incoming CEO of Cisco, listens a question from media during a news conference in New Delhi, India, June 18, 2015. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Cisco and Inspur said they would invest $100 million in the project, although they offered few other details.

The partnership is one of a growing number of tie-ups between Chinese and U.S. technology firms announced during or ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States this week.

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) said on Thursday it would partner with Baidu Inc (BIDU.O) and Chinese state-owned private investment firm Tsinghua Unigroup on cloud technology, while Dell Inc announced last week it would invest $125 billion over five years in China.

Earlier this year, IBM (IBM.N) pledged to help develop China’s advanced chip industry with a “Made with China” strategy, while chipmakers Intel Corp (INTC.O) and Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) are developing chips with smaller Chinese companies.

Similar to its dealings with the foreign auto industry in decades past, Chinese officials have made clear to foreign technology firms that market access depends on their sharing technology and cooperating with Chinese industry.

Like many of its peers, Cisco’s market share has retreated in recent quarters in China, where its products have been labeled a cybersecurity threat by state media and government-affiliated experts.

U.S. business lobbies have said the Chinese allegations amount to protectionism, while China has pointed to the experience of Cisco’s Shenzhen-based rival Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL], which faced similar accusations from Capitol Hill when it sought to enter the United States.

Source: Cisco joins flurry of U.S.-China tech partnerships | Reuters


From ‘Made in China’ to ‘Innovate in China’ – International Finance Magazine

In the West, people often opine that Chinese are not innovators but just copiers who can make a product at a cheaper rate. If somebody mentions inventions, like gunpowder and printing press which were invented by the Chinese, the argument often ends up with ‘they have not really followed through with their innovations and have since then made little progress in this department’.

From ‘Made in China’ to ‘Innovate in China’But the Chinese are ready to transform themselves from the factory of the world to the generator of innovation. Companies like Alibaba Group and Xiaomi among others are making a mark in the world.

“I understand that the China market is characterised by some significant weaknesses when compared to a highly mature Silicon Valley, but the investment power and determination of the Chinese government, along with its appetite to transition away from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Innovated in China’ leaves no doubt in my mind that China will become a leader when it comes to building ecosystems for growth of startups and other innovative organisations,” says Lars Lin Villebaek, co-founder of, a platform for startups. He has 10 years of personal entrepreneurship experience in China.

Last year, China gave birth to a massive 1.9 million new businesses (across all sectors) and saw some record breaking IPOs in the global market.

And unlike the US, which has Silicon Valley and the area around Boston which are known for their startup ecosystems, China has several dozen ‘Silicon Valleys’. “Most of these are in the embryonic stage. Silicon Valley has a long history of success while the Chinese ones are new. The oldest — Zhongquancun in Beijing district — dates back to the ’80s,” says Zhang Chia Hou, China & India analyst and a board member of and author of

According to Wan Gang, China’s minister of science and technology, the district last year birthed 49 startups daily. As of March 2015, 129 high-tech zones had been approved by the State Council. These are designated areas in different cities where entrepreneurs are supported by different policies and benefits, such as fast Internet connections, government assistance in funding, and access to talented and educated human resources from nearby universities.

“Zhongquancun is also home to several universities like the prestigious Tsinghua University which churns out PhDs and computer scientists by the thousands. So there is no shortage of people who understand technology and the investment tap is flowing quite readily,” says Erik Roth, an entrepreneur, lecturer, serial innovator and lead for McKinsey & Company’s Global Innovation & Growth Practice.

Apart from Zhongquancun, Shanghai and Chengdu are also home to several startups.

According to Villebaek, there are several other factors which will help China achieve the ‘startup capital of the world’ status. There is ample access to funding even for high-risk projects. As long as projects replicate proven business models and products, the financing is usually done very quickly.

Additionally, successful companies like Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu have taken upon themselves to nurture the startup system in the country.

Says Alibaba Group spokeswoman: “Our founders started Alibaba Group to champion small businesses, in the belief that the Internet would level the playing field by enabling smallenterprises to leverage innovation and technology to grow and compete more effectively in the domestic and global economies. Alibaba supports innovative entrepreneurs who are able to create products and services that benefit the end user and society as a whole.”

Also, some Chinese are going for international exposure. “Most of the emerging class of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, including Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma, studied at leading US universities, and worked for great corporations and investment firms. Most Chinese who can afford it (foreign education) decide to have an experience abroad,” says Christoph Tutsch, founder and CEO of ONPEX, a company which provides white-label cloud-based payment technology.

Tutsch adds that China is going in the right direction and people are educating themselves to achieve their goals. “They are trying to think out of the box for solutions that will help the local problems. Even now, they are many successful tech companies in China that no one has heard of because they are kept in the local market, which is good for self-improvement. In the next few years, we will start hearing of more Alibabas who venture West,” says Tutsch.

Where they need to improve

Historically, the Chinese do not have a culture of risk taking. “In a long time, I have not noticed any disruptive business model from China,” remarks Roth. The educational system in the country will have to focus on research and offer education in entrepreneurship to address the needs of entrepreneurs.

“The young in general are following the old path of secure jobs in government or established industry. But with 1.3 billion people, there are enough youngsters interested in innovation and entrepreneurship for them to be a real force,” says Zhang.

Source: From ‘Made in China’ to ‘Innovate in China’-International Finance Magazine


The Successful Indian Tech Companies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of – India Real Time – WSJ

The lofty valuations of India’s consumer-focused startups like Flipkart and Snapdeal have gotten a lot of limelight lately, but the country’s up and coming software product technology firms are also growing rapidly, says iSpirit Foundation, a Bangalore-based technology lobby group.

An index capturing the 30 most-valuable Indian software product-makers has risen by 28% in eight months since Oct. 30, a report released by iSpirit, which puts together the index, said Thursday. These companies, as estimated by iSpirit, were worth a total of $10 billion at the end of June. “There has been an acceleration since 2010 in the pace of creation of B2B (business-to-business) companies,” the report said.

More In Technology The Successful Indian Tech Companies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of Are You Addicted to the Internet? Take the Test Internet Addiction: How to Help Protect Your Children 5 Things to Know about Foxconn’s Ambitions in India Uber to Invest $1 Billion in India Indian techies and venture capitalists often rue that though Indians occupy top positions in global tech companies like Microsoft Corp.MSFT +3.55% and Oracle ORCL +2.05% Corp, the country hasn’t produced a major software firm up to the caliber of these multinationals.

In December, a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneurship trade body, the Indus Entrepreneurs, launched a program to help grow a select number of Indian product companies to become worth a billion dollars or more each. To help garner attention for software-product makers, iSpirit created its index last year. For this, it considered more than 300 Indian companies that make and sell software or provide applications that support other businesses. The index doesn’t include technology outsourcing firms like Infosys Ltd.500209.BY +3.56% and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.532540.BY -0.08%, or consumer-oriented technology companies, like Flipkart and ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd.-owned Ola, a taxi-hailing application, which use technology to sell products to individuals. Companies included are firms like Bangalore-based InMobi Technology Services Pvt. Ltd., which competes with Google Inc.GOOGL +2.69% and Facebook Inc.FB +2.96% globally to provide a mobile advertising platform, and Delhi-based Wingify Software Pvt. Ltd, which analyses web-user data to enable companies to create more effective webpages.

Other companies are Capillary Technologies, which creates software that helps retailers manage customer data and counts shoemaker Nike NKE +1.91% and Pizza Hut among its customers, and Druva Software Pvt. Ltd., which provides data backup and other services to companies like Dell Inc. The index also has a few companies which have been around for more than two decades, such as Delhi-based Newgen Software Technologies Ltd, and accounting software-maker Tally Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

These software companies have also caught the eye of international investors in recent years. “There’s a consistent amount of capital going in…I wouldn’t say it’s a flood,” said Dev Khare, managing director of Lightspeed India Partners Advisors LLP, a venture-capital firm. Mr. Khare volunteers with iSpirit and helped put together the report on technology firms. In rupee terms, the 30 most-valuable companies as estimated by iSpirit were worth 655 billion rupees ($10 billion) at the end of June, versus 375 billion rupees at the end of October. The composition of the index has changed, to include some companies whose valuations have grown rapidly since the fall. To be sure, these valuations pale in comparison to that of Indian consumer companies. Flipkart alone was valued at $15 billion in May following a round of capital raising, up from $10 billion in December. Mr. Khare said that though consumer-focused tech companies have gotten a larger share of investor capital in recent years, historically, both consumer and software-product companies have provided good returns to investors. Many of the new Indian software companies are creating products for the tech consumer companies, such as software to manage customers who buy online, or software to manage logistics. Two-thirds of the 30 companies in the iSpirit index are based in India, while others are domiciled in Singapore and Silicon Valley. Most of the companies sell their products to clients globally. “As the conditions become more favorable, more capital will flow into these companies as well,” said Mr. Khare.

Source: The Successful Indian Tech Companies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of – India Real Time – WSJ


Are the Best Days Over for China Tech Startups? – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Over the past year, China has seen a boom in its startup scene, thanks to plenty of capital flowing into the sector.

But some investors and entrepreneurs say that could be changing as Beijing struggles to restore confidence in its economy and faltering stock market.

In Shenzhen, hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors gathered on Sunday at an event called Big Salad, where local startups talked about their business ideas, including high-tech underwear and affordable smart glasses. Everyone was full of enthusiasm and the mood was upbeat throughout, but some of them were also bracing for tougher times.

“Raising new money is difficult now,” said Mosso Lau, vice president of Shenzhen-based Firebird Institution, which runs funds that invest in early-stage startups while also serving as an incubator that helps startups develop their business ideas.

Firebird set up its last investment fund two years ago by collecting 12 million yuan ($1.9 million) from local businesses and wealthy individuals. It invested that money in tech startups such as mobile apps for food delivery and massage services.

As Firebird is now preparing to set up a new fund for next year, Mr. Lau expects it will be a lot harder to collect money this time, because potential investors have been hit by the recent stock market turmoil. “From last year until this June, there was so much money in venture investment. It was unusual,” he said.

Last year, venture-capital investments in China’s tech sector more than doubled to $6 billion from $2.8 billion in 2013, according to Hong Kong-based AVCJ Research, with both foreign and domestic funds putting in more money than the prior year. Total early-stage funding for Chinese tech startups surged to nearly $2 billion last year from $313 million in 2012 as deals increased to 299 from 172, according to AVCJ.

In January, when Jerry Dai founded a startup in Shenzhen that operates a crowdfunding platform similar to Kickstarter, there was nothing but optimism.

Entrepreneurs around him who had already raised capital told Mr. Dai that fundraising for his new venture wouldn’t be a problem because angel investors — individuals or funds that provide capital for early-stage startups before formal investment rounds — were financing just about any business idea.

But now, just as his startup is trying to find an angel investor, things are looking tougher.

“There are still many angel investors, but they are getting more selective,” he said. “Some investors think there is a bubble in China that may break in one or two years.”

Mr. Dai said he expects the process of securing funds to take longer than it would have several months ago.

“Last year was crazy. There was so much money in China,” said Heatherm Huang, a cofounder of MailTime, which makes emails easier to use on smartphones. Even though his startup is based in San Francisco, it raised much of its early funds from Chinese investors. “In some ways, things are going back to normal now.”

via Are the Best Days Over for China Tech Startups? – China Real Time Report – WSJ.


Spectacular Images of Mars From India’s Most-Ambitious Space Mission – India Real Time – WSJ

Next month, India’s mission to Mars is expected to complete a year in orbit around the red planet and its photo album so far is out of this world.

The spacecraft, named Mangalyaan, Hindi for Mars craft, has already completed more than 100 orbits since it arrived at the planet on Sept. 24, 2014.

At a cost of $74 million, the Indian Space Research Organization’s mission to Mars was the cheapest of recent missions to Mars mounted by other space agencies.

The satellite is healthy and continues to “glean data,” Debiprasad Karnik, a spokesman for ISRO, said Friday.

Apart from a few days in June when it lost touch with Earth after moving behind the Sun in a phenomenon called “solar conjuncture,” Mangalyaan has remained in contact and been sending photographs taken by the Mars Color Camera back to scientists in India.

The photo above, taken in July, is of the Ophir Chasma, part of what the National Aeronautics and Space Administration describes as the largest canyon system in the solar system, known as the Valles Marineris.

NASA calls the geographical feature the Grand Canyon of Mars. At a length of more than 1,800 miles, it is almost 3.5 times the length of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The walls of the chasma, that is described by the International Astronomical Union as “an elongate steepsided depression,” are multi-layered, the floor too contains large deposits of layered materials.

via Spectacular Images of Mars From India’s Most-Ambitious Space Mission – India Real Time – WSJ.


What Stands in the Way of Modi’s Digital India – The Numbers – WSJ

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has grand plans to expand the reach of the Internet to his country’s most far-flung citizens.  But some big numbers stand in his way.

1.06 billion

The number of Indians who currently don’t have access to the Internet. India’s offline population is greater than that of China and Indonesia–home to the next two largest unconnected groups–combined.

1 million

The number of miles of fiber optic cable needed to connect 250,000 village clusters in India to the Internet, according to a committee set up to get the project into gear. The original plan estimated that 370,000 miles of cable would do the job.


The proportion of clusters of villages that up to June 30 were fully connected to Internet services in community centers, hospitals and schools under the National Fiber Optic Network that was launched in 2011.


The original deadline for completion of the network. The date has since been shunted back twice and now stands at 2019.

$11.2 billion

The revised budget for the fiber optic network. Almost four times what was originally planned.

via What Stands in the Way of Modi’s Digital India – The Numbers – WSJ.


‘Car suit’ keeps vehicles high and dry during floods, Chinese inventor says | South China Morning Post

A man in eastern China has invented a “suit” for cars he claims protects them from water damage during the floods that regularly inundate the mainland’s coastal cities, an online newspaper reports.

The cover consists of a copolymer thermoplastic material and waterproof zippers. Photo: SCMP Pictures

More than 3,000 vehicles were flooded when Typhoon Soudelor hit Taizhou in Zhejiang province on August 8, reports. One photo of the storm that has drawn particular interest online shows a car wrapped in a heavy, water-proof material.

The man behind the idea is Huang Enfu, a businessman who deals in car parts. “News about damaged cars during urban floods regularly appears. Our costal city often sees such floods. That’s why I invented the suit,” Huang was quoted as saying.

The cover consists of a copolymer thermoplastic material and waterproof zippers. A car owner puts the suit down in an empty space, parks the vehicle over top, pulls the sides up and zips it closed.

Huang said he spent more than 1.6 million yuan (HK$1.93 million) and two years coming up with the idea. He has patented the design and sells them for between 1,500 yuan and 2,500 yuan

Residents in mainland cities have long complained urban sewage systems cannot cope with heavy rainfall during the wet season. Drains easily become overloaded and the water levels on flooded main streets can quickly rise past people’s waists.

Huang says his invention will even allow a properly zipped-up car to float if the water levels become too high. Owners can secure the car suit by tying the four attached ropes to a stationary object.

via ‘Car suit’ keeps vehicles high and dry during floods, Chinese inventor says | South China Morning Post.


India’s Smartphone Market Is Booming – Especially at the Low End – India Real Time – WSJ

Xiaomi Corp., which announced Monday that its some of its phones are now being assembled at a factory in India, isn’t the only Chinese smartphone maker with its eye on the subcontinent.

With the Chinese economy slowing and demand for smartphones picking up in India, Chinese handset makers including Lenovo Group Ltd.0992.HK +1.70%, Huawei Technologies Co. and Gionee Communication Equipment Co.  are looking to produce and sell more phones in the world’s second-most-populous nation.

But Indian consumers prefer cheaper phones than their Chinese counterparts. Roughly half of smartphones sold in India for the three months ended in June cost less than $100. In China, these low-end smartphones accounted for about 20% of the market over the same period, according to research company International Data Corp. IDC predicts the average selling price of Indian smartphones will fall to $102 in 2018 from $135 in 2014.

The $100 Galaxy J1 and other inexpensive handsets drove sales for Indian smartphone market-leader Samsung Electronics Co.005930.SE 0.00%, helping to increase its share of sales to 23% of the smartphones sold during the quarter ended June 30. In other markets, including China, sales are driven by its flagship Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, which sell for around $600 and $700, respectively, in the U.S.

Smartphone penetration is growing rapidly. While Internet penetration levels in India resemble China’s numbers from six years ago, smartphone penetration is only four years behind, according to a Credit Suisse report. The skyrocketing growth has even caught the attention of Apple Inc.AAPL -5.49%, which recently started offering financing to make its iPhones more accessible to Indians.

That might be bad news for smartphone manufacturers who operate on already razor-thin margins, but it’s potentially good news for Indian consumers and the Indian economy.

It also helps explain why contract manufacturing giant Foxconn says it intends invest billions of dollars setting up factories in India, and why Xiaomi recently announced its first made-in-India smartphone, the $107 Redmi 2 Prime. Changes to tax rules now make it cheaper to manufacture electronics in India. It also shortens the supply chain, meaning phone-makers can get their products to consumers faster and reduce inventory costs.

via India’s Smartphone Market Is Booming – Especially at the Low End – India Real Time – WSJ.


5 Things to Know about Foxconn’s Overseas Ambitions – WSJ

Foxconn, Apple Inc.’s major assembler, has signed a preliminary deal with India’s Maharashtra state to invest $5 billion in factories and research facilities in coming years. But the company, officially known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., has a history of making ambitious statements and floating investment ideas that haven’t materialized. Here are five things to know about Foxconn’s overseas ambitions.

Deutsch: Foxconn Logo

Deutsch: Foxconn Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1 India isn’t its first billion-dollar bet

In 2011, Foxconn agreed to invest $12 billion in Brazil to create a new supply chain that it had hoped will generate jobs. But four years later, Foxconn’s investment in Brazil has been much smaller than the pledged amount. It is still struggling to improve the manufacturing operations at its plants for iPhones and iPads there citing its inefficient labor force. The company has also been in talks for a new plant investment in Indonesia for years.  The Indonesian government once said that Foxconn would invest up to $10 billion, but plans remain in limbo due to political snags.

2 Why India?

While China remains the world’s largest smartphone market by shipments, India has the biggest growth potential for the next 5 years, says Bernstein analyst Mark Li. India recently raised taxes on mobile phones imported to the country to 12.5% from 6%, spurring global handset makers to look at ways to manufacture devices locally.

3 Sign of shift in manufacturing to India from China?

Analysts say it is unlikely that India will overtake China to become the company’s main production base in the next few years as China has an well-established supply chain ecosystem. India still lacks good infrastructure and favorable tax and labor policies, making it a less attractive destination for tech manufacturing.

4 Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou always aims for the best deal

The agreement with the Indian government is non-binding. Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou usually gives a rosy picture about the company’s potential investments when he negotiates with government officials. But only a few investment plans materialize as he wants favorable terms including big tax incentives and free land that most governments can’t accommodate.

5 Foxconn seeks other investment opportunities in India

The company and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. are in talks to jointly invest about $500 million in, a five-year-old Indian e-commerce startup. The deal would give Foxconn a retail foothold in India where it has experienced booming demand for smartphones. Foxconn is also setting up a new production site for Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. in India.

via 5 Things to Know about Foxconn’s Overseas Ambitions – WSJ.


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