Archive for ‘Technology’


How a Chinese Company Built 10 Homes in 24 Hours – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Chinese companies have been known to build major real-estate projects very quickly. Now, one company is taking it to a new extreme.

Suzhou-based construction-materials firm Winsun New Materials says it has built 10 200-square-meter homes using a gigantic 3-D printer that it spent 20 million yuan ($3.2 million) and 12 years developing.

Such 3-D printers have been around for several years and are commonly used to make models, prototypes, plane parts and even such small items as jewelry. The printing involves an additive process, where successive layers of material are stacked on top of one another to create a finished product.

Winsun’s 3-D printer is 6.6 meters (22 feet) tall, 10 meters wide and 150 meters long, the firm said, and the “ink” it uses is created from a combination of cement and glass fibers. In a nod to China’s green agenda, Winsun said in the future it plans to use scrap material left over from construction and mining sites to make its 3-D buildings.

Winsun says it estimates the cost of printing these homes is about half that of building them the traditional way. And although the technology seems efficient, it’s unlikely to be widely used to build homes any time soon because of regulatory hurdles, Mr. Chen said.

The Chinese firm isn’t the first to experiment with printing homes. Architects in Amsterdam are building a house with 13 rooms, with plans to print even the furniture. The Dutch architect in charge of the project said on the project’s website it would probably take less than three years to complete.

via How a Chinese Company Built 10 Homes in 24 Hours – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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All you need to know about business in China | McKinsey & Company

A lot of people view China business as mysterious. Relax. Consumers behave pretty much the same everywhere. Competition is pretty much the same everywhere. You just need to ignore the hype and focus on the basic fact that in China today, there are six big trends (exhibit). That’s it. Six trends shape most of the country’s industries and drive much of China’s impact on the Western world. They are like tectonic plates moving underneath the surface. If you can understand them, the chaotic flurry of activity on the surface becomes a lot more understandable—and even predictable.

Coauthors Jeffrey Towson and Jonathan Woetzel discuss China’s six megatrends with Nick Leung, the managing partner of McKinsey’s Greater China office.

These trends move businesses on a daily basis. They’re revenue or cost drivers that show up in income statements. Deals, newspaper headlines, political statements, and the rising and falling wealth of companies are mostly manifestations of these six trends, which aren’t typically studied by economists and political analysts. In fact, we happen to think that Chinese politics or political economics are wildly overemphasized by some Westerners in China. So let’s tell a story about each of these megatrends, with some important caveats. They’re not necessarily good things. They’re not necessarily sustainable. For every one of them, we can argue a bull and a bear case. Most lead to profits or at least revenue. Some may be stable. Some lead to bubbles that may or may not collapse. We are only arguing that they are big, they are driving economic activity on a very large scale, and understanding them is critical to understanding China and where it’s headed.

via All you need to know about business in China | McKinsey & Company.

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China’s Huawei books quickest profit growth in four years on smartphone demand | Reuters

China’s Huawei Technologies Ltd, the world’s No.2 telecommunications equipment maker, reported its fastest profit growth in four years as expansion in enterprise and consumer revenue far exceeded growth in its network building division.

A man looks at a Huawei mobile phone as he shops at an electronic market in Shanghai January 22, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The unlisted company has benefited from companies investing heavily in cloud and mobile computing, while it has shipped so many mobile handsets that it became the world’s third-biggest smartphone manufacturer last year.

Shenzhen-based Huawei is now looking for revenue from Chinese mobile phone operators switching to fourth-generation networks to cushion the impact of a slowdown in network spending abroad.

In 2013, net profit rose 34.4 percent to 21 billion yuan ($3.38 billion), the company said in a statement on Monday.

Operating profit was 29.1 billion yuan, compared with the company’s forecast range of 28.6 billion yuan to 29.4 billion yuan.

via China’s Huawei books quickest profit growth in four years on smartphone demand | Reuters.

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Scientists discover world’s oldest cheese buried on mummies – People – News – The Independent

Scientists believe they may have found the world’s oldest cheese discovered among mummified bodies in China’s Taklamakan Desert, dating back as far as 1615 BC.

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Blocks of the cheese were found around the neck and chest of the Beauty of Xiaohe. Researchers believe the cheese may have been buried with the mummies so they could enjoy it in the afterlife.

The Xiaohe tomb complex was first discovered by Swedish archaeologist Folke Bergman in 1934. Full archaeological excavations were finally undertaken between 2002 and 2004 by the Cultural Relics and Archaeology Institute.

The Taklamakan Desert’s hot dry sand and arid land provides excellent conditions for mummification. The burial conditions also may have created a vacuum- like environment that would have helped to preserve the cheese, researchers said.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics collected 13 samples of organic matter from ten tombs and mummies, including the Beauty of Xiaohe, in the Small River Cemetery Number 5.

Protein analysis performed in Dresden showed the organic material was a cheese made by robust, easily scalable kefir fermentation. Researcher Andrej Shevchenko told USA Today the team collected evidence to suggest skimmed ruminant milk was combined with bacteria and yeast used to make a kefir cheese.

“We not only identified the product as the earliest-known cheese, but we also have direct evidence of ancient technology,” he said.

“It’s the earliest known dairy practice that persists until present times in an almost unchanged way,” University of Chinese Academy of Sciences archaeologist Yimin Yang told Discovery News.

“The discovery moves the mysterious history of kefir as far as to the second millennium BC, making it the oldest known dairy fermentation method.”

via Scientists discover world’s oldest cheese buried on mummies – People – News – The Independent.

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20 Clever Inventions Given to Us by the Incredible Indians!

Originally posted on TalesAlongTheWay:

20 Clever Inventions You Probably Didn’t Know Were Made By Indians


FEBRUARY 20, 2014

Indian inventions and discoveries have been instrumental in shaping the face of the current modern world. We picked up 20 such interesting findings out of a whole bunch that will make you go, “I didn’t know that”.

1. Buttons


image sources 12

Buttons were first used in Mohenjo-daro for ornamental purpose rather than for fastening. They were first used in the Indus Valley Civilization by 2000 BCE.

2. Chess


image sources 12

Chess developed out of Chaturanga, which is an ancient strategy board game developed during the Gupta Empire in India around the 6th century AD. Now you know why Vishwanathan Anand is…

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BBC News – India police use WhatsApp to trace missing boy

A missing 11-year-old boy in India has been found after he was spotted by a member of the public who received a WhatsApp alert sent out by police.

Police message on the missing boy

Police in the northern town of Bareilly say they used the instant messaging service to send out the boy’s photo to several mobile phones in the area.

A man travelling on a train, who had received the alert, recognised the boy sitting near him and called the police.

India has more than 900 million mobile users and WhatsApp is hugely popular.

The app, used by more than 400 million people globally every month, was bought by social networking site Facebook recently for $19bn (£12bn).

via BBC News – India police use WhatsApp to trace missing boy.

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India Wants to Build Its Own Chips to Satisfy Electronics Demand – Businessweek

India’s IT services companies are tops in outsourcing, with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS:IN) and Infosys (INFY) competing globally with IBM (IBM) and Accenture (ACN). The cities of Bangalore and Hyderabad are well established as research centers for such multinationals as Microsoft (MSFT), General Electric (GE), and Intel (INTC).

Pedestrians pass in front of smartphone wholesale outlets at Gaffar Market in New Delhi on April 9, 2013

But when it comes to hardware, India is behind. In 2013 it imported $33.5 billion worth of electronics, from semiconductors to smartphones. That’s more than it spent on any imports except oil and gold. With India’s large and growing middle class buying more digital devices, the reliance on imported semiconductors and other hardware is likely to increase. By next year, according to market analysts Frost & Sullivan, such imports will top $42 billion. “Our manufacturing has not kept pace with our consumption,” says PVG Menon, president of the Indian Electronic & Semiconductor Association. India does some assembly of TVs, mobile phones, computers, and set-top boxes.

The government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is trying to address this technology gap. The Indian cabinet on Feb. 14 approved plans for two semiconductor manufacturing projects, requiring an investment of $10.2 billion, with IBM, Geneva-based STMicroelectronics (STM:FP), and Israel’s Tower Semiconductor (TSEM:IT) taking part.

via India Wants to Build Its Own Chips to Satisfy Electronics Demand – Businessweek.

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Indian E-Commerce to Become $8 Billion Industry – India Real Time – WSJ

The outlook for India’s economy may be gloomy for now, but one sector looks set to boom: online retail.

As more and more Indians use the internet, revenues of e-commerce companies could triple over the next three years to 504 billion rupees ($8.13 billion), according to Crisil Research, a unit of division of Mumbai-based ratings firm Crisil Ltd.

There are around 200 million internet users in India currently and the number could grow to 500 million by 2015, according to consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

Over the last few years, dozens of websites have been launched in India to sell everything from books and appliances, to baby care products and flight tickets.

Online retail companies earned revenues of around 139 billion rupees ($2.24 billion) in the financial year that ended on March 31, 2013, according to the Crisil report. Though this is just 0.5% of the total revenues of brick-and-mortar retail companies, online retail sales have been growing much faster.

Revenue of e-commerce firms grew by 56% annually between the financial year that ended March 31, 2008, and the year ended March 31, 2013, according to Crisil.

The scope for growth in this sector has already attracted a lot of interest from venture capital investors.

Earlier this month, online retailer raised around $100 million from CDC Group PLC, a U.K. government-backed private-equity fund-of-funds that invests in some emerging markets, according to The Economic Times.

Clothing and accessories-seller also raised $50 million, this month.

Foreign companies have also been looking to get a piece of the action in India. Inc. launched its India website in June.

via Report: Indian E-Commerce to Become $8 Billion Industry – India Real Time – WSJ.

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Indian govt approves Rs 650 crore for Nano mission – The Times of India

Union Cabinet on Thursday gave its approval for continuation of Nano mission – a mission on Nano Science and Technology – in its second phase in the 12th Plan Period (2012-17) and sanctioned Rs 650 crore for the purpose.

Nano Technology is a knowledge-intensive and “enabling technology” which is expected to influence a wide range of products and processes with far-reaching implications for the national economy and development.

“The mission’s programmes will target all scientists, institutions and industry in the country. It will also strengthen activities in nano science and technology by promoting basic research, human resource development, research infrastructure development, international collaborations, orchestration of national dialogues and nano applications and technology development”, said an official statement of the government.

The Nano mission, in this new phase, will also make greater effort to promote application-oriented R&D so that some useful products, processes and technologies also emerge. It will be anchored in the Department of Science and Technology and steered by a Nano Mission Council chaired by an eminent scientist.

The government had launched the Nano mission in May 2007 as an “umbrella capacity-building programme”.

As a result of the efforts led by the Nano mission, India is at present amongst the top five nations in the world in terms of scientific publications in nano science and technology (moving from 4th to the 3rd position).

The Nano mission itself has resulted in about 5000 research papers and about 900 Ph.Ds and also some useful products like nano hydrogel based eye drops, pesticide removal technology for drinking water, water filters for arsenic and fluoride removal and nano silver based antimicrobial textile coating.

Under the mission, Indian scientists have been given access to global state-of-the-art facilities like the Photon Factory at Tsukuba, Japan and PETRA III in Hamburg, Germany.

via Govt approves Rs 650 crore for Nano mission – The Times of India.

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The Secret of China’s Taobao’s Success – Businessweek

Amazon has earned the moniker “the everything store” in the U.S., but in China Alibaba’s e-commerce sites, especially, dominate, with Amazon (AMZN) almost nowhere to be seen.

Image representing Taobao as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Taobao really is the everything store: The Alibaba-owned retail platform sells everything from sunglasses to cadavers (for $21,000, to people claiming to be medical students). A friend in Beijing recently purchased the dress she would wear to her sister’s wedding from Taobao because “there are many more choices” than she could imagine finding in any shopping mall or bridal shop.

While Jack Ma’s e-commerce empire has triumphed in China for many reasons, including guanxi, business foresight, and good technology, its dominance was hardly assured.

In 2004, Amazon purchased the Chinese online bookseller and retailer for $74 million. The site failed to live up to its high hopes, and today Amazon commands less than 3 percent of China’s e-tail market. Similarly, EBay (EBAY)acquired once-popular Chinese e-commerce site EachNet, but market share quickly dwindled as Alibaba’s sites boomed. Even as U.S. technology companies flounder in China, McKinsey Global Institute predicts that China’s total e-commerce market could be worth $650 billion by 2020.

One of the secrets of Taobao’s success is its adeptness at understanding the quirks of “how Chinese shoppers want to transact,” says Barney Tan, a senior lecturer in business at the University of Sydney, who focuses on China’s e-commerce. “Taobao has catered to Chinese preferences for doing business—for example, it’s enabled buyers and sellers to negotiate and bargain on prices.”

Given common (often warranted) fears about being cheated online, Taobao has also “incorporated an optional escrow service to allow shoppers to pay for goods only after they’ve received and inspected them.” Its Alipay system, which somewhat resembles PayPal, can debit a Chinese bank account, so no financial card is required for online shopping sprees.

As Tan sums up a common sentiment in China, “If you want to sell something in China, you sell it on Taobao.” Not only wealthy urbanites seem to agree: Already more than 2 million Taobao stores are registered to rural IP addresses in China—a gain of 25 percent in just one year. China’s shoppers and entrepreneurs alike are turning to the ubiquitous platform.

via The Secret of Taobao’s Success – Businessweek.

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