Posts tagged ‘Baidu’

13/08/2016

U.S. and UK tech startups welcome in China – with a little supervision – The Stack

U.S. and UK tech startups welcome in China – with a little supervision Martin Anderson. Editor, The Stack, Friday 12th August

On August 1st Travis Kalanick, CEO and co-founder of Uber, finally admitted defeat regarding the company’s three-year crusade to gain a foothold in China, with the ‘merging’ (most consider it a ‘sale’) of Uber’s Chinese operations with local incumbent Didi Chuxing. Whatever Kalanick may have recovered from the concession, it seems unlikely that Uber will recoup the billions it has already poured into its most distant territory. But there was no alternative – by January of this year, the Uber board was urging that the ride-sharing giant – such an indefatigable combatant in so many contested territories – throw in the towel.

Ultimately Didi was going to win this battle; despite cash and equity of $28 billion vs Uber’s $68 billion, Didi had reserved $10 billion to strengthen its grip on this fundamental societal change in China – almost on a par with what the  better-financed Uber was willing to invest.

A headline-grabbing contest of this nature gives the false impression of China as isolationist in terms of cooperating with global tech startups – it isn’t. The country runs a UK-China tech incubator in Shenzhen, backed by Tencent and providing crucial advice on the peculiarities of the Chinese market to Brit startups. The deal even offers free office space, business counsel and pitch opportunities. Whilst willing to repel boarders on the scale of Uber, China has no problem in contributing to a post-Brexit UK brain drain.

Likewise Alibaba runs a similar scheme to increase tech migration from the United States – almost impossibly tempting for new companies dazzled by the economy-of-scale that Chinese success promises, and struggling for attention in saturated home markets. Perhaps the most useful aspect of these international schemes is the business advice from native sources – western entrepreneurs see huge opportunities in Chinese numbers, yet fail to take account of national psychology; either on an individual level (the Chinese consumer), or at the level of a state which is well aware of its riches – and needs only as much western genius to exploit them as serves its future interests in the post-sharing economy.

Source: http://email.thestack.com/q/11mUpgMA6G1pvcOkWw5ppxj/wv

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18/06/2016

The great crawl | The Economist

LATE last month a black-and-white photograph of a professor from Beijing Jiaotong University spread on social media. His image was edged by a black frame, like those displayed at funerals in China, and trimmed with white flowers of mourning. Though Mao Baohua is still very much alive, he had angered netizens enough to depict him as dead. His crime? To suggest that Beijing should follow the likes of London and Stockholm, by charging drivers 20-50 yuan ($3-7.50) to enter the capital’s busiest areas in the hope of easing traffic flow in the gridlocked city.

Most Chinese urbanites see buying a vehicle as a rite of passage: a symbol of wealth, status and autonomy, as it once was in America. Hence their outrage at any restraint on driving. Since car ownership is more concentrated among middle- and high-income earners in China than it is in richer countries, any attack on driving is, in effect, essentially aimed at the middle class, a group the Communist Party is keen to keep on side. That makes it hard to push through changes its members dislike.

Since 2009 officials in Beijing and the southern city of Guangzhou have repeatedly aired the idea of introducing congestion charges. Netizens have fought back, accusing their governments of being lazy, brutal and greedy. Many also gripe that the policy would be “unfair” because the fee would have less impact on the super-rich. Complaints about the inequality of congestion charging echo those made in London and other cities before they launched such schemes. But the party, nervous of being accused of straying from socialism, is particularly sensitive to accusations that it is favouring the wealthiest.

Because of such objections, city governments have not pushed their proposals very hard. But that is now changing in Beijing, where officials face a dilemma. Traffic jams in the city and appalling air pollution—30% of which comes from vehicle fumes, by official reckoning—may end up causing as much popular resentment as any surcharge. The local government is trying to work out how close it is to this tipping point. It is conducting surveys to “pressure test” how people would react to a congestion fee, says Yuan Yue of Horizon, China’s biggest polling company (the results will not be made public). It is likely that a concrete plan for a congestion charge will be announced soon. Beijing’s environmental and transport departments (not usual partners) are collaborating on a draft. State media have recently published a flurry of articles about this, not all in favour.

Public opinion is not the only challenge a congestion scheme faces. The urban planners who conceived Beijing’s layout, and that of other Chinese cities, never imagined that so many people would want to drive. The capital now has 3.6m privately owned cars: the number per 1,000 people in Beijing has increased an astonishing 21-fold since 2000, according to our sister company, the Economist Intelligence Unit (see chart).

On most days large tracts of the capital are now bumper to bumper amid a cacophony of car horns. Beijingers have the longest average commute of any city in China, according to data collected by Baidu, a Chinese search engine. The problem is not confined to Beijing. The capital has higher vehicle ownership than any other Chinese city, but car use is rising rapidly across the country. Many second- and third-tier cities are already clogged.

Beijing’s congestion scheme would be the first outside the rich world, where a handful of cities now charge drivers to enter a designated area. (Singapore has a different form of road pricing, with tolls on individual arterial roads.) Such measures have been credited with reductions in downtown car-use, improved traffic flow and greater use of public transport. They have also cut pollution, including emissions of the tiny PM2.5 particles that are particularly dangerous to health and abundant in Beijing’s air.

Transport planners reckon a congestion zone would have similar effects in Beijing, and complement existing attempts to restrict car use. In 2008, after Beijing staged the Olympic games, the city launched the current system whereby each car is banned from the urban core one workday per week, depending on the last digit of its licence plate. Beijing is now one of 11 Chinese cities with similar restrictions.

But some drivers choose to pay the 100 yuan fine, which is far higher than the congestion charge that Beijing is now mulling (around the sums suggested by Professor Mao). People also drive without plates, or buy second cars, to bypass the rules. In 2011 the capital introduced a lottery for obtaining new licence plates (six other cities do this). In Beijing the scheme has slowed the increase in car ownership, but not enough to cut congestion; some residents use vehicles registered elsewhere. Also in 2011 the capital raised parking fees, hoping to deter drivers. But people often park on pavements and traffic islands instead, usually with impunity.

Source: The great crawl | The Economist

04/12/2015

China’s Tech Industry Is as Male-Dominated as Silicon Valley – China Real Time Report – WSJ

When Chinese President Xi Jinping met with top U.S. and Chinese technology executives in Seattle two months ago, they posed for a now-famous group photo. But one thing was missing: women from China.

As WSJ’s Li Yuan writes in her “China Circuit” column: This defies the conventional wisdom in China that compared with Silicon Valley, China’s tech industry has less of a gender-inequality problem. True, women accounted for nine out of 30 Alibaba partners when it went public in 2014. Both Alibaba and Baidu’s chief financial officers are women. Some of China’s most prominent venture capitalists are women, too.

But the group photo attests to what is really happening behind the success stories: China’s tech industry is as male-dominated as that of Silicon Valley. And unlike the debate and discussions taking place in Silicon Valley about gender inequality, China’s tech industry has yet to acknowledge the problem. With the​tech sector becoming the brightest spot in a sluggish economy, women risk losing out in the competition for the best-paying jobs and the best opportunities to start their own businesses.

Source: China’s Tech Industry Is as Male-Dominated as Silicon Valley – China Real Time Report – WSJ

20/02/2015

Don’t Wear Pig T-Shirts in Dubai: Xinhua’s Official Online Guide for Chinese Tourists – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s numerous fans of the novel “Cloud Atlas” will be familiar with author David Mitchell’s adage: There ain’t no journey what don’t you change you some.

As many in the world’s most populous country pack their bags this week and leave on jet planes for horizons far, authorities here are hoping that Chinese travelers, too, will transform – specifically by becoming more mannerly international travelers.

After a series of embarrassing recent incidents, China’s state-run media Xinhua recently did its part to help citizens discern good behavior from bad by publishing an online guide to overseas etiquette. “Who wants to be labeled uncivilized by foreigners?” asks the Xinhua article, published a few days ahead of this year’s Spring Festival Holiday.

To avoid that, the piece offers advice to travelers, including items tailored to specific destinations.

Doing Dubai? Don’t talk about pigs. And don’t wear items of clothing that have images of pigs on them. (Thanks for the fashion tip Xinhua.)

On Safari in Kenya? Please, get permission before posing and saying “cheese!” next to Masai warriors. And keep your hands off that ivory.

The same applies to coral: It belongs in Fiji and not on auntie’s shelf in Fujian province.

Vacationers from the People’s Republic have acquired a reputation for being unruly at times, and have lately made global headlines by attacking flight attendants, fighting in airplane aisles and opening emergency doors in non-emergency situations. Recent incidents have led China to consider establishing an air-passenger blacklist that would ban travelers who continually misbehave.

A relative newcomer to overseas vacations, China has been quick to catch the travel bug. According to the China National Tourism Administration, more than 100 million Chinese ventured abroad in the eleven month period ending November last year. By contrast, in 1998 that number was just 8.4 million. In a recent report, Hong Kong brokerage CLSA said it expects the total number of Chinese outbound travelers to hit 200 million in 2020.

via Don’t Wear Pig T-Shirts in Dubai: Xinhua’s Official Online Guide for Chinese Tourists – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

27/01/2015

China’s Top 100 Brands: The Private Sector Reigns Supreme – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s top brand is no longer a state-owned company, nor is it e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.BABA +0.85% It’s technology player Tencent Holdings TCEHY +3.45%.

In a ranking of the top 100 most valuable Chinese brands by research from agency Millward Brown and media company WPP, Tencent,  China’s largest online-games and social-networking company, ranked No. 1 with a brand value of $66 billion, ahead of No. 2 Alibaba’s $59 billion. Tencent’s WeChat and QQ messaging services propelled it to the top of the list, said Doreen Wang, global head of Millward Brown’s BrandZ division.

Tencent’s rise unseats state-owned telecom giant China Mobile, which has held the top spot since the ranking’s launch in 2010. It also marks a sea change for China’s private-sector companies, which now account for 47% of the value of the top 100 brands. To calculate rankings, Millward Brown and WPP analyze financial data of listed companies’ brands, pairing it with survey data from more than two million consumers in over 30 countries.

China’s state-owned enterprises have long dominated China’s list of leading companies. In 2010, of the top 50 Chinese brands identified in the report, state-owned companies occupied a third of the list and accounted for an estimated 70-75% of the $280 billion total combined value of the top 50.

Today, it’s a different story. In the past year, the government as has pushed private sector reforms and talked about the need to let market forces play a “more decisive” role in the economy. Alibaba’s public listing last year also contributed to the jump in value for market-driven brands, Millward Brown said, adding that technology brands have also for the first time surpassed financial institutions, becoming the highest valued sector in the rankings, representing 23% of the top 100’s value. Search giant Baidu Inc.BIDU -1.66% ranked No. 5, behind China Mobile and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.

Tencent now ranks fifth in the world for global technology leaders’ brand value, according to MIllward Brown. Google Inc. is No. 1 with $158.8 billion, with Apple Inc. holding the No. 2 spot, followed by International Business Machines Corp.and Microsoft Corp.

Yet, even with Alibaba’s record-setting IPO and Tencent’s various successes, Chinese brands haven’t gained global recognition, said Ms. Wang. Only 22% of consumers surveyed outside of China could recognize a Chinese brand in 2014, a slight rise from 20% the year earlier. Chinese brands need to clarify what they stand for and need to ensure that they can satisfy needs beyond the Chinese market for them to gain more recognition, said Ms. Wang. “They need to consider what kind of benefit they bring to global consumers,” she said.

via China’s Top 100 Brands: The Private Sector Reigns Supreme – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

19/12/2014

Chinese Banks Lure Deposits by Offering Goodies for Cash – Businessweek

Banks in the U.S. once gave away toasters and irons to lure depositors. Banks in China are upping the ante. With customers pulling out money and putting it into higher-yielding investments, they are offering Mercedes, iPhones, and daily deliveries of vegetables to sidestep interest rate caps and get people to stash some yuan in savings accounts.

Chinese Banks Offer Goodies for Cash

“Chinese banks are hemorrhaging their deposits,” says Rainy Yuan, an analyst at brokerage Masterlink Securities in Shanghai. China’s banks lost 950 billion yuan ($154 billion) of deposits in the three months through September, the first quarterly drop since 1999. In the first 11 months of the year, new deposits were 23 percent lower than in the same period last year, People’s Bank of China data show. Offering incentives to attract money is not the solution, Yuan says: “There is no fix for this. All the efforts they made to win savers back will only push up the costs, so it’s a losing battle to fight.”

Decline in new deposits in the first 11 months of 2014 vs. the same period last year

Savers seeking higher returns have been pouring money into online money-market funds offered by the e-commerce companies Alibaba Group (BABA) and Baidu (BIDU). One fund, Yu’E Bao, started last year by Alibaba affiliate Alipay, drew 535 billion yuan in its first 15 months of existence from 149 million customers, more than the populations of France and the U.K. combined. Users simply tapped a few buttons on their mobile phones to secure an annual rate of return that climbed as high as 6.8 percent before falling to about 4 percent recently.

Savers can also earn more on their money by moving to high-yield products, the fastest-growing part of the so-called shadow banking system. Households put 12.9 trillion yuan into high-yield trust products as of Sept. 30. Trust companies pool investor capital to put money in real estate and construction projects, or make corporate loans, and promise returns of more than 10 percent. Trust companies have seen assets under management rise more than tenfold since the start of 2009.

The Shanghai Composite Index’s 45 percent surge over the past six months has led people to shift money from banks to stocks. In the first week of December, Chinese investors opened almost 600,000 stock trading accounts, a 62 percent increase over the previous week, according to China Securities Depository & Clearing.

To stimulate the economy, China’s central bank on Nov. 21 announced a cut in benchmark interest rates for the first time in more than two years. That was offset by the central bank’s decision to raise the maximum interest rate banks can pay customers to 20 percent over the benchmark from 10 percent above it. Ping An Bank (000001:CH), China Citic Bank (601998:CH), and Bank of Ningbo (002142:CH) immediately alerted customers through text messages that they would offer the highest rate allowed.

via Chinese Banks Lure Deposits by Offering Goodies for Cash – Businessweek.

30/05/2013

In China, Big Data Is Becoming Big Business

Business Week: “With 1.3 billion people, a quickly expanding urban economy, and rising rates of Internet and smartphone penetration, China generates an immense amount of data annually. If streams of that data can be appropriately sifted, analyzed, and stored, companies seeking to understand China’s often-fickle consumers could have access to valuable real-time insights—and perhaps early warning to the next big consumer trends.

Shopping drives Beijing's Sanlitun area

At a presentation last week at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, China’s premier business school, associate professor of marketing Meng Su predicted: “China will soon become world’s most important data market.” He advised job seekers in China and elsewhere to consider training for a new career path as “data scientists,” which he described as “one of the most valuable jobs in the next 10 years.” Interpreting big data seems poised to become big business.

China’s government has signaled its intention to help domestic enterprises develop the infrastructure necessary to store and analyze “big data”—that is, data sets too large to be handled by traditional database-management tools and software. The current Five Year Plan, which aims to stimulate “higher-quality growth,” names seven strategic “emerging industries,” including next-generation information technology.

Meanwhile, leading Chinese firms, especially Internet companies, have already begun to incorporate big data into their strategies. Jack Ma, founder and then-chief executive officer of China’s e-tail giant Alibaba, declared last fall that the company should focus on three pillars of future business: e-commerce, finance (providing loans to small and medium enterprises in China), and data mining. In January, Alibaba underwent a restructuring that, among other changes, created a data-platform division with about 800 employees, as reported in the Chinese financial magazine, Caixin. The Alibaba Group has just begun to scratch the surface of analyzing the reams of user data generated through its business-to-business e-commerce site and its massive consumer-to-consumer platform, Taobao.com.

Professor Su warned, however, that the hype around big data in China may be a case of too much, too soon: “If everyone is talking about something, there is probably already a bubble,” at least of expectations, he said. “Most Chinese companies don’t own enough data, let alone know how to utilize, analyze, or monetize their data.” In other words, a select number of companies in China that do own large quantities of user-generated data—such as Alibaba and Baidu (BIDU)—hold the cards and may profitably sell that valuable information to other vendors.”

via In China, Big Data Is Becoming Big Business – Businessweek.

06/04/2013

China’s Baidu makes its own Google Glass “independently”

Chinese innovations are catching up, fast. There is also the next generation Internet in play already.

China Daily Mail

Chinesesearch engine giant Baidu was jealous of Google’sinteractiveglasses, so they decided to create their own.

With completely original, independently developed technology, of course.

Google Glass is certainly a very interesting product, which is already in the last straight to before going on sale.

Not everyone, however, intend to passively watch this project. Baidu, the Chinese search engine giant, decided to create their own interactive glasses.

As reported by Reuters, Baidu, the giant behind China’s largest search engine, developed interactive prototype glasses similar to Google Glass.

The project, called “Baidu Eye,” is being tested by the company, but they do not know whether it will ever be commercialised. It is not known yet whether it will ever go on sale, though we are experimenting with various technologies for search, a Baidu spokesman said.

So what features would the glasses of “Baidu Eye” have?

Glasses would have…

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