EU puts out final guidance on data transfers to third countries

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) published its final recommendations yesterday setting on guidance for making transfers of personal data to third countries to comply with EU data protection rules in light of last summer’s landmark CJEU ruling (aka Schrems II).

The long and short of these recommendations — which are fairly long; running to 48 pages — is that some data transfers to third countries will simply not be possible to (legally) carry out. Despite the continued existence of legal mechanisms that can, in theory, be used to make such transfers (like Standard Contractual Clauses; a transfer tool that was recently updated by the Commission).

However it’s up to the data controller to assess the viability of each transfer, on a case by case basis, to determine whether data can legally flow in that particular case. (Which may mean, for example, a business making complex assessments about foreign government surveillance regimes and how they impinge upon its specific operations.)

Companies that routinely take EU users’ data outside the bloc for processing in third countries (like the US), which do not have data adequacy arrangements with the EU, face substantial cost and challenge in attaining compliance — in a best case scenario.

Those that can’t apply viable ‘special measures’ to ensure transferred data is safe are duty bound to suspend data flows — with the risk, should they fail to do that, of being ordered to by a data protection authority (which could also apply additional sanctions).

One alternative option could be for such a firm to store and process EU users’ data locally — within the EU. But clearly that won’t be viable for every company.

Law firms are likely to be very happy with this outcome since there will be increased demand for legal advice as companies grapple with how to structure their data flows and adapt to a post-Schrems II world.

In some EU jurisdictions (such as Germany) data protection agencies are now actively carrying out compliance checks — so orders to suspend transfers are bound to follow.

While the European Data Protection Supervisor is busy scrutinizing EU institutions’ own use of US cloud services giants to see whether high level arrangements with tech giants like AWS and Microsoft pass muster or not.

Last summer the CJEU struck down the EU-US Privacy Shield — only a few years after the flagship adequacy arrangement was inked. The same core legal issues did for its predecessor, ‘Safe Harbor‘, though that had stood for some fifteen years. And since the demise of Privacy Shield the Commission has repeatedly warned there will be no quick fix replacement this time; nothing short of major reform of US surveillance law is likely to be required.

US and EU lawmakers remain in negotiations over a replacement EU-US data flows deal but a viable outcome that can stand up to legal challenge as the prior two agreements could not, may well require years of work, not months.

And that means EU-US data flows are facing legal uncertainty for the foreseeable future.

The UK, meanwhile, has just squeezed a data adequacy agreement out of the Commission — despite some loudly enunciated post-Brexit plans for regulatory divergence in the area of data protection.

If the UK follows through in ripping up key tenets of its inherited EU legal framework there’s a high chance it will also lose adequacy status in the coming years — meaning it too could face crippling barriers to EU data flows. (But for now it seems to have dodged that bullet.)

Data flows to other third countries that also lack an EU adequacy agreement — such as China and India — face the same ongoing legal uncertainty.

The backstory to the EU international data flows issues originates with a complaint — in the wake of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about government mass surveillance programs, so more than seven years ago — made by the eponymous Max Schrems over what he argued were unsafe EU-US data flows.

Although his complaint was specifically targeted at Facebook’s business and called on the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) to use its enforcement powers and suspend Facebook’s EU-US data flows.

A regulatory dance of indecision followed which finally saw legal questions referred to Europe’s top court and — ultimately — the demise of the EU-US Privacy Shield. The CJEU ruling also put it beyond legal doubt that Member States’ DPAs must step in and act when they suspect data is flowing to a location where the information is at risk.

Following the Schrems II ruling, the DPC (finally) sent Facebook a preliminary order to suspend its EU-US data flows last fall. Facebook immediately challenged the order in the Irish courts — seeking to block the move. But that challenge failed. And Facebook’s EU-US data flows are now very much operating on borrowed time.

As one of the platform’s subject to Section 702 of the US’ FISA law, its options for applying ‘special measures’ to supplement its EU data transfers look, well, limited to say the least.

It can’t — for example — encrypt the data in a way that ensures it has no access to it (zero access encryption) since that’s not how Facebook’s advertising empire functions. And Schrems has previously suggested Facebook will have to federate its service — and store EU users’ information inside the EU — to fix its data transfer problem.

Safe to say, the costs and complexity of compliance for certain businesses like Facebook look massive.

But there will be compliance costs and complexity for thousands of businesses in the wake of the CJEU ruling.

Commenting on the EDPB’s adoption of final recommendations, chair Andrea Jelinek said: “The impact of Schrems II cannot be underestimated: Already international data flows are subject to much closer scrutiny from the supervisory authorities who are conducting investigations at their respective levels. The goal of the EDPB Recommendations is to guide exporters in lawfully transferring personal data to third countries while guaranteeing that the data transferred is afforded a level of protection essentially equivalent to that guaranteed within the European Economic Area.

“By clarifying some doubts expressed by stakeholders, and in particular the importance of examining the practices of public authorities in third countries, we want to make it easier for data exporters to know how to assess their transfers to third countries and to identify and implement effective supplementary measures where they are needed. The EDPB will continue considering the effects of the Schrems II ruling and the comments received from stakeholders in its future guidance.”

The EDPB put out earlier guidance on Schrems II compliance last year.

It said the main modifications between that earlier advice and its final recommendations include: “The emphasis on the importance of examining the practices of third country public authorities in the exporters’ legal assessment to determine whether the legislation and/or practices of the third country impinge — in practice — on the effectiveness of the Art. 46 GDPR transfer tool; the possibility that the exporter considers in its assessment the practical experience of the importer, among other elements and with certain caveats; and the clarification that the legislation of the third country of destination allowing its authorities to access the data transferred, even without the importer’s intervention, may also impinge on the effectiveness of the transfer tool”.

Commenting on the EDPB’s recommendations in a statement, law firm Linklaters dubbed the guidance “strict” — warning over the looming impact on businesses.

“There is little evidence of a pragmatic approach to these transfers and the EDPB seems entirely content if the conclusion is that the data must remain in the EU,” said Peter Church, a Counsel at the global law firm. “For example, before transferring personal data to third country (without adequate data protection laws) businesses must consider not only its law but how its law enforcement and national security agencies operate in practice. Given these activities are typically secretive and opaque, this type of analysis is likely to cost tens of thousands of euros and take time. It appears this analysis is needed even for relatively innocuous transfers.”

“It is not clear how SMEs can be expected to comply with these requirements,” he added. “Given we now operate in a globalised society the EDPB, like King Canute, should consider the practical limitations on its power. The guidance will not turn back the tides of data washing back and forth across the world, but many businesses will really struggle to comply with these new requirements.”

 

#andrea-jelinek, #china, #data-controller, #data-protection, #data-security, #edpb, #edward-snowden, #eu-us-privacy-shield, #europe, #european-data-protection-board, #european-union, #facebook, #general-data-protection-regulation, #germany, #india, #law-enforcement, #law-firms, #linklaters, #max-schrems, #policy, #privacy, #schrems-ii, #surveillance-law, #united-kingdom, #united-states

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In Biden’s Foreign Policy, What Is ‘Rules-Based Order?’

All the talk about the “rules-based order” is just a way of sidestepping the real issues. 

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #democratic-party, #russia, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

0

Chinese sellers on Amazon in hot demand by VCs and e-commerce roll-ups

Chinese merchants selling on Amazon are having a moment. The scruffy exporters are used to roaming about suburban factory areas and dealing with constant cash flow strain, but suddenly they find themselves having coffee with top Chinese venture capital firms and investment representatives from internet giants, who come with big checks to hunt down the next Shein or Anker. While VCs can provide the money for them to scale quickly, many lack the expertise to help on the strategic side.

This is where brand aggregators can put their retail know-how to work. Also called roll-ups, these companies go around acquiring promising e-commmerce brands for operational synergies. After taking off in the United States, Europe, and lately Southeast Asia, it has also quietly landed in China, where traditional white-label manufacturers are trying to move up the value chain and establish their own brand presence.

The latest roll-up to enter China is Berlin Brands Group (BBG), which aims to buy “dozens of” brands in the country over the next few years, its founder and CEO Peter Chaljawski told TechCrunch. This will significantly boost the German company’s existing portfolio of 14 brands.

The move came on the back of BBG’s $240 million funding raised from debt and its announcement to commit $300 million on its balance sheet to buying up companies. The firm opted for debt in part because it has been profitable since its inception. The recent funding won’t be its last round and it may use other financial instruments in the future, said the founder.

Chaljawski doesn’t see VC and corporate investors as direct competitors in the hunt for brands. “There are tens of thousands of sellers in China that generate significant revenue on Amazon. I think the VC money applies to some of them, and the roll-up model applies also to only some of them. But ‘some’ is a very, very big number.”

BBG is no stranger to China. The 15-year-old company has been relying on Chinese manufacturers to make its kitchenware, gardening tools, sports gear and other home appliances, with 90% of its products still made in the country today. For the new brand buy-out initiative, it’s hiring dozens of staff in Shenzhen, which Chalijawski dubbed the “Silicon Valley of Amazon,” referring to the southern city’s key role in global export, manufacturing, and increasingly, design.

Amazon alternative

BBG hopes to offer a new way for Chinese consumer products to scale in Europe and the U.S. beyond being an anonymous brand on Amazon. Sellers may want to break free of the American behemoth to seize more control over consumer data, but building a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand is no small feat.

Many merchants that are good at operating Amazon third-party businesses lack the infrastructure to go beyond Amazon, like an in-house logistics system, said the founder. In Europe, BBG manages 120,000 square meters of fulfillment centers, allowing it to shed dependence on Amazon.

Chinese brands may also want to find Amazon alternatives in Europe, where the e-commerce landscape is a lot more fragmented than that in the U.S, noted Chaljawski.

“If you look at the U.S., Amazon is dominant. If you look at Europe, Amazon only has 10% of the market share of online retail. So 90% is beyond Amazon. In the Netherlands, you have platforms like Bol. In Poland, you have Allegro, and in France, you have other dominant players.”

To bridge the gap for international brands targeting Europe, BBG operates close to 20 D2C web stores in major European countries, aside from selling on Amazon. Its sales growth in the U.S. has also been in full steam. Currently, over 60% of the firm’s revenues come from non-Amazon channels.

BBG is already in advanced negotiations with “some brands” in China but cannot disclose their names at this stage.

#amazon, #asia, #berlin-brands-group, #brand, #china, #consumer-products, #e-commerce, #e-commerce-aggregator, #ecommerce, #europe, #manufacturing, #online-retail, #online-shopping, #retailers, #roll-ups, #shenzhen, #tc

0

Furor in China Over Artwork Ranking Women by Their Looks

Critics called the piece, which shows thousands of unsuspecting college students, a misogynistic affront, eight years after it was on display in a different museum to little reaction.

#metoo-movement, #art, #china, #museums, #privacy, #sexual-harassment, #shanghai-china, #women-and-girls, #womens-rights

0

Equity Monday: China hates crypto, and the Vision Fund’s vision lives on

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here and myself here.

Our live show is this week! And we’re very excited about it! Details here, and you can register here. It’s free, of course, so swing by and hang with us.

Back on theme, we had a lot to get through this morning, so inside the show you can find the following and more:

  • The Chinese cryptocurrency clampdown is a big damn deal: With lots of the nation’s mining capacity heading offline, there’s a scramble to relocate rigs and generally figure out what a crypto market sans China might look like.
  • In the wake of the news, the value of cryptocurrencies fell. As did shares of Coinbase this morning in pre-market trading.
  • Facebook’s Clubhouse rival is out. The American social giant follows Spotify into the live-audio market. You have to give it to modern software companies, who thought that they could be both leading tech shops and Kinko’s clones at the same time?
  • Revolut is unprofitable as hell but increasingly less so. That could be good news for fintech as a whole.
  • Amber Group raised $100 million; Forto raised $240 million.

See you this Thursday at the live show!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 AM PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts!

#audio, #china, #clubhouse, #coinbase, #crypto, #cryptocurrencies, #equity-monday, #equity-podcast, #facebook, #fintech, #forto, #fundings-exits, #neobank, #revolut, #spotify, #startups, #stock-market, #vision-fund

0

Soho China Sells to Blackstone, Cementing Owners’ Exit

The husband-and-wife team atop Soho China had already been keeping a lower profile than they did during an earlier, freer era of the country’s economic revival. Now they are selling their real estate business to Blackstone.

#beijing-china, #blackstone-group-the, #china, #communist-party-of-china, #content-type-personal-profile, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #pan-shiyi-1963, #politics-and-government, #real-estate-commercial, #shanghai-china, #soho-china, #xi-jinping, #zhang-xin-1965

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China launches 3 astronauts to its new space station core module

Three Chinese astronauts have docked at China’s space station core module, named Tianhe, for the first time.

The three astronauts flew to space as part of the Shenzhou 12 mission, China’s first crewed mission since 2012. They will call the core module of the Tiangong space station home until September, making it the longest crewed space mission in China’s history.

The three men, Commander Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo, arrived to their final destination just over seven hours after taking off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. Nie had been to low Earth orbit twice before: once on the Shenzhou 6 mission in 2005 and again aboard the Shenzhou 10 eight years later. Boming has also been to space, once in 2008.

The men will be busy during their tenure in orbit. Their mission marks the third of a series of eleven planned launches through 2022, all aimed at getting China’s first space station up and running. The goal of the Shenzhou 12 is to bring the core module into service, test its systems and ensure it is ready for subsequent stages of station assembly. Of the eight remaining launches, three more are expected to be crewed.

Building its own space station is a logical step for China, a country that has not been shy about its space ambitions in the recent years. It especially makes sense considering that China is barred from boarding the International Space Station after Congress passed a law in 2011. However, that does not mean that China’s space station will always be for its own exclusive use, country officials said during a news conference Wednesday.

Ji Qiming, an assistant director with the Shenzhou program, said that China “welcome[s] co-operation in this regard in general,” the BBC reported. “It is believed that, in the near future, after the completion of the Chinese space station, we will see Chinese and foreign astronauts fly and work together,” he said.

As part of its burgeoning space program, the Chinese rover Zhurong touched down on Mars last month, making China the only country besides the United States to land a robot on the planet.

#china, #chinas-space-program, #chinas-space-station, #crewed-spaceflight, #shenzhou-12, #shenzhou-program, #space, #spaceflight, #tc, #tiangong-space-station, #transportation

0

He Warned Apple About the Risks in China. Then They Became Reality.

Doug Guthrie, once one of America’s leading China bulls, rang the alarm on doing business there. He spoke about his time at Apple.

#apple-inc, #censorship, #china, #communist-party-of-china, #computer-security, #computers-and-the-internet, #cook-timothy-d, #factories-and-manufacturing, #foxconn-technology, #guthrie-doug-1969, #international-trade-and-world-market, #iphone, #ipod, #privacy, #xi-jinping

0

As Astronauts Dock, China Takes Up Long-Term Residence in Orbit

Three Chinese astronauts arrived on Thursday to help build their country’s rival to the International Space Station.

#china, #international-space-station, #space-and-astronomy, #space-stations

0

China Launch: Astronauts Dock With Space Station

Three Chinese astronauts arrived on Thursday to help build their country’s rival to the International Space Station.

#china, #international-space-station, #space-and-astronomy, #space-stations

0

Hong Kong Police Arrest Apple Daily Executives

The editor in chief of Apple Daily was among five detained under the city’s national security law. The newspaper’s founder, Jimmy Lai, already faces charges under the sweeping law.

#apple-daily, #china, #hong-kong, #lai-jimmy, #news-and-news-media, #newspapers, #politics-and-government, #ryan-law, #search-and-seizure

0

How to Watch China’s Space Station Launch: Time, Streaming and More

Three Chinese astronauts, the first since 2016, are set to launch into space. They will begin what is expected to be a continuous Chinese presence in Earth’s orbit for the next decade.

#astronauts, #china, #china-manned-space-agency, #international-space-station, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #rocket-science-and-propulsion, #space-and-astronomy, #space-stations, #tiangong

0

Taiwan Accuses China of Blocking Access to BioNTech Vaccines

The two sides have traded accusations about whether political motivations are keeping the Taiwanese people from receiving immunizations amid the island’s first major Covid-19 outbreak.

#biontech-se, #chen-shih-chung, #china, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #germany, #international-relations, #pfizer-inc, #shanghai-fosun-pharmaceutical-group, #shortages, #taiwan, #vaccination-and-immunization

0

China Denies Radiation Leak at Nuclear Reactor, Admits Fuel Rod Damage

Several of the reactor’s more than 60,000 fuel rods have been damaged, prompting regulators to reassess the levels of radioactive gases around them.

#accidents-and-safety, #china, #framatome, #france, #nuclear-energy, #radiation, #taishan-china

0

Chinese startup Pony.ai plans to launch a driverless robotaxi service in California in 2022

Pony.ai, the robotaxi startup that operates in China and the United States, has started testing driverless vehicles on public roads in California ahead of plans to launch a commercial service there in 2022.

The company said the driverless vehicle testing, which means the autonomous vehicles operate without human safety drivers behind the wheel, is happening daily on public roads in Fremont and Milpitas, California. Pony.ai is also testing its driverless vehicles in Guangzhou, China.

Pony.ai said it also plans to resume a rideshare service to the public in Irvine this summer using AVs with a human safety driver. Its goal is to roll out the fully driverless service to the public in 2022.

“Going completely driverless is key to achieving full autonomy and an indispensable catalyst to realizing our ambitious vision,” said James Peng, CEO and co-founder of Pony.ai.

Pony.ai still has some regulatory hurdles to clear before it can operate commercially. Autonomous vehicle companies that want to charge the public for driverless rides need both the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Public Utilities Commission to issue deployment permits. In early June, Cruise became the first company to receive a driverless autonomous service permit from the California PUC that allows it to test transporting passengers. The final step with the DMV, which only Nuro has achieved, is a deployment permit.

Pony’s driverless testing milestone in California comes a month after the state issued the company a permit to test a fleet of six driverless vehicles in a geographic area that spans about 39 square miles. While dozens of companies — 55 in all — have active permits to test autonomous vehicles with a safety driver, it is less common to receive permission for driverless vehicles. Pony was the eighth company to be issued a driverless testing permit in the state, a list that includes Chinese companies AutoX, Baidu and WeRide as well as U.S. businesses Cruise, Nuro, Waymo and Zoox. Only Nuro has been granted a so-called deployment permit, which allows it to operate commercially.

Pony.ai, which was founded in 2016 by former Baidu developers Peng and Lou Tiancheng, has been allowed to test autonomous vehicles with safety drivers since 2017.  The driverless permit issued in May by the California DMV expanded upon Pony’s existing activity in the state.

Pony has tested ridesharing in Fremont and Irvine, California. In 2019, a fleet of electric, autonomous Hyundai Kona crossovers equipped with a self-driving system from Pony.ai and Via’s ride-hailing platform began shuttling customers on public roads. The robotaxi service, called BotRide, wasn’t a driverless service, as there was a human safety driver behind the wheel at all times. The BotRide pilot concluded in January 2020.

The company then started operating a public robotaxi service called PonyPilot in the Irvine area. Pony shifted that robotaxi service from shuttling people to packages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pony.ai also partnered with e-commerce platform Yamibuy to provide autonomous last-mile delivery service to customers in Irvine. The delivery service was launched to provide additional capacity to address the surge of online orders triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pony.ai said at the time.

As the pandemic eases and California returns to normal operations, Pony is preparing to launch a commercial robotaxi service. It has already amassed a number of partners and more than $1 billion in funding, including $400 million from Toyota, to help it achieve that goal. Last November, the company said its valuation had reached $5.3 billion following a fresh injection of $267 million in funding. Pony has several partnerships or collaborations with automakers and suppliers, including Bosch, Hyundai and Toyota.

#asia, #automotive, #autonomous-vehicles, #china, #cruise, #electric-vehicles, #nuro, #pony-ai, #robotaxi, #tc, #transportation

0

China, Its Military Might Expanding, Accuses NATO of Hypocrisy

In a sign of rising tensions, Beijing deployed 28 Chinese fighter jets and other aircraft over waters south of Taiwan hours after a U.S. carrier group sailed into the South China Sea.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #brussels-belgium, #china, #defense-and-military-forces, #macron-emmanuel-1977, #merkel-angela, #north-atlantic-treaty-organization, #peoples-liberation-army-china, #united-states-international-relations

0

China, Russia Team Up for a Space Race With the U.S.

The two countries have pledged to cooperate on expeditions to the moon and to an asteroid, setting the stage for a new space race with the United States and its partners.

#china, #china-manned-space-agency, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #international-relations, #international-space-station, #mars-planet, #moon, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #politics-and-government, #rocket-science-and-propulsion, #russia, #space-and-astronomy, #space-stations

0

Scientists Report Earliest Known Coronavirus Cases in Five US States

Blood drawn from nine people in the earliest days of the pandemic tested positive for the infection. But some experts questioned the results.

#antibodies, #blood-donation, #china, #clinical-infectious-diseases-journal, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #illinois, #massachusetts, #mississippi, #national-institutes-of-health, #pennsylvania, #states-us, #united-states, #wisconsin, #your-feed-science

0

Scientists Report Earliest Known Coronavirus Infections in Five U.S. States

Blood drawn from nine people in the earliest days of the pandemic tested positive for the infection. But some experts questioned the results.

#antibodies, #blood-donation, #china, #clinical-infectious-diseases-journal, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #illinois, #massachusetts, #mississippi, #national-institutes-of-health, #pennsylvania, #states-us, #united-states, #wisconsin, #your-feed-science

0

Kai-Fu Lee’s Sinovation bets on Linux tablet maker Jingling in $10M round

Kai-Fu Lee’s Sinovation Ventures has its eyes on a niche market targeting software developers. In April, the venture capital fund led a $10 million angel round in Jingling, a Chinese startup developing Linux-based tablets and laptops, TechCrunch learned. Other investors in the round included private equity firm Trustbridge Partners.

Jingling was founded only in June 2020 but has quickly assembled a team of 80 employees hailing from the likes of Aliyun OS, Alibaba’s Linux distribution, Thunder Software, a Chinese operating system solution provider, and active participants in China’s open source community.

The majority of the startup’s staff are working on its Linux-based operating system called JingOS in Beijing, with the rest developing hardware in Shenzhen, where its supply chain is located.

“Operating systems are a highly worthwhile field for investment,” Peter Fang, a partner at Sinovation Ventures, told TechCrunch. “We’ve seen the best product iteration for work and entertainment through the combination of iPad Pro and Magical Keyboard, but no tablet maker has delivered a superior user experience for the Android system so far, so we decided to back JingOS.”

“The investment is also in line with Sinovation’s recognition and prediction in ARM powering more mobile and desktop devices in the future,” the investor added.

Jingling’s first device, the JingPad A1 tablet based on the ARM architecture, has already shipped over 500 units in a pre-sale and is ramping up interest through a crowdfunding campaign. Jingling currently uses processors from Tsinghua Unigroup but is looking into Qualcomm and MediaTek chipsets for future production, according to Liu.

On the software end, JingOS, which is open sourced on GitHub, has accumulated over 50,000 installs from users around the world, most of whom are in the United States and Europe.

But how many people want a Linux tablet or laptop? Liu Chengcheng, who launched Jingling with Zhu Rui, said the demand is big enough from the developer community to sustain the startup’s early-phase growth. Liu is known for founding China’s leading startup news site 36Kr and Zhu is an operating system expert and a veteran of Motorola and Lenovo.

Targeting the Linux community is step one for Jingling, for “it’s difficult to gain a foothold by starting out in the [general] consumer market,” said Liu.

“The Linux market is too small for tech giants but too hard for small startups to tackle… Aside from Jingling, Huawei is the only other company in China building a mobile operating system, but HarmonyOS focuses more on IoTs.”

Linux laptops have been around for years, but Jingling wanted to offer something different by offering both desktop and mobile experiences on one device. That’s why Jingling made JingOS compatible with both Linux desktop software like WPS Office and Terminal as well as the usual Android apps on smartphones. The JingPad A1 tablet comes with a detachable keyboard that immediately turns itself into a laptop, a setup similar to Apple’s Magic Keyboard for iPad.

“It’s a gift to programmers, who can use it to code in the Linux system but also use Android mobile apps on the run,” said Liu.

Jingling aspires to widen its user base and seize the Chromebook market about two from now, Liu said. The success of Chromebooks, which comprised 10.8% of the PC market in 2020 and increasingly ate into Microsoft’s dominance, is indicative of the slowing demand for Windows personal computers, the founder observed.

The JingPad A1 is sold at a starting price of $549, compared to Chrome’s wide price range roughly between $200 and $550 depending on the specs and hardware providers.

#android, #asia, #beijing, #china, #funding, #gadgets, #hardware, #ipad, #kai-fu-lee, #linus-torvalds, #linux, #mediatek, #operating-system, #operating-systems, #shenzhen, #software-developers, #tc, #trustbridge-partners

0

Asia Struggles to Cast Off the Pandemic Despite its Early Lead

While the United States edges toward normalcy, countries like Japan, South Korea and Australia are still facing months of uncertainty and isolation as their vaccination campaigns just start to gain steam.

#australia, #china, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #japan, #quarantines, #shortages, #south-korea, #taiwan, #thailand, #vaccination-and-immunization

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Why Asia, the Pandemic Champion, Remains Miles Away From the Finish Line

While the United States edges toward normalcy, countries like Japan, South Korea and Australia are still facing months of uncertainty and isolation as their vaccination campaigns just start to gain steam.

#australia, #china, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #japan, #quarantines, #shortages, #south-korea, #taiwan, #thailand, #vaccination-and-immunization

0

U.S. to Ban Dogs From Over 100 Countries Amid Concern Over Spread of Rabies

The countries targeted by the ban, which will take effect on July 14, include the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Cuba, China, Russia and Ukraine.

#centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #china, #colombia, #cuba, #dogs, #dominican-republic, #india, #philippines, #rabies, #russia, #ukraine, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization

0

Shifting Focus, NATO Views China as a Global Security Challenge

NATO leaders expressed a new concern about China’s growing military might, signaling a fundamental shift in the attentions of an alliance devoted to protecting Europe and North America — not Asia.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #cyberwarfare-and-defense, #defense-and-military-forces, #eastern-europe, #europe, #north-atlantic-treaty-organization, #putin-vladimir-v, #russia, #united-states-international-relations

0

French Companies Admit Problems at Nuclear Plant in China

One of the companies said there had been a buildup of gases at the heart of a reactor. They say the plant is still safe.

#cgn, #china, #france, #guangdong-province-china, #hong-kong, #nuclear-energy, #radiation

0

Apple’s Bet on China

When the technology giant first started doing business in China, it thought it would change the country. Decades later, the reverse is true.

#apple-inc, #china, #communist-party-of-china, #cook-timothy-d, #data-storage, #jobs-steven-p, #privacy

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Explosion in Residential Area Kills at Least 11 in China

The cause of the blast, which took place in the central city of Shiyan, was still being investigated.

#china, #explosions-accidental, #hubei-province-china

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Witnessing China’s Uyghur Genocide in Xinjiang

If we say Xi Jinping is committing genocide, can we do nothing?

#birth-control-and-family-planning, #china, #concentration-camps, #forced-labor, #muslims-and-islam, #politics-and-government, #sterilization-reproductive, #uighurs-chinese-ethnic-group, #war-crimes-genocide-and-crimes-against-humanity, #xi-jinping, #xinjiang-china

0

To Counter China’s Belt-and-Road, Biden Tries to Unite G7

The president urged the leaders of wealthy democracies to offer hundreds of billions in loans to developing nations in a direct challenge to Beijing’s Belt-and-Road Initiative.

#belt-and-road-initiative-china, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #england, #europe, #uighurs-chinese-ethnic-group, #united-states-international-relations, #xi-jinping

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The rise of robotaxis in China

AutoX, Momenta and WeRide took the stage at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 to discuss the state of robotaxi startups in China and their relationships with local governments in the country.

They also talked about overseas expansion — a common trajectory for China’s top autonomous vehicle startups — and shed light on the challenges and opportunities for foreign AV companies eyeing the massive Chinese market.


Enterprising governments

Worldwide, regulations play a great role in the development of autonomous vehicles. In China, policymaking for autonomous driving is driven from the bottom up rather than a top-down effort by the central government, observed executives from the three Chinese robotaxi startups.

Huan Sun, Europe general manager at Momenta, which is backed by the government of Suzhou, a city near Shanghai, said her company had a “very good experience” working with the municipal governments across multiple cities.

In China, each local government is incentivized to really act like entrepreneurs like us. They are very progressive in developing the local economy… What we feel is that autonomous driving technology can greatly improve and upgrade the [local governments’] economic structure. (Time stamp: 02:56)

Shenzhen, a special economic zone with considerable lawmaking autonomy, is just as progressive in propelling autonomous driving forward, said Jewel Li, chief operation officer at AutoX, which is based in the southern city.

#adas, #aptiv, #artificial-intelligence, #automotive, #av, #china, #early-stage-2021, #ec-mobility-hardware, #ec-techcrunch-mobility, #ev, #robotaxi, #saic, #self-driving-cars, #tc, #techcrunch-mobility-event-2021, #transportation, #waymo

0

Wonking Out: Economic Nationalism, Biden-Style

China is the new Japan, and chips are the new chips.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #harris-kamala-d, #international-trade-and-world-market, #japan, #trump-donald-j, #united-states, #united-states-economy

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Despite flat growth, ride-hailing colossus Didi’s US IPO could reach $70B

Didi filed to go public in the United States last night, providing a look into the Chinese ride-hailing company’s business. This morning, we’re extending our earlier reporting on the company to dive into its numerical performance, economic health and possible valuation.

Didi is approaching the American public markets at a fortuitous moment. While the late-2020 IPO fervor, which sent offerings from DoorDash and others skyrocketing after their debuts, has cooled, valuations for public companies remain high compared to historical norms. And Uber and Lyft, two American ride-hailing companies, have been posting numbers that point to at least a modest recovery in the ride-hailing industry as COVID-19 abates in many parts of the world.

As further grounding, recall that Didi has raised tens of billions worth of private capital from venture capitalists, private equity firms, corporations and other sources. The size of the bet riding on Didi is simply massive. As we explore the company’s finances, then, we’re more than vetting a single company’s performance; we’re examining what sort of returns an ocean of capital may be able to derive from its exit.

In that vein, we’ll consider GMV results, revenue growth, historical profitability, present-day profitability, and what Didi may be worth on the American markets, given current comps. Sound good? Into the breach!

Inside Didi’s IPO filing

Starting at the highest level, how quickly has gross transaction volume (GTV) scaled at the company?

GTV

Didi is historically a business that operates in China but has operations today in more than a dozen countries. The impact and recovery of China’s bout with COVID-19 is therefore not the whole picture of the company’s GTV results.

COVID-19 began to affect the company starting in the first quarter of 2020. From the Didi F-1 filing:

Core Platform GTV fell by 32.8% in the first quarter of 2020 as compared to the first quarter of 2019, and then by 16.0% in the second quarter of 2020 as compared to the second quarter of 2019.

The dips were short-lived, however, with Didi quickly returning to growth in the second half of the year:

Our businesses resumed growth in the second half of 2020, which moderated the impact on a year-on-year basis. Our Core Platform GTV for the full year 2020 decreased by 4.8% as compared to the full year 2019. Both our China Mobility and International segments were impacted, but whereas the GTV for our China Mobility segment decreased by 6.6% from 2019 to 2020, the GTV for our International segment increased by 11.4% from 2019 to 2020.

Holding to just the Chinese market, we can see how rapidly Didi managed to pick itself up over the last year. Chinese GTV at Didi grew from 25.7 billion RMB to 54.6 billion RMB from the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021; naturally, we’re comparing a more pandemic-impacted quarter at the company to a less-affected period, but the comparison is still useful for showing how the company recovered from early-2020 lows.

The number of transactions that Didi recorded in China during the first quarter of this year was also up more than 2x year over year.

On a whole-company basis, Didi’s “core platform GTV,” or the “sum of GTV for our China Mobility and International segments,” posted numbers that are less impressive in growth terms:

Image Credits: Didi F-1 filing

You can see how quickly and painfully COVID-19 blunted Didi’s global operations. But seeing the company settle back to late-2019 GTV numbers in 2021 is not super bullish.

Takeaway: While Didi managed an impressive GTV recovery in China, its aggregate numbers are flatter, and recent quarterly trends are not incredibly attractive.

Revenue growth

#carsharing, #china, #didi, #ec-mobility, #ec-news-analysis, #fundings-exits, #lyft, #startups, #tc, #uber, #unicorn, #united-states, #venture-capital

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China’s Censorship Widens to Hong Kong’s Vaunted Film Industry, With Global Implications

The city’s government said it would block the distribution of films that are deemed to undermine national security, bringing the territory more in line with mainland Chinese rules.

#art, #censorship, #china, #documentary-films-and-programs, #hong-kong, #hui-ann, #movies, #politics-and-government, #scorsese-martin, #tarantino-quentin, #university-of-hong-kong, #wong-kar-wai

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China Still Buys American DNA Equipment for Xinjiang Despite Blocks

The U.S. government has long tried to prevent the sales over concerns about rights abuses and surveillance. Documents show those efforts have failed.

#china, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #forensic-science, #government-contracts-and-procurement, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #surveillance-of-citizens-by-government, #uighurs-chinese-ethnic-group, #xinjiang-china

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SoftBank, Uber, Tencent set to reap rewards from Didi IPO

After years of speculation, Didi Chuxing, China’s ride-sharing behemoth, finally unveiled its IPO filing in the U.S., giving a glimpse into its money-losing history.

Didi didn’t disclose the size of its raise. Reuters reported the company could raise around $10 billion at a valuation of close to $100 billion.

Cheng Wei, Didi’s 38-year-old founder owns 7% of the company’s shares and controls 15.4% of its voting power before the IPO, according to the prospectus. Major shareholder SoftBank Vision Fund owns 21.5% of the company, followed by Uber with 12.8% and Tencent at 6.8%.

The nine-year-old company, which famously acquired Uber’s China operations in 2016, is more than a ride-hailing platform now. It has a growing line of businesses like bike-sharing, grocery, intra-city freight, financial services for drivers, electric vehicles and Level 4 robotaxis, which it defines as “the pinnacle of our design for future mobility” for its potential to lower costs and improve safety.

Didi set up an autonomous driving subsidiary that banked $500 million from SoftBank in May last year. The unit now operates a team of over 500 members and a fleet of over 100 autonomous vehicles.

For the twelve months ended March, Didi served 493 million annual active users and saw 41 million transactions on a daily basis.

Didi had been operating in the red from 2018 to 2020, when it finished the year with a $1.6 billion net loss, but managed to turn the tide in the first quarter of 2021 by racking up a net profit of $837 million, which it recognized was primarily due to the investment income from the deconsolidation of Chengxin, its cash-burning grocery group buying initiative, and an equity investment disposal.

Revenue from the quarter also more than doubled year-over-year to $6.6 billion. China accounts for over 90% of Didi’s revenues as of late. The company has tried to expand its presence in a dozen overseas countries like Brazil, where it bought local ride-hailing business 99 Taxis.

Of its mobility revenues in China, more than 97% came from ride-hailing between 2018 and 2020. Taxi hailing, chauffeur and carpooling, a lucrative business that was revamped following two deadly accidents, made up a trifling share.

Didi plans to spend 30% of its IPO proceeds on shared mobility, electric vehicles, autonomous driving and other technologies. 30% will go towards its international expansion and another 20% will be used for new product development.

#asia, #automation, #carsharing, #china, #didi, #didi-chuxing, #funding, #robotaxi, #robotics, #softbank, #softbank-group, #transport, #transportation, #uber

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Ambassador Tai to Outline Biden’s Goal of Worker-Focused Trade Policy

The U.S. trade representative will call for stronger worker protections in trade policy as the administration looks to curb the negative impact of globalization.

#canada, #china, #forced-labor, #international-trade-and-world-market, #labor-and-jobs, #mexico, #north-america, #tai-katherine-1974, #united-states, #united-states-politics-and-government, #united-states-mexico-canada-agreement

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China Returns to Its Strict Covid Restrictions to Fight a New Outbreak

Foreign businesses worry that tough quarantines and restrictions could persist into next year as Beijing struggles with variants and questions about its vaccines.

#china, #china-national-pharmaceutical-group-corp-sinopharm, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #european-union-chamber-of-commerce-in-china, #guangdong-province-china, #guangzhou-china, #quarantines, #sinovac-biotech-ltd, #vaccination-and-immunization

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Here’s what’s on tap today at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021

It’s game day for mobility tech mavens around the world. Well, at least for the ones who made the savvy decision to attend TC Sessions: Mobility 2021. Are you ready for a day packed with potential, overflowing with opportunity and focused on the future of transportation? Yeah, you are, and so are we!

No FOMO zone: Did you wait until the last minute? We don’t judge — simply purchase a pass at the virtual door.

Let’s take a look at just some of the speakers, presentations and breakout sessions on tap today. We’re talking about leading visionaries, founders and makers of mobility tech. They just might have info you need to know, amirite? The times listed below are EDT, but the event agenda will automatically reflect your time zone,

Throughout the course of the day: Be sure to make time to meet, greet and network with the 28 early-stage startups exhibiting in our virtual expo area (seriously, they’re an impressive bunch). The platform lets exhibitors present live demos, host Q&As about their products or hold private 1:1 meetings. Go mining for opportunities!

2:05 pm – 2:15 pm

EV Founders in Focus: We sit down with Ben Schippers, co-founder and CEO of TezLab, an app that operates like a Fitbit for Tesla vehicles (and soon other EVs) and allows drivers to go deep into their driving data. The app also breaks down the exact types and percentages of fossil fuels and renewable energy coming from charging locations.

2:40 pm – 3:10 pm

Equity, Accessibility and Cities: Can mobility be accessible, equitable and remain profitable? We have brought together community organizer, transportation consultant and lawyer Tamika L. Butler; Remix by Via co-founder and CEO Tiffany Chu and Revel co-founder and CEO Frank Reig to discuss how (and if) shared mobility can provide equity in cities, while still remaining a viable and even profitable business. The trio will also dig into the challenges facing cities and how policy may affect startups.

3:10 pm – 3:40 pm

The Rise of Robotaxis in China: Silicon Valley has long been viewed as a hub for autonomous vehicle development. But another country is also leading the charge. Executives from three leading Chinese robotaxi companies (WeRide, AutoX and Momenta) — that also have operations in Europe or the U.S. — will join us to provide insight into the unique challenges of developing and deploying the technology in China and how it compares to other countries.

That’s just a tiny taste of what today has in store for you. Choosing which of the 20 presentations and breakout sessions to attend could be tough. The good news is that you can catch anything you missed — or want to review again — with video-on-demand.

TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 kicks off today — go drive this opportunity-packed day like you stole it.

#articles, #automation, #ben-schippers, #china, #europe, #fitbit, #frank-reig, #judge, #mining, #momenta, #renewable-energy, #robotaxi, #robotics, #science-and-technology, #tamika-l-butler, #tc, #tc-sessions-mobility-2021, #technology, #tezlab, #tiffany-chu, #united-states

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I Want a Big Family. That’s an Exception in China.

Everything in China is commodified today, including our children.

#birth-control-and-family-planning, #china

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Biden Aims to Bolster U.S. Alliances in Europe, but Challenges Loom

The good will President Biden brings on his first trip abroad papers over lingering doubts about U.S. reliability and the cost that Europe will be expected to pay.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #cold-war-era, #cyberwarfare-and-defense, #europe, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #group-of-seven, #presidential-election-of-2020, #putin-vladimir-v, #russia, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Senate Passes Bill to Bolster Competitiveness With China

The wide margin of support reflected a sense of urgency among lawmakers in both parties about shoring up the technological and industrial capacity of the United States to counter Beijing.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #democratic-party, #energy-department, #innovation, #international-relations, #international-trade-and-world-market, #law-and-legislation, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #national-science-foundation, #politics-and-government, #research, #schumer-charles-e, #senate, #shortages, #space-and-astronomy, #united-states, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Extra Crunch roundup: Security data lakes, China vs. Starlink, ExtraHop’s $900M exit

News broke this morning that Bain Capital Private Equity and Crosspoint Capital Partners are purchasing Seattle-based network security startup ExtraHop.

Part of the Network Detection and Response (NDR) market, ExtraHop’s security solutions are for companies that manage assets in the cloud and on-site, “something that could be useful as more companies find themselves in that in-between state,” report Ron Miller and Alex Wilhelm.

Just one year ago, ExtraHop was closing in on $100 million in ARR and was considering an IPO, so Ron and Alex spoke to ExtraHop CTO and co-founder Jesse Rothstein to learn more about how (and why) the deal came together.

Have a great week, and thanks for reading!

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch
@yourprotagonist


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Use discount code ECFriday to save 20% off a one- or two-year subscription.


Xometry is taking its excess manufacturing capacity business public

Image Credits: Prasit photo (opens in a new window)/ Getty Images

Xometry, a Maryland-based service that connects companies with manufacturers with excess production capacity around the world, filed an S-1 form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week announcing its intent to become a public company.

As the global supply chain tightened during the pandemic in 2020, a company that helped find excess manufacturing capacity was likely in high demand.

But growth aside, it’s clear that Xometry is no modern software business, at least from a revenue-quality profile.

It’s time for security teams to embrace security data lakes

Image of a man jumping from a floating dock into a lake.

Image Credits: Malorny (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The average corporate security organization spends $18 million annually but is largely ineffective at preventing breaches, IP theft and data loss. Why?

The fragmented approach we’re currently using in the security operations center (SOC) does not work. It’s time to replace the security information and event management (SIEM) approach with security data lakes.

The reduced reliance on the SIEM is well underway, along with many other changes. The SIEM is not going away overnight, but its role is changing rapidly, and it has a new partner in the SOC — the security data lake.

 

China’s drive to compete against Starlink for the future of orbital internet

There has been a wave of businesses over the past several years hoping to offer broadband internet delivered from thousands of satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO), providing coverage of most of the earth’s surface.

In tandem with the accelerated deployment of SpaceX’s Starlink constellation in 2020, China has rapidly responded in terms of policy, financing and technology. While still in early development, a “Chinese answer to Starlink,” SatNet, and the associated GuoWang are likely to compete in certain markets with Starlink and others while also fulfilling a strategic purpose from a government perspective.

With considerable backing from very high-level actors, we are likely to see the rollout of a Red Star(link) over China (and the rest of the world) over the coming years.

This SPAC is betting that a British healthcare company can shake up the US market

Babylon Health, a British health tech company, is pursuing a U.S. listing via a blank-check company, or SPAC.

While we wait for Robinhood’s IPO, The Exchange dove into its fundraising history, its product, its numbers and, bracing ourselves for impact, its projections.

The hidden benefits of adding a CTO to your board

A CTO brings a strategic advantage

Image Credits: Westend61 / Getty Images

Conventional wisdom says your board should include a few CEOs who can offer informed advice from an entrepreneur’s perspective, but adding a technical leader to the mix creates real upside, according to Abby Kearns, chief technology officer at Puppet.

Beyond their engineering experience, CTOs can help founders set realistic timelines, help identify pain points and bring what Kearns calls “pragmatic empathy” to high-pressure situations.

They can also be an effective advocate for founder teams who need help explaining why a launch is delayed or new engineering hires are badly needed.

“A CTO understands the nuts and bolts,” says Kearns.

6 career options for ex-founders seeking their next adventure

6 options for ex-founders looking for their next venture

Image Credits: Marie LaFauci / Getty Images

As someone with “founder” on your resume, you face a greater challenge when trying to get a traditional salaried job.

You’ve already shown that you really want to lead a company, not just rise up the ladder, which means some employers are less likely to hire you.

So what should you do? Especially if your life partner and/or bank account are burnt out on the income volatility of startups?

Here are six options for ex-founders planning their next move.

How bottom-up sales helped Expensify blaze the path for SaaS

Image Credits: Nigel Sussman

In the fifth and final part of Expensify’s EC-1, Anna Heim explores how the company built its business, true to form, in an unexpected way.

“You’d expect an expense management company to have a large sales department and advertise through all kinds of channels to maximize customer acquisition, Anna writes. But “Expensify just doesn’t do what you think it should.

“Keeping in mind this company’s propensity to just stick to its guts, it’s not much of a surprise that it got to more than $100 million in annual recurring revenue and millions of users with a staff of 130, some contractors, and an almost non-existent sales team.”

How is that much growth possible without a sales team? Word of mouth.

#china, #extra-crunch-roundup, #health, #space, #spacex, #starlink, #startups, #tc, #united-states, #venture-capital

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A U.N. Declaration on Ending AIDS Should Have Been Easy. It Wasn’t.

Even with U.N.’s previous goals unmet, delegates tried to water down provisions regarding protections for vulnerable populations and patents for essential drugs.

#acquired-immune-deficiency-syndrome, #belarus, #china, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #discrimination, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #european-union, #homosexuality-and-bisexuality, #intellectual-property, #inventions-and-patents, #iran, #prostitution, #russia, #sex-education, #switzerland, #united-nations, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization, #your-feed-science

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China Moves to Tame Inflation Before Prices Rise Too Much

Rising costs at its factories could trickle out into the rest of the world economy.

#china, #consumer-behavior, #currency, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #factories-and-manufacturing, #inflation-economics, #international-trade-and-world-market, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates, #renminbi-currency, #stockpiling, #united-states-economy, #us-dollar-currency

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Make China ‘Lovable,’ Xi Said. But Don’t Expect Softening.

Xi Jinping’s remarks to top Communist Party leaders suggest Beijing will focus on courting allies rather than easing its rhetoric against the U.S. and Europe.

#china, #communist-party-of-china, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #international-relations, #international-trade-and-world-market, #politics-and-government, #polls-and-public-opinion, #territorial-disputes, #united-states-international-relations, #war-crimes-genocide-and-crimes-against-humanity, #xi-jinping

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Biden Administration Moves to Unkink Supply Chain Bottlenecks

A swath of recommendations calls for more investments, new supply chains and less reliance on other countries for crucial goods.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #american-rescue-plan-2021, #batteries, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #computer-chips, #coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act-2020, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #energy-department, #factories-and-manufacturing, #health-and-human-services-department, #international-trade-and-world-market, #lithium-metal, #office-of-the-united-states-trade-representative, #rare-earths, #shortages, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Chinese lidar maker Hesai lands $300M led by Hillhouse, Xiaomi, Meituan

The rush to back lidar companies continues as more automakers and robotaxi startups include the remote sensing method in their vehicles.

Latest to the investment boom is Hesai, a Shanghai-based lidar maker founded in 2014 with an office in Palo Alto. The company just raised over $300 million in a Series D funding round led by GL Ventures, the venture capital arm of storied private equity firm Hillhouse Capital, smartphone maker Xiaomi, on-demand services giant Meituan and CPE, the private equity platform of Citic.

Hesai said the new proceeds will be spent on mass-producing its hybrid solid-state lidar for its OEM customers, the construction of its smart manufacturing center, and research and development on automotive-grade lidar chips. The company said it has accumulated “several hundred million dollars” in funding to date.

Other participants in the round included Huatai Securities, Lightspeed China Partners and Lightspeed Venture Capital, as well as Qiming Venture Partners. Bosch, Baidu, and ON Semiconductor are also among its shareholders.

Another Chinese lidar startup Innovusion, a major supplier to electric vehicle startup Nio, raised a $64 million round led by Temasek in May. Livox is another emerging lidar maker that was an offshoot of DJI.

Lidar isn’t limited to powering robotaxis and passenger EVs, and that’s why Hesai got Xiaomi and Meituan onboard. Xiaomi makes hundreds of different connected devices through its manufacturing suppliers that could easily benefit from industrial automation, to which sensing technology is critical. But the phone maker also unveiled plans this year to make electric cars.

Meituan, delivering food to hundreds of millions of consumers in China, could similarly benefit from replacing human riders with lidar-enabled unmanned vans and drones.

Hesai, with a staff of over 500 employees, says its clients span 70 cities across 23 countries. The company touts Nuro, Bosch, Lyft, Navya, and Chinese robotaxi operators Baidu, WeRide and AutoX among its customers. Last year, it kickstarted a partnership with Scale AI, a data labeling company, to launch an open-source data set for training autonomous driving algorithms, with data collected using Hesai’s lidar in California. 

Last July, Hesai and lidar technology pioneer Velodyne entered a long-term licensing agreement as the two dismissed legal proceedings in the U.S., Germany and China.

#asia, #automotive, #baidu, #bosch, #china, #funding, #hillhouse-capital, #lidar, #lightspeed, #lightspeed-venture-capital, #meituan, #qiming-venture-partners, #shanghai, #temasek, #transportation, #venture-capital, #xiaomi

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Apple’s new encrypted browsing feature won’t be available in China, Saudi Arabia and more: report

Apple announced a handful of privacy-focused updates at its annual software developer conference on Monday. One called Private Relay particularly piques the interest of Chinese users living under the country’s censorship system, for it encrypts all browsing history so nobody can track or intercept the data.

As my colleague Roman Dillet explains:

When Private Relay is turned on, nobody can track your browsing history — not your internet service provider, anyone standing in the middle of your request between your device and the server you’re requesting information from. We’ll have to wait a bit to learn more about how it works exactly.

The excitement didn’t last long. Apple told Reuters that Private Relay won’t be available in China alongside Belarus, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda and the Philippines.

Apple couldn’t be immediately reached by TechCrunch for comment.

Virtual private networks or VPNs are popular tools for users in China to bypass the “great firewall” censorship apparatus, accessing web services that are otherwise blocked or slowed down. But VPNs don’t necessarily protect users’ privacy because they simply funnel all the traffic through VPN providers’ servers instead of users’ internet providers, so users are essentially entrusting VPN firms with protecting their identities. Private Relay, on the other hand, doesn’t even allow Apple to see one’s browsing activity.

In an interview with Fast Company, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, explained why the new feature may be superior to VPNs:

“We hope users believe in Apple as a trustworthy intermediary, but we didn’t even want you to have to trust us [because] we don’t have this ability to simultaneously source your IP and the destination where you’re going to–and that’s unlike VPNs. And so we wanted to provide many of the benefits that people are seeking when in the past they’ve decided to use a VPN, but not force that difficult and conceivably perilous privacy trade-off in terms of trusting it a single intermediary.”

It’s unclear whether Private Relay will simply be excluded from system upgrades for users in China and the other countries where it’s restricted, or it will be blocked by internet providers in those regions. It also remains to be seen whether the feature will be available to Apple users in Hong Kong, which has seen an increase in online censorship in the past year.

Like all Western tech firms operating in China, Apple is trapped between antagonizing Beijing and flouting the values it espouses at home. Apple has a history of caving in to Beijing’s censorship pressure, from migrating all user data in China to a state-run cloud center, cracking down on independent VPN apps in China, limiting free speech in Chinese podcasts, to removing RSS feed readers from the China App Store.

#apple, #asia, #beijing, #belarus, #china, #colombia, #craig-federighi, #egypt, #firewall, #government, #great-firewall, #internet-censorship, #internet-security, #internet-service, #isp, #kazakhstan, #philippines, #saudi-arabia, #security, #south-africa, #tc, #uganda, #vpn

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Equity Monday: Jeff’s going to space, and everyone wants a piece of Flipkart

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here and myself here.

It’s WWDC week, so expect a deluge of Apple news to overtake your Twitter feed here and there over the next few days. But there’s a lot more going on, so let’s dig in:

And that’s your start to the week. More to come from your friends here on Wednesday, and Friday. Chat soon!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 AM PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts!

#amazon, #china, #ecommerce, #elon-musk, #equity, #equity-podcast, #flipkart, #fundings-exits, #jeff-bezos, #kanzhun, #nigeria, #social-media, #space, #startups, #tesla, #trulioo, #twitter, #wwdc

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