Friday Tech Briefing: P2P, Redcore, JD.com
1. China’s ‘First Fully Homegrown’ Browser Is Actually Based on Google’s Chrome, Caixin Finds
What: Chinese company Redcore’s web browser, which has been touted as China’s first “fully homegrown” browser, has been found by internet users and Caixin to actually be derived from Google’s Chrome.
Redcore’s co-founder Gao Jing responded on Thursday that though the web browser is based on open-source resources from Chrome, “it still uses domestic core technology and has other innovative elements.”
Why it’s important: The incident raises doubts about local companies’ commitment to achieving the technological independence China has long yearned for. Under its “independent innovation” strategy, China has been encouraging domestic companies to develop key technologies in areas traditionally dominated by American companies. (Source: Caixin)
2. China Asks Bad-Debt Managers to Help Address P2P Risks
What: China’s banking and insurance regulator has met with four state-owned asset management companies (AMCs) to discuss creating a channel for AMCs to act as custodians for peer-to-peer lending (P2P) assets, sources told Caixin.
Why it’s important: So far there has been no precedent for AMCs to deal with P2P assets. However, a source said AMCs’ roles are expected to not be limited to acting as custodians, and they might also directly buy out certain P2P assets.
Big picture: Hundreds of online Chinese P2P lending platforms have recently gone bust amid an intensifying crackdown on “shadow banking,” part of a broader campaign to reduce risks in the financial system. (Source: Caixin)
DEALS & FUNDRAISING
3. Online Medical Service Platform Moves Into Southeast Asia With Singapore’s Grab
What: Chinese online medical services company Ping An Good Doctor will form a joint venture with Singapore’s Grab Holdings to provide integrated health care services to the Southeast Asian market, the company announced Thursday.
Why it’s important: Ping An Good Doctor is billed as China’s largest medical service platform, with 32.9 million monthly active users and a daily average of 370,000 online consultations in 2017. The recently listed company saw its revenue grow 150% from the previous year to 1.12 billion yuan ($162,400) in the first half of 2018.
Big picture: A big gap still exists between the needs of Southeast Asia’s large population and the capabilities of its existing medical infrastructure. Indonesia, for instance, has only one doctor for every 5,000 people, a measure significantly lower than the three to four doctors per 1,000 people that is typical in high-income countries. (Source: Tencent, link in Chinese)
BIG TECH COMPANIES
4. Didi Moves Ahead in Self-Driving Auto Race
What: Ride-hailing giant Didi has set up fleets of dozens of self-driving vehicles and launched road tests in four Chinese and American cities, company co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Zhang Bo said Thursday.
Why it’s important: Didi is the latest to join Uber, Google and Baidu in a race to develop autonomous driving technology for public transport. Earlier this year, Didi’s Chief Executive Cheng Wei said that the company is set to launch autonomous taxis in 2019.
Big picture: Internet giants are rushing to turn experimental self-driving products into commercially viable services. Google’s self-driving unit Waymo said it will launch autonomous taxi services in the U.S. by the end of this year, while Chinese search engine Baidu said last month that it was close to rolling out China’s first autonomous buses ready for commercial use. (Source: Caixin)
5. JD.com’s Income Declines in Second Quarter With Slow-Growing Gross Merchandise Value
What: China’s e-commerce giant JD.com saw its net income fall 51% in the second quarter from last year to 478.1 million yuan. The company’s gross merchandise value — the total value of the goods it sold — grew 30.4%, its lowest rate in two years, from the previous year to 437 million yuan.
Why it’s important: Earnings data from JD.com, China’s second-largest e-commerce platform with 313 million active users, are usually good indicators of the country’s wider consumption trends. (Source: Press release)
6. Lenovo’s Revenue, Profit Grow in Latest Quarter
What: China’s personal computer giant Lenovo posted revenue of $11.9 billion and net profit of $113 million in the quarter ending in June. Lenovo’s core PC business has seen continued growth, with its net profit rising 43% from last year. Lenovo’s smartphone business, however, saw its revenue decline, and continued to lose money.
Why it’s important: Bouncing back from a loss in the same quarter last year, Lenovo has “passed the inflection point,” company Chairman and CEO Yang Qingyuan said. After acquiring Fujitsu’s PC division last year, Lenovo now leads the global PC market with a slight advantage over Hewlett Packard. (Source: Caixin, link in Chinese)
Compiled by He Shujing
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