Sep 27, 2018 06:33 PM

Thursday Tech Briefing: Google, Apple Watch, Hitman

1. Google’s Executive Admits to Building New Search Tools for China

Google has for the first time publicly confirmed its plan to build Project Dragonfly, a new search engine tailored for China.

“I’m not clear on the contours of what is in scope or out of scope. … We are not close to launching a search product in China,” Keith Enright, Google’s chief privacy officer, said during a tense hearing with U.S. lawmakers about online privacy.

Google’s regular search engine has been blocked in China for the past eight years. News that the company is trying to re-enter the Chinese market has been met with sharp criticism from both outside and within the company. (FT)

2. Apple Watch shipments expected to grow with second manufacturer

TF Securities analyst Guo Ming-Chi has nudged up his forecast for new Apple Watch shipments from 18 million to 18.50-19.50 million following reports that the device is now in production at a second Taiwan manufacturer.

Compal Electronics has joined Quanta Computer Inc. in manufacturing the product after the latter reportedly reached capacity.

Compal mainly produces older versions of the Apple Watch, as well as several Android Wear devices, including versions for fashion brands Fossil and Michael Kors. (Money Udn, link in Chinese)

3. Cryptocurrency Company Bitman Files Hong Kong IPO

Bitcoin mining chipmaker Bitman has filed to list in Hong Kong.

The company, which manufactures application-specific integrated circuits used in bitcoin mining, has a global market share of 74.5%. According to the company filing, Bitman’s revenue in the first half of 2018 reached approximately $2.84 billion, more than 10 times that of the same period last year.

Previously, Bitman’s two competitors, Canaan Creative Co. Ltd. and Ebang International Holdings Inc., filed for initial public offerings (IPOs) in Hong Kong, but neither passed the listing hearing of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. (Caixin, link in Chinese)

4. German Car Firm’s Top Executives Resign After Chinese Takeover

Three top executives at German car interior manufacturer Grammer AG have resigned following a takeover earlier this month by a Chinese competitor.

According to a company statement, Grammer’s chief executive, financial and operating officers have all exercised their “contractual change-of-control rights.” The move comes after Ningbo Jifeng Auto Parts Co. Ltd. bought an 84.23% stake in the company earlier this month.

The resignations are likely a setback for Jifeng as it had stated its intentions to allow continuity in Grammer’s operations. Grammer works with Volkswagen Group, BMW AG and Daimler AG, while Jifeng works with Chinese companies such as Great Wall Motor Co. Ltd., Changan Ford and BMW’s China partner, BMW-Brilliance. (Caixin)

5. Maker of Xiaomi’s Smart Appliances Nets $100 Million in New York IPO

Viomi Technology Co. Ltd., which makes smart appliances for smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp., saw its shares rise by 20% during its first trading day in New York City Tuesday before closing near the listing price. It dropped 8.59% on its second trading day.

With an offering of 11.4 million American depositary shares at $9 each, the company raised $102.6 million, giving it a market value of around $800 million.

Viomi is among several companies to benefit from close ties to Xiaomi, which has developed an ecosystem of interconnected devices. Huami Corp., which makes fitness trackers and has a similar relationship to Xiaomi, raised $110 million in its New York listing in February. (Caixin)

6. What’s coming down the pipe:

Huawei Connect, a three-day ICT conference, will be held in Shanghai from Oct. 10 to Oct. 13. Huawei holds two major conferences a year, with the other geared toward global analysts held in April. The company plans to feature AI, Cloud, IoT and Cyber Security in October. (Huawei, link in Chinese)

Compiled by Wang Luyao

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