Nov 29, 2018 05:21 PM

Thursday Tech Briefing: Xiaomi Partners With Ikea on Smart Lighting

1. iQiyi Video Site Plans Convertible Bond Sale

Baidu-backed iQiyi is planning a convertible bond sale, as the loss-making Chinese company seeks to replenish its coffers amid fierce competition in the online video industry.

iQiyi aims to sell the notes as soon as this year and has been discussing a potential fundraising target of about $500 million to $1 billion. It’s seeking more funding just eight months after completing its $2.4 billion initial public offering, which ranked as the biggest Chinese share sale in the U.S. this year.

iQiyi’s Netflix-style service has lost more than half its market value since peaking in June amid growing concerns about its spending on producing and licensing new shows. (Bloomberg)

2. China’s Xiaomi Teams Up With Ikea on Smart Home Devices

Chinese smartphone and appliance maker Xiaomi has announced a partnership with Swedish home furniture giant Ikea to produce smart lighting devices.

The collaboration will land in December this year, at which time smart lighting products from Ikea will connect with smart speakers that feature Xiaomi’s voice assistant Xiao Ai.

Xiaomi has connected 132 million Internet of Things devices (excluding cellphones and laptops) as of the third quarter ended September. (SCMP)

3. Genetics Industrial Parks Boom Across China

China is embracing a boomi genetics industrial parks as the birth of the world’s first genetically altered babies in China creates international controversy over science and ethics.

Shenzhen, where the lab of the scientist He Jiankui is based, is home to two of China’s biggest genetics industrial parks. Other genetics industrial parks are planned or under construction in Guangdong, Anhui, Fujian and Jiangsu provinces.

China has invested heavily in genetics technology as the country attempts to dominate the nascent industry. In 2016, China announced a multi-billion dollar project to sequence the genomes of millions of citizens over 15 years. China already surpasses the U.S. in large-scale, low-cost gene-sequencing. (Caixin)

4. New Campaign Seeks to Shut Down Google’s Project Dragonfly

Internet giant Google LLC has come under one of the biggest assaults to date over its controversial plan to return to China with a filtered search engine, codenamed Project Dragonfly. Amnesty International and a group of about 300 employees posted petitions Tuesday calling on Google to stop development on the project.

The plans, first leaked in August, saw swift backlash as Beijing requires all internet sites in China to police themselves and remove any sensitive content.

A return to China’s search market would mark a sharp turnaround for Google. The company made global headlines in 2010 when it decided to shutter its China-based search engine due to Beijing’s internet policies. (Caixin)

5. South Korea’s SK Takes Stake in Key Supplier to China’s Electric Car Industry

SK Holdings Co. Ltd. has invested about $239 million in Lingbao Wason Copper-Foil Co. Ltd., a Chinese company that manufactures copper foil — an integral metal component for batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs).

With the investment, SK becomes second-largest shareholder in Lingbao, which has a broad customer base that includes BYD and Panasonic.

SK regards the investment as a move to tap China’s booming new-energy vehicle sector. China has been the world’s largest EV market since 2015, with this year’s sales set to surpass 1 million vehicles. (Caixin)

6. He Jiankui Used AIDS Support Network to Recruit 200 Couples for Gene-Editing Experiment

He Jiankui, the scientist at the center of China’s gene-editing controversy, used an AIDS support network to recruit couples with fertility issues for his experiment. Under Chinese law, people with “sexual diseases,” including HIV, are banned from undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment.

The founder of the network said that the trial was advertised as both a fertility fix and a way to prevent children with HIV-positive fathers from being born with the infection — despite the increasingly small chance of HIV being passed from father to child in normal circumstances.

Of the 200 families recruited, 20 couples agreed to participate, which eventually dropped to eight. (Caixin)

7. Yitu Unveils New AI Cancer Detection Tool

Yitu Technology, a Chinese AI start-up, has introduced a new AI cancer screening tool aimed at reducing the workload and improving diagnostic capabilities for radiologists.

Unveiled at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual conference in Chicago Wednesday, the tool enables machines to make diagnosis and treatment recommendations within seconds based on a comprehensive array of inputs, including patient scans, ultrasounds, pathology specimens, genetics and written records. (SCMP)

Compiled by Shen Xinyue

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