Dec 05, 2018 06:28 PM

Wednesday Tech Briefing: Huawei Said to Launch 3D Camera Phone

1. Huawei Said to Launch 3D Camera Phone

Huawei Technologies is planning to unveil a new phone with “a camera capable of taking three-dimensional pictures,” South China Morning Post reports.

The phone, code-named Princeton internally, will be announced this month and go on sale within a few weeks, according to SCMP.

Huawei is aiming to boost sales and win market share from competitors such as Apple Inc. by offering users the ability to generate 3D models of themselves and the environment in real-time, and share it with others. (SCMP)

2. New E-Commerce Law Will Force Vendors to Pay More Tax

China’s e-commerce law will finally take effect on Jan. 1, 2019, meaning online merchants that are facing the prospect of either raising prices or quitting the industry, analysts said.

The law, which clarifies the parameters of the e-commerce industry, may see more merchants — especially those that operate more informally, such as through social media or as personal shoppers — needing to formally register and pay taxes, and subsequently increase the tax burden on major stores. It has closed some loopholes in the world’s largest online retail market, which was worth $4.2 trillion last year.

If the new law is strongly enforced, merchants’ legal compliance costs will grow by around 20%, lawyers have estimated. (Caixin)

3. Alibaba’s Youku Gets New Head as Ex-President ‘Assists Investigators’

Alibaba has confirmed that the outgoing president of its major video streaming site Youku is assisting authorities with a corruption investigation.

In a statement late Tuesday, a spokesperson for Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Business Group said the “ex-president” of Youku, Yang Weidong, was “assisting mainland authorities with an investigation into an alleged case of seeking economic benefits,” a common euphemism for corruption.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. completed the buyout of streaming giant Youku Tudou in April 2017 for $4.2 billion. (Caixin)

4. Japanese Firm’s Chengdu Plant Highlights China’s Future in Display Tech

Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd. is set to build its first manufacturing plant in China to produce materials for organic light-emitting diode displays as it seeks to take advantage of China’s growing position in advanced display production.

Beijing has made development of the country’s panel industry a strategic part of its national plan, and local governments are rushing to foot the bill for such developments, as China tries to move away from lower-end manufacturing into more high-tech products. (Caixin)

5. SoftBank’s Vision Fund to Hire China Team, Set Up Mainland Office

The SoftBank-led Vision Fund is hiring an investment team to be based in China as the $100 billion investment giant expands in one of the world’s most vibrant tech markets, according to Reuters.

The Vision Fund plans to open its first China office in Shanghai next year, followed by offices in Beijing and Hong Kong. Altogether, it hopes to hire about 20 people. (Reuters)

6. Unicom-Linked Consumer Finance Company Raises 2 Billion Yuan

Merchants Union Consumer Finance Company Limited, a joint venture of China Merchants Bank and China Unicom, has raised 2 billion yuan ($291 million) from its parent companies Tuesday.

State-owned telecommunications operator China Unicom started its consumer finance business in 2014 and has partnered with China Merchants Bank to obtain a license.

MUCFC ranks among China’s top three consumer finance businesses. In the first half of 2018, its revenue was 3.04 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 32.35%, and its profits amounted to 604 million yuan, a year-on-year increase of 11.65%. (Caixin, link in Chinese)

Complied by Bonnie Wang

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