Jan 04, 2019 04:27 PM

Friday Tech Briefing: Almost Half of India’s Top 100 Apps Are Chinese

1. Chinese Tech Company TCL Accused of Collecting Too Much User Data

Chinese tech company TCL has been collecting an unusual amount of data through its popular Android app, “Weather Forecast—World Weather Accurate Radar,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Security researchers found that the app stores data including smartphone users’ geographic locations, email addresses and unique 15-digit International Mobile Equipment Identity numbers on TCL servers in China. The app has also attempted to subscribe users to “paid virtual-reality services.”

A TCLs spokesperson told the Journal the company is now “evaluating new security consultants who can provide additional validation of the safety of our mobile applications we develop.” (The Wall Street Journal)

2. Coffee Upstart Luckin Plans to Overtake Starbucks in China This Year

Luckin Coffee aims to overtake Starbucks and become China's biggest coffee chain, with more than 4,500 shops by the end of 2019, the company said in a press briefing on Thursday.

The coffee upstart officially launched in early 2018 and offers app-only ordering. It has opened 2,000 shops and sold 85 million cups of coffee to 12 million Luckin app users within the past year. Starbucks currently has more than 3,600 cafes in China. (Caixin)

3. Huawei CEO: Software Engineering Can Build Our Credibility

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei hopes the company can strengthen the credibility of its products by improving its software engineering, he said in his first letter to employees in 2019.

Huawei will allocate an initial $2 billion toward engineering high-quality and “credible” telecom infrastructure products, Ren said, adding calling the expected improvements “revolutionary.”

Ren’s comments come after a troubled year for the company. Multiple countries blocked Huawei products from government contracts over security and privacy concerns, and Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada last month. (Caixin)

4. Almost Half of India’s Top 100 Apps Are Chinese

Chinese companies developed 44 of India’s top 100 Android apps in December, up from just 18 in the same period a year earlier, Indian tech publication FactorDaily reports.

Topping the list is TikTok, a short-video sharing app developed by Beijing-based ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd. Others popular apps include UC Browser, owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.; news aggregator NewsDog, backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd.; and livestreaming app LiveMe, FactorDaily said, citing figures from California-based data provider Sensor Tower.

Analysts say the current success of Chinese app-makers may not continue forever — one of the biggest hurdles to long-term success is localization. (Caixin)

5. Tencent AI Lab Executive Director Resigns

Tencent AI Lab executive director Tong Zhang has stepped down, Tencent confirmed Thursday.

Zhang Tong joined the lab in March 2017. He was previously a professor at Rutgers University, and had also worked at IBM, Yahoo, and Baidu. Zhang plans to return to academia, Tencent said.

Internet giant Tencent, best known for its multifunctional WeChat app, set up its AI Lab in 2016 to research technologies including computer vision and machine learning. (Caixin, link in Chinese)

Complied by Bonnie Wang

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