Jan 10, 2019 05:41 PM

Thursday Tech Briefing: Elon Musk Meets Chinese Premier

1. Apple Reportedly Cuts iPhone Prices for Chinese Distributors

Distributors at Shenzhen's biggest electronics retail market have received discounts on several iPhone products from Apple, National Business Daily reports.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook recently blamed lowered revenue expectations on slow China sales.

The price cuts cover products including ranging from the newly launched iPhone XR to the older iPhone8 model. The wholesale price of the iPhone XR was cut by as much as 450 yuan ($70) for the Shenzhen retailors. (National Business Daily, link in Chinese)

2. Alibaba Buys German Data Analytics Startup

Alibaba has reportedly paid about $103 million to acquire Data Artisans, a Berlin-based analytics startup that provides data processing services to clients including Uber and Netflix.

Alibaba's data business, though accounting for only 6% of total revenue, grew 90% in sales over the last fiscal year.

The deal is Alibaba’s latest expansion in Europe. In October, the company’s cloud-computing arm announced that it will open its first two data centers in the U.K. (Caixin)

3. WeChat Is Forming Uncannily Detailed Picture of Users Based on App Activity

Tencent released on Tuesday detailed descriptions of WeChat users based on their age, including their average bedtimes and preferences for content and food. The data comes from activity by the multifunctional chat app’s users in 2018, the company said.

Some commenters called the detailed user profiles “a little creepy,” quoting WeChat’s denial in January 2018 that it doesn’t use user chat data for big-data analysis.

WeChat users sent 45 billion messages and made 410 million calls through the app each day in 2018. They also used it to buy more public transport tickets and pay for more medical expenses than in 2017, Tencent said. (Caixin)

4. Didi Employees Involved in Over 60 Internal Corruption Cases Last Year

China’s biggest ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing found more than 60 cases of corruption within the company last year, Didi said Wednesday. Most of the violations reported involved fraud, bribes or information security breaches.

Tech companies across China have stepped up internal corruption investigations in recent years, with Baidu, Tencent, and Xiaomi all having previously reported cases of employee graft. (Caixin)

5. Baidu to Power Walmart Autonomous Deliveries in U.S.

Baidu’s self-driving platform is set to power some of Walmart’s deliveries in the U.S., the search giant said Wednesday.

California-based autonomous-vehicle startup Udelv will use Baidu’s Apollo platform for multiple projects this year, including deliveries for Walmart, Udelv said recently at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (Caixin)

6. Premier Li Keqiang Meets With Musk After Tesla Groundbreaking

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk Wednesday afternoon in Beijing after the electric carmaker broke ground for its $5 billion factory in the world’s biggest auto market.

The project is China’s first wholly foreign-owned electric auto project after the country eased controls on foreign investment in the sector. Li said he hoped Tesla can become an “in-depth participant in China’s opening and a promoter of the stability of Chinese-U.S. relations.”

The long-planned project will be Tesla’s first car-manufacturing facility outside the U.S. The factory will focus on production of Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y. (Caixin)

Compiled by He Shujing

Contact editor Teng Jing Xuan (

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