Jan 17, 2019 05:35 PM

Thursday Tech Briefing: U.S. Probes Huawei for Alleged Trade-Secret Theft

1. U.S. Probes Huawei for Alleged Trade-Secret Theft

Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is currently the target of a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for alleged theft of trade secrets, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors are probing Huawei for allegedly stealing trade secrets related to a robotic device made by T-Mobile U.S. Inc., which was used for testing smartphones, the Journal reported, citing sources close to the matter. The Journal said an indictment can be expected soon.

The case is another setback for Huawei, which is facing closer scrutiny by foreign governments related to its global initiative to roll out next-generation 5G technology. Several countries, including Australia and New Zealand, have banned Huawei from their 5G network upgrades, citing national security concerns. (The Wall Street Journal, Caixin)

2. Dong Mingzhu to Continue as Gree Electric’s Chairwoman

Dong Mingzhu will continue her tenure as Gree Electric’s chairwoman, China’s leading air-conditioner company confirmed Wednesday at a shareholder meeting when asked about possible successors to Dong.

Dong became chairwoman of Gree in 2012. Gree Electric’s total annual revenue is expected to reach 600 billion yuan ($88.7 billion) by 2023, Dong said at the meeting. Dong told shareholder attendees that the company can sustain an annual growth of 10%, and the company’s post-tax earnings in 2018 surpassed 26 billion yuan. (Caixin)

3. ‘Game of Thrones’ Is Coming to Phones in China

Tencent will soon release a test version of a “Game of Thrones” game for smartphones, after winning exclusive Chinese rights to distribute the title based on the mega-popular TV series. It didn’t specify a launch date but said it would dovetail with the show’s final season airing from April.

Tencent needs a boost after a grim year when China froze gaming approvals, curbing its ability to monetize two of its most popular games, including Fortnite. Beijing in December began resuming approvals but the backlog has grown to hundreds of titles. (Caixin)

4. Grab and ZhongAn team up for insurance joint venture in Southeast Asia

Chinese online insurer ZhongAn will team up with Singapore-based online-to-offline services platform Grab to sell insurance products via Grab in Southeast Asia. Both companies are backed by Softbank’s Vision Fund.

Grab started out as a ride-hailing platform but soon expanded to provide more online-to-offline services from food delivery to groceries. The company is now looking to break into new sectors like financial services and online healthcare. For ZhongAn, the joint venture is an opportunity to break into the Southeast Asian market. (South China Morning Post)

5. Alibaba-Backed AI Startup Megvii to Invest 2 Billion Yuan In Logistics

Megvii, the owner of facial recognition developer Face++, unveiled its Robotics Internet Cooperation roadmap on Wednesday. The company said it will invest 2 billion yuan ($295.8 million) in the project, which is aimed at automating the logistics process.

Megvii entered the smart-robot market in April when it acquired Beijing Ares Robot Technology Co. Ltd. Megvii is considering an initial public offering in Hong Kong to raise as much as $1 billion, Bloomberg reported recently, citing people familiar with the matter. (Caixin, link in Chinese)

Compiled by Qian Tong and Hou Qijiang

Contact editor Teng Jing Xuan (

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