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U.S. Transport Agency Bans Employees From Using TikTok For Work
Huawei Launches New Foldable Smartphone, Targets Android Market with HMS
Industries Switch Up Production Processes to Use Byproducts to Produce Medical Supplies
China Plans to Mass Produce Driverless Cars by 2025 Later Than Previous Forecast
U.S. Companies Fluctuate on Wall Street as Covid-19 Hits Their 2020 Forecasts
Snack Shop Serves Up First IPO from Wuhan Since Covid-19 Outbreak Took Hold
Chinese AI Firm Laiye Secures $42 Million in Series C Funding Round
Japan’s Finance Minister Expresses Concerns Over China’s Digital Yuan
U.S. Allows China’s iFlyTek to Resume Purchases of American-Made Medical Products During Outbreak
China Accounts For Nearly Half of All Global 5G Smartphone Shipments in 2019: Research
Xiaomi-Backed Smart Home Cleaner Maker Raises $641 Million in Shanghai IPO
Foxconn Allows Henan Workers to Return to Its Zhengzhou Complex
Alibaba-Owned Livestreaming Platform Taobao Live Sees Rapid Growth Amid Outbreak
Lenovo Charges Up Investors by Playing Down Virus Impact
Huawei ‘Disappointed’ After U.S. Court Rejects Its Federal Ban Challenge
Didi Installs In-Car Protective Sheets Between Drivers and Passengers to Control Coronavirus
Puma and Adidas Face Massive Sales Drop Due to Coronavirus
China Raises First-Batch Rare-Earth Mining Quota by 10% for 2020
Tesla and CATL Enter Advanced Stages of Talks Over Cobalt-Free Battery Supply
Hong Kong Unemployment Surges to Record High in Wake of Coronavirus Outbreak
WORLD

By Ding Yi / Feb 25, 2020 06:27 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has asked its employees to stop using TikTok to create public content and promotional material for the agency, The Associated Press reported Monday.

The ban came after Senator Chuck Schumer wrote to TSA administrator David Pekoske urging the agency to follow a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule that prohibits the use of the video-based social media platform on government-issued devices due to national security concerns, AP reported. The DHS oversees the TSA.

“A small number of TSA employees have previously used TikTok on their personal devices to create videos for use in the TSA’s social media outreach, but the practice has since been discontinued,” the TSA told AP.

The TSA also said that it neither directed viewers to TikTok nor published content directly on the platform, AP reported.

Many U.S. lawmakers see TikTok, owned by Chinese startup ByteDance, as a potential national security threat due to the company’s alleged ties with the Chinese government.

The platform outperformed Instagram to become the world’s fourth most downloaded non-game app in 2019, according to statistics from App Annie.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: TikTok Outperforms Instagram to Become World’s Fourth Most Downloaded App in 2019


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WORLD

By Bloomberg / Feb 25, 2020 12:52 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

A growing number of U.S companies are revising their forecasts for 2020 as they factor in both the short- and long-term impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mastercard lowered its 3-week-old forecast for quarterly revenue growth as the spreading coronavirus curbs international travel and even takes a bite out of e-commerce, a business executives had hoped would be immune.

The credit-card network said it’s knocking 2 to 3 percentage points off the revenue prediction it made on an earnings conference call Jan. 29. That translates to growth of 9% to 10% on a currency-neutral basis, excluding acquisitions, it said Monday. Shares of Mastercard and Visa dropped in after-hours trading.

“Cross-border travel, and to a lesser extent cross-border e-commerce growth, is being impacted,” Mastercard said in a statement. “There are many unknowns as to the duration and severity of the situation and we are closely monitoring it.”

The short-lived forecast underscores how quickly the virus is altering consumer behavior as it moves beyond China. Mastercard executives had previously taken comfort in the fact that much of the firm’s business into and out of China is e-commerce, which could potentially continue amid measures to contain the disease.

United Airlines also withdrew its 2020 profit forecast, citing the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

The uncertainty surrounding the virus means United can’t guarantee its earlier goal of earning $11 to $13 a share this year, according to a regulatory filing Monday. The earnings target is still within reach if the outbreak runs its course by mid-May and travel patterns return to normal in the five months after that, United said.

At the same time U.S, based biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences saw its shares gain on Monday after a senior World Health Organization official said the company’s experimental drug may be the best bet to find a treatment for the new coronavirus spreading around the globe.

Gilead’s compound, remdesivir, has been rushed into a clinical trial in China, where the illness has infected tens of thousands of people. WHO officials have said results could be available within weeks.

Gilead shares rose 4.6% to $72.90 on Monday, the highest closing level since October 2018. Spokeswoman Sonia Choi said Gilead is anticipating results from two trials in China in April.

Related: Coronavirus Epidemic to Deepen Slump in Global Trade, WTO Says


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By Ding Yi / Feb 24, 2020 02:04 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The U.S. Department of Commerce has approved a request by Chinese artificial intelligence firm iFlyTek to exempt it from a trade blacklist, iFlyTek said in a filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Monday.

The exemption will enable iFlyTek to buy American-made medical supplies to help fight the Covid-19 outbreak in China, where the epidemic has so far claimed more than 2,500 lives, according to the filing.

In October 2019, the U.S. government added iFlyTek to its so-called Entity List, barring the Chinese firm from buying products and services from American suppliers.

Since the deadly coronavirus began spreading across China in January, many of the country’s tech companies have pitched in to support the battle against the disease, donating money and medical resources to places hit by the virus.

Apart from providing financial support, iFlyTek says it is also applying its AI technology to help combat the virus. The company’s technology is being used to screen for patients infected with the coronavirus and enable students, who have been forced to stay home due to the outbreak, to continue their studies via online learning platforms, according to the filing.

Shares of iFlyTek soared 4.06% as of 1:23 p.m. Monday.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Chinese AI Company iFlyTek Asks U.S. to Lift Export Ban So It Can Buy Medical Supplies


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By Zhang Erchi and Mo Yelin / Feb 20, 2020 02:58 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Huawei said it is “disappointed” after a federal judge in Texas ruled against a lawsuit it filed challenging a U.S. law that bans federal agencies and contractors from purchasing its products.

The decision, handed down Tuesday by judge Amos Mazzant at East Texas District Court, ruled in favor of the U.S. government, concluding that Congress acted within its powers by including the restriction in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

“While we understand the paramount significance of national security, the approach taken by the U.S. government in the 2019 NDAA provides a false sense of protection while undermining Huawei’s constitutional rights. We will continue to consider further legal options,” a Huawei spokesman said.

Huawei filed the lawsuit in March 2019 saying restrictions in its terms of trade as set out by the 2019 NDAA, were unconstitutional. The 2019 NDAA also targets ZTE, another Chinese telecom provider.

Read the full story on Caixin Global later.

Contact reporter Mo Yelin (yelinmo@caixin.com)

Related: Huawei Sues U.S. Government Over Equipment Ban


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By Ding Yi / Feb 19, 2020 01:28 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Huawei will launch its Honor V30 handset, the first smartphone preinstalled with Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), in the European market next week as the company seeks to combat U.S. restrictions on doing business with American suppliers, the Beijing News reported Monday.

The embattled Chinese tech giant has lost access to Google Mobile Services (GMS) since it was placed on the so-called U.S. Entity List in May. The move means Huawei cannot run Google apps and services on its smartphones. Huawei has also been blocked from receiving updates to the licensed version of Google’s Android operating system that powers many of its devices.

Concerns over the U.S. trade blacklisting has forced Huawei to develop HMS, which it expects to grow into a mobile ecosystem that can match GMS. To achieve that goal, the Shenzhen-based company is dipping into a billion-dollar incentive fund to encourage global developers to integrate their apps into HMS. The company is also working with domestic peers to build an alternative to Google’s Play Store.

According to the Beijing News, the V30 smartphone is also the first Honor mobile phone that is compatible with 5G networks. Huawei will hold a launch event for the V30 smartphone in Europe despite the fact the Mobile World Congress (MWC) was called off as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the report added.

Whether a Huawei smartphone without GMS can gain popularity in Europe remains to be seen. The region is one of Huawei’s most important overseas markets. According to a report by research firm Canalys, Huawei ranked second in smartphone shipments in Europe in the third quarter of 2019 with a market share of 22.2%, behind Samsung which controlled 35.7% of the European market during the period.

Reuters reported last week that Turkish telecoms firm Turkcel had reached an agreement with Huawei to use the HMS services, becoming the first company outside of China to use the system. The Turkish company also said that it plans to sell 1 million HMS-enabled Huawei smartphones between April and the end of 2021.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Chinese Phone-Makers to Team Up for Google Play Store Alternative: Report


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By Ding Yi / Feb 18, 2020 04:06 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing will start operations in Sydney from Mar. 16, as the Covid-19 epidemic cripples its business in its home market, the company said in a statement.

The Beijing-based company will initially provide Didi Express and Didi Max services in Sydney, the most populous city in Australia, where it currently operates in seven cities across four states, according to the statement.

“Introducing our services to the global economic and cultural hub of Sydney is a major milestone for our young team there,” said Lyn Ma, general manager of Didi Australia.

Didi first moved into the Australian market in May 2018. So far, it has accumulated more than two million passengers there on its app, the company said.

The launch of the Sydney operations comes as a part of Didi’s global expansion plans. The company, which was under fire for its murder-linked carpooling service in China two years ago, also has a presence in Japan, Brazil, Chile and Colombia.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Didi-Owned Brazilian Ride-Hailing App Completes 1 Billion Trips


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By Bloomberg / Feb 15, 2020 11:02 AM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV will halt operations at its assembly plant in Serbia due to a lack of parts from China, as the coronavirus continues to affect production around the world.

The stoppage will mark the first time a European carmaker has had to idle a facility in Europe due to problems linked to the virus. Auto makers to date have mainly had to contend with shutdowns in China itself.

The Italian-American carmaker will reschedule planned downtime at its Kragujevac plant in Serbia, a company spokesman said, citing “the availability of certain components sourced in China.”

Fiat is in the process of securing future supply of those affected parts and production will be restarted later this month, the spokesman said.

The halt to works at the Turin, Italy-based automaker’s Kragujevac facility, which produces the Fiat 500L, is linked to a lack of audio-system and other electronic parts sourced from China, people familiar with the matter said earlier Friday.

Output at the plan totaled about 40,000 units last year, Serbian media reported, or a quarter of total capacity. Fiat doesn’t expect the change in scheduling to impact the total production forecast for the month, the spokesman said.

Belgrade daily Danas reported earlier on the Italian car maker’s move to halt works at the plant.

Related: Mobile World Congress Canceled Due to Coronavirus Concerns


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By Bloomberg / Feb 14, 2020 10:42 AM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The U.S. raised the stakes in its battle with Huawei Technologies, using a law historically associated with prosecuting mafia figures to claim the Chinese company engaged in decades of intellectual property theft.

Huawei, the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment, and Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou had already faced criminal charges. The fresh allegations, announced Thursday, up the ante by including racketeering conspiracy, increasing the potential punishment. They come as the global battle for supremacy in fifth-generation wireless technology, or 5G, is joined.

Huawei broke the law “to drastically cut its research and development costs and associated delays, giving the company a significant and unfair competitive advantage,” the Justice Department said in a statement. The company even launched a bonus program to reward employees who got their hands on confidential information from competitors, prosecutors said.

Huawei, in turn, has accused the U.S. of orchestrating a campaign to intimidate its employees and launching cyberattacks to infiltrate its internal network. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged the U.S to “stop unreasonably targeting Huawei and other Chinese enterprises.”

The new indictment “is part of the Justice Department’s attempt to irrevocably damage Huawei’s reputation and its business for reasons related to competition rather than law enforcement,” a representative of the company said Thursday. “These new charges are without merit and are based largely on recycled civil disputes” from the last 20 years “that have been previously settled, litigated and, in some cases, rejected by federal judges and juries.”


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By Bloomberg / Feb 13, 2020 09:49 AM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The wireless industry scrapped its biggest annual showcase after the coronavirus outbreak sparked an exodus of participants, roiling telecom companies just as they’re preparing to roll out new 5G services.

It’s the first time in MWC Barcelona’s 33-year history that organizers have called off the event, which draws more than 100,000 participants from across the world to check out the latest innovations, pitch to investors and do deals.

“The global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible” to hold the event, John Hoffman, chief executive officer of conference organizer GSMA, said in a statement to Bloomberg News.

The list of big-name attendees started to crumble on Feb. 7, when Swedish wireless equipment maker Ericsson AB pulled out, saying it couldn’t ensure the safety of staff and customers. As others pulled the plug -- from Sony Corp. to Nokia Oyj, Vodafone Group Plc and Deutsche Telekom AG -- it became harder for those remaining to justify their presence.

The decision to scrap MWC entirely was a difficult one, and it’s not clear who will shoulder the costs -- the participants or GSMA. The industry’s biggest players often spend tens of millions of dollars to exhibit at the show. Ericsson’s absence alone left a gap bigger than a standard American football field in the conference halls.

GSMA funds much of its budget from the event, charging 799 euros ($872) for a basic admissions pass.

Related: Major China and Regional Events Affected by the Coronavirus Outbreak

 


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By Ding Yi / Feb 11, 2020 02:01 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese artificial intelligence company iFlyTek has filed a request with U.S. authorities to exempt it from a trade blacklist. The exemption would enable it to buy medical supplies to help fight the novel coronavirus which has broken out in China, the firm said in a filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Monday.

In October 2019, iFlyTek and several other Chinese tech firms were placed on the so-called U.S. Entity List, barring them from purchasing products and services from American companies.

According to the filing, iFlyTek has commissioned a U.S.-based law firm to submit a written application to the U.S. Department of Commerce, with the hope that the agency will approve its request on humanitarian grounds, so iFlyTek can buy American-made medical products as part of its charitable donations to the areas worst-hit by the virus.

Since the coronavirus outbreak began spreading across China in January, many of the country’s tech companies, ranging from big names to lesser-known startups, have donated money and medical resources to regions plagued by the disease, which has so far caused over 1,000 deaths and infected more than 42,000 people.

Apart from handing out 10 million yuan worth of medical supplies to heavily impacted regions, iFlyTek has also applied its artificial intelligence technology to help combat the virus. The company’s technology is being used to screen for patients infected with the coronavirus, track the virus’ spread and enable students, who have been forced to stay home due to the outbreak, to continue their studies via e-learning platforms.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Chinese Tech Firms Pitching In on Battle Against Coronavirus


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By Bloomberg / Feb 04, 2020 02:28 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Huawei Technologies and ZTE on Monday asked U.S. regulators to keep them off a list of companies deemed national security threats, a label that would bar the Chinese telecommunications equipment makers from selling gear to subsidized U.S. carriers.

Mobile broadband providers separately told the Federal Communications Commission that it would be costly for them to replace gear made by ZTE and Huawei if ordered to do so.

The agency in November made an initial determination that ZTE and Huawei, both based in Shenzhen, China, pose a national security risk.

Huawei gear is cheaper than competitors’ and is popular with smaller, rural U.S. telecommunications providers, which often rely on government subsidies. In a Jan. 31 filing at the FCC, a company, Union Wireless, predicted “extraordinary costs” to replace equipment in Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, and Montana across 80,000 square miles -- an area larger than England.

The FCC is now considering whether to require wireless broadband providers to remove and replace equipment from companies considered a security risk, and how to establish a reimbursement fund for such a policy.

Huawei’s has repeatedly denied that it poses any security risk, and insists that it’s independent of the Beijing government.

ZTE, in its Monday FCC filing, denied it was a threat and said it complies with U.S. export controls and is working to provide secure products.

Related: Snubbing Washington, Britain Opens Door to Huawei on 5G


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By Ding Yi / Jan 31, 2020 12:46 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Xiaomi’s dominant status in the Indian smartphone market seems unshakable.

The Chinese electronics giant continued to lead the Indian market in the fourth quarter of 2019, with its smartphone shipments there rising to 11.2 million units, giving the company a 29% market share, according to a report by research firm Canalys.

Samsung came second, controlling 21% of the Indian smartphone market with shipments of 8.1 million units in the quarter, the report showed.

In the three months to December, Vivo, Realme and Oppo held a combined market share of 42% in India.

Of all the Chinese players selling handsets in India, Realme, which launched in 2018 as Oppo’s budget sub-brand, was considered the best-performing smartphone vendor in the fourth quarter, as the firm almost quadrupled its shipments to 4.7 million units in the fourth quarter, compared with 1.3 million in the same period in 2018.

In 2019, a total of 148 million smartphones were shipped in India from all over the world, a figure expected to grow to 160 million units in 2020, Canalys said.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Xiaomi Maintains Lead in India Handset Market, but Chinese Rivals Pose Growing Threat


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By Bloomberg / Jan 30, 2020 11:41 AM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The European Union stopped short of an outright ban on Huawei Technologies and other Chinese 5G suppliers, seeking to navigate a path between warnings from U.S. President Donald Trump and provoking Beijing.

The EU issued a new policy document which urges member states to apply ad hoc restrictions on merit for certain suppliers of key 5G components, including core, network management, access network, and orchestration functions.

Despite intense U.S. lobbying, the so-called toolbox of measures released Wednesday doesn’t recommend a preemptive blanket ban of Chinese equipment, a decision that follows the U.K. on Tuesday allowing Huawei components into non-core networks. EU member states have until April 30 to implement the mitigating measures included in the toolbox.

Calling it a “non-biased and fact-based approach,” Huawei welcomed the EU’s announcement, which it said “enables Huawei to continue participating in Europe’s 5G roll-out.” The Chinese Mission to the EU said it’s “studying and assessing” the toolbox, adding that China hopes that Europe will act “in good faith to foster a fair, open, just and non-discriminatory environment for business investment.”

Related: Snubbing Washington, Britain Opens Door to Huawei on 5G


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By Bloomberg / Jan 28, 2020 11:31 AM / World

China’s escalating viral outbreak may end up hitting Japan’s fragile economy harder than the SARS outbreak of 2003, according to economists.

Tourism has become a much more important prop to Japan’s growth over the last decade, and Chinese tourists are the biggest-spenders. That’s why China’s decision Saturday to start blocking outbound tour groups to try to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus has some Japan economists concerned.

If the much higher visitor numbers now tumble at the same pace as they did during the SARS outbreak of around three months, Japanese growth could be cut by 0.2 percentage point, according to economist Shuji Tonouchi at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley. Should the crisis drag on for a full year, it could shave 0.45 percentage point from Japan’s expansion, estimates Nomura Research Institute economist Takahide Kiuchi.

The outbreak, which has so far killed at least 80 people and sickened almost three thousand more, couldn’t have come at a worse time for China, which is in the middle of the Lunar New Year holidays, an epic travel period that’s usually the largest annual human migration in the world.

The timing is also bad for Japan, where gross domestic product is forecast to have shrunk 3.7% in the fourth quarter amid an export slump and a consumer-spending drought following October’s sales tax hike. Economists are expecting government spending to fuel a 1% rebound this quarter, but the coronavirus crisis adds a new downward factor.

“Given the Lunar New Year timing and the increase in Chinese overseas visitors with the rise of China’s presence, I expect the economic impact to be bigger,” Shoji Hirakawa, a strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute, wrote in a note to clients.

Japan’s tourism boom has been one of the few unambiguous economic success stories under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Aided by government steps to relax visa approvals, visitors to Japan have surged almost four-fold to 31.9 million since 2012, buoying sectors from cosmetics to consumer goods and hospitality and accounting for almost 1% of GDP in 2018, according to Tonouchi.


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By Bloomberg / Jan 27, 2020 02:25 PM / World

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A top Pakistan health official said there are no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the country after reports on Saturday of an infection.

A patient kept in isolation in a hospital is improving and has no signs of a severe acute respiratory infection, State Minister of Health Zafar Mirza said in a post on Twitter on Saturday. He was earlier reported as saying that Pakistan “lacks the facility” to detect the virus.


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By Mo Yelin and He Shujing / Jan 17, 2020 03:25 PM / World

The much-cheered phase-one trade deal touched on a thorny issue that has long been a major complaint by the U.S. government against China – the alleged coerced transfer of technology from its firms in exchange for access to the Chinese market.

However, the text addressing the issue of technology transfer within the deal is not too different to what China had already signed up to when it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) back in 2001, according to experts.

“More additional details were laid out in the deal, which could make it more useful for actual implementation in the event of a technology transfer dispute,” said Zhu Huan, a researcher at Washington D.C.-based think tank Cato Institute, “But it is hard to tell what are new in terms of U.S. demands to China,” he said.

The specific part of text in the trade deal addressing the issue said both sides are forbidden to adopt administrative means, such as licensing requirements, to pressure technology transfer from the other side. Such wording is similar to wording in the agreement China signed to join WTO in 2001.

Read the full story today at Caixin Global

Contact: Mo Yelin (yelimo@caixin.com)

Related: Update: U.S. and China Sign Phase One Trade Deal

 


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By Ding Yi / Jan 16, 2020 01:11 PM / World

Huawei has enjoined British developers to participate in the construction of its own app ecosystem as part of the embattled Chinese tech firm’s global efforts to mitigate the effects of its U.S. trade blacklisting.

The Trump administration added Huawei to its so-called Entity List in May, forcing U.S. tech giant Google to block the Chinese company from receiving updates to the licensed version of its Android operating system that runs on many Huawei devices. The move effectively stops Huawei from running Google-developed apps on its smartphones.

That has prompted the Chinese company to court developers worldwide capable of building a replacement system. At a developers’ conference held Wednesday in London, Huawei unveiled a £20 million ($26 million) incentive plan to encourage British and Irish developers to integrate their apps into Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), an alternative to Google Mobile Services, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

The company said it had launched 24 “kits” to help developers create apps for Huawei App Gallery, its equivalent to Google Play Store, broadcaster CGTN reported. In return, app developers will be given direct access to Huawei’s newest hardware and artificial intelligence technologies and earn 85% of the revenue generated from apps. Currently, Huawei takes a 30% revenue cut from most developers.

The incentive plan comes three weeks after the Economic Times, an Indian newspaper, reported that Huawei is encouraging developers in the South Asian nation to integrate their apps into HMS under a dedicated $1 billion global fund.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Huawei to Launch Alternative to Google Mobile in India Amid Tensions With U.S.


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By Ding Yi / Jan 14, 2020 05:38 PM / World

Britain’s spy chief has made comments interpreted as being in favor of Huawei being allowed to bid for work on the U.K.’s mobile 5G network. The comments come despite U.S. lobbying to convince its allies to exclude the Chinese tech giant from their 5G wireless networks.

In an interview with the Financial Times, MI5 Director General Andrew Parker expressed confidence that the U.K.’s intelligence-sharing cooperation with the U.S. would not be damaged if Britain used Huawei technology in its next-generation mobile network.

The official also said that security concerns alone should not always “dominate and dictate” a decision especially at a time when there were so few suppliers in the telecoms infrastructure market.

Parker’s rare intervention is being interpreted as a sign that the British government might give the green light to Huawei’s involvement in some non-critical parts of the country’s 5G network. Boris Johnson’s government is expected to make a final call on whether Britain will allow Huawei to play a role in its 5G network later this month.

The U.S. has warned that intelligence sharing could be jeopardized if Huawei technology is adopted by the U.K., and British government officials are still divided on the issue. During a visit to the U.K. on Monday, a U.S. delegation including officials from the National Security Agency claimed that allowing Huawei to enter Britain’s 5G market would be “nothing short of madness,” in a last-ditch attempt to persuade London to issue a ban. They also showed new evidence to their British counterparts indicating that using Huawei equipment would put future phone networks at risk.

Huawei has consistently denied U.S. accusations that it embeds “hidden backdoors” into its equipment that the Chinese government can use for espionage. The company is still on a U.S. trade blacklist imposed in May which bans it from buying components from American firms.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Huawei Adds More Self-Made Chips to Smartphones to Cut Reliance on U.S.


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By Ding Yi / Jan 09, 2020 01:13 PM / World

WeChat Pay has launched a new service allowing Chinese students studying at South Korean universities to pay their tuition fees, in the Tencent-owned mobile payment tool’s latest effort to simplify cross-border transactions.

Chinese students at 11 higher education institutions, including the Seoul-based colleges Dongguk University and Chung-Ang University, can now use the service on a central website used by overseas students in South Korea to pay schooling fees, according to a report published Wednesday on Tencent’s news portal. The report did not mention whether the service will eventually be expanded to more universities.

According to the report, the service has shortened the payment time to “several minutes” compared with the more laborious previous process whereby Chinese students had to exchange yuan for South Korean won at local banks and then pass on the cash to their institutions, the report said.

Mobile payment systems are ubiquitous in China, but the industry’s major players have long grappled with how to adapt their services to include cross-border transactions.

Reports in November said Tencent was in talks with five international card issuers about allowing overseas cardholders to use WeChat Pay when traveling in China. Its domestic rival Alipay already has a similar function allowing foreign tourists in China to link overseas bank cards to the app.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: WeChat Pay Eyes Foreign Visitors in Race with Alipay


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By Ding Yi / Jan 06, 2020 06:26 PM / World

The U.S. government has slapped new restrictions on exports of American-made artificial intelligence software, according to Reuters.

Under the new rules, which take effect Monday, U.S. companies will need to apply for a license before exporting AI-powered geospatial imagery software to all countries except Canada, Reuters reported.

Such software could be used by sensors, drones and satellites to automatically identify targets for both military and civilian purposes, the report stated, quoting James Lewis, a tech expert from the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The new measures are part of a 2018 law that aims to tighten the U.S. government’s grip on national security-related exports in a bid to prevent sensitive technologies from being used by rival powers, including China.

The U.S. government has previously imposed other trade restrictions on the sale of AI products, including one in October banning several Chinese AI firms from buying components from U.S. companies because of their roles in alleged rights violations in Xinjiang.

Contact reporter Ding Yi (yiding@caixin.com)

Related: Chinese AI Project Is Under Review at MIT After U.S. Blacklists Company


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