Showing posts with label China. Show all posts
Showing posts with label China. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Merger talks of China Telecom + China Unicom

Top Chinese government officials are reviewing a proposal to merge China Telecom and China Unicom, the nation's number 2 and 3 mobile operators, according to reports published by Bloomberg and others on Tuesday.

So far, there has not been official confirmation of the story although share prices of both companies have risen on the Hong Kong exchange.

Combined, the two carriers have 590 million mobile subscribers, compared to 905 million for China Mobile. A merger would enable a faster rollout of 5G but reduce the competitive landscape for mobile services to two players. Both carriers have reduced CAPEX in the first half of 2018 following completion of most 4G upgrades. Both reported surging mobile data traffic and an impact from increased competition and the elimination of provincial roaming charges.

Exactly one year ago, the Chinese government arranged for top Chinese tech companies, including Alibaba and Tencent, to inject RMB 78 billion (US$11.7 billion) into China Unicom in an effort to accelerate the transformation of its network. The consolidation could play to the favor of these investors.

As state-owned enterprises, both China Telecom (estimate 287,000 employees) and China Unicom (estimated 252,000 employees) have large numbers of workers and retirees.  While network integration and automation may reduce the need for so many employees from a technical perspective, from a social point of view, large-scale reductions may not be possible.

The big synergy in the merger presumably would be to reduce the rollout cost of a nationwide 5G network, which both China Telecom and China Unicom were anticipating in 2020. Both carriers have 5G pilots underway and limited trial services are expected in 2019. Full-scale nationwide rollout for each would involve upgrades to millions of base stations, and improvements to front-haul and backhaul infrastructure. China Unicom recently disclosed that it now has 910,000 4G base stations in operation. China Telecom has stated that it had 1.2 million 4G base stations in operation.

 Many 5G small cells and in-building networks are also required for the 5G upgrade plan. A merged entity presumably could build this at a much lower cost -- perhaps even approaching 50-60-% of what otherwise would be spent. For network equipment, especially Huawei and ZTE, this could be bad news. For China Tower, which recently completed an IPO, this could mean only 2 potential clients on its telecom masts (China Mobile and this merged entity).

With only two mobile operators, perhaps the really intense mobile price competition in China would ease. China Mobile must make do with ARPU of RMB 58.10 (US$8.43) -- about 1/6th the billing per subscriber per month as U.S. operators. China Telecom and China Unicom's mobile ARPU is lower, at RMB 47.9. This leaves very little profit potential per subscriber, making the business case for a deep, nationwide 5G rollout more difficult for two carriers than for one..


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Alicloud posts US$710 million in Q2 revenue, up 93% yoy

Alibaba's Cloud Computing division recorded revenue of RMB 4,698 billion (US$710 million) for Q2 2018, up 93% over the same period last year.

EBITA was RMB (488) million, reflecting a margin of -10% for the division.

Overall, the Alibaba Group achieved quarterly revenue of RMB 80,920 million (US$12,229 million), an increase of 61% year-over-year.

Some other highlights:

  • Revenue from digital media and entertainment increased 46% year-over-year to RMB5,975 million (US$903 million).
  • Annual active consumers on China retail marketplaces reached 576 million, an increase of 24 million from the 12-month period ended March 31, 2018. 
  • Mobile MAUs on our China retail marketplaces reached 634 million in June 2018, an increase of 17 million over March 2018.


“We delivered another great quarter with 61% revenue growth as well as strong profit growth, excluding one-time items. We are pleased with the strength and rapid growth of our business at such significant scale,” said Maggie Wu, Chief Financial Officer of Alibaba Group. “The exceptional growth across our major segments of core commerce, cloud computing and digital media and entertainment validates our strategy of investing in customer experience, product, technology and infrastructure for the future."

Monday, August 20, 2018

China Telecom delivers strong results in 1H2018

China Telecom reported robust financial results and operational metrics for the first half of 2018, with overall operating revenues of RMB193.0 billion, of which, service revenues amounted to RMB177.6 billion, representing an increase of 7.0% over the same period last year. EBITDA amounted to RMB55.9 billion and EBITDA margin was 31.5%. Net profit amounted to RMB13.6 billion, representing an increase of 8.1% over the same period last year while basic earnings per share were RMB0.168, achieving persistent favorable growth.



Capital expenditure was RMB32.9 billion, representing a decrease of 19.9%. Free cash flow reached RMB18.4 billion which has increased remarkably over the same period last year.

Some operational metrics:

  • The total number of mobile subscribers reached 282 million, representing a net increase of 31.66 million which was more than double of the net addition in the same period of last year. 
  • Handset data traffic growth over the past year has been +379%
  • Average data usage now tops 4.6 GB per month
  • China Telecom captured a 46.5% market share in the net additions for China
  • Overall total market share increased to 18.9%
  • The total number of 4G users reached 217 million, representing a net increase of 35.27 million. 
  • 4G penetration is now at 77%
  • The total number of wireline broadband subscribers reached 141 million, representing a net increase of 7.09 million. 
  • 56% of wireline broadband subscribers are getting over 100 Mbps service
  • Average access bandwidth is 85Mbps
  • China Telecom now has 1.2 million base stations in operation with 98% population coverage and 36% utilization rate
  • 96% FTTH home pass coverage in cities and towns
  • Gigabit-class broadband has been deployed in >170 cities
  • China Telecom's IP metropolitan network and backbone network bandwidth reached 500Tbps and 170Tbps respectively
  • China Telecom is building a premium network of Internet data center clusters; deployment focused on Inner Mongolia, Guizhou, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Yangtze River Delta, southern China, Chengdu-Chongqing-Shaanxi and other key regions
  • Video service penetration reached 70%; 9 mil Smart Home Networking service delivered, Family Cloud subs ~20 mil
  • China Telecom now serves 30 million IoT devices and is aiming for 60 million this year


Sunday, August 19, 2018

China Unicom sees growth following mixed ownership reform

China Unicom reported 1H2018 service revenue of to RMB134.4 billion, representing an 8.3% year-on-year growth, topping rivals China Mobile and China Telecom.

EBITDA amounted to RMB45.7 billion, up by 4.9% year-on-year. The profit before income tax reached RMB7.8 billion and the profit attributable to equity shareholders of the company increased by 145% year-on-year to RMB5.9 billion.

China Unicom attributed its improving condition to the mixed ownership reforms undertaken one year ago at the behest of the central government. China Unicom has been increasing its level of collaboration with Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, JD.com and DiDi, especially in outreach areas for the youth market.

Mr. Wang Xiaochu, Chairman and CEO of China Unicom said, “Looking ahead, by unleashing
the unique edges, the Company will persevere in the implementation of the Internet-oriented
operation, creating differentiated competitive advantages. Centred on return and efficiency, and
riding on Internet-oriented operation transformation, the Company strived to enhance total-factor
development efficiency. The Company will enhance its key capability in network, IT and
management on all fronts to provide a solid foundation for the healthy and sustainable
development of various businesses. We will step up investments appropriately for nurturing the
future growth engines. Seizing opportunities afforded by the mixed-ownership reform, we will
deepen strategic cooperation and further advance the system and mechanism reform, accelerating
the delivery of benefits from the reform and comprehensively enhancing the Company’s overall
competitive strengths with a view to creating greater value for shareholders.”

Some highlights:

  • Mobile service revenue reached RMB84.3 billion, representing a year-on-year growth of 9.7% 
  • Mobile billing subscribers achieved a net increase of 17.86 million, reaching a total number of 302 million mobile billing subscribers. 
  • Mobile ARPU amounted to RMB47.9, which was largely stable compared to the full year of 2017. 
  • The 4G subscriber base saw a net increase of 28.23 million in 1H2018 to a total of 203 million. 
  • The 4G subscriber market share was up by 3 percentage points year-on-year. 
  • The proportion of 4G subscribers in total mobile billing subscribers increased by 16 percentage points year-on-year to
  • over 67%. 
  • Fixed-line broadband access revenue amounted to RMB21.5 billion, which was largely stable compared to the same period last year.
  • The number of fixed-line broadband subscribers increased by 2.38 million on a net basis to 78.92 million. 
  • Video service subscribers accounted for over 43% of the fixed-line broadband subscribers, up by 10 percentage points year-on-year.
  •  4G BTS: 910K (up by 60K), focus on capacity expansion & experience enhancement
  • Actively deploy 10G PON & other new technologies in Northern China to progressively achieve 1,000Mbps access capability


China Unicom's US$11.7B strategic investment brings advantages


China United Network Communications Group (China Unicom or 中国联通), the fourth largest mobile operator with over 270 million subscribers, recently closed a deal that will bring in US$11.68 billion in cash from top Chinese tech companies. Under the deal, the Shanghai-based holding company of China Unicom, will sell a 35.2% stake worth RMB 78 billion to 14 strategic investors, including the following. The deal is backed by the Chinese government, which...


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Caixin: The Wake-Up Call for China’s Chip Industry

The near-death experience of ZTE due to the 88-day ban imposed the U.S. Department of Commerce is a wake-up call for China's semiconductor industry, according to an article in the business journal Caixin.

The article the foreign joint venture model, Chinese investments/acquisitions of tech companies abroad, and government-supported initiatives to build a strong, domestic ecosystem for semiconductor design and fabrication.

https://www.caixinglobal.com/2018-07-29/the-wake-up-call-for-chinas-chip-industry-101309608.html

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

China Mobile awards EUR 1 billion deal to Nokia

China Mobile and Nokia signed a frame agreement valued at up to EUR 1 billion for the continued delivery of mobile, fixed, IP routing, optical transport, customer experience management technologies and operational support as well as services expertise throughout 2018.

The agreement was signed at the recent Sino-German Economic Forum by Li Huidi, Vice President of China Mobile, and Hans-Jürgen Bill, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Nokia and also Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nokia Networks GmbH & Co KG in Germany. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also attended the forum.

Nokia said it will supply China Mobile with best-in-class, end-to-end technology solutions to enable a next-generation network for the age of the cloud and machine communications.

In addition, Nokia and China Mobile have signed a memorandum of understanding for research and testing of the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning capabilities of next-generation networks for the delivery of intelligent network optimization and radio resource management.

Mike Wang, President of Nokia Shanghai Bell, said: "This is a highly significant agreement with our longstanding partner that consolidates Nokia's position as a leading provider of next-generation technologies and services in China. We are committed to delivering industry-leading, end-to-end capabilities that will allow operators to dramatically increase performance, which will introduce new possibilities for networks of the future."

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Nokia and Tencent partner on 5G webscale research

Nokia and Tencent, one of China's leading providers of Internet services, signed a Memorandum of Understanding covering joint research and development work to explore the potential of 5G for the provision of new applications, including those for a variety of vertical markets.

Nokia and Tencent will establish an end-to-end 5G test environment in Shenzhen. With 1.04 billion combined monthly active user accounts of its WeChat and QQ social media applications, Tencent aims to leverage the massive connectivity, increased speeds, capacity and reliability and lower latency enabled by 5G to enhance these services.

Key elements of the agreement:

  • Establishes a joint laboratory  equipped with leading 5G technologies, products and solutions, including  centralized and decentralized split architecture using Nokia Airscale Radio Access Network, 5G Core, MEC framework and third party devices.
  • Leverages the capabilities of an end-to-end 5G testing environment. Nokia and Tencent will conduct verification on service key performance indicators and develop new 5G and IoT use cases.


Zeng Yu, Vice President at Tencent, said: "We are pleased to collaborate with Nokia to leverage the technologies, products and expertise of both our companies to fufill the growing demands of a digital economy driven by 5G. Tencent and Nokia are fully committed to delivering richer, more diverse, multi-level services and applications for enterprises, and individual customers. Furthermore, we will support each other in creating more financial and social benefits in our respective fields, to pursue success in the new era of digital economy."

Marc Rouanne, president of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said: "This collaboration with Tencent is an important step in showing webscale companies around the globe how they can leverage the end-to-end capabilities of Nokia's 5G Future X portfolio.  Working with them we can deliver a network that will allow them to extend their service offer to deliver myriad applications and services with the high-reliability and availability to support ever-growing and changing customer demands."

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Baidu develops its own AI chip, rolls out first autonomous bus

At its second annual developer conference in Beijing this week, Baidu unveiled its "Kunlun" processor for AI applications.


Technical details on the new Kunlun silicon were scarce, but the company said its cloud-to-edge AI chip is built to accommodate high-performance requirements of a wide variety of AI scenarios, including deep learning and facial recognition.

Baidu is known to be developing FPGA designs for a number of years.

Baidu also announced volume production of China’s first commercially deployed fully autonomous bus. The first 100 "Apolong" buses are ready for the road.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Qualcomm and Gizwits target field upgrades to LTE IoT

Qualcomm is working with Gizwits, a global leader in Internet of Things (IoT) development platforms, to deliver the world's first commercial 2G cellular modules with field upgrades to LTE IoT (eMTC/Cat-M1 and NB-IoT/Cat-NB1).

The Quectel BG36 module –aimed to be compatible with China Mobile's network and manufactured by Quectel based on the Qualcomm MDM9206 LTE IoT modem– will be powered by the Gizwits IoT cloud services and designed to help developers, device manufacturers and service providers to create economical 2G solutions, which are also designed to be flexible and long-lasting by supporting future over-the-air activation of NB-IoT and eMTC as the cellular ecosystem transitions toward the latest LTE IoT standards.

“The expansion of the IoT depends on the ecosystem’s ability to deliver vast amounts of solutions featuring edge intelligence and flexible connectivity that stays current through the device life,” said Serge Willenegger, senior vice president and general manager, 4G/5G and Industrial IoT, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We are grateful of the opportunity to work with Gizwits, China Mobile Shandong Branch and Quectel. Our focus is to offer the technology solutions that the IoT ecosystem requires to grow, helping manufacturers and solution providers connect and manage massive amounts of devices in a trusted, security-rich and scalable manner. This is the vision behind our Qualcomm wireless edge services.”

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Alibaba Cloud builds an "Agricultural Brain" service

Alibaba Cloud is launching a proprietary ET Agricultural Brain service that taps into its AI technologies such as visual recognition, voice recognition and real-time environmental parameter monitoring.

The AI program has been adopted already by a number of pig farms, where the Agricultural Brain monitors each hog’s daily activity, growth indicators, pregnancy and other health conditions, bringing more insight throughout the pig farming industry chain.

Simon HU, Senior Vice President of Alibaba Group and President of Alibaba Cloud said: “Agriculture and animal husbandry industry is a strategic sector and matters to the lives of billions across China. At Alibaba Cloud, we are committed to using our world-class technology to resolve real-life problems. For this reason, we launched ET Agricultural Brain with a number of partners in the agriculture sector. We believe enhanced operating efficiency will help ensure pork supply and maintain a stable market price that will benefit enterprises and consumers alike in China. In the future, ET Agricultural Brain can be adopted across many other sectors, including forestry and fisheries, helping enterprises and individual farmers increase efficiency and improve quality of production and providing a greener and healthier option for consumers.”

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Telecom Egypt obtains US$200 million in financing facilitated by Huawei

The Bank of China and China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure) will provide US$200 million in long-term financing to Telecom Egypt.

The financing was facilitated by Huawei. It is intended to finance the roll-out of Telecom Egypt's 4G network and the deployment of transmission and core networks.

Mr. Terry Liu, CEO of Huawei Egypt Office said: “Throughout the years Huawei has been successful in building and maintaining a strong partnership with Telecom Egypt. Today, we are taking another step towards strengthening this partnership and supporting Telecom Egypt in their strategy to expand by facilitating the financing agreement.”

Mr. Peng Song, Huawei North Africa President added: “Providing such financing facilities enables us to capitalize on the potential of growth in the Egyptian market. It is part of our strategy to support our customers and act as their partners in success.”

Eng. Ahmed El Beheiry, Managing Director and CEO of Telecom Egypt added:

“Telecom Egypt has several strategic long-term expansion plans to be delivered in the coming years. To achieve such plans we have worked on attaining long-term financing at the lowest possible cost as well as the most convenient payment terms to match our cash flow generation while proceeding with our rollout plans. Our success in securing such financing agreement with the Chinese financial institutions and Huawei indicates our strong financial position and credit profile and marks the first of its kind in the telecom sector. The facility benefits Telecom Egypt by providing a simplified purchasing process through a packaged financial solution, while it allows Huawei to further expand its business in Egypt.”

Monday, May 14, 2018

Trump defends pivot on ZTE

In a follow-up tweet regarding ZTE, President Trump defended his decision to intervene in the case with the Department of Commerce, citing on-going trade negotiations and his personal relationship with President Xi.

Meanwhile, Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, said ZTE did "inappropriate things" referring to its violation of economic sanctions against Iran, but that his department would now consider "other remedies" instead of the current export ban of U.S. products to ZTE. Media sources also speculated that China was using the delayed approval process for Qualcomm's acquisition of NXP Semiconductor as its own bargaining chip in the ongoing bilateral trade negotiations.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Trump instructs Department of Commerce to save ZTE

In a tweet on Sunday morning, President Trump said he has instructed the Department of Commerce to find a way to get ZTE back into business fast because "too many jobs in China" would be lost. Trump's tweet also references President Xi of China.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/995680316458262533

FWD: The death of ZTE



Zhongxing Telecommunication Equipment Corporation (ZTE), one of the world's largest suppliers of network infrastructure products, informed the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that "the major operating activities of the Company have ceased".  If the notice means what we think it means, then ZTE is dead. It took only 3 weeks from the day that the U.S. Commerce Department' Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) issued its order prohibiting companies...


ZTE: Major operating activities have ceased



ZTE stated that "the major operating activities of the Company have ceased" due to the export ban imposed on it by the U.S. Commerce Department' Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). The announcement was made in a regulatory filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Trading of the company's shares have been suspended since April 16th. ZTE also said that it is actively communicating with the U.S. government in order to secure a reversal of the...


Three weeks in, ZTE appeals to U.S. Commerce Dept as shares remain suspended



ZTE has appealed to the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to lift the ban on the export of U.S. products to the company, according to a regulatory filing made by ZTE to the Hong Kong exchange. There is no word on whether the appeal will be heard or acted upon by BIS. Meanwhile, trading of ZTE's shares on the Hong Kong market remain suspended since April 16th. ZTE posted a Q1 growth rate of 12% prior to export ban...

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Alibaba's cloud revenue grew at 103% yoy pace in March quarter

Alibaba Group reported that its cloud division (Aliyun) generated revenue of RMB 4.385 billion (US$699 million) for its fiscal quarter ending 31-March-2018, representing 103% increase over the same period last year, and an 8% growth.

Aliyun currently represents 7% of Alibaba's overall revenue, which amounted to  RMB 61.932 billion (US$9.873 billion) for the quarter, an increase of 61% year-over-year.

The gross market value (GMV) transacted on Alibaba's China retail marketplaces for the full fiscal year ended 31-March-2018 was RMB 4,820 billion (US$768 billion), representing an accelerated year-over-year growth rate of 28% (compared to an annual growth rate of 22% in fiscal year 2017).

Some highlights of the Aliyun business

In the March 2018 quarter, Aliyun launched 316 new products and features, over 60 of which were
focused on artificial intelligence, data management and security.

Aliyun launched Link Edge, a proprietary edge computing software to enable the development of IoT applications in industries such as manufacturing, real estate and public facilities, such as airports and train stations.

Aliyun continues to expand its global footprint and customer base, most recently adding a new data
center in Indonesia, increasing the global footprint to 18 countries and regions worldwide.
Here are some selected large customers:

  • China National Petroleum Corporation, one of the largest petroleum companies in China, is building its procurement platform on Alibaba Cloud, leveraging private cloud, big data, and security products and services.
  • Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation is using the City Brain platform for traffic management in Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur. This platform leverages advanced technologies, including AI, big data analytics and computer vision to manage and optimize city traffic.
  • Cathay Pacific, a leading global airline headquartered in Hong Kong, adopted Alibaba's security and data protection consultancy services to protect its operations in China.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Chairman of ZTE says U.S. export ban is "unfair and unreasonable"

The Chairman of ZTE, Mr. Yin Yimin, issued a public statement acknowledging that the company is "in a very difficult situation," stating that his team is doing its utmost to solve this situation through active communication, and imploring the company's 80,000 employees to "be stable-minded and perform their respective duties."

The public statement comes nine days after the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has imposed a denial of export privileges order against ZTE for false statements in the case of shipping restricted technologies to Iran and North Korea during a period of international sanctions. The order prohibits the export of any item from the United States to ZTE.

In his statement, Mr. Yin Yimin describes the decision made by the U.S. Department of Commerce as "unfair and unreasonable punishment" and that the U.S. side is making a trade issue into a political one.

ZTE also noted that it owns over 69,000 global patents and that it has been a major contributor to global 5G standardization.

"Certainly, we shall strengthen our technological investment to make us more competitive,” said Mr. Yin Yimin. ZTE has been insisting in the independent innovation of key technologies and extending its R&D investment. The company’s R&D expenditure was RMB 12.96 billion in 2017, covering 11.9 % of its revenue.  ZTE has been continuously extending its investment in 5G R&D and related fields. To date, ZTE has formed a 5G R&D team with more than 4,500 professionals and annually invested around RMB 3 billion in 5G wireless R&D."

http://www.zte.com.cn/global/about/press-center/press-clipping/201804/201804232355

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Alibaba acquires C-SKY Microsystems for embedded IoT CPUs

Alibaba has acquired Hangzhou Zhongtian Microsystem Co. (C-SKY Microsystems, a leading developer of embedded CPUs, for an undisclosed sum.

C-SKY, which was founded in 2001 and is based in Hangzhou's Hi-Tech Zone, offers a series of 32-bit "C-SKY" embedded CPU cores based on independent intellectual property rights. The chips are widely used in Internet of Things intelligent hardware, digital audio and video, information security, networking and communications, industrial control, and automotive electronics.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Chinese regulators express concern over Qualcomm + NXP

China's Ministry of Commerce is expressing market consolidation concerns over Qualcomm's pending acquisition of NXP Semiconductor and its operations in China. The Ministry will require Qualcomm to resubmit its antitrust application with additional information.


  • NXP Semiconductors N.V., which headquartered in Eindhoven, Netherlands, employs approximately 45,000 people in more than 35 countries and is known for its mixed-signal semiconductor electronics. The company was known as Philips Semiconductor prior to 2006.  Key markets include automotive, broad-based microcontrollers, secure identification, network processing and RF power. NXP has a broad customer base, serving more than 25,000 customers through its direct sales channel and global network of distribution channel partners.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Alibaba Cloud launches services in Europe

Alibaba Cloud launched eight cloud services for European markets.

The services, which were introduced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, range from big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to infrastructure, security and private cloud solutions.

“Alibaba Cloud wants to be an enabler for technology innovation in Europe helping enterprises do business. The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is a great opportunity for us refresh our European strategy and consider how we can make an increasing contribution to the digital transformation of enterprises in this market from different sectors with our offerings and expertise,” said Yeming Wang, General Manager of Alibaba Cloud Europe.

Alibaba Cloud said it is committed to investing in cloud computing services and digital infrastructure in Europe. It opened its first availability zone in Frankfurt Germany in November 2016 and recently commenced operation of the second availability zone in the same region. To better serve its customers in Europe, Alibaba Cloud is establishing a technology ecosystem with European partners, such as Vodafone in Germany, the Met Office which is the national meteorological service for the UK, and Station F, an innovation hub in France.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Intel enters 5G pact with China's Unigroup Spreadtrum & RDA

Intel announced a strategic alliance with Unigroup Spreadtrum & RDA, a core subsidiary of Tsinghua Unigroup.

The plan is to develop a 5G smartphone platform for the China market that will feature an Intel 5G modem and will be targeted to coincide with 5G network deployments in 2019.

“Undoubtedly, China will be an important market at the forefront of 5G. Together with Unigroup Spreadtrum & RDA, Intel looks forward to making a 5G smartphone experience a compelling reality for consumers in China,” said Chenwei Yan, vice president in the Client Computing Group and general manager of Connected Products and Programs at Intel. “Intel is working with industry partners and network operators to accelerate 5G technology innovation across network, client and cloud. Through this effort, we will bring our modem expertise from years of research and development in driving standards, conducting trials, and building platforms to create a seamlessly connected, powerfully smart 5G future.”

“We are very excited to collaborate with Intel to build a leading 5G mobile platform. Unigroup Spreadtrum & RDA and Intel share the vision on transforming the mobile communication industry in the 5G era through technological innovation and innovation-driven revolution,” said Jingming Wang, vice president of Tsinghua Unigroup and COO of Unigroup Spreadtrum & RDA. “Drawing on the strong potential for global industry development and Intel’s profound technology experience, Unigroup Spreadtrum & RDA will persist on cultivating the 5G market and setting ourselves as a leading Chinese 5G high-end chipset brand.”

In 2014, Intel announced a minority stake investment in the holding company under Tsinghua Unigroup, which owns Spreadtrum Communications & RDA Microelectronics.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Combining Ride Hailing, Smart Cities, and Networking – part 1

Preamble: The world’s largest ride-hailing service is integrating its “DiDi Smart Transportation Brain” with the traffic planning authority in Beijing and other major Chinese cities to optimize the routing of its vehicles and lessen urban congestion. The AI system will pull data from traffic sensors and connected vehicles in a massive network application that will require the most advanced mobile and backhaul network.

On an average day, DiDi Chuxing, the ride-hailing service that acquired Uber China in August 2016, is enabling up to 25 million rides. Its app has been downloaded more than 450 million times. By the company’s reckoning, this makes it the world’s leading mobile transportation platform. There are over 21 million drivers in China signed up for DiDi and by some estimates, 80% of taxi fares in the big cities are now booked via its app.

DiDi has moved well beyond basic car rides. Its app now lets the user pick from a range of transportation options: Taxi, Express, Premier, Luxe, Hitch, Bus, Minibus, Designated Driving, Car Rental, Enterprise Solutions and even Bike-Sharing though the ubiquitous bluegogo brand. Hiring a bike on a short-term basis no longer requires a deposit –just the DiDi app and a valid user account. DiDi is now a simple and cashless way of travelling through China’s municipalities.

Business is booming too for Uber.  However, Uber and to some extent Lyft often finds itself in contentious relationships with the communities it serves. In the UK, Uber is beset by numerous legal and social difficulties. In September, Transport for London, stripped Uber of its license, accusing the company of being “unfit to operate.”  Last week, a protest against Uber by London black cab drivers caused gridlock across the city. Other municipalities are taking action as well. The City of York is the third British municipality that has acted to strip Uber of its license. In the EU, a recent ruling from the European court of justice (ECJ) has determined that Uber is a taxi operator and not an information service, requiring it to accept stricter regulation and licensing terms.  Even in its home market, Uber faces a slew of lawsuits from investors, ex-employees, customers and cities for a list of management missteps, improprieties, questionable business practices, data breaches and possibly criminal behaviour.

In contrast, DiDi Chuxing enjoys the implied endorsement of the Chinese government and the investment of all three of China’s Internet giants – Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent – as well as Apple and dozens of other high-profile investors. Better yet, there is a regulatory framework for the company to grow.  In July 2016, China became the first country to officially legalize ridesharing. This came about when seven of China's ministries, including the Ministry of Transport, jointly published "Preliminary Rules on the Management of Online Car-Booking".

DiDi Chuxing, which is headquartered in Beijing, was founded in 2012 by Cheng Wei, a former employee of Alibaba. The company’s inception came approximately three years after Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick established Uber, but in many ways, its brief life as a business has been just as eventful and even more meteoric.

From the outset, there were local rivals backed by various tech giants and a series of price wars. There were also protests by established taxi companies and their drivers. To gain size and stature, a merger with the biggest rival was necessary, followed by the acquisition of Uber China in August 2016, a deal that some called a forced marriage and others a marriage of convenience. (Uber retained a 5.89% interest in DiDi Chuxing, while DiDi Chuxing also got a minority interest in Uber Global).  The deal effectively consolidated the market in China, leaving this one big player and a much simpler regulatory job for government authorities.

DiDi Chuxing recent milestones
• Completed 7.43 billion rides in 2017. Launched accessible vehicles services with UNDP for disadvantaged people.
• Established a partnership with Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
• Started new joint venture projects to build EV charging networks.
• DiDi Labs opens new campus in Mountain View.
• Adopted Apple Pay as a new payment method
• Announced a strategic partnership with Taxify, a rideshare leader in Europe and Africa.
• Announced a strategic partnership with Careem, the leading ride-hailing and internet platform in the Middle East and North Africa.
• Released DiDi's first open source software, VirtualAPK, a flexible, lightweight and powerful plug-in framework for Android.
• Closed over USD 5.5 billion financing round to support global strategy and technology investments.
• Signed new Smart Transportation partnership with Shenzhen, after Tianjin, Nanjing and Shenyang.
• Launched an overseas car rental service

See also