Technology Bulletin

    • ByteDance Launches New Search Engine in China
    • Aug 20, 2019
    • "ByteDance, the owner of popular short-video app TikTok, has launched a new search engine in China. The domain for the new search engine, Toutiao Search, s... View More
      "ByteDance, the owner of popular short-video app TikTok, has launched a new search engine in China. The domain for the new search engine, Toutiao Search, sits within the company’s flagship product - Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao. The company is moving beyond its core businesses in news and video. ByteDance is one of the most valued tech start-ups in China and was valued at US$75 billion in 2018, surpassing Baidu and JD.com. Its search product is a natural extension of its popular news aggregator product, which already provides an abundant source of information for users. The new search engine also provides another means of monetization for ByteDance." - Mengmeng Zhang (Source: Reuters)
    • China Auto Sales Slumped Again in July- 13th Decli...
    • Aug 13, 2019
    • "July retail sales of light passenger vehicles in China fell 5.3% from a year earlier to 1.51 million units. Escalating trade tensions with the US, a cooli... View More
      "July retail sales of light passenger vehicles in China fell 5.3% from a year earlier to 1.51 million units. Escalating trade tensions with the US, a cooling economy and tighter emission rules are prolonging the carmakers and dealers’ sales slump in the country. The declines of local brands Geely and BYD have been particularly steep. BMW, Daimler, Honda and Toyota, however, are seeing some boost in their sales this year, albeit through offering higher discounts. While the year-ago sales for August month may show some improvement, it would most likely be from the lower base effect, rather than an improving sales rate. With the recent decline in July, we now project an overall annual drop in China’s car sales for 2019." - Vinay Piparsania (Source: Bloomberg)
    • Dongfeng and PSA Plans to Shut Two Plants and Halv...
    • Aug 13, 2019
    • "Amid the slowdown (from 2018) in China, Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën Automobile Co. Ltd plans to shut two of its plants and reduce its workforce to 5,000... View More
      "Amid the slowdown (from 2018) in China, Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën Automobile Co. Ltd plans to shut two of its plants and reduce its workforce to 5,000 from 8,000 in 2019, and to 4,000 by 2022. PSA has struggled in China with sales declining to 251,700 in 2018 from 731,000 in 2014. PSA plans to reduce costs, improve pricing and drop non-performing vehicles, mirroring the turnaround strategy already adopted in Europe. Major challenges for PSA include maintaining a strong relationship with Dongfeng, keeping the company in confidence while implementing the strategy, and finding potential buyer/buyers for its two plants. " - Aman Madhok (Source: Automotive News)
    • Singapore Tightening Regulations on Ride-Hailing O...
    • Aug 13, 2019
    • "Singapore is looking to enhance regulatory oversight on ride-hailing operators, such as Grab and Go-Jek. Based on a new bill outlined in Singapore’s... View More
      "Singapore is looking to enhance regulatory oversight on ride-hailing operators, such as Grab and Go-Jek. Based on a new bill outlined in Singapore’s Parliament, ride-hailing operators with at least 800 vehicles will now need to be licensed, while normal taxi companies will have a different license. Before 2013, there were 28,000 taxis. Currently, there are nearly 20,000 taxis and 45,000 private hire cars. The bill will provide the Land Transport Authority the mandate to supervise licensed operators. Unlicensed operators could face fines up to S$10,000 (roughly US$7,200) or imprisonment for as long as six months, or both.  Singapore authorities are looking to strike the right balance between innovative and traditional transport options of commuters and drivers while ensuring safety and encouraging innovation in the sector." - Vinay Piparsania (Source: Bloomberg)
    • Amazon's Scout Autonomous Delivery Robot Is Now Te...
    • Aug 13, 2019
    • "Scout, Amazon’s autonomous delivery robot, has now expanded its delivery range, moving to the second phase of its testing in Irvine, California. Sco... View More
      "Scout, Amazon’s autonomous delivery robot, has now expanded its delivery range, moving to the second phase of its testing in Irvine, California. Scout has an array of sensors that help it navigate streets, sidewalks, driveways and other random day-to-day obstacles safely. It is another effort by Amazon to add more technology and automation into its delivery infrastructure and reduce operating costs. Amazon already uses hundreds of thousands of robots in its warehouses to store and move around shelves of products. It has also been developing drones to deliver packages to customers in less than 30 minutes as well. Accumulating and utilizing data from the Scout's shipping operations can help Amazon improve the delivery service quality and efficiency. Depending on how effective they are and how Amazon customers perceive them, these small autonomous robots will likely represent the leading edge of worldwide robotic delivery." - Liz Lee (Source: CNET)
    • Growing Industry-Wide Divide on the Role of HEV
    • Aug 13, 2019
    • "GM and Volkswagen have announced plans to invest in pure electric vehicles (EVs), viewing hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) only as a bridge to meet stringe... View More
      "GM and Volkswagen have announced plans to invest in pure electric vehicles (EVs), viewing hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) only as a bridge to meet stringent emission regulations in China and Europe. Ford and Toyota are still investing in HEVs cashing on the present demand for these vehicles. However, there is a growing industry-wide dilemma regarding the future of HEVs, as the industry continues to make losses selling pure EVs, coupled with car-buyers concerns on EV range. Due to this, some automakers are finding pure EVs a risky strategy." - Aman Madhok (Source: Wall Street Journal)
    • Samsung Has Stated That It Expects Its First Proce...
    • Aug 6, 2019
    • "As per AMD and Samsung’s recent announcement, AMD will license its custom graphics IP, based on RDNA graphics architecture (a GPU microarchitecture)... View More
      "As per AMD and Samsung’s recent announcement, AMD will license its custom graphics IP, based on RDNA graphics architecture (a GPU microarchitecture), to Samsung. This is a win-win deal for both companies as the need for higher processing power in a smartphone keeps on increasing with the increase of camera image optimization, voice assistance, AI and AR/VR capabilities. Thus, Samsung wants to stay in close competition with other Chinese competitors, who are very aggressive about using machine learning technology in a smartphone. On the other hand, AMD will get a chance to enter into the smartphone ecosystem, which it was not able to, so far due to limited power-efficient processing technology. With continued innovation and increase in processing power of smart devices, low power GPU technology will be mainstream for smart devices in the next two years." - Pavel Naiya (Source: Gadgets 360)
    • Samsung New Galaxy Watch Active 2 with New Upgrade...
    • Aug 6, 2019
    • "Ahead of the Galaxy Note 10, Samsung has already launched Galaxy Watch 2, which came just six months after its previous generation and has brought ba... View More
      "Ahead of the Galaxy Note 10, Samsung has already launched Galaxy Watch 2, which came just six months after its previous generation and has brought back the rotating bezel. It has haptic-based touch controls, unlike the mechanical rotating bezel. Samsung also has added an LTE model, ECG support, Bluetooth 5 and upgraded sensors for activity detection. These features are similar to the Apple Watch but the ecosystem for the Galaxy Watch is not as strong as Apple. Lack of app support is because of the fact that Galaxy Watch is based on its own Tizen OS. Moreover, if we look at multi-sports tracking, there are much better offerings like Garmin, Sunnto etc. Therefore, this watch is for novice users who want to use a digital smartwatch with activity tracking. For such users, this is a good buy considering the price point." - Parv Sharma (Source: The Verge)
    • Tiktok Owner ByteDance Developing a Smartphone
    • Aug 6, 2019
    • "TikTok owner ByteDance is developing a smartphone and is making the move after acquiring patents and employees from device-maker Smartisan. We have seen s... View More
      "TikTok owner ByteDance is developing a smartphone and is making the move after acquiring patents and employees from device-maker Smartisan. We have seen several cases of software companies branching out into hardware devices (smartphones) to expand their apps, but so far, such companies have had little success. It is hard to make a conclusion right now, but if ByteDance brings smartphones to market, it is likely to face a gloomy future like Facebook or Amazon." - Sujeong Lim (Source: BBC News)
    • Your Next iPhone Might Be Made in Vietnam. Thank t...
    • Aug 6, 2019
    • "Vietnam has done well in attracting manufacturers looking to reduce the dependency on China amid the US-China trade war. Its export incentives are favorab... View More
      "Vietnam has done well in attracting manufacturers looking to reduce the dependency on China amid the US-China trade war. Its export incentives are favorable, and labor costs are low. But working with Apple demands a different set of criteria which involve not just investments but also the ability to scale with utmost quality. This is something which comes with experience, and very few suppliers will be able to pull it off. Foxconn has recently acquired land use rights in Vietnam which is an indication of a possible future iPhone assembling in Vietnam" - Tarun Pathak (Source: The New York Times)

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