Author: Jon Russell

Trump says ZTE will pay $1.3B fine and overhaul its management to continue US business

TECHCRUNCH U.S. President Donald Trump has claimed that Chinese telecom firm ZTE will pay a $1.3 billion fine and undergo a significant overhaul of its management team in order to remain operational in North America. ZTE looked to be in dire straits when it ceased its business in the U.S. earlier this month after a Department of Commerce order banned U.S. partners from selling components to the company in response to it flouting trade bans in Iran and North Korea. The company has since been reprised — a strategy move within the U.S.-China trade stand-off — but Trump said today that its new life comes at a cost. That’s apparently a $1.3 billion fine, a new management team and board, and “high-level security guarantees.” Senator Schumer and Obama Administration let phone company ZTE flourish with no security checks. I closed it down then let it reopen with high level security guarantees, change of management and board, must purchase U.S. parts and pay a $1.3 Billion fine. Dems do nothing…. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2018 Trump previously took to Twitter to break news of ZTE’s reprieve and today, while aiming to score political points, he gave insight into why ZTE is being given another chance. ZTE has over 70,000 employees, it grossed more than $17 billion in annual revenue and it maintains close ties to the Chinese government....

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Take a look at your Twitter timeline 10 years ago

TECHCRUNCH Here’s a fun thing for a Friday: go back and see what your Twitter timeline looked like 10 years ago. Twitter has pretty powerful search settings, but Andy Baio — of Kickstarter fame and more — did the heavy-lifting for us all by sharing a link that let’s you look at your timeline exactly a decade ago, assuming you followed the same people. Try it here. (The search will work even if you didn’t have an account 10 years ago.) Want to see what your Twitter timeline would’ve looked like 10 years ago today, if you followed all the...

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Go-Jek officially announces Southeast Asia expansion to fill void left by Uber’s exit

TECHCRUNCH There’s good news for consumers in Southeast Asia who are feeling the void after Uber left the region. That’s because Go-Jek, the Indonesia-based ride-hailing company backed by Google, Tencent and others, has officially announced plans to move into four new markets. Go-Jek said today it will move into Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines initially offering ride-hailing but with plans to additional services, including on-demand shopping and services, over time. The company began offering a bike taxi service in Indonesia but has moved to taxis, private cars, mobile payments, food delivery and services like massages on-demand. The firm said...

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Apple introduces new privacy portal to comply with GDPR

TECHCRUNCH Apple is the latest tech giant to make changes to comply with GDPR, the EU’s privacy data rules, after it introduced a new website that shows customers exactly what personal data it holds on them. Accessible via an ‘Apple ID Data & Privacy’ website — which was first spotted by 9to5Mac — Apple customers can request access to the full gamut of personal data, which includes sign-in history, contacts, calendar, notes, photos and documents, as well as services such as Apple Music, the App Store, iTunes, and Apple Care. Dependent on the data records selected, Apple may take...

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Startups can now apply to take part in Google’s first Demo Day event in Asia

TECHCRUNCH Google is bringing its Demo Day event to Asia for the first time this September and now the search giant has opened applications for startups wanting to take part. Google’s Demo Day are akin to a short version of an early-stage startup program. As the name suggests its a Demo Day but without the months-long program leading up to it. The company instead identifies promising companies, and it works with them ahead of the demo day to give mentoring, coaching and perfect a pitch that is delivered to VCs and others from Google’s entrepreneurship network who attend the demo day. Aside from working closely with Google and earnings Google Cloud credits, Google says its events help get startups connected and raise capital. To that end, it says that startups which have pitched at Demo Days have raised a cumulative $259 million from investors. Events have been held in North America and Europe, with some participating companies from Asia, but this coming event — which takes place in Shanghai on September 20 — will be the first on Asian soil. Companies wishing to apply should visit the sign-up site before the deadline of July 1 at 11:59 pm SGT. The move is a further sign that Google is escalating its presence in Asia, and particularly in China. In past months, we’ve seen Google agree to a partnership with Tencent,  invest in China-based startups — biotech-focused XtalPi and live-streaming service Cushou —...

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Baidu spins out its global ad business to sharpen its focus on artificial intelligence

TECHCRUNCH Baidu, the Chinese search giant, is spinning out its business unit responsible for utility apps and its mobile ad business to sharpen its focus on artificial intelligence. As part of the spin-out, Baidu is selling a large chunk of its equity in the ‘Global DU’ business to as-yet-undisclosed investors. The plan is to sell “a majority equity stake” in order to take Global DU independent. Once the deal is completed — it is targeted at a Q3 2018 timeframe — Baidu’s share of the business will drop to around 34 percent. Further, the business is likely to raise additional...

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Tencent leads $50M investment in NewsDog, an app vying to be India’s Toutiao

TECHCRUNCH The growth of China’s Bytedance, an ambitious $30 billion tech firm, and its highly-addictive Toutiao news aggregator app has set off a search for services with similar growth potential across the world. India, second in population only to China with rapidly-growing internet access, is an obvious place to look, and would-be pretender to the Toutiao crown has been found in the shape of NewsDog, a Chinese company that stumbled on success in India. Today, NewsDog announced a $50 million Series C round led by Chinese internet giant Tencent. Toutiao is a phenomenon in China. The app has around...

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Alibaba’s newest initiative aims to make Hong Kong a global AI hub

TECHCRUNCH Alibaba is teaming up with SenseTime, the world’s highest-valued AI startup, to launch a not-for-profit artificial intelligence lab in Hong Kong in a bid to make the city a global hub for artificial intelligence. Alibaba, which is SenseTime’s largest single investor thanks to a recent $600 million round at a valuation of $4.5 billion, is providing financing for the “HKAI Lab” through its Hong Kong entrepreneurship fund. SenseTime said it will contribute too, although the total amount of capital backing the initiative hasn’t been revealed. The partners of the project — which also includes the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks...

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