Category: China

Watch: Unboxing a $1,000 mail order electric car from China

China makes and consumes more electric vehicles than any other nation in the world. It just so happens to make some of the most bizarre ones too. The good folks over at Jalopnik, an online motoring magazine, have given us a look behind the curtain with one of their latest videos. In it, they unbox what is apparently world’s cheapest new car. The all-electric Changli — no, I’d never heard of it either. Jason Torchinsky, Jalopnik’s senior editor, has the pleasure of unveiling the unique ride and, well, it’s certainly cheap. While the “car” started out at around $930 (Torchinsky got…

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Report: Polestar to build more Chinese showrooms to compete with Tesla

China is, and has been for a while, the world’s leader in electric vehicle (EV) manufacture and consumption. To better compete in this market, Polestar’s parent company Geely is going to build more showrooms. Presently, Polestar has just one showroom in mainland China, Channel News Asia reports. However, according to sources close to the matter, Geely is planning to build 19 more in hopes it’ll help the company compete with the Chinese made Tesla Model 3. [Read: China’s Xpeng ‘copies’ Tesla’s website after allegedly ‘stealing’ Autopilot source code] Most of the new showrooms will reportedly open in the third quarter…

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US joins G7 AI alliance to counter China’s influence

The US is joining the rest of the G7 in the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence, in an effort to contain China‘s influence on AI. The initiative was launched in 2019 to build a consensus on AI ethics, but has made little impact since — partly because the US initially refused to join. White House officials feared the group would damage US tech firms, even though its recommendations aren’t legally binding and it can’t regulate private companies. Cédric O, France’s digital affairs minister, had warned the US that its decision would help China export its authoritarian approach to AI. “If you don’t want a Chinese model…

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YouTube removed phrase critical of Chinese government due to AI error

For the last few weeks, users have noticed that particular Chinese expressions have been automatically removed from YouTube comments. After rampant speculation about why Google would want these phrases — both of which are critical of the Chinese government — to be banned, it now claims it was an error by its machine learning software. YouTube has deleted every comment I ever made about the Wumao (五毛), an internet propaganda division of the Chinese Communist Party. Who at Google decided to censor American comments on American videos hosted in America by an American platform that is already banned in China?…

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Chinese city’s health-tracking surveillance tech set to outlast the pandemic

A Chinese city plans to turn its contact-tracing app into a permanent health tracker, deepening fears that surveillance tech introduced to fight COVID-19 will outlast the pandemic. Authorities in the eastern city of Hangzhou have proposed combining medical records, physical exam results, and data on lifestyle choices to create a healthcare score for citizens. Officials said the system would be a “firewall to enhance people’s health and immunity,” the Guardian reports. They aim to launch the app by the end of next month. Each of the city’s 10 million residents would be given a colored health badge based on a collation of this data, and a…

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China’s latest AI news anchor mimics human voices and gestures in 3D

Chinese state news agency Xinhua has added an AI 3D news anchor to its lineup of virtual presenters. Named Xin Xiaowei, the publicity stunt avatar was jointly developed by Xinhua and search engine Sogou. The 3D anchor is modeled on Zhao Wanwei, a real-life reporter for the news agency. Her digital counterpart is brought to life by “multi-modal recognition and synthesis, facial recognition and animation and transfer learning,” according to Sogou. The company claims that this allows it to imitate human voices, facial expressions, lip movements, and mannerisms using only text inputs. [Read: New Zealand’s first AI police officer reports for duty] Check it out in…

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US bans companies from selling chips to Huawei

The Trump administration plans to block shipments of semiconductors to Huawei, ramping up tensions between the US and China. The new rules will force foreign semiconductor manufacturers that use US technology to get a license from American officials before shipping products to Huawei. That’ll be a big blow to the Chinese tech giant, which needs semiconductors produced overseas for its smartphones and telecoms equipment. The US commerce department said the restrictions were a response to Huawei and its semiconductor subsidiary HiSilicon skirting export controls introduced last year. [Read: Trump extends the Huawei ban to 2021] “This is not how a responsible global corporate…

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China’s CEOs are making millions by selling their products on livestreams

In the past few years, retail-streaming has become a rapidly growing ecommerce channel in China, with all manners of salespeople directly selling goods to consumers on an ecommerce livestream. While influencers and celebrities are the most familiar faces seen on retail-streams, recently, executives of major Chinese corporations have also appeared in front of the live camera.  Some of these efforts yielded lucrative results — Li Jing, president of the home accessories business Mendale Textile, for instance, achieved $3.5 million worth of sales for his company on a four-hour livestream in March. James Liang, the executive chairman & former CEO of the…

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China plans to build world’s first airport for self-flying vehicles

A Chinese company claims it’s building the world’s first airport for autonomous flying vehicles. The project is the brainchild of flying carmaker Ehang, which plans to build the tourism-focused terminal in Hezhou, a city of 2 million people in southern China. The company aims to open the e-port by the end of 2020, and will use 20 of its two-seater autonomous planes for aerial sightseeing around the city. EHang says the three-story terminal will be spread across 2,500 square meters. On the rooftop, four landing pads will be used by the self-flying vehicles. Inside the building, there will be a reception hall, a passenger waiting area,…

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AI-powered smart glasses are finding people with coronavirus in China

Security officers in China are wearing AI-powered smart glasses to find people with a fever, one of the main symptoms of the coronavirus. The specs use a thermal imaging camera to measure someone’s temperature from up to 1 metre away. The glasses were developed by AI startup Rokid, which claims each set can check the temperature of several hundred people in just two minutes, the South China Morning Post reports. When the devices identify someone with a fever, they send an automatic alert to staff and make a digital record. [Read: Google’s AI-powered smart glasses help the blind to see] The specs…

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