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In this file photo taken on 23 October 2019, a Facebook employee tries out an Oculus device at the company's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, California. (Josh Edelson/AFP)

China-US competition: Who will set the rules in a digital world?

Analyst Zheng Weibin says that while the China-US competition is a tussle for power that some would compare to the Cold War of the 20th century, digital technology is making all the difference in the 21st century. Today's competition is taking place amid changing definitions of national strength and economic power, and China needs to catch up in terms of growing its digital economy and meeting the challenges that come with it.
A man checks his phone while walking in Lujiazui financial district during sunset in Pudong, Shanghai, China, 13 July 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Kai-Fu Lee: Five ways artificial intelligence will put China ahead

Dr Kai-Fu Lee recently spoke at a summit reviewing the development of artificial intelligence. He gave five predictions about the industrial changes that would be brought about by the combination of artificial intelligence and other new technologies. Lee feels these changes would allow China to lead the world in science and technology in the next 20 years or so. This is the edited version of his speech.
Traders work during the IPO for Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Global Inc on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) floor in New York City, US, 30 June 2021. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

If not the US, can the Chinese government provide better IPO choices for internet companies?

Analyst Zheng Weibin notes that the clampdown on Didi shows that the competitive relationship between China and the US has affected the global interactions of tech giants, and political factors will matter more in global investments of startups in China. In the aftermath, will technological innovations such as digital manufacturing through artificial intelligence be straitjacketed?
People watch a lights performance at TelcoDR Cloud City during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, 29 June 2021. (Albert Gea/Reuters)

China’s cloud war: Huawei leading the three-cornered fight? [Part 1]

In recent years and since the pandemic led to the surge in live streaming, e-learning and other online activities, the demand for cloud computing and related services has increased significantly. Chinese companies led by frontrunners Huawei, Tencent and Alibaba are launching into all-out competition in the cloud services sector. In particular, Huawei Cloud experienced a surge in year-on-year earnings of 168%, despite US sanctions. Huawei Cloud is also aiming to clinch the top spot in the sector, erstwhile occupied by Alibaba Cloud. Caixin journalist Zhang Erchi takes a deep dive into the issue to get a sense of who's really leading the fight. In part one of the story, he focuses on Huawei.
The app of Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi is seen on a mobile phone in front of the company logo displayed in this illustration picture taken on 1 July 2021. (Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo/Reuters)

Why platform companies seek monopoly and what happens when governments rein them in

Leaked data from one platform company may not pose a major national security threat, but data from multiple platforms combined might, warns technology specialist Yin Ruizhi. As countries become more wary of internet security risks, it will be increasingly difficult for platform companies to get listed overseas. What is the alternative then?
A man walks past the headquarters building of Chinese ride-hailing service Didi in Beijing, China, 5 July 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Why is Beijing punishing Didi?

China’s online ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing was listed in the US on the eve of the Chinese Communist Party’s 100th anniversary, only for the authorities to announce a cybersecurity investigation into Didi just two days later. Along with other actions taken against major companies such as the Ant group, Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu asks: Is there a political message for Didi and other companies?
A couple wearing face masks share a laugh as they take pictures a bridge at the Hou Hai lake in Beijing on 16 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Love in the cloud: China’s emerging livestream matchmaking industry

It was probably a matter of time before online entrepreneurs found a way to meet the perennial demand for love and marriage in China — through livestream matchmaking. From the looks of it, it is a match made in heaven. Over the past two years, scores of people, particularly in smaller cities and towns, have used “cloud dating” mobile live-streaming apps to chat with prospective matches in real time. Seeing opportunity, various platforms like Alibaba, Tencent, Momo, Huya TV, Inke, and Huajiao have entered the fray. Covid-19 has made it even more common to seek out remote means of having one’s head in the clouds, basking in the novelty of new love. Zaobao journalist Zeng Shi has the details.
Pedestrians walk past a Chinese flag in the Lujiazui financial district in Shanghai, China, on 1 December 2020. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China to clamp down on monopolies and spur domestic demand

The meeting of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party last week in preparation for the annual Central Economic Work Conference gave a clear indication of China’s economic direction: it is going full steam ahead on shaping a dual circulation economy driven predominantly by domestic demand. In seeking to implement demand-side reforms, deep-seated social issues and monopolistic tendencies will be addressed.
Where is the world headed? George Yeo explores the issues. (iStock)

George Yeo: Human solidarity in a fragmenting world

From a look at the recent street protests and happenings in Hong Kong, Singapore's former Foreign Minister George Yeo explores issues of social media, societal fragmentation, wealth inequality, and big data that have implications for the wider world. Will big data and AI lead to an ever-growing concentration of power? Is the future destined for the dystopia envisioned in George Orwell’s 1984? Or will clever computer minds succeed in creating decentralised internet webs and decentralised AI? While human relationships and institutions adapt to the revolution in technology, we can expect a long transition marked by disruption and confusion. What is needed to overcome the present phase? This is George Yeo's speech at the Induction Comitia 2020 of the Academy of Medicine Singapore on 17 January 2020.