Technology

Astronauts (from left) Ye Guangfu, Wang Yaping and Zhai Zhigang wave during a ceremony ahead of the launch of the Long March-2F Y13 rocket, carrying the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft and them in China's second crewed mission to build its own space station, at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center near Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, 15 October 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Can commercial space programmes take off in China?

EAI academic Qian Jiwei notes that as China’s space capabilities increase, the field is being opened up to private companies. This move is likely to spark off greater innovation and efficiency for the industry and give China a leg up in the space race, but challenges exist in offering targeted policies and managing innovative outputs.
A logo of Tencent is seen during the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, 23 November 2020. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Tencent struggles to grow amid crackdowns and competition

Hit by China's regulatory crackdowns, increased competition and slowing growth, Chinese internet titan Tencent had a tough 2021. The company has had to restructure and expand its international revenue streams, and it is now faced with tough layoffs. How is it staying relevant in the tech game, and does this mean that "winter is coming" for the internet giant?
An electronic screen displays the stock figures for companies including Tencent Holdings Ltd., Meituan and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in Hong Kong, China, on 15 March 2022. (Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

No funding, no market. What now for China's tech companies?

The US capital market has been the main source of large-scale funding for Chinese tech companies, even as they compete for a slice of their home market. However, with the ongoing US-China trade war and Russia-Ukraine war, US capital is not flowing as readily into China as before, while China’s anti-monopoly crackdown has narrowed down tech companies’ growth prospects. Tech expert Yin Ruizhi explores the issue.
An attendee wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset takes part in a concert experience in the metaverse at the SK Telecom Co. stand on the opening day of the MWC Barcelona at the Fira de Barcelona venue in Barcelona, Spain, on 28 February 2022. (Angel Garcia/Bloomberg)

Metaverse: What is it and who's in control?

The phrase “metaverse” has been bandied about but what exactly is it and how far along is the project? Academic James Pang and entrepreneur Liang Xinjun explain that the implications of this development are larger than most think. The metaverse is not so much a sub-world to enter into on the side but the integration of the real and virtual worlds and economic systems, essentially creating a new world with new governance structures and norms. US and Chinese firms are, of course, racing to get a big slice of the future.
A user demonstrates the Owo vest, which allows users to feel physical sensations during metaverse experiences such as virtual reality games, including wind, gunfire or punching, at the Consumer Electronics Show on 5 January 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP)

Metaverse: Why Microsoft is acquiring Activision

Technology expert Yin Ruizhi notes that Microsoft’s recent announcement to acquire gaming company Activision Blizzard is not just about breaking into the gaming market, but an important step towards building its capabilities to develop the metaverse. Can it succeed and will other Western tech giants follow?
People check a display near a Huawei logo during a media day for the Auto Shanghai show in Shanghai, China, 19 April 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Huawei: China's Tesla challenger in the making?

Huawei has long denied that it will enter the auto manufacturing industry. Instead, the company has emphasised its partnership with automakers to build autonomous driving technology. However, since the launch of a luxury electric SUV, the M5, the market has begun speculating whether Huawei’s stance on the auto business has changed.
A student cycles past a wall mural in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on 10 December 2021. (Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP)

Huawei digital talent programme: Another source of China's soft power in Indonesia

Huawei’s digital talent programme in Indonesia is contributing to China’s soft power as the latter seeks to engage Indonesia as an important node of its Belt and Road Initiative. Indonesia stands to gain from the exchange but also needs to be wary of possible cybersecurity concerns.
Charles Lieber leaves federal court after he and two Chinese nationals were charged with lying about their alleged links to the Chinese government, in Boston, Massachusetts, US, 30 January 2020. (Katherine Taylor/Reuters)

US must not be naive about intentions of China’s Thousand Talents Plan

The recent conviction of former Harvard department head Charles Lieber has cast the spotlight once again on China’s Thousand Talents Plan to attract global scientific talent to contribute their expertise to China. The American scientific community is pushing back against some of the US government’s harsh reprisals, but Hu Hao says strong action is warranted as the threat of authoritarian regimes seeking to gain technical knowledge to threaten democratic and liberal values is real.
A man wears a VR headset at a booth during the DCentral Miami Conference at the Miami Airport Convention Centre on 1 December 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/AFP)

Metaverse: Plans of the tech giants

When it comes to the metaverse, the various tech giants are taking different approaches, from conservative to aggressive. Technology expert Yin Ruizhi takes a look at three major players — Facebook, Nvidia, and Tencent — and their respective strategies, and how they are likely to contribute to building the metaverse.