Li Tao

Li Tao

Senior Reporter, Technology

Li Tao is a contributor to Inkstone. Based in Shenzhen, he is a technology reporter for the South China Morning Post.

Location
Shenzhen
Language spoken
English, Mandarin
Areas of Expertise
Technology, business news
Apple’s new AirPods goes on sale today. Knock-offs could be yours tomorrow
Chinese factories are said to be rushing to knock off the latest versions of Apple’s Airpod Pro earbuds that go on sale in the US on Wednesday for $249. “We will have earphones identical to Apple’s AirPods Pro available for sale very soon, possibly within the next two or three days,” a gadget wholesaler in the southern tech hub of Shenzhen, surnamed Fu, said on Tuesday morning. AirPods have become Apple’s second-best-selling product of all time. With a new noise cancellation feature, the new AirPods are Apple’s priciest headphones to date. In a poll of 70,000 people conducted by Sina Tech, more than 60% of respondents said the AirPods Pro were too expensive, 20% expressed willingness to buy
How Taiwan became a global force in chip production
On a chilly day in February 1974, seven men gathered over breakfast at a soy milk stall in Taipei to map out Taiwan’s foray into semiconductor manufacturing. In an anecdote that is now legendary, Pan Wen-yuan, who was then a US-based research director at Radio Corporation of America (RCA), advised Sun Yun-suan, the minister for economic affairs, to develop integrated circuits. It would cost $10 million and four years for the technology to take root in Taiwan, Pan said. The plan was approved, and Taiwan managed to persuade RCA, then a dominant electronics company in the US, to agree in 1976 to transfer semiconductor technology. That April, a first batch of engineers were sent to RCA’s facilit
New iPhones’ lack of 5G support makes Chinese consumers ‘think twice’
Self-proclaimed iPhone loyalist Sam Zhang must soon decide on whether to continue using Apple’s flagship product or switch to a Chinese-brand smartphone. The X factor: 5G. “I typically use an iPhone model for two to three years,” said 25-year-old Zhang, who has an iPhone 7 Plus and works for a foreign company in the southern coastal city of Shenzhen. “So if I buy the new iPhone 11, I won’t be able to use a 5G data plan for the next two to three years, which would be pretty dumb if everyone else is using the latest mobile service.” Other iPhone users in the world’s largest smartphone market could also be prompted to make a similar decision, dampening the outlook on the mainland for the latest
Huawei lures top talent with pay five times market rate
As US-China tension threatens to sever the access that Chinese firms have to foreign know-how and markets, Huawei Technologies is racing to develop its own technology – by writing fat paychecks. The Shenzhen-based telecommunications equipment giant is prepared to pay successful candidates at least five times what their peers are making, Huawei said in a recruitment post on its WeChat account. Having the talent to develop proprietary technology has taken on increasing strategic importance for Chinese companies amid America's and China’s competition for supremacy in advanced technologies. Huawei is looking for people “who have made extraordinary achievements in mathematics, computer science, p
Huawei to roll out its own operating system
Chinese smartphone giant Huawei, which could soon be banned from buying US components and technology, is planning to launch its own operating system. Huawei’s mobile business chief executive Richard Yu Chengdong said the company’s own OS will be able to power its smartphones, computers and several other gadgets. It will also be compatible with all Android applications and existing web applications, Yu said, according to a report published by Chinese newspaper Securities Times on Tuesday. “The Huawei OS is likely to hit the market as soon as this fall, and no later than spring next year,” said Yu. Huawei did not immediately verify or comment on the report. Shenzhen-based Huawei, which uses G
Huawei goes nuclear on the US government
Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has sued the American government and accused it of hacking, a move that is likely to raise the stakes in a legal and technological fight between the United States and China. Huawei has filed a lawsuit against the US government in a bid to overturn a ban on its products, the company said on Thursday in Shenzhen. It also accused the US of previously hacking into its servers, though it provided no fresh evidence to support the charge. The lawsuit and the hacking accusation could force the US government to disclose in more detail its case against Huawei, as it seeks to shut out the Chinese telecoms equipment maker from building the next-generation 5G mobile network
How a little-known Chinese upstart came to power the world’s telecoms
Before 2004, few mobile network operators in Europe had heard of Huawei Technologies, much less considered it a potential supplier. But that changed after the Chinese company proved to a small Dutch operator how far it was willing to go to serve its customers. Daunted by the costs of deploying a 3G network, the Dutch cellular communications provider Telfort entered into talks with Huawei, then a scrappy upstart with just a handful of employees in Europe. On top of the prevailing market price, Telfort also had another potentially bigger problem – it did not have the space to house the necessary equipment at its base stations. Huawei, which was desperate to break into the European market, spra
China wants to have its own Silicon Valley by 2035
China has announced ambitious plans to build its own “bay area” to rival Silicon Valley in technological might. The Chinese government has pledged to turn the so-called Greater Bay Area, which comprises 11 cities in southern China, into a global tech and financial center. The area is already the country’s most economically dynamic region, containing the tech hub of Shenzhen, the financial center of Hong Kong and the gambling hub of Macau. The initiative is part of China’s overall push to shift away from low-end manufacturing and build an economy driven by consumption and innovation. It also aims to bring the two former European colonies of Hong Kong and Macau, now semi-autonomous territories
Bad news from China spells big trouble for Apple
The bear is coming for Apple. Shares of the world’s most valuable publicly traded company fell 4% on Monday to $185.86. That’s almost 20% below their peak on October 3, nearing what stock analysts call a bear market. No one knows for certain what has caused the stock selloff. But reports that Apple has cut orders from Chinese suppliers indicate that demand for its new iPhones isn’t as high as the company had predicted. The iPhone is Apple’s flagship cash cow, accounting for the bulk of its total revenue. But two months after it announced its latest iPhone models, Apple told two component suppliers in China that it was reducing orders by around 30% from what was originally planned, two people
China makes AI news anchors – but we’re still in the uncanny valley
There’s something strange about this news anchor.   He’s not human. Instead, this is the latest technological achievement touted by China: a digital news anchor, powered by artificial intelligence. Developed based on the faces, voices, lip movements and expressions of human anchors, its inventors say the AI anchors will be able to deliver news 24 hours a day, seven days a week – as long as they’re given a script. The AI anchors, developed by state news agency Xinhua and Beijing-based search engine operator Sogou, were launched during the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen on Wednesday.   Xinhua said that the move was not just a “breakthrough” in AI technology, but also the first example of