Tech

Tech

The coronavirus has forever altered how China studies and works
With the coronavirus outbreak crippling normal life in China, technology has rushed to the fore on many fronts as a literal lifesaver. Robots in hospitals, health code apps, online education and remote working all played crucial roles in keeping the country operational with most of the population trapped in self-isolation. But as the devastating outbreak starts to ease within China, and life gradually returns to normal, many are asking whether the pandemic will leave a permanent mark on the way people work and live. The pandemic may even accelerate long-term trends such as the digitalization of education, work and even people.  Xu Yuting, an 18-year-old high school student in eastern China’s
Huawei says it’s coping with coronavirus and US sanctions just fine
While the coronavirus pandemic may have forced many companies in China and around the world to hit the pause button on business operations, engineers at Huawei Technologies have been working round the clock to combat the crisis. The world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier and China’s biggest smartphone maker has been motivated by a sense of mission, said Ren Zhengfei, founder and chief executive of Huawei, as he sat down for an interview with the South China Morning Post this week. “Over 20,000 scientists, experts and engineers worked overtime during the Lunar New Year holiday, because we’re racing to develop new [technologies],” Ren said, referring to the work in progress as “
Virus outbreak gives China a convenient reason to collect more data
The coronavirus outbreak has allowed Chinese authorities and companies to scoop up an ever-expanding set of data on citizens, raising questions about privacy and the protection of personal information. “I have no excuse to reject requests by the authorities to share my personal data when it is done in the name of public safety,” said Wang Junyao, a 29-year-old engineer in Shenzhen. “But what about when the virus ends? Surely the conflict between data collection and privacy will only intensify.” While real-name registration and facial recognition were commonplace in everyday life in China before the epidemic, the practices are being extended to over-the-counter purchases of medicine and all f
‘Big data’ segregates millions in China’s coronavirus fight
On Valentine’s Day, a 36-year-old lawyer in eastern China discovered he had been coded “red.” The lawyer, Matt Ma, was effectively put in chains. The color, displayed in a payment app on his smartphone, indicated that he needed to be quarantined at home even though he was not sick.  Without a green light from the system, he could not travel from his home village to the eastern city of Hangzhou, or make it past the checkpoints that have sprung up across the city as a measure to contain the new coronavirus.  Ma is one of the millions of people whose movements are being choreographed by the government through software that feeds on troves of data and spits out orders that effectively dictate wh
Fear of contact is boosting China’s robot delivery services
E-commerce companies in China are ramping up their use of robots to deliver orders in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus through human-to-human contact. Delivery app Meituan Dianping, which launched a “contactless delivery” initiative across China last month, said this week that it had started using autonomous vehicles to send groceries to customers in Shunyi district in Beijing, and was looking to launch similar robot delivery services in other districts in the capital city. The company began testing indoor delivery robots and drones for deliveries last year, but this is the first time it is deploying autonomous delivery vehicles on public roads, it said in a post on WeChat.
Homebound and bored, millions of Chinese are tuning into live streams
Live-streaming, already a booming industry in China, is experiencing a new wave of popularity with many cities locked down and millions staying home to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 2,000 people in the country as of Wednesday. While the outbreak has hit China’s economy overall, a strong move from offline to online activity from those confined to their homes has boosted the fortunes of some tech companies, including those with live-streaming platforms. Short video platforms with live-streaming features saw a sharp increase in user activity since the outbreak was first reported in late December, according to a QuestMobile report this week. Over the re
Coronavirus fears have claimed the world’s biggest phone show
The world’s biggest mobile phone showcase will not happen this year. The organizer of MWC Barcelona, the largest showcase for mobile technology, has canceled the event less than two weeks before its scheduled opening after major exhibitors pulled out over concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. The cancelation highlights the global ramifications of the spread of the virus as well as governments’ responses to it, including imposing restrictions on travelers from mainland China. John Hoffman, chief executive of GSM Association (GSMA), which organizes the annual event, said Wednesday it has canceled the tech conference “because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel conc
Coronavirus outbreak tests China’s surveillance technology
On January 22, four days before the Lunar New Year, a village in southeastern China held a banquet. Some 3,000 people, or half the village’s population, showed up.  It was a blast. Then the villagers found out that one family among them had returned from the central city of Wuhan and brought with it a new strain of coronavirus that has killed at least 1,100 people worldwide since it was first reported in December. The banquet took place two days after the Chinese government declared the coronavirus outbreak a national emergency, and authorities at all levels were tracking and restricting the movements of people from Wuhan. The family slipped through all measures of screening and, according