China technology

China technology

Latest news, features and opinion on China’s technology industry, including AI, the US-China tech war, 5G, smartphone makers and apps, and issues surrounding China’s Great Firewall.

What next for Huawei after yet more US tech sanctions?
After the United States further tightened its restrictions on Chinese telecoms maker Huawei on Monday, analysts had only one word to describe the situation facing the company: impossible. In what has become a major battleground in the growing US-China tech rivalry, the Trump administration – which claims Huawei products could be used to facilitate spying by the Chinese government – has blacklisted a further 38 Huawei affiliates from buying US products. It aims to strangle the Chinese company by cutting off its ability to buy semiconductors produced using American technology. Since May, foreign chip makers using US technology have been required to apply for a license to sell chips to Huawei.
The potential TikTok sale is a herculean task
ByteDance has been forced into a corner by the Trump administration, which now says it must sell the US version of its global short video hit TikTok within 90 days if the app wants to stay in business. Analysts say pulling off a sale is easier said than done due to a complex array of legal and technical obstacles. Plus, TikTok, and Bytedance, have too much at stake in the US market to simply leave.  “There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” Trump said in the order announced on Friday. Trump originally signed an executive order on August 6 that would prohibit certain transactio
US puts Chinese apps on notice as Trump gives TikTok 45 days to sell
President Donald Trump will take action against TikTok, WeChat and “countless” Chinese software companies that pose a national security threat to America, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday, apparently widening the scope of attention the US government is paying to online tech platforms developed in China. “These Chinese software companies doing business with the United States, whether it’s TikTok or WeChat, there are countless more,” Pompeo said in a Fox News interview on Sunday, accusing Chinese technology firms of “feeding data” to the ruling Communist Party’s security apparatus. Pompeo’s warning to Chinese software companies came as Trump agreed to a 45-day timeline for the Chi
China launches its first Mars probe
China launched its first independent probe to Mars on Thursday, joining a growing number of countries aiming to lead exploration of Earth’s nearest neighbor. The probe, named Tianwen-1, was launched from the southern island of Hainan and is expected to reach Mars’ gravitational field next February, according to Chinese media. If the 5-tonne probe makes a successful landing on the fourth planet from the sun, it is expected to work for at least 90 Mars days – a little longer than three months on Earth. Tianwen-1 – the name means “questions to heaven” in Mandarin, inspired by an ancient poem by Qu Yuan – consists of an orbiter, a lander and a rover. The lander and rover will attempt a soft land
Britain decided to ban Huawei after all
Huawei Technologies will be banned from the UK's 5G network, the British government announced on Tuesday in a major policy reversal. The decision follows escalating tension with Beijing and pressure from Washington and could add to the pressure on other European countries to review their approach to the Chinese telecoms giant. By tearing up his earlier decision to allow Huawei partial access to Britain’s 5G networks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ignored threats from Chinese officials that there will be “consequences” if the UK treats China as a “hostile partner.” The decision marks the end of a long debate in Britain's government about the Chinese firm, with critics, including members o
How a Chinese short-video app took the world by storm
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. TikTok is one of the world’s most popular apps, allowing some 800 million users worldwide to make and watch addictive short videos. It is the international version of the Chinese app Douyin, which was launched by Beijing-based tech conglomerate ByteDance in 2016. But with its explosive popularity has come accusations of content censorship – something that Douyin routinely does in the Chinese market – and concerns of data security. As US-China tensions have worsened, some American lawmakers have expressed skepticism over the relationship between TikTok and
China completes satellite navigation system
China’s final BeiDou-3 satellite for its global navigation system was launched on June 23, 2020, at 9.43am, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the southwest province of Sichuan. A Long March 3B rocket carried the satellite into orbit, completing the third-generation network for the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. BeiDou is the fourth major global satellite navigation system, following GPS built by the US, Russia's Glosnass and the European Union's Galileo.
Takeout troubles for Chinese food delivery apps
For Mike Wong, the owner of a restaurant called Hong Kong Grassroots Canteen with two branches in Beijing, takeout service has long been something of a headache. In China, the delivery app Meituan Dianping and its rival Ele.me dominate meal delivery services. (Ele.me is owned by Alibaba Group, the parent company of Inkstone). Users log on to the apps and order from the restaurants listed. Wong says Meituan charges a minimum of 20% commission on each order – a significant amount for a small business. “My profit margin is only 10% to 15%. So for a takeaway order, all my profits have to be given to Meituan.” Wong says many people order takeout for items as simple as a cup of noodles or a glas
US semiconductor giant scraps its only China factory
An American technology giant has closed its semiconductor factory in China, dealing a potential blow to China’s bid to own a bigger slice of the market of a technology crucial to its global ambitions. The US chip giant GlobalFoundries confirmed that it has halted operations of the facility and placed employees on an “employee optimization plan,” a commonly-used euphemism for lay-offs.  The facility was GlobalFoundries’s only factory in China. While its closure has little to do with the US-China rivalry –  it never managed to get off the ground – the announcement comes amid an escalating tech war with the United States. The symbolism is rich. China is struggling in its efforts to boost its d
Kidnapped toddler reunited with family after 32 years
A man who was kidnapped as a child has been reunited with his parents after 32 years, bringing an end to one of China’s most notorious abduction cases. Mao Yin was two in 1988 when he disappeared in Xian, the capital of the northern province of Shaanxi, and was sold to another family who raised him as their own son. Mao, who was renamed Gu Ningning by his adoptive parents, was reunited with his mother and father – Li Jingzhi and Mao Zhenjing – on Monday at a press conference organized by the police and shown live on the state broadcaster CCTV. Mao, who now runs a home decoration business, was tracked down in early May by Xian police. They used facial recognition technology to analyze old ch