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Tech Thursday: Episode 10

iTunes accepts WeChat, airport facial recognition, solar power surprise and an inventor trapped in bed: It’s Tech Thursday

Each Thursday, The World of Chinese takes the most ground-breaking, impressive, or just plain weird technological advancements related to the Middle Kingdom and serves them in bite-sized chunks to keep you up-to-date on the latest news in the world of Chinese technology.

Apple caves, accepts WeChat pay

You gotta hand it to Apple: They held out as long as they could. Stubbornly resisting the encroachment of WeChat wallet into every aspect of Chinese commerce—Apple understandably regards WeChat’s parent company, Tencent, as a tech giant competitor, and is known for keeping rigid control of its OS ecosystem—Apple never allowed its Wallet into the Chinese App Store. But faced with declining sales in China, Apple has caved and is allowing WeChat wallet to be used on the App store and iTunes.

Inventor makes his bed, lies trapped in it

A 68-year-old Guizhou inventor, surnamed Li, had quite the surprise when a bed he had invented to restrain himself from tossing and turning too much at night, ended up turning on him.

Plagued with restlessness, Li designed a bed that would keep him restrained in place. All was well until a power outage meant the bed refused to release him. In the end, firefighters had to help him from the jaws of his own contraption.

China blasts through 2020 solar goals three years early

In 2014, China had to revise its goals for installing solar power dramatically upward, from 1.8 gigawatt by 2020 to 100 gigawatts—which it achieved this year. In July alone, China installed over 10 gigawatts of solar capacity. It’s still a tiny fraction of China’s overall power use, however, which is overwhelming dominated by coal.

Facial recognition instead of boarding passes?

Techinasia, via Youku, has a great video on a pilot project that aims to replace paper boarding passes at Chinese airports with facial recognition technology. Passengers would be able to board planes simply by having their faces scanned. The project, by Baidu, is being tested at Beijing airport.

Russian companies, Chinese robots

One big announcement to come out of Beijing’s recent robotics conference was by Russian Robotics Association president Vitaly Nedelskiy, who announced that Russian robotics companies like to have Chinese companies as partners, largely because of the competitive prices they offer compared to their Russian or Japanese counterparts.

Nedelskiy also pointed out that, while the Russian market for robotics is dwarfed by China, there have been some positive signs of future growth: China Daily has a list of some recent Sino-Russian robotics partnerships.


David Dawson is the former deputy editor of The World of Chinese.

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