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Tech Thursday Episode 16

China’s top internet companies, giant robot fights planned, virtual cinemas, and a quantum cable

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.


Quantum announcement

Amid the drone of speeches at the 19th National Party Congress, one announcement will particularly resonate among quantum technology nerds: a university head cited the latest progress of a quantum communications project led by Pan Jianwei, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In September China finished a 2,000 km-long quantum communication line, between Beijing and Shanghai. Consisting of fiber-optic cable, it has 30 relay stations along its length. This is because, currently, there is a limit of about 80 kilometers of this cable, which the research teams is hoping to extend to 500 kilometers, which would dramatically reduce the cost.


Virtual cinemas

Techinasia has an informative piece on the handful of “virtual reality cinemas” which have begun operating in China. (Not to be confused with the stodgy “4D” cinemas that litter second-tier cities, which basically consist of awkwardly moving chairs, bad movies and perhaps a spray of mist). They vary in quality, but basically allow users to try out VR headsets, and are similar in many ways to the “VR experience” lounges around the  country. For more info on the recent collapse in VR startup investment, TWOC covered the issue extensively here.


China’s top internet companies

China Daily recent published a list of China’s top internet companies, based on six criteria, including size, profit, innovation and influence (the other two were absent from the report). The figures used were compiled from their 2016 performance.

The rankings were:

  1. Tencent (owner of WeChat)
  2. Alibaba (online banking/shopping/finance
  3. Baidu (search engine and multiple businesses)
  4. (online shopping) Sohu (search portal, media)
  5. Netease (online media)
  6. Sina (proprieter of Weibo)
  7. Sohu (Media group)
  8. Meituan-Dianping (food ordering app/reviews)
  9. Ctrip (travel services)
  10.  Qihoo 360 (internet security, browser, antivirus


International battlebots

China’s biggest battlebot, Yamantaka, is set to take on robots from Japan and the US after the CEO of the company that created Yamantaka, Zhang Hongfei, threw down the gauntlet and challenged the other companies to a duel.

The match will occur either late this year or before mid-2018, Zhang told media. Zhang is also the founder of the Fight My Bots competition, which TWOC recently profiled.


Cover image from People’s Daily


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

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