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Tech Thursday: Episode 18

US fund wants Sina board seats, iPhone X looms over iPhone 8, electric planes, and a Nanjing’s DNA repository

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.


US hedge fund wants Sina board seats

In what seems the first case of its kind, a key US investor in Sina (the company that owns and operates Sina Weibo) Aristeia Capital, wants to be involved more in the company management and is demanding two board seats. This wouldn’t be out of the ordinary in the US, but for a US investor in a Chinese company, it’s unprecedented, especially given the fact that Weibo occupies a rather sensitive role in China’s media landscape. A New York Times report cites Sina as calling Aristeia “naïve” about how China’s internet sector works, while Ariesteia is accusing Sina of “failing to hold itself to the standards expected of US-listed public company boards.”

Would it be a conciliatory gesture to suggest they might both be right?

iPhone X overshadows iPhone 8

Prices for the iPhone 8 have plunged by as much as 20 percent ahead of tomorrow’s release of the iPhone X. The iPhone X was initially intended as an elite, niche version of the 8 with a few added bells and whistles, rather than the next generation—hence its release coming shortly after the release of the 8. Still, Apple is reportedly doing a roaring trade in iPhone 8s, and it seems likely there will be a bump as the iPhone X is rolled out.

Electric plane hits two-hour flight mark

China’s latest aviation invention, the two seater RX1E-A, is the brainchild of engineers at Shenyang Aerospace University.  It’s not China’s first electric aircraft, but it has extended the potential flight time from 45 minutes to two hours. Its predecessor, the RX1E, is already in mass production.

Genetic database project underway in Nanjing

China is moving to create a massive database for storing the genetic information of ethnic Chinese participants. The first phase alone will contain the genetic information of 80 million people. The Xinhua report on the project mentions that the project aims to be complete within four years and once running will be able to process about 500,000 people’s genetic information each year, but did not include information on exactly how the information is being collected, or how the project plans to deal with privacy protocols.


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

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