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Tech Thursday: Episode 21

Tencent pricier than Facebook, Foxconn in another crisis, Bixby in Mandarin, and new satellites launched

11·23·2017

Tech Thursday: Episode 21

Tencent pricier than Facebook, Foxconn in another crisis, Bixby in Mandarin, and new satellites launched

11·23·2017

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.

Tencent now worth more than Facebook

Chinese internet giant Tencent (owner of ubiquitous chat-and-pay app WeChat) is now officially worth more than Facebook. Having broken the “half-trillion” USD valuation mark, Tencent has also surpassed Facebook’s net worth. Facebook is now at $519 billion (give or take a few, depending on the market) and Tencent is worth $534 billion.

Samsung launches Chinese Bixby

Samsung’s Siri-like personal assistant Bixby is now available in Mandarin, for Chinese users. Available on Galaxy Note8 and Galaxy 8 from November 30, the new AI will also be compatible with a number of popular Chinese apps, such as iQiyi, Alipay and Baidu Maps. Strangely, Bixby doesn’t seem to have a Chinese name—simply Bixby.

Small share-bike players in for rough ride

In the wake of shared-bike operator Bluegogo declaring bankruptcy and being handed off to a Sichuan-based counterpart, Bluegogo CEO Li Gang has told media that he basically couldn’t compete with the big players, Ofo and Mobike.

Ofo and Mobike have backing from some of the biggest players in the tech sector, Tencent and Ant Financial, giving them massive resources to increase their bike coverage. As Li put it: “Without support from a wide range of investors and good financial planning capabilities, even the best bike product is powerless.” Bluegogo already has operations in San Francisco and Sydney.

If Li is right, then many more bike startups are likely to fail or be swallowed up in the months ahead, including even the big boys. Bluegogo’s travails come as Mobike has entered its 200th city.

Three new satellites

China’s ability to peer down from the heavens has been improved with the launch of three remote sensing satellites, all on the same Long March rocket. The satellites form part of a network of 60 of these satellites, as part of the Jilin-1 satellite family.

FoxConn’s latest labor problems

FoxConn doesn’t have a great track record with labor issues— several years ago, after a spate of suicides at their factory, they first put in netting to prevent suicides, with the “solution” drawing even more attention to the problem. Under the spotlight, they had to significantly improve labor practices, but it would seem they still have a long way to go. Recent reports accused the manufacturer of using unpaid student interns to assemble iPhone Xs. The company recently apologized and said it had looked into the matter.

Cover image from China Daily