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Tech Thursday: Episode 24

Cybercrime crackdown, Google’s China AI hunt, autonomous buses in Shenzhen, and 3D printing boost

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.

Shenzhen’s self-driving buses

The South China Morning Post indicates that China’s goal is to have 10 percent of all vehicles fully automated by 2030. Shenzhen is already part of the way there—the city is participating in a trial of self-driving buses. Four are driving on a 1.2 km loop in the city’s Futian district in the first case of self-driving vehicles permitted on China’s public roads. (Search giant Baidu notably landed in hot water when it tried something similar in an autonomous car outside Beijing).

Google on China AI hunt

Google’s chief scientist, Fei-Fei Li has announced in a blog post that the company is formally establishing an AI center in Beijing. The post comes after months of hiring notices and rumors of Google’s activity in mainland China. It’s a fascinating development, given Google’s high-profile exit from China in 2009, and subsequent blocking online. Since then, Google has maintained a small presence in China to serve advertisers, first and foremost. Now it looks like they’re noticing China’s edge in AI and are keen to recruit talent.

China funds 3D printing

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is pumping significant amounts of cash into 3D printing. Projecting growth of 30 percent each year and annual revenue of 20 billion RMB by 2020, the department (along with 11 other cooperating departments) hopes that boosting 3D printing will have flow-on effects in other industries, with the 3D-printed parts also having applications in other areas of science.

Minor crackdown on cybercrime 

Between January and September, China prosecuted 710 people for cybercrimes. Given the sheer size of China’s internet and the ubiquity of scams, this is a pretty small figure, but keep in mind it was 80 percent more than the same period in the previous year. Wang Songmiao, the head of the relevant procuratorate, points out that cyberattacks, cyber fraud, cyber pornography and cyber gambling are all on the rise. The question is, whether regulators are stepping up their response fast enough.

Cover image from SCMP


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

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