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Tech Thursday Episode 45

Say goodbye to the QQ Pet, AI ensures dating app photos are real, Shanghai gets Telsa Gigafactory 3 and more

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.

Say goodbye to the QQ Pet!

Tencent is shutting down its 13-year-old game “QQ Pet” on September 15. Beloved by a generation of Chinese internet users, QQ Pet is a virtual community game, which allows players to look after a digital penguin through the whole process of its growth: They feed it, bathe it, play with it and even bring it to school and work.  Users can make their pets propose to prospective (virtual) spouses, so they can spawn more penguins for you to take care of. As a pioneer of the free-to-play model, QQ Pet sucked in a whole lot of users’ time and money as avid animal lovers spent small fortunes on getting their pet penguin to progress quickly.

The announcement prompted a stream of nostalgia, as “parents” say goodbye to their beloved pets:

In the past, I tried a lot of methods to kill it, but now when it’s going to die, I surprisingly find it’s hard to accept.

My penguin is going to die, even unmarried.

I heard the QQ Pet would be shut down, so came in a rush to have a look. The last time I logged on to this game should probably be 10 years ago. Farewell, the era when we were obsessed with feeding a pet.

AI ensures dating app photos are real

The disappointment of turning up at a Tinder date to find the other person had clearly rigged their pics may possibly be a thing of the past. TanTan (a Tinder clone, with stalker-y additions) is deploying AI to ensure profile photos have not been excessively touched-up by users.

“With the use of AI they could see pictures more suitable to their tastes, can then quickly match, and start an engaging conversation.” Yu Wang, the chief executive of TanTan, told South China Morning Post.

Wang also claimed that this AI technology could help the company to identify new users accurately, increase accuracy in advertising and calculating the growth of new users as well.

Shanghai gets Telsa Gigafactory 3

Tesla’s Gigafactory 3, integrating R&D, manufacturing and sales will open Lingang, Shanghai, according to a July 10 investment agreement on electric vehicles signed with the Shanghai Lingang Area Development Administration and Lingang Group.

Tesla’s factory will be the largest wholly foreign-funded project in Shanghai, and some experts have attributed the decision to the June 28 release of the Special Administrative Measures on Access to Foreign Investment (Negative List) (2018 Version) by China’s National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Commerce, which officially removes restrictions on sharing proportion of foreign-invested new-energy vehicle corporations to stimulate the development and competitiveness of China’s automobile industry.

Tesla expects to open the factory officially in 2020 and achieve an annual capacity of 500,000 within two to three more years. According to Securities Daily, this project can help the company relieve its long-suffering capacity risk, reduce production costs and expand its market share in China.

Ayiii! Muti-million dollar GM corn stolen by hungry aunties

Light-fingered aunties have wrecked the academic plans of several undergraduates at Hunan Agricultural University, after stealing 1,725 pieces of “experimental corn” from the university’s testing fields. About 30 percent of the crop was ruined, professors told the Liuyang Riverside police, who quickly traced the robbery to the doorsteps of four 60-80-year-old women.

Seeds for the corn are rumored to be valued at 20 million RMB, a fact that the aunties were apparently unaware of—nor that their pick-your-own antics also derailed an ongoing Corps Scientific Research Skills Competition held among the Class of 2015 agriculture majors, and one student, Qin, was unable to finish his graduate thesis on time. Qin told one journalist he despaired when he heard the news.

Another student, Lin, said this is not the first time the test field has been pilfered, but police and local government have “made resolute plans” to step up security, adjust Qin’s thesis topic, and arrange for dissemination and education among the local villagers.

And in other news…

Apple’s hapless attempts at self-censorship revealed by bug: iOS 11.3 crashed every time users in China typed ‘Taiwan’

Retractable “selfie cam” on Vivo Nex S keeps popping up, revealing how apps like QQ Music secretly access phone functions


TWOC‘s editors are a bilingual, international team that is always on the lookout for original and human-centered stories to share with our readers. We are dedicated to accuracy, objectivity, and looking at each of China's stories through the eyes of its participants. Get in touch through our About Us page if you have a story to pitch!

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