James Hardy, London and Sean O’Connor, Indianapolis. Additional reporting by Michael Cohen, Manila – IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly
Posts Tagged ‘China’
By Alice Woodhouse
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong’s efforts to attract Silicon Valley technology start-ups keen to bring their new technology to internet consumers in the booming China market are finally starting to pay off.
Among recent arrivals is Aivvy Inc, which has chosen Hong Kong as its base to launch its portable music player, seeking to benefit from the city’s stable and mature business environment and to be close to manufacturers in the mainland city of Shenzhen, Hong Kong’s near neighbour and its main rival in the race to attract new firms.
Aivvy co-founder Isaac Mao said it took just less than three months to complete the move to Hong Kong, where the firm has joined the Incu-Tech start-up incubation programme at the government-backed Hong Kong Science and Technology Park (HKSTP).
“We chose Hong Kong because it’s very close to Shenzhen, and we have the solid business foundation here, we see that and we feel that,” Mao said.
In March, US business entrepreneurship magazine Inc. named Shenzhen as one of the top five world cities for the next wave of start-ups, dubbing it “ground zero for technological serendipity”. Hong Kong didn’t make the list.
On the surface, Hong Kong should be an ideal place for start-ups, with its tech-savvy population, low taxes, strong legal system, key position as a global trade hub and proximity to the booming China market.
The government set up the Cyberport tech incubator as early as 1999, but it struggled to find occupants and has been criticised as benefiting the developer more than the tenants. The HKSTP also faced criticism in its early days as some failed to see the benefit of clustering science and technology firms together and questioned whether Hong Kong was able to innovate
In addition, potential investors have more recently worried over rising costs in Hong Kong, particularly for housing, while an innate conservatism among many Hong Kong investors is a headwind for start-ups seeking funding because of the risks of failure. Many young Hongkongers also face family pressures to join established known companies.
The city has faced stiff competition from Shenzhen, which during three decades of rapid growth became the centre of the world’s tech manufacturing industry and is now the home of a growing number of entrepreneurs making use of its lwo-cost capabilities.
Living costs and office rents still remain cheaper in Shenzhen. One company, drone maker DJI, also abandoned a plan to set up in Hong Kong due to the difficulty of getting work permits for staff when it was still relatively unknown and had only a small registered capital.
But Hong Kong is making efforts. InvestHK, a department of the Hong Kong government responsible for attracting foreign direct investment, has helped Aivvy set up here, with assistance from the HKSTP, which seeks to create a global hub for technology innovation in the city.
Mao, a former employee of chip maker Intel and Harvard researcher, said Hong Kong’s broadband speeds, its skilled workforce with good English-language skills, stable legal system and the 3D printing labs available at Hong Kong Science Park were among the city’s benefits. The company also sees Hong Kong as a bridge between the US, where it expects its largest market to be, and China, where its products will be made.
Aivvy’s wireless music player, which looks like a normal pair of headphones, will give listeners access to 40 million tracks through an unnamed global partner and will adapt to their musical tastes over time.
To skip a song, users simply swipe the side of the earpiece, which logs that they do not enjoy the track. Tapping for approval instructs the player to offer similar tunes.
“Our goal is to start from hardware, it’s smart, it can learn your preference and eventually it becomes your music companion,” Mao said.
Since the wireless headset downloads the music library to its 32GB of storage during a battery charge, the device does not need Internet access at all times. It can provide 40 hours of playback.
Mao said that by downloading the music, the device offers better sound quality than streaming services such as Spotify.
The player debuted at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, in March. A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign followed that reached the targeted amount in 26 hours and which has so far raised $171,000. Contributors to the funding can buy the Aivvy Q device by pledging US$249. It will retail at US$300, which includes one year of the music service, and is set to ship at the end of October.
Aivvy will support local talent by offering tracks from upcoming artists in each country. If the songs prove popular they will then be offered in different markets. Aivvy retains a software development team in Silicon Valley in addition to its Hong Kong team, which currently covers marketing but which will expand to manage e-commerce and logistics.
VietNamNet Bridge – The Economic Times of India on April 14 reported that Essar Energy Company (India) will start experimental drilling at its oil blocks in the Mumbai High oil field and in Vietnam in September and October.
As energy companies are cutting investment costs as crude oil prices have dropped by 50% since June, Essar plans to promote oil and gas drilling.
Manish Maheshwari, in charge of exploitation and production of oil and gas at Essar Oil, said: “We will be drilling in the offshore rigs of Mumbai and Vietnam at the time of favorable weather this year. Based on the results of initial drilling, we will decide the number of wells.”
The increase in crude oil production can help improve Essar oil reserves at Vadinar refinery, which has a capacity of 20 million tons per year.
In Vietnam, Essar owns 100% stake in Block 114 in 2007 with a production sharing contract with the Government of Vietnam.
A cooperation agreement on establishing a border guard coordination mechanism was signed between Vietnam and China on April 16.
The pact’s memorandum of understanding was inked in January 2013.
The signing took place when Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh met with Chinese Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun during his working trip to Vietnam.
At the function, General Thanh said that the ties between the two armies and police forces have been a pillar of the strengthened relations between Vietnam and China over the last 65 years.
Minister Guo stated that his visit aims to consolidate their two forces’ collaborations.
Both sides discussed the effect of world and regional affairs on each nation and put forth a number of measures to bolster their future cooperation.
Over the past years, Vietnam’s Defence Ministry and China’s Public Security Ministry have efficiently coordinated in managing shared border check points and entry-exit activities, combating crimes, and organising twin-relations establishment.
Ma Xiaodong detained by prosecutors in Shaanxi province for allegedly taking bribes
By Nectar Gan
South China Morning Post
A former senior official in China’s Ministry of Public Security, who according to state media reports has worked on surveillance and internet censorship technology, has been arrested for suspected corruption.
Ma Xiaodong, the former deputy chief at the ministry’s science and technology information bureau, has been detained for allegedly taking bribes, a statement issued by prosecutors in northern Shaanxi province said.
No other details were given about the allegations.
Ma played a large role in the “Golden Shield Project”, a huge censorship and surveillance initiative set up by the public security ministry in 1998 which began operations in 2003, according to previous media reports.
The project also includes internet censorship, which blocks viewers in China from seeing some websites and filters key words out of browser searches. The system of internet censorship has been dubbed “the Great Firewall”.
The People’s Public Security newspaper published an article in 2010 featuring an interview about the project with Ma, who was then chief engineer at the ministry’s science and technology bureau.
Japan Maritime Self-Defence Forces P-1 submarine-hunting aircraft. Reuters photo
BEIJING (REUTERS) – China’s Defence Ministry complained on Friday that Japanese surveillance activities threatened the safety of Chinese ships and aircraft, raising the issue after Japan said earlier this week that its jet fighter scrambles had hit levels unseen since the Cold War.
Japan’s air force said the increased number of scrambles were in response to Russian bombers probing its northern skies and Chinese combat aircraft intruding into its southern air space.
China’s Defence Ministry, in a statement faxed to Reuters, said that Chinese air force activities accorded with both international law and norms.
“In recent years, Japanese ships and aircraft have often followed and monitored for lengthy periods and at close distances Chinese ships and aircraft, threatening the safety of the Chinese side,” it said.
“This is the cause of the safety issue in the seas and air between China and Japan,” the ministry added.
“China has a grip on the tracking and surveillance by Japanese ships and aircraft, and takes necessary steps to deal with it,” it said, without elaborating.
Japan says the Chinese fighter incursions are concentrated in the East China Sea, close to uninhabited islets claimed by Japan and China.
Coastguard ships and fighter aircraft from both sides routinely face off around the islands, fuelling fears that an accident could spark a clash.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard)
Equities in Hong Kong and Shanghai extend their rally on hopes for new economy-boosting measures from China, but most other Asian markets retreat (AFP Photo/Yoshikazu Tsuno)
Hong Kong (AFP) – Equities in Hong Kong and Shanghai extended their rally Friday on hopes for new economy-boosting measures from China, but most other Asian markets retreated following more weak US data and losses on Wall Street.
The dollar lost ground as the chances of a summer US interest rate hike slimmed after disappointing jobs and housing figures, while the euro managed to hold up despite new worries about Greece’s eurozone future.
In the afternoon Shanghai climbed 2.37 percent and Hong Kong added 0.22 percent.
But Tokyo tumbled 1.17 percent, or 232.89 points, to close at 19,652.88, Sydney sank 1.28 percent, or 76.00 points, to 5,871.50 and Seoul added 0.17 percent, or 3.60 points, to 2,143.50.
A string of poor Chinese indicators have fuelled a rally in Shanghai’s benchmark index over the past year and now mainland investors are turning their attention to Hong Kong, buying what they consider cheap assets.
The southward flood of cash saw turnover in Hong Kong hit record highs twice last week as traders make the most of a link-up between the city’s exchange and the bourse in Shanghai.
Wednesday’s news that the Chinese economy grew at its slowest quarterly pace in six years has reinforced expectations that Beijing will announce new easing measures.
The yen advanced against the dollar after US data showed housing starts rose less than expected in March, while initial jobless claims, a sign of the pace of layoffs, increased well above estimates to their highest level in six weeks.
The Dow dipped 0.04 percent, the S&P 500 edged down 0.08 percent and the Nasdaq eased 0.06 percent.
The dollar bought 119.00 yen Friday against 119.04 yen in New York but down from 119.33 yen in Tokyo earlier Thursday.
– Euro holds ground –
A speech by Atlanta Fed chief Dennis Lockhart, a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, the central bank’s policy arm, also weighed on the dollar.
“A murky economic picture is not an ideal circumstance for making a major policy decision” on beginning to raise rates, he said, insisting he was presenting his own views and not speaking for the policy board or the Fed.
Bets earlier in the year had been on a rise as early as June as the economy showed signs of strength but those expectations have been all but erased following a recent run of downbeat figures.
The euro stood its ground despite worries over Greece after the International Monetary Fund refused to give it more time to repay its loans, while the country’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he was talking to the Orthodox Church about using clerical assets to boost state coffers.
The single currency fetched $1.0760 and 128.09 yen on Friday compared with $1.0761 and 128.10 yen in US trade.
Oil prices were lower in Asia after clocking up six consecutive days of gains on signs that US production may start easing.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for May delivery fell 54 cents to $56.17 and Brent crude for May tumbled 53 cents to $63.45.
Gold fetched $1,200.60 against $1,208.60 late Thursday.
In other markets:
— Wellington fell 0.34 percent, or 20.28 points, to 5,861.48.
Fletcher Building slipped 1.65 percent to NZ$8.35 and Spark was down 1.37 percent to NZ$2.89.
— Taipei slipped 0.89 percent, or 85.94 points, to 9,570.93.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. shed 3.06 percent to Tw$142.5 while smartphone maker HTC slipped 2.64 percent to Tw$129.0.