This year’s Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing went well and beyond smartphones, covering everything from drones to smart home devices, facial recognition to virtual reality (something we expect to see at most, if not all, tech conferences in China this year).

Big data and artificial intelligence won the most limelight, underlining the fact that industry players across all kinds of verticals are increasingly seeing hardware, such as smartphones, smart watches, and drones, as just another channel to gather data.

“The reason I [created 3D Robotics] is not because I have any interest in drones,” said Chris Anderson, one of the speakers at GMIC and the CEO of 3D Robotics, a drone and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) company. “I have an interest in data. I have an interest in measuring the world.”

As usual, this year’s GMIC showcased a dizzying number of products, some good, some interesting, some questionable. Here are the highlights:


Hello there. Zero Zero Robotics’ Hover Camera uses facial recognition to follow and photograph people.

VR goggles? Nope - an eye massager!

Virtual reality goggles? Nope – an eye massager!


Just another product in Xiaomi’s ever-expanding product portfolio. This “pen” can tell you how clean a cup of water is.


A strange hodgepodge of cosplayers advertising an online news site. Not sure how Gintoki, Sailor Moon, and Mario are related.


A conference attendee fights off bad guys in one of HTC Vive’s virtual reality demos.


Megvii Inc shows off their facial recognition technology.


The Turing OS lets developers create educational bots for kids.


California-based startup suitX demonstrates its Phoenix exoskeleton at a talk about bionics.


Baidu’s version of Google’s Street View car, plus one of many showgirls that were present at this year’s GMIC.

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Eva Xiao

Eva Xiao is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. Contact her at or evawxiao (wechat & twitter).

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