Posted inNews Feed

Baidu’s AI assistant raises B round at $5.1 billion valuation

Baidu’s AI-enabled consumer hardware arm Xiaodu Technology has secured an undisclosed amount in a B round, at a valuation of $5.1 billion. An Alexa counterpart, Xiaodu’s AI voice assistant has been applied in a variety of smart speakers, smartphones, smartwatches, cars, and robots developed by Baidu and its partners. Incomes from services including membership to advertising surpassed 10% of Xiaodu revenues in the most recent quarter, supplementing revenue from hardware, according to Herman Yu, chief strategy officer and chief financial officer of Baidu. [Baidu press release]

Posted inPosts

Regulators summon fintech firms

Four Chinese government agencies including the country’s central bank and top securities regulator on Thursday summoned the fintech branches of 13 Chinese tech companies including Tencent, Baidu, Bytedance, and Didi Chuxing. The firms were told to take actions to prevent monopolies and the “disorderly expansion of capital.” (Xinhua, in Chinese)

Posted inNews Feed

China fines tech giants as anti-monopoly crackdown continues

China’s State Administration of Market Regulation imposed fines on several major Chinese tech firms on Friday for failing to disclose 43 deals in violation of anti-monopoly legislation. Some of the biggest names in China tech such as Alibaba, JD, Tencent, Baidu, ByteDance, and Meituan were fined RMB 500,000 ($78,000) for each violation. Tencent and Alibaba were the worse hit in this latest regulatory crackdown, with 13 and 12 deals included on the list respectively. [SAMR press release, in Chinese]

Posted inNews Feed

Baidu’s auto subsidiary tests self-driving tech on first EV prototype

Jidu Auto, a joint venture between Chinese search engine company Baidu and automaker Geely, has been testing its first electric vehicle prototype with automated driving capabilities, Chinese media reported Tuesday, citing Wang Weibao, head of Jidu’s autonomous driving. Jidu expects its early prototype to accommodate assisted driving on Chinese highways and urban roads by year-end. The company is scheduled to release its first car model in 2023. [The Beijing News, in Chinese]

Posted inNews Feed

Chinese tech majors donate more than RMB 300 million to flood-hit Shanxi

Chinese tech companies, including Alibaba Group, Tencent, Baidu, ByteDance, Pinduoduo, Didi, NetEase, Vipshop, Xiaomi, and Oppo, have collectively donated more than RMB 300 million (around $46.6 million) to the Shanxi province as of Oct. 10, Chinese media The Paper reported. The northern Chinese province has been hit by severe floods and torrential rain since early this month, affecting more than 1.76 million people. [The Paper, in Chinese]

Posted inNews Feed

Regulator tells internet giants to stop blocking each others’ links

An internet regulator has ordered at least nine Chinese tech giants to stop link blocking, the practice of barring users from clicking into rivals’ sites. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology talked to Tencent, Alibaba, ByteDance, Baidu, Huawei, Xiaomi, and others in a Sept. 9 meeting. The regulator asked all participating platforms to end the practice by an undisclosed deadline. [21st Century Business Herald, in Chinese]

Posted inNews Feed

China issues new draft rules to further rein in anti-competitive practices

On Tuesday, China’s top market watchdog published a new draft rule to further extend its crackdown on anti-competitive practices. The draft prohibited forced exclusivity, soliciting fake reviews, and protect intellectual property and brand reputation. The news triggered a new sell-off wave for listed Chinese tech companies, including Alibaba Group, Tencent, Baidu, and the video streaming site Bilibili. [The Wall Street Journal]

Posted inNews Feed

Renren Video removes most of overseas content

Renren Video, a Chinese video content platform facing recurring piracy complaints, removed most of its overseas content, users reported. In February, Shanghai police arrested 14 employees after identifying more than 20,000 pirated videos on the platform. The app started in 2003 as a subtitle website, and received investment from tech giants Baidu and Xiaomi in 2017. [Securities Times, in Chinese]

Posted inNews Feed

Chinese tech giants pledge fair competition amid antitrust push

Thirty-three major Chinese tech firms including Tencent, Alibaba, and ByteDance signed an agreement on “antitrust self-discipline” on Thursday, vowing fair competition, consumer protection and strengthened innovation. Other major signatories included Huawei, Baidu, and JD. The agreement was drafted by tech companies and the Intellectual Property Centre of the Chinese Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a government-backed body. [SCMP]