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Chinese Technology Giant ZTE suffers shares fall

Chinese Technology giant ZTE, was found by the US Commerce Department in April to have violated trade bans with North Korea and Iran. Following the findings, the company was banned and prevented from buying any parts from the United States suppliers.

This ban forced ZTE to suspend major operations which led to trading in its shares to be halted in April. Last week, the US reached a deal with the Chinese company that would remove the ban. Some of the conditions to the deal is for the company to pay $1 billion penalty, hire a US-approved compliance team and to replace its management board.

ZTE, is China’s second biggest telecoms maker based in Shenzhen. The company depends on US-made components for the production of handsets. The firm’s share were down by 10% in the early trade in Shenzhen, which is the maximum allowed on the mainland.

However, the US Senate leaders are expected to vote later this week on an amendment to a bill that could block the agreement between the Trump administration and ZTE.

 

(Source: BBC News)

China’s new facial recognition to tighten security

Chinese police are on a mission to tighten the country’s security by introducing innovative facial recognition technology.

The system is part of Skynet, a nationwide monitoring program that was launched in 2005 to increase the use and capabilities of surveillance cameras.

The use of facial recognition technology is on the rise in China, where it is used to increase efficiencies and improve policing. Currently, there are 170 million surveillance cameras in China, with the hopes to have 570 million active by 2020.

According to developers, the system works regardless of angle or lighting condition and has led to the arrest of more than 2,000 criminals and trespassers over the last two years.

Cameras are used to catch jaywalkers, find fugitives, track people’s regular hangouts and predict crime before it happens.

Police officers wear augmented-reality smart glasses that recognise facial features and licence plates in near real time, checking them against a database of suspects.

Across China, the new facial recognition technology can scan the country’s entire population. Approximately 16 cities, municipalities and provinces are using a frighteningly fast surveillance system with a 99,8% accuracy.

CNet reports that in 2016, the Brazilian Internal Revenue Service introduced a facial recognition system to help identify international travellers arriving at the country’s airport, which in turn improves customs service procedures.

Source: www.cnet.com

Ministry drafts policies to promote self-driving vehicles

22 January 2018
Li Fusheng
Displayed with permission from China Daily

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is working on a draft document on autonomous driving, which is part of China’s efforts to promote the cutting-edge technology, according to a source close to the matter.

“The central government is eager to do it,” Wu Zhixin, vice-president of the China Automotive Technology & Research Center, told China Daily in an interview last week.

“The Beijing city government has released one and the central government will promulgate that before any local government will follow Beijing’s example.”

China expects smart cars with partial or fully autonomous functions to account for 50% of new vehicles sold in the country by 2020, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

The Beijing guideline on autonomous driving, which was released in late December, is the first document of its kind in the country.

It applies to independent entities registered in China, allowing them to test at most five vehicles at a time, but before conducting road tests they must first complete tests in designated closed zones, according to the guideline.

Wu said specific requirements about tests in closed zones have not been finished and his centre will organise experts in the field to conduct a comprehensive study soon.

“It is like we obtain our driving licenses. We must pass tests in closed zones before we are allowed to hit the road,” he said.

For the technology’s development, he suggested that a large scale of lower-level functions, or advanced driving assist systems, should be promoted first.

“We should start from the basics, like autonomous parking, which is easy to realise in simple scenarios like parking lots,” said Wu.

RELATED LINKS: VW will launch electric car in China soon

“We promote them, and then more people will use them. When more people use them, carmakers will have returns on investments so they will have the money to invest further.”

A lot of carmakers and tech companies have been pushing forward autonomous driving.

Baidu Inc has been moving ahead with the research and development of autonomous driving technology. In April 2017, it launched Apollo, an open platform on which its technologies can be shared with developers and automakers.

It also announced plans to unveil Level 3, or eye-of functions, in mass-produced cars by 2019 in cooperation with Chinese carmakers including JAC Motors and BAIC Motor.

China’s SAIC Motor is teaming up with Intel to develop autonomous cars based on its Mobileye technology.

Zhu Jun, general manager of Shanghai E-propulsion Auto Technology Co, a SAIC subsidiary that that develops electric and hybrid propulsion technologies, is cautious. He does not expect affordable cars with real autonomy, which means at Level 4 or above, to drive into daily life within 10 years because of technological issues and costs.

A Level 4 vehicle can drive itself almost exclusively without any human interaction, and a Level 5 vehicle can drive itself without human interaction on any road.

Zhu’s estimate is in line with the view of PwC consultancy subsidiary Strategy&, which predicts that from around 2027 highly or fully autonomous cars will become a reality in daily lives.

Source: Repubhub (China Daily 01/22/2018 page18)
[Photo provided to China Daily]

5 Reasons Why Africa Is Not Behind In Technology

Research has shown that more households in Africa own a mobile phone than have access to electricity or clean water. A definite sign of the times.

Over the last couple of years, the African continent has seen major advancements in technology – from both an adoption and manufacturing point of view. The ecommerce wave has officially hit us, and rather than sinking, the African market is learning to swim, very quickly.

Technology companies, much like Realm Digital, have gone on to see great success in the local and international markets, and foreign investors are more keen and comfortable to invest their money in this market segment.

While the continent’s infrastructure continues to be a challenge in the embracing of technology, the market is willing to engage with new technology to improve their education, knowledge and skills.

Here are five points showing the current, and future landscape of technology in Africa.

1. In West and Central Africa, Nigeria leads the way in usage with 63 million internet users, ranking 9th in the world. Most of the access is through mobile devices – no surprise there.

2. While ecommerce adoption has been slow, Africa is set to see a spike over the next couple of years. Considering the terrain realities in Africa, retailers are starting to cater to their entire customer demographic by allowing for cash on delivery and even setting up online malls.

3. Nairobi has become the tech hub of Africa. It is believed that the ICT sector in Kenya is set to contribute up to 8% of the country’s GDP by next year. Great emphasis is placed on innovation and entrepreneurship in Kenya, and the government is putting effort into creating the adequate environment to encourage innovation, especially amongst the youth. The past 15 years has seen Kenya’s internet penetration go from less than one percent, to over 70%.

4. Cloud computing – not just another buzz word, it is being hailed as an ‘African success story’. The continents’ leaders believes that cloud technology has the potential to transform the technology industry and even our daily activities. In Nigeria, pharmacists and patients are using a cloud-based service to verify the authenticity of prescription medicines, while in Kenya, local innovators created a cloud-based market-tracking app for farmers trying to get the best prices for their goods.

5. Rwanda recently launched Africa’s first drone delivery program. In partnership with a Californian-based startup, 50 to 150 daily deliveries of critical medical supplies to 21 locations of across Rwanda are taking place. Rwanda has a clear development strategy in place, with ICT at the heart of its transformation.

These five points only begin to paint the picture of what’s to come on the technology front. We are thrilled to be a part of digital transformation, not only in South Africa, but the African continent.

This article first appeared on Realm Digital.  Realm Digital is a global digital strategy and technology partner, specialising in digital solutions.