Tech AM: Tianzhou-7 Launch; Apple Watch Sales Halted

Tech headlines from last night and early this morning

Published by | Sohu Technology

Edited by | Zhang Lezhou

Today is Thursday, January 18. To keep you informed about the major events that occurred last night and this morning in the tech world, here’s your tech morning roundup.

Key tech news today includes:

1. Ctrip Travel forms strategic partnership with Kuaishou Local Services

2. Tencent files a lawsuit against Xunlei for unfair competition, with court proceedings set for March

3. ChatGPT plans to take measures to align with human values

4. JPMorgan Chase CEO: Bitcoin is useless, not recommended for investment

5. Tata Motors reportedly urges the Indian government to maintain taxes on hybrid vehicles

【Tech Giant News】

Ctrip Travel and Kuaishou Local Services form strategic cooperation

According to Ctrip’s official WeChat account, on January 17, Ctrip and Kuaishou announced a strategic partnership. Under the agreement, Ctrip will for the first time enter the Kuaishou Local Services ecosystem, with Kuaishou providing a suite of benefits including traffic support, product subsidies, and influencer collaborations. Moving forward, Ctrip will integrate its supply chain of select products like attraction tickets and vacation packages into the Kuaishou platform. Kuaishou users can now directly book travel products such as tickets to attractions through the Kuaishou platform. (Wall Street Journal)

Tencent sues Xunlei for unfair competition; court proceedings scheduled for March

Recently, Shenzhen Xunlei Networking Technologies Co., Ltd. and its subsidiary, Shenzhen Xunlei Networking Culture Co., Ltd., added two court announcements, with Tencent Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. and Chongqing Tencent Information Technology Co., Ltd. as plaintiffs. The cases also include Shenzhen Tencent Computer System Co., Ltd. as a plaintiff in one of the disputes. Both cases are for unfair competition and are set to be heard in March at the Chongqing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court. Shenzhen Xunlei has previously had multiple lawsuits with Shenzhen Tencent Computer System Co., Ltd. over intellectual property rights infringement, contract disputes, financial loan contract disputes, and infringement of works information network dissemination rights, among others. (IT Home)

WeChat Pay further expands the utilization scope of digital yuan, adds millions of merchants

WeChat officially announced today that, in partnership with hundreds of acquiring institutions, WeChat Pay has further expanded the range of merchants within WeChat that accept digital yuan. This expansion includes the Palace Museum, various local utility payment platforms, Southern Power Grid, SF Express, T3 Travel, Hello Bike, and others, covering millions of merchants in livelihood services, public utility payments, dining & entertainment, transportation, and more. (IT Home)

Chongqing University and Seres Automotive sign strategic cooperation agreement: Co-creating courses and industry-academic exchange programs

On January 16, Chongqing University signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Seres Group in Chongqing. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Shuxin Wang, president of Chongqing University and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering; Jian Li, vice president of Chongqing University; Zhengping Zhang, rotating president of Seres Group; Lixiang He, president of AITO Inquiry BU under Seres Automotive; and others. Hua Cao, dean of the Science and Technology Development Institute at Chongqing University, and Youhong Zhang, director of Strategic Planning at Seres Automotive, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective parties. (IT Home)

WeChat tops the chart again! The Brand Value 500 report is released

The Global Brand Value Top 500 Report for 2024 was recently released, with the well-known brand WeChat claiming the top spot due to its strong brand influence. Despite a 17% decrease in brand value from the previous year, WeChat still achieved the highest AAA+ rating. The report shows that WeChat performed strongly in terms of brand strength, with increased scores reflecting its solid reputation domestically and growing international influence. According to Tencent’s third-quarter financial report for 2023, the combined monthly active accounts of WeChat and WeChat have reached 1.36 billion, a 2% increase year-over-year. Additionally, the total number of video plays increased by over 50%, with original content plays being particularly noteworthy. (ZOL)

FAW-Volkswagen’s Jetta officially receives export authorization

Nie Qiang, deputy general manager of the Commercial Department at FAW-Volkswagen Automotive Co., Ltd., recently revealed that Jetta has been authorized for export. Previously, Jetta announced brand independence in 2019 and stated its intention to sell globally. However, it only began testing the waters in overseas markets in 2022 through parallel imports or used car expositions, mainly exporting to Middle Eastern and Russian markets. (ZOL)

ChatGPT to implement measures to ensure alignment with human values

To address issues such as bias in AI development, OpenAI is forming a new team called Collective Alignment, inviting the public to shape the behavior of its AI models. This is part of OpenAI’s ongoing efforts to tackle regulatory issues and ensure consistency with societal values. Composed of researchers and engineers, the team aims to develop a system to collect and codify public perceptions of OpenAI model behavior and integrate these valuable insights into OpenAI’s products and services. This initiative is expected to increase the accuracy of OpenAI’s AI systems and better meet human needs. (ZOL)

U.S. Appeals Court rules that Apple must halt sales of watches with blood oxygen monitoring

According to Cailian Press on January 18, Apple Inc. must stop selling its Series 9 and Ultra 2 smartwatches with blood oxygen detection features in the United States. This marks another legal setback for Apple in its patent dispute with Masimo Corp. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Apple’s request to extend the suspension of an import ban issued by the U.S. International Trade Commission. This ruling means that Apple must cease selling watches with the blood oxygen measurement feature during the appeal, which Apple expects could last a year or longer.

Tech Figures

Global Executive at Meta: AI Revolution Represents a Monumental Moment Unseen in the Past Decade

Nicola Mendelsohn, head of the Global Business Group (GBG) at the social platform Meta, stated at the Davos Forum that the current AI era marks a great moment in the history of technology unseen for many years. Mendelsohn said, “The current AI revolution is a groundbreaking moment, unprecedented in the past decade. In the future, when we look back at 2024, we will find it to be a critical year for the entire society.” (Sina Technology)

United Nations Secretary-General: Major Tech Companies Aggressively Pursuing AI Profits, Urges Action to Mitigate Risks

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned at the Davos World Economic Forum that major tech companies are aggressively seeking AI profits and urgent action is needed to mitigate the risks posed by this rapidly growing industry. Guterres stated that every breakthrough achieved by generative AI adds potential unintended consequences. He also connected the risks brought by AI to the climate crisis, highlighting the lack of a strategic response from the international community to address both risks. Therefore, Guterres called on tech industry representatives present to collaborate with governments worldwide to set barriers for AI. He said, “This technology has tremendous potential for sustainable development, but the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just warned that it is likely to exacerbate inequality.” (Sina Technology)

JPMorgan Chase CEO: Bitcoin Is Useless, Not Recommended for Investment

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, referred to Bitcoin as “a pet rock” during the Davos Forum, stating that it can hardly do anything. Dimon has been a long-time critic of Bitcoin. As early as when Bitcoin reached its peak valuation in 2021, he deemed it worthless. Last year, Dimon even called Bitcoin a fraud. Today, in an interview, he mentioned, “This is the last time I will talk to the media about Bitcoin, God bless me.” He added, “Blockchain (the underlying technology of Bitcoin) is real. It is a technology that we use as well. It can be used to transfer funds, data efficiently. We have been talking about this technology for 12 years, but its scale is still small. I think we have talked enough about it.” (Sina Technology)

Policy Updates

Tianzhou-7 Cargo Spacecraft Launch Mission Achieves Complete Success

The China Manned Space Engineering Office announced that on January 17, 2024, at 22:27 Beijing time, the Long March 7 Y8 carrier rocket carrying the Tianzhou-7 cargo spacecraft was launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in China. Approximately 10 minutes later, the Tianzhou-7 cargo spacecraft successfully separated from the rocket and entered the designated orbit. Subsequently, the solar panels of the spacecraft were smoothly deployed, marking a successful launch. The Tianzhou-7 cargo spacecraft will rendezvous and dock with the orbiting space station assembly. (China News)

Five Ministries, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology: Launch Pilot Program for Integrated Vehicle-Road-Cloud Application of Intelligent Connected Vehicles

Five ministries, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, issued a notice on launching a pilot program for the integrated application of vehicle-road-cloud for intelligent connected vehicles. The pilot program will run from 2024 to 2026. It includes achieving full coverage of 5G communication networks in the pilot area, deploying C-V2X infrastructure including LTE-V2X direct communication roadside units (RSUs), transforming interconnected traffic signals and traffic sign identification, aiming for over 90% interconnection rate. Key intersections and road sections will synchronize the deployment of roadside sensing devices and edge computing systems (MEC), ensuring interconnection with city-level platforms and exploring the establishment of diverse development models such as multi-pole integration and multi-sensor integration. (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology website)

Institutions: Global AI Server Number Expected to Exceed 1.6 Million in 2024, a 40% Year-on-Year Growth

On January 17, TrendForce’s latest report indicated that amid the buzz around AI, by 2024, it will expand to more edge AI applications, extending from AI server basics to AI PC and other terminal devices. The institution expects that the global number of AI servers (including AI Training and AI Inference) will exceed 1.6 million in 2024, with a 40% annual growth rate, foreseeing subsequent active involvement from Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). (Sina Technology)

Indeed Job Platform: U.S. Wage Growth Slowing Down Towards Pre-Pandemic Levels

Data from the job website Indeed suggests that in the coming months, U.S. wage growth is expected to slow down to levels near those before the pandemic, alleviating one source of inflation pressure that concerns the Federal Reserve. Based on the latest Indeed Wage Tracker, summarizing job advertisements on the website, U.S. wages increased by 3.8% in December, significantly dropping from the peak of 9.3% two years ago. Indeed anticipates further slowing wage growth, expecting it to reach 3.1% in May, comparable to the average level before the COVID-19 pandemic. (Cailian Press)

Tata Motors Reportedly Urges Indian Government to Maintain Taxes on Hybrid Vehicles

According to sources, Tata Motors, an Indian electric vehicle manufacturer, is urging the Indian government not to reduce taxes on hybrid vehicles, arguing that hybrid vehicles cause more pollution than pure electric vehicles and countering the calls made by Toyota to lower taxes. India is promoting electric vehicles as part of its pollution reduction efforts, with the tax rate on electric vehicles being only 5%, while the tax rate on hybrid vehicles is as high as 43%, just below the 48% levied on gasoline vehicles. In response, car manufacturers including Toyota have been urging India to reduce taxes on hybrid vehicles, claiming that compared to gasoline vehicles, hybrid vehicles can reduce carbon emissions. The Indian Ministry of Commerce had also urged for a reasonable adjustment of taxes on hybrid vehicles in an internal document last month.
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[Product News]

Ningde Era Godspeed Battery Long-Life L-Series Debuts in Nezha L Car

Nezha Motors announced that the Ningde Era Godspeed Battery Long-Life L-Series will debut in the Nezha L car, achieving a harmonious “double L” integration. In August 2023, Ningde Era officially launched the “Godspeed Supercharge Battery,” the world’s first 4C supercharge battery using lithium iron phosphate material that can be mass-produced on a large scale, capable of replenishing 400 kilometers of range in just 10 minutes. (Shanghai Securities News)

Google Unveils Larger Payload Drone: Delivering 5 Pounds in One Trip, Arriving in 10 Minutes at the Fastest

Today, Google’s parent company Alphabet introduced a larger delivery drone. Its drone fleet subsidiary, Wing, showcased this new drone, which is about 50% larger than previous models and can carry up to 5 pounds (approximately 2.27 kilograms) of packages at once.

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