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Jack Ma’s Alibaba, Xinhua Unleash Robot Journalist Army On China, Raising Privacy Fears

Imagine walking your child to school, then discovering an hour later that you and your child’s image has been featured on state news simply because you happened to walk past a store that was just robbed. This type of invasive news coverage has just become reality in China thanks to a partnership between tech giant Alibaba Group and Chinese state newswires Xinhua News Agency.

2017 In Review: China Leads World After Minting 22 New Unicorns Worth $37.3B

China continued to be a breeding ground for tech unicorns in 2017, with 22 private companies receiving a valuation of US$1 billion or more for the first time. The 2017 vintage unicorns boast a total valuation of US$37.3 billion, accounting for more than a third of the total newborn unicorns worldwide, and 38% in terms of valuation, China Money Network‘s data shows.

From University To Rising Star, How One Chinese AI Start-Up Aims To Make China “Smart”

Yao Song, founder of upstart Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) start-up DeePhi Tech, has a nickname: “Boss Yao”. The 25-year-old Tsinghua University graduate has been on a winning streak so far. After securing a victory at a national physics competition championship, Yao was admitted into China’s top university to study electrical engineering without having to take the university entrance exam. While at Tsinghua, he chaired a prominent student science association and organized innovation competitions on campus.

Chinese EV Sharing Platform PonyCar Raises $37M Series C Round

A Chinese electric vehicle sharing start-up PonyCar has raised RMB250 million (US$37 million) in a series C round led by Zhihe Chuxing. This is the third financing round completed by the 13-month-old company, which has raised RMB550 million (US$83 million) in total since its founding last October.

Entrepreneurs, Companies Drawn To Naked Hub’s Co-Working Space Offerings In Hong Kong

Entrepreneurs, start-ups and companies are drawn to the flexible, vibrant and energizing atmosphere at naked Hub co-working space in Hong Kong, the newest and hippest shared work place in the metropolitan. “Hubbers”, what naked Hub calls its tenants, found the work environment that comes with bright yellow bean bags and unlimited free beer an ideal place for networking, business cooperation at affordable prices.

China’s Uber-Like Trucking Unicorns Merge As Sharing Economy Consolidates

After years of explosive growth, China’s vast sharing economy is entering consolidation mode. The latest merger news comes from Chinese Uber-like truck logistics leaders Yumanman and Huochebang, both valued at US$1 billion on China Money Network’s China Unicorn Ranking. The deal may herald more mega-mergers in the sharing space due to intense competition and overlapping business models.

Ant Financial Tells Qudian To Cap Interest Rates At 24% For Alipay Customers

Chinese online micro lender Qudian Inc. (NYSE:QD) has been told by by Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Alibaba Group (NYSE:BABA), to drastically reduce the amount of interest it charges its customers. From November 30, all Qudian transactions on Ant Financial’s Alipay consumer interface will be limited to an effective annualized rate of 24%, including interest, fees and charges. Alipay is Qudian’s largest source of business.

Chinese Artificial Intelligence Robot Passes National Medical Exam For First Time

An artificial intelligence enabled robot has passed the written test of China’s national medical licensing examination for the first time, marking another milestone in the quest for AI technology to match or surpass human intelligence. Named Xiaoyi, the robot developed by Tsinghua University and Chinese information technology firm iFlytek, achieved a score of 456, 96 points higher than the required mark of 360 points, according to a company announcement.

From Drone Hackers to Cyber Bodyguards, China Cyber Security a Growing Concern

China Money Network’s Special Situations Team brings you the latest installment in our “Industry Specialist” series, sitting down with Bill Sims, a Managing Director for Cybersecurity, Investigations & Business Intelligence Asia Pacific Stroz Friedberg to discuss the current cybersecurity challenges facing Chinese companies and foreign investors in the country. China is home to the world’s largest group of Internet users. However, the country is behind the curve in terms of cybersecurity. The number of cyber attacks on Chinese and Hong …

Alibaba Invests $2.9B In China Hypermarket Chain Sun Art In New Retail Push

Chinese Internet retail giant Alibaba Group Holding Limited has formed a strategic alliance with French retailer Auchan Retail S.A. and Ruentex Group to pursue new opportunities in China’s food retail sector. As part of the strategic alliance, Alibaba will invest a total of HK$22.4 billion (US$2.88 billion) to obtain an aggregate 36.16% stake in Sun Art Retail Group Ltd., a Chinese hypermarket operator listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Alibaba is buying the stake from from Ruentex, for around …

Volkswagen To Invest $12B To Launch 40 EV Models In China By 2025

Automotive manufacturer Volkswagen AG has said it will invest over US$12 billion by 2020 with its Chinese partners to launch as many as 40 new electric and hybrid vehicle models in China by 2025. The first of the new models could enter the Chinese market as early as next year, Jochem Heizmann, the head of Volkswagen China, told reporters yesterday. The investment is part of Volkswagen’s broader electric vehicle plans. Two months ago, the company said it aims to invest …

Tencent Leads $400M Round In Chinese Robot Maker Ubtech At $4B Valuation

Chinese humanoid robot maker Ubtech Robotics is raising a US$400 million series C round led by tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. with participation from investors whose identities are unknown at this moment. The Shenzhen-headquartered company has been raising this round at least from six months ago, and the final numbers may still change, according to people familiar with the matter.

Faraday Future CFO Stefan Krause Accuses Embattled Chinese EV Company For Defamation

Stefan Krause (pictured), the former chief financial officer of embattled Chinese electric vehicle company Faraday Future, accused the Chinese company for defamation surrounding the reasons of his recent departure from the company. The news could further erode investor confidence and reduce the chance for the company to raise much-needed capital to maintain its operations.