China is selling autonomous killer drones to the Middle East


Chinese military contractors have already started to sell dangerous, autonomous killer robots to customers in the Middle East.

For instance, a Chinese company called Ziyan is actively marketing its Blowfish A3 — an autonomous helicopter-like drone armed with a machine gun — to international buyers, according to Defense One. While several countries have been working towards this tech for years, this news means we’re finally, and unfortunately, living in the era of killer robots.

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Baidu wins China’s first commercial license for self-driving buses



A self-driving bus with Baidu’s Apollo autonomous driving open platform is displayed at the 2018 Baidu World conference. © Reuters

 City of Wuhan also picks two other operators for network using Huawei 5G

CHONGQING — Chinese search engine giant Baidu is among three companies to win a license from the city of Wuhan to operate a commercial transportation service using self-driving vehicles, in a first for China.

Authorities hail the move as the start of the world’s first 5G-based driverless commercial service.

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Self-driving taxis roll out in Shanghai


A man holds a door to a Didi self-driving car during last month’s World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai. Picture: REUTERS

Ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing plans to start using self-driving vehicles to pick up passengers in Shanghai and hopes to expand the scheme outside China by 2021.

Local authorities in Shanghai last week issued licences — the first in China — for operational tests of smart and connected cars with passengers in them, that would pave the way for commercial robotaxis in the future.

The licences were given to car-hailing ride service Didi Chuxing as well as to car manufacturer SAIC Motor and BMW that allow them to conduct autonomous driving projects in real urban scenarios.

Each of the three companies are permitted to run 50 vehicles for pilot programs including robotaxis, unmanned deliveries and other autonomous driving services. The licence holders can increase the number of test vehicles after six months if there are no traffic violations.

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Chinese citizens will soon need to scan their face before they can access internet services or get a new phone number


: A display shows a facial recognition system during the 1st Digital China Summit at Strait International Conference and Exhibition Center on April 22, 2018 in Fuzhou, China. The summit is held from April 22 to 24, with the theme of ‘Let Informatization Drive Modernization, Speed Up the Construction of Digital China’. Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images

China’s 854 million internet users will soon need to use facial identification in order to apply for new internet or mobile services.

The Chinese government announced last month that telecommunications companies will need to scan users’ faces in order to verify their identities before they can access new services.

The new rule will apply from December 1.

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How selling citizenship is now big business


Buying and selling citizenship is now a global industry worth an estimated $25bn a year

You can be born into it, you can earn it, and you can lose it. Increasingly, you can also invest your way into it.

The “it” is citizenship of a particular country, and it is a more fluid concept than ever before. Go back 50 years, and it was uncommon for countries to allow dual citizenship, but it is now almost universal.

More than half of the world’s nations now have citizenship-through-investment programmes. According to one expert, Swiss lawyer Christian Kalin, it is now a global industry worth $25bn (£20bn) a year.

Mr Kalin, who has been dubbed “Mr Passport”, is the chairman of Henley & Partners, one of the world’s biggest players in this rapidly growing market. His global business helps wealthy individuals and their families acquire residency or citizenship in other countries.

He says that our traditional notions of citizenship are “outdated”. “This is one of the few things left in the world that is tied to blood lines, or where you are born,” he says. He argues that a rethink is very much due.

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Chinese passenger drone maker EHang is said to file for U.S. IPO



An EHang Inc. E-184 drone.

 Technology startup is working on producing passenger drones.

EHang may raise as much as $200 million in public offering.

EHang, one of China’s largest drone makers, has made a confidential application for an initial public offering with Nasdaq Inc., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

EHang plans to float 10% to 15% of its shares, with the company’s valuation not yet set due to volatile market conditions, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. EHang may raise as much as $200 million in the IPO, one of the people said.

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China plans to kill most of the world’s bitcoin mining operations


The price could spike again.

The Chinese government will end bitcoin mining operations in the coming months, Bloomberg reported over this January, a move that could have a massive impact on the price of the world’s biggest digital currency.

China has been a central player in the development of bitcoin in recent years, but Beijing has spent the last six months cracking down on the cryptocurrency industry — shutting down local exchanges and banning initial coin offerings.

Leaked documents suggest the Chinese government plans an “orderly exit” for bitcoin mining operations in the coming weeks and months.

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Why millions of Chinese men are staying single



The gender gap is a big problem in the Middle Kingdom – and its ‘leftover men’ are going to great lengths to find a wife.

In China, there is a name for unmarried men over 30. Shengnan, meaning “leftover men” have yet to find a wife – and in a country with a growing gender gap, that’s a big problem.

By 2020, it’s estimated there will be 30 million more men than women looking for a partner

China has many millions more men than women, a hangover of the country’s one-child policy, which was overturned in 2015, though its effects will last decades more. The gender imbalance is making it hard for many men to find a partner – and the gap is likely to widen. By 2020, it’s estimated there will be 30 million more men than women looking for a partner. In his book, The Demographic Future, American political economist Nicholas Eberstadt cites projections that by 2030, more than a quarter of Chinese men in their 30s will not have married.

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China’s autonomous vehicles to reach 1.5 million units by 2025


China’s autonomous car market is expected to reach 1.5 million units by 2025, growing on a compound annual growth rate of 28.4%.

According to the latest study by, the automotive industry is China is likely to shift into a higher intelligence level by 2025. At present, the L1 and L2 autonomous vehicles are available in the market, with total sales of 300,000 units in 2018. In the passenger car segment, 96.5% of autonomous vehicles are L1 and L2 private cars.

However, the study predicts that in the years ahead autonomous vehicle technology will see more adoption in passenger cars business segments such as public taxis and mobility service vehicles. Public taxis and other mobility service vehicles will account for a little more than a quarter or 25.6% of the passenger car market share in 2025.

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China’s driverless future farther off than first thought, report predicts


As a number of Chinese tech companies put the pedal to the metal in the race to dominate the autonomous vehicle industry, a major global information provider is proceeding with caution with regard to predicting the industry’s near-term growth

Driverless cars won’t be widely available for online hire in China until around 2025, according to a report published Friday by London-based research firm IHS Markit.

While researchers recognized the potential of autonomous vehicles to make travel more efficient, they warned that the need for policymakers to regulate emerging industries will put the brakes on the switchover from conventional vehicles.

Nonetheless, by 2035 China is expected to be home to some 33.6 million autonomous vehicles, around 10% of the world’s total, the report added.

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Solar energy prices hit tipping point as China reaches “grid parity”


It’s a landmark moment for China and the world.

The world’s most populous country has reached a tipping point in the pursuit of renewable energy.

China, which aims to consume 20 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuels by 2030, has reached a point where home-generated solar is cheaper than electricity generated from the national grid. The research, conducted by researchers in both Sweden and China and published in the journal Nature Monday, mark an historic moment in the drive to ditch fossil fuels.

The switchover point comes soon after a report that showed a similar crossover in the United States. The report in March showed that in 74 percent of cases, building new solar and wind capacity in a given area was cheaper than maintaining an existing coal-powered plant. Where levelized costs for wind reach $15 per megawatt-hour and $28 per megawatt-hour for solar, marginal costs for existing plants can jump as high as $104 per megawatt-hour.

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Chinese shadow growing longer over India’s electric-vehicle dream


India’s dream of getting more and more middle-class families to use electric vehicles (EVs) seems to be hinging to Beijing, which controls the supply of some key battery components. And this might well become another flashpoint in the volatile relations between India and China.

With nations placing a strategic interest in controlling the supply chain, political interference in mining activities is increasingly making the availability of lithium, cobalt, nickel and copper scarce, EV major Tesla has warned. India might soon have to join a global struggle for Lithium, the most consequential of these minerals.

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