China retail: a crucible of competitive innovation

China Retail App

Earlier this week it was announced that China now has over 800 million Internet users – more than the population of every other county on the planet except for India. That represents a penetration rate of 57.7% according to the China Internet Network Information Center. Over 98% of the users go online with a smart phone; 566 million use mobile payments.

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Luckin: challenging Starbucks for the China Coffee King Crown?

Linkin coffee cup

Luckin has been gaining a lot of attention recently thanks to cleverly positioning itself as the plucky young David fighting to unseat the Starbucks goliath in the China coffee market. Except of course, having closed a $200 million funding round that gives it a $1 billion valuation, the company is hardly a little guy at all and has already opened over 500 outlets throughout the country.

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China Children’s Computer Contest: hands-on AI experience

China Children’s Computer Contest

A fun day at the China Children’s Computer Contest talking with the students and watching them grapple with the mysteries of AI technology! Some of them had come from as far away as the western province of Xinjiang and taken 40-hour train journeys to attend the event. I decided not to bore them with my own tales of long-distance rail and bus journeys when I was studying in China in the 1980s. I suspect that my experiences are a lot more fun in retrospect than they were at the time.

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