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.
Back home in Taipei. My trip to Beijing certainly gave me plenty of food for thought. Judging by the size of my stomach, a tad too much perhaps!
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.
I couldn’t resist a wry smile at the doomsday predictions of a future AI jobs apocalypse from the Bank of England’s Chief Economist yesterday after listening to senior Chinese government officials and university professors wax lyrical about the benefits of the future AI society at our 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.
An intense start to this year’s China Children’s Computer Contest sponsored by VIA and HTC. Today the venue moves to the gymnasium at Beihang University for the maker segment of the event.
Another perfect summer evening stroll, this time after over-indulging in the sweetest and tenderest ribs of lamb that I can ever recall eating at the Xibei Youmiancun Restaurant (西贝莜面村) in Wudaokou.
Mobile World Congress Shanghai was even bigger and brasher than CES Asia a couple of weeks before. Naturally, there was a much stronger focus on the latest and greatest smart phones at the show, but overall the main themes were pretty much the same. Yes, AI and AR are about to take over the world as the industry packs yet more hot new applications and features into their devices to fuel the upgrade cycle.
Happy Dragon Boat Festival! The long weekend is providing me with a welcome opportunity to catch my breath after the hustle and bustle of Computex and CES Asia over the past couple of weeks.
A 1200km trip in three days from Ningbo to Nanjing, Huia’an, Huzhou, and finally Shanghai bears no comparison to the Long March despite what my back is telling me, but it gave me a tantalizing glimpse of how China’s third-tier cities are being developed.