From something cool a 9-year old could code, mobile apps have become a knowledge and capital intensive game tangled up in global politics.

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Photo by Roberto Cortese on Unsplash

In February 2009, media across the world carried reports of a “whiz-kid” — a 9-year old boy called Lim Ding Wen from Singapore who became the world’s youngest iPhone app developer.

He had created an app called Doodle Kids, which allowed users to draw with their fingers on the iPhone’s screen. It was downloaded over 4,000 times within two weeks.

Of course, it helped that his father was the CTO of a local tech firm and that the boy had been playing with computers since the age of two. By seven, he already knew six different programming languages.

Eight years later and having published more than 20 free smartphone apps, this prodigy was still in the game. He was doing a diploma in Information Technology and nurturing an ambition to become a game developer. …


Can we justify a world in which linking to webpages is illegal and search engines are forced to pay for results?

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Photo by Shigeki Wakabayashi on Unsplash

In my younger days, I once took a trip to Japan and decided to spend a few nights in a backpacker hostel in Tokyo to save some cash. Feeling hungry one evening, I went to the counter to ask for a recommendation on good food in the area.

The receptionist whipped out one of those free tourist maps and drew a few circles on it to show me where I might get some authentic and cheap Japanese food.

This was back in the pre-smartphone era, when the Internet and Google map wasn’t at everyone’s fingertips yet. One still had to rely on good old travel guides or printed tourist maps to get information on the sights and sounds of a foreign place. …


BluePark Intelligence secured over 300 million renminbi (US$46.3 million) in a A+ round to fund next generation battery-swapping and EV ecosystem.

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BAIC Electric Vehicle EU5 model. Source: beijingauto.com.cn

BluePark Intelligence Energy Technology Company, the battery technology spinoff of China’s listed Electric Vehicle (EV) maker BAIC BluePark New Energy Technology Co Ltd (BAIC BluePark) has raised over US$46 million to fund R&D work, develop the market for its new generation of products, and build an “open ended energy service ecosystem”.

Both companies are part of the Beijing Automotive Industry Corp (BAIC) group of companies; hence the name prefix. The battery focused startup, founded in 2016, is often simply referred to as “BluePark Intelligence” (蓝谷智慧) in Chinese media.

According to one industry report, BAIC BluePark has “187 battery-swap stations in 15 Chinese cities for 16,000 electric powered taxis”. The company has reportedly sold more than half a billion EVs in China since it begun operations. …


Three of the most promising AI startups in China made the news with their record breaking deals despite the pandemic.

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Image Credit: Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego

The race is on between the top two economic giants of the world — the U.S. and China — to dominate the world in artificial intelligence (AI). In 2020, despite the market impact from COVID-19, the Chinese AI scene continued to forge ahead, setting records in financial deals.

Quadtalent Technology received more than US$20 million in a seed funding round led by venture capital firm Gaorong Capital in June 2020. Quadtalent is a digital transformation solutions provider that specializes in digitalization and A.I. enablement.

Founder and CEO Dr. Min Wanli is a child prodigy. A member of the Special Class for Gifted Young, he entered the University of Science and Technology of China when he was 14 and graduated with a degree in Physics at 19. Thereafter, he pursued and received a Ph.D. …


Founded during the pandemic, Chinese plant-based meat startup Hey Maet raised multi-millions over two rounds in just four months.

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Source: Hey Maet

There is a Google and there is a Baidu. There’s Amazon and then there’s Alibaba. For Tesla China answered with Nio. And now there’s Hey Maet (not a typo), in response to Beyond Meat.

It’s hard to say that China isn’t a trend follower, though in recent years one could argue that (IMHO), when the Chinese copied, they sometimes do it even better.

With the current food craze in plant-based faux meat, this latest Chinese entry into the foray also wants to prove that indeed they can do it better.

Defying the pandemic odds

And they are off to a good start if the first nine months are anything to go by. The company was bravely founded on March 30th, 2020 in Shanghai — right at the peak of the global COVID-19 panic. …


Getting married can literally kill, or save lives.

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Photo by Marc A. Sporys on Unsplash

I’ve decided to get married. At 43 and having had enough relationships behind me, it is time to settle. After all, it isn’t easy to find someone who can put up with my writer’s temperament and entrepreneur’s risk taking lifestyle — and still want to share the rest of my life with me.

But one thing troubles me.

And this is yet another one of those conventional logic issues that made little sense to my somewhat unconventional mind.

Why are weddings such big affairs?

Traditional foolery

Across customs and culture, weddings are typically grand affairs. Relatives and friends come, intricate ceremonies are conducted, the hosts serve abundant food and drinks, and guests come bearing expensive gifts. …


So many lessons from the forefathers of America, on choosing the right men for public office, has long been forgotten.

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Image credit: American Forefathers by Tim on Flickr

“No system of government was ever so ill-devised that, under proper men, it wouldn’t work well enough.”

The English founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn, said that in 1693.

And indeed he is so right.

10,000 years of human history later, we still fight wars over political ideology; as if settling on the right system of government alone can guarantee human society the justice and prosperity we all seek.

That is so wrong.

Democracy alone is not a magic pill for good governance. In fact, countries with elections often end up filling their public offices with politicians instead of leaders.

Because to be elected today means having to play the popularity game and having enough funding to afford masterful propaganda. …


Why Apple’s eco-friendly claims for not shipping adapters and earphones with the iPhone 12 is shrewd and misleading.

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Image credit: velo_city on Flickr

In 1986, when environmentalist Jay Westerveld was still in college, he coined the term “greenwashing” to describe “the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound”.

Apple’s latest statement on why it is shipping the new iPhone 12 without power adapters and earphones fits this exact definition. It sounded so convincing that some environmentalists were even praising the move.

But a closer examination of the facts reveals the truth — Apple is just simply trying to make more money from iPhone buyers by doing this.

How so?

Paying more for less

Without free adapters and earphones in the iPhone 12 packaging, Apple will be saving a lot on shipping costs. …


R.E.M.’s greatest hit was accidental and unintended; the song was actually meant to “destroy their careers”.

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Michael Stipe at Langerado 2008. Source: Wikimedia Commons

“The fact that it became what it became is still puzzling to all of us,” said Michael Stipe, lead singer of the rock and roll band R.E.M., in the documentary Song Exploder.

“Losing My Religion is kind of a mistake. It’s a song that should’ve never been a hit single…”

The band had been going on for about ten years, alternating between touring and recording.

They were exhausted — and somewhat sick of being typecast. Lead guitarist Peter Buck said that they wanted to “make a record that’s gonna destroy their career”.

They would then start all over again, reestablishing themselves with a new style. …


If you want to know the future of something, very often you have to trace it to its beginnings.

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Image credit: Pixy.org

On March 9th, 2019, the longest bull run in stock market history celebrated its 10th anniversary. I wondered to myself what might eventually bring it to an end, and possibly even cause a reversal.

I decided it had to be an ‘act of God’. For the last decade mankind had managed its way out of several threats to the economy with stimulus policies. We seemed to have ‘conquered’ man-made recessions!

The only possibility left had to be Mother Nature.

A huge earthquake, a monster volcano erupts, a deadly epidemic… some kind of natural disaster that hits our economy so hard many fortunes would be lost and hordes of investors would have to liquidate their investments quickly to recover cash. …

About

Lance Ng

I write about business, technology and society... Investor | Entrepreneur | Thinker 🔗 http://www.behindthegreatwall.com

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