As Chinese authorities work toward establishing new rules for road-testing self-driving cars, foreign auto manufacturers are worried that Beijing will use concerns about spying to hinder their progress.
- “We have some obstacles related to testing of automated functionalities, but this is a delicate thing,” one industry source told the Financial Times (paywall). “We have obstacles driving around China making photos and recording GPS coordinates.” Chinese companies working with similar technologies have not been limited in this way.
- Only 13 Chinese companies are approved to engage in the type of high-definition mapping required for automated driving technology, and other firms must partner with one of these to develop their self-driving cars.
- In other auto news, Alibaba will be entering the electric vehicle market with its investment in startup carmaker Xpeng. Alibaba is also opening two giant cat-shaped vending machines that will allow prospective buyers to take cars from various manufacturers out for test drives.
- Bubble talk
China’s tech startup funding: The Wild West in the Far East / WSJ (paywall)
“Over-the-top valuations, intense competition and greater uncertainty on returns have some talking of bubbles.”
- Pollution curbs: Slow growth and fertilizer shortages
China pollution curbs hit growth amid shift in policy priorities / Financial Times (paywall)
“China’s manufacturing sector slowed last month as strict measures to curb winter pollution forced factories to cut production, the latest sign of policymakers’ increasing willingness to sacrifice economic growth in favor of other priorities.”
China’s war on smog unleashes collateral damage on world’s farms / Bloomberg
“Fertilizer cutbacks are yet another unintended consequence of China’s efforts to achieve blue skies by boosting natural gas consumption and limiting coal burning.”
- Food safety and blockchain
Walmart, JD, IBM and Tsinghua University launch a blockchain food safety alliance in China / TechNode
“The four companies will work together to create a standards-based method of collecting data about the origin, safety, and authenticity of the food, using blockchain technology to provide real-time traceability throughout the supply chain.”
- Sexist culture in Chinese tech
Baidu pulls virtual girlfriend from VR product after sexism concerns / SCMP