Links for Friday, April 17, 2020 - SupChina
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Links for Friday, April 17, 2020

BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC), the world’s top contract chipmaker, saw its profit nearly double in the first quarter, as strong demand for telecom and high-end computing chips helped it defy a coronavirus-induced downturn seen in many other sectors.

In the three months through March, TSMC’s net profit jumped 90.6% year-on-year to NT$117 billion ($3.89 billion), beating market expectation for a NT$108 billion profit [$3.59 billion], according to the company’s earnings report released on Thursday.

The Shenzhen-based telecommunications company is moving its chip production towards Shanghai-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), said a report by Reuters, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The Chinese internet giant introduced “Arena of Valor” to 67 new markets on top of an existing 82, sharply expanding its footprint by launching in emerging markets. It hopes to draw new players to one of its longest-running and most profitable franchises, known in its home country as “Honor of Kings,” just as millions of people sheltering in place ignite online activity of all stripes.

As E.U. and U.S. authorities are trying to protect their most valued assets from Chinese money, China made what could be a goodwill gesture: The country’s antitrust regulator approved the acquisition of Israeli Mellanox Technologies by California-based Nvidia for $6.9 billion. The deal is expected to boost Nvidia’s edge in artificial intelligence computing.

…Analysts speculate that there could be multiple reasons behind the approval: an attempt to defuse tensions, a sign that China doesn’t plan to fight every single battle, or that they simply don’t care.

The Chinese-backed owners of Imagination Technologies told the British government on Friday the chip designer would remain headquartered in the United Kingdom, a source with knowledge of the matter said…

Imagination Technologies, once a jewel in Britain’s technological crown, was bought by Canyon Bridge in 2017.

Thermal imaging wearables used in China to detect COVID-19 symptoms could soon be deployed in the U.S.

Hangzhou based AI startup Rokid is in talks with several companies to sell its T1 glasses in America, according to Rokid’s  U.S. Director Liang Guan [管亮 Guǎn Liàng].

SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:

The most effective deployment of technology for tracking individuals’ infection status, movements, and contacts hinges on three critical conditions that might each present difficult dilemmas for Western democracies: The adoption of the needed technologies (whether they are just strongly encouraged or made mandatory); a digital infrastructure enabled and activated by the government; and seamless data sharing between government and business that may afford few privacy protections.

Drawing on the experience of countries that are effectively using technology for contact tracing, the first step — and a requirement — is to encourage, or, better yet, mandate, the installation of tracking apps on phones.

POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

  • Fù Chéngyù 傅成玉, the former chairman of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), says hostility towards Beijing will increase after the coronavirus.
  • U.S. will try to ‘thwart China’s rise’ and economic fallout from COVID-19 will be worse than the global financial crisis, says Fu.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it could no longer be “business as usual” with China when the coronavirus pandemic is over, the latest sign of hardening attitudes toward Beijing as the crisis drags on.

“There’s no doubt we can’t have business as usual after this crisis,” Raab said. “We’ll have to ask the hard questions about how it came about and how it could have been stopped earlier.”

Amid rising U.S.-China tensions over the coronavirus pandemic, a bill introduced in Congress on Thursday would seek to create for the first time a dedicated defense fund to boost deterrence against China in the Pacific, allocating more than $6 billion for air and missile defense systems and new military construction in partner countries.

Taiwan reported no new daily confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus for a second consecutive day Friday and also for the third time this week, keeping the total number of those infected in the country at 395, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said that day.

Congressional Republicans on Thursday urged President Donald Trump to condition US funding for the World Health Organization on the resignation of its chief over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Seventeen Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said they had “lost faith” in Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s WHO leadership, even as they stressed the organization is vital to tackling the world’s health problems.

1.You govern by surveillance You wouldn’t be President without surveillance. You can monitor everything, every one of your citizens, but you refuse to monitor the highly disease-prone animal markets in your country. You shut down every critical newspaper or website, but not the stalls where bat soup is sold. You are not only monitoring your people, you are endangering them — and with them the whole world.

Your message tells me that I would not do justice to the “traditional friendship of our peoples.” I suppose you consider it a great “friendship” if you now generously send masks around the world. I do not call it friendship, but smiling imperialism. You want to strengthen China through a plague that originated in China. I don’t believe that you personally can save your power by doing so. I believe that Corona will be the end of you politically, sooner or later.

SOCIETY AND CULTURE:

Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission said it has received around 600 complaints and enquiries related to discrimination against mainlanders or Mandarin speakers since the outbreak began, compared with “very few” before.

More than 100 restaurants have warned against mainland or Mandarin-speaking patrons. One hair salon said it would only cut “Hong Kongers’ hair.”

The worsening outbreak in Russia has forced the roughly 150,000 Chinese citizens living there to decide between sheltering in place or trying to cross back into China, where the coronavirus has been curtailed by drastic containment measures.

Thousands have opted to return home, including 2,443 at Suifenhe, bringing a wave of infections with them that forced authorities to close the border this month and put the city into virtual lockdown. Shutters were closed and doors bolted on most shops on Thursday.

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