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Market Intelligence for Strategic Advantage

There was very little real AI or blockchain news over the holidays, especially legal-related.

But there was a plethora of posts reviewing 2018 and forecasting 2019 and beyond, so that’s the focus of this post.

I suggest you skim these titles and then skim through the lists included in most of the posts;

Many are at least tangentially related to legal, but I have omitted those to keep this post somewhat manageable.

March 1 not a "magical date"; UK report on CCP interference; Squeezing Kiwis; ST innovation

Perhaps the Chinese side is finally making more substantive offers as the original March 1 deadline approaches, or perhaps both sides recognize the best they can get before then is a set of high-level Memoranda of Understanding that the US side at least hopes can be turned into deals with more teeth when President Trump and General Secretary Xi eventually meet again?

Reuters: Negotiators are drawing up six memorandums of understanding on structural issues: forced technology transfer and cyber theft, intellectual property rights, services, currency, agriculture and non-tariff barriers to trade, according to two sources familiar with the progress of the talks...

“It’s the ‘Chinese characteristics’ that are being targeted.” China Will Not Bargain Yuan Rate for Trade Disputes: Foreign Ministry - Caixin Global: China won’t resort to currency depreciation for competitive purposes in trade and hopes the U.S. can respect market rules and not politicize currency issues, Geng Shuang, a foreign ministry spokesman, said at a routine press briefing.

As part of the talks, officials are also planning to discuss removing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on distillers dried grains, a by-product of corn ethanol production that’s used in animal feed, people said earlier.

Soybeans, corn and wheat futures prices rose in Chicago in response to the news Russia Exploits U.S.-China Trade Tensions to Sell More Soybeans - WSJ $$: Russia’s overall trade with China, its biggest individual trading partner, rose more than 27% to over $100 billion last year, according to Chinese trade data.

Reuters: China’s central bank is not yet ready to cut benchmark interest rates to spur the slowing economy, despite cooling inflation and a stronger yuan, which have fanned market expectations of such a move, policy sources told Reuters.

But the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is likely to cut market-based rates and further lower banks’ reserve ratios (RRR) to boost credit growth and reduce firms’ borrowing costs, according to the sources involved in internal policy discussions.

央行:继续实施稳健的货币政策并不意味着货币条件维持不变 As speculation continues to rise that more stimulus is coming, and that the leveraging reduction campaign is easing off—China’s debt reduction drive becomes trade war casualty as Beijing unleashes bank lending |

South China Morning Post: While Beijing insists it will not embrace massive policy easing to avoid a repeat of the sharp build-up in debt seen after the global financial crisis a decade ago, it is clear that the debt reduction drive has come to an end, at least for now...

China’s economic policymakers are explicitly encouraging additional debt accumulation with local governments allowed to sell more bonds to finance newly approved infrastructure projects, with the bonds front-loaded to get the money to work sooner...

China may introduce more aggressive stimulus measures - CNBC: Three economists and one Hong Kong-based CEO told CNBC in the last week that they anticipate a significant move from the People's Bank of China in the near future as Chinese officials continue to grapple with a slowing economy and the economic stresses of the ongoing trade war with the United States.

This strategy, which we call collective pressure, would seek to build a coalition of allies and partners strong enough to deter or simply hold the line against Chinese revisionism until such a time as the Chinese Communist Party modifies its objectives or loses its grip on power.

No matter how the international and regional situation changes, China's resolve to develop a comprehensive strategic partnership with Iran will remain unchanged, Xi said during the meeting, hailing that China and Iran have a long history of friendship and share long-tested mutual trust and friendship.

The indefinite ban on imports from top supplier Australia, effective since the start of February, comes as major ports elsewhere in China prolong clearing times for Australian coal to at least 40 days China customs testing coal imports for environmental reasons: foreign ministry |

China vows to step up scientific, technological cooperation with all parties - Xinhua: Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang made the comments at a news briefing when asked about some countries' remarks that Chinese enterprises should be excluded from the construction of their 5G networks due to the 'security risks' of Chinese products and devices.

As a cutting-edge technology, the fifth-generation (5G) mobile communication technology is not exclusive to one or a few countries, but concerns the development of the global economy, the interests of all countries and the progress of human civilization, Geng said ahead of the Mobile World Congress 2019 scheduled for Feb. 25-28 in Barcelona, Spain.

[…] America doesn’t represent the world.” For Mr Ren, a reclusive former Chinese army engineer who very rarely gives interviews, the public comments were the latest step in Huawei’s counteroffensive against an onslaught that threatens to damage its global business.

The interview came ahead of Mobile World Congress, the telecom industry’s biggest annual trade show where the Chinese company has outshone rivals for years with enormous displays of its technological prowess and armies of marketing staff.

China's top anti-graft body lays out work priorities of 2019 - Xinhua: Enhancing the Party's political building should be taken as the overarching principle, with resolute action to crack down on the practice of formalities for formalities' sake and bureaucratism, according to the report.

The report listed four major incidents and discussed the lessons from them- 中央纪委三次全会工作报告点名的四大问题事件,背后有哪些深刻教训?: 秦岭北麓西安境内违建别墅 The Xi'an Qinling villa scandal;湖南洞庭湖违规违法建设矮围 Illegal construction by Dongting Lake in Hunan;京津冀违建大棚房 Illegal construction in Jing-Jin-Ji (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei);长春长生公司问题疫苗 The Changchun vaccine scandal Half a Million Party Members Penalized for Corruption in 2018 - Caixin: The report says the punished individuals include 68 high-level officials registered in the Organization Department of the Central Committee — the country’s highest Party personnel management organization.

The report said 27,000 cases involved violations of ”political discipline.” 14,000 “gang-related” cases were confirmed, and 1,899 individuals involved in the cases were referred to judicial authorities for further investigation.

Reporting to local Party organs, work-unit people are expected to directly participate in all kinds of community management-related activities, everything from neighborhood patrols and trash pickup to teaching midday classes and offering medical, legal, or financial advice.

“After the introduction of the CRS rules, high-net-worth individuals are pretty nervous and overwhelmed,” said Liu Shuang, a former anti-avoidance specialist for the Chinese tax bureau who now leads a wealth tax management team in Beijing and has seen demand for her advice soar since last year.

China’s First Financial Court Wants a Bigger Voice Abroad - Caixin In the 12-page plan, the court said it would strengthen judiciary judgments on high-profile cross-boarder financial cases to echo the national strategy of opening its financial system to foreigners, as well as those in involving international finance trading rules and foreign defendants.

It would also look to foreign courts for models on how to operate over the next five years, by bringing financial experts from home and abroad, and will file financial cases simultaneously with foreign courts in areas such as derivatives trading and internet finance to increase its reputation as a global financial court, the statement said.

The company said heavier American tariffs on auto parts from China also led to rising production costs in the U.S. China moves fast toward winning battle against poverty by 2020 - Xinhua n the past six years, China lifted 82.39 million rural poor out of poverty, with the rural poor population down from 98.99 million at the end of 2012 to 16.6 million at the end of last year, said Ou Qingping, deputy director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, at a press conference.

As this year is an important year for winning the tough battle against poverty by 2020, and the government has set the target to reduce the rural poor population by more than 10 million this year, he added.

Yicai Global - China's Stellar E-Realtor Crashes to Earth After Burning Through USD350 Million Chinese online realtor Aiwu Jiwu Real Estate Economy has shut its website and app and Deng Wei its founder has backed out as an investor, closing the door on the meteoric rise of the firm that once bagged USD350 million from investors and dominated Shanghai's rental skyline.

The deal values Panda Selected at as much as $300 million dpa International - Energy executives abroad ensnared in China's Xinjiang crackdown the crackdown is also targeting businesspeople, especially those with foreign ties, which contradicts the Chinese government’s aim of developing and expanding trade in the region.

The Waltham, Mass.-based company said Wednesday the decision to stop supporting customers of its human identification technology in the area—where police have rolled out one of the most extensive state surveillance programs ever built—was “consistent with Thermo Fisher’s values, ethics code and policies” and followed “fact-specific assessments.” Rising Uygur soccer player Erfan Hezim back with Chinese team after release from Xinjiang internment camp |

She was only released a few days later because she was breastfeeding...According to S.’s statement to Australia’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which oversaw S.’s citizenship appeal for his son, S.’s wife was informed on her release from detention “that once the child was one year old, she would be returned to detention and most likely the son will be put in a holding camp for children, given a Han Chinese name, and adopted out to a Han Chinese family.” High tech used to detect rogue police - Global Times Using facial recognition and drones to detect criminal suspects and unlawful acts seems nothing new, but recently, a local disciplinary watchdog in North China's Hebei Province caught delinquent police officers by using high technology.

Reuters When asked directly on BBC radio if the relationship had been damaged by Williamson’s threat, Hammond said: “It is a complex relationship and it hasn’t been made simpler by Chinese concerns about royal navy deployments in the South China Sea.” A Ministry of Defence official said the speech had been cleared in advance by both Hammond’s department and the prime minister’s office.

China strengthens map printing rules, forbidding publications printed for overseas clients from being circulated in the country - Global Times The Chinese government published a notice to strengthen the import and export of Chinese maps on Thursday, highlighting regulations on domestically produced overseas publications containing maps, which analysts believe will make the government's position on territory clear to the international community.

Chinese birth tourism biz thrives despite US charges - Global Times A total of 19 suspects were accused of links to three 'birth houses' operating in Southern California that catered to women from China and were dismantled by federal agents in March 2015, Reuters reported.

Tsai Ing-wen not only unequivocally rejected the constructed “’92 Consensus” as a solution to the conflict of sovereignties, but she also placed the DPP’s most potent domestic political appeals — commitment to island identity and sovereignty — at the center of her administration’s mainland policy, and as a requirement for cross-strait talks.

Similarly, Xi Jinping’s focus on unification as the essence of the mainland’s Taiwan policy not only was a rejection of Hu Jintao’s 胡锦涛 gradualist policy of “peaceful development.” It was the affirmation of a policy that unambiguously established a future goal of mainland assumption of sovereignty over the island even as it rejected the existence of the present government by suggesting negotiations with representative delegations from the island as the way to create a future government for Taiwan...It seems that after three years of uncertainty and probing, both sides have now become locked into starkly conflicting positions on what appears to be a fundamental, but irreconcilable question.

The zone will focus on exploring an innovative system to develop the AI technology through coordinating efforts of the government, academia and the industry, aiming to develop Beijing into a major producer of AI-related theories, ideas and talent, according to the commission.

// The report: Report on IPv6: Get ready for a mixed Internet world Clickbait queen’s social media accounts closed - Global Times Media accounts of Mimeng, a popular Chinese blogger dubbed as China's Queen of Self-media or clickbait, were removed on multiple social media platforms. announced the shutdown of Mimeng's accounts on the platforms as a result of 'taking its responsibilities as the content regulator to crack down on fake information, pessimistic values, cheating for clicks and behavior that purposely splits society.'

The Wandering Earth lands on Netflixno date for its availability yet Beijing life expectancy hits 82.2 years - Xinhua The average life expectancy of Beijing residents reached 82.2 years in 2018, higher than the 2017 figure of 82.15 years, according to Beijing municipal health commission on Thursday.

- Caixin One possible reason for China’s unusually low flu death numbers is that health officials in the country depend on reports of deaths for their data, rather than the statistical modeling used by authorities elsewhere in the world.

The number of deaths provided by Chinese authorities this week is “likely to be reported deaths in patients with influenza, which will massively underestimate influenza deaths, because most patients in hospitals in China are not tested for influenza,” Ben Cowling, a professor at the Hong Kong University School of Public Health, told Caixin.

Polluters of waterway to face harsher punishments - China Daily China will hand down more severe punishments to those who commit environmental crimes in the Yangtze River Economic Belt, according to a document issued by five central departments on Wednesday specifying offenses and punishment standards.

Beijing tightens food safety control in schools - Xinhua According to Beijing Municipal Education Commission, kindergartens, primary and secondary schools should establish a centralized dining system that also requires the presence of school leaders at every meal amid new efforts to find and solve problems quickly.

The regulation said heads of schools and kindergartens are directly responsible for food safety and need to be assisted by a commissioner for food safety management, either full time or part time Guideline to enhance security on campuses - China Daily Shanghai will establish a 200-meter safe zone around schools, according to a guideline designed to enhance campus security that was released by the municipal government on Wednesday, as students started their first day in the city's public schools.

Comment: Securing schools and making the food served in them safe will certainly be welcome by Chinese parents In a First, Tsinghua University Takes Top Spot in Asia-Pacific School Rankings - Caixi Long-time leader National University of Singapore has lost first place in the Times Higher Education’s latest Asia-Pacific rankings to a Chinese mainland institution — Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University Chinese Girl Finds a Way Out of Tedious Homework: Make a Robot Do It - The New York Times Some would say she cheated.

The “Fortnite Effect” Foreshadows the Rise of Games-as-a-ServiceFeb22

In the midst of a mixed earnings season for the ailing video game sector, the latest diagnosis has been the popularity of Fortnite, a multiplayer online battle royale, developed by Epic Games.

GaaS, similar to software-as-a-service, provides video games or game content on a continuing revenue model, monetizing games either after their initial sale, or to support a free-to-play model through in-game purchases, also called microtransactions.

As in-game spending alone could approach 50% of total industry revenue by this year, it is becoming abundantly clear that post-launch revenue streams are on their way to becoming a key growth engine for traditional gaming companies.

On average, more than half of the gamers who said they’ve already bought or planned to buy at least one of 15 top games in 2018 planned to purchase downloadable content for the game.  More than 50% of the gamers on a UBS survey noted that they had plans to purchase expansion packs or other downloadable content (DLC) for the games they buy.

Console game companies have already pushed harder on titles filled with microtransactions, loot boxes, in-game app purchases, launch date DLC and season passes or even monthly subscription charges.

Obviously not every game from here on out can just copy and repackage Fortnite, but the fact that major gaming companies are finally committing to true GaaS methods shows they have received the message and are prepared to adjust course.

Going forward, GaaS via free to play games, as well as more DLC in traditional games, will continue to provide stronger post-launch revenue streams for gaming companies that will likely focus on producing fewer games, but a larger and more drawn out volume of in-game content for the most successful products.

Market Intelligence for Strategic Advantage

There was very little real AI or blockchain news over the holidays, especially legal-related.

But there was a plethora of posts reviewing 2018 and forecasting 2019 and beyond, so that’s the focus of this post.

I suggest you skim these titles and then skim through the lists included in most of the posts;

Many are at least tangentially related to legal, but I have omitted those to keep this post somewhat manageable.

Elon Musk AI creates news generator that's 'too dangerous' to release!

Research group Open AI developed a 'large-scale unsupervised language model' that is able to generate news stories from a simple headline.  But the group insists it will not be releasing details of the programme and instead has unveiled a much smaller version for research purposes.  Its developers claim the technology is poised to rapidly advance in the coming years and the full specification and details of the project will only be released when the negative applications have been discussed by researchers.   Scroll down for video  OpenAI is a group founded by Musk and backed by Silicon Valley heavyweights, including LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman.  Musk has famously been an outspoken critic of AI, calling it the biggest existential threat to humankind and warning '[we could create] an immortal dictator from which we would never escape.'   While OpenAI is describing its work in the paper, it is not releasing the full model out of concern it could be misused.  The researchers said: 'Due to our concerns about malicious applications of the technology, we are not releasing the trained model.

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