Vietnam boomtowns + more things

5 minutes estimated reading time

Apple’s Shifting Supply Chain Creates Boomtowns in Rural Vietnam – Bloomberg – Vietnam is becoming the new China. While China has been impacted by problems of its own making, resulting in diversification of supply chains and trade disputes. This Vietnam build-out feels very much like build out in China during the late 1990s and the early 2000s after China joined the World Trade Organisation. Vietnam is now likely to experience double-digit growth. Hopefully Vietnam will climb up the value chain in a similar way to China. Vietnam is already a great place to develop software and applications. More Vietnam related posts here.

Apple develops alternative to Google search | Financial Times“Any reasonable search engine has to have 20bn-50bn pages in its active index,” Mr Ramaswamy said. When a user runs a query, the retrieval system must sift through vast troves of data then rank them in milliseconds. Some observers still dismiss the idea of Apple creating a complete search rival to Google. Dan Wang, associate professor of business at Columbia Business School, said it would be “extremely difficult” for Apple ever to catch up. “Google’s advantage comes from scale,” he said, as the endless user feedback helps to tune results and identify areas of improvement. “Google gets hundreds of millions of queries every minute from users all over the world — that’s an enormous advantage when it comes to data.” – Apple needs search for its app store, mapping services, media services and even on device. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple will do a ‘Google’

Army of avatar robots readies to invade Japanese job market – Nikkei Asia – stocking shelves in a FamilyMart

Apple develops alternative to Google search | Financial Times – explains Apple’s massive amount of overcapacity in their datacentre space for the past decade as they built around the world

Chinese retailer Miniso beats Uniqlo and Muji at their game – Nikkei Asia – interesting profile of Miniso. What becomes apparent is how Luckin Coffee has poisoned the well with investors for Chinese retailing businesses

Surveillance Startup Used Own Cameras to Harass Coworkers | Vice News – not terribly surprised that this was in their sales team. It fits right in with the sales cultures I have known

25 Years In Speech Technology. …and I still don’t talk to my computer. | by Matthew Karas | Oct, 2020 | Medium – great essay on voice technology on computers (including smartphones)

German spy chief Gerhard Schindler: China is poised to dominate the world | World | The TimesGerhard Schindler, who led the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) from 2011 to 2016, said Germany needed to curb its “strategic dependence” on Beijing and ban Huawei from its 5G mobile phone network. He also warned that Angela Merkel’s liberal approach to the 2015 migrant crisis had left Germany with a “large reservoir” of young Muslim men susceptible to violence and jihadist ideology, and that the true scale of the danger was only now becoming clear.

UK risks road rage with China in Africa – POLITICOUnited States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy told a Congressional hearing in 2019 that Washington was “weaponizing” its African embassies “to confront China on a whole range of issues, most prominently a commercial one.” Westcott, from the Royal Africa Society, pointed out that Britain was so far aiming to maintain its own influence in Africa rather than reduce Chinese influence — but that it could take a more aggressive approach in future, for example attempting to outbid China for projects.

How The Epoch Times Created a Giant Influence Machine – The New York TimesThe Epoch Times was a small, low-budget newspaper with an anti-China slant that was handed out free on New York street corners. But in 2016 and 2017, the paper made two changes that transformed it into one of the country’s most powerful digital publishers. The changes also paved the way for the publication, which is affiliated with the secretive and relatively obscure Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong, to become a leading purveyor of right-wing misinformation. First, it embraced President Trump, treating him as an ally in Falun Gong’s scorched-earth fight against China’s ruling Communist Party, which banned the group two decades ago – the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I see this as a failure of liberal politicians engaging with a plurality of opinions about China.

The Belt and Road Strategy Has Backfired on Xi | Palladium MagazineThe Belt and Road is less a geoeconomic power play than a marketing strategy. Few of the myriad projects and investment schemes labeled ‘Belt and Road’ exist because of the initiative as such. Grand strategists in Beijing did not cause the tremendous outbound flows of money, men, and material that comprise Belt and Road, and they cannot direct it either. What statesmen like Xi Jinping do have power to influence is how these flows are understood and perceived by the world

How Did China Beat Its Covid Crisis? | by Ian Johnson | The New York Review of Books – ambiguous lessons on handling COVID-19

WeChat ban a catch-22 for Chinese Australians – The China Storysome members of the Chinese Australian community have created parallel chat groups on WhatsApp, Letstalk, Line or Telegram in case of a local WeChat ban. But they continue to be drawn back to WeChat as their main social media platform. Why do members of the Chinese diaspora choose to self-censor when they have many other options available? The answer may lie in platform affordances available in WeChat as well as techno-material features of the app that produce ‘habits’, engender ‘necessity’ and provide users with a sense of ‘vitality’.

Inside Out: China’s Forgotten Domestic Politics – The China Story – China digging itself into a soft power hole

Adobe’s new AI experiment syncs your dance moves perfectly to the beat | The Next Web – I was thinking about the effect that quantisation had on music software in the early 1990s which allowed for perfect beat synching (in theory, though MIDI and USB could throw that off slightly