Baidu has hired former Microsoft executive and artificial intelligence expert Lu Qi as president and chief operating officer to help the Chinese search engine tap emerging technologies.
The heads of Baidu's technology, financial services and search units will all report to Lu as Baidu aims for a strong management team to drive the next phase of growth, the company said yesterday.
"To achieve our goals, especially in artificial intelligence, which is a key strategic focus for the next decade, we will need to continue attracting the best global talent," Baidu Chairman and founder Robin Li said in a statement.
Lu's appointment, with immediate effect, came a day after Baidu opened an augmented reality lab and followed an announcement in September of a US$200 million venture fund for emerging technologies.
German automaker Volkswagen plans to provide more than 400,000 new energy cars for the Chinese market by 2020, according to Professor Jochem Heizmann, CEO of Volkswagen Group China, Monday.
According to the plan, the number will increase to 1.5 million by 2025.
The company announced earlier that it would introduce 15 models of new energy vehicles in China in the next three or four years, to address the environmental protection needs of the Chinese market, as well as 10 models worldwide in the next decade.
New energy vehicles sales of the company are expected to reach 2 million to 3 million in 2025, 20 to 25 percent of its total sales.
China is Volkswagen's largest market. Volkswagen Group China and its two joint ventures delivered 3.98 million automobiles to the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong in 2016, up 12.2 percent year on year.
With this year's "Chunyun," the name given for the travel rush around Spring Festival, starting from Jan 13, some parcel deliverymen have returned to their hometowns to celebrate China's most important family holiday.
Courier companies, including SF Express, YTO Express and TTK Express, though have claimed that delivery and pickup will be normal during the Spring Festival holiday in response to the "No rest for the whole year" policy of the State Post Bureau.
However, due to the shortage of employees, some service stations will stop parcel pickup.
A deliveryman of YTO Express Beijing said that from Jan 15 parcels sent to other provinces will not be picked up, while Jan 20 is the deadline for parcels dispatched to be collected in the same city.
An employee of TTK Express said that parcel pickup will stop one week before the Spring Festival, china.org.cn reported.
Spring Festival, which falls on Jan 28 this year, is China's most important family holiday, with hundreds of millions heading for their hometowns to reunite with relatives and friends. It is expected to leave online shopping sites short-handed due to the exodus of workers.
Domestic express delivery services are getting a business boost from the explosive growth of e-commerce.
China's burgeoning courier service sector is predicted to generate 500 billion yuan ($72 billion) in business revenue this year, said Ma Junsheng, head of State Post Bureau. More than 40 billion express parcels will be sent in 2017, he added.
Baofeng Group Co Ltd, a Beijing-based internet entertainment and video company, announced on Thursday that it has established Baofeng New Culture Co Ltd to expand its business in culture, tourism and virtual reality, or VR.
Baofeng New culture will focus on intellectual property, or IP, investment, project incubation and operations in the fields of culture and tourism.
Working with Chongqing municipal government, the company will launch a 200-million-yuan ($29 million) fund, which will be invested in digital industry, VR content and innovation, VR experience centers and related projects.
Feng Xin, chief executive officer of Baofeng Group, said he took a rosy view of future integration between VR and the culture industry.
"In the wave of high-tech, the cultural upgrading will create richer forms of cultural tourism. And VR will play a key role in the development of cultural tourism," Feng said.
The new company will integrate artificial intelligence, the internet of things, big data, cloud computing and other technologies to develop local cultural and historical IP.
Connecting tourists, brand owners and local tourist sites, the company aims to build a cultural geographic digital system. And the online platforms' experiences will boost offline consumption.
In 2016, the VR industry is moving forward rapidly; tech giants, including Google, Facebook, HTC, Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi all cultivated VR hardware.
According to industry consultancy iResearch Consulting Group, China's VR market revenues are expected to top 5.6 billion yuan last year, and will reach 55 billion yuan by 2020.
In 2016, Baofeng Group's revenue in the VR sector reached around 20 million yuan, Feng said at the end of December.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, the manufacturer of Apple Inc's iPhones, posted its first annual revenue decline since 1991, as it wrestled with a saturating global smartphone market.
The Taiwan-based firm said on Tuesday it recorded NT$4.36 trillion ($137 billion) in revenue in 2016, down 2.81 percent from a year earlier, after its biggest client Apple saw slowing iPhones sales.
Founded in 1974 by business tycoon Terry Gou, Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn Technology Group, is the world's largest contract manufacturer of consumer electronics. Apple accounts for half of its business.
James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, said smartphone vendors and their supply chain partners are under big pressure as the global smartphone market slows down.
"Hon Hai's heavy reliance on Apple makes it extremely vulnerable to a single client's sales performance," Yan said.
Terry Gou, founder and chairman of Foxconn Technology Group.
In 2016, the global smartphone market was expected to grow by 0.6 percent year-on-year, far lower than the 10.4 percent growth rate in 2015, research firm International Data Corp estimated.
Hon Hai's decline came after Apple reported in October its first annual revenue dip since 2001. The US tech giant finds it increasingly hard to resonate with consumers in China, the world's largest smartphone arena where local players Huawei Technologies Co and Oppo Electronics Corp are gaining ground.
Nicole Peng, research director at Shanghai-based consultancy Canalys, said although Chinese brands such as Huawei and Oppo have also turned to Hon Hai to assemble smartphones, they only account for a small slice of the latter's business.
"There is an urgent need for Hon Hai to diversify its revenue sources. We expect shipments of iPhones to decline by 13 percent in 2016," Peng said.
Although Apple will see a stronger sales momentum this year, with a shipment of 211.7 million units of iPhones, it will still be far less than the 231.5 million units in 2015, Canalys forecast.
But Xiang Ligang, a smartphone expert and CEO of the telecoms industry website cctime.com, noticed a bright spot in Hon Hai's financial report.
"In the quarter ended in December, sales were up 9.76 percent year-on-year, signaling big demand for the iPhone 7 Plus," Xiang said.
"It is too early to predict how Hon Hai and Apple will perform in 2017, because this year marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and Apple may unveil a cutting-edge product to revive its sales," he added.
China created over 13 million new jobs in urban areas in 2016 as part of an effort to stabilize the slowing economy. The country has seen over 1.2 million jobs created for three consecutive years, from 2014 to 2016, according to Economic Information Daily.
Despite the economic slowdown, the Chinese government has managed to keep a low urban registered unemployment rate, partially through employment services and support for college graduates, as well as for workers laid off from industries with excess capacity.
About 5.11 million workers in urban areas were re-employed from January to November 2016, or 102.2 percent of the goal set for the year. What's more, 1.54 million people categorized as difficult to employ found jobs, accounting for 128.3 percent of the annual target, according to reports.
Employment will remain a top priority in the next year due to lingering pressures. Experts believe 130 million new jobs will be created in 2017, as the industrial structure will be optimized and the economy stabilized. Reports indicate that approximately 25 million new jobs will be created during each year of the 13th Five-Year Plan period, among which 10 million are set aside for registered workers who have been laid off, 1.5 million are for college graduates and 3 million are for surplus agricultural laborers.
Employment will be the top priority of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS), according to Yin Weimin, MOHRSS minister. A total of 7.95 million college students are expected to graduate in 2017, according to China's Ministry of Education.
Chen Baosheng, the minister of Education, said the numbers of college students who secured employment or started their own businesses after graduation has increased in the last three years. A report by Renmin University showed that 89.8 percent of college students have considered starting their own businesses, and 18.2 percent indicate firm plans to do so. The Ministry of Education called for improved policies that encourage college students to become entrepreneurs.
About 1.8 million jobs in the steel, coal and mining industries may have been lost by cutting overcapacity, which is the biggest employment pressure in five years, according to MOHRSS. The ministry has reportedly issued policies redistributing laborers in more than 20 provinces.
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