Tag Archives: business

Report: Chinese vendors facing EU subsidy probe

The European Union has found evidence that the Chinese government has been providing illegal subsidies to Huawei and ZTE, enabling them to undercut their rivals in international markets, the Financial Times reports.

According to the paper, a “closed door” meeting was held late last week at which it was revealed the EU had “very solid evidence” to support its accusations. A formal case could begin imminently, which could lead to Chinese companies being subject to “punitive tariffs,” it said.

The investigation was initiated by the European authorities themselves, rather than following an accusation of malpractice by a rival company. Indeed, it was suggested that the case has “unnerved” executives from vendors such as Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks, all of which have significant businesses in China which could suffer if the Chinese authorities act in retribution.

This is not the first time that the European regulators have accused the Chinese authorities of unfairly supporting the country’s businesses. It was reported last year that following complaints from Belgian modem maker Option, which were subsequently withdrawn, “several important issues have come to light which remain unanswered.”

At this time, it was argued that Chinese vendors are being given access to credit from Chinese state-owned banks.

This was followed by reports that the Chinese Ministry of Commerce was alleging that European equipment vendors had received subsidies from the member states, in breach of World Trade Organisation rules. It was noted that this came in the form of research and development funds, export credits and loans.

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BC2012 Conference: Leading the Electronic Media and Entertainment Agenda Through Innovation and Debate

IBC is the leading forum for the electronic media and entertainment industry attracting over 50,000 professionals from more than 160 countries and combines an internationally renowned conference with a first class exhibition featuring the latest media technology innovation.

The IBC Conference attracts the highest calibre of speakers from across the globe: influential professionals in their field who deliver thought provoking insight through a series of conference sessions, master classes and panel discussions.  With over 300 inspiring speakers and more than 60 sessions, the IBC2012 Conference is leading the media and broadcast industry through innovation and debate.

This year promises another world class line up of keynote speakers including: Mike Darcey, COO, BSkyB; Mark Hollinger, CEO & President, Discovery Networks; Kevin Mayer, Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development, The Walt Disney Company; Roger Mosey, Director of London 2012, BBC; Brian Sullivan, CEO, Sky Deutschland and Miles Young, CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. Together they will lead discussion on the hottest topics affecting the industry now, including Connected TV; the Cloud; Social Media; Sport; Transmedia, Broadcast Delivery and Workflow, enabling delegates to evaluate the challenges and formulate a roadmap for the future.

The Conference Programme is structured around three distinct pillars; the Business of Broadcasting and Media, Content Creation & Innovation and Advances in Technology. Delegates can target specific areas of interest via these carefully constructed Streams alongside the free Industry Insight sessions. They will learn how business models will change as the result of new innovation in technology and extend their knowledge through attending IBC’s highly respected Technical Papers and Posters. The conference is designed to allow delegates to build their own programme by selecting the sessions most relevant to them, ensuring they benefit from the content tailored to their requirements. Participants will come away from the IBC Conference inspired to lead their business to success, better informed on the current state of the industry and with a deeper understanding of its future developments.

The IBC Conference offers the opportunity to maximise networking with hundreds of influential professionals gathered in one place for just a week to meet and share experiences. A key benefit of the Conference is the chance to interact with people from all types of organisations – from small businesses to the world’s biggest and most famous companies to local non-profits and enormous government agencies – and discuss the lessons learned from dealing with shared problems.

To enable the greatest possible flexibility, IBC offers a number of attendance options to allow participants to tailor-make their IBC experience to suit all tastes and budgets.  IBC offers substantial early bird savings over the entire range of passes, the most exclusive of which is the Gold Pass. With the Gold Pass, delegates are fully immersed in the IBC experience with all-area access to the conference and exhibition and a wide range of exceptional benefits including exclusive access to the VIP Gold Pass Lounge, VIP invitation to the IBC Awards Ceremony and the very best networking opportunities.


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Hong Kong – Article written by Steven Hawley

Hi – A week ago, from April 24-27, I was in Shenzhen China on business, but stayed on for two extra days to play tourist in Hong Kong, which is adjacent.  HK feels like a cross between San Francisco and London, but all the signs are in Chinese (and English).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_kong    It is the Western-facing financial center of Asia.  In 1997, the UK ceded HK to China, making it a “Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, and beginning a 50-year process of integration into China.  Most of HK’s currency is still produced by three of its banks: , Standard & Chartered, the Bank of China and HSBC (yes, the same HSBC, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, owner of HFC Household Finance).  The coinage and the HK$10 dollar bill (which is plastic, not paper) are produced by the HK government.
If you set aside the 30-minute-each-way ordeal of crossing the China-HK border, the public transit in both cities is excellent.  The trains are almost new, wide and spacious.  Each train consists of 10-15 cars, each of which are about 12 feet wide and 40 feet long.  So each train (and each station platform) is nearly a block long.  They have to be – they have to move a volume of people that most Westerners have no experience with.  Since this is my fourth time in HK, I’ve become pretty familiar with the drill.  My Shenzhen hotel was literally 20 yards from the Shenzhen Metro (underground – subway), which, after one transfer, gets you to the border crossing.  The fare was RMB4 (4 Yuan, equivalent to about 60 cents).
Exiting and re-entering China by foot is not too different from exiting and re-entering any country on any other form of transit.  You fill out the immigration form, get your passport stamped, clear customs, but instead of finding your plane, you walk across the bridge.  On the other side of the bridge, you have to clear HK immigration, passport control, etc.  Then, a short walk to the HK MTR (metro).  A two-day unlimited pass is HK$120 (equivalent to about US$18).  From the Futian checkpoint to center of Kowloon (the mainland half of the city of Hong Kong) is about 25 minutes by MTR.  You can change trains there and continue to Hong Kong Island, which I did on my 2nd day.
On Friday 4/28, I visited the Ladies market, Flower market and Bird Garden (market) in the Monk Kok section of Kowloon – which were blocks apart from one another; then took the MTR south to the Hong Kong Art Museum, also in Kowloon.  Then back to the hotel in Shenzhen – Metro, border crossing, metro, hotel.
My pix: (right-click (PC) or control-click (Mac) to download and save)
On Saturday 4/29, I made it my mission to visit several temples; and visited three: Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple in Kowloon and Hung Shing Temple on HK Island, both open; and Tin Hau Temple on HK island, which was closed.  You have to take a metro train between them, since they are in different sections of the city.  The walks between the nearest station and the temples were always interesting.  At the end of the day, I went back to the Kowloon waterfront to watch the lights of Hong Kong turning on as it got dark.  Just after dark, back to the hotel in Shenzhen – Metro, border crossing, metro, hotel.
My pix: (right-click (PC) or control-click (Mac) to download and save)
Shenzhen is difficult to describe unless you’ve been to China.  30 years ago, Shenzhen was a swamp.  Now it is a city of 4 million with a metropolitan area over 10 million.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenzhen  – and not much of it is more than about 10 years old.  Unlike other cities of its size, there is no ‘here’ in Shenzhen.  Instead, it is a uniform and spanking-clean mixture of high-rise residences, 7-11 stores, neighborhood shops and restaurants.  The residents commute to the outskirts every morning to work in huge campuses, mostly electronics companies (including Apple’s manufacturing).  Most of Shenzhen’s residents are from the provinces, lured there by the opportunity to work and live in a modern economy.  Therefore, you can never predict what you will get in the restaurants, unless you eat at your hotel or go to Hong Kong.  Tip: take the extra 10 minutes to walk from your hotel to a 7-11.  If you buy a Tsingtao beer at the hotel, it is RMB40 per can.  In a local store, it is RMB6 for a liter!

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Dollar Turning Point for Mobile Apps

The path for Internet start-ups used to be quite clear: establish a presence on the Web first, then come up with a version of your service for mobile devices.

Now, at a time when the mobile start-up Instagram can command $1 billion in a sale to Facebook, some start-ups are asking: Who needs the Web?

Smartphones are everywhere now, allowing apps like Foursquare and Path to be self-contained social worlds, existing almost entirely on mobile devices. It is a major change from just a few years ago, underscoring how the momentum in the tech world is shifting to mobile from computers.

In that context, the Instagram deal looks like something of a turning point, as even the Web giant Facebook tries to get a better grasp on a market that requires a rethinking of old rules.

“For decades, the center of computing has been the desktop, and software was modeled after the experience of using a typewriter,” said Georg Petschnigg, a former Microsoft employee who is one of the creators of Paper, a new sketchbook app for the iPad. “But technology is now more intimate and pervasive than that. We have it with us all the time, and we have to reimagine innovative new interfaces and experiences around that.”

Venture capitalists are eager to get in on the mobile trend. According to the research firm CB Insights, mobile apps and companies attracted 10 percent of the total investment dollars from American venture capital firms in last year’s fourth quarter, and 12 percent of deals were mobile-related, up from 7 or 8 percent in previous quarters.

Ben Lerer, manager of the venture capital firm Lerer Ventures, said he preferred to back companies that were building services for mobile first and the Web second, because “businesses that are thinking that way are planning for the future.”

Mr. Lerer was one of the early investors in OMGPop, a New York company that was close to shutting down until it had an overnight hit in Draw Something, a twist on Pictionary for the iPhone. Last month, OMGPop was snapped up for $200 million by the game company Zynga, which has been trying to reduce its dependence on Facebook-based games like FarmVille.

Another hit game, Angry Birds from the Finnish company Rovio, started out on the iPhone before migrating to computers and video game consoles — an unusual trajectory in the game world.

Cellphones are also prompting a shift in how people want to share things online, creating a market for apps that make instant sharing easy, said S. Shyam Sundar, a director of the Media Effects Research Lab at Pennsylvania State University.

In other words, many people want to post a photograph of themselves right from a sun-drenched beach in Bali, rather than waiting until they are back home to upload all 50 pictures onto Facebook.

“People are living in the moment and they want to share in the moment,” Professor Sundar said. “Mobile gives you that immediacy and convenience.”

Instagram, a social network focusing on just that kind of instant photo sharing, does have a Web site — but it is essentially there just to encourage people to download the company’s apps. It is one of several social networks that have established themselves entirely on mobile. Another is Foursquare, which lets users share their location with a select few friends and has attracted nearly 15 million members.

“Mobile-first is the direction that many social networks are headed,” said Holger Luedorf, the company’s head of business development. If done right, he said, such services start to feel “baked into” the phone itself.

Dave Morin, who was at Facebook early on and left to create Path, a social network for mobile phones, said he realized that the world was headed for a mobile-centric future in 2009, when the influential analyst Mary Meeker published a report saying that more people would soon connect to the Internet on mobile devices than on personal computers.

Path does not release user numbers, but its app appears to have traction, particularly among people who have become disenchanted with Facebook. “Because you take your smartphone with you everywhere, you can quickly and easily take a photo or video, map your location or jot down a note or a thought,” Mr. Morin said.

Companies that start with a Web site then try to shrink it into an app face a tough challenge. Screen space on mobile devices is at a premium. And to avoid turning off users, designers and developers have to cut back on clutter and streamline their services, avoiding slow load times and stuttering interruptions.

Start-ups that put their resources into mobile from the beginning can skip some of the hassles. “You’re freed from worrying about so many of the things that you have to think about when it comes to Web development,” said Oliver Cameron, one of the founders of Everyme, an app introduced Tuesday that analyzes a user’s contacts and generates miniature social networks around people it thinks belong together.

Then there is the relative ease in finding an audience. Web sites and software packages have trouble standing out in the crowd. But apps have a simple distribution mechanism in app stores, which can immediately bring an app to a customer’s attention. “In February we had close to 900,000 downloads,” said Andreas Schobel, chief executive of Catch, a start-up in San Francisco that makes a note-taking app. “How would we do that on the Web?”

Mobile apps tailored to work for specific devices like the iPhone also run faster than Web sites, Mr. Schobel noted. “When you’re on the phone you need the experience to be instantaneous,” he said. “You just can’t do that yet on the Web.”

via The New York Times

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De Hoeksteen Live! 2010.09.25/26

Every last saturday of the month: No-Definition TeleVision

23:00 – 03:00 CET

[ = 21:00 pm – 01:00 UTC (= 9 pm – 1 am GMT/Zulu, = SL 2 pm – 6 pm PDT ]

Real-time interactive cross-media talkshow with the usual suspects and surprise guests from the worlds of politics, arts, business, media and more!

Live from The Netherlands Media Art Instititute (NIMk), Amsterdam.

  • AMSTERDAM TVSALTO 1 (A1) -Amsterdam cable: Analog UHF 39+ / UPC Digital 970)
  • LIVE STREAMS webcasting online
  • VIDEO-ON-REQUEST immediately after every broadcast hour,for 4 weeks only!


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GSMA and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women Publish ‘Women & Mobile: A Global Opportunity’ Report

(from Mobile World Media Congress 2010 Barcelona)

Barcelona: The GSMA, which represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry, and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, a charity that supports women entrepreneurs today published ‘Women and Mobile: A Global Opportunity’.  The report, the first detailed global study of its kind, attempts to understand the nature of women mobile subscribers in low and middle-income countries such as Kenya and India, and highlights the barriers facing women’s adoption of mobile technologies. It also shows that, by extending the benefits of mobile phone ownership to more women, a host of social and economic goals can be advanced.

The report reveals for the first time the extent of the gender gap in mobile usage in many low and middle-income countries.  It shows that a woman in a low or middle-income country is 21% less likely to own a mobile phone than a man. Closing this gender gap would bring the benefits of mobile phones to an additional 300 million women, empowering and enabling them to stay better connected with family and friends, improving their safety, and helping them obtain paid work, in line with the third UN Millennium Development Goal on gender equality.  The mobile phone as documented in the report is an effective productivity and development tool which creates education, health, employment, banking and business opportunities.

“I am delighted that the GSMA is working with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women on this important initiative and hope that together we can develop solutions which will empower and enable women and address the barriers that have been highlighted,” said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board, GSMA. “Mobile has proved to be a key element in today’s society as it is the most ubiquitous, connected and personalised communications tool that we have, and holds significant potential in bringing the benefits of connectivity to most of the developing world and reaching families at the bottom of the economic pyramid.”

Cherie Blair, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women:
“Every woman, wherever she lives, needs a mobile phone.  That’s the simple but fundamental message at the heart of this report.  Women can use this vital tool to help unlock real prospects for themselves, their families and their communities.  By being better connected, women feel safer, find employment, start businesses, access banks, learn about market prices and altogether benefit socially and economically.  “Women and Mobile” is a seminal report that should be read by all who care about the life chances of women.”

Key findings show that:
• There are 300 million fewer female subscribers than male subscribers worldwide
• A woman is 21% less likely to own a phone than a man in low and middle-income countries – 23% in Africa, 24% in the Middle East, and 37% in South Asia
• Regionally, the incremental annual revenue opportunity for operators ranges from US$740M in Latin America to US$4B in East Asia
• Going forward, two thirds of potential new subscribers for mobile network operators will be women
• Women in rural areas and lower income brackets stand to benefit the most from closing the gender gap
• 93% of  women report feeling safer because of their mobile phone
• 85% of women report feeling more independent because of their mobile phone
• 41% of women report having increased income and professional opportunities once they own a phone

The report highlights that women account for 750 million of the 1.25 billion adults in low and middle-income countries who have mobile phone coverage, but don’t have a handset.  If operators bring mobile phone penetration among women on a par with penetration among men, this report shows they would collectively earn US$13 billion in additional revenues each year. Findings indicate that greater usage of mobile phones by women would stimulate social and economic growth, while generating subscriber and revenue growth for mobile operators. Previous research by Deloitte has shown that a 10% increase in mobile phone penetration rates is linked to an increase in developing country GDP by 1.2%.

The research calls for the mobile industry, development community and policy makers to undertake a number of steps together including, specifically addressing women in segmentation strategies and marketing tactics; creating innovative programmes to increase the uptake of mobile phones amongst women; promoting the mobile phone as a life enhancing, effective development tool which creates education, health, employment, banking and business opportunities; and designating high-profile champions of mobile phones for women. Developing a comprehensive plan for empowering women with mobile phones will require the involvement of all stakeholders from the private, non-profit and public sectors. Each stakeholder will need to take steps on their own, but also work together for maximum impact and to close this gap.

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