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Business & Finance
Forbes Asia

Forbes Asia August 2017

Forbes Asia chronicles entrepreneurs, executives and companies throughout Asia.

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United States
Forbes Media LLC
13 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
uneasy anniversaries

This summer brought a couple of significant 20-year anniversaries in Asia. Neither was what you’d call a celebration. It was July 1997 when Hong Kong was handed over to the People’s Republic of China. I was visiting Moscow at the time, seeing the aftereffects of Soviet times, and felt more than a little trepidation. I had fond days in the crown colony—fonder I’m sure than some native Hong Kongers did. But ambivalence about this switch wasn’t limited to the expats. Today there is ambivalence in spades. Yes, Hong Kong is richer still, more gleaming. It still has formal rule of law and a separate status from the rest of China—is in fact of use to Beijing for that reason. Beneath the surface, however, the ground is moving, and many long-timers sense it.…

1 min.
readers say

CONVERSATION Our profile of former NBA hoops star Yao Ming and his generous efforts to save wildlife in Africa and improve the quality of life for poor kids in China (Heroes of Philanthropy, “A Star Returns Home,” July, p. 24) prompted John Loundes to post: “I have been tired of professional sportsmen and women for many years. Th is story brings me some real joy to read. Giving back when other, easier options, could have been taken. THANK YOU, Yao Ming.” The Philippine Daily Inquirer praised local members of the Heroes list: “Filipinos have again made a global mark, this time in terms of philanthropy. Be they celebrities or everyday Joes, Filipinos are no strangers to the gift of giving.” Our Q&A with Andrew Ng regarding the rise of artificial intelligence…

6 min.
crackdown on north korea unavoidable now

THE TERRIBLE DEATH Of Student Otto Warmbier At The Hands Of North Korea Should Be The Catalyst For A Genuine Crackdown On This Repugnant Regime, For Humanitarian And National Security Reasons. The Trump Administration, Thankfully, Is Taking The North Korea Situation Far More Seriously Than Its Predecessors. When President Trump met with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, in April, he pressed the Chinese president to take meaningful measures to curb North Korea’s aggressiveness. So far, China hasn’t followed through successfully. That’s why there are several steps the U.S. should take immediately, which would start to inflict serious economic pain on Pyongyang and put pressure on China to make good on its own pledges. • Bar any travel to North Korea by U.S. citizens that is not explicitly sanctioned by Washington. While the State Department…

5 min.
scoring with the ‘unscorable’

What can you do in 52 seconds? Internet juggernaut Alibaba can generate RMB 1 billion in sales for its annual online shopping carnival. Last November 11, China’s so-called Singles’ Day, sales across Alibaba platforms reached new heights: RMB 120 billion, or $17.9 billion. Behind the dazzling numbers is its Alipay unit’s new tool Hua Bei (“Just Spend”). Hua Bei functions as a mini-loans provider. Users can pay for purchases in installments within a month after goods are delivered. Hua Bei accounted for 28% of the transactions made on Singles’ Day in 2016. Fifteen million users applied to increase their Hua Bei credit limit before the carnival even began. Once debt-leery Chinese consumers are finally at ease with spending borrowed money, at least online. Offline borrowing, however, is still largely absent. Hua Bei…

1 min.
from porn filter to credit rater

shing tao, CeO and chairman of a small Las Vegas company, Remark Holdings, sounds a bit cocky when he speaks of plunging into the huge Chinese fintech space: “Our data model is trained by the amount of data they [the fintech companies there] can never acquire. they no longer have to train their own data models. Just buy ours.” Remark has managed to collect data from almost every social media site on earth: 1.3 billion active user profiles, 10 billion images, 15 billion posts and 50 billion comments are gathered from tencent, alibaba, Facebook, twitter and others. Remark’s intelligence platform, KanKan, was assembled to analyze data and build facial-recognition algorithms to help live-streaming companies filter out pornography. Now the New york-born tao, 40, has decided that credit rating in China has a…

4 min.
getting faced

Would you want to have your face tracked by ever-present cameras so others can know your identity and whereabouts? While the answer is likely to be no for many in the West, the scenario is becoming a reality in China. Facial-recognition technology, a staple of Minority Report-style movies, is quickly inserting itself into the daily lives of more and more people in the country. Unfettered by privacy regulations, China’s largest internet companies are scooping up hundreds of millions of photos from their online apps to teach computers to analyze facial features. These companies have identified potential revenue streams through advances in artificial intelligence, while catering to Beijing’s interest in deploying the technology for enhanced surveillance. For example, search giant Baidu showcased its facial-recognition technology at the company’s first AI developer conference in…