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Weekly News (Week 17)

TikTok tests hour long videos in bid to compete with YouTube

TikTok is testing 60-minute video uploads with select creators, challenging YouTube’s dominance. TikTok’s owner ByteDance did not comment, but TechCrunch, a news website, reported the feature is available to a limited group in specific markets without immediate plans for a broader release. This move comes as TikTok faces political and competitive pressures, particularly in the US, where President Biden recently mandated ByteDance to divest TikTok’s US operations. Since then, TikTok has progressively increased its video length limits, aiming to diversify content and attract more users.

Tencent and NetEase intensify gaming rivalry with major new releases

Tencent Holdings, owner of Blizzard, and NetEase, China’s leading gaming firms, are escalating their competition with back-to-back game launches. NetEase, the second-largest online gaming company in China, plans to debut a dozen new titles next week, including collaborations with Marvel and The Lord of the Rings. Simultaneously, Tencent introduced dozens of new games on its WeGame platform this Sunday. The rivalry has intensified as other tech giants like ByteDance exit the gaming sector. The Chinese government, meanwhile, is showing renewed support for the industry, granting more licenses and retracting restrictive proposals to restore investor confidence. beats estimates with a strong Q1 growth reported a 7% rise in first-quarter sales, surpassing analysts’ expectations nearly a year after focusing on supporting small merchants. The Beijing-based e-commerce giant saw revenue increase to 260 billion yuan ($36 billion), driven by electronics, home appliances, and logistics services. Net income rose 14% to 7.1 billion yuan. CEO Sandy Xu Ran credited the company’s focus on user experience for the growth.

Reddit shares soar following partnership with OpenAI

Reddit shares surged 11% in extended trading after announcing a partnership with OpenAI, allowing the ChatGPT creator to train its AI models on Reddit content. OpenAI will access Reddit’s Data API for real-time, structured content. In return, Reddit will offer AI features powered by OpenAI and gain a new advertising partner. “Reddit’s vast archive of human conversations will enhance ChatGPT,” said Reddit CEO Steve Huffman. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, a major Reddit shareholder, highlighted the collaboration’s potential.

Microsoft urges China-based staff to relocate amid US-China tech tensions

Microsoft is urging some China-based employees to consider relocating due to escalating US-China tech tensions. Approximately 700 to 800 staff involved in machine learning and cloud computing have been asked to transfer. The move follows US efforts to limit China’s access to advanced AI chips, citing national security concerns. A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the internal transfer opportunities without specifying numbers, emphasizing the company’s ongoing commitment to China. This comes as the Biden administration increases tariffs on Chinese imports and considers further AI export restrictions. Microsoft has operated in China since 1992.

Tesla is planning a data center in China to boost self-driving tech

Tesla is pushing forward with plans to process data within China to enhance its self-driving technology, leveraging data from its electric vehicles. The company is aiming to build a local data center to train its autonomous vehicle algorithms, addressing regulatory hurdles that previously focused on transferring data out of China. This move coincides with Elon Musk’s recent efforts to secure permissions from Chinese authorities. The strategic shift comes as Tesla faces increasing competition in the EV market and aims to capitalize on the vast data generated by China’s extensive car fleet.

Google showcases new AI advancements, while also sparking privacy concerns

At its latest I/O conference, Google demonstrated some of its AI advancements, including finding lost glasses and detecting scam calls. The scam detection AI, for instance, requires continuous phone call monitoring, raising privacy concerns despite local device processing. Project Astra, which can help locate lost items by capturing and analyzing video, exemplifies the potential and privacy trade-offs of AI glasses. Similarly, Astra can also guess user’s location by scanning their surroundings. However, after a decade of rising concern over privacy, some users may think twice before inviting Google to capture their personal livestreams.

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