BEIJING (AP) — U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad is making a rare visit to Tibet to meet local officials and raise concerns about restrictions on Buddhism and the preservation of the Himalayan region's unique culture and language.

The Embassy in Beijing said Branstad would visit the Tibetan Autonomous Region and neighboring Qinghai province from Sunday through Saturday.

It said his visit would include official meetings along with visits to religious and cultural heritage sites, schools, and "other places of interest.Read more on

Tagged under: ,

BEIJING (AP) — The number of foreign companies that feel compelled to hand over technology in exchange for Chinese market access — an issue that sparked President Donald Trump's tariff fight with Beijing — has doubled since two years ago despite official promises to end such pressure, a business group reported Monday.

The European Chamber of Commerce in China's report highlighted enduring complaints about "forced technology transfer" that China's trading partners say violate its market-opening commitments despite denials and promises of change.

European leaders have criticized Trump's tactics in confronting Beijing over its technology ambitions but echo U.S. criticisms.

One in five companies that responded to a survey in January, before the latest round of U.S. and Chinese tariff hikes, said they felt compelled to hand over technology, up from 10% in a 2017 survey, the European chamber said.

"It is not something that is back in history.Read more on

Tagged under:

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former CIA officer was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison on charges that he spied for China and allegations he sought to expose human assets who were once his responsibility.

The sentence issued by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in federal court in Alexandria for Kevin Mallory, 62, of Leesburg, Virginia, is less than the life sentence sought by prosecutors but more than the 10-year term requested by the defense.

A jury convicted Mallory last year under the Espionage Act for providing classified information to Chinese handlers in exchange for $25,000. Read more on

Tagged under:

By Marc A. ThiessenWASHINGTON — Before President Trump announced that he was imposing 25% tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of Chinese goods, he got encouragement from an unlikely source: Sen.Read more on

Tagged under:

At this point, most of us have a smartphone in our pocket. In fact, you may even be reading this on your smartphone right now.
According to a consumer survey conducted by PYMNTS, smartphone penetration currently stands at 77% of all adults in the US. Of those, roughly 43.5% use an Apple device, while 52% are Android aficionados. But, while smartphone ownership is ubiquitous, smartphone-enabled payments have been much slower to catch on.
Apple’s mobile wallet tool, Apple Pay, debuted back in 2014. Now, five years later, only one in three iPhone owners here in the US have yet tried out the app. That’s just 13% of American smartphone owners as a whole.
Although mobile payments tech didn’t spread like wildfire here as they did in other markets like China, adoption is slowly catching on. The survey mentioned above also noted that 7% of all iPhone owners used Apple Pay to conduct the last transaction they made. This suggesting that a large portion of iPhone owners who eventually give the app a try will end up converting into regular users.
Although we’re still early in the consumer adoption process, it’s just a matter of time before consumers pick up mobile payments en masse. There’s a few why it’s in your interest to expand your payments options and get on the mobile payments bandwagon now.
Mobile Payments Present Opportunities to Engage Buyers
Mobile payments offer numerous benefits for your business. For example, this technology is a great way to cater to customers’ desire for convenience. In turn, you see boosts to you conversion and retention, making shopping cart abandonment less likely.
In a recent study, 42% of online shoppers said the variety of payment options available at checkout will influence their decision when deciding where to shop digitally. Plus, while the number of mobile payments devotees is still relatively small here in the US, accepting mobile platforms can broaden your appeal to international buyers.
Take China, for example. The country is a global epicenter of online retail, with a market valued at nearly $2 trillion in 2019. And, as mentioned before, Chinese consumers are big on mobile payments. eMarketer projects the number of mobile payments users in China will hit 577.4 million by the end of 2019. Many Chinese consumers don’t bother with payment cards at all, opting for platforms like WeChat Pay and Alipay instead.
A similar trend is underway in India, as well as other hot, fast-growing markets like Vietnam and The Philippines. If you can cater to consumer preferences in these various markets, you possess a clear advantage over other international sellers.
Not only that, but there are opportunities for potential integration with your existing or future loyalty program. Kohl’s, for example, integrated their program with Apple Pay, allowing customers to pay with their mobile device and rack up points at the same time. Other outlets like drugstores, restaurants, and even Coke vending machines, took similar steps.
Of course, this requires working through your processor, acquirer, and other service providers to make possible. But, some vendors are actually taking the first step there, recognizing mobile pay integration as a great way to add value to their services.
Most Important: Security
Appealing to customer convenience and opening to new markets are great reasons to embrace mobile payments. If there’s one key advantage to mobile wallets, though, it’s the security factor. In fact, it’s somewhat ironic that 43% of consumers believe mobile wallets are not secure. By any objective marker, these apps are far more secure than any other mainstream payment method.
First, mobile wallets like Apple Pay employ the same tokenization technology as an EMV chip-enabled card. As opposed to magnetic stripe cards in brick-and-mortar stores, or conventional card-not-present transactions online, a mobile wallet app doesn’t transfer any actual cardholder data. Instead, the app exchanges a token, which works like a placeholder for sensitive or valuable data. This gives bad actors much less opportunity to intercept and steal payment information.
Even more impressive is the mobile payment app’s reliance on two-factor authentication. This isn’t inherent to the app. But, in most cases, it’s a practical reality of using a mobile wallet.
Before authorizing a transaction, the customer will first need to unlock the device. This is usually achieved with either a passcode or a biometric scan like a fingerprint. Then, to authorize the payment itself, users must again verify their identities with a biometric scan. Compare that to a standard card-not-present transaction, in which the buyer simply enters their card information. Sure, tools like AVS or CVV verification can help pick our fraudsters, but some attacks will inevitably sneak through even the best antifraud defenses.
The combination of different verification techniques offered by mobile wallet technology translates to much greater payments security than any other method currently in wide use.
More in Store?
The future will bring additional opportunities for those who embrace mobile payments early-on. For example, integration with the recently-announced Apple Card could be a first step toward a revolution in payments.
For now, though, both businesses and consumers will enjoy substantial benefits from mobile payments adoption.

Tagged under: , , ,

Perhaps you yourself picked up gaming for the first time when you bought your first smartphone. Or perhaps you have relatives – aunts, uncles, cousins – who have embraced social gaming wholeheartedly after a lifetime of never picking up a game controller. Though every person will have a different experience, it’s amazing how similar these experiences tend to be. Social and mobile gaming have democratized video games to a greater extent than ever thought possible, and in the process, have opened up new demographics for gaming companies.
New Influences Create New Opportunities
The proliferation of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, combined with the ease of use and ease of access that mobile and social games provide, is causing a dramatic shift in the gaming landscape. Though social gaming has by some reports plateaued, mobile titles are selling in greater numbers with each passing year, and are already on their way to outgrossing console titles. Clearly, the impact that social and mobile gaming has had on the industry, and the public at large is significant.
Though social gaming may be experiencing a slight slowdown in some circles, it is still a massive industry. Additionally, it looks to have a bright future in Asia, where markets like China are witnessing huge adoption numbers. In fact, second to Facebook, the most popular social gaming platform in the world is China’s Qzone. In Q3 2014, China’s online gaming market drove $4.53 billion in sales and the market is showing no signs of slowing down. China’s (and the world’s) largest gaming company, Tencent, reported $3.65 billion in revenue for Q1 2015, due primarily to mobile and social titles.
Mobile gaming, too, is becoming a juggernaut. Finnish developer Supercell generates billions of dollars annually with only three game titles: Clash of Clans (which made $1.8 billion in 2014), Boom Beach, and Hay Day. GungHo Online makes over a billion dollars per year from one title alone – the simple Puzzles and Dragons. And gaming company Machine Zone is no different; in fact, it only makes one title. With advertisements featuring model Kate Upton, Game of War: Fire Age is now the number one mobile title (in gross revenue) in 85 countries, despite being launched in July of 2013. It’s rather self-evident that mobile is here to stay.
Aren’t Mobile Games Free? Where Does the Revenue Come From?
What makes mobile and social gaming unique is the ways in which they generate revenue. Traditionally, gaming companies would develop titles, sell them to the consumer, and the revenue stream would be complete. The gaming market existed for years in a sort of closed cycle. The Internet makes this model outdated and needlessly confining, and mobile devices with advanced mobile processors enable today’s games to be more powerful and versatile than ever. It’s a terrific combination for gaming companies. For more information about the ways mobile processors are driving mobile gaming, check out Nvidia & Intel.
It’s true that mobile and social games are designed in such a way that they can often be given away for free. Build a simple game once, host it on the Cloud, and the potential number of users becomes nearly infinite. But companies are taking advantage of this new gaming model, rather than decry it. Chinese gaming company, Tencent, heavily leveraged in-game advertising and in-game (and in-app) purchases to record a $1.1 billion profit in Q1 2015.
Even games that are entirely free to play, and which feature no in-app or in-game purchases, can still generate revenue through adoption numbers alone. Just as it’s nearly impossible to visit a website now without being bombarded with advertisements, mobile and social games are quickly doing the same. Mobile and social games represent a medium, just like television or the Internet. And like those two platforms, it’s a medium that supports advertisements nicely. How nicely? Zynga earned $153 million from in-game ads alone in 2014.
With in-app and in-game purchases, along with in-game advertising, companies can continue to earn revenue from their consumers, rather than have to rely on a point-of-sale transaction alone. This new model has revolutionized the industry, and is likely to play a significant role for years to come. Gaming has suddenly adopted a retainer model without anyone really noticing!
The Old Models Aren’t Dead – Yet
Traditional gaming still has a place in the market – in fact, many of the Top 10 gaming companies in 2015 are primarily console companies – but the balance is shifting. Tencent is not just the largest mobile gaming company, it is the largest gaming company, period. Google, Apple, and also have prominent places in the Top 10 list, and all three are primarily known for social and mobile titles. Additionally, companies like Nintendo, Activision, and Sony – all of which have significant investments in traditional gaming (consoles and PCs) – saw their rank position drop this year from last year. Console games will likely find a way to hold on, just as vinyl did, but there seems to be little question now as to what role they will play in the future. Mobile and social are the way forward, it would seem.

BEIJING (AP) — China's Communist Party issued a long-awaited blueprint for overhauling bloated state industries while retaining the party's dominance in the economy.
The government of President Xi Jinping is under pressure to reverse an economic slowdown and reduce reliance on trade and investment to drive growth.Read more on

Airbus Group NV is taking Boeing on with a new factory located in the United States. The French-based planemaker officially announced on Monday that it will build a $600 million plant in Mobile, Alabama. The company has been at work on its new airliner in Mobile since July. The plant is expected to extend job growth and attract aerospace suppliers to the Southeastern, US.
Airbus has been attempting to lower costs and that includes opening two plants outside of its European based of operations.
Airbus still lags behind Boeing in the U.S., the world’s biggest market for airliner sales. Its 960 single-aisle planes in U.S. airline fleets represent only 20 percent of the total. The company has also been backlogged and if it was able to fulfill orders would account for 40% of the market.
The company says most plans built in Mobile, Alabama will be delivered to North American customers. The company expected to start deliveries from its 53-acre facilities in early 2016. The company believe it can deliver four aircraft a month by early 2018. Airbus also produces four A320s a month in Tianjin, China, which is poised to eclipse North America as the largest aviation market.
Currently Airbus has backorders for 5,181 planes, while Boeing is backlogged by 4,253 orders.
Boeing has been considered a new plant in China that would help it more quickly deliver its popular line of 737 jetliners.

Not long ago Chen Siyuan made headlines for her ability to write with both hands at the same time, penning a different language with each.
Recently, she appears to have expanded her abilities and now simultaneously writes with both her hands and her feet.
Her preferred subject matter is Chinese poetry, which she pens in both Chinese and Roman characters.
As if that isn’t remarkable enough, each appendage transcribes a different literary selection.
According to Chen, the process is quite mentally exhausting as it requires a significantly higher degree of focus than typical single-handed, single-subject writing.
She’s committed to further developing her ability and exploring its full potential in hopes of helping others in both their daily lives and loftier pursuits.
Chen said, “Maybe it can bring some new results in education and scientific research. I think this is very meaningful.”
She first started to share her unique skill among those living in her town of Handan, which is located in China’s Hebei province.
Chen says she discovered her talent while trying to finish the loads of English homework she’d been assigned at school.

Tagged under: ,

This Man Is Really Bad at Parking (Video)

Saturday, 12 September 2015 by

A man in China was caught on surveillance video trying to get out of a parking space and hitting the car next to him several times.

Tagged under: