Retailers, Big Tech Get Behind Live-Stream Shopping in U.S.

Live-stream shopping has been slow to take off in the U.S., but some feel the sector is at a tipping point. U.S. revenue from the format is projected to reach $20 billion this year and grow to $57 billion in 2025 says Coresight Research. However, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the activity in Asia. McKinsey Digital says outlets like Alibaba can rack up more than $7 billion in 30 minutes. Estimates place the Asia-Pacific market at about $180 billion in live-streamed shopping for 2021. Now big players like Walmart, Target, YouTube and TikTok are getting serious about cracking open the U.S. market, too. Continue reading Retailers, Big Tech Get Behind Live-Stream Shopping in U.S.

Senate Group Wants CISA to Protect Open-Source Software

Senate Homeland Security Committee leaders Gary Peters (D-Michigan) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have introduced a bill requiring a risk framework for open-source code. The proposed legislation would require the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to develop the risk evaluation process for open-source software being used by federal agencies and critical infrastructure. The move follows the discovery in December of a vulnerability in the Apache Software Foundation’s popular Log4j Java logging utility. Peters said the Log4j incident presented a serious threat to banks, hospitals, and utility companies, among other national security operations. Continue reading Senate Group Wants CISA to Protect Open-Source Software

Chinese Technology Companies Are Experiencing Slowdowns

China’s tech sector is taking a hit. Revenue for e-commerce giant Alibaba posted what appears to be its most sluggish quarterly increase ever, at 9 percent, with competitor JD.com also paced among its worst performances, with revenue up 18 percent for Q1. The nation’s search engine leader, Baidu, reported 1 percent revenue growth, while Tencent remained flat. Supply chain problems due to the COVID-19 resurgence in conjunction with Beijing’s recent measures to battle back monopolies are cited as causes for the negative market turn. Since late 2020, China has been investigating alleged monopolistic practices among many top corporations. Continue reading Chinese Technology Companies Are Experiencing Slowdowns

NBCUniversal Teams with TikTok to Promote Winter Olympics

NBCUniversal is expanding its partnership with social video platform TikTok to include a joint promotion for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, set to kick off on February 4, and the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, beginning March 4. NBC Winter Games advertisers will reportedly have first crack at piggybacking onto what is being couched as a new type of brand experience that lets them draw from NBC 2022 Winter Games clips as they try to connect with sports fans. TikTok videos with Olympic-related hashtags have resulted in 18 billion views on the platform thus far, according to NBC. Continue reading NBCUniversal Teams with TikTok to Promote Winter Olympics

Social Video App TikTok Makes Splash as E-Tailing Presence

TikTok made its shopping play this year, partnering with Shopify, then launching the TikTok World feature for creators and brands. The result has been items from clothes to cosmetics to tech accessories and household goods seeing sales boosts through exposure on the platform. The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt is said to have been viewed more than 7.4 billion times, and Amazon in May launched the category “Internet Famous: The Latest to Go Viral,” generously populated by products that “blew up” on the video-sharing service. Now brands are scrambling to leverage the social shopping made successful by TikTok influencers. Continue reading Social Video App TikTok Makes Splash as E-Tailing Presence

Advances by OpenAI and DeepMind Boost AI Language Skills

Advances in language comprehension for artificial intelligence are issuing from San Francisco’s OpenAI and London-based DeepMind. OpenAI, which has been working on large language models, says it now lets customers fine-tune its GPT-3 models using their own custom data, while the Alphabet-owned DeepMind is talking-up Gopher, a 280-billion parameter deep-learning language model that has scored impressively on tests. Sophisticated language models have the ability to comprehend natural language, as well as predict and generate text, requirements for creating advanced AI systems that can dispense information and advice or that are required to follow instructions. Continue reading Advances by OpenAI and DeepMind Boost AI Language Skills

Didi Exits NYSE for Hong Kong, China Tightens Tech Control

China is making an investment statement as it attempts to take control of its financial future and set new yen-centric standards for international monetary exchange. Much is being read into Didi Chuxing delisting itself Friday from the New York Stock Exchange, where it raised billions of dollars, capping at $39 billion for the Beijing version of Uber. The message is: with money of its own and a knack for finding more, the world’s No. 2 economy feels it no longer needs Wall Street and says it will relist on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. Continue reading Didi Exits NYSE for Hong Kong, China Tightens Tech Control

TikTok Owner ByteDance Aspires to Become a Global Leader

TikTok parent ByteDance has announced the establishment of six new divisions to monitor the worldwide dissemination of its short-form video apps. The units include online learning; collaboration tool Lark, (the ByteDance version of Slack); game development arm Nuverse; and B2B division BytePlus, selling white-label versions of  proprietary algorithms to enterprise customers. ByteDance also operates Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. The change from a flat hierarchy and haphazard business approach is prompting speculation that ByteDance aspires to be known for much more than video sharing. Continue reading TikTok Owner ByteDance Aspires to Become a Global Leader

Google Cloud Lands Exchange Giant CME in $1B Equity Deal

Google has purchased $1 billion of CME Group’s stock in a deal that will move the financial giant’s core trading systems to the Google Cloud. This 10-year partnership is all but guaranteed to boost Google Cloud’s bottom line, as well as improve its fourth-place market share. Google Finance calls Chicago-based CME “the world’s largest financial derivatives exchange,” trading in asset classes that span agricultural, currencies, energy, stock indexes, cryptocurrencies and more. However, the financial-services sector has lagged behind other industries when it comes to moving to the cloud, partly due to regulatory oversight and security concerns regarding client data. Continue reading Google Cloud Lands Exchange Giant CME in $1B Equity Deal

TikTok Parent ByteDance Planning Global Shopping Platform

China’s ByteDance is preparing to launch a global shopping platform to compete with Amazon and Alibaba’s AliExpress, according to Business Insider, which gleaned the plan through the company’s job postings. Unclear is whether the retail app would be rolled out as a separate service or integrated into ByteDance’s popular TikTok, which in August added integration with Shopify. It is speculated the new service will specialize in selling products made in China to international buyers. The move follows Amazon’s removal of thousands of third-party Chinese sellers it alleged were using fake reviews and violating its rules. Continue reading TikTok Parent ByteDance Planning Global Shopping Platform

Australia Considers Reforming Regulations for Digital Wallets

The Australian government is mulling new laws intended to tighten the regulation of digital payment services. Despite rapid growth, digital wallet services from Apple Pay, Google Pay and China’s WeChat Pay are not designated “payment systems” in Australia, which means they are not as yet governed by the country’s regulatory system. The move comes on the heels of a government-commissioned report addressing whether the payments system had kept pace with advances in technology and changes in consumer demand. Continue reading Australia Considers Reforming Regulations for Digital Wallets

Amazon to Expand Physical Footprint with New Retail Stores

Amazon revealed its plans to open brick-and-mortar retail stores in the United States, with the first locations slated for California and Ohio. Amazon stores will be about 30,000 square feet smaller than most department stores, similar to smaller versions opened by Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. The stores will give Amazon another outlet to sell its electronics and private-label goods, but what other brands it might offer aren’t final. Amazon’s dominance in e-commerce contributed to the failure of malls and other physical stores. Continue reading Amazon to Expand Physical Footprint with New Retail Stores

Amazon Bests Walmart as Top Retail Seller Outside of China

Retail giant Walmart, which perfected the business model of driving down costs to dominate the market, has been surpassed by e-commerce leader Amazon, which just became the largest retail seller outside of China. Driven by a surge in online shopping during the global COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon raked in $610+ billion over the year ending in June, according to FactSet. Walmart just posted sales of $566 billion for the year ending in July. Both are eclipsed by Chinese online retailer Alibaba, the world’s top seller. Continue reading Amazon Bests Walmart as Top Retail Seller Outside of China

EU Releases Its Draft Policy to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

The European Union issued a 108-page policy that establishes rules to govern the use of artificial intelligence, setting limits on its use in everything from bank lending and school enrollment to self-driving cars and hiring decisions. Use of artificial intelligence by law enforcement and court systems, considered “high risk” because of the potential to threaten safety and fundamental rights, is also regulated. Live facial recognition in public spaces would be banned except in cases of national security “and other purposes.” Continue reading EU Releases Its Draft Policy to Regulate Artificial Intelligence

China Targets 34 Internet Platforms for Antitrust Compliance

Since China fined Alibaba $2.8 billion for violating antimonopoly regulations, 34 Chinese companies have publicly pledged to comply with those laws. The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), the country’s antitrust watchdog, published 12 statements, including those from TikTok owner ByteDance, Baidu search engine, and e-commerce platforms JD.com and Pinduoduo. The companies all vowed to build a fair and competitive market in specific areas. SAMR said it planned to publish more such avowals. Continue reading China Targets 34 Internet Platforms for Antitrust Compliance