This week’s news out of China includes supercomputing records being broken in the mainland, global e-commerce education brought to you by Alibaba and a new parking partnership that saves travelers up to 80% on the cost of parking at popular destinations. Here’s what you need to know.
China’s Out To Break Supercomputing Records
Have you ever heard of exascale, or E-class, supercomputing? It’s the next big achievement in the computing world. E-class supercomputers are believed to be able to match the neural level processing of the human brain, or in other words, they can do a billion-billion (one quintillion) calculations per second.
Even if you haven’t heard of E-class computing, then you may know that China is reducing its dependence on the U.S. when it comes to computer chip design and manufacturing. China is well on their way with another record-breaking announcement this week. The National University of Defense Technology said that their latest supercomputer, the Tianhe No. 3, will be the world’s fastest supercomputer and will beat all other nations to full deployment by 2020.
The pace of innovation is staggering as the Tianhe No. 1 was only deployed in 2010 and the latest No. 3 system will have 200 times the processing power and 100 times the storage capacity. They achieved this performance by building on three domestically produced, high-performance computing and communication chips.
The existing Tianhe No. 1 system already services 1,600 companies and government agencies and helps compute problems in key research areas like oil and gas, high-end equipment manufacturing, pharmaceutical research and development and smog and weather forecasting. IBM currently holds the No. 1 spot with their Summit supercomputer, but that may change in the near future.
New Parking Solution Saves Travelers 80% On Parking In China
In more consumer-facing news, a parking group and a tourism body have partnered to slash parking prices at China’s high-traffic destinations like airports, railways and Disneyland. The announcement (article in Chinese) was born out of the beginnings of an online budget parking platform called Xiaoqiang Parking, which was started just over three years ago. The founding team was made up of veterans from Alibaba, Nokia, Siemens, and Softbank, like CTO Jincheng Zhou.
In China, parking is big business. Already, Xiaoqiang Parking has racked up coverage of more than 100,000 parking spots across 55 airports, 23 high-speed railway stations, various ports and even Disneyland.
Xiaoqiang Parking has now partnered with the Tongchen Tourism Group with the aim of creating an even more seamless experience and drive costs down even further for customers. The customer journey that results from this partnership looks as follows:
The newly partnered companies call this solution a “travel + traffic travel scene,” which they believe will disrupt the industry.
But how can the two companies afford to cut the average cost of parking by 80%? They start by owning the parking lots or at least being majority shareholders. They then cross-share their parking across their larger inventory of parking spots to allocate resources more effectively. Finally, they strike contracts to be the exclusive operators of the lots as well, to ensure they have full control and can ensure they can keep costs as low as possible.
Alibaba Expands Its E-Commerce Empire Through Education
Alibaba knows that it needs to help educate, train and hire the next generation of e-commerce talent. There simply won’t be enough talent for them or markets to satisfy their appetite for growth if they don’t solve this issue themselves. So this week, Alibaba announced the “Global E-Commerce Talent Network” or GET network in partnership with various universities and training institutions in China and overseas. Looking at just ASEAN, Alibaba cites that the demand for e-commerce talent by local suppliers in Malaysia is up to 53% and in Vietnam, e-commerce talent is in demand by 43% of suppliers.
To date, Alibaba has trained 7,000 students and 1,600 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) across 10 countries. The company has stated that their vision is to help millions of students and 200,000 SMEs to learn the vision and skills of e-commerce. And that vision appears to be global, with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also partnering with the Alibaba Business School to support students from Africa and Asia in receiving training through the eFounders Fellowship that was launched last year.
China’s tech giants such as Alibaba are known for their long-term thinking, and this move may end up being just one part of a greater vision for Jack Ma and his team.
That’s it for this week in China Tech. Be sure to check back for more stories coming from China in the weeks ahead.