Alibaba’s newest initiative aims to make Hong Kong a global AI hub

Alibaba is teaming up with SenseTime, the world’s highest-valued AI startup, to launch a not-for-profit artificial intelligence lab in Hong Kong in a bid to make the city a global hub for artificial intelligence.

Alibaba, which is SenseTime’s largest single investor thanks to a recent $600 million round at a valuation of $4.5 billion, is providing financing for the “HKAI Lab” through its Hong Kong entrepreneurship fund. SenseTime said it will contribute too, although the total amount of capital backing the initiative hasn’t been revealed.

The partners of the project — which also includes the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) — said the aim is to “advance the frontiers of AI,” which includes helping startups commercialize their technology, develop ideas and promote knowledge sharing in the AI field.

That’s all fairly general — Alibaba has a track record of politicking through technology investment schemes in Greater China and Southeast Asia — but one tangible project is a six-month accelerator program planned for September which will welcome AI startups to the HKAI Lab. Alibaba’s Cloud business and HKSTP are among the backers who will help the program offer early-stage funding to successful applicants, while Alibaba and SenseTime will help with mentoring and development during the program.

“Alibaba sees AI as a fundamental technology that will make a difference to society,” Alibaba executive vice chairman Joe Tsai said in a statement. “We envision the Hong Kong AI Lab to be an open platform where researchers, startups and industry participants can collaborate and build a culture of innovation.”

China and the U.S. are the two biggest players in the global AI battle, this project alone won’t divert that but it could stir up potential in Hong Kong.

Alibaba maintains tight relationships in Hong Kong, particularly through the fund which is around $130 million in size. While the program is ostensibly aimed at promoting startups in Hong Kong, particularly around AI, it is also sure to galvanize Alibaba’s ties to Hong Kong’s establishment and tech community. Hong Kong is growing as a destination for startups, as a number of the city-state’s key players discussed at a TechCrunch China event last year, but still the issue of talent is a key one and this initiative could benefit Hong Kong in that respect.

YouTube revamps its Red subscription service to offer standalone music streaming

Like Google’s messaging focus, YouTube’s efforts to spin out successful streaming and music products has felt confusing and haphazard. Now the company is simplifying and consolidating that play by decoupling the music and film components with the launch of a new service.

YouTube Music is, as the name suggests, a music streaming service that will launch on May 22. Aimed squarely at competing with Apple Music and Spotify, it’ll cost $9.99 per month following a free trial period as is standard in the industry.

An ad-supported version will be available for free also, but it won’t include premium features such as background listening, song downloads and music discovery features. (It’s worth noting that this new service will replace the existing Google Play Music service.)

YouTube Music was originally part of YouTube Red, the company’s subscription video streaming service, and though it is being decoupled, customers will be able to subscribe to both services if they buy a YouTube Red subscription, which is now priced at $11.99 per month. Except that YouTube Red will now be known as YouTube Premium since it covers both music and video.

Confused? Well, essentially YouTube has made it possible for customers to opt for music only. But it is also dangling the carrot of the full video service for just $2 more. Or, if you prefer a more negative slant, YouTube Red now costs $2 more than it did before. Take your pick.

The split makes a lot of sense when you consider how many people use YouTube for playing music for free despite a plethora of excellent streaming experiences like Spotify and Apple Music. It’s particularly popular in emerging markets where you can see YouTube listeners on public transport or other moments that Spotify and co would want to own.

That said, the new YouTube services are being focused on first-world markets initially. The company said the first stops will be U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea. Further down the line, it will expand to Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

China’s Didi pares back ‘hitchhiking’ car service following passenger murder

Didi Chxuing is making big changes to Hitch, its inter-city carpooling service, following the murder of a passenger at the hands of a driver earlier this month.

Last week, Didi — China’s dominant ride-hailing service by some margin — expressed its “deep remorse” for the murder, and suspended Hitch for a week to conduct a review of the service.

Hitch, as the name suggests, is a hitchhiking-style service that groups people who are headed in the same direction together. Unlike Didi’s other services, it isn’t commercial; passengers give the driver their share of fuel and any other costs they want to cover. That makes it affordable and hugely popular, but it has also made the service less professional than Didi’s other modes of transport. Indeed, many in China have claimed the service is ‘sleazy,’ with many comments left about passenger appearances, particularly those who are female.

The primary change will see Hitch available limited to daytime when the service resumes, with no new rides able to start between the hours of 10pm and 6am.

In an apparent nod to the unsavory elements, Didi is scrubbing all Hitch driver and passenger reviews and ratings. Personal information for users will no longer be public, and profile photos will be replaced by generic images, Didi said.

Beyond Hitch, Didi is also making changes to its driver authentication program.

That’s down, in a large part, to the fact that the suspect in the murder of the passenger was not a verified Didi driver. He was able to use the app (on more than one occasion) by taking the smartphone belonging to his father, who is a verified Didi driver. Didi’s facial recognition technology, which verifies a driver’s identity before granting them access to the service, failed in this instance — Didi said it was “defective” that day.

Didi is closing down the option for its drivers to use other people’s cars with their permission, and implementing a “zero tolerance policy” on matching cars with their registered owners — a strange loophole that drew concern.

The Didi service added an SOS button two years ago, and now it is aiming to refine that further by introducing automatic audio recording which is passed in real-time to a customer support agent once an SOS is activated. The firm said it is also weighing up adding video in the future. Conscious of privacy concerns, the company said the audio would be stored remotely, not on a passenger’s device, and deleted within 72 hours if not needed for longer.

“We understand that not everyone is comfortable with having their trips recorded. Additional user authorization may also be needed if in-vehicle video monitoring were to be introduced in the future,” the company said.

“Nevertheless, this could be a most effective means to enhance safety standards, and to ensure adequate evidence support for potential dispute resolution,” Didi added. “Would this be an acceptable solution in the eyes of our users?”

That’s one of a series of questions put out by Didi, which said it will solicit opinions for potential safety measures. The company said it has booked “proactive consultation sessions with relevant authorities and experts” and it will also put out a call for comment on its social media channels.

Didi is facing pressure from rival Meituan Dianping, which started out in local services but recently introduced ride-sharing services and moved into dockless bikes with the acquisition of Mobike.

This is not the first time that Didi, which became China’s single-largest ride-hailing company when it bought out Uber’s local business in 2016, has dealt with the murder of a customer. Two years ago, a woman in Shenzhen was robbed and murdered by a Didi driver.

The new AI-powered Google News app is now available for iOS

Google teased a new version of its News app with AI smarts at its I/O event last week, and today that revamped app landed for iOS and Android devices in 127 countries. The redesigned app replaces the previous Google Play Newsstand app.

The idea is to make finding and consuming news easier than ever, whilst providing an experience that’s customized to each reader and supportive of media publications. The AI element is designed to learn from what you read to help serve you a better selection of content over time, while the app is presented with a clear and clean layout.

Opening the app brings up the tailored ‘For You’ tab which acts as a quick briefing, serving up the top five stories “of the moment” and a tailored selection of opinion articles and longer reads below it.

The next section — ‘Headlines’ — dives more deeply into the latest news, covering global, U.S., business, technology, entertainment, sports, science and health segments. Clicking a story pulls up ‘Full Coverage’ mode, which surfaces a range of content around a topic including editorial and opinion pieces, tweets, videos and a timeline of events.

 

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Favorites is a tab that allows customization set by the user — without AI. It works as you’d imagine, letting you mark out preferred topics, news sources and locations to filter your reads. There’s also an option for saved searches and stories which can be quickly summoned.

The final section is ‘Newsstand’ which, as the name suggests aggregates media. Google said last week that it plans to offer over 1,0000 magazine titles you can follow by tapping a star icon or subscribing to. It currently looks a little sparse without specific magazine titles, but we expect that’ll come soon.

As part of that, another feature coming soon is “Subscribe with Google, which lets publications offer subscription-based content. The process of subscribing will use a user’s Google account, and the payment information they already have on file. Then, the paid content becomes available across Google platforms, including Google News, Google Search and publishers’ own websites.

Mercari, Japan’s first unicorn, files to raise $1.1B in Tokyo IPO

Mercari, the eBay-like service that is Japanese first tech startup unicorn, has filed to go public in an IPO that could raise as much as $1.1 billion.

The company is scheduled to list on the Toyko Stock Exchange’s Mothers Market — a board for high-growth companies — on June 19.

The company reached the symbolic $1 billion valuation mark in 2016 when it raised a $75 million Series D. In doing so it became the first Japanese tech startup to become a pre-IPO unicorn. Earlier this year, that valuation jumped to $2 billion following a $47 million investment.

The five-year-old company operates an online ‘flea market’ that lets consumers sell unwanted goods with a focus on mobile.

Japan is its core market, but the company expanded into the U.S. in 2014 and last year it entered Europe, initially via the UK. It boosted its overseas strategy in June 2017 when it hired former Facebook executive John Lagerling as its first chief business officer to guide its global strategy.

The business passed 100 million downloads worldwide at the end of 2017. Mercari said that over 30 million downloads are in the U.S., with more than 60 million in Japan. Speaking earlier this year, CEO Shintaro Yamada — who sold his previous startup Unoh to gaming firm Zynga in 2010 — said success in the U.S. is essential if Mercari is to become an international player.

Reuters reports that Mercari’s forecasted share price of 2,200-2,700 JPY per share would see the company raise up to 117.6 billion JPY ($1.1 billion) at a total market cap of 365.4 billion JPY, $3.3 billion.

It’s common for Japanese startups to go public, but it traditionally tends to happen much earlier than in the U.S or other parts of the world. That’s often times down to investors — who seek to reduce the risk of their money not returning — and a relative lack of capital for startups, but Mercari has held out longer than most and that might set an example for future companies.

For another thing, the return on investment is impressive for many of Mercari’s backers, according to data from 500 Startups partner Yohei Sawayama — who tweeted out USD estimates for potential returns.

Coinbase goes after Wall Street with new services for institutional investors

Coinbase is courting Wall Street after it announced plans to launch a range of new services aimed at institutional investors, who are finally beginning to embrace crypto.

The main new arrival is Coinbase Custody, a service first announced last year that provides specialist level services to allow institutions to hold bitcoin and other crypto with Coinbase. Right now, there’s precious difference in customer care regardless of whether they hold $1,000 or $10 million, but Custody is an effort go beyond that and offer a higher standard of service in line with what institutions require.

Specifically, that includes the use of an SEC-qualified custodian, third-party auditing and financial reporting validation, all of which Coinbase is getting via a range of partners.

“We have leveraged our experience safely storing more than $20 billion of cryptocurrency to create Coinbase Custody, the most secure crypto storage solution available,” Coinbase general manager Adam White wrote in a blog post.

Coinbase also announced a new platform dedicated to institutional customers called Prime.

Prime offers a trading service that’s customized to such customers, but it will also be expand to cover lending and margin financing products, services like over-the-counter (OTC) trading and algorithmic orders, and market data and research products.

Finally, Coinbase is expanding its ranks by opening an office in Chicago. The primary focus of that location, White said, will be to work on providing a centralized pool of liquidity for Coinbase services. That, combined with other features, is aimed at driving better conditions for trading for institutional customers.

The moves makes sense. Coinbase is positioning itself as the go-to in the crypto ecosystem — something reiterated recently by new CTO Balaji Srinivasan — and beyond being a consumer name, the company needs to court the bigger players, who keen on crypto after seeing bitcoin stabilize after a crazy run in January and the introduction of bitcoin futures.

They also represent a lucrative customer segment that brings new revenue options, too.

As Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong says on the Coinbase Custody website: “Over 100 hedge funds have been created in the past year exclusively to trade digital currency. By some estimates there is $10B of institutional money waiting on the sidelines to invest in digital currency today.”

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.

Southeast Asia’s Carro raises $60M for its automotive classifieds and car financing service

Carro, an automotive classifieds service and car financing startup based in Singapore, has closed a $60 million Series B round to scale its business in Southeast Asia.

The deal was co-led by SoftBank Ventures Korea, Insignia Ventures — the firm from ex-Sequoia Asia partner Yinglan Tan — and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group. Other participants include IDG Ventures India founder Manika Arora (via his family fund) and existing Carro backers Venturra,
Singtel Innov8, Golden Gate Ventures and Alpha JWC.

Carro raised a $12 million Series A round in March 2017. This latest capital takes it to $78 million from investors to date, according to Crunchbase.

The 2.5-year-old company said in an announcement that $250 million of vehicles were sold last year across its three markets: Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore. That’s more than double the $120 million it claimed in 2016. Last March, Carro introduced its Genie Finance underwriting business, and over its first year, it claims to have originated over $100 million in loans while amassing a loan book of nearly $40 million.

Carro CEO Aaron Tan previously spent time at Singtel Innov8 and is one of a trio of co-founders. Tan told TechCrunch that the capital will initially be spent growing Carro’s business in Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, but further down the line, there’s a plan for expansion.

“The exact markets are still to be determined but it may be a small setup in Japan and other sources of cars,” he added.

Carro has already expanded in terms of services. Initially a vehicle marketplace, it launched Genie Finance and has also forayed into insurance brokerage and road-side assistance. It recently introduced a service that completes vehicle sales in 60 minutes — Carro Express — which it said is now available in 30 locations across Southeast Asia.

“We will double down on our online marketplaces and financing in emerging markets this year. Ultimately, we want to improve the experience of selling and buying a car, as well as provide access to capital to the next billion people, which will improve the quality of lives,” Tan said in a statement.

Carro is rivaled by a number of startups, including BeliMobilGue in Indonesia, Carsome, iCar Asia and Rocket Internet’s Carmudi, although with its new raise in the bank Carro is the best-funded by some margin.

iCar Asia, which is managed by Malaysian venture builder Catcha, raised $19 million last November. This year has seen Carsome — which covers Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand — raise a $19 million Series B, BeliMobilGue — Indonesia-only — raise $3.7 million and Carmudi land $10 million.

In the case of Carmudi, the business has retrenched itself. At its peak it covered over 20 markets worldwide across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, but today its focus is on Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Carro’s monster raise follows another notable deal in Southeast Asia today which saw Carousell close a Series C round worth $85 million. The firm added backing from new investors DBS, Southeast Asia’s largest bank, and EDBI, the corporate investment arm of Singapore’s Economic Development Board.

Southeast Asia-based mobile listings startup Carousell raises $85M

Carousell, the Singapore-based mobile listing service that operates across Southeast Asia, has pulled in an $85 million Series C fund as it seeks to strengthen its business among the region’s competitive e-commerce landscape before expanding globally.

The round was co-led by existing investor Rakuten Ventures and EDBI, the corporate investment arm of Singapore’s Economic Development Board. Other participants included returning investors 500 Startups, Golden Gate Ventures and Sequoia India as well as new investor DBS, Southeast Asia’s largest bank with over $330 billion in assets.

TechCrunch previously reported that Carousell had agreed on the round last October, when it was $70-$80 million. We understand that it remained opened for strategic investors, before finally closing earlier this year. When asked in October if it had invested in Carousell, DBS said it hadn’t so it potentially came on board recently; Tech In Asia previously reported that EDBI became a Carousell investor in 2017.

This new round means that six-year-old Carousell has now raised over $110 million, according to Crunchbase. It closed a $35 million Series B in October 2016.

“It’s been six years since I made my partners very angry when I decided to do a startup, so it’s great to again get the validation of our investors,” co-founder and CEO Siu Rui Quek joked in an interview with TechCrunch. “Six years ago it was mobile, now we’re going into an AI-first world [with other challenges such as] how do we make payments a lot more frictionless.”

Carousell’s core business is a consumer-to-consumer sales which, like a listings site, lets people sell unwanted items to each other. To date, the platform has helped sell over 50 million items and today it has 144 million listings. In recent years, it has fanned out to offer more verticals that include cars, property, jobs, services and finance.

The primary C2C portion of the business remains free, but the company has begun to monetize over the past several quarters, Quek explained.

Its revenue streams include advertising and partnerships — such as financial services and travel insurance — promoted listing and ‘spotlight’ ads for sellers, cost per click ads, and certain premium verticals, including automotive, real estate and more.

Carousell co-founder and CEO Siu Rui Quek

Living with e-commerce giants

While its offering is different since it centers around person-to-person sales, Carousell more generally competes with e-commerce unicorns Alibaba-owned Lazada, Sea’s Shopee, and Alibaba’s Aliexpress, as well as Tokopedia (yup, also funded by Alibaba) in Indonesia.

Quek said, however, played up the role of these straight-up e-commerce firms.

“They serve an important part of the system, they’re very complementary,” he explained. “For example, when Lazada runs a big sale, we’re quite happy because people will have unwanted items or things to sell later.”

“Lots of e-commerce guys have come [to Southeast Asia] but we continue to grow,” he added.

Figuring out just how large Carousell is in Southeast Asia isn’t all that easy. The company doesn’t talk about GMV. Quek said the number isn’t relevant — it doesn’t take payment for consumer-to-consumer sales, and advertising/services are major income streams — although sources last year suggested Carousell’s GMV could be around $5 billion.

Considering Carousell business is different to the others, that number is impressive. Shopee claimed $1.6 billion GMV during its most recent quarter — which would be $6.4 billion annually — while Lazada no longer reveals its figures but claims to be larger.

Back to topics that Carousell does talk about, and global expansion remains something of interest to the team — which hails from Singapore’s NUS; making them arguably Singapore’s first home-grown startup.

“We do have global ambitions as a company, but the focus is really still cementing our leadership in Southeast Asia. It’s such an exciting region, it’s still nascent and there’s still a lotto work for us to do in the grand scheme of things,” said Quek.

That discussion about moving outside of the region is likely to happen in “the next year or so,” he added.

Hiring is the single biggest challenge

For now though, Carousell is focused on growing its position in Southeast Asia, and in particular expanding its premium offerings — automotive, real estate and partnerships — beyond Singapore and into markets like Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, and Thailand. The startup is also keen to grow its engineering chops, especially around AI which helps it match buyers and sellers.

“Hiring is extremely difficult,” Quek explained. “The single biggest focus for me and my team is going back into the weeds to find great talent. We already have over 100 product engineers covering 19 nationalities, we’ve got to bring people in from across the world.”

Beyond an HQ in Singapore, Carousell has been pragmatic in opening up offices where it can find talent. There’s a team of 20 in Taiwan and a small office of 10 engineers in Vietnam, too, while it has made three acquihires to bring in talent and expand its business. Those have been case-by-case, Quek said, so we shouldn’t expect the company to necessary go out and make more acquisitions following this new round of investment.

“Acquisitions are not a specific stream we’re deliberate about at this point – -but we’re definitely keen to see if opportunistic acquisitions might come about,” he said.

Finally, with Carousell now one of Singapore’s best-funded local startups — with influential bank DBS on its side, too — there’s likely to be talk about potential exits. Sea, formerly Garena, held a rare Southeast Asia IPO in the US last year, and Hong Kong is heating up as a tech listing destination with the likes of Xiaomi and Singapore’s Razer filing there.

For now, though, Quek said that isn’t a thought he or his team are giving time to.

“There are no plans for an IPO, we’re still super excited about the long-term opportunities and building on the mission,” he said. “We always say we are less than one percent done.”

China’s Didi Chuxing suspends carpooling service following murder of a passenger

Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing service, has suspended its Hitch, one of its carpooling services, for one week as it investigates the murder of a passenger.

The victim was a 21-year-old air stewardess identified only as Ms. Li. State-run news agency Global Times reports that the incident took place in the evening of May 5, when she used Hitch — which lets people headed to the same destination take a ride together — to summon a ride home from Zhengzhou airport, Henan Province, after finishing work. The publication cites police reports that say Li was murdered by her driver using a weapon.

Didi has used facial recognition technology to verify its drivers since 2016. The technology is used to speed up registration of drivers when they initially sign-up, and also to prevent fraud when they log in to start a shift. The idea is that the app will only unlock when the driver account owner takes a selfie which should match with the record Didi has.

In the case of this tragic incident, that safeguard failed.

The suspect — who has been named as Liu Zhenhua — is not registered on its platform, according to Didi, but he was able to access it, and take rides, using a verified driver account belonging to his father. Didi said it did not prevent this because its facial recognition feature was “defective” that day.

It looks like there was a warning sign, however. The company said that the account had received a sexual harassment complaint before the incident — it isn’t clear if that was from the father, or his son accessing the account — but Didi was unable to reach the account despite trying to make contact an apparent five times. Yet, despite the complaint, the account was allowed to log-in and take rides.

“Due to the imperfection of the arbitration rules of the platform, the complaint was not handled properly in subsequent days,” Didi admitted in a statement.

Hitch is an inter-city carpooling service focused on commuting and distance-traveling that lets passengers cover the cost of fuel and a driver’s basic costs. Didi’s commercial carpooling services are not affected. The Hitch suspension starts tomorrow — May 12 — and Didi said it will use the time to review all of its registered drivers for “any cases involving mismatch of drivers and vehicles.”

The company also pledged to revamp its operational approach and customer support system.

In a prior statement provided to TechCrunch, Didi expressed its “deep remorse” at the incident which it said it has “undeniable” responsibility for. The company added that it must “step up to win the trust of our users.”

We are deeply saddened by and sorry about the tragedy that happened to Ms. Li while using DiDi Hitch. No words can express our deep remorse in the face of such an enormity. We give our sincere condolences and apologies to the family of Ms. Li. We need to step up to win the trust of our users. Our responsibilities in this case are undeniable.

Our special task force is working closely with law enforcement agencies with the utmost effort. The murderer needs to be brought to justice; and Ms Li and her family deserve a just answer.

We apologize again to the family of the victim and the public. Please be assured we will review thoroughly all our business practices to prevent such an incident from happening again.

Global Times reported that Didi is offered a reward of one million yuan (just over $150,000) for information about the alleged murdered, although Didi did not confirm that when we asked.

Didi is facing pressure from rival Meituan Dianping, which started out in local services but recently introduced ride-sharing services and moved into dockless bikes with the acquisition of Mobike.

This is not the first time that Didi, which became China’s single-largest ride-hailing company when it bought out Uber’s local business in 2016, has dealt with the murder of a customer. Two years ago, a woman in Shenzhen was robbed and murdered by a Didi driver.

Uber and Lyft have had fatal incidents, too.

In the U.S., those range from a seven-year-old girl being run over by an Uber driver in San Francisco in 2014, to a driver in Michigan murdering six people while on duty for the ride-hailing service in 2016. Other fatalities have taken place in Australia, Lebanon, Singapore and India.

This year, Uber’s autonomous vehicles have also been involved in civilian deaths. In March, a woman died after being struck by a self-driving Uber SUV in Tempe, Arizona. While police said Uber wasn’t responsible for the incident, the company paused its autonomous vehicle testing following the fatal crash.

Xiaomi is bringing its smart home devices to the US — but still no phones yet

Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone maker that’s looking to raise as much as $10 billion in a Hong Kong IPO, is continuing to grow its presence in the American market after it announced plans to bring its smart home products to the U.S..

The company is best known for its well-priced and quality smartphones, but Xiaomi offers hundreds of other products which range from battery chargers to smart lights, air filter units and even Segway. On the sidelines of Google I/O, the company quietly made a fairly significant double announcement: not only will it bring its smart home products to the U.S., but it is adding support for Google Assistant, too.

The first products heading Stateside include the Mi Bedside Lamp, Mi LED Smart Bulb and Mi Smart Plug, Xiaomi’s head of international Wan Xiang said, but you can expect plenty more to follow. Typically, Xiaomi sells to consumers in the U.S. via Amazon and also its Mi.com local store, so keep an eye out there.

Smartphones, however, are a different question.

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun — who stands to become China’s richest man thanks to the IPO — previously said the company is looking to bring its signature phones to the U.S. by early 2019 at the latest.

There’s no mention of that in Xiaomi’s IPO prospectus, which instead talks of plans to move into more parts of Europe and double down on Russia and Southeast Asia. Indeed, earlier this week, Xiaomi announced plans to expand beyond Spain and into France and Italy in Europe, while it has also inked a carrier deal with Hutchinson that will go beyond those markets into the UK and other places.

You can expect that it will take its time in the U.S., particularly given the concerns around Chinese OEMs like Huawei — which has been blacklisted by carriers — and ZTE, which has had its telecom equipment business clamped down on by the U.S. government.

Hat tip Android Police