Europe and China sign pact to make 5G a reality before we’re all dead

5G world

The future never seems to get here fast enough. But now, Europe and China are hopefully going to shorten the wait time.

The European Commission and China today announced they have signed an agreement to cooperate on the development of 5G mobile networks. Following similar agreements with South Korea and Japan, EC officials said they would work jointly with China to create technology standards and roadmaps to reaching the blazing-fast mobile world of tomorrow.

“5G will be the backbone of our digital economies and societies worldwide,” said Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner in charge of the Digital Economy and Society, in a statement. “With today’s signature with China, the EU has now teamed up with the most important Asian partners in a global race to make 5G a reality by 2020.”


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5G promises speeds of 20Gbps (gigabits per second), compared to the 1Gbps standard for 4G. With 5G, you’ll be able to control your robot army remotely.

But the reality is, most of the world is still waiting on 4G. Only 7 percent of the world was using 4G at the end of 2014, according to GSMA Intelligence.

This issue of pokey mobile infrastructure has become particularly painful in Europe, which once upon a time considered itself a global leader in mobile computing and communication. Over the past decade, though, it’s seen its mobile giants like Nokia crumble as the center of mobile innovation shifted to Silicon Valley, thanks to Apple and Google.

Making things worse, Europe went from having among the world’s fastest mobile networks, to falling far back in the pack. In South Korea, 4G adoption was two-thirds last year. In the U.S. it was 45 percent followed by Japan at 42 percent.

Europe was 10 percent. Yowch.

So, to reclaim its digital future, the EC had previously decided to pump about $800 million into research and development funding for 5G. And now it’s scrambling to sign these types of agreements to make sure it’s at the forefront of the 5G conversation.

Still, getting any kind of meaningful 5G service in place by 2020 is a long shot. Many standards involved have still not been decided. And then there is the question of getting telecom providers to invest in a rollout, when they are still trying to increase 4G coverage.

Hopefully, today’s announcement will be another step in pushing all the players down the 5G road a bit faster.










Amazon’s India rival says its new advisor program boosts seller ‘business volume’ growth by 50%

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Snapdeal announced Monday the launch of its SD Advisor Program, which it says has shown to boost the “rate of growth in business volumes” by 50 percent when compared with sellers who were not a part of a six-month pilot. While business volume is a bit of a vague term and doesn’t necessarily mean a 50 percent increase in profits, for example, it’s clearly an improvement on existing sales numbers.

The program, which is part of Snapdeal’s $200 million investment in building what it calls a “digital ecosystem for SMBs in India,” will essentially provide some “hand holding” for sellers on its platform. Specifically, Snapdeal says it will offer “a minimum of fifty man hours of specialized training” to sellers, and assign them personal advisors.

Right now, the main three ecommerce behemoths battling it out in India are Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal. Amazon is the only foreign player of the three trying to get a foot in India’s booming ecommerce space, though both local rivals have raised huge funding rounds from international investors. If Snapdeal can persuade more sellers to use its platform over rivals’ by convincing them they’ll make more money, then it’s just another way it can ease market share back in its direction.

Snapdeal is claiming 200,000 sellers on its platform, though it hasn’t shared numbers of how much they’re actually making. “The [program] will help strengthen the processes for seller on-boarding and training,” the company said. “[Advisors will] also guide businesses by providing market-related advice and insights gathered through data analytics… consumer-engagement ideas, financial assistance for scaling-up operations on the platform, and more.”

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Kreditech Nabs $92M To Build Financial Services For The ‘Underbanked’

money shutterstock Another startup out of Europe focused on finance has raised a hefty round of funding. Kreditech, a German company building a suite of credit and banking products for consumers who have little or no credit history, has raised €82.5 million ($92 million) to continue adding more products and geographies to its platform. Confirming what we reported when we first broke news of the round in… Read More

Hip implant maker claims surgical funder inflated patients’ bills

A unit of Johnson & Johnson that makes artificial hips has accused a surgical funding company of seeking excessive profits from financing surgery for patients suing over the devices. The claim by DePuy Orthopaedics marks the first time that a device maker in the multibillion-dollar litigation over faulty hip replacements has publicly raised concerns about the controversial business of surgical funding, which has increasingly become a part of mass litigation over medical devices.

Yelp appoints Diane Irvine as its first chairwoman in push for gender equality in tech

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Restaurant and shopping reviews website Yelp on Sunday revealed to USA Today that it has named Diane Irvine as its first chairwoman in a move that will be seen as a championing of women in top tech roles traditionally dominated by men.

The company’s previous chairman, Max Levchin, stepped down in July following a loss of $1.3 million in the most recent quarter and concerns from investors about its future performance. As we reported at the time, the problem seems to stem from threats posed to Yelp’s local ads business by the likes of Google and others. Rumours of a possible sale were also doing the rounds in May, though Yelp has since said it wouldn’t be pursuing that option.

“I think the company has great market share and still has tremendous opportunity in the future,” Irvine told Today in an interview. “I am excited to be in this new role… We want to show that progress in the months and years ahead throughout the company, and that would include the board… The percentages of women on boards is not where we would like it to be, yet there are women on boards so it could happen and should happen one company at a time.”

Irvine was the former chief executive at Blue Nile, and has been on Yelp’s board since 2011. Besides from its declining investor sentiment and lowered revenue guidance as of Q2, the company made headlines in July when it had to scrub thousands of angry comments from the page of a lion-murdering dentist.

We’ve reached out to Yelp for comment on this story and will update you if we hear back. In any case, an official announcement seems in order (which it doesn’t seem to have made so far).

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Panasonic is sounding more optimistic about a return to its global smartphone business

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After exiting the global mobile phone market in 2005 due to poor sales, Panasonic then attempted a comeback in 2012 only to essentially flop again the following year with a 5.4 billion yen ($45 million) hit in operating losses to its mobile division. Samsung and Sony emerged as some of the big winners in the space, though Panasonic has still been trying to sell some smartphones in India since then.

On Monday, however, there seemed to be fresh signs of optimism coming from inside the Panasonic ranks as to the outlook for its global smartphone business between now and 2018. According to The Economic Times in India, Panasonic is targeting close to $2 billion in smartphone revenue by 2018 as it makes a global comeback in the space. The comments come from a top Panasonic executive in the country.

Global is perhaps not an entirely accurate way to describe the new push, as Panasonic seems to be doubling-down on opportunities within emerging markets across south Asia, the Middle East, and Africa more than places like Europe and the U.S., which would make it a truly global return. But then it’s certainly a step out of Japan, and for the low-end play and small margins it’s likely looking at for its smartphone business, the real growth and opportunity is indeed in the emerging markets because it becomes a numbers/volume game rather than targeting wealthier consumers.


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The report cites Panasonic’s recent launch of smartphones in Sri Lanka and Nepal, with plans to enter Dubai, Iran, and Saudi Arabia next week. South Africa will follow next month. But India remains the sun around which all the smaller planets of its new smartphone solar system will spin. India is key to its outlook and growth forecasts for its smartphone business. In line with that, it said it expects sales in India to more than triple by 2018, accounting for up to half of its smartphone revenue targets, according to the Times. India will also serve as a major manufacturing base for Panasonic.

There are some more numbers in the report: the company claims 3 percent of India’s smartphone market right now, and expects that to increase to 9 percent by the end of 2016. That would make Panasonic one of the top-four smartphone brands in the country.

“The mobile phone market is three times that of consumer electronics and will be the main growth-driver for Panasonic in India and other emerging markets,” Panasonic’s managing director for India, Manish Sharma, was quoted by the Times as saying. “[Our] smartphone range will be expanded, will be feature driven, and around 15 percent lower-priced than top-line competitive brands.”

The news is interesting because frankly it’s both surprising and in some ways unsurprising to hear Panasonic talking to openly about a big push again in smartphones. Like Blackberry, which was once a top global phone brand that lost its way amid the rise of the iPhone and a slew of cheaper Android devices, Panasonic’s return to the space globally shows that it thinks there’s still plenty of opportunity and growth to be squeezed out of smartphones as a rising global middle class emerges — even with the horribly thin margins that it will have to play with, and that are squeezing out once-strong players like HTC.

We’ve reached out to Panasonic for more information and will update you if we hear back.

More information:

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Panasonic is sounding more optimistic about a return to its global smartphone business

shutterstock_243366661

After exiting the global mobile phone market in 2005 due to poor sales, Panasonic then attempted a comeback in 2012 only to essentially flop again the following year with a 5.4 billion yen ($45 million) hit in operating losses to its mobile division. Samsung and Sony emerged as some of the big winners in the space, though Panasonic has still been trying to sell some smartphones in India since then.

On Monday, however, there seemed to be fresh signs of optimism coming from inside the Panasonic ranks as to the outlook for its global smartphone business between now and 2018. According to The Economic Times in India, Panasonic is targeting close to $2 billion in smartphone revenue by 2018 as it makes a global comeback in the space. The comments come from a top Panasonic executive in the country.

Global is perhaps not an entirely accurate way to describe the new push, as Panasonic seems to be doubling-down on opportunities within emerging markets across south Asia, the Middle East, and Africa more than places like Europe and the U.S., which would make it a truly global return. But then it’s certainly a step out of Japan, and for the low-end play and small margins it’s likely looking at for its smartphone business, the real growth and opportunity is indeed in the emerging markets because it becomes a numbers/volume game rather than targeting wealthier consumers.


From VentureBeat
Got translation? You got problems. We’re here to help. Localization and translation tips from the best minds in marketing.

The report cites Panasonic’s recent launch of smartphones in Sri Lanka and Nepal, with plans to enter Dubai, Iran, and Saudi Arabia next week. South Africa will follow next month. But India remains the sun around which all the smaller planets of its new smartphone solar system will spin. India is key to its outlook and growth forecasts for its smartphone business. In line with that, it said it expects sales in India to more than triple by 2018, accounting for up to half of its smartphone revenue targets, according to the Times. India will also serve as a major manufacturing base for Panasonic.

There are some more numbers in the report: the company claims 3 percent of India’s smartphone market right now, and expects that to increase to 9 percent by the end of 2016. That would make Panasonic one of the top-four smartphone brands in the country.

“The mobile phone market is three times that of consumer electronics and will be the main growth-driver for Panasonic in India and other emerging markets,” Panasonic’s managing director for India, Manish Sharma, was quoted by the Times as saying. “[Our] smartphone range will be expanded, will be feature driven, and around 15 percent lower-priced than top-line competitive brands.”

The news is interesting because frankly it’s both surprising and in some ways unsurprising to hear Panasonic talking to openly about a big push again in smartphones. Like Blackberry, which was once a top global phone brand that lost its way amid the rise of the iPhone and a slew of cheaper Android devices, Panasonic’s return to the space globally shows that it thinks there’s still plenty of opportunity and growth to be squeezed out of smartphones as a rising global middle class emerges — even with the horribly thin margins that it will have to play with, and that are squeezing out once-strong players like HTC.

We’ve reached out to Panasonic for more information and will update you if we hear back.

More information:

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Google Targets Intent With Email, YouTube And Search Matching And Universal App Campaigns

target / bullseye / dartboard As Ad Week rolls into New York, the tech giants are rolling out their ad product news. Today Google announced new products that move it further into Facebook-style targeting territory, with a new product called Customer Match that will let advertisers upload lists of emails and match them to signed-in Google users on Gmail, Search and YouTube. Google is also ramping up its game in app… Read More

Uber’s China rival Didi Chuxing invests in India’s Ola following tie-up with Lyft in U.S.

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China’s dominant car-hailing app Didi Chuxing (formerly Didi Kuaidi) on Monday announced an undisclosed investment into Uber’s top India rival Ola. The move is clearly part of a global effort to fight back advances by Uber, with Didi previously inking deals with Southeast Asia’s GrabTaxi and U.S.-based Lyft.

It joins Ola’s existing investors, which includes Falcon Edge, GIC, Tiger Global Management, and SoftBank. The money will be used to fund Ola’s continued expansion in india where it already offers taxis, leased cars, and motorized rickshaws — and claims up to 80 percent of the taxi-hailing market.

Specifically, the money appears to be going into Ola’s recently announced plan to invest $75 million in a new car leasing program, which is expected to add 10,000 additional drivers to its national network. Beyond that, Ola is now claiming 750,000 rides per day through a network of 320,000 cars across more than 100 cities.

“Didi Kuaidi believes both India and China are rapidly developing countries with enormous market potentials,” the company said in a statement. “Didi Kuaidi looks to engage local industry champions like Ola to share technology and best practices in product development and operational expertise – all honed from deep market data-driven operations.”

Didi itself has pushed into services ranging from private car and taxi-hailing, to chauffeurs, social ridesharing, and even shuttle buses. It now claims 7 million completed orders daily in China where it continues to battle Uber’s advance, much like Ola battles Uber in India.

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China’s Didi Kuaidi Confirms It’s Invested In India’s Ola As Uber Car Rivalry Heats Up

india taxi More funding developments in the highly competitive world of car services. Didi Kuaidi, an Uber rival based in China, has today confirmed that it has invested in Ola, another Uber rival based out of India, as part of Ola’s latest round of funding. As we reported earlier this month, Ola is looking to raise a megaround of over $500 million at a valuation of $5 billion to expand in… Read More