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Southeast Asia’s Grab lands $1B from Toyota at a $10B valuation

Grab, the ride-hailing firm that acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia business earlier this year, is raising a new round of funding and it just announced that it will be led by Toyota, which is committing $1 billion in capital. The deal values Grab at over $10 billion, a source close to the company told TechCrunch. In return for its capital, Toyota will also get a board seat and the opportunity to place an executive within Grab’s team. Grab said it plans to work with its new investor “to create a more efficient transport network that will ease traffic congestion in Southeast Asia’s megacities” and help its drivers increase their income. In particular, that will involve close collaboration with the Toyota Mobility Service Platform (MSPF), which is working on areas such as user-based insurance, new types of financial packages and predictive car maintenance. “Going forward, together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia,” said Toyota executive vice president Shigeki Tomoyama in a statement. Toyota put money into Grab via its Next Technology Fund last year , but this time around the capital comes directly from the parent company. Hyundai is another automotive firm that has backed Grab . The new round follows a $2.5 billion investment that was jointly led by SoftBank and China’s Didi, two long-time investors put an initial $2 billion up for the round  last year. That round quietly closed at the start of 2018, Grab has confirmed but so far it hasn’t said who put up the additional money. The company’s valuation had been $6 billion but, unsurprisingly since the Uber deal, it has jumped by a further $4 billion based on Toyota’s investment

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Vietnam’s new cyber security law draws concern for restricting free speech

Big tech firms including Google, Facebook and Twitter have expressed major concern after Vietnam’s government passed a law that promises to introduce tighter restrictions on free speech online. The new regulation passed this week strengthens the government’s position on censoring the internet, drawing  Amnesty International to decry that it leaves “no safe place for people to speak freely” in Vietnam.  Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) — a group that represents Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Line and others — furthered cautioned that it would harm the development of the country’s digital economy. Among the broad points, the new cyber security law forbids internet users from organizing with, or training, others for anti-state purposes, spreading false information, and undermining the nation state’s achievements or solidarity, according to reports . “This decision has potentially devastating consequences for freedom of expression in Vietnam. In the country’s deeply repressive climate, the online space was a relative refuge where people could go to share ideas and opinions with less fear of censure by the authorities,” Amnesty International added in a statement. Internet censorship isn’t new to Vietnam, but the law increases the state’s potential to act. Concern is already high following a string of arrests over the past year which has seen bloggers jailed for discussing environmental issues , politics and more online. Beyond limiting free speech, the cyber law also applies pressure to  foreign internet companies who will now be required to operate a local office and store user information on Vietnamese soil. Currently, in the case of Google and Facebook, data on Vietnam-based users is stored overseas in locations such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Google and Facebook both declined to comment, but they are part of the AIC which did make a statement condemning the new law. “The provisions for data localization, controls on content that affect free speech, and local office requirements will undoubtedly hinder the nation’s fourth Industrial Revolution ambitions to achieve GDP and job growth,” AIC wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately, these provisions will result in severe limitations on Vietnam’s digital economy, dampening the foreign investment climate and hurting opportunities for local businesses and SMEs to flourish inside and beyond Vietnam,” the organization added. The people of Vietnam have also voiced their discontent at the new law.

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Coinbase will add Ethereum Classic to its exchange ‘in the coming months’

Coinbase may be one of the most-lauded crypto exchanges, but it supports just four coins right now which is far fewer than most others. That’s about to change a little after it announced plans to add Ethereum Classic  (ETC), an alternate version of Ethereum, to its service “in the coming months.” Ethereum Classic was created in June 2016 following a major hack on The DAO , a fundraising vehicle for the project. In short: the Ethereum Foundation created a new version of Ethereum — known today as Ethereum — that rescued the lost funds, while those who opposed continued on with the original chain which was known as Ethereum Classic. Ethereum is the second-highest valued token after only Bitcoin while ETC is number 19, according to Coinmarketcap . The value of ETC jumped is up nearly 20 percent over the past 24 hours after spiking following Coinbase’s announcement . A date for the introduction of ETC will be communicated via Coinbase blog and Twitter account in due course, according to the company. Coinbase is announcing its intention to list Ethereum Classic ahead of time so that it can test integrations as part of its new policy on adding new tokens, but that move is also in response to concerns that around inside trading when the exchange added Bitcoin Cash last December. Coinbase went so far as to investigate the incident  which saw service outages and wild price fluctuations for Bitcoin Cash right after its addition to the exchange. Indeed, the price hit a high of $8,500 on Coinbase and its GDAX service for professional investors, which was  almost three times higher than the $3,500 price  on all other exchanges. That led to speculation that Coinbase staff and insiders could have profited by buying BCH on other exchanges in the knowledge that it was about to be added to Coinbase, thus raising the price significantly. This time around with ETC, Coinbase will hope that its statement of intent to list the token further down the line will avoid the potential for foul play. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong to talk the future of cryptocurrency at Disrupt SF This listing could be the first of many for Coinbase this year. In today’s announcement, the company again reiterated its intention to add support for ERC20 tokens — the type that are generated by an ICO — and Bitcoin forks in the future. Outside of adding new tokens, Coinbase is exploring how it can work with new blockchain technology including atomic swaps, sharding, proof of stake and more, according to CTO Balaji Srinivasan who joined earlier this year . More generally 2018 is seemingly a year for growth and development at Coinbase

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Xiaomi posts $1.1B quarterly loss ahead of much-anticipated IPO

A month after it filed for a much-anticipated Hong Kong IPO , Xiaomi has revealed a little more financial information after a monster 621-page document disclosed a $1.1 billion (seven billion RMB) loss for the first quarter of the year. The IPO, which could raise up to $10 billion value Xiaomi at high as $100 billion, is set to be the largest IPO raise since Alibaba went public in the U.S. in 2014 . That prospect got a boost with a dose of positive financial growth despite a loss incurred by one-off payments. The document, which was filed was an application to issue a CDRs as part of a dual-listing that would include Mainland China, showed that Xiaomi’s revenue for the quarter jumped to 34 billion RMB, or $5.3 billion. That’s compared to 114.6 billion RMB ($17.9 billion) in total sales for all of last year, according to digging from TechCrunch partner site Technode . While Xiaomi posted a loss for the quarter, the firm actually posted a 1.038 billion RMB ($162 million) profit for the period when one-time items are excluded. Xiaomi previously registered a 43.9 billion RMB ($6.9 billion) loss in 2017 on account of issuing preferred shares to investors (54 billion RMB) but it did post a slim profit in 2016. Xiaomi officially files for Hong Kong IPO to raise a reported $10 billion The company is ranked fourth based on global smartphone shipments, according to analyst firm IDC, and it is one of the few OEMs to buck slowing sales in China . China is, as you’d expect, the primary revenue market but Xiaomi is increasingly less dependent on its homeland. For 2017 sales, China represented 72 percent, but it had been 94 percent and 87 percent, respectively, in 2015 and 2016. India is Xiaomi’s most successful overseas venture, having built the business to the number one smartphone firm based on market share, and Xiaomi is pledging to double down on other global areas. Interestingly there’s no mention of expanding phone sales to the U.S., but Xiaomi has pledged to put 30 percent of its IPO towards growing its presence in Southeast Asia, Europe, Russia “other regions.” Currently, it said it sells products in 74 countries, that does include the U.S. where Xiaomi sells accessories and non-phone items

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Korean crypto exchange Coinrail loses over $40M in tokens following a hack

Another day, another crypto hack. This time it’s Korea, the crypto-mad Asian country, where an exchange called Coinrail lost more than $40 million in altcoins, ICO-issued tokens that aren’t bitcoin or Ethereum, after it was hit by an apparent attack over the weekend. Korea may be a hot spot for crypto investment , but Coinrail is one of its smaller exchanges, just about ranking inside the world’s top 90 based on trading volume, according to coinmarketcap.com . Nonetheless, even the smaller exchanges have plenty of coins, as the size of this heist illustrates. Most notably, the hackers got away with $19.5 million-worth of NPXS tokens that were issued by payment project Pundi X’s ICO. Added to that they scored a further $13.8 million from Aston X, an ICO project building a platform to decentralize documents, $5.8 million in tokens for Dent, a mobile data ICO, and over $1.1 million Tron, a much-hyped project originating from China. That’s according to a wallet address that has been identified as belonging to the alleged attacker, who also got hold of smaller volumes of a further five tokens from Coinrail. In all the cases, the companies issuing the tokens themselves were not hacked, the tokens that were nabbed belong to Coinrail users. 해킹공격시도로 인한 시스템 점검중입니다. 일부코인(펀디엑스,NPXS)이 확인되었으며 추가적인 코인피해가 있는지 여부를 확인중입니다. 추후 자세한 사항은 재공지하겠습니다 / There has been an cyber intrusion in our system

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Announcing the TechCrunch Ethereum Meetup alongside our blockchain event in Zug

There are already many, many reasons to attend  TechCrunch’s first blockchain event this coming July 6 in Zug, Switzerland. You’ll hear from industry leaders including  Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin , Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan and Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao , but here’s a further sweetener: we will have a follow-on event the very next day. We’re excited to announce that we’ll hold an Ethereum Meetup on July 7, the day after the ‘TC Sessions: Blockchain’ event. TechCrunch is producing this event with support from the Ethereum Foundation and other members of the Ethereum community. To recap: the TC Sessions: Blockchain event takes place July 6 in Zug, the Swiss Canton know as ‘Crypto Valley,’ and it’ll be followed by the Ethereum Meetup produced by TechCrunch on July 7th from 1-6pm at the Casino, the same venue as the blockchain event the day before. A follow-on meetup is a first for our single-day ‘TC Sessions’ events, which TechCrunch produces to cover important emerging topics like robotics, AR/VR and tech diversity. The second-day event in Zug reflects the strong demand we’ve seen from readers who are keen to further explore and understand the blockchain space. This meetup will feature core developers and leaders from the Ethereum ecosystem, including Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum Foundation developer Karl Floersch, and others. It will cover a range of topics on the technical side, including presentations and discussions around issues of scaling, protocol improvements, and improvements to consensus among other topics. We’ll have full details on the agenda very soon so stay patient. Attendees of the TC Sessions: Blockchain event who wish to attend the Ethereum Meetup will need to purchase a separate pass. Tickets are available now for the meetup and can be purchased here  — they are priced at 50 CHF plus VAT, that’s around $53 at current rates. We can’t wait to see you there. There are a limited number of sponsorship opportunities open for the Ethereum Meetup produced by TechCrunch. If you are interested in sponsoring the event, please fill out this form .

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Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, plans $1 billion investment fund

The upstarts of crypto aren’t just aiming to disrupt the startup status quo,  some are rivaling traditional venture capital investors , too. That’s particularly evident today after  Binance , the world’s largest crypto exchange based on daily trade volumes, announced a $1 billion fund to back blockchain and crypto startups. The ‘Community Influence’ fund, which will be denominated in Binance’s BNB coin, will be aimed at nascent startups and also funds themselves, Ella Zhang — who heads the Binance Labs division — revealed today in an online web broadcast held today in Chinese. For fund of funds investments as an LP, Binance is looking to back funds with at least $100 million in capital and, of course, a focus on blockchain and crypto. The firm will also launch a Binance Ecosystem Fund which it said will include 20 partners. A Binance spokesperson told TechCrunch that further details of both initiatives will be released soon. Data from Coinmarketcap.com  ranks Binance as the world’s most active crypto exchange, with over $5 billion of crypto traded in the past 24 hours at the time of writing. The company calls Hong Kong home but it is in process of relocating to Malta, where it has been welcomed by regulators after it was forced out of Japan when regulators cracked down on its business . Catch Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao at TechCrunch’s blockchain event on July 6 This isn’t Binance’s first run at investment, it has already made deals via its Labs division, which was unveiled earlier this year and is described by Zhang as a “social impact fund.”  It led a $30 million investment in MobileCoin  — a startup that’s advised by Moxie Marlinspike, the founder of encrypted messaging app Signal and Open Whisper Systems — and it is establishing an incubator that will nurture ideas and young projects with financial backing and mentorship. The company revealed today that its first incubation project will be Dache Chain, a new blockchain-based ride-hailing service in China. The company is already getting hype because one co-founder is Chen Weixing, the CEO of app development startup Funcity who initially founded Kuaidi Dache, a Chinese ride-hailing startup that eventually became Didi Chuxing , the country’s dominant service that forced Uber’s exit from China . “This project will utilize blockchain technology to redesign the relationship between the interests and power of entrepreneur, labors, consumers, investors, and organizers. Dache Chain will establish a community ecosystem with value anchoring, and it is expected to achieve a pure shared ecosystem and solve the problem of unfair distribution of productivity and wealth,” Binance said in a statement.

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Xiaomi’s new fitness band has 20-day battery life and 50-meter water resistance

Xiaomi’s very-iPhone-X-looking Mi 8 smartphone was the highlight of its Shenzhen press event today, but the company did also unveil a number of other notable products, including an updated version of its popular fitness band. The Mi Band has always offered a solid performance at around $30 — to the point that I’ve bought two of them for myself — and the third incarnation pushes things further. Mi Band 3 includes a longer 20 days of battery life per charge, 50-meter water resistance and a new band design that Xiaomi touts as being both more comfortable and more secure on your wrist. Like the Mi Band 2, the third-gen tracker includes a pulse monitor and the usual fitness tracking. It syncs to the Xiaomi Mi Fit app, with data exportation to other services possible. The Mi Band isn’t a full blown fitness band, for example it doesn’t include GPS so it won’t help you track runs on apps like Strava, but at just 69 yuan, or around $25, it is a seriously cheap option. The Mi Band 3 will make its debut in China first, where it’ll come in a choice of red, black and blue. Like most Xiaomi products, we’ll have to wait on details of international availability but it will almost certainly be sold outside of China soon. Aside from the Mi Band 3 and Mi 8, Xiaomi also unveiled its Mi VR Standalone product, which was developed alongside Facebook-owned Oculus , which is now home to former Xiaomi international executive Hugo Barra . Xiaomi also took the wraps off its largest smart TV to date, the 75-inch Mi TV 4.

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Google launches a Q&A app for neighborhood communities in India

Google is increasing its focus on India after it released a new social app that’s aimed at building neighborhood communities within cities in the country. The company’s ‘Next Billion’ team in charge of emerging markets has dedicated significant resources to India. Its initiatives include data-friendly versions of YouTube and other popular services, its Tez mobile payment app , a food delivery service and a national WiFi network initiative . Now it is adding one more to the list with the release of  Neighbourly , a Q&A app for sharing local knowledge. The basic goal is to give local communities an outlet to seek answers to practical questions about local life, routine and more. Google believes that an increase in urban migration, short-term leasing and busy lives has changed the dynamic of local communities and made it harder to share information quite so easily. “Life happens close to home, in order the of a 1-2km radius, and local questions come up all the time. But as cities get bigger and bigger, we’re finding that these local questions are getting hard to use — word of mouth used to be key,” Josh Woodward, a product manager within the Next Billion initiative, explained to TechCrunch. “We built neighborly as a way to connect you with your neighborhood, ask questions, share expertise and stay up to date in a safe way,” he added. This idea is nothing new, of course. Already in India, WhatsApp — which counts 200 million users in the country — has a range of community groups, but the big issue is discovery since new users have to be added to the group directly. The new Google app is much like Jelly, the question and answer service from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone that  was ultimately bought by Pinterest , but with localized tweaks. A beta version of the app is initially available in Mumbai, but users located in other areas can join a waitlist pending expansion. Questions and answers are handled via swipeable cards — who knew Tinder’s design would reach neighborhood community apps in India — while the app uses GPS to add a user into their neighborhood right from sign-up. Woodward said Google is employing ranking and personalization technology which, over time, will match users with the kind of questions they can answer or have shown an interest in

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Amazon begins nationwide expansion of Whole Foods discounts for Prime members

Amazon introduced 10 percent savings at Whole Foods for Prime members earlier this month, and today it kicked off a nationwide expansion of the initiative. The Prime Whole Foods discount — one of a number of measures following Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods — has expanded to 12 more states , including northern California, Colorado and Texas, with more set to follow soon. The collaboration is yet another reason to subscribe to Amazon Prime, and the compelling package for consumers gives retailers — both online and offline — further reason to fear Amazon. The offer was launched in Florida first but this expansion is the first of a wave that are designed to allow Prime customers across the entire U.S. to get discounts at Whole Foods and  Whole Foods Market 365 stores by the end of this summer. Whole Foods currently has over 470 stores in the U.S., Canada and U.K. combined, but the majority — 463 to be precise — are in the U.S so there’s plenty of work to do. That said, Amazon said all Whole Foods Market 365 in the U.S. are now covered. The discount is also possible for customers who use the Whole Foods delivery service, which is also part of the Amazon app . Prime members get free delivery if their order is $35 or more, and there’s a two-hour delivery window. Amazon’s nationwide expansion of Prime discounts at Whole Foods has begun “From delicious dinner options like shrimp or rotisserie chicken to fresh organic raspberries, we’re offering savings on products customers love and can enjoy with their families. Exclusive deals like the sustainably-caught halibut were a huge hit in Florida, and we’re excited to partner with our suppliers to bring Prime members even more discounts on seasonal favorites and everyday staples,” A.C.

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Grab launches a food delivery service in Southeast Asia

Fresh from completing its acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia business , ride-hailing firm Grab has officially launched its food delivery business — GrabFood — today. The service is already available in beta in a handful of countries, including Thailand, but now it is available in Singapore ( Grab HQ) with plans to reach Grab’s core six markets in Southeast Asia in the coming months. As part of its acquisition of Uber Southeast Asia, Grab took charge of UberEats in the region and moved its merchants and customer base to GrabFood before shuttering the Uber service. GrabFood is available as a standalone app in Singapore, but in countries where Grab offers motorbikes on-demand the service is integrated into the core Grab app. The service will compete against the likes of Deliveroo, FoodPanda, Go-Jek’s GoFood, and others. The GrabFood service is also tied to Grab’s rewards and loyalty program — GrabRewards — and customers can use cash, cards or GrabPay to pay for their orders. Two notable features allow customers schedule orders in advance while there is also no minimum spend on orders. Grab announced a deal to buy rival Uber’s local business in March, although the deal itself doesn’t seem to have progressed quite as smoothly as expected. As TechCrunch reported last month , a mixture of regulatory concerns, disgruntled employees scheduled to transition to Grab and consumer concern at the lack of competition have weighed on what is Grab’s coming-of-age moment. Nonetheless, Grab said in a statement that its move into food delivery is an important part of its strategy to develop “an interconnected ecosystem of consumer services to make the everyday lives of people easier.” Removing Uber may have made that goal more realistic, but Grab will face competition regionally after Go-Jek, the market leader in Indonesia that’s backed by the likes of Google and Tencent, confirmed plans to expand to four new markets imminently . Go-Jek is putting $500 million behind that expansion, which it said will be modeled on a partner approach that gives local founding teams full control of the business in each new country. Rather than standing still, Grab is reported to be raising $1 billion in fresh funding at a valuation of $10 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal . That would represent a significant increase on the $6 billion valuation that Grab commanded when it gobbled up $2 billion from SoftBank and China’s Didi Chuxin g last July

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Trump says ZTE will pay $1.3B fine and overhaul its management to continue US business

U.S. President Donald Trump has claimed that Chinese telecom firm ZTE will pay a $1.3 billion fine and undergo a significant overhaul of its management team in order to remain operational in North America. ZTE looked to be in dire straits when it ceased its business in the U.S. earlier this month after a Department of Commerce order  banned U.S. partners from selling components to the company in response to it flouting trade bans in Iran and North Korea. The company has since been reprised — a strategy move within the U.S.-China trade stand-off — but Trump said today that its new life comes at a cost. That’s apparently a $1.3 billion fine, a new management team and board, and “high-level security guarantees.” Senator Schumer and Obama Administration let phone company ZTE flourish with no security checks. I closed it down then let it reopen with high level security guarantees, change of management and board, must purchase U.S. parts and pay a $1.3 Billion fine. Dems do nothing…. — Donald J

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Take a look at your Twitter timeline 10 years ago

Here’s a fun thing for a Friday: go back and see what your Twitter timeline looked like 10 years ago. Twitter has pretty powerful search settings, but Andy Baio — of Kickstarter fame and more — did the heavy-lifting for us all by sharing a link that let’s you look at your timeline exactly a decade ago, assuming you followed the same people. Try it here . (The search will work even if you didn’t have an account 10 years ago.) Want to see what your Twitter timeline would've looked like 10 years ago today, if you followed all the same people you do now? https://t.co/41a6iQcYhc — Andy Baio (@waxpancake) May 24, 2018 The mix is eerily quiet, with far fewer retweets and likes than the current time — Twitter hadn’t yet introduced the ‘automatic’ retweet, people were still doing it manually — and no nested replies or link previews, while there are ghosts of once-major social media services, such as TwitPic, TinyURL. Certainly, it’s a fun way to see how Twitter has morphed, both in terms of features and the actual dialogue of users. The latter, in my experience at least, seems more driven by status update-style tweets than discussions or dialogue and there’s precious little content from media at that time, too. Given how things are today, with polarized opinions and armies of trolls, perhaps the old days of Twitter did have their benefits. You can, of course, tweak the settings to change the date, language and more to explore past Twitter. Enjoy — and maybe retweet a decade-old tweet or two while you’re there. Twitter of 10 years ago is so bizarre. No one had figured out how to use the platform yet, and it feels super rigid and awkward. Also the absence of media is felt. — Chris Franklin (@Campster) May 25, 2018 How innocent we were. Twitter advanced search lets you go back in time! Here's your current feed, but 10 years ago (works even if you weren't on Twitter 10 years ago!): https://t.co/4Y63uPyqWo pic.twitter.com/f0xA7Vb6um — Jonathan Howard (@staringispolite) May 24, 2018 10 years ago twitter ruled

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Apple introduces new privacy portal to comply with GDPR

Apple is the latest tech giant to make changes to comply with GDPR, the EU’s privacy data rules , after it introduced a new website that shows customers exactly what personal data it holds on them. Accessible via an ‘Apple ID Data & Privacy’ website — which was first spotted by 9to5Mac — Apple customers can request access to the full gamut of personal data, which includes sign-in history, contacts, calendar, notes, photos and documents, as well as services such as Apple Music, the App Store, iTunes, and Apple Care. Dependent on the data records selected, Apple may take as long as two weeks to assemble the information while the company said the data will be deleted after two weeks. Apple allows users to select the size of their data download — which goes as high as 25GB or can be split into smaller chunks — while it will also apparently be made available in standard data formats, meaning it can be stored and easily accessed. The data site also gives users the option to correct data, deactivate their account and delete all information held by Apple in compliance with GDPR. Deleting data is exactly as the term suggests, while deactivation means an account is made unavailable temporarily. In the latter case, all data and services associated with the account — for example, phone book contacts, FaceTime or purchase made in iTunes — will be inaccessible whilst it is deactivated. The data service is initially available in EU countries,  Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, but Apple said it plans to expand the options across the rest of the world later this year.

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Baidu spins out its global ad business to sharpen its focus on artificial intelligence

Baidu, the Chinese search giant, is spinning out its business unit responsible for utility apps and its mobile ad business to sharpen its focus on artificial intelligence. As part of the spin-out, Baidu is selling a large chunk of its equity in the ‘Global DU’ business to as-yet-undisclosed investors. The plan is to sell “a majority equity stake” in order to take Global DU independent. Once the deal is completed — it is targeted at a Q3 2018 timeframe — Baidu’s share of the business will drop to around 34 percent. Further, the business is likely to raise additional capital for growth. Spinning out business units is commonplace among Chinese tech companies, Baidu itself recently did so with its financial services business . Herman Yu, Baidu CFO, said this latest spin-out will give Global Du “autonomy and agility in its operation.” It will also allow Baidu to focus more keenly on artificial intelligence. The firm said it will set up a new global business unit around its AI-powered services, including recommendation engine PopIn, keyboard app Simeji and other services in the U.S. and Southeast Asia. The plan is to allow these services to work more closely with Baidu’s AI labs, which include locations in Silicon Valley and Seattle. Already, that push has helped Baidu’s earnings, which had been set back when the Chinese government invested internet advertising focused on medical services . Despite the AI push, Baidu has suffered as key personnel departed over the past year. Last week, Qi Lu, Baidu’s president and COO who is also its highest-ranking AI specialist, departed the company due to personal reasons . The exit was unexpected, particularly since the former Microsoft executive only took the role less than two years ago

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