1.GOOGLE – Alphabet Inc’s Google has reached licensing deals with over 600 news outlets around the world and is seeing a “huge increase” in users requesting more content from specific publications as part of a new program, it said on Wednesday.
The update comes as big internet service providers including Facebook Inc have been locked in bitter disputes over fair compensation to publishers.
Google is continuing to negotiate with additional publishers, including in the Unites States, to spend $1 billion for what it calls News Showcase.
The program through 2023 is Google’s biggest effort to invest in an industry that blames tech giants for siphoning its advertising revenue. Combined, Facebook and Google control over half of the digital advertising market.
Google is exercising little oversight over publishers’ use of the money.
“The intention of our payment is to help make it easier for publishers to be able to participate in the program,” Brad Bender, a vice president at Google overseeing News Showcase, told Reuters. “But ultimately it’s in service of creating this more sustainable future for news.”
But Google’s hesitance to hold publishers accountable for generating business results with the funds leaves questions about whether the media industry will at last turn a corner after several attempts by tech companies to provide support and improve its outlook.
“It’s not up to us to tell a news publisher how to run their business,” Google said.
Bender expressed optimism, though, about News Showcase steering publishers toward a brighter future and said the company would support the program beyond the initial $1 billion.
2.HUAWEI :China’s Huawei Technologies reported modest annual profit growth for 2020 as overseas revenues declined due to disruption caused by the pandemic and the company’s placement on a U.S. export blacklist.
Net profit for 2020 came in at 64.6 billion yuan ($9.83 billion), up 3.2%, compared to growth of 5.6% a year earlier.
Huawei was put on an export blacklist by former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2019 and barred from accessing critical technology of U.S. origin, affecting its ability to design its own chips and source components from outside vendors.
The ban put Huawei’s handset business under immense pressure, with the company selling off its budget smartphone unit to a consortium of agents and dealers in November 2020 to keep it alive.
Yet Huawei reported that its consumer business, which includes smartphones, brought in 482.9 billion yuan, up 3.3% year on year, and accounted for over half of the company’s revenue.
The rise in part was thanks to growth in devices such as smartwatches and laptops, a Huawei spokesman said.
The company’s carrier business, which includes 5G network equipment, brought in 302.6 billion yuan, an increase of just 0.2% a year earlier.
Huawei’s growth was driven by its home market, with revenue in China up by 15.4% to 584.9 billion yuan.
Its business declined everywhere else, with revenues down 12.2% to 180.8 billion yuan in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, down 8.7% to 64.4 billion yuan in the rest of Asia, and down 24.5% to 39.6 billion yuan from the Americas.
Revenue from the company’s enterprise segment soared 23% year on year to 100.3 billion yuan, although it still makes the smallest in revenue of the three business groups.
The company invested 141.9 billion yuan in R&D spending in 2020, up from 131.7 billion yuan a year earlier.
Huawei’s cash flow from operating activities was 35.2 billion yuan, down by 61.5% on a year earlier.
3.FACEBOOK :– Facebook Inc Said it was taking steps to combat hate speech and misinformation in India as the world’s biggest democracy started its months-long multi-phase elections in four big states.
“We recognize that there are certain types of content, such as hate speech, that could lead to imminent, offline harm,” the social networking giant said in a blog post https://about.fb.com/news/2021/03/steps-to-protect-elections-india dated March 30.
India is Facebook’s biggest market by users. Its WhatsApp chat service is among the most popular in the country, counting around 500 million users alone.
Facebook has been under fire globally for alleged lapses in controlling hate speech. In the United States, the social media giant put a months-long freeze on political, electoral and social ads to crack down on misinformation and abuses around the Nov. 3 presidential elections.
In India, the company’s top lobbyist quit last year after a Wall Street Journal report suggested the way the social media network regulated political content in the country favoured Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party.
Opposition parties questioned the company’s policy following the report, but the Menlo Park, California-based company maintained https://www.reuters.com/article/facebook-india-idUSKBN25T1DY it “remains committed to be an open and transparent platform.”
Elections in the states of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Kerala and union territory Puducherry are a test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity amid a raging protest by farmers against new agricultural laws that have sparked outcry at home and abroad.
“To decrease the risk of problematic content going viral in these states and potentially inciting violence ahead of or during the election, we will significantly reduce the distribution of content that our proactive detection technology identifies as likely hate speech or violence and incitement,” Facebook said.
It has also designed Election Day reminders to give voters accurate information and encourage them to share it with friends on Facebook and WhatsApp, the company said.
4. TENCENT:– Tencent’s e-book spinoff China Literature is looking to grow its North American business as it seeks to tap surging demand for content outside its home market, a senior executive told Reuters.
The company’s Webnovel platform, which hosts its non-Chinese language content, has already signed 50,000 writers in North America and the company aims to double that to by the end of the year.
“Similar to what we have been doing in China, we are seeing users who like our content turning to be writers on our platform,” Sandra Chen, China Literature’s head of international business, told Reuters in an interview.
Chen said China Literature is focusing on North America for its “infrastructure, its demand for good content, and an existing user willingness to pay for content.”
Tencent, China’s largest social media and video games company, last year put China Literature and two other firms in its content stable, New Classic Media and Tencent Pictures, under one management as part of an integrated film and TV production strategy.
Analysts say Tencent wants to build a Chinese Disney by transferring its vast intellectual property holdings from animation, online literature and video games on to the big screen.
Webnovel has more than 200,000 original English language titles and 1,000 pieces translated from Chinese. It is launching a writing contest this week that will run through the year to encourage creative original English works.
Chen said China Literature decided to seize on the overseas market when it realised there were voluntary translations of novels from its Chinese platform, such as “Qing Yu Nian”, a popular ancient romance.
“Qing Yu Nian”, or Joy of Life, was subsequently developed into a 46-episode TV drama that has been streamed more than 8 billion times. The show has an IMDb rating of 8.2 out of 10.
“We are very clear of the long-term hope we have for the overseas market, which is to transplant the strategy proven successful in China to the new market, to build a content ecosystem where we could build on our IP,” said Chen.
5.APPLE- Apple Inc introduced its contactless payment service in South Africa on Tuesday, as the global tech giant looks to cash in on the mobile payments boom in the country.
The use of digital finance and payments systems has surged in South Africa and elsewhere as the coronavirus crisis has prompted a shift towards e-commerce and contactless payments.
Apple Pay has joined Samsung ‘s digital wallet offering, Samsung Pay, which was launched in South Africa in 2018.
Apple said it had launched the service without giving details.
The service is available via three South African banks, namely Absa Group, Nedbank Group and Discovery Bank, which is part of the Discovery group.