Tech News Chatter: China to Ban Fossil Fuels; Xiaomi Tries to One-Up Apple; Yet Another Mobile Pay Thinkpiece

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3:36 AM HKT, Tue September 12, 2017 1 mins read

Here’s the China tech chatter at the top of this week:

China to ban fossil fuels

…eventually. Bloomberg broke this story on Saturday, and it’s flown across the entire internet and back in the ensuing 48 hours:

China will set a deadline for automakers to end sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, becoming the biggest market to do so in a move that will accelerate the push into the electric car market led by companies including BYD Co. and BAIC Motor Corp. Xin Guobin, the vice minister of industry and information technology, said the government is working with other regulators on a timetable to end production and sales. The move will have a profound impact on the environment and growth of China’s auto industry, Xin said at an auto forum in Tianjin on Saturday.

Of course, “will set a deadline” does not equal “has set a deadline,” as many critical China-watchers have been quick to point out. But still. France and the UK have committed to doing this by 2040, and the cautious optimist in me is stirred by China entering the conversation.

There’s also a technology play involved, of course. Last week, the State Grid Corporation of China brought 167,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging piles online, and now boasts the world’s largest EV charging network. A state-backed push to end reliance on fossil fuels will presumably add a few more sparks to the EV sector.

Mi Mix 2 makes grab for iPhone 8’s thunder

TechNode reports on a baller move from Xiaomi, a company that is often derided as an “Apple ripoff,” and indeed has taken some pretty egregious design cues from the Cupertino giant:

Right before Apple’s iPhone annual launch event tomorrow, Xiaomi—China’s top smartphone manufacturer—launched today its latest smartphone lineup: the Mi Mix 2. The Mi Mix 2 is a successor to last year’s Mi Mix phone. The latest model features a four-sided curved ceramic body with the bottom bezel 12 percent narrower than the Mi Mix.

Ok, it doesn’t have infrared facial scanning or wireless charging like this new iPhone seems to. But the Mi Mix 2 will retail for around $505 — about half of what Apple’s newest hand computer will trade for. Obviously different processes at work here, with Apple retiring (probably wisely) into rich people territory and letting Android devices grab up the emerging middle class consumer racket in Asia, where Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi are blunting Apple’s competitive edge anyway.

Did you know that China’s cashless?

Yeah, yeah, old news. But the South China Morning Post just pumped another mobile payment explainer into the world, and hey, this one has a cat holding a QR code!

That’ll do, SCMP. That’ll do.

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