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- Cloning pigs with AI
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In China, people can do even less without a smartphone than in Germany. When it comes to mobile payment or fully integrated super apps, the People’s Republic is already much further ahead. But the Internet market has always been difficult for foreign providers. Large platforms like Facebook have almost no significance in China outside the VPN bubble. Today’s feature shows how new data regulations have now made it even harder for even the last few remaining Western apps and online service providers to reach their users. New regulations on the collection and export of personal data, as well as on censorship and the content of apps, are making life difficult for western providers. Soon, western carmakers could also be affected.
Our second feature also has a tech focus: artificial intelligence and robots that clone pigs. As a vegetarian, I sarcastically wonder: What could possibly go wrong? Chinese scientists are working on methods to clone pigs fully automatically using robots, as Frank Sieren writes. These robots supposedly work more accurately than any human could. In the People’s Republic, the process could help satisfy the country’s appetite for pork. China imports pork meat by the hundreds of thousands of tons – including from Germany. But cloning is turning animals more than ever into mere goods instead of living beings.
New data regulations drive out western apps
China has always been a difficult market for many western app and software companies. Tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter are almost trivial in the People’s Republic. In recent weeks and months, more companies have withdrawn from the market or are changing their business model. Nike withdrew a running app with more than eight million users. Airbnb is no longer offering overnight accommodation on the Chinese market. Amazon is withdrawing its e-book service. Previously, LinkedIn and Yahoo had already ended important services.
China’s new data strategy pushes western apps out of the market
China has been pursuing a new data strategy for several years. At the end of last year, two new laws came into force that also affect western app and platform companies. They regulate, for example, cross-border data flows and the protection and further processing of personal data (China.Table reported). US social media, app and online service providers are particularly affected by China’s new Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), says tech expert Kai von Carnap of China think tank Merics. “PIPL makes it harder to export and collect personal data“. Complying with new laws and rules comes at a very high cost. In addition to other factors such as the Covid pandemic and the US-China trade war, von Carnap says China’s new digital strategy is the main cause of the withdrawal of western app providers.
According to von Carnap, there could be further withdrawals from the Chinese market in the near future. “It is assumed that more American platforms will follow”. And the new data laws could also become problematic for German companies such as car companies. Modern cars, for example, collect data on driving behavior. Making this data collection and processing compliant with the law will be a major challenge, says von Carnap. Especially since the new laws contain some gray areas. For example, it is not clearly defined under what conditions “personal data” may be exported from China or what exactly constitutes “critical infrastructure operators” – both terms are found in the new laws. “Many details are still unclear”.
- Data protection
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