Tag Archives: Internet / World Wide Web

Exclusive: iPhone app makers questioned in U.S. antitrust probe of Apple – sources

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department has reached out to app developers as part of its investigation into Apple Inc (AAPL.O), one of the four big tech companies being probed for alleged anti-competitive behavior, according one of the developers and another person familiar with the investigation.

FILE PHOTO: An Apple logo hangs above the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York City, July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

The chief executive of developer Mobicip, Suren Ramasubbu, told Reuters he was interviewed in November by a U.S. investigator who asked about the company’s interactions with Apple. The app, which has nearly a million users worldwide, allows parents to control what their children see on their iPhones.

Ramasubbu said the Mobicip app was temporarily removed from the iPhone app store last year for a failure to meet requirements imposed by Apple.

A source familiar with the Justice Department’s investigation said a handful of app developers had been contacted in what is the first indication of what officials are pursuing involving Apple since the investigation was revealed by Reuters in June.

U.S. President Donald Trump has criticized Apple’s Silicon Valley neighbors for other reasons, calling for closer scrutiny of social media companies and Google and accusing them of suppressing conservative voices online, without presenting any evidence.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in December that he hoped to have the Justice Department investigations into the big tech platforms – Facebook Inc (FB.O), Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google, Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and Apple – wrapped up this year.

Apple declined comment, but pointed to a statement on its website that says its app store was designed to hold apps “to a high standard for privacy, security and content.”

“Since 2016, we have removed over 1.4 million apps from the App Store because they have not been updated or don’t work on our most current operating systems,” the site says.

Apple’s ability to do just that has been a point of contention in the courtroom. The company was accused in lawsuits last year of abusing its clout in the app market. In one case, the U.S. Supreme Court gave the go-ahead last May to an antitrust lawsuit that accused Apple of forcing consumers to overpay for iPhone software applications.

SCREEN TIME CONTROL

Apple introduced its Screen Time app, which includes parental controls, in June 2018. At the start of 2019, Ramasubbu told Reuters, his company was contacted by Apple and warned that Mobicip’s app violated the iPhone-maker’s rules relating to technical elements that had previously been acceptable.

The app was removed from the app store for about six months, during which time it was updated to be compliant with Apple rules, Ramasubbu said. It was reinstated in October 2019, but he estimates his company’s business has shrunk by half.

Six executives of parental control app companies interviewed by Reuters said they had a comfortable relationship with Apple until mid-2018. That is when Apple introduced its own, similar software giving parents oversight of their children’s phone screen time and searches.

Apple has said that it had been concerned about parental control apps using technology which gave developers access to sensitive data, and that they declined to approve apps that used the technology if they did not also commit to not sharing data on children.

As the arbiter of who is allowed to sell in the app store, Apple says it has the power to ensure that only the highest quality apps are sold there.

But some developers say it also allows Apple to push out apps that compete with its own products, thus strengthening its profits at a time with its device sales have stagnated and it is seeking new sources of revenue.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Chris Sanders and Edward Tobin

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As Amazon.com flexes its muscle, Seattle moves to curb corporate political donations

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SEATTLE (Reuters) – Seattle, the Pacific Northwest city where home-grown online retailer Amazon.com has increasingly flexed its political muscle, is expected to approve on Monday legislation banning political contributions by companies with at least 5% foreign ownership.

FILE PHOTO: People take in the view from the top of the Space Needle in this aerial photo in Seattle, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. Picture taken March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

The move is likely to trigger renewed debate on the legality of corporate donations in U.S. elections while drawing an immediate court challenge.

A six-member committee of Seattle City Council has already unanimously approved the measure, making it almost certain that the full nine-member council will pass it on Monday.

The bill is widely viewed as aimed at reining in political spending from companies such as Amazon.com (AMZN.O). Amazon, Seattle’s largest employer, donated a record $1.5 million to back a slate of pro-business candidates in the November council elections – a campaign that was largely unsuccessful.

At least 9% of Amazon’s stock is owned by foreign investors, according to financial data provider Refinitiv.

A spokesman for Amazon, which has been butting heads with the city for two years over attempts to levy more taxes on the company, declined to comment.

“What they are proposing is likely an unconstitutional backdoor ban on U.S. companies speaking about local elections,” Jim Manley, an attorney with the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, told Reuters.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling struck down limits on political contributions by corporations or unions. Companies and unions may not give money directly to campaigns but may spend unlimited amounts on ads and other means.

The legislation before the Seattle City Council says that companies that have at least 5% of their shares held by foreigners, or 1% by a single foreigner, are subject to foreign influence and therefore cannot participate in elections.

Amazon’s $1.5 million political donation for Seattle’s November elections represented more than half of the nearly $2.7 million raised by a Super Pac for those elections. Four years ago, Amazon donated $25,000.

Super Pacs may accept unlimited contributions from any non-foreign source.

Amazon began to prominently flex its political muscle in May 2018 when the Seattle council approved an employee “head tax” on the city’s largest companies, in order to combat a housing crisis. Just four weeks later, the City Council repealed the tax after a coalition of businesses, with Amazon at the forefront, mounted a well-financed campaign for a referendum to repeal the tax.

Seattle is not the first city to take aim at campaign spending. St. Petersburg, Florida, approved a similar ordinance on foreign-influenced corporations in 2017 that has not yet been challenged in court.

(This story has been refiled to fix typo in 5th paragraph).

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Amazon’s Ring cameras are weak to hackers, lawsuit in U.S. claims

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(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) and its Ring dwelling safety digicam unit have been sued by an Alabama house owner who stated the cameras’ faulty design leaves purchasers weak to cyberattacks.

FILE PHOTO: The emblem of Amazon is seen on the firm logistics centre in Boves, France, November 5, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

In a proposed class motion filed on Thursday, John Baker Orange stated an unknown hacker just lately accessed his Ring digicam whereas his youngsters, ages 7, 9 and 10, have been enjoying basketball on the driveway, and thru its speaker system inspired them to maneuver nearer to the digicam.

Orange, who stated he paid $249 for his digicam in July, stated the cameras work solely when linked to the web, and are “fatally flawed” as a result of they don’t defend in opposition to cyberattacks, regardless of Ring’s assurances of “peace of thoughts” and “good safety right here, there, in all places.”

A spokeswoman for Ring stated the Santa Monica, California-based firm doesn’t talk about authorized issues.

The grievance filed in Los Angeles federal courtroom seeks unspecified damages from Ring and Seattle-based Amazon, in addition to improved safety for brand new and present Ring cameras.

It adopted a number of reported incidents of hackers accessing properties by way of Ring cameras, together with when a person repeatedly referred to as an 8-year-old Mississippi lady a racial slur and claimed he was Santa Claus.

“An organization that sells a tool that’s supposed to guard occupants of a house shouldn’t develop into a platform for doubtlessly endangering these occupants,” John Yanchunis, a lawyer for Orange, stated in an interview.

Ring’s most important product is a doorbell that comprises a safety digicam and lets householders monitor and talk with guests by way of a telephone app even when they aren’t at dwelling.

Amazon has stated it purchased Ring in April 2018 for $839 million in money.

Orange, who lives in Jefferson County, Alabama, stated he modified his “medium-strong” password and started utilizing two-factor authentication for his digicam after studying in regards to the incident involving his youngsters.

“So many units are tethered to the Web, and customers merely don’t have a realization of how that may be so simply exploited,” Yanchunis stated.

The case is Orange v Ring LLC et al, U.S. District Court docket, Central District of California, No. 19-10899.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Enhancing by Cynthia Osterman

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Vivendi set to widen authorized battle in opposition to Mediaset past Italy: sources

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MILAN (Reuters) – Vivendi (VIV.PA) is taking steps to widen its authorized battle in opposition to Mediaset (MS.MI) past Italy, in a transfer that signifies the French media group has not liquidated its stake within the Italian broadcaster, two sources near the matter stated.

FILE PHOTO: The Mediaset tower is seen in Cologno Monzese neighbourhood Milan, Italy, April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

A deadline expired at midnight on Saturday for Vivendi to train the correct to liquidate its stake in Mediaset in mild of a company overhaul that may see the Italian broadcaster merge its home and Spanish companies below a Dutch holding firm.

Vivendi on Sunday declined to touch upon whether or not or not it had exercised its withdrawal proper as a shareholder.

Nonetheless, the plan to broaden the authorized entrance by submitting fits in opposition to Mediaset additionally in Spain and the Netherlands signifies Vivendi has chosen to not promote the stake and as an alternative opted for sticking with a court docket battle, the sources stated.

Mediaset and Vivendi have been locked in a authorized battle since falling out over a failed pay-TV deal again in 2016.

After the aborted sale, the French conglomerate owned by billionaire Vincent Bollore constructed a 29% stake in Mediaset – a holding thought of illegitimate by the group managed by the household of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Regardless of Vivendi’s opposition, Mediaset this month received shareholder approval to create a pan-European media group in a bid to pursue continental alliances with rivals and fend off rising competitors from streaming companies equivalent to Netflix (NFLX.O) or Amazon Prime Video (AMZN.O).

Vivendi, which has plans of its owns to change into a European media powerhouse, on the time vowed to problem the overhaul in court docket.

Shares in Mediaset on Friday closed at 2.761 euros every, barely under the worth of two.77 euros at which Vivendi was entitled to promote its stake again to Mediaset had it determined to go for the door.

Nonetheless, promoting the stake would have translated right into a lack of round 320 million euros for the French group.

Some sources have stated up to now Bollore would possibly favor to remain on as an investor within the hope that court docket rulings in his favor might finally enable him to extend his sway over Mediaset.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina in Milan, further reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic in Paris, writing by Valentina Za, enhancing by Deepa Babington

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U.S. states launch antitrust probe of Google, advertising in focus

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Attorneys general from 48 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico formally opened an antitrust probe on Monday into Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O), in a sign of growing government scrutiny of U.S. technology giants.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the probe, said it will focus on Google’s “overarching control of online advertising markets and search traffic that may have led to anticompetitive behavior that harms consumers.”

California and Alabama declined to be part of the probe.

Participating states on Monday asked Google to provide documents on its advertising business, Paxton said at the announcement in Washington. Several attorneys general present described the investigation as “preliminary” and said they expected it would expand to cover other issues, including data privacy.

A separate group of eight state attorneys general, led by New York, joined by the District of Columbia, announced on Friday it was investigating Facebook Inc (FB.O). On Monday, attorneys general declined to say if they planned to expand scrutiny to other large tech firms.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge called Google’s search engine a “juggernaut” and argued that a free search sometimes came at the cost of the freedom to choose the best products from the best companies.

“When a company becomes a verb, it may seem as though the states are David taking on Goliath but I am proud to stand tall with my fellow attorneys general,” Rutledge said.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said the probe was “for the benefit of the tech ecosystem to help level the playing field.”

A spokesman for California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the state was committed to fighting anticompetitive behavior but declined to comment further “to protect the integrity of potential and ongoing investigations.”

ONCE PRAISED

Tech giants that were once praised as engines of economic growth have increasingly come under fire for allegedly misusing their clout and for lapses such as privacy breaches.

U.S. President Donald Trump has also accused social media firms and Google of suppressing conservative voices online, but has not presented any evidence for his views.

Specifically, Google faces accusations that its web search leads consumers to its products to the detriment of rivals’. There have also been complaints of potentially anti-competitive behavior in how it runs the advertising side of its business.

In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission ended an investigation into Google declaring it did not manipulate its search results to hurt rivals. At the same time, the FTC said Google agreed to end the practice of “scraping”, or misappropriating competitors’ content such as user-generated reviews of restaurants.

Senator Josh Hawley, who as Missouri attorney general opened a probe into Google in 2017, lauded Monday’s announcement as “a very big day for the folks who care about antitrust enforcement.”

Amy Ray, an antitrust lawyer at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, said that the states had a big task ahead of them.

“Any enforcer or litigant will need to navigate U.S. monopolization law as it stands, which has rarely been done successfully since the Microsoft antitrust case,” she said.

The world’s largest social media platform Facebook, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp and has more than 1.5 billion daily users, has been criticized for allowing misleading posts and “fake news” to be distributed on its service.

One criticism of Facebook is that it has been slow to clamp down on hate speech. The company recently paid a $5 billion settlement for sharing 87 million users’ data with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, whose clients included Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

Will Castleberry, Facebook’s vice president for state and local policy, said last week that the company would cooperate with state attorneys general.

On the federal level, the Justice Department and FTC are also probing Facebook, Google, Apple (AAPL.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O) for potential violations of antitrust law.

Alphabet said on Friday the Department of Justice in late August requested information and documents related to prior antitrust probes of the company. It said it was cooperating with federal regulators and with the expected probe from the states.

It had no further comment on Monday, when its shares were down 0.6 percent in late trading.

Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer, has been accused of using unfair tactics with third-party sellers, who must pay for advertising on Amazon to compete against its own first-party and private label sales.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt speaks to Reuters after a news conference to announce an antitrust probe into big tech companies that focuses on Alphabet’s Google, outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Bryan Pietsch

Apple has come under fire from app developers over practices like making only iPhone apps available through its official App Store. The music-streaming app Spotify (SPOT.N) has alleged that App Store policies make it difficult to compete against Apple Music for paid subscribers.

State attorneys general have fewer resources than federal agencies but have been known to team up to take on giant firms.

Most recently, 43 states and Puerto Rico sued Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA.N) and 19 other drugmakers in May, accusing them of scheming to inflate prices and reduce competition for more than 100 generic drugs.

Reporting by Diane Bartz, David Shepardson and Bryan Pietsch; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Sonya Hepinstall

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Trump heaps one other 5% tariff on Chinese language items in newest tit-for-tat escalation

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WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday lashed again at a brand new spherical of Chinese language tariffs by heaping a further 5% obligation on some $550 billion in focused Chinese language items within the newest tit-for-tat commerce struggle escalation by the world’s two largest economies.

FILE PHOTO: Containers are seen on the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, China August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Tune

Trump’s transfer, introduced on Twitter, got here hours after China unveiled retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion value of U.S. items, prompting the president earlier within the day to demand U.S. firms transfer their operations out of China.

The intensifying U.S.-China commerce struggle stoked market fears that the worldwide financial system will tip into recession, sending U.S. shares right into a tailspin, with the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC down 3%, and the S&P 500 .SPX down 2.6%.

U.S. Treasury yields additionally declined as buyers sought safe-haven property, and crude oil, focused for the primary time by Chinese language tariffs, fell sharply.

Trump’s tariff response was introduced after markets closed on Friday, leaving doubtlessly extra injury for subsequent week.

“Sadly, previous Administrations have allowed China to get to this point forward of Truthful and Balanced Commerce that it has grow to be an awesome burden to the American Taxpayer,” Trump stated on Twitter. “As President, I can not enable this to occur!”

He stated america would increase its present tariffs on $250 billion value of Chinese language imports to 30% from the present 25% starting on Oct. 1, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the communist Folks’s Republic of China.

On the similar time, Trump introduced a rise in deliberate tariffs on the remaining $300 billion value of Chinese language items to 15% from 10%. The US will start imposing these tariffs on some merchandise beginning Sept. 1, however tariffs on about half of these items have been delayed till Dec. 15.

The U.S. Commerce Consultant’s workplace confirmed the efficient dates, however stated it will conduct a public remark interval earlier than imposing the 30% tariff price on Oct. 1.

U.S. enterprise teams reacted angrily to the brand new tariff hike.

“It’s inconceivable for companies to plan for the longer term in any such surroundings. The administration’s strategy clearly isn’t working, and the reply isn’t extra taxes on American companies and customers. The place does this finish?” stated David French, a senior vp for the Nationwide Retail Federation.

Trump is because of meet leaders of the G7 main economies at a summit this weekend in France, the place commerce tensions will likely be among the many hottest dialogue subjects.

ABRUPT RESPONSE

The president’s announcement, which adopted an Oval Workplace assembly along with his advisers, suits a sample of swift retaliation because the commerce dispute with China began greater than a 12 months in the past.

“He determined he wished to reply. He was given a couple of totally different choices on issues he may do and finally that was what he determined,” a senior White Home official stated.

“He’s not taking these things calmly, however he’s in a high quality temper and looking out ahead to the G7.”

One other individual conversant in the matter stated officers needed to scramble to provide you with choices after Trump caught them offguard with tweets promising a response within the afternoon.

Since taking workplace in 2017, Trump has demanded that China make sweeping modifications to its financial insurance policies to finish theft and compelled transfers of American mental property, curb industrial subsidies, open its markets to American firms and enhance purchases of U.S. items.

China denies Trump’s accusations of unfair commerce practices and has resisted concessions to Washington.

“We don’t want China and, frankly, could be much better off with out them. The huge quantities of cash made and stolen by China from america, 12 months after 12 months, for many years, will and should STOP,” Trump tweeted on Friday morning.

“Our nice American firms are hereby ordered to instantly begin on the lookout for an alternative choice to China, together with bringing your firms HOME and making your merchandise within the USA.”

It’s unclear what authorized authority Trump would be capable of use to compel U.S. firms to shut operations in China or cease sourcing merchandise from the nation. Specialists stated he may invoke the Worldwide Emergency Financial Powers Act used prior to now for sanctions on Iran and North Korea, or reduce offending firms out of federal procurement contracts..

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce rebuffed Trump’s name, urging “continued, constructive engagement.”

“Time is of the essence. We don’t need to see an additional deterioration of U.S.-China relations,” Myron Sensible, govt vp and head of the enterprise group’s worldwide affairs, stated in a press release.

Trump additionally stated he was ordering shippers together with FedEx (FDX.N). Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), UPS (UPS.N) and the U.S. Postal Service to go looking out and refuse all deliveries of the opioid fentanyl to america.

China’s Commerce Ministry stated that on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15 it’s going to impose extra tariffs of 5% or 10% on a complete of 5,078 merchandise originating from america and reinstitute tariffs of 25% on vehicles and 5% on auto components suspended final December as U.S.-China commerce talks accelerated.

It was unclear whether or not a brand new spherical of talks anticipated in September would go forward.

China Every day, an official English-language each day usually utilized by Beijing to speak its message to the remainder of the world, stated China’s tariff record is the results of “prudent calculation”.

“With the U.S. continuing at full throttle with its beggar-thy-neighbor coverage, China has no alternative however to battle again to guard its core nationwide and financial pursuits,” it stated in an editorial on Saturday.

“China has taken the countermeasures in order that U.S. decision-makers get up and scent the espresso. And recognize that till Washington follows the Osaka consensus, there will be no deal.”

AGRICULTURE, AUTO SECTORS HIT

The rising financial influence of the commerce dispute was a key cause behind the U.S. Federal Reserve’s transfer to chop rates of interest final month for the primary time in additional than a decade.

“The president’s commerce struggle threatens to push the financial system right into a ditch,” stated Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “The president is hoping that the Federal Reserve will … bail him out, but when he continues to pursue the struggle, the Fed gained’t be as much as the duty.”

Amongst U.S. items focused by Beijing’s newest duties have been soybeans, which will likely be hit with an additional 5% tariff beginning Sept. 1. China may also tag beef and pork from america with an additional 10% tariff, in addition to ethanol with a further 10% obligation from December 15.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping pose for a photograph forward of their bilateral assembly in the course of the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Picture/File Picture

Though the Trump administration has rolled out assist to farmers stung by China’s tariffs, there’s rising frustration in America’s agricultural belt, a key political constituency for Trump as he heads into his 2020 re-election marketing campaign.

“The view from a lot of farm nation is bleak and anger is boiling over. With bankruptcies and delinquencies rising and costs falling, the frustration with the dearth of progress towards a deal is rising,” the bipartisan Farmers for Free Commerce group stated in a press release.

Reporting by Judy Hua, Min Zhang, Se Younger Lee, Stella Qiu, Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton in BEIJING, Yilei Solar and Winni Zhou in SHANGHAI, David Lawder, David Shepardson, Doina Chiacu, Jeff Mason, Steve Holland in WASHINGTON and Koh Gui Qing in New York; Extra reporting by Jason Lange, Andrea Shalal and Humeyra Pamuk in WASHINGTON and Tom Polansek and Julie Ingwersen in Chicago; Writing by Paul Simao; Modifying by Alison Williams, Howard Goller and Sonya Hepinstall

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Good house tech makes inroads into China’s rising aged care market

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WEIFANG, China (Reuters) – Charging aged shoppers simply 1 yuan or about 15 cents a day, little-known Lanchuang Community Expertise Corp has launched into one of the crucial formidable undertakings in aged care by a personal sector agency in China.

FILE PHOTO: An aged lady walks with a stick alongside a road in downtown Beijing, China July 30, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Supplied with a setup field, a webcam paired with a TV set and “Xiaoyi”, a Siri-like voice assistant, clients achieve entry to telemedicine and an SOS system in addition to for-pay companies that embrace housekeeping and meal deliveries.

A small robotic that may ring up a medical middle in response to verbal requires assist prices an additional 2 yuan per day.

Launched simply 4 months in the past, Lanchuang’s good care system has already signed up 220,000 aged shoppers in 16 cities, half of that are in Shandong, a quickly growing older province in jap China the place the corporate relies.

It’s concentrating on as many as 1.5 million customers this yr, 12 million subsequent yr and 30 million in 2021, when it hopes to listing on China’s new Nasdaq-style tech board.

The goal, nonetheless, is to not generate income from its shoppers, a few of whom get by on pensions as little as a number of hundred yuan a month, however to take a lower from suppliers of offline companies.

“China’s marketplace for aged care is big, however companies within the business are fragmented,” CEO Li Libo advised Reuters in an interview at his firm’s headquarters in Weifang metropolis.

“Scattered on the bottom are pearls,” Li, 47, mentioned of the services accessible, including it was his firm’s goal to string them collectively.

Lanchuang, which can be working with China Cellular Ltd (0941.HK) on a smartphone for seniors, is an instance of rising, albeit nonetheless nascent, makes an attempt by entrepreneurs to supply complete good house care companies for China’s huge variety of aged.

China has 1 / 4 of a billion folks aged 60 or over, and by 2050, that quantity is about to climb to virtually half a billion, or 35% of the inhabitants, in keeping with authorities estimates.

Liu, 66, a local of Jinan, Shandong’s capital, is aware of how arduous taking good care of the aged may be. In her mom’s last years, her urinary tract would get obstructed regardless of sporting a catheter and infrequently in the midst of the night time, to her daughter’s despair.

“If solely I had been in a position to attain a physician to assist my mom, however medical doctors should not reachable 24 hours a day,” mentioned Liu, who solely gave her surname.

The retired accountant, who was unaware of tech merchandise aimed on the aged, now lives alone and is reluctant to bother her personal daughter and son-in-law.

Care of growing older dad and mom has historically fallen on the shoulders of kids, however in fashionable China, the place the one-child coverage was abolished solely in 2016, the son or daughter has to take care of as many as 4 growing older folks together with in-laws. Typically, youngsters have moved to cities distant for work.

Retirement and nursing properties are on the rise, however are too expensive for many households and largely perceived as ridden with abuse. Three-quarters of outdated folks desire to reside out their days at house, official surveys present.

LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Whereas Beijing has been keen to ascertain a coverage framework for a proper aged care system, native governments have been reluctant to help aged-care companies which they see as nice-to-haves or simply an excessive amount of work.

However change is afoot.

In April, Beijing issued an in depth coverage doc outlining companies to be developed for the sector, together with good know-how, in addition to monetary help.

The central authorities supplied virtually 22 million yuan ($three million) in subsidies for Lanchuang’s good platform and the Shandong provincial authorities has given three million yuan.

That degree of encouragement is a far cry from a decade in the past when entrepreneurs persistently met with native resistance.

“Why are you doing this? What has this obtained to do with me?” mentioned U.S. entrepreneur Wang Jie, 59, as he recalled skeptical appears when he sounded out native authorities in China about trials of movement sensors at folks’s properties.

Wang needed to go to Canada for his trials. When he returned to Beijing in late 2013 to kick begin a enterprise, Wang needed to persuade native authorities, district by district, of the virtues of his sensors – which assist members of the family monitor exercise ranges of aged folks through an app however should not as intrusive as cameras.

Wang, who sits on the Nationwide Advisory Committee on Good Aged Care, has since managed to make inroads into two Beijing districts, with talks underway with three others.

The 2 districts have helped Wang establish high-risk people, sometimes these aged 70 and above, who reside alone and may be keen to make use of his sensors.

His agency, Beijing eCare Good Tech Co, has offered a number of hundred units of sensors in Beijing to this point this yr underneath three-year contracts with group organizations. Wang’s firm additionally helps practice grassroots emergency response crews as a part of the deal. Households pay nothing.

“If an aged particular person dies and the physique is barely found after three days, this creates unfavourable publicity for the native authorities, publicity that it needs to keep away from,” Wang mentioned.

EARLY DAYS

Entrepreneurs in different graying economies resembling america, Britain and South Korea have equally seized on alternatives within the sector, touting applied sciences from voice recognition for house home equipment to robotic companions for lonely outdated folks.

However it’s nonetheless early days in China.

In Weifang, Zhuojing Healthcare Heart, one in every of 147 group medical service suppliers linked to the Lanchuang community, mentioned it has solely receives 1-2 calls by the system a day.

On a Reuters go to organized by Lanchuang to the properties of two aged shoppers in Weifang, each mentioned they use the platform primarily for video chats with household.

Zhao Xi’e, 55, mentioned she makes use of it to speak to her mom who lives close by.

Slideshow (14 Photos)

Zhao’s purchasing and meals supply panels on her TV show have been grayed out, indicating zero service suppliers in her neighborhood.

She was additionally unaware the purple button on her handheld management had an SOS operate.

“Is that an on/off button?” she requested.

Reporting by Ryan Woo; Extra reporting by Beijing newsroom; Modifying by Edwina Gibbs

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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Apple faces investigation for suspected unfair competitors in Russia

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The emblem of Apple firm is seen outdoors an Apple retailer in Bordeaux, France, March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Apple (AAPL.O) is beneath investigation in Russia following a criticism from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab and could also be abusing its dominant market place, Russia’s anti-monopoly watchdog stated on Thursday.

Watchdog FAS stated it was investigating why a brand new model of Kaspersky Lab’s Protected Youngsters utility had been declined by Apple’s working system, leading to a major loss in performance for the parental management app.

It stated Apple had launched model 12 of its personal parental management app, Display Time, which had related features to the Kaspersky program. Parental management apps enable dad and mom to regulate their kids’s cellphone and pill utilization.

Requested in regards to the Russian investigation, Apple referred Reuters to an April 28 assertion during which it stated it had not too long ago eliminated a number of parental management apps from its App Retailer as a result of they “put customers’ privateness and safety in danger.”

It stated a number of of those apps had been utilizing a “extremely invasive” expertise referred to as Cell Machine Administration (MDM) and that its use in a consumer-focused app was a violation of App Retailer insurance policies.

Kaspersky stated Apple’s App Retailer pointers allowed for a restricted use of MDM, however that it was not clear methods to get hold of Apple’s permission to take action. It additionally stated the necessities diminished the competitiveness of third social gathering builders.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova, Nadezhda Tsydenova; writing by Tom Balmforth; modifying by Jason Neely/Keith Weir

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EBay to launch warehousing and transport companies subsequent 12 months

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(Reuters) – EBay Inc (EBAY.O) stated on Wednesday it might launch a warehousing and transport service for retailers promoting by way of its website beginning subsequent 12 months, a brand new technique that’s anticipated to draw extra sellers to the e-commerce platform.

FILE PHOTO: An eBay signal is seen at an workplace constructing in San Jose, California Might 28, 2014. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach/File Photograph

This system is at the moment in trial in the USA and Germany and is much like Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) “Achievement By Amazon” service, or FBA, which permits retailers to hire house in warehouses worldwide to allow them to retailer stock nearer to prospects.

It’s poised to assist eBay ship merchandise sooner, more and more a key consideration of consumers after they browse for objects on-line. EBay sellers ship about 1.5 million packages day by day in the USA.

EBay, primarily based in San Jose, California, held the mantle of being the highest on-line vacation spot for sellers earlier than Amazon’s market gained traction over a decade in the past with the assistance of FBA. That gave the Seattle firm way more management over the transport course of.

Whereas EBay lengthy resisted rising its logistics footprint, Amazon raised the stakes additional this April, asserting it might halve supply occasions to in the future by way of its loyalty membership Prime, a service that prices U.S. members $119 per 12 months. On the similar time, improved logistics networks and excessive warehouse capability made a supply service extra possible for eBay.

Devin Wenig, eBay’s chief govt, stated the corporate was focusing on free two-day transport below this system.

“What this isn’t about is us attempting to win a quick transport warfare,” he stated in a phone interview. “Our 182 million customers store on eBay due to the worth and uniqueness of our stock. We’re not the one-hour supply guys. We’re by no means going to be that, however client expectations are altering.”

Some 40% to 50% of things on eBay will qualify, whereas the corporate can supply its assured three-day supply program introduced in 2017 for the rest, Wenig stated.

Wenig didn’t focus on how a lot eBay would spend on the service, often known as “Managed Supply,” however he stated it may be a worthwhile enterprise by itself proper.

Sellers in this system will probably be charged a charge for warehousing and for transport as soon as an merchandise is offered. The service will allow them to fulfill orders positioned on eBay or on different on-line platforms, the corporate stated.

Reporting by Akanksha Rana and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru and Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; enhancing by Shinjini Ganguli and Susan Thomas

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Amazon founder Bezos’ divorce final with $38 billion settlement: report

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FILE PHOTO: 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party – Arrivals – Beverly Hills, California, U.S., 04/03/2018 – Amazon CEO Jeff and wife MacKenzie Bezos. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) founder Jeff Bezos’ divorce from his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, was finalized by a Seattle-area judge on Friday, paving the way for her to receive $38.3 billion worth of Amazon stock, Bloomberg reported.

In April, Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer, said in a filing that 4% of its outstanding stock or 19.7 million shares would be registered in MacKenzie Bezos’ name after court approval of the divorce.

The couple announced their plan to divorce in a joint Twitter statement in January, causing some to worry that Jeff Bezos could wind up with reduced Amazon voting power or that he or MacKenzie would liquidate large position.

He retains a 12% stake worth $114.8 billion and remains the world’s richest person, Bloomberg said. MacKenzie Bezos has said she would give him voting control of her shares.

MacKenzie in May pledged to give half her fortune to charity to join the “Giving Pledge,” a campaign announced by billionaire Warren Buffett and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) co-founder Bill Gates in 2010.

Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath and Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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