- China Turns to Robots as Workers Age
Flat, orange robots glide under stationary cars and ferry them to empty Chinese parking bays, using space more efficiently and, their creators say, reducing driver stress.
It is one of a number of elegant — and expensive — mechanical solutions China is turning to as it faces an ageing population, which, even in the world’s most populous country, is making workers harder to come by.
With an eye on the rising numbers of cars on Chinese roads, Hikvision has been testing a robotic parking system in Wuzhen, 130 kilometres (80 miles) west of Shanghai.
“The technology and scale of the industry is still at a very early stage,” said Wu Yonghai, the company’s head of robotics.
“This is about finding a solution to the car parking problem.”
Most firms in the sector focus on industrial robots rather than service robots, the kind which might sweep an apartment floor or act as a companion for elderly people.
With China’s labour force shrinking under the impact of the now abandoned one-child policy, the world’s second-largest economy is turning to machines to try to fill the gap.
The working-age population — defined as those from 15 to 59 — fell for the first time in decades in 2012, according to official figures, and has declined ever since. It is expected to carry on falling until at least 2030, and economic growth is also slowing.
China decided to allow couples to have a second child starting last year but the looming labour shortage will take decades to address, if at all.
The country is already the world’s largest market for the mechanical helpers and it will only get bigger, according to the International Federation of Robots, which estimates China will account for 40 percent of the global industrial robot market by 2019.
“The country is facing lots of problems, one of which is a rapid increase in labour costs,” said Wang Hesheng, a professor of robotics at Shanghai Jiaotong University.
“At the entire state level, China takes the robotics strategy very seriously,” he told AFP as half a dozen students tinkered with drones and other devices in a robot laboratory.
The government is investing heavily in robotics research, Wang added, and his students have access to the latest imported robots, including one from leading German robotics firm Kuka.
Chinese appliance giant Midea took over Kuka this year in a deal worth $5 billion, despite protests from German politicians that key technology is being lost to China.
As demand surges, Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on the nation’s robot makers to take a larger chunk of the domestic market, currently dominated by foreign players.
But it will be a long time before robots become part of everyday life, given the cost and technical challenges.
Elon Musk Promises to Reward Best Carbon Technology $100 Million
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tesla Inc. has announced that he will donate $100 million in reward for the best carbon capture technology.
The richest man in the world disclosed this in a tweet on Thursday.
“Am donating $100M towards a prize for best carbon capture technology,” Musk tweeted. “Details next week.”
Elon R Musk gained +$375 million in the last 24 hours to take his total gain in net worth this year to $32 billion and $202 billion total net worth.
Musk, who worth just about $27 billion in January 2020, has risen through the rank to top the world’s richest billionaire index.
The $100 million would be Musk’s largest known donation to date and represents around 0.05 percent of his net worth.
In 2012, Musk signed “The Giving Pledge” to join the list of billionaires that promise to donate half of their fortune to charity in their lifetime or in their wills.
Musk worth just $2 billion when he signed the pledge.
YouTube Suspends Trump Channel
YouTube Suspends Trump Channel
Google-owned YouTube on Tuesday temporarily suspended President Donald Trump’s channel and removed a video for violating its policy against inciting violence, joining other social media platforms in banning his accounts after last week’s Capitol riot.
Trump’s access to the social media platforms he has used as a megaphone during his presidency has been largely cut off since a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington DC last week.
Operators say the embittered leader could use his accounts to foment more unrest in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“In light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies,” YouTube said in a statement.
The channel is now “temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a ‘minimum’ of 7 days,” the statement read.
The video-sharing platform also said it will be “indefinitely disabling comments” on Trump’s channel because of safety concerns.
Facebook last week suspended Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following the violent invasion of the US Capitol, which temporarily disrupted the certification of Biden’s election victory.
In announcing the suspension last week, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said Trump used the platform to incite violent and was concerned he would continue to do so.
Twitter went a step further by deleting Trump’s account, depriving him of his favorite platform. It was already marking his tweets disputing the election outcome with warnings.
The company also deleted more than 70,000 accounts linked to the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims, without any evidence, that Trump is waging a secret war against a global cabal of satanist liberals.
Trump also was hit with suspensions by services like Snapchat and Twitch.
The president’s YouTube account has amassed 2.77 million subscribers.
The home page of the Trump channel featured a month-old video of Trump casting doubt on the voting process in November’s presidential election, and had logged some 5.8 million views.
On Tuesday, an activist group called on YouTube to join other platforms in dumping Trump’s accounts, threatening an advertising boycott campaign.
Analysts Predict 1,137% Earnings Per Share Growth for Shopify’s Full Year 2020
While the pandemic has devastated countless businesses, it has provided a major boon for eCommerce platform Shopify.
Shopify’s stock rallied by 169.9% in 2020 compared to the industry’s 26.6% growth. As of mid-December 2020, according to the research data analyzed and published by Finnish site Sijoitusrahastot, it had a 90 RS rating, which means that it had outperformed 90% of stocks during the year.
Based on the Zacks Consensus Estimate, its Q4 earnings per share (EPS) are set to jump by 188.37% to $1.24 while its sales will grow by 78% to $899.2 million. For the full year 2020, analysts project a massive 1,137% jump for the Shopify EPS.
Shopify Merchants Sell Over $5.1 Billion on Black Friday, Cyber Monday
Since Shopify went public in 2015, its stock has risen over 40-fold to more than $1,200 at the end of December 2020. Between 2016 and 2019, it skyrocketed by over 1,400%.
The eCommerce platform’s earnings for Q1 to Q3 2020 grew at an average of 552%. That was well above the 101% three-year average. In Q3 2020, its revenue nearly doubled from $390.6 million to $767.4 million.
Earnings in Q3 2020 rose from a net loss of 29 cents to $1.13 per share. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) soared by 109% reaching $30.9 billion, compared to 46% in Q1 2020 and 119% in Q2 2020. For the first nine months of 2020, there was a revenue increase of 82%.
For the first time, Shopify’s GMV surpassed that of eBay in Q2 2020, doing it again in Q3 2020. It claims to have a 6% share of the US market, higher than eBay’s but lower than Amazon’s 37%.
During the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend, merchants on the Shopify platform sold goods worth $5.1 billion. Compared to 2019, this marked a 76% uptick and set a new record. Comparatively, independent businesses on Amazon sold goods worth $4.8 billion. The number of buyers on Shopify increased by 50% year-over-year (YoY) to 44 million during that weekend.
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