Tag Archives: Alibaba

Can You Buy China Spy Balloon On Alibaba For $18?!

Can you buy the infamous spy balloon from China on Alibaba for just RMB 118 / $18?!

Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!


Claim : You Can Buy China Spy Balloon On Alibaba For $18!

Pro-CCP netizens are trying to push the narrative that the infamous spy balloon from China is really a cheap weather balloon that anyone can buy from Alibaba!

They are sharing a screenshot of an Alibaba store on WhatsApp and social media platforms, claiming that you can buy the same “spy balloon” for just RMB 118 / $18!

You can buy this balloon to scare the US for 118 RMB.. warning fighter jets might be sent to shoot it down..

Read more : Why US Shot Down Chinese Spy Balloon With Missile!


Truth : You Cannot Buy China Spy Balloon On Alibaba For $18!

This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS created and propagated by the Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛) or pro-CCP netizens, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Chinese Balloon Was Not A Weather Balloon

First, let us start with a basic fact – the US Air Force shot down a spy balloon from China, not a weather balloon.

Weather balloons are common – thousands are launched daily across the world to collect information on the temperature, wind and moisture in the upper atmosphere.

Weather balloons are not very large – expanding from 6 feet (1.8 metres) to 20 feet (6 metres) in diameter as they rise in altitude. Their payloads are also small, consisting of a small box with a few sensors.

The Chinese spy balloon that the US Air Force shot down was not only much larger at around 90 feet (27.5 metres) wide, it also had a very large payload that included large solar panels, and even propellers to control its movement.

Real weather balloons also do not travel far – they generally go up to a high altitude and stay there. Spy balloons, on the other hand, need to travel long distances. This Chinese balloon travelled thousands of kilometres from China to Alaska to Canada, before reaching the continental United States.

Recommended : Did Four Taiwan F-16 Fighters Just Defect To China?!

Fact #2 : RMB 118 Weather Balloon Is Small

I traced the viral photo to this Alibaba store selling latex weather balloons. As expected, the RMB 118 / $18 balloon that pro-CCP netizens were promoting is small…

The store offered four sizes, with slightly elevated prices in US dollars (it’s cheaper in Chinese Yuan):

  • 48 inches (4 feet) : $4.80
  • 72 inches (6 feet) : $6.40
  • 96 inches (8 feet) : $17.80
  • 120 inches (10 feet) : $23.60

As I pointed above, the spy balloon that flew from China all the way to the United States was about 90 feet (27.5 metres) wide. It’s roughly 729X larger than the weather balloon sold on Alibaba!

Fact #3 : Viral Photo Was Edited

The viral photo appears to have been edited, by taking a screenshot of the Alibaba store using a mobile phone, and combining it with a photo of the actual spy balloon from China.

The intent appears to make it look like they are both the same balloon, and are being sold on Alibaba for just RMB 118 / $18.

The truth is – the actual Alibaba store does not show any photos of the spy balloon from China, which has a large payload platform and solar panels.

Instead, the Alibaba store only shows this photo of a latex weather balloon being held by a man – a good indication of just how small it is, compared to the real spy balloon. The other photos in the Alibaba store shows the available balloon sizes, and how much they weigh.

Recommended : Chinese Spies Caught Interfering With HUAWEI Case!

Fact #4 : This Is Just Chinese Propaganda

This is just another example of Chinese propaganda created by the infamous Chinese 50 Cent Army (wumao, 五毛), or pro-CCP netizens.

All of the wumao articles and videos that I looked at so far have proven to be false… at every instance. So please watch out for such false claims.

Please help us fight fake news – SHARE this article, and SUPPORT our work!


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He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.


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XPeng Engineer Guilty Of Stealing Apple Car Secrets!

An XPeng engineer just pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets from the Apple Project Titan self-driving car program!

Here is what we know so far…


XPeng Engineer Guilty Of Stealing Apple Car Secrets!

A former Apple engineer who joined Xpeng – the Chinese electric vehicle maker, just pleaded guilty to the criminal charge of stealing trade secrets from the Apple self-driving car program!

Zhang Xiaolang initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, but he reached a plea deal with prosecutors and changed his plea to guilty, according to court documents released on Monday, August 22, 2022.

The plea deal is sealed, so the details are unknown. Zhang’s attorney, Daniel Olmos, confirmed the plea agreement but declined to comment on the details. Sentencing however is set for November 2022.

Zhang faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine. With this plea deal, he should serve a much shorter sentence.

In addition to Zhang, US federal prosecutors also charged Chen Jizhong with stealing secrets from the Apple self-driving car program. Chen, however, continues to plead not guilty, and will have his day in court on August 29, 2022.

Chen is also represented by the same lawyer as Zhang – Daniel Olmos.

Recommended : Did China Make 7nm Chips In Spite Of US Sanctions?!


How XPeng Engineer Stole Apple Car Secrets!

Zhang Xiaolang worked on the Apple Project Titan autonomous vehicle program as a hardware engineer between 2015 and 2018, during which he designed and tested circuit boards.

He travelled to China during his paternity leave in 2018, and on returning in April 2018, he told his boss at Apple that he was leaving to work for XPeng (Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors Technology) in China.

XPeng, also known as XMotors in the United States, is a Chinese electric car startup backed by Alibaba, Foxconn and IDG Capital. It has developed electric cars like the XPeng G3 and XPeng P5.

His boss felt that Zhang was “being evasive” during the meeting. There was also increased network activity and visits to his office, before he resigned. All that led to an internal Apple investigation of his two company-issued phones and laptop.

That’s when they discovered that Zhang had been downloading confidential files from the Apple lab during his time away. He was also caught on CCTV removing circuit boards and a Linux server from their lab.

Zhang’s network activity was found to consist of “both bulk searches and targeted downloading copious pages of information from the various confidential database applications“.

Recommended : US Mil Contractor Admits Selling Aviation Secrets To China!

Zhang was arrested at the San Jose airport in July 7, 2018, before he could board a last-minute, one-way flight to China aboard Hainan Airlines.

In an interview with Apple’s security team, Zhang admitted that he downloaded the data online, and removed hardware from its labs. He also admitted to the FBI that he stored the files he downloaded on his wife’s laptop.

The FBI described the data he stoled as “largely technical in nature, including engineering schematics, technical reference manuals, and technical reports“.

The files – about 24 GB worth – include a 25-page document containing engineering schematics of a circuit board, as well as technical manuals and PDFs related to the Apple self-driving car prototype.

The other Apple engineer to be charged with stealing secrets of its autonomous car project – Chen Jizhong – was accused of stealing stolen thousands of sensitive documents, as well as 100 photos taken inside its self-driving facility – all discovered in a hard disk drive he owned.

Chen was also arrested when he attempted to board a flight to China, ostensibly to visit his ill father.

Recommended : TikTok Leak : China Repeatedly Accessed Private User Data!


XPeng Denies Involvement In Theft Of Apple Car Secrets!

XPeng said in a Weibo post that it was aware of the plea agreement from media reports, but it was “not clear about the details, nor involved in further investigation conducted by US law enforcement“.

It has been more than four years into the case, and we are not aware of the specifics of the case and have not been involved in the follow-up investigation of the case by the US judiciary.

We also have no relevant dispute with Apple and have no connection with the case. We strictly abide by relevant laws and attaches great importance to intellectual property protection.

Zhang joined XMotors in May 2018, but the company quickly distanced itself from its employee, stating on July 11, 2021 :

There is no indication that he has ever communicated any sensitive information from Apple to XMotors.

XMotors always has strictly abided by the laws of China and the United States and takes protection of intellectual property rights seriously.

Company spokesperson Isabel Jiang also stated that once they were notified in late June 2018 that US authorities were investigating Zhang, they secured his computer and office equipment and denied him access to his work. They subsequently fired him.

XPeng also said that Zhang signed an intellectual property compliance document on the day he joined, and that there was “no record that he reported any sensitive and illegal situations” to the company.


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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.


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Shanghai Police Data On 1 Billion Chinese Citizens Leaked!

A hacker is selling data on a billion Chinese citizens, that he stole from the Shanghai national police database!

Find out what’s going on, and what this data breach entails!


Shanghai Police Data On 1 Billion Chinese Citizens Leaked!

A hacker who called himself “ChinaDan” posted in the Breach Forums that he hacked into the Shanghai National Police (SHGA) database and stole more than 23 terabytes of data.

He is offering to sell data on 1 billion Chinese citizens, including their name, address, birthplace, national ID number and mobile numbers, for 10 bitcoins – which is currently worth about US$204,285 / €200,227.

In 2022, the Shanghai National Police (SHGA) database was leaked. This database contains many TB of data and information on billions of Chinese citizen.

Databases contain information on 1 billion Chinese national residents and several billion case records, including: name, address, birthplace, national ID number, mobile number, all crime/case details.

He also posted a sample of 750,000 data entries from the three main indexes of the database, for potential buyers to evaluate.


Shanghai Police Database Left Unsecured For 14 Months!

ChinaDan claimed that the SHGA database was left unsecured on an Alibaba Cloud server. This was confirmed by several cybersecurity experts who had earlier stumbled upon the same database.

Even worse, the database was apparently left unsecured for at least 14 months! Vinny Troia – the founder of dark web intelligence first, Shadowbyte, said that he first discovered the SHGA database “around January” 2021.

Troia even downloaded one of the main indexes of the SHGA database, which contained information on nearly 970 million Chinese citizens (at that time).

And best of all – they made the data available to anybody who registers for an account!

The site that I found it on is public, anybody (could) access it, all you have to do is register for an account. Since it was opened in April 2021, any number of people could have downloaded the data.

Either they forgot about it, or they intentionally left it open because it’s easier for them to access. I don’t know why they would. It sounds very careless.

Read more : Did Hackers Release Pfizer + Moderna Vaccine Death Data?!


This Was Second Hack Of Shanghai National Police Database!

Bob Diachenko – a Ukrainian cybersecurity researcher – discovered the database independently in April, and noticed that the databased was attacked in mid-June by a hacker who copied the data, destroyed the copy on the server and left a ransom note demanding 10 bitcoins for its recovery.

By July 1, the ransom note disappeared, but only 7 gigabytes of data was available on the server, instead of the earlier 23 TB.

It is unknown if this data ransom “hack” was performed by ChinaDan, or a different hacker.

Diachenko said that the unsecured and exposed database continued to be used after that, until it was shut down over the weekend, after news of the data leak broke.

Maybe there was some junior developer who noticed it and tried to remove the notes before senior management noticed them.

This is shocking because it suggests that the database administrators were already aware of a prior breach, but did nothing to secure the database, or shore up cybersecurity measures.

Read more : Was Facebook Taken Down By 13 Year-Old Chinese Hacker?


Most Of China Affected By Shanghai Police Data Leak!

The Shanghai National Police data leak is currently the largest leak of public information ever.

It does not just cover people who live in, or have been in Shanghai. The database actually has information on over 70% of its 1.4 billion population in almost all counties in China.

The data contained information about almost all the counties in China, and I have even discovered data related to a remote county in Tibet, where there are only a few thousand residents.
– Yi Fu-Xian, a senior scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

This massive data leak acutely demonstrates the risk of government collection of data. China notably collects a tremendous amount of data on its citizens, including digital and biological data through facial recognition, iris scanners, social media tracking and phone trackers.

Once such data is leaked, it is forever exposed, putting people at risk of scams, identity theft, or even extortion.


China Censors Coverage Of Shanghai Police Data Leak

The Chinese government and the Shanghai Police have both refused to comment on the massive data leak.

Instead, they started blocking related words on Weibo, like “Shanghai data leak”, “data leak”, “Shanghai national security database breach”, “1 billion citizens’ record leak”.

Censors have also scrubbed news on this data breach from WeChat, with one popular WeChat user telling his 27,000 followers that he had been summoned to be questioned by the police.

China’s major English-language media like CGTN, Global Times, Xinhua, etc. have also not published any story on the Shanghai police data leak, despite public interest and its wide-ranging consequences for China.

Read more : Chinese Media Accidentally Leaks Ukraine Censorship Order!


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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.


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Malware Alert : How Shopper Takes Over Android Phones!

An Android malware called Shopper is actively taking over smartphones, to post fake reviews on Google Play.. and worse!

Find out what’s going on, and how to prevent your smartphone from being hijacked by Shopper!


Shopper : What Does It Do?

Shopper (Trojan-Dropper.AndroidOS.Shopper.a) is an Android trojan that uses the Google Accessibility Service to take over your smartphone.

It is not yet known how users are being infected, but researchers suspect that it may be downloaded through fraudulent ads, or third-party app stores when they try to download legitimate apps.

The malware masks itself as a system application, and uses a system icon called ConfigAPKs to hide itself from the user.

After the user unlocks the screen, the Shopper trojan launches and gathers information about the device, which is then sent to the attacker’s servers.

The attacker’s servers will then send commands to the Shopper trojan to execute one or more of these actions :

  • Check the rights to use the Accessibility Service. If permission is not granted, it will send a phishing request until it gets it
  • Turn off Google Play Protect, a safety check on Google Play Store apps before they’re downloaded
  • Post fake positive app reviews in Google Play, for those apps

  • Open links received from the remote server in an invisible window
  • Download and install advertised apps from Google Play Store
  • Download and install apps from the Apkpure third-party app store
  • Show ads when the smartphone screen is unlocked
  • Create labels to advertised ads in the app menu
  • Replace the labels of your installed apps with labels of advertised websites
  • Use your Google or Facebook account to register on popular shopping and entertainment apps, like AliExpress, Lazada, Zamora, Shein, Joom, Likee and Alibaba


Shopper : Who’s Getting Infected?

Right now, Kaspersky researchers say that it is most widespread in Russia (28.46%), following by Brazil (18.70%) and India (14.23%) :


Shopper : How To Block It?

To reduce the risk of being infected by Trojan-Dropper.AndroidOS.Shopper.a, take these actions :

  • Do NOT install apps from untrusted sources
  • Block the installation of apps from unknown sources in your smartphone settings
  • Be wary of apps that require the use of the Google Accessibility Service, especially if the app is not meant to offer accessibility features to the disabled
  • Always check application permissions to see what your installed apps are allowed to do
  • Use a reliable mobile security solution


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Here Are The Top 10 Tech Trends In 2020 From Alibaba!

Alibaba, specifically its research institute – the Alibaba DAMO Academy, just published their top 10 tech trends in 2020.

Here are the highlights from those top 10 tech trends that they are predicting will go big in 2020!


Here Are The Top 10 Tech Trends In 2020 From Alibaba!

Tech Trend #1 : AI Evolves From Perceptual Intelligence To Cognitive Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has reached or surpassed humans in the areas of perceptual intelligence such as speech to text, natural language processing, video understanding etc; but in the field of cognitive intelligence that requires external knowledge, logical reasoning, or domain migration, it is still in its infancy.

Cognitive intelligence will draw inspiration from cognitive psychology, brain science, and human social history, combined with techniques such as cross domain knowledge graph, causality inference, and continuous learning to establish effective mechanisms for stable acquisition and expression of knowledge.

These make machines to understand and utilize knowledge, achieving key breakthroughs from perceptual intelligence to cognitive intelligence.

Tech Trend #2 : In-Memory Computing Addresses Memory Wall Challenge In AI Computer

In Von Neumann architecture, memory and processor are separate and the computation requires data to be moved back and forth.

With the rapid development of data-driven AI algorithms in recent years, it has come to a point where the hardware becomes the bottleneck in the explorations of more advanced algorithms.

In Processing-in-Memory (PIM) architecture, in contrast to the Von Neumann architecture, memory and processor are fused together and computations are performed where data is stored with minimal data movement.

As such, computation parallelism and power efficiency can be significantly improved. We believe the innovations on PIM architecture are the tickets to next-generation AI.

Tech Trend #3 : Industrial IoT Will Power Digital Transformation

In 2020, 5G, rapid development of IoT devices, cloud computing and edge computing will accelerate the fusion of information system, communication system, and industrial control system.

Through advanced Industrial IoT, manufacturing companies can achieve automation of machines, in-factory logistics, and production scheduling, as a way to realise C2B smart manufacturing.

In addition, interconnected industrial system can adjust and coordinate the production capability of both upstream and downstream vendors.

Ultimately it will significantly increase the manufacturers’ productivity and profitability. For manufacturers with production goods that value hundreds of trillion RMB, If the productivity increases 5-10%, it means additional trillions of RMB.

Tech Trend #4 : Large Scale Collaboration Between Machines Become Possible

Traditional single intelligence cannot meet the real-time perception and decision of large-scale intelligent devices.

The development of collaborative sensing technology of Internet of things and 5G communication technology will realise the collaboration among multiple agents – machines cooperate with each other and compete with each other to complete the target tasks.

The group intelligence brought by the cooperation of multiple intelligent bodies will further amplify the value of the intelligent system:

  • large-scale intelligent traffic light dispatching will realise dynamic and real-time adjustment,
  • warehouse robots will work together to complete cargo sorting more efficiently,
  • driverless cars can perceive the overall traffic conditions on the road, and
  • group unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) collaboration will get through the last-mile delivery more efficiently.

Tech Trend #5 : Modular Chiplet Design Makes Chips Easier & Faster To Create

Traditional model of chip design cannot efficiently respond to the fast evolving, fragmented and customised needs of chip production.

The open source SoC chip design based on RISC-V, high-level hardware description language, and IP-based modular chip design methods have accelerated the rapid development of agile design methods and the ecosystem of open source chips.

In addition, the modular design method based on chiplets uses advanced packaging methods to package the chiplets with different functions together, which can quickly customise and deliver chips that meet specific requirements of different applications.

Tech Trend #6 : Large Scale Blockchain Applications Will Gain Mass Adoption

BaaS (Blockchain-as-a-Service) will further reduce the barriers of entry for enterprise blockchain applications.

A variety of hardware chips embedded with core algorithms used in edge, cloud and designed specifically for blockchain will also emerge, allowing assets in the physical world to be mapped to assets on blockchain, further expanding the boundaries of the Internet of Value and realising “multi-chain interconnection”.

In the future, a large number of innovative blockchain application scenarios with multi-dimensional collaboration across different industries and ecosystems will emerge, and large-scale production-grade blockchain applications with more than 10 million DAI (Daily Active Items) will gain mass adoption.

Tech Trend #7 : A Critical Period Before Large-Scale Quantum Computing

In 2019, the race in reaching “Quantum Supremacy” brought the focus back to quantum computing. The demonstration, using superconducting circuits, boosts the overall confidence on superconducting quantum computing for the realisation of a large-scale quantum computer.

In 2020, the field of quantum computing will receive increasing investment, which comes with enhanced competitions. The field is also expected to experience a speed-up in industrialization and the gradual formation of an eco-system.

In the coming years, the next milestones will be the realization of fault-tolerant quantum computing and the demonstration of quantum advantages in real-world problems. Either is of a great challenge given the present knowledge. Quantum computing is entering a critical period.

Tech Trend #8 : New Materials Will Revolutionise Semiconductor Devices

Under the pressure of both Moore’s Law and the explosive demand of computing power and storage, it is difficult for classic Si based transistors to maintain sustainable development of the semiconductor industry.

Until now, major semiconductor manufacturers still have no clear answer and option to chips beyond 3nm. New materials will make new logic, storage, and interconnection devices through new physical mechanisms, driving continuous innovation in the semiconductor industry.

For example, topological insulators, two-dimensional superconducting materials, etc. that can achieve lossless transport of electron and spin can become the basis for new high-performance logic and interconnect devices; while new magnetic materials and new resistive switching materials can realize high-performance magnetics Memory such as SOT-MRAM and resistive memory.

Tech Trend #9 : Growing Adoption Of AI Technologies That Protect Data Privacy

The compliance costs demanded by the recent data protection laws and regulations related to data transfer are getting increasingly higher than ever before.

In light of this, there have been growing interests in using AI technologies to protect data privacy. The essence is to enable the data user to compute a function over input data from different data providers while keeping those data private.

Such AI technologies promise to solve the problems of data silos and lack of trust in today’s data sharing practices, and will truly unleash the value of data in the foreseeable future.

Tech Trend #10 : Cloud Becomes The Center Of IT Innovation

With the ongoing development of cloud computing technology, the cloud has grown far beyond the scope of IT infrastructure, and gradually evolved into the center of all IT technology innovations.

Cloud has close relationship with almost all IT technologies, including new chips, new databases, self-driving adaptive networks, big data, AI, IoT, blockchain, quantum computing and so forth.

Meanwhile, it creates new technologies, such as serverless computing, cloud-native software architecture, software-hardware integrated design, as well as intelligent automated operation.

Cloud computing is redefining every aspect of IT, making new IT technologies more accessible for the public. Cloud has become the backbone of the entire digital economy.


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The Alibaba Hanguang 800 (含光 800) AI NPU Explained!

At the Apsara Computing Conference 2019, Alibaba Group unveiled details of their first AI inference NPU – the Hanguang 800 (含光 800).

Here is EVERYTHING you need to know about the Alibaba Hanguang 800 AI inference NPU!

Updated @ 2019-09-27 : Added more details, including a performance comparison against its main competitors.

Originally posted @ 2019-09-25


What Is The Alibaba Hanguang 800?

The Alibaba Hanguang 800 is a neural processing unit (NPU) for AI inference applications. It was specifically designed to accelerate machine learning and AI inference tasks.


What Does Hanguang Mean?

The name 含光 (Hanguang) literally means “contains light“.

While the name may suggest that it uses photonics, that light-based technology is still at least a decade from commercialisation.


What Are The Hanguang 800 Specifications?

Not much is known about the Hanguang 800, other than that it has 17 billion transistors, and is fabricated on the 12 nm process technology.

Also, it is designed for inferencing only, unlike the HUAWEI Ascend 910 AI chip which can handle both training and inference.

Recommended : 3rd Gen X-Dragon Architecture by Alibaba Cloud Explained!


Who Designed The Hanguang 800?

The Hanguang 800 was developed over a period of 7 months, by Alibaba’s research unit, T-Head, followed by a 3-month tape-out.

T-Head, whose Chinese name is Pintougehoney badger in English, is responsible for designing chips for cloud and edge computing under Alibaba Cloud / Aliyun.

Earlier this year, T-Head revealed a high-performance IoT processor called XuanTie 910.

Based on the RISC-V open-source instruction set, 16-core XuanTie 910 is targeted at heavy-duty IoT applications like edge servers, networking gateways, and self-driving automobiles.


How Fast Is Hanguang 800?

Alibaba claims that the Hanguang 800 “largely” outpaces the industry average performance, with image processing efficiency about 12X better than GPUs :

  • Single chip performance : 78,563 images per second (IPS)
  • Computational efficiency : 500 IPS per watt (Resnet-50 Inference Test)
Hanguang 800 Habana Goya Cambricon MLU270 NVIDIA T4 NVIDIA P4
Fab Process 12 nm 16 nm 16 nm 12 nm 16 nm
Transistors 17 billion NA NA 13.6 billion 7.2 billion
78,563 IPS 15,433 IPS 10,000 IPS 5,402 IPS 1,721 IPS
Peak Efficiency
500 IPS/W 150 IPS/W 143 IPS/W 78 IPS/W 52 IPS/W

Recommended : 2nd Gen EPYC – Everything You Need To Know Summarised!


Where Will Hanguang 800 Be Used?

The Hanguang 800 chip will be used exclusively by Alibaba to power their own business operations, especially in product search and automatic translation, personalised recommendations and advertising.

According to Alibaba, merchants upload a billion product images to Taobao every day. It used to take their previous platform an hour to categorise those pictures, and then tailor search and personalise recommendations for millions of Taobao customers.

With Hanguang 800, they claim that the Taboo platform now takes just 5 minutes to complete the task – a 12X reduction in time!

Alibaba Cloud will also be using it in their smart city projects. They are already using it in Hangzhou, where they previously used 40 GPUs to process video feeds with a latency of 300 ms.

After migrating to four Hanguang 800 NPUs, they were able to process the same video feeds with half the latency – just 150 ms.


Can We Buy Or Rent The Hanguang 800?

No, Alibaba will not be selling the Hanguang 800 NPU. Instead, they are offering it as a new AI cloud computing service.

Developers can now make a request for a Hanguang 800 cloud compute quota, which Alibaba Cloud claims is 100% more cost-effective than traditional GPUs.


Are There No Other Alternatives For Alibaba?

In our opinion, this is Alibaba’s way of preparing for an escalation of the US-Chinese trade war that has already savaged HUAWEI.

While Alibaba certainly have a few AI inference accelerator alternatives, from AMD and NVIDIA for example, it makes sense for them to spend money and time developing their own AI inference chip.

In the long term, the Chinese government wants to build a domestic capability to design and fabricate their own computer chips for national security reasons.

Recommended : The HUAWEI Trump Ban – Everything You Need To Know!


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3rd Gen X-Dragon Architecture by Alibaba Cloud Explained!

At the Apsara Conference 2019, Alibaba Cloud announced that they will be introducing the 3rd Gen X-Dragon Architecture for their cloud servers!

Here is a quick PRIMER on the new 3rd Gen X-Dragon Architecture!


What Is X-Dragon?

X-DragonShenlong in Chinese – is a proprietary bare metal server architecture developed by Alibaba Cloud for their cloud computing requirements.

Built around a custom X-Dragon MOC card, it delivers what Alibaba Cloud calls Elastic Compute Service (ECS) capability in a bare metal server.

The ECS bare metal instances it offers combine the benefits of bare metal servers, and virtual machines.

For example, it offers direct access to CPU and RAM resources without virtualisation overheads that bare metal servers offer, with the instant deployment and image migration capabilities of virtual machines.

The downsides? ECS bare metal instances, once deployed, cannot be upgraded or downgraded. In addition, if there is a hardware failure, a failover occurs and the data remains stored in the instance’s storage drives.


What’s New In The 3rd Gen X-Dragon Architecture?

Basically – SPEED.

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According to Alibaba Cloud, the 3rd Gen X-Dragon architecture is able to increase Queries Per Second (QPS) by 30% and decrease latency by 60% in e-commerce scenarios.

In tandem, they also announced the 6th Gen ECS instance, which delivers a 20% boost in computing power, a 30% reduction in memory latency, and a 70% reduction in storage IO latency.

Not new, but also important is the fact that because it is cloud-native by design, it eliminates power wastage from idle bare metal servers. Alibaba Cloud claims that alone reduces the unit computing cost by 50%.


3rd Gen X-Dragon Architecture Availability

Alibaba Cloud will start rolling out the 3rd Gen X-Dragon architecture upgrade to millions of their cloud servers around the world from 2020 onwards.


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Fine For Scratching Nose A Wake-Up Call On AI Surveillance!

The recent case of a Chinese driver getting fine for scratching his face is a funny example of current AI surveillance technology. Yet it is also a wake-up call on the dangers of pervasive AI surveillance by the state.


Fined For Scratching Nose By AI Surveillance System!

A Jinan resident, Mr. Liu, was driving his car in the eastern Shandong province, when he raised his hand to touch his face. Most of us unconsciously do that 2 to 5 times per minute!

Unbeknownst to him, one of the many AI surveillance cameras in the city noticed his action, and issued him a fine of 50 yuan* and 2 demerit points for “driving while holding a phone“.

* Approximately $7.25 / £5.70 / €6.50 / RM 30

The Jinan AI surveillance system also sent him this screenshot of his traffic violation, as captured at 7:20 AM on 20 May 2019.

Just like many automated systems (looking at you, Facebook and Google!), there was no way to dispute the charge. Mr. Liu tried to sort out the situation over the phone, but “no one would help him“.

He only got justice by appealing to the court of public opinion on Sina Weibo, where his post went viral. Only then did the Jinan traffic police department take notice and investigate his complaint.

Two days later, they cancelled his ticket after confirming that he was only touching his face, and not actually using a phone while driving.


AI Surveillance In Chinese Cities

China has been working hard at developing smart cities, as part of their social engineering efforts to quell political dissent and encourage Chinese citizens to “behave properly”.

There are already over 170 million surveillance cameras across China, with a projected 400 million surveillance cameras installed by next year. And they are all controlled by AI surveillance systems.

Such extensive surveillance coverage has allowed the Chinese government to detect crimes and punish their citizens for them. It also feeds the new Social Credit System – a national reputation system that assess the economic and social reputation of every Chinese citizen and business.

However, such pervasive surveillance has led to serious privacy implications for the Chinese citizenry. Anyone who wants to understand the power, allure and dangers of AI surveillance should watch the TV series, Person of Interest.


The Dangers Of AI Surveillance

While AI surveillance technology is now quite incredible, this case has exposed its vulnerabilities and limitations.

  1. Human oversight is still necessary, because AI surveillance is not accurate enough to detect false positives.
  2. It may be tempting to make the AI surveillance system the judge, jury and executioner, but such systems need to implement the principle of “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt“, and that means ignoring anything that is not close to a 99.9% match.
  3. There should be an appeal system in place. It took a viral social media post to alert the Jinan traffic police department to the mistake.
  4. There is also the question of personal data security. Can the government securely store the data, without unsanctioned or illegal access? How long should they store the information before they are deleted?


Alibaba Cloud + The Malaysia City Brain

Alibaba Cloud is one of the chief architects of Chinese smart city initiative and AI surveillance capabilities with their ET City Brain that runs on their Tianchi Platform.

Last year, Alibaba Cloud announced their collaboration with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to introduce the Malaysia City Brain.

The first phase of the Malaysia City Brain will kickstart with 382 AI traffic cameras at 281 traffic light junctions in Kuala Lumpur.

Although the Malaysian government is ostensibly implementing the Malaysia City Brain to “optimise the flow of vehicles and timing of traffic signals“, it is really a short step to the Chinese model of population and crime surveillance.


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Dr. Min Wanli : Alibaba Cloud’s ET City Brain & Tianchi Platform

At the MDEC-Alibaba Cloud announcement of their collaboration to implement the Malaysia City Brain, Dr. Min Wanli gave a quick overview of the ET City Brain and the Tianchi platform for crowd intelligence.


Who Is Dr. Min Wanli?

Dr. Min Wanli (also known as Dr. Wanli Min) is the Chief Scientist of Machine Intelligence at Alibaba Cloud.

He holds a Ph.D in statistics from the University of Chicago, was a researcher at IBM’s T.J. Watson Research Center and a senior statistician at Google. He now oversees Alibaba Cloud’s artificial intelligence projects.


ET City Brain & The Tianchi Platform

ET is an Alibaba Cloud designation that refers to artificial intelligence services that “can be broadly applied to different areas in society”. It accomplishes this by leveraging the crowd intelligence capabilities of the Tianchi platform.

Dr. Min Wanli showcased how the Hangzhou City Brain master plan eases traffic congestion in the city, using an ambulance as an example. The Hangzhou City Brain will predict the traffic conditions for the next 30-60 minutes and determine the most efficient route for the ambulance.

It also synchronises the traffic signals so that they will turn green 10 seconds before the ambulance arrives, allowing it to pass without stopping. This not only cuts the ambulance’s arrival time, it also reduces risk of accidents.


The Malaysia City Brain

Dr. Min Wanli was here as part of the Alibaba Cloud delegation to announce their collaboration with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to introduce the Malaysia City Brain.

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In the first phase of implementation, the Malaysia City Brain will be used in Kuala Lumpur’s traffic management. It will begin with a base of 382 cameras, and input from 281 traffic light junctions – all located in central Kuala Lumpur.

Using cloud computing and big data processing capabilities, the Malaysia City Brain will be able to optimise the flow of vehicles and timing of traffic signals.

It will also be able to generate structured summaries of data like traffic volume, and speed according to lanes, which can be used to facilitate other tasks, including traffic accident detection.

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The Alibaba DingTalk App Features & Details Revealed!

The Alibaba Group is taking their Dingtalk enterprise communication and collaboration platform worldwide. DingTalk CTO, Hugo Zhu and their Head of Global Business Development, Chris Wang, flew in to demonstrate how DingTalk will help businesses small and large improve their staff communication and collaboration.


What Is DingTalk?

Alibaba created DingTalk in January 2015 as a proprietary enterprise communication and collaboration platform that enables text, photo, voice and video communication, workflow management and collaboration among team members and enterprises of various sizes. More than 5 million companies and organizations are currently using it in China.


DingTalk Security

As a Chinese app targeted at enterprises, Alibaba is eager to assure users of the security of the DingTalk platform. It features end-to-end 256-bit AES encryption over SSL/TLS connections. It is also one of the first Chinese apps to have obtained the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 standard.

Enterprises that require additional security can opt for third-party encryption services that will provide assurance that the messages and data sent or shared on DingTalk cannot be accessed, even if their servers are compromised in any way.


DingTalk Communication Features

  • Phone / Chat: DingTalk can support up to 3,000 members in a single group chat.
  • Voice Conferencing: Multi-party participation with ease of clicking a button on the group chat for up to 50 people. Voice service is currently only available via VoIP for users outside of China.
  • Video Conferencing: High-definition video conferencing equipment for up to 16 parties, view conference status at a glance and easily switch between training and discussion mode, supports both desktop and file sharing. Video services is currently only available via VoIP for users outside of China.
  • Ding Mail: Effective email messaging and receive email notifications in chats. Ding Mail makes email messaging more like chats instead of threads.
  • Organization Chart: View organization’s structure in a glance, find people and contacts with ease.
  • Read/Unread Status: All types of messaging display read / unread statuses for improving communications efficiency.
  • Secret Chat: Send a traceless secret message for ultimate privacy and protection. Once read, the message automatically delete itself after 30 seconds. No Copy& Paste is allowed during Secret Chat mode. Both profiles within the Secret Chat are masked, hence the identities remain concealed.


DingTalk Office Automation Features

  • Attendance: User-friendly and smart Clocking-In and Out system, automatically generates attendance reports, approvals for business trips and leave are automatically.
  • Approvals: all your workplace tools in one place – requests for leaves, applications for business trips or reimbursements at the convenience of your phone. Recommended process templates are provided for each industry. Approval functions lets you view pending applications, keep track of all your approved applications and submit your own applications for approval.
  • Ding Drive: quick and easy file collaboration, integrated company chats, making sharing files between colleagues even easier. Easy and sharable files between companies through your external contacts or keep files only accessible to employees. Free storage for every registered organizations. Different permission settings available in regular chars, private chats or organization chats.
  • Check-In: More of a field-force feature. NO setup is required and it captures all check-in records in one report.
  • Log: View work reports from previous days, weeks or months to help identify problems
  • Announcement: Announcements can be made within your department / organization. Members will receive notifications once announcement has been posted.


DingTalk Collaboration Features

  • DING Message: Send important messages via SMS, phone or in the app ( DING message via phone is only available for a few customers and the function is available only to a “White List” of users and is not available to the general public)
  • DING Tasks: create and assign work tasks in seconds
  • DING Meetings: Book offline meetings, video conferences and conference calls (voice and video services are currently only available via VoIP for users outside of China)
  • External Contacts: Batch add from Phone Contacts / import from PC, Add manually or Scan Business Card to add external contacts to your DingTalk. Under the Scan Business Card function, all you need to do is scan the business card and all information will be automatically extracted and saved under External Contacts.
  • Hot Line: Local hotline number for customers in Malaysia is +603 20929588
  • Field Support: When required, DingTalk’s local team will provide onsite deployment service or training for organizations and companies.


DingTalk Smart Office Devices

Enterprises, small and large, can further leverage the capabilities of DingTalk with the addition of these DingTalk Smart office Devices :

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  • With the C1 Smart Wi-Fi Router, users can complete the 4-step configuration in 5 minutes. With one-click setup and seamless roaming, the router enables smart network traffic control and supports up to 256 devices.
  • Besides screen sharing between offices powered by DingTalk, users can also use D6 Wireless HD Projector or V1 Wireless Portable Projector for presentation.
  • DingTalk enables enterprises to conveniently record attendance in the workplace and at external meetings with the M1 Finger Print Attendance Machine and M2 Facial Recognition Smart Receptionist.


DingTalk Price & Availability

Originally designed as a Chinese app, DingTalk is now available as an English app in Google Play Store, and the Apple App Store. It is also available on the desktop for Windows and Mac systems.

The native features of DingTalk are FREE for all enterprises to use, irrespective of their size. Optional third-party, or value added services (e.g. additional Ding Drive storage) may be applicable.

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NVIDIA, IBM and Toyota Keynotes For GTC 2016

Singapore, April 4, 2016NVIDIA today announced that the three keynote addresses at its upcoming GPU Technology Conference (GTC) will be webcast live on the NVIDIA blog.

GTC 2016 Keynote Schedule

Day 1: Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA co-founder and CEO, April 6, 12 to 2am (Singapore)
Day 2: Rob High, IBM Watson CTO, April 7, 2 to 3am (Singapore)
Day 3:Gill Pratt, Toyota Research Institute CEO, April 8, 2 to 3 am (Singapore)

GTC 2016 will showcase the vital role GPU technology plays in some of the industry’s biggest trends, including artificial intelligence, virtual reality and self-driving cars. This year’s event will feature more than 500 sessions with speakers from Alibaba, Audi, Baidu, Boeing, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Pixar, Raytheon, Samsung, Siemens, SpaceX and Twitter, among many others.

GTC 2016 also includes a day-long event, the Emerging Companies Summit, on April 6, focused on GPU-based startups. Nearly 100 startups will participate this year, including an onstage competition among a dozen companies vying for US$100,000. Many more startups will show VR, drones, robots, and other advanced technologies in the GTC Expo Hall.

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