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The Fortune Global Technology Forum, Day One

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Fortune Global Tech Forum 2019
Thursday, November 7th 2019
The shift in 5G involves a riot of different companies, technologies and regulatory standards. Which player will lead? How will they compete and collaborate? How to stitch everyone together into a seamless high-speed data network that actually works?
Du YeQing, Vice President of 5G Product Line, Huawei
Dennis Song, Vice President, Lenovo Group; Managing Partner, Lenovo Capital
Paul Triolo, Practice Head, Geo-technology, Eurasia Group
Zhao Feng, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Haier Smart Home
Moderator: Moderator: Jennifer Zhu Scott, Founding Principal, Radian Partners; Co-chair, FORTUNE Global Tech Forum

Good morning.

The Fortune Global Technology Forum got underway this morning in Guangzhou, China. Some excerpts from Fortune’s coverage:

“I think innovation means you are willing to do things that others don’t dare.”
—Fu Sheng, founder and CEO, Cheetah Mobile.

“4G is like driving on the high-speed interstate highway. 2G is like driving on a country road. But 5G is like flying an airplane.”
—Freeman Shen, founder and CEO, WM Motor Technology.

“I think the (genomic) revolution is definitely here. It’s a combination of revolution[s] of biology and deep machine learning.”
—Simone Song, founding partner, ORI Capital.

“We haven’t quite had the revolution (in healthcare) and I think that’s because at the moment you still need a doctor or a nurse, it’s very labor intensive. But I think the revolution will come, and amplify the voices of doctors and nurses.”
—Frank Hester, founder and CEO, TPP.

“We expect our brains to conform to the workplace. It should be the other way around. Our workplaces should adapt to our brains.”
—Olivier Oullier, president of Emotiv, on how his company’s headsets tracking brain waves can improve workplace performance.

“I believe there’s no winner in this trade war, and I think the trade war really is a tech war. Without the tech conflicts and the misunderstanding about each other there wouldn’t be a trade war.”
—Gan Jie, associate dean, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.

“In the short term, China is being hurt by these decisions…But in the long term, the loser is the United States. I think that forcing self-sufficiency for the Chinese by decoupling supply chains, capital markets, talent, ultimately breeds a system internally of self-sufficiency for China. Capital and talent ends up coming home and is used not only to develop native industries and build dominant global players, but it then is used to address emerging markets, where I believe the real battleground lies.”
—Ben Harburg, managing partner, MSA Capital, on who wins the trade and tech war.

You can read more coverage from the Forum here. Other news below.


China Talks

There’s a possible breakthrough in the U.S.-China trade talks. According to China’s Commerce Ministry, the two sides have agreed in principle to a phased rollback of existing tariffs on one another, as a precursor to a limited trade agreement. U.S. futures are up as a result. CNBC

Twitter Spies

Two former Twitter employees used their platform access to spy on Saudi dissidents on behalf of that country’s regime, according to a criminal complaint. The Justice Department alleges that “Saudi agents mined Twitter’s internal systems for personal information about known Saudi critics and thousands of other Twitter users.” CNN

Political Ads

Google is reportedly considering changing its political-advertising policy, though it’s not clear how. The issue has already caused ructions at Facebook and Twitter, the latter of which has opted for a straight ban. Google recently ran the same Trump campaign ad, including unsubstantiated claims about Joe Biden and Ukraine, that sparked a debate over Facebook’s political-ad policy. Wall Street Journal

Sexual Misconduct

And more Google news: Its parent Alphabet is investigating how the company dealt with multiple sexual harassment and misconduct claims. The internal probe includes the case of chief legal officer David Drummond, who has been accused of breaking company policy by having an extramarital affair with a subordinate. Fortune


Airbnb IPO

Investors are scrambling to buy indirect stakes (via special purpose vehicles) in Airbnb ahead of its planned IPO next year, and are valuing the home-rental platform at up to $42 billion. Airbnb’s valuation at its last fundraising round, in 2017, was $31 billion. Financial Times

Bill’s Regret

Bill Gates wishes everyone was using Windows Mobile rather than Android these days, and claims that would be the case—had Microsoft not been distracted by its antitrust woes at the time smartphones were becoming a thing. “I screwed that up because of the distraction,” he said, also revealing that Microsoft’s tardiness had seen Motorola opt for something other than Windows Mobile (presumably Android) on a key handset back then. The Verge

British Steel

British Steel may be bought out of insolvency by China’s Jungye Group, following the breakdown of talks with Turkey’s Ataer. Around 5,000 direct and 20,000 indirect jobs are on the line here. BBC

Savers’ Rewards

A new online bank called HMBradley will reward its customers for good saving behavior, giving them an interest rate of 3% if they save a fifth of their income each month. CEO Zach Bruhnke: “Every challenger bank is the same and offer similar hooks like ‘get paid early’ or ‘don’t pay a fee.’ They’re all focused on getting you to swipe your debit card, while we’re after people who want to save.” Fortune

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