Tag Archives: U.S.

Bahrain to use Huawei in 5G rollout despite U.S. warnings
March 26, 2019 12:10 pm|Comments (0)

DUBAI (Reuters) – Bahrain, headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, plans to roll out a commercial 5G mobile network by June, partly using Huawei technology despite the United States’ concerns the Chinese telecom giant’s equipment could be used for spying.

FILE PHOTO: Logos of Huawei are pictured outside its shop in Beijing, China, February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

Washington has warned countries against using Chinese technology, saying Huawei could be used by Beijing to spy on the West. China has rejected the accusations.

VIVA Bahrain, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian state-controlled telecom STC, last month signed an agreement to use Huawei products in its 5G network, one of several Gulf telecoms firms working with the Chinese company.

“We have no concern at this stage as long as this technology is meeting our standards,” Bahrain’s Telecommunications Minister Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed told Reuters on Tuesday when asked about U.S. concerns over Huawei technology.

The U.S. embassy in Bahrain did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The U.S. Fifth Fleet uses its base in Bahrain, a Western-allied island state off the Saudi coast, to patrol several important shipping lanes, including near Iran.

Bahrain expects to be one of the first countries to make 5G available nationwide, Mohammed said, although he cautioned it would depend on handset and equipment availability.

Early movers like the United States, China, Japan and South Korea are just starting to roll out their 5G networks, but other regions, such as Europe, still years away and the first 5G phones are only likely to be released in the second half of this year.

Bahrain’s state controlled operator Batelco is working with Sweden’s Ericsson on its 5G network, while the country’s third telecom Zain Bahrain is yet to announce a technology provider.

No foreign company is restricted by the government from providing equipment for Bahrain’s 5G network, Mohammed said, adding that the mobile operators chose who they worked with.

Australia and New Zealand have stopped operators using Huawei equipment in their networks but the European Union is expected to ignore U.S. calls to ban the Chinese company, instead urging countries to share more data to tackle cybersecurity risks related to 5G networks.

Mohammed said the rollout of the 5G network was an “important milestone” for Bahrain, which is hoping investments in technology will help spur the economy which was hit hard by the drop in oil prices.

“It is something we are proud to have,” he said.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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U.S. prosecutors probing Facebook's data deals: New York Times
March 14, 2019 6:00 am|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – U.S. federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook Inc struck with some of the world’s largest technology companies, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

A grand jury in New York has subpoenaed records from at least two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the requests and without naming the companies.

Both companies are among the more than 150, including Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp, that have entered into partnerships with Facebook for access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of its users, according to the report.

Facebook is facing a slew of lawsuits and regulatory inquiries over its privacy practices, including ongoing investigations by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission and two state agencies in New York.

In addition to looking at the data deals, the probes focus on disclosures that the company shared the user data of 87 million people with Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting firm that worked with U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Facebook said it was cooperating with investigators in multiple federal probes, without addressing the grand jury inquiry specifically.

“We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged that we will continue to do so,” Facebook said in a statement.

Facebook has defended the data-sharing deals, first reported in December, saying none of the partnerships gave companies access to information without people’s permission.

A spokesman for the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, which The New York Times reported is overseeing the inquiry, said he could not confirm or deny the probe.

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru and Katie Paul in San Francisco; Editing by Richard Chang and Leslie Adler

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Amazon to close U.S. pop-up stores, focus on opening more book stores
March 7, 2019 12:00 am|Comments (0)

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc will close all of its U.S. pop-up stores and focus instead on opening more book stores, a company spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The company’s shares closed down 1.4 percent, while shares of bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc ended 8.9 percent lower.

Amazon’s 87 pop-up stores in the United States are expected to close by the end of April, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Wednesday, citing some of the employees at the stores.

The news underscores how the online retailer is still working out its brick-and-mortar strategy.

Pop-up stores for years helped Amazon showcase novel products like its voice-controlled Echo speakers, but the company is now able to market those products and more at its larger chain of Whole Foods stores, acquired in 2017, and cashierless Amazon Go stores, which opened to the public last year.

The online retail giant will also open more “4-star stores” – stores that sell items rated 4-stars or higher by Amazon customers, the spokesperson added.

“After much review, we came to the decision to discontinue our pop-up kiosk program, and are instead expanding Amazon Books and Amazon 4-star, where we provide a more comprehensive customer experience and broader selection.”

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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Japanese self-drive cars map developer to buy rival U.S. startup for $200 million
February 13, 2019 6:06 am|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – Japanese map platform developer Dynamic Map Platform announced on Wednesday it plans to acquire Detroit-based map startup Ushr for up to $ 200 million in a bid to widen its geographical footprint in the burgeoning self driving cars market.

Dynamic Map Platform counts Japan’s Toyota Motor, Nissan and Honda among its investors, while Ushr provides 3D mapping data to General Motors.

The move comes as the Japanese car makers seek to challenge Alphabet Inc’s Google and Chinese rivals in the mapping business.

For the acquisition, Dynamic Map Platform said it would raise a combined 22 billion yen ($ 198.9 million) from investors including two existing shareholders – the Japanese state-backed INCJ fund and Mitsubishi Electric.

“Through the combination, we will be able to offer automotive OEMs a comprehensive high-definition mapping solution for the North American and Japanese markets, with the ability to expand globally in the future,” Tsutomu Nakajima, the head of Dynamic Map Platform, said in a statement.

Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru and Makiko Yamazaki in Tokyo; Editing by Stephen Coates and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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China's Fujian Jinhua to file complaint to be taken off U.S. export control list
January 25, 2019 6:00 am|Comments (0)

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese chipmaker Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co Ltd said on Friday it has notified the Unites States that it plans to file a complaint to be taken off the export control list, according to a statement on social media.

The firm added that it does not pose any security risk to the United States.

Earlier this month, the company said it had pleaded not guilty to U.S government charges that it stole trade secrets.

The U.S Justice Department had last year launched an indictment against Fujian Jinhua and United Microelectronics Corp (2303.TW), alleging they attempted to steal trade secrets from memory chip maker Micron Technology Inc (MU.O).

The U.S. Commerce Department had put Fujian Jinhua on a list of entities that cannot buy components, software and technology goods from U.S. firms.

Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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Key U.S. senator calls self-driving legislation a 'long shot'
December 13, 2018 12:01 am|Comments (0)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A landmark U.S. bill that would speed adoption of self-driving cars is now “a long shot” to pass before the current Congress adjourns in the coming weeks, a key Republican senator behind the legislation said.

FILE PHOTO – An AutonomouStuff Automated Research Development Vehicle drives on the race track during a self-racing cars event at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California, U.S., April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Many automaker lobbyists and congressional aides say the bill would face even tougher odds in 2019 when Democrats and Republicans will share control of Congress.

Some Democrats and safety advocates say the bill does not do enough to ensure the safety of self-driving cars and threatens the ability of states to oversee autonomous vehicles. Supporters of autonomous vehicles, who say they can save lives, believe the bill is needed to speed their adoption and overcome regulatory barriers that were written for human-driven vehicles.

“It’s a long shot but we have successfully knocked down a lot of the barriers,” Senator John Thune, who chairs the Commerce Committee, said in an interview in his Capitol Hill office late Tuesday. “It seems like every time we clear one they put another one up.”

Thune and other senators are trying to clear objections from some remaining Democratic senators. One issue that has emerged in recent days is whether automakers would agree to a five- to seven-year sunset clause that would require Congress to revisit self-driving car laws in the 2020s.

Staff for Thune and Democratic Senator Gary Peters earlier this month circulated a draft of a revised bill aimed at breaking a legislative stalemate. Peters said in a statement Wednesday he was “focused on finding areas of agreement with our colleagues and getting a bill signed into law before we adjourn at the end of the year.”

Thune said negotiations have been taking place in recent days with staff for a handful of Democratic senators who have raised some safety concerns. “If we can demonstrate that we have the votes to pass something here, we can get the House on board,” Thune said.

He added that while the measure was still “alive. it’s not real alive.”

The pair have been working for more than a year to try to win approval of the bill by the Senate.

Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a group representing major automakers said Wednesday, “Without legislation from Congress, lots of important work that would benefit Americans slows down… We will keep pushing for legislation to pass.”

The Republican-led U.S. House unanimously approved a measure in September 2017, but it has been stalled in the Senate for over a year. A Senate bill would allow automakers to each sell up to 80,000 self-driving vehicles annually within three years if they could demonstrate they are as safe as current vehicles.

General Motors Co in January filed a petition with U.S. regulators seeking an exemption to use vehicles without steering wheels as part of a ride-sharing fleet it plans to deploy in 2019 but has receive no decision.

Alphabet Inc’s Waymo unit launched a limited commercial autonomous ride-hailing service in Arizona earlier this month.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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Exclusive: Trump says he could intervene in U.S. case against Huawei CFO
December 12, 2018 12:01 am|Comments (0)

U.S. President Donald Trump sits for an exclusive interview with Reuters journalists in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would intervene in the Justice Department’s case against a top executive at China’s Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] if it would serve national security interests or help close a trade deal with China.

Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada Dec. 1 and has been accused by the United States of misleading multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating U.S. sanctions.

When asked if he would intervene with the Justice Department in her case, Trump said in an interview with Reuters: “Whatever’s good for this country, I would do.”

“If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made – which is a very important thing – what’s good for national security – I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” Trump said.

A Canadian court on Tuesday granted Meng bail while she awaits a hearing for extradition to the United States, a move that could help placate Chinese officials angered by her arrest.

Trump also said the White House has spoken with the Justice Department about the case, as well as Chinese officials.

“They have not called me yet. They are talking to my people. But they have not called me yet,” he said when asked if he has spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the case.

Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland; Editing by Bill Rigby

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Russia says detention of China's Huawei CFO shows U.S. arrogance
December 7, 2018 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives for a news conference on the sidelines of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Milan, Italy, December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

MILAN (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that the detention of Chinese technology giant Huawei’s chief financial officer in Canada was an example of “arrogant” U.S. policy abroad.

Speaking at a news conference in Milan, Lavrov said the detention showed how Washington imposes its laws beyond its jurisdiction.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, 46, who is also the daughter of the company founder, was arrested on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States. The arrest, revealed by Canadian authorities late on Wednesday, was part of a U.S. investigation into an alleged scheme to use the global banking system to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, people familiar with the probe told Reuters.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer; writing by Tom Balmforth and Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Peter Graff

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U.S. asks allies to avoid Huawei's equipment: WSJ
November 23, 2018 12:38 am|Comments (0)

FILE PHOTO: Journalists follow the presentation of a Huawei smartphone ahead of the IFA Electronics show in Berlin, Germany, September 2, 2015. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

(Reuters) – The U.S. government is trying to persuade wireless and internet providers in allied countries to avoid telecommunications equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL], the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

U.S. officials have reached out to their government counterparts and telecom executives in friendly countries where Huawei equipment is already in wide use about what they see as cybersecurity risks, according to the WSJ report on.wsj.com/2KpHKgr, which cited unnamed people familiar with the situation.

Huawei has come under scrutiny in the United States recently.

Intelligence agency leaders and others have said they are concerned that Huawei and other Chinese companies may be beholden to the Chinese government or ruling Communist Party, raising the risk of espionage.

Washington has been considering increasing financial aid for telecommunications development in countries that shun Chinese-made equipment, the WSJ reported.

One of the government’s concerns is based on the use of Chinese telecom equipment in countries that host U.S. military bases, such as Germany, Italy and Japan, the report added.

Huawei did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Reporting by Bhanu Pratap in Bengaluru, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

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China's ties with Taiwan chip firms under scrutiny as U.S. trade war heats up
November 7, 2018 12:03 am|Comments (0)

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Washington’s decision to cut off U.S. supplies to a Chinese chip-maker spotlights mounting tensions over China’s drive to be a global player in computer chips and the ways in which Taiwan companies are helping it get there.

FILE PHOTO: Men walk past a signboard of chipmaker United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) in Hsinchu, Taiwan January 10, 2006. REUTERS/Richard Chung/File Photo

Shut out of major global semiconductor deals in recent years, China has been quietly strengthening cooperation with Taiwan chip firms by encouraging the transfer of chip-making expertise into the mainland.

Taiwan chip giant United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) (2303.TW) last week halted research and development activities with its Chinese state-backed partner Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co Ltd, following the U.S. move.

Taiwan firms such as UMC have helped supply China with a steady pipeline of chip expertise in exchange for access to the fast-growing chip market there.   

China has faced a shortage of integrated circuit (IC) chips for years. In 2017, it imported $ 270 billion worth of semiconductors, more than its imports of crude oil.  

At least 10 joint ventures or technology partnerships have been set up in the last few years between Chinese and Taiwanese firms, according to industry experts, luring Taiwanese talent with hefty salaries and generous perks.

“Such companies will need to also take care to ensure no patent or IP infringement is involved as the U.S. has export control means to restrict support of critical technology,” said Randy Abrams, an analyst at Credit Suisse in Taipei.

Among the most valuable cross-strait partnerships for China would be ones that strengthen its foundry services and memory chip production. Those two sectors require much-needed help from overseas firms due to the complexity of the manufacturing technologies and intense capital requirements, analysts have said.

TRADE TENSIONS

But the technology transfer between China and self-ruled Taiwan has raised concerns amid the Sino-U.S. trade war and escalating tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

China has aggressively used “market-distorting subsidies” and “forced technology transfers” to capture traditional and emerging technology industries, Brent Christensen, the director of America’s de facto embassy in Taipei, told a business gathering in late September.

“These actions are harming the United States’ economy, Taiwan’s economy, and other economies.”

Taiwan is one of the largest exporters of IC globally and many worry the island could lose a key economic engine to its political foe.

Taiwan’s government views the island’s chipmakers’ cooperation with China cautiously and has implemented policies to ensure Taiwan’s most advanced technology is not transferred.

“When businesses go to the mainland to invest in wafer production, they must accept controls including one that requires the manufacturing technology to be a generation behind,” the economics ministry’s industrial development bureau said in a statement to Reuters.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CONCERNS

Cooperation between UMC and Fujian Jinhua came under scrutiny last month, when the U.S. government put the Chinese company on a list of entities that cannot buy components, software and technology goods from U.S. firms amid allegations it stole intellectual property from U.S.-based Micron Technology. Fujian Jinhua denied the allegations.

Fujian Jinhua now faces big challenges to reach commercial high volume production as expected in 2020, industry observers say.

Last week, both UMC and Fujian Jinhua, which was only founded in 2016, were charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets from Micron in a U.S. Justice Department indictment.

“Taiwanese tech companies need to carefully re-evaluate their positions and supply chain arrangements as the tension between the two super powers escalates,” Bernstein analyst Mark Li said.

While China will need at least six years before it can catch up in chip manufacturing, according to some estimates, the scale of its chip-making abilities is already seen as a threat in other parts of the chip supply chain.

Barely 2-1/2 years after breaking ground on a 12-inch wafer plant in China, Nexchip, a joint venture between the Chinese city of Hefei and Taiwan DRAM maker Powerchip, started producing 8,000 wafers a month. Wafers are thin pieces of material, usually consisting of silicon, used to make semiconductor chips.

Nexchip’s main goal is to produce liquid crystal display driver ICs for flat-panel makers.

Using Powerchip’s resources and Taiwanese talent, which make up a quarter of its 1,200 employees, Nexchip is helping reduce China’s reliance on foreign chip suppliers.

With an aim to become “the world’s No.1 chipmaker for display drivers,” Nexchip plans to build three more 12-inch wafer plants and ramp up its monthly production to 20,000 wafers by 2019, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

After visiting Nexchip late last year, researchers from Taiwan’s chip hub, Hsinchu Science Park, said progress at the Hefei plant was a “breakthrough”.

“This will likely increase Taiwan firms’ needs to invest in the China market, and it will be a test for the (Taiwan) government’s industrial policy.”

Reporting by Jess Macy Yu and Yimou Lee in Taipei

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