A robot just did something most of us won’t do in out lifetime: run 160 kilometres carrying an Olympic torch
Expansions and appointments
Google is opening a China-based research lab focused on artificial intelligence [TechCrunch]
After months of speculation, Google has officially announced that it is opening an AI center in Beijing. China has a growing AI talent pool hailed by experts, and while Google’s search engine in blocked in China, the company isn’t ignoring said talent pool: the China lab has already hire some “top talent” and still has over 20 jobs in a vacancy listing.
Uber names its first president for the Indonesian market [e27]
Global ride-hailing giant Uber announced the appointment of Monika Rudijono as its first president for the Indonesian market. Rudijono has over two decades of experience in the marketing and advertising sectors, with her latest designation being the President Director of marketing and advertising agency Grey. She has also worked at various local and multinational agencies in the Indonesian market such as MACS909, FCG, and Leo Burnett, and founded ISOBAR Indonesia in 2011.
The busy world of acquisitions
Insurance group Cover-More acquires majority stake in NUS data analytics company FitSense [e27]
Cover-More Group, a provider of travel insurance and medical assistance, has acquired a majority stake in analytics company FitSense, which enables health and life insurers to personalise products and services by using app and device data.
Myanmar’s travel booking portal FlyMya acquires smaller rival Go-Myanmar.com [e27]
Myanmar-based travel portal FlyMya, which is registered in Singapore, has acquired smaller rival Go-Myanmar.com for an undisclosed amount.
On highs and lows
Robot debuts as Olympic torchbearer in South Korea [South China Morning Post]
A humanoid robot created by the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology carried the Olympic torch in torch relay in Daejon. Called HUBO, the robot broke through a wall after running 160 kilometres to pass the Olympic frame to its developer Professor Oh Jun-ho.
Founder of China’s embattled LeEco placed on debt blacklist [Reuters]
Start and end the year on a high note – or not. Jia Yueting, the high-profile founder of struggling Chinese tech conglomerate LeEco, has been placed on an official blacklist of debt defaulters. He began the year by showing off an electric car pitched to rival Tesla’s. Being put in China’s national blacklist, which is enforced by the country’s Supreme Court, means that Jia Yueting can be penalised with travel bans, restrictions from going to luxury hotels, and even restrictions from shopping online for luxury goods.