China Stresses Tech Self-reliance Target

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at the news conference following the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC), at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at the news conference following the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC), at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
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China Stresses Tech Self-reliance Target

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at the news conference following the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC), at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at the news conference following the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC), at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

China's science and technology policies should aim to build the country's strength and self-reliance, while companies take the lead in pushing innovation, Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday.

The country effectively countered external attempts to suppress and contain China’s development over the past five years by promoting development of the real economy through innovation and fostering new drivers of growth, Li said, without naming any countries.

China is under increasing pressure from the United States, which has cited national security in restricting access to Chinese semiconductors and artificial intelligence technology.

President Xi Jinping has urged the nation to strengthen its self-reliance in science and technology and continue to strive as a global tech power.

"Scientific and technological policies should aim at building up our country’s strength and self-reliance in science and technology," the outgoing premier said in his work report to the opening of the annual meeting of China's parliament.

"The new system for mobilizing resources nationwide should be improved, we should better leverage the role of the government in pooling resources to make key technological breakthroughs and enterprises should be the principal actors in innovation."

According to Reuters, Li said China should accelerate the research and development of cutting-edge technologies and promote their application. The development of the platform economy should be supported and regular oversight conducted, he added.

The platform economy comprises China's largest tech companies, such as Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings. Such firms were the targets of a long, bruising regulatory crackdown that Beijing says it is now easing.

China's finance ministry and its state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), published reports on Sunday that underlined their support for these goals.

The finance ministry said it would boost special funds for the industrial and manufacturing sectors by 4.4 billion yuan this year to 13.3 billion yuan ($1.93 billion), to support areas such as integrated circuits. It announced 6.5 billion yuan for science and tech advancement at the local level, an increase of 2 billion yuan.

The NDRC said it would accelerate the construction of hard tech infrastructure, including in artificial intelligence, 5G and big data, and promote the healthy development of instant-delivery online retail and e-commerce livestreaming, key marketing channels for China's consumer sector.

It said it would consolidate China's "leading position" in areas such as electric vehicles and solar panels, where the country occupies key places in the global supply chain.

Still, the state planner warned that China's supply chains faced the risk of numerous bottlenecks and "chokepoints", saying government would plan and implement a number of major science and technology projects to increase the country's strength in the "frontiers of international competition".



Tesla Cuts Price of Full Self-Driving Software by a Third

FILE - A Model X sports-utility vehicle sits outside a Tesla store in Littleton, Colo., on June 18, 2023. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE - A Model X sports-utility vehicle sits outside a Tesla store in Littleton, Colo., on June 18, 2023. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
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Tesla Cuts Price of Full Self-Driving Software by a Third

FILE - A Model X sports-utility vehicle sits outside a Tesla store in Littleton, Colo., on June 18, 2023. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE - A Model X sports-utility vehicle sits outside a Tesla store in Littleton, Colo., on June 18, 2023. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Tesla slashed the price of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) driver assistant software to $8,000 from $12,000 in the United States.

CEO Elon Musk is betting on the technology to become cash cow for the world's most valuable automaker. But he has for years failed to achieve the goal of self-driving capability, with the technology under growing regulatory and legal scrutiny.

Musk earlier this month said Tesla will unveil its robotaxis on Aug. 8, after Reuters reported Tesla had scrapped its inexpensive, mass-market car in favour of robotaxis.

According to the Tesla website, customers can now pay $8,000 for the FSD feature, or subscribe to use it for $99 a month.

Tesla recently cut the US monthly subscription price for the feature from $199, while giving every Tesla customer a month's free subscription to the software.

Tesla has also been cutting prices on its auto line-up in major markets. Grappling with falling sales and an intensifying price war for electric vehicles, Tesla cut prices by nearly $2,000 across its line-up in China, in line with its price cuts in the United States.


Saudi Food and Drug Authority CEO Visits Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore

The CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) visited the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore. SPA
The CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) visited the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore. SPA
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Saudi Food and Drug Authority CEO Visits Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore

The CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) visited the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore. SPA
The CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) visited the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore. SPA

The CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), Dr. Hisham bin Saad Al-Jadhey, visited the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore, and met with the Executive Director of the A*STAR Biomedical Research Council (BMRC), Dr. Azlinda Anwar, and A*STAR Executive Director of the Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI) Dr. Sze Tan.
Al-Jadhey was briefed on the work of the BMRC, the SIFBI, and the biotechnology ecosystem in Singapore.
A*STAR is an entity affiliated with the Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry which supports research and development in several areas, including human health and biomedicine in the public sector.
This visit came on the sidelines of the SFDA's participation in the 5th Annual Meeting of the International Heads of Food Agencies Forum (IHFAF), which took place in Singapore from April 16 to 20.


AI's Relentless Rise Gives Journalists Tough Choices

The arrival of ChatGPT sent shockwaves through the journalism industry. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP
The arrival of ChatGPT sent shockwaves through the journalism industry. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP
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AI's Relentless Rise Gives Journalists Tough Choices

The arrival of ChatGPT sent shockwaves through the journalism industry. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP
The arrival of ChatGPT sent shockwaves through the journalism industry. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

The rise of artificial intelligence has forced an increasing number of journalists to grapple with the ethical and editorial challenges posed by the rapidly expanding technology.
AI's role in assisting newsrooms or transforming them completely was among the questions raised at the International Journalism Festival in the Italian city of Perugia that closes on Sunday.
- What will happen to jobs? -
AI tools imitating human intelligence are widely used in newsrooms around the world to transcribe sound files, summarize texts and translate.
In early 2023, Germany's Axel Springer group announced it was cutting jobs at the Bild and Die Welt newspapers, saying AI could now "replace" some of its journalists.
Generative AI -- capable of producing text and images following a simple request in everyday language -- has been opening new frontiers as well as raising concerns for a year and a half, AFP reported.
One issue is that voices and faces can now be cloned to produce a podcast or present news on television. Last year, Filipino website Rappler created a brand aimed at young audiences by converting its long articles into comics, graphics and even videos.
Media professionals agree that their trade must now focus on tasks offering the greatest "added value".
"You're the one who is doing the real stuff" and "the tools that we produce will be an assistant to you," Google News general manager Shailesh Prakash told the festival in Perugia.
All about the money
The costs of generative AI have plummeted since ChatGPT burst onto the scene in late 2022, with the tool designed by US start-up OpenAI now accessible to smaller newsrooms.
Colombian investigative outlet Cuestion Publica has harnessed engineers to develop a tool that can delve into its archives and find relevant background information in the event of breaking news.
But many media organizations are not making their own language models, which are at the core of AI interfaces, said University of Amsterdam professor Natali Helberger. They are needed for "safe and trustworthy technology", he stressed.
The disinformation threat
According to one estimate last year by Everypixel Journal, AI has created as many images in one year as photography in 150 years.
That has raised serious questions about how news can be fished out of the tidal wave of content, including deepfakes.
Media and tech organizations are teaming up to tackle the threat, notably through the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity, which seeks to set common standards.
"The core of our job is news gathering, on-the-ground reporting," said Sophie Huet, recently appointed to become global news director for editorial innovation and artificial intelligence at Agence France-Presse.
"We'll rely for a while on human reporters," she added, although that might be with the help of artificial intelligence.
From Wild West to regulation
Media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders, which has expanded its media rights brief to defending trustworthy news, launched the Paris Charter on AI and journalism late last year.
"One of the things I really liked about the Paris Charter was the emphasis on transparency," said Anya Schiffrin, a lecturer on global media, innovation and human rights at Columbia University in the United States.
"To what extent will publishers have to disclose when they are using generative IA?"
Olle Zachrison, head of AI and news strategy at public broadcaster Swedish Radio, said there was "a serious debate going on: should you mark out AI content or should people trust your brand?"
Regulation remains in its infancy in the face of a constantly evolving technology.
In March, the European Parliament adopted a framework law aiming to regulate AI models without holding back innovation, while guidelines and charters are increasingly common in newsrooms.
AI editorial guidelines are updated every three months at India's Quintillion Media, said its boss Ritu Kapur.
None of the organization's articles can be written by AI and the images it generates cannot represent real life.
Resist or collaborate?
AI models feed off data, but their thirst for the vital commodity has raised hackles among providers.
In December, the New York Times sued OpenAI and its main investor Microsoft for violation of copyright.
In contrast, other media organizations have struck deals with OpenAI: Axel Springer, US news agency AP, French daily Le Monde and Spanish group Prisa Media whose titles include El Pais and AS newspapers.
With resources tight in the media industry, collaborating with the new technology is tempting, explained Emily Bell, a professor at Columbia University's journalism school.
She senses a growing external pressure to "Get on board, don't miss the train".


Google Combining Its Android Software and Pixel Hardware Divisions to More Broadly Integrate AI 

Google logos are displayed when searched for Google in New York, Sept. 11, 2023. (AP)
Google logos are displayed when searched for Google in New York, Sept. 11, 2023. (AP)
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Google Combining Its Android Software and Pixel Hardware Divisions to More Broadly Integrate AI 

Google logos are displayed when searched for Google in New York, Sept. 11, 2023. (AP)
Google logos are displayed when searched for Google in New York, Sept. 11, 2023. (AP)

Google will combine the software division responsible for Android mobile software and the Chrome browser with the hardware division known for Pixel smartphones and Fitbit wearables, the company said Thursday. It's part of a broader plan to integrate artificial intelligence more widely throughout the company.

In a letter to employees, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the changes will “turbocharge the Android and Chrome ecosystems” while helping to spur innovation.

The decision will place both operations under the oversight of Rick Osterloh, a Google executive who previously oversaw the company's hardware group. Not long ago, Google insulated Android development from the hardware division, saying it wanted to avoid giving its phone designers an unfair advantage over the other major smartphone makers who used Android — including Samsung and Motorola, as well as Chinese companies such as Oppo and Xiaomi.

Then a few years ago, Google started to position the Pixel as a flagship for demonstrating what AI could accomplish and leaned heavily into developing features that could demonstrate its potential. That meant more integration of AI hardware and software to power those features on mobile devices.

In an interview with The Verge, a tech publication, Osterloh noted that AI is the primary reason for bringing together Google's consumer hardware and software engineers. He argued that phone technology is already growing more dependent on AI, citing the development of the Pixel camera, which among other things uses the technology for features that enhance nighttime photos or automatically choose the best of several closely timed shots.

Combining the teams, Osterloh added, is a way for Google to move even faster on infusing AI into its features. Designing the Pixel camera several years ago, he said in the interview, required deep knowledge of not just the complex hardware and software systems involved, but also the then-early AI models used for image processing.

“That hardware-software-AI integration really showed how AI could totally transform a user experience,” Osterloh said. “That was important. And it’s even more true today.”

“What you’re now starting to see Google do is flex its core AI innovation engines,” said Chirag Dekate, an analyst with Gartner. “Google wants to dominate the AI, the commanding heights of the emerging AI economy, both on the consumer side as well as on the enterprise side, essentially by infusing AI everywhere and by connecting it.”

Meanwhile, the chief of Google's software division, Hiroshi Lockheimer, is left without a title and, according to Pichai's letter, will be starting some other unnamed projects. Lockheimer did join Osterloh for the Verge interview, though, and the two men insisted the changes weren't the result of a power struggle.

Google is also reorganizing its AI research and responsibility groups, although those changes mostly won’t directly affect consumer products — at least not for now.


Apple Drops WhatsApp, Threads from China App Store on Official Order

China is a key market for Apple, which last year topped the country's smartphone market for the first time. Hector RETAMAL / AFP
China is a key market for Apple, which last year topped the country's smartphone market for the first time. Hector RETAMAL / AFP
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Apple Drops WhatsApp, Threads from China App Store on Official Order

China is a key market for Apple, which last year topped the country's smartphone market for the first time. Hector RETAMAL / AFP
China is a key market for Apple, which last year topped the country's smartphone market for the first time. Hector RETAMAL / AFP

Apple has removed the Meta-owned WhatsApp and Threads from its App Store in China following an order from the country's top internet regulator, Bloomberg reported Friday citing the tech giant.
Beijing engages in some of the world's most extensive internet censorship, with web users in mainland China unable to access everything from Google to many foreign apps without using a virtual private network, AFP said.
"We are obligated to follow the laws in the countries where we operate, even when we disagree," said Apple in a statement, according to Bloomberg.
"The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) ordered the removal of these apps from the China storefront based on their national security concerns," said Apple, referring to China's internet regulator.
"These apps remain available for download on all other storefronts where they appear."
A Meta spokesperson referred AFP to Apple, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The CAC and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology -- another top Chinese internet regulatory body -- also did not immediately respond.
China is a key market for Apple, which last year topped the country's smartphone market for the first time.
But thorny issues of censorship and national security have long hounded the US-based firm's operations in China as Beijing and Washington engage in a fierce battle for technological supremacy.
In January, China said it had cracked Apple's encrypted AirDrop communication service, which had once given protesters a vital channel for sharing information during the major 2019 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
State-backed experts said in January that they had devised a way to reveal an iPhone's encrypted device log, allowing them to then identify an AirDrop user's phone number and email accounts.
Many online platforms that are popular in much of the world -- including Google, Facebook, X, WhatsApp and TikTok -- are blocked in mainland China.
But savvy iPhone users in China have still been able to download banned platforms through Apple's app store, then use a VPN to get around the restrictions.
Removing WhatsApp and Threads from the Chinese app store will greatly complicate the ability of new iPhone users to access the apps.
The latest development comes a day before a scheduled vote in the US House of Representatives to force the wildly popular video app TikTok to sever all links with its Chinese parent ByteDance.
US officials have raised concerns in recent years over potential national security and privacy threats posed by TikTok, despite repeated assurances by the firm that it presents no risks to the American public.
Beijing has frequently lashed out against US restrictions on Chinese tech, claiming they are a pretext to contain the country's economic rise.


Huawei Starts Sales of New Pura 70 Smartphone to Crowds amid Chips Scrutiny

A logo for Huawei is seen during the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in Paris, France, March 20, 2024. (Reuters)
A logo for Huawei is seen during the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in Paris, France, March 20, 2024. (Reuters)
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Huawei Starts Sales of New Pura 70 Smartphone to Crowds amid Chips Scrutiny

A logo for Huawei is seen during the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in Paris, France, March 20, 2024. (Reuters)
A logo for Huawei is seen during the KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in Paris, France, March 20, 2024. (Reuters)

Chinese technology giant Huawei started selling two models of its highly anticipated, high-end Pura 70 smartphone series on Thursday that many analysts expect to contain an advanced China-made chip like its Mate 60 handset.
The Pura series developed by the Shenzhen-headquartered company has advanced cameras and is known for its sleek design, while the Mate series emphasizes performance and business features.
The launch of Huawei's Mate 60 series last year was celebrated by Chinese state media as a triumph over US sanctions on the firm, as the handsets contain an advanced China-made chip that is considered only a few generations behind cutting-edge chips used by Western tech giants like Apple and Google in terms of computing power.
Eric Xu, Huawei's acting chairman, on Wednesday told a forum in Shenzhen that the company also plans to roll out a Mate 70 smartphone this year.
The Pro and Ultra versions of the Pura 70 were available on Thursday, while the Plus and base versions will begin sales on April 22. The phones were out of stock at Huawei's official online store just a minute after sales started, and hundreds of the brand's fans lined up at Huawei stores in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
One customer, Lucas Zhuang, tested the network speed of the Pura 70 and said it was at the level of 5G. Washington has banned the licensing of 5G chips to China but Huawei's Mate 60 phones were already able to achieve 5G speed in many cases despite Huawei not branding it as 5G.
"We didn't know what chip the Pura 70 has inside. We only found out after we bought it," Zhuang, who already owns the Mate 60, told Reuters after waiting in line at Huawei's flagship store in Shanghai.
"But we believe ... the chip it has will certainly meet people's needs."
Ivan Lam, a senior analyst at research firm Counterpoint, said he expected shipments of about 60 million units from Huawei this year, with the Pura 70 series being an important catalyst. Last year, Huawei sold about 32 million smartphones.
"There may be some shortage at various channels but supply will be much better compared to when the Mate 60 was launched. We don't expect any longlasting shortage," he said.
The Pura 70 series has four variants: the 70, the 70 Plus, the 70 Pro and the 70 Ultra. The starting price for the Pura 70 series is 5,499 yuan ($760.06).
CHIP CHALLENGE
The launch of the Mate 60 Pro last August sparked a spike in Huawei's smartphone sales. According to Counterpoint, in the first six weeks of 2024, Huawei saw unit sales rise by 64% year-on-year. Meanwhile, Apple's iPhone sales in China fell 24% during the same period.
Huawei’s Kirin 9000S chip was reportedly manufactured by China's Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) despite US export restrictions seeking to limit Beijing's chip-making capabilities.
It was seen as a symbol of China's technological resurgence despite Washington's ongoing efforts to cripple its capacity to produce advanced semiconductors.
The Biden administration began a review of the chip earlier this year and said last month that SMIC might have violated US export rules, while adding it was still evaluating the situation.
Besides targeting China's chip manufacturers, the US has imposed trade restrictions on Huawei since 2018, viewing the company and its products as a national security risk, which the company denies.
Elaborating on the pending Mate 70 smartphones on Tuesday, Xu said the goal is for it to use a "pure" version of its HarmonyOS operating system, developed in 2019 after US sanctions cut Huawei's access to US technologies such as Google's Android.
HarmonyOS had still been reliant on the Android application ecosystem but Huawei plans to cut that relationship and make HarmonyOS completely independent and able to compete with Apple's iOS and Android, he added.


Apple Plans to Invest More Than $250 Mln to Expand Singapore Campus

People shop at an Apple reseller store iBox at a mall in Jakarta on April 17, 2024. (Photo by Adek BERRY / AFP)
People shop at an Apple reseller store iBox at a mall in Jakarta on April 17, 2024. (Photo by Adek BERRY / AFP)
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Apple Plans to Invest More Than $250 Mln to Expand Singapore Campus

People shop at an Apple reseller store iBox at a mall in Jakarta on April 17, 2024. (Photo by Adek BERRY / AFP)
People shop at an Apple reseller store iBox at a mall in Jakarta on April 17, 2024. (Photo by Adek BERRY / AFP)

Apple Inc plans to invest more than $250 million to expand its regional campus or operations in Ang Mo Kio, Singapore, according to a company statement dated April 17.
Two buildings acquired in 2022, located across from Apple's existing offices, will undergo a major upgrade, the US technology giant said.
"Singapore is truly a one-of-a-kind place, and we are proud of the connection we've built with this dynamic community of creators, learners, and dreamers," Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said in a statement.
Apple opened its first facility in Singapore in 1981 with 72 employees focused on Apple II, its early personal computer.
It has since grown to house more than 3,600 employees in the city-state, which serves as an operations center for Apple in the region.
Cook will meet Singapore's prime minister-designate Lawrence Wong as well as the city-state's incumbent leader Lee Hsien Loong this week as part of his Southeast Asia tour, Bloomberg News reported earlier on Wednesday, citing a person familiar with the matter.


Saudi Arabia Earns Top Marks in Global AI Index for National Strategy 

Established in 2019, SDAIA serves as the national authority for all matters related to data (including big data) and AI, providing a centralized hub for its organization, development, and implementation. 
Established in 2019, SDAIA serves as the national authority for all matters related to data (including big data) and AI, providing a centralized hub for its organization, development, and implementation. 
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Saudi Arabia Earns Top Marks in Global AI Index for National Strategy 

Established in 2019, SDAIA serves as the national authority for all matters related to data (including big data) and AI, providing a centralized hub for its organization, development, and implementation. 
Established in 2019, SDAIA serves as the national authority for all matters related to data (including big data) and AI, providing a centralized hub for its organization, development, and implementation. 

The Stanford University International AI Index for 2024 ranked Saudi Arabia among the leading nations globally for developing a national strategy on Artificial Intelligence (AI). This comprehensive resource, valuable for policymakers, researchers, and industry specialists, provides insights into the current state and future trajectory of AI, reported the Saudi Press Agency on Wednesday.

This recognition reflects the Kingdom's commitment to leveraging data and AI technologies. Under the guidance and support of Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince, Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) board of directors, the Kingdom is harnessing these powerful and transformative technologies for the betterment of humanity, while promoting a global framework for international cooperation in the field of AI.

Saudi Arabia's strong positioning in the AI and data domain underscores the success of Vision 2030, a national transformation plan where AI plays a pivotal role. Approximately 70% of the goals of Vision 2030 are directly or indirectly tied to AI, propelling the Kingdom toward a leading position in global AI rankings.

Established in 2019, SDAIA serves as the national authority for all matters related to data (including big data) and AI, providing a centralized hub for its organization, development, and implementation.

The latest accomplishment builds on Saudi Arabia's previous achievements in the AI realm. In 2023, the Kingdom secured the top spot in the Government Strategy Index for Artificial Intelligence, in the global AI classification issued by Tortoise Intelligence, which evaluates over 60 countries. Stanford University International AI Index 2023 ranked Saudi Arabia second globally in public awareness about AI.

These global accolades align with SDAIA's tireless efforts to solidify Saudi Arabia's position as a global leader in data and AI. Its multifaceted approach includes capacity building, policy development, fostering investment and innovation, strengthening technical infrastructure, and promoting the adoption of AI solutions in priority areas aligned with national objectives.

SDAIA is dedicated to achieving a set of strategic goals, including continuous modernization of the national data and AI agenda, and ensuring its successful implementation at the national level. Its steadfast commitment paves the way for Saudi Arabia to become a frontrunner in the information, data, and AI-driven economies of the future.


Apple CEO Says it is Considering a Manufacturing Facility in Indonesia

Apple CEO Tim Cook (C) speaks alongside Indonesian Minister of Communication and Information Budi Arie Setiadi (R) and Indonesian Minister of Industry Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita (L) during a press conference after meeting with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on April 17, 2024. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO / AFP)
Apple CEO Tim Cook (C) speaks alongside Indonesian Minister of Communication and Information Budi Arie Setiadi (R) and Indonesian Minister of Industry Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita (L) during a press conference after meeting with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on April 17, 2024. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO / AFP)
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Apple CEO Says it is Considering a Manufacturing Facility in Indonesia

Apple CEO Tim Cook (C) speaks alongside Indonesian Minister of Communication and Information Budi Arie Setiadi (R) and Indonesian Minister of Industry Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita (L) during a press conference after meeting with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on April 17, 2024. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO / AFP)
Apple CEO Tim Cook (C) speaks alongside Indonesian Minister of Communication and Information Budi Arie Setiadi (R) and Indonesian Minister of Industry Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita (L) during a press conference after meeting with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on April 17, 2024. (Photo by BAY ISMOYO / AFP)

Apple Inc will look into building a manufacturing facility in Indonesia, its CEO said on Wednesday after meeting President Joko Widodo, who hoped the tech giant would increase its local content by partnering with domestic firms.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook arrived in Jakarta on Tuesday after visiting Vietnam, Reuters reported. He met with Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, and will inaugurate its fourth developer academy on the island of Bali.
"We talked about the president's desire to see manufacturing in the country, and it is something that we will look at," Cook told reporters after the meeting.
Apple has no manufacturing facilities in Indonesia, but since 2018 it has been setting up app developer academies, which including the new academy have a total cost of 1.6 trillion rupiah ($99 million).
Indonesia's industry minister, Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita, who also attended the meeting, told reporters that if Apple decided to build manufacturing facility in Indonesia, it would have the capacity to produce for export.
"We will discuss how Apple's facility in Indonesia could become a global supply chain," he said, adding that the government said that even if Apple didn't built a factory, it could partner with Indonesian companies to obtain components.
Apple has met Indonesia's 35% local content requirement to sell its products by investing in developer academies, Agus said, but the government hoped that number could be pushed higher with a manufacturing facility.
Apple has based much of its key manufacturing of iPads, AirPods and Apple Watches in Vietnam; suppliers for MacBooks are also investing in the country.
Indonesia has a huge, tech-savvy population, making the Southeast Asian nation a key target market for tech-related investment.


AMD Introduces AI Chips for Business Laptops and Desktops

A smartphone with a displayed AMD logo is placed on a computer motherboard in this illustration taken March 6, 2023. (Reuters)
A smartphone with a displayed AMD logo is placed on a computer motherboard in this illustration taken March 6, 2023. (Reuters)
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AMD Introduces AI Chips for Business Laptops and Desktops

A smartphone with a displayed AMD logo is placed on a computer motherboard in this illustration taken March 6, 2023. (Reuters)
A smartphone with a displayed AMD logo is placed on a computer motherboard in this illustration taken March 6, 2023. (Reuters)

Advanced Micro Devices unveiled a new series of semiconductors for artificial intelligence-enabled business laptops and desktops on Tuesday as the chip designer looks to expand its share of the lucrative "AI PC" market.

These chips are expected to be available in platforms from HP and Lenovo starting in the second quarter of 2024, AMD said in a press release.

AI-enabled PCs are capable of running large-language models and apps powered by the technology directly on the device, instead of the cloud.

AMD said its latest Ryzen PRO 8040 Series was built for "business laptops and mobile workstations" while its AMD Ryzen PRO 8000 Series was a desktop processor for business users.

Its shares were up more than 2% in early trading.

Experts have pinned a possible recovery in the PC market on the introduction of AI PCs, as consumers look to upgrade their systems with the new capabilities.

The advent of generative AI technology has led to towering demand for advanced semiconductors that can be used to develop and run complex AI programs.

In the market for AI PCs, AMD faces intense competition from Intel and AI chip front-runner Nvidia, hailed as a leader for graphics processing units (GPUs).

AMD introduced the Ryzen 8000G Series of desktop chips in January, targeted towards the heavy workloads that come along with AI-based tasks.

On the same day, Nvidia unveiled its own AI PC chips - the "GeForce RTX SUPER" desktop GPUs - saying Acer, ASUS, Dell Technologies, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung will release AI laptops featuring its technology.

Intel also said in January it expects to "ship approximately 40 million AI PCs in 2024 alone".