For a company whose software speaks to more than half a billion people, iFlytek tends to keep its voice low. Founded by a group of researchers in 1999 and headquartered in the relatively sleepy eastern city of Hefei, the company was ranked as the 6th smartest firm in the world in 2017—just one place below Google—by MIT Technology Review. Over the past two decades, iFlytek developed software that can understand several Chinese dialects fluently—a feat Apple’s Siri still struggles with. It can transcribe it into text, and translate it into English instantly. In this interview, Jiang Tao, Senior Vice President of iFlytek, who joined in the firm at the very beginning, explains how the company reached this point and how it keeps hold of its world-class researchers.
As people imagine the future of transportation, the first thing they think of is driverless cars. There are still many questions to consider, however, and not just at the level of personal safety. How will transportation networks adapt? What about laws and regulations? What will be the impact on logistics and employment? Many technology firms and automakers have had their prototypes, but none which could be commercialized for public use. Wu Gansha, a veteran engineer and former director of Intel Labs China, suggests a rapid way to commercialize driverless cars. He claims that the car produced by his startup will commercialize in two years.
Yidao Yongche was the first car-hailing business in China. At first, the company was badly affected by opposition from local authorities—but later on was hit by the rise of Didi and Uber China, which became popular through subsidies and low prices. In July, Chinese authorities finally legalized car-hailing apps and stipulated that unfair competition, such as steep discounts and subsidies, should stop. So will Yidao seize the opportunity and grow? Zhou Hang, CEO and founder of Yidao, talks about his company and the future of the “internet of cars”.
Unlike parent company Lenovo, ZUK is trying to woo youngsters and blaze its own path. To do that it is immersing its engineers in their environment and involving youngsters in the conceptualization and design process.
Four-year-old online vacation rental site Tujia, which is valued at $1 billion, offers Airbnb-like services with unique twists suited to the specific needs, wants and quirks of Chinese travelers.
In a short space of time Alibaba’s Ant Financial has created—and scaled—a diverse set of financial products and services: from online payments to cloud computing and data services.
Miko Wormuth, CEO of TWICE Fashion Accessories, on what it takes to build a business from scratch in China and the challenges of operating on e-commerce platforms like Taobao and Tmall.
Chinese smartphone company OnePlus has received many accolades in the global market. Can it recreate the same magic in China?
In this series on The Chinapreneurs, we look at entrepreneurs’ experiences in starting a business in China. In the first one, Kevin Zhao, CEO of Wangli Bank, elaborates on starting up in China’s fast-changing internet finance sector.
Lenovo is trying to crack the Chinese smartphone market with ZUK, the erstwhile ShenQi. But has it really figured things out?