Alibaba developed Chinese Communist Party propaganda app that became China Apple Store hit: Report

Alibaba developed Chinese Communist Party propaganda app that became China Apple Store hit: Report

The smash hit Chinese government propaganda app Xuexi Qiangguo, which translates to ‘Study to make China strong’, was developed by the technology firm Alibaba, reports Reuters today. Just last week, the propaganda app knocked Wechat and Tik Tok’s Chinese version Douyin off the “most popular app” pedestal in Apple’s China app store. Two people at Alibaba disclosed their company’s role in the Xuexi Qiangguo app to Reuters during a time when the relationships between Chinese technology firms and the Chinese government are being newly questioned. Here’s a screengrab of the…

Read More

Etsy sellers say their bank accounts were emptied in major billing snafu

Etsy sellers say their bank accounts were emptied in major billing snafu

People who sell crafts and other goods on Etsy, an e-commerce site focused on handmade and small-batch products, say they woke up to a nasty surprise Friday morning when hundreds of thousands of dollars were withdrawn from the bank accounts and credit cards sellers are required to have on file in order to have an Etsy storefront. The amounts of those surprise withdrawals varied wildly, from a few hundred dollars, to tens of thousands. Read full story

Read More

Signs that China’s real-estate bubble will burst and take the economy with it

Signs that China’s real-estate bubble will burst and take the economy with it

China’s real-estate bubble is the largest in human history, and despite years of warning signs, it has grown and grown, spilling over into the rest of the world. It’s hard to overstate just how crazy China’s real-estate market is: 25% of the country’s GDP comes from construction, and 80% of the nation’s wealth is in domestic property holdings. That’s $65T, nearly double the size of the economies of every G7 nation combined. The market has been kept afloat through China’s massive “shadow banking” system, itself such a systemic risk that…

Read More

Signs that China’s real-estate bubble will burst and take the economy with it

Signs that China’s real-estate bubble will burst and take the economy with it

China’s real-estate bubble is the largest in human history, and despite years of warning signs, it has grown and grown, spilling over into the rest of the world. It’s hard to overstate just how crazy China’s real-estate market is: 25% of the country’s GDP comes from construction, and 80% of the nation’s wealth is in domestic property holdings. That’s $65T, nearly double the size of the economies of every G7 nation combined. The market has been kept afloat through China’s massive “shadow banking” system, itself such a systemic risk that…

Read More

Amazon’s 2018 profits: $11.2 billion; Amazon’s 2018 IRS bill: negative $129 million

Amazon’s 2018 profits: $11.2 billion; Amazon’s 2018 IRS bill: negative $129 million

Amazon doubled its profits in 2018, to $11.2 billion; the company will receive a $129 million tax rebate for the year. Though Trump denounced Amazon’s tax return, Amazon actually has Trump’s tax deal, which handed massive breaks to America’s richest people and corporations, to thank. In contrast to Amazon’s $129 million tax rebate, millions of Americans will not get their customary tax rebate this year, and many Americans will owe additional tax. According to The Week, Amazon ended up paying an 11.4% federal income tax rate between 2011 and 2016,…

Read More

Amazon’s 2018 profits: $11.2 billion; Amazon’s 2018 IRS bill: negative $129 million

Amazon’s 2018 profits: $11.2 billion; Amazon’s 2018 IRS bill: negative $129 million

Amazon doubled its profits in 2018, to $11.2 billion; the company will receive a $129 million tax rebate for the year. Though Trump denounced Amazon’s tax return, Amazon actually has Trump’s tax deal, which handed massive breaks to America’s richest people and corporations, to thank. In contrast to Amazon’s $129 million tax rebate, millions of Americans will not get their customary tax rebate this year, and many Americans will owe additional tax. According to The Week, Amazon ended up paying an 11.4% federal income tax rate between 2011 and 2016,…

Read More

Bossfight: Allstate Insurance enters the Right to Repair fight, loans its lobbyists to fight Apple

Bossfight: Allstate Insurance enters the Right to Repair fight, loans its lobbyists to fight Apple

The Right to Repair movement got state legislatures to consider more than a dozen Right to Repair bills last year, and have made great strides in the EU and elsewhere, but for every two steps forward they manage, they’re forced a step or two back by giant corporate lobbyists, led by Apple, who want to ensure that third parties can’t repair products, and that a manufacturer’s decision it’s time to retire a product from the market won’t be challenged by independent repair depots. Repair is a huge industry — depending…

Read More

LA Times demands that reporters sign away rights to books, movies and other works they create while working at the paper

LA Times demands that reporters sign away rights to books, movies and other works they create while working at the paper

The LA Times Guild has been negotiating a new contract with the newspaper, but has hit a wall thanks to an unprecedented demand from the paper’s owners: they want writers to sign away the rights to nonfiction books, novels, movies and other works they create separate from their reporting for the paper. The newspaper is also demanding the right to use reporters “byline, biography and likeness” to market these works. The Times has falsely claimed that this is standard at other papers. LA Times factcheckers and factcheckers from other papers…

Read More

Amazon drops New York HQ2 plans after organized resistance

Amazon drops New York HQ2 plans after organized resistance

On Thursday, Amazon said it was dropping plans to create a second headquarters in New York. Long Island City, Queens, was set to become HQ2 in exchange for about $3 billion in incentives from the city, and from New York state. From the New York Times: Amazon’s decision is a major blow for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had set aside their differences to lure the giant tech company to New York. As recently as Wednesday, the governor had brokered a meeting between Amazon executives…

Read More

How Epson’s patent trolling is killing the EU market for replacement ink

How Epson’s patent trolling is killing the EU market for replacement ink

If you’re thinking of buying an Epson printer, think again (if you were unlucky enough to buy one already, consider switching): in an industry marked by the dirtiest of tricks to force customers to spend vast fortunes on ink that costs pennies to manufacture, Epson has marked itself out as a true innovator of sleazy tactics. Epson claims that third-party and refilled ink cartridges infringe its patents, and thanks to the overbroad EU E-Commerce Directive, it can simply notify Amazon, Ebay and other online marketplaces that a product is violating…

Read More