Archive for June 2016

China-ASEAN joint stance adopted on sea dispute

Top diplomats from China and the 10 ASEAN countries agreed on Tuesday that the South China Sea issue should be handled properly, reaffirming the need to “jointly ensure peace and stability” in the area.

The 11 countries also called for “maritime practical cooperation” and for early completion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

The China-ASEAN Special Foreign Ministers Meeting in Yuxi, Yunnan province, was the first of its kind in three years.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the region “should not become another place of turbulence” as the world has already witnessed considerable chaos.

Wang said the closed-door meeting, which was first proposed by members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, was timely, significant and involved strategic communication.

He added that it had achieved its expected goals. China is committed to future meetings to build trust and dispel misunderstandings, he added.

On the sidelines of the convention, Wang embarked on a whirlwind series of meetings with his counterparts from ASEAN countries.

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh told Wang on Monday that his country is ready to tackle maritime differences properly based on the consensus of the party leaders of China and Vietnam.

The 3rd APICB Held in Beijing

On June 13, 2016, the 3rd Asia-Pacific Internet Resources Capacity Building Program (APICB) was held in Beijing at Jingyi Hotel. This program was co-organized by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association (APTLD). More than 20 delegates and technology experts of the industry from over ten countries and regions, including Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Sri Lanka, Nepal and South Africa, as well as European Union Delegation to China were invited to attend the program.
During the five-day program, in-depth discussion on hot topics such as Internet governance, DNS and DNSSEC technology, application and promotion of New gTLD, IDN and EAI, etc. was held among delegates and experts. Additionally, they exchanged technology information and shared their experiences with famous Chinese Internet enterprises represented by Alibaba.
According to the statistics about Internet usage issued by International Telecommunication Union (ITU), by the end of 2015, the number of Internet users had reached 3.2 billion, of which 2 billion were from developing countries. However, there are 4 billion people from developing countries who have no access to Internet; they account for two thirds of the total population of those countries. The longstanding uneven development within and among those countries had always been a big concern of Internet institutions in the Asia-Pacific region. Xiaodong Lee, President and CEO of CNNIC, said that in order to improve the Asia-Pacific Internet environment and boost the interconnection and intercommunication of digital information society in developing countries, this program was committed to building a long-term platform of mutual help and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, enhancing the Internet resources capacity building, and spreading and exchanging knowledge and technology of the industry, so as to elevate the position of Internet institutions and organizations in the Asia-Pacific region among the international communities.
During the program, representatives from ICANN, APTLD, Asian top level domain registry DotAsia, European Union Delegation to China and South African domain registry ZADNA among others shared achievements regarding Internet technology, policy, strategy and innovation.
It is noteworthy that the inauguration and signing of ITI were held at the opening ceremony of the program. The establishment of ITI was conducive to the research and application of IDN and EAI worldwide, facilitating international information-sharing. Participants were readily engaged in formulating the mechanism of ITI and making work plans for the next stage.
In addition, related materials and videos of the program will be posted on the online learning platform of ICANN – ICANN Learn – a platform for sharing best practices and discussing cutting-edge issues of the industry.

Live-streaming apps only add to boredom of urban life

A young and good-looking woman with a pale skin was eating a slice of pizza in a noisy restaurant and talking about what brand of mascara she was wearing.
A young man was singing cheesy pop songs in his bedroom, pausing from time to time to thank people for offering him virtual gifts and cash-filled electronic red envelopes. He pocketed 3,000 yuan ($457) in less than 30 minutes.

This is the world that exists in the popular live-streaming apps on our mobile phones.

After hearing friends talking about how popular live-streaming apps are and reading news report about how the nascent and yet booming industry has generated wealth and fame, I decided to give them a try.

After I tuned in, I found that I could hardly engage with any of the streams. I kept browsing and switching from video to video, hoping to find something interesting or meaningful. Disappointed, I found that the content was often boring, meaningless and seedy.

But what is substantial is the money-making phenomenon. Many of the hosts with millions of subscribers have turned into cyberspace stars and they could effortlessly draw hundreds of thousand viewers for a real-time night show.

Virtual gifting is one key to their success. Users of the apps could offer their favorite streamers virtual presents such as an image of a flower or a fancy Maserati, which can be converted into cash. The app companies and the site operators would get a hefty portion of the money.

The commercial effect has also drawn celebrities and star entrepreneurs to the industry. They take advantage of the apps to create celebrity-at-home appearances so that they can draw themselves closer to their fans and promote their businesses.

The fact that there are more than 200 live-streaming apps in the Chinese market shows how popular the industry is. Most of them emulated the Twitter Inc-owned Periscope. The valuations of some apps have exceeded $1 billion.

Despite the commercial success, I am still quite skeptical about live-streaming apps. Their proliferation reveals a sadder part of our life: While technology seems to shrink the world we live in, the mania for live streamers reveals how boring and lonely our urban life is.

One extreme case is that a pretty young woman drew hundred of thousands of viewers by live streaming her sleep.

The apps allow people to peek into the lives of total strangers regardless of their location and with little cost. They change our definition for privacy. They quench the thirst for a type of social interaction that would often create anxiety in the real world.

The apps have also sparked controversy for pornographic content and copyright infringement. So, the industry is already under stricter government scrutiny.

Technology can be both problem and solution. And I kept trying to think of a good use case for live-streaming apps.

It would be cool if I could randomly tune in a video and find someone live-streaming his or her travel to Antarctica or the magnificent pyramids in Egypt. I would also find it fascinating if a NASA astronaut made live broadcasts from the space.

But before any of that appears, I have already started deleting these apps. I thought they would add an interesting aspect to my life, but so far they only ended up making me feel so bored and overwhelmed.

Call for Expressions of Interest for 2017 Nominating Committee Chair and Chair-Elect

ICANN is seeking expressions of interest for leadership roles in the 2017 Nominating Committee (NomCom) – that of the 2017 NomCom Chair and Chair-Elect.

In September 2016, the ICANN Board appointed Stéphane Van Gelder as the 2016 Nominating Committee Chair and Hans Petter Holen as the 2016 Nominating Committee Chair-Elect (https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/resolutions-2015-09-28-en#2.g.)

Article VII, section 3.4 of the Bylaws states, “[i]t is anticipated that upon the conclusion of the term of the Chair-Elect, the Chair-Elect will be appointed by the Board to the position of Chair.” While it is anticipated that the 2016 NomCom Chair Elect will become the 2017 NomCom Chair, in support of continuous improvement in its accountability and transparency, the NomCom will evaluate the performance of the current NomCom leadership, and the results of that evaluation will be available to the Board Governance Committee before it makes a recommendation to the full Board on 2017 NomCom leadership. These reviews will be conducted by an independent third party provider and will consist of interviewing other NomCom leadership, NomCom members, and designated NomCom staff. The Board Governance Committee (BGC) will utilize the outcomes of these reviews in their processes leading up to the Board’s formal appointment of the 2017 NomCom Chair and Chair-Elect.

The NomCom Chair is responsible for organizing the NomCom in its activities to select certain ICANN Board members and individuals who will serve in key leadership positions within ICANN’s supporting organizations (SOs) and advisory committees (ACs) in accordance with ICANN’s Bylaws. The Chair is a non-voting member of the NomCom selected by ICANN’s Board to serve until the conclusion of the next ICANN Annual Meeting.

The Chair-Elect is a position created within the Bylaws as an outcome of the independent review of the NomCom. The Chair-Elect is not intended to fill an advisory role. Rather, the Chair-Elect will receive the benefit of training while serving alongside the Chair, gaining skills and knowledge to be applied for the Chair-Elect’s anticipated succession into the role of the Chair.

Candidates for Chair-Elect should possess the same skills as candidates for the Chair.

Position Description
This position blends time management and negotiation skills with the practical aspects of conducting a world-wide search for individuals to fill various ICANN leadership positions. The NomCom Chair will be called on to schedule, organize and lead numerous in-person and telephonic meetings with a large committee of community members. The NomCom Chair is also responsible for managing the candidate identification and statement of interest process, with other committee members, and for managing the due diligence to be performed on nominated candidates, in cooperation with ICANN’s General Counsel and any retained outside firm(s). Throughout all NomCom activities, the Chair is responsible for ensuring that all NomCom operating rules and procedures are followed, and that all required documentation and reports are prepared in a timely fashion and provided to the proper parties as necessary.

Skills and Experience
To properly serve as the NomCom Chair, the selected individual must have:

adequate time available to undertake the role;
excellent communication and negotiation skills to manage a committee of 20-21 members;
a clear understanding of the duties and responsibilities of each position for which the NomCom is selecting candidates;
experience on or with a Board of Directors of organizations with similar scale, scope and diversity as ICANN;
strong organization and leadership skills;
ability to remain unbiased;
no conflicts of interest, and
a thorough understanding of, and satisfy, all criteria set forth in ICANN Bylaws relating to the NomCom (see http://www.icann.org/general/bylaws.htm#VII).
Specific Duties and Responsibilities
Plans and schedules NomCom meetings as required, including ensuring posting schedules for public review.
Appoints non-voting Associate Chair if so desired.
Reports to ICANN Board and the community on status of the NomCom.
Prepares and publishes the NomCom report.
Ensures that NomCom operating rules and procedures are followed.
Manages NomCom Selection Process, including:
Approves outreach/advertising methods for attracting candidates.
Conducts outreach with ICANN Stakeholder groups, Constituencies, Advisory Committees and Supporting Organizations (with Chairs of those groups), ICANN Board, and others.
With other committee members, reviews and evaluates candidate Statements of Interest (SOIs) and references submitted during the NomCom process.
Coordinates due diligence on nominated candidates in cooperation with ICANN’s General Counsel’s office and any outside firm(s) retained to perform due diligence activities.
Approves posting of NomCom announcements and schedules on ICANN’s website.
Ensures NomCom records are properly established, maintained and archived.
Eligibility Exclusion
No person who is an employee of or is a paid consultant to ICANN (including the Ombudsman) shall simultaneously serve as a member of the NomCom, including the post of Chair or Chair-Elect.

Expenses
All reasonable travel expenses and administrative costs incurred as a result of performing the duties as NomCom Chair or Chair-Elect in accordance with ICANN’s policies will be reimbursed by ICANN upon the Chair or Chair-Elect’s submission to ICANN of valid receipts and invoices.

Expressions of Interest
Expressions of Interest, which will be maintained as confidential, should be sent to NomComChair2017@icann.org no later than 10 June 2016. A suggested form for submitting an Expression of Interest is available here [PDF, 1.87 MB].

For more information about the NomCom see http://nomcom.icann.org/.

Xi eyes key exchanges with Obama

President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that he expects to exchange views on key issues with his United States counterpart Barack Obama during the G20 summit in China in September.

Xi also called on the US to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination with China to inject confidence and new impetus into the world economy during the summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

He made the appeal at a meeting with the US delegation to the annual China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing, which ended on Tuesday.

At the two-day event — the highest-level formal dialogue between the world’s top two economies — more than 100 agreements and deals were signed in strategic areas and more than 60 in economic sectors.

Xi urged the two governments to ensure these achievements produce quick results to benefit the two peoples.

He said there are many things that China and the US can work together on, and both nations should do more for the good of Sino-US cooperation.

The president added that the two countries could enhance cooperation in areas including trade, clean energy and environmental protection.

“In terms of the disagreements that exist between China and the US, the key is to respect each other’s core interests and important concerns,” Xi said, adding that the two nations should control their disputes constructively.

Report on Public Comments on Draft FY17 Operating Plan and Budget and Five-Year Operating Plan Update Now Available

ICANN has published its report on public comments [PDF, 1.83 MB] for the draft plans for FY17, including an update to its Five-Year Operating Plan.

The development process has included a 57-day public comment period, 35 days of response drafting, and several public calls held to review the comments received in-depth. ICANN has published a detailed report to respond to over 150 separate comments from 12 community groups and people. This is an increase of over 80% on the number of comments received for the draft FY16 plans.

The publication date for the report was changed from 31 May 2016 to 6 June 2016 so that ICANN was able to develop full responses to the comments provided. The report has been structured thematically and is accompanied by a sortable spreadsheet, to help readers find the comments and responses they are most interested in.

The budget is scheduled for adoption when the ICANN Board meets during ICANN56 in Helsinki.

Tuvan-rock fusion coming to Beijing music festival

Albert Kuvezin is one of the first musicians from the Russian subject of Tuva to introduce traditional Tuvan folk music elements worldwide.
After experiments with mixing traditional music with rock since the early 1980s, he brought his music to the West in 1993, performing at various festivals and forums in Berlin and Potsdam.

“At that time, we didn’t know exactly what to do but tried to be ourselves,” recalls Kuvezin.

“There was good reaction from the audiences after our first concert there. They were very excited. I think we were an exotic thing for them.”

Kuvezin, 51, will come to Beijing to perform at the Ai World Music Festival, which will be held from July 9 to 11.

Other headliners will include Moroccan-American musician Hatim Belyamani and Chinese guzheng player Chang Jing.

Kuvezin will perform some Tuvan traditional songs with his own interpretation and some songs written by him.

Russian journalist and music critic Artemy Troitsky once said, “There are two unique voices on Earth right now; they belong to Pavarotti and Kuvezin.”

Kuvezin has earned praise as a master of khoomei, or the throat-singing technique, which allows a singer to produce multiple tones at once.

Diverging from the traditional Tuvan khoomei, however, he has developed his own way, which he calls kanzat kargyraa.

“Each style of throat singing has its own variation. They all come from nature and originally they were imitations of natural sounds,” he says, adding that the singing depends on mentality-connected more to meditation than to technique.

“Depending on the songs, I can imagine various pictures, including my homeland landscapes.”

Kuvezin’s family is musical, but not professional musicians.

His father plays button accordion and balalaika, and his mother plays seven-string guitar and mandolin. His sister plays piano and his daughter is studying at the College of Arts in his hometown, Kyzyl, to be a choir conductor.

As a boy, Kuvezin was dropped from the school choir because he really couldn’t sing like the rest of the kids. That started his longtime battle with the “conventional” music of his home country.

He started to play in bands at school as a teenager by simply copying Russian and Western music.

After music studies at Kyzyl and in Ekaterinburg, Russia, Kuvezin played various instruments like guitar, bass, dopshuur, piano, jaw harp and balalaika.

His musical experiments started when he began working in a national ensemble with acclaimed singers of Tuvan traditional music.

His taste for rock music has been shaped by his teenage discovery of records by Deep Purple and Joy Division.

A founding member of the traditional Tuvan group Huun-Huur-Tu in 1991, Kuvezin left a year later to create his own band, Yat-Kha, with the goal of combining traditional Tuvan throat singing with rock ‘n’ roll.

“I always paid attention to sounds and effects used by rock musicians. First I was a rock musician and when I got interested in traditional music and throat singing, I tried to find an organic mixture of rock and traditional music,” he adds.

With Yat-Kha, he has released dozens of albums, all of which contain different music styles, sounds and arrangements.

Kuvezin’s old band, Huun-Huur-Tu, will do a China tour from Aug 15 to Sept 15. Bringing Yat-Kha to China is also on Kuvezin’s agenda this year.

Since visiting China in 1998 to perform at a music festival in Hong Kong, Kuvezin has performed in the country several times as a solo artist and with Yat-Kha.

“Our musicians love to perform here. Personally, I like the Chinese instrument guzheng (Chinese zither) very much,” he says.

“I have done something for Tuvan and Asian music. I have developed my own ideas, found my own sound and helped young musicians from Siberia. But I can do more and want to continue on my path as a musician and sound producer.”

Huawei cranks up marketing blitz for image of global brand

Huge investment in innovation paves way for success of its P9 handset in the international market
Chinese tech giant Huawei wants Americans to start thinking of it as a stylish smartphone brand.

Huawei Technologies Ltd, which pulled out of the US market for network switching gear four years ago due to security fears, became the No 3 global smartphone seller last year, overtaking Apple in China. This year, it launched a new flagship smartphone, the P9, that it is positioning to compete with Apple and Samsung.

“China has yet to create a high-end consumer brand. We want to take that goal onto our shoulders,” Eric Xu, one of Huawei’s three rotating co-CEOs, told industry analysts at a meeting in April.

To do that, Huawei must succeed in the United States, the second largest market for handsets, accounting for one-sixth of global sales, according to industry analysts. There, it is starting with almost no market share.

“It is more difficult than any other market they have ever entered,” said Nicole Peng of research firm Canalys. “I don’t think they have concrete plans yet.”

Outside the United States, the company is cranking up a global marketing campaign for the P9 featuring Hollywood stars Henry Cavill and Scarlett Johansson. For markets from Bangladesh to Mexico, it has recruited pop singers and football teams. It partnered with German photography powerhouse Leica to develop the camera on the P9.

The company has yet to say when it might sell the Android-based P9 to Americans or exactly how it will rebuild its US presence.

“We’re definitely very patient with the US market,” said Joy Tan, Huawei’s president for communications, when asked how it planned to connect with buyers. “We hope these phones will be accepted by American consumers.”

To meet its ambitious sales growth target of 30 percent a year, Huawei must increase its US market share to double digits from below 2 percent now, said Peng of Canalys.

It made a 36.9 billion yuan ($5.7 billion) profit last year on sales of 395 billion yuan ($60.8 billion). That was equal to just one-quarter of Apple Inc’s sales, but Huawei spent $9 billion on research and development to Apple’s $8.1 billion.

Huawei shipped 108 million handsets last year, the first Chinese company to pass the 100 million mark. That’s a distant third behind Samsung Electronics Ltd’s 325 million handsets and Apple’s 231.5 million.

The company headquartered on a leafy campus in this southern Chinese tech hub adjacent to Hong Kong beat Apple and Samsung to market with a camera equipped with side-by-side lenses, one in black and white and one in color, that it says produces clearer images. The handset is slimmer than the iPhone 6s or Samsung’s Galaxy 7 but its screen is bigger than the Apple’s.

US likely to raise pressure, observers say

With the Shangri-La Dialogue — a high-profile regional security convention — set to begin on Friday, observers predicted that Washington will try to further pressure and isolate China on maritime issues.

They also cautioned that the United States should not let the South China Sea issue overshadow China-US ties.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is scheduled to give the keynote speech at the influential gathering of senior defense officials from within and outside the Asia-Pacific region. The 15th dialogue, organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, will be held from Friday through Sunday in Singapore.

Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said that the dialogue this year has a new twist — the arbitration sought by the Philippines against China regarding the South China Sea issue.

Zhao Xiaozhuo, a researcher at the Center on China-America Defense Relations at the PLA Academy of Military Science, said it is common to see conflicting ideas debated between Chinese and US military officials during the annual dialogue.

He said Washington will likely use the opportunity to pressure and isolate China, especially militarily.

Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission, will lead a Chinese delegation and deliver a speech during a plenary session.

The South China Sea, China-US military ties and the Korean Peninsula are on the top of the Chinese delegation’s agenda.

Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said, “It is time for both sides (China and the US) to evaluate how far they will allow the South China Sea issue to go.”

It was unclear whether Sun will have a meeting or other contacts with the US participants, who will include Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

Sun is also expected to hold bilateral and multilateral meetings and introduce China’s policies and practices of “strengthening Asia-Pacific security cooperation and regional security governance”, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement.

Tim Huxley, executive director of IISS-Asia, said in an online article that “there is much speculation about China’s next steps in the South China Sea”.

Alibaba’s sports offshoot aims to turn stadiums smart with $1.52b

The sports offshoot of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said it will invest 10 billion yuan ($1.52 billion) with partners to turn the country’s traditional sports venues into internet-enabled smart stadiums.

AliSports said on Wednesday that it will offer tailor-made solutions to help Chinese cities upgrade their stadiums so that the venues can max up in their usage and operate in a more effective way.

Zhang Dazhong, chief executive officer of the Shanghai-based AliSports, said the company will set up a foundation dedicated to improving sports infrastructure throughout the country.

“China has about 1.7 million stadiums. The goal for us is to become a sports services provider that can deliver turnkey solutions for each city,” he said.

Many Chinese stadiums face challenges in terms of commercialization. Apart from the subsidies offered by local governments, many turn to sponsorship from companies to maintain their operations.

With the help of cloud computing and big data technology, AliSports plans to better connect stadiums with their local sports fans via tailor-made solutions.

In the near future, when people enter a local stadium, it is likely their smartphones will automatically notify them of the sports events they are interested in and promote sports gear they like via analyzing their shopping records on Alibaba’s platforms.

By leveraging the huge data pool of Alibaba, AliSports can, for example, know which sport is the most popular in Nanjing, Jiangsu province.

“Chinese spent a total of 90 billion yuan in 2015 on sports-related items on Taobao and Tmall (two platforms of Alibaba), surging from less than 200 million yuan in 2012,” Zhang said, adding the data are a very valuable asset AliSports can tap into.

The company will first choose 20 cities to run some pilot projects and later upgrade tens of thousands of stadiums across 100 cites through investment.

In another development, Alibaba Group and Suning Commerce Group Co announced an alliance with home appliances brands on Wednesday to stimulate their sales to a total of about 400 billion yuan in next three years.

Under the new strategy, home appliances brands including Midea, Haier, Samsung, Hisense, Huawei and Xiaomi will increase their annual sales revenue to 50 billion yuan in three years from current 10 billion yuan.