Firms launch AI clinic alliance to meet growing demand

Several Chinese tech startups and hospitals formed the first alliance for artificial intelligence (AI) application in healthcare on Wednesday, with the aim of meeting growing demand for medical services in the country.

Zhejiang University, along with several hospitals across the country and online medical service provider We Doctor Group, jointly launched the alliance on Wednesday in Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang and set up special funds for AI-related clinical and medical projects.

“The move aims to push forward AI adoption in the healthcare sector in China, and enhance the connection among hospitals, research institutions and investors,” Wu Jian, a professor specializing in AI medical services at Zhejiang University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

AI is changing the landscape of medical services in China, Wu noted. “For example, machine learning algorithms can be used in improving the accuracy of medical imaging and diagnostic procedures.”

With the help of breakthroughs in some major areas including image recognition, deep learning and neural networks, AI has become vital disruptive technology for the healthcare sector. In 2016, the value of AI-related healthcare deals soared 31 percent year-on-year to $794 million across the globe, according to industry consultancy CB Insights.

There were also a record amount of healthcare AI deals in the second quarter of 2017, mainly boosted by four firms in India and three in China funded by venture capital firms such as Sequoia Capital China and Northwest Venture Partners.

AI adoption will help accelerate reform and innovation in medical services in China, and tackle issues such as the shortage of nursing, particularly in family healthcare. In China, primary-care doctors account for only about 7 percent of the total number of doctors, much lower than the percentage in advanced economies where the proportion is 30 percent to 50 percent, so smart healthcare products can play the role of filling this gap, We Doctor said in a document sent to the Global Times.

The company has set up a cloud base for healthcare documents, which can be connected with smart wearable devices to monitor blood pressure, heart rate and sleep patterns.

Major breakthroughs

Abundant data and high-speed computing capacity have provided a platform for AI technologies to be used in different scenarios.

Also, the increasing need for healthcare services in China generates a large amount of data, which can be used for training purposes in labs. And the main use in China is in screening and diagnosis.

Several machine learning-powered diagnosis models developed by research teams in the AI lab at Zhejiang University have been rapidly catching up with overseas tech giants like Google. For instance, the specificity and sensitivity metrics for detecting diabetic retinopathy have reached 99 percent and 95 percent, respectively, which has surpassed Google AI diagnosis, according to the document.

Industrial standard needed

Despite the rapid growth of smart medical services, the Chinese authorities have not yet come up with an industrial standard for the sector, which may raise concerns over administrative supervision in the near future, experts noted. “If two research teams both claim they have reached a very high accuracy rate in diagnosing certain diseases, how to distinguish one from another remains uncertain if there is not a unified industrial standard,” Wu said.

Although the National Health and Family Planning Commission handed out a draft for feedback on Internet clinical services and management earlier this year, there have been no more updates on it, said an industry insider, who preferred not to be named.

Compared to China, the US, which is the leader in the AI sector, holds a more cautious attitude as its regulators oversee AI application, he said.

Source: Global Times

China to launch four more Fengyun satellites in next four years

China will launch four Fengyun satellites from 2018 to 2021, Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation told Xinhua News Agency on Nov. 11.

By then, the four satellites will establish a complete network with comprehensive observation ability, said Zhou Xubin, deputy director of the 509th Research Institute of Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology.

According to him, global observation will be carried out every four hours, and the update interval of the satellite observation data will also be shortened to four hours from six.

In addition, the efficiency of meteorological disaster monitoring will be doubled, increasing the forecast accuracy by 3 percent. As a result, it will be easier to forecast the short and severe weather conditions such as storms and strong convection weather.

(The story is also published on People’s Daily Online)

Annual Leonid meteor shower to dazzle sky watchers in China this weekend

Sky watchers in China will have a clear view of the annual Leonid meteor shower this weekend, said a branch organization of the National Astronomical Observatories in Guangdong Province, southern China, Nov. 14.

The Leonid shower happens each November. This year, sky watchers will be treated to three meteor showers from Nov. 17 to 19, with peak viewing hours starting in the early morning each day.

No equipment will be needed to see the meteor shower if viewers find a dark place with a clear view of the sky.

The Leonid meteor shower is associated with debris left behind during subsequent passages of Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, which orbits the sun approximately once every 33 years.

In November 2001, sky watchers in China saw thousands of Leonid meteors in a single hour. It is expected that in around 2031, they will also be able to view the shooting star.

(The story is also published on People’s Daily Online)

Beijing universities offer HIV self-test kits in vending machines

Eleven universities in Haidian District, Beijing, now offer HIV self-test kits in campus vending machines, Beijing Youth Daily reported Wednesday.

The service is expected to be expanded to another two campuses, Beijing Language and Culture University and Beijing International Studies University, this year.

According to the Center for Disease Control in Haidian, the service will cover all university campuses in Beijing next year.

The disease center said that 37 kits have been sold in 10 universities since late September to early November. All of the 14 submitted samples were HIV negative.

Haidian has a dense concentration of universities and college students have a higher risk of becoming HIV positive. To enhance prevention and control of the virus, the disease center started promoting self-test kits on campuses in Beijing this year.

The kits cost 298 RMB but are only sold 30 RMB on campuses. Samples can be submitted anonymously to medical institutions for testing and the results are available online within 10 days.

In 2014, teens aged 15-24 who tested positive for HIV accounted for 16.58% of the total HIV-infected youth in China, up from 5.77% from 2008.

The number of infected students in Haidian has increased year by year since 2008 to 2015. However, a sharp decrease has been observed after the enhanced promotion on HIV prevention. The number is expected to further drop this year.

Xi Jinping’s visit symbolizes profound China-Laos friendship

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s two-day state visit to Laos beginning Nov. 13 was eagerly expected by Laotians, who believed that the trip symbolizes the profound friendship between the two countries.

The national flags of China and Laos and banners fluttered in the streets of Vientiane, capital of Laos, to greet Xi.

Local newspapers in both Lao and English reported on China on their front pages, while several ministerial officials of Laos gave interviews to local media to create a friendly atmosphere for the trip.

Lao singer Sack Cells, who has become an internet sensation for his song “The Belt and Road,” composed a new song specifically for Xi’s visit.

Xi’s visit reflects the profound friendship China’s Party, government, and people harbor towards Laos, said Saleumxay Kommasith, Lao Minister of Foreign Affairs, adding that his country has already been ready for his tour.

The Lao language version of Xi’s book on governance has been officially launched in Vientiane. The book, “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China,” is an anthology of 79 speeches, talks, interviews, notes and letters of the Chinese leader between November 2012 and June 2014.

Hundreds of books have been sold. Readers said they would not only read through the book but also share it with friends.

The book offers an insight into the great wisdom and political responsibility of the leader of a major country, said general manager of BooYoung Lao Bank, adding that Laos should feel the pulse of China’s reform and development through the book, which would help guide the country’s future development.

Speaking highly of Xi’s proposal to forge an unbreakable China-Laos community of shared destiny, deputy editor-in-chief Panee Manithip of Lao newspaper Pasaxon stressed that it conforms with the development trends in the new era.

Late Lao leader Quinim Pholsena was an important cultivator of China-Laos friendship. During Xi’s visit to Laos as vice president of China in 2010, he arranged a meeting with descendants of Quinim Pholsena.

His daughter, Khemmani Pholsena, who is the Minister of Industry and Commerce, noted that Xi was his brother’s classmate when her family was in China.

“Xi is visiting Laos again, and the excitement we feel cannot be put into words,” Khemmani Pholsena said, adding Lao people appreciate the Chinese leader who has remained true to his original aspirations.

Xi’s Laos trip comes as economic and trade cooperation between the two countries has been marching towards new highs in recent years.

The successful launch of a Lao communication satellite with a Chinese carrier rocket as well as the construction of the China-Laos railwayare set to improve the local livelihood and bring joy to the Lao people.

Romance of two horses goes viral on Chinese Internet

Photos of a “horse couple” in Chengdu, southwestern China’s Sichuan province, recently went viral online. The romantic story behind the photos has aroused thousands of reposts and comments.

“I thought poverty was the only thing that limits my imagination, and now there is my bachelordom,” a Chinese netizen joked after seeing the photos.

According to Horsebreaker Zhang Yi, the two horses are both from Europe. The white horse, named Neith, is a horse breed from the Netherlands that is worth about 400,000 RMB. The black one is a crossbreed from France which has won domestic competitions in China.

Zhang said that both of them have to exercise for 45 minutes each day and complete their daily training tasks.

“They have developed a good relationship after coming to Chengdu,” Zhang said, joking that their “love” has gone beyond bloodlines.

Though having become an Internet celebrity, Neith still sheds sweat in equestrian events. At the 7th China Equestrian Festival that started last Friday in Chengdu, Neith’s excellent skills have won numerous applauses.

Apple’s Face ID hacked by Vietnamese company

A Vietnamese firm has claimed to have bypassed Apple’s Face ID, the facial recognition technology equipped on the iPhone X, the latest Apple smartphone, with a $150 3D-printed mask, thepaper.cn reported.

It can be seen from the demonstration video filmed by the Bkav that a mask with a cover is placed in front of an iPhone X. When the cover is removed, the device is unlocked by the 3D-printed mask.

At the launch event, Apple stressed that the iPhone X could not be unlocked by 3D-printed masks and that Face ID can distinguish a real face from masks thanks to artificial intelligence.

In addition, Face ID looks for eye movement, Apple said. According to the tech giant, the facial recognition system is 20 times more secure than its fingerprint recognition feature Touch ID.

However, the company researchers hacked the technology with only a $150 3D-printed mask. The company has not yet explained how they did it.

“Double 11” shows China’s consumption, retail, and technological upgrades

China’s e-commerce created another business miracle during the just-ended annual online shopping festival, known as “Double 11,” which takes place every November 11.

This year’s shopping craze showed the country’s consumption, retail, and technology upgrades.

Tmall, the e-commerce platform under Alibaba, generated 168.2 billion RMB ($25.3 billion) in sales in a single day alone, and e-commerce titan JD raked in 127.1 billion RMB in the first 11 days of November.

“Double 11,” which was just an ordinary promotion day nice years ago, has turned into a shopping festival featuring quality goods, intelligent logistics, and a celebration of individuals.

A total of 167 Tmall shops have seen turnovers above 100 million RMB on the shopping day, with Apple topping the list.

With a sales revenue of over 4.02 billion RMB on JD and Tmall, Chinese smart phone manufacturer Honor under tech giant Huawei topped the list in terms of smart phone revenue last Saturday.

Rural consumption is also becoming a new drive for e-commerce growth in China. Statistics show that sales of air conditioners, water purifiers, and refrigerators have doubled in rural markets compared to last year. In addition, greater demand for baby supplies, beverages, and daily-use chemicals have been observed in the countryside.

Offline stores also participated in this year’s shopping festival, thanks to the “new retail” concept raised by Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba. A total of 53 core commercial circles, 100,000 smart stores, 600,000 retail shops, and 30,000 rural service centers have joint the shopping craze this year, bringing new shopping experiences for customers, said Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba.

Online-offline integration can also collect user data so that the merchants can carry out targeted strategies to meet consumer demands, said Cao Lei, director of China E-commerce Research Center.

In addition, new technologies powered by artificial intelligence, big data, biological recognition, and the Internet of Things are also optimizing the capital, cargo, and information flows of the retail industry.

A total of 325,000 transactions and 256,000 payments were made each second on Alibaba’s platform on Singles’ Day, and the whole transaction system has been running smoothly with the help of the global cloud computing platform Alibaba Cloud, said Zhang.

Machines have largely replaced operations in China’s express delivery industry. On Singles’ Day, the industry handled 331 million parcels, three times the average daily figure. It is another factor that contributed to the rapid growth of China’s e-commerce.

Chinese high-speed rail accounts for over half of all railway passenger volume

Chinese high-speed rail has experienced tremendous development, benefiting more and more passengers with its speed and convenience.

In 2016, the number of bullet train passengers in China grew to 1.47 billion, accounting for 52.3% of the total railway passengers, up from 33.3%. Nearly 4.03 million people are riding bullet trains each day.

China is making efforts to balance the layout of its high-speed railway network. The operating mileage in central and western China has increased to 13,000 kilometers in 2016, up from 3,000 kilometers in 2012, accounting for over half of China’s total mileage of high-speed rail.

By the end of 2016, China had established the world’s largest bullet train network, with a total mileage of 22,000 kilometers.

In order to meet the travelling demand of different groups of people, China’s high-speed trains are running at four speed levels: 200 kilometers per hour, 250 kilometers per hour, 300 kilometers per hour, and 350 kilometers per hour. China is the only country in the world to operate high-speed trains at so many speed levels on the same railway network.

It only took five years for the country to establish the main framework of the high-speed railway network, said Wang Yuze, vice president of China Railway Siyuan Survey and Design Group Co., Ltd., attributing the success to the country’s efforts to encourage innovation.

China currently has a total of more than 2,700 bullet trains making 4,500 trips each day. These trains have carried over 6 billion passengers in total.

According to the 13th Five-Year Plan, another 11,000 kilometers of high-speed rail will be built before 2020, bringing the total mileage to over 30,000 kilometers and covering more than 80% of the country’s major cities.

Chinese investment accelerating economic growth of central, western US

A worker works in a factory of China’s CIMC Vehicles in Monon, Indiana

Chinese investment is accelerating economic growth of central and western regions of the United States, repolishing the nameplate of US manufacturing, said People’s Daily in an article published on Nov. 7.

Industry and manufacturing is what put central and western US states such as Michigan and Indiana on the map. However, the recession of the traditional manufacturing industry has given a new name to the region: Rust Belt.

However, after four years of depression, Michigan is expected to rise again and become a global center for intelligent transportation systems, and Chinese enterprises are playing a significant role in the state’s revival.

Statistics show that China is the third largest trading partner of Michigan. According to the US-China Business Council, cereals, automobiles, and vehicle parts sold to China from Michigan totaled $3.5 billion in 2016. And Chinese enterprises have invested over $4 billion in the state since 2010, creating more than 10,000 jobs.

Michigan has carried out in-depth cooperation with the Chinese government and Chinese industry, universities, and research institutes in the field of intelligent transportation systems, said Brian Connors, executive director of the Michigan-China Innovation Center.

In addition, Chinese enterprises are a major reason why Indiana’s economy is making a recovery. Chinese merchandise exports to the state grew 282% from 2006 to 2016, reaching $2.9 billion, and service exports increased 495% to $749 million.

In 2015 alone, more than 20,000 jobs related with the state’s exports to China have been created. China has become the state’s third largest exporter of merchandise and largest destination for the export of services in just a few years.

Hong Lei, China’s Consul General in Chicago, said that central and western US is an agriculture- and manufacture-dense region with a developed economy and rich resources. Federal states and enterprises in the region, placing high importance on economy and employment, have placed great importance on their relations with China.

In the last decade, Chinese enterprises invested a total of $15 billion in nine US states, creating 36,000 jobs. In return, many multinational enterprises in the regions have also expanded their investments and business dealings in China, gaining huge success and profits.