May 20, 2020

Google developing censored search engine to take on Baidu in China, Project Dragonfly

search engine
Project Dragonfly
2 min
Google developing censored search engine to take on Baidu in China, Project Dragonfly
Google has announced that it is exploring a version of its search engine that would comply with China’s strict internet censorship laws
In September, Google’s chief privacy officer Keith Enright told a Senate committee that Project Dragonfly, the censored search engine’s codename, exists but remains a long way from launch.
Abacus reported that Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, addressed the project at the Wired 25 conference in San Francisco, stating that Google will “follow the rule of law” when it comes to approaching a reintroduction to the Chinese market.
Google’s search engine was pulled from China in 2010 following a hacking attack of Chinese origin against itself and other US tech companies, and as of 2014 its search engine, Gmail facility, and Chrome browser are not available on the Chinese mainland.
With Project Dragonfly, that could be set to change.
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“We wanted to learn what it would look like if Google was operating in China,” Pichai said at the conference.
“It’s very early, we don’t know whether we would or could do this in China but we felt like it was important for us to explore. I think it’s important for us given how important the market is and how many users there are.”
SCMP noted that Dragonfly “would blacklist websites on human rights, democracy, religion and other issues deemed sensitive by the Chinese government” in order to be compliant.
In a column piece for SCMP, Bai Tongdong said that Baidu responded to the news by saying it would offer an opportunity to “win one more time”, though he noted that “Chinese internet users don’t seem convinced that Google’s retreat from China was due to fair but powerful competition from Baidu.”
He said, compared with concerns regarding Project Dragonfly going against Google’s ethos of open information for all, “The irony is that the news was welcomed by ordinary Chinese” who are concerned by Baidu’s prioritisation of profit-driven search results.

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Jun 7, 2021

Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek

3 min
Singaporean Ho Ching created the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia, before leading Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund to global success

Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.

Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.

Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.

Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.

As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.

It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.

But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.

As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.

So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.


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