May 20, 2020

Xiaomi ships 100mn smartphones, beating annual target before official UK launch

2 min
Xiaomi ships 100mn smartphones, beating annual target before official UK launch
Chinese electronics company Xiaomi has reached its annual smartphone sales target of 100mn units with two months to spare, according to the South China Morning Post
Reporting on a 26 October Sina Weibo social media post by Xiaomi chief executive Lei Jun, SCMP said that the Beijing-based firm’s shipments so far in 2018 mark a 43% increase in year on year sales.
It added that rival manufacturer Huawei hit 100mn annual sales in July as it aims for 200mn total shipments for 2018.
Xiaomi, in addition to its extensive range of smartphone models, produces other tech including laptops, electric toothbrushes, speaker systems, VR headsets, fitness bands, drones, and speakers.
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With plans to launch in the UK next month, Xiaomi’s unit sales are set to receive another injection of pace as it fully enters another major Western market.
Xiaomi is opening its own brick-and-mortar store in London on 10 November, and has struck a deal with mobile operator Three to sell handsets and contracts through its online and offline channels.
Until this official launch in the UK, Tech Advisor said that British customers can only get their hands on Xiaomi handsets by paying the full amount for the device and subsequently taking out a SIM-only deal.
This limitation has meant the company has not yet been able to gain a foothold against the likes of Apple, Samsung, and Huawei in the UK market, with this official launch signalling Xiaomi’s continued aim of growing internationally.

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Jul 18, 2021

Beyond Limits: Cognitive AI in APAC

3 min
Artificial intelligence startup Beyond Limits and global investment company Mitsui have partnered up to bring AI to the energy industry

Courtesy of current estimates, it looks like Asia-Pacific AI will be worth US$136bn by 2025. Its governments and corporations invest more money than the rest of the world in AI tech, the data of its citizens is considered fair game, and its pilots are small-scale and, as a result, ruthlessly effective. This is why, according to Jeff Olson, Cognizant’s Associate Vice President for Projects, AI and Analytics, Digital Business and Technology, the APAC region ‘is right on the edge of an AI explosion’. 


Now, startup Beyond Limits is pushing the boundaries of what AI can do, mirroring humans in its ability to find solutions with even limited information. As of this July, it’s partnered up with Mitsui, a global trading and investment company, to expand its impact in APAC. 

How Does Beyond Limits Work? 

Most AI companies claim that they can help businesses make better decisions. But many need astoundingly large stores of data to feed their information-hungry algorithms. Beyond Limits, in contrast, takes a different tack. Perfect data, after all, is largely a pipe dream kept alive by PhD students. In reality, systems must often make decisions from small, incomplete sets of intel. 


But Beyond Limits’ AI is no black box. ‘When little to no data is available, Beyond Limits symbolic technologies rely on deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning capabilities’, explained Clare Walker, Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. While making these leaps in logic, however, the system also keeps track, ensuring that humans can review the AI’s ‘thought process’. 

Why Partner With Mitsui? 

Beyond Limits is built for specific applications such as energy, utilities, and healthcare—but lacks the extensive industry network of Mitsui. Partnering allows Beyond Limits to access a portfolio of firms specialising in minerals and metals, energy, infrastructure, and chemicals. ‘We’ve been working on this deal for several years’, said Mitsui’s Deputy General Manager Hiroki Tanabe. ‘Mitsui’s global portfolio and Beyond Limits’ AI technology will...deliver impact’. 


In the first test of that dramatic statement, Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will soon deploy Beyond Limits’ new system. If everything goes according to plan, LNG will optimise how it extracts and refines energy, making money for both itself and investors—including Mitsui. This, in fact, is Mitsui’s strategy: go digital and don’t look back. 


Why Does This Matter? 

Forty-five percent of Asia-Pacific companies surveyed in Cognizant’s thought leadership ebook consider themselves AI leaders. Positivity bias, that oh-so-common tendency of humans to position themselves as above average as compared to others, strikes again. (Most small companies fail to launch successful AI projects on their own.) And partly, this is because firms fail to integrate AI with industry expertise. 


 ‘A large part of the focus on talent for AI today has been getting the people who are strong in mathematics, AI, and technologies’, said Olson. ‘But where you make your money out of AI projects is when you apply them to your business’. In short: APAC nations looking for ways to bridge the gap might follow Beyond Limits and Mitsui’s playbook—coupling startup AI with a corporate network.


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