Trade War consequences: China as innovation leader

China vs. U.S. tech race — who ends up stronger?

A key tenet of U.S. tariffs imposed against China is curtailing the illegal use of intellectual property by Chinese companies. An unintended consequence of the trade war is strengthening of Chinese tech leadership, as China’s tech giants, including Huawei, Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu are developing their own AI microprocessors and mobile operating systems. The U.S. needs to develop and fund a national agenda for reaching new gains in technologies such as AI and 5G, says think tank CFR. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Countless examples throughout history confirm that competition is good. Competition is proving China to be swift and agile in moving from tech follower to tech leader. If trade wars are accelerating innovation in China, it stands to reason that the EU, US and India will step up innovation as well. Would open economies without tariffs reward innovation at the same rate? Perhaps the US agenda of greater enforcement of IP laws will be successful, especially when Chinese companies develop more IP than the US.

Apple CarPlay gets an update

Apple has made some useful updates to CarPlay, the app that enables your in car display to more easily display your iPhone screen. New features include a split screen, allowing you to see a map and media player at the same time. Also, a passenger can now look things up on other apps while connected to CarPlay and the car display still shows the map. The Apple Maps has been enhanced to make it more travel friendly. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: If your car isn’t compatible with CarPlay or Android Auto, then you need a new car. Integration between the car and the smartphone is perhaps the most important car feature aside from the actual car systems, and the ability to seamlessly integrate both in a safe manner will greatly influence the customer experience. Successful integration provides a powerful platform for entertainment and shopping, as Xevo, a division of Leer Corporation, has shown. Xevo’s growing list of merchant vendors are the preferred vendors that are easily displayed when you search for gas, tires, food or other services from your car.

Musk unveils Starship Prototype

Elon Musk’s SpaceX unveiled, this weekend, its enormous Starship rocket prototype. The large, stainless steel reusable craft will be flying in a matter of months, says Musk. What is not understood is the business model for such a large rocket – far larger than needed to launch satellites. Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: Musk’s unbounded thinking (and spending) put him in the realm of Steve Jobs, especially if SpaceX is able to make commercial space travel and delivery routine. SpaceX is years late in delivering on a NASA contract for Commercial Crew development, and Musk’s problems and cultural problems at Tesla suggest potential for problems at SpaceX. The Starship concept is way ahead of its time and the business model for a large, reusable rocket is, as of now, unknown, but perhaps that is not as important to Musk as being first at something truly revolutionary.

Motorola Razr re-boot: foldable

The popular Razr will come around again, this time, however, it will be a foldable — the new technology that has proven hard to bring to market. Motorola’s mobile assets are now owned by Chinese PC maker, Lenovo. The phone was supposed to have been delivered this summer, but now appears it will be a late year release. CNET

dis-rup-shun: While innovations in smartphones have continued along existing lines, providing better cameras, batteries and apps, it is time for something different. A phone that incorporates current technology (apps), the latest technology (foldable screens) and yesterday’s iconic memories (Razr) could be a hit and a great change from the status quo.

A roadmap to Amazon’s next conquests

The seven industries Amazon will disrupt next

According to analyst firm CBInsights, the next targets for Amazon include the following:

The four industries certain to be disrupted by the Seattle giant:

  1. Pharmacies — Amazon has acquired Drugstore.com and PillPack. dis-rup-shun: Who is in trouble? Pharmacy middlemen (PBMs) and executives enjoying fat profits.
  2. Small business lending — Amazon knows the financial performance of thousands of small merchants that sell on Amazon.com. dis-rup-shun: Who is in trouble? Commercial and local banks.
  3. Online groceries — a notoriously difficult business, Amazon is now expert at both logistics and the retail grocery business from its Whole Foods acquisition. dis-rup-shun: Who is in trouble? Meal subscription services that charge a small premium for meal kits will find Amazon offering more choices for the same or less money.
  4. Payments — the company already owns Amazon Cash, Amazon Reload, Amazon Pay, and Amazon Prime Visa and will work hard to keep more deposits in Amazon accounts. dis-rup-shun: Who is in trouble? Visa, Mastercard and Paypal.

And the industries that may be disrupted by Amazon:

  1. Mortgages — getting approved for a mortgage is a cumbersome activity, therefore ripe for disruption, and Quicken Loans is the leader in fast, online mortgages. Amazon understands online selling. dis-rup-shun: Who is in trouble? Not only mortgage originators, but the archaic title companies.
  2. Home and Garden — several companies are shipping plants and garden kits to new home owners, and this is a supply chain business. dis-rup-shun: Who is in trouble? Amazon needs volume and the mail order plant business may not be very reliable, so Home Depot and Lowe’s will continue to be the go-to companies for lawn and garden.
  3. Insurance — Amazon has a great deal of information about its members, especially Prime members, and can use this data to determine who the better risks are. dis-rup-shun: Who is in trouble? Insurance providers who are not profiling subscribers based on available data and therefore are slow to target the best customers they wish to keep for many years

Ride hailing in China takes a step up

Alibaba (think Chinese Amazon) has created an aggregation service which enables ride hailers (330 million in China) to summon a ride from a single app, rather than compare ride availability across the four major rideshare providers’ apps. The aggregator takes a share of the fare and simplifies the process of both getting a ride and, if you are an emerging ride service, gaining scale. China is raising the required standards for accreditation of drivers and autos, creating a shortage of drivers. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: U.S. and European local governments will be wise to follow China with higher standards for drivers and autos, as the demand for more drivers has degraded the formerly consistently delightful Uber or Lyft experience. Taxis are now looking better than they have in five years as many yellow taxis are now cleaner and mechanically equal or better than the average ride share vehicle. Ride share vendors should offer a new class of premium ride, such as ‘Uber Certified,’ which ensures a clean, sound car and a preferred driver.

Waze data shortens emergence response time

It turns out that Waze users are so good about reporting accidents, that Waze learns about a crash 2 minutes and 41 seconds before emergency responders are notified. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Here is yet another example of crowd sourcing from private enterprise functioning better than a government entity’s best and most optimized emergency system. If a free app can provide more accurate emergency data than the tax-payer funded 911 emergency system, then should the public expect that Facebook’s proposed private currency, Libra, can provide better warnings of financial meltdown, fraud or theft than the Federal Reserve Bank? Makes you wonder.