Techcrunch Disrupt SF 2018: More Chinese tech firms take part

Global Business

One of the most influential tech websites, TechCrunch, has just wrapped up its annual Disrupt conference, where startups show off their latest tech products. The San Francisco event has become increasingly global, featuring companies from around the world including many from China.

CGTN’s Mark Niu has the details.

Twelve hundred startups provide a glimpse of what could be in or on our hands soon. Cy5 is showing off a tattoo that’s so smart, it can send biometric data to your phone.

“It is going to stay on your skin for two or three days,” said Ryan Becker, Co-founder of Cy5. “This tracks heart rate as well as blood pressure. You can do blood glucose, melanoma detection and endocrinal pressure.”

Tech here moves from a few centimeters to a full body view.

The startup, Mirror, unveiled a smart mirror that tracks your heart rate, your calories burned and live streams fitness classes run by professional trainers.

With 10,000 attendees, this is the largest TechCrunch Disrupt ever with its largest Chinese company presence too.

Chinese companies are also making a big splash here in the world of auto tech. M-Byte is an all-electric intelligent SUV.

It’s made by the Chinese company Byton, which is headquartered in Nanjing, China and has research and development centers in Silicon Valley and design centers in Germany.

“Our car is designed around the large 1.25 meter display,” Chen said. “Using machine learning and AI, our vehicle has the intelligence to understand what are your normal activities and help you based on what you often to do.”

Also taking the TechCrunch stage is Derek Haoyang Li, the Founder of Shanghai’s Yixue Education.

He’s introducing the audience to the Squirrel AI adaptive learning platform, which uses algorithms to detect the learning gaps in every student to accelerate their learning.

“So that they won’t waste time on something they already know,” Li said. “Also for the students, especially the poor student, we can give them knowledge at a very low level so they can easily understand. I think maybe ten years later, a student can learn ten times more knowledge than now.

Squirrel AI has held five contests where its virtual teachers were pitted against human teachers.

Every time, students learning from Squirrel scored higher.

“We still need teachers to communicate with students, to care about their feelings and also how to form the students personality,” said Li. “I think the teaching, the knowledge teaching part will be mostly replaced by machine.”

Also marveling at the development of AI in China, is the former President of Google China, Kai-Fu Lee, who is now the CEO of Sinovation Ventures.

“China was behind in many areas, but now we can use AI and mobile to re-invent education, clinics, retail. And all of those are just full of opportunities,” Lee told a crowd.

At tech events, Lee is mobbed like a rock star, especially as he prepares to launch his new book “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order.”

Kai-Fu Lee on AI differences between the US and China

Kai-Fu Lee once headed up Google in China and now runs a venture-capital firm in Beijing called Sinovation Ventures. It even develops technology in-house with a team of more than 200 people, far different from the way VC firms operate in Silicon Valley. But it’s something Lee refers to as “China-scale”. CGTN’s Mark Niu sat down with Lee to discuss his thoughts on tech differences between the U-S and China and why his book is called “AI Superpowers.”