BEIJING: Microsoft’s Bing search engine was inaccessible in China on Thursday, with social media users fearing it could be the latest foreign website to be blocked by censors.
Attempts to open cn.bing.com has resulted in an error message for users since Wednesday.
“We’ve confirmed that Bing is currently inaccessible in China and are engaged to determine next steps,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a brief statement, hours after saying the company was investigating the matter.
China’s Communist authorities operate an online censorship apparatus known as the “Great Firewall”, which blocks a slew of websites including Facebook, Twitter and several foreign media outlets.
But it was not clear whether or not Bing joined the long list of prohibited websites, or if its China service was experiencing technical difficulties.
China’s cyberspace administration did not immediately return a request for comment.
China’s Great Firewall can be circumvented by using a virtual private network (VPN), which can hide a user’s IP address.
While its rival Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010 after rows over censorship and hacking, Bing has continued to operate in the country along with Microsoft-owned Skype.
On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media site, people complained about the lack of access, with some speculating that Bing too had been “walled off”.
Others aired their dissatisfaction about having to use Baidu, China’s largest domestic search service.
“I can’t open Bing, but I don’t want to use Baidu — what to do?” wrote one user.
“Bing is actually dead — is this to force me to use Baidu??” said another, cursing.
China has tightened policing of the internet in recent years, shuttering 26,000 “illegal” websites in 2018 alone and deleting six million online posts containing vulgar content, the official Xinhua news agency said earlier this month.
Bing’s disruption comes as the United States and China are locked in a bruising trade war, with US accusations that China steals technological know-how among the core disagreements.
The two sides are scheduled for new trade negotiations next week.
S. Korea to begin 5G service in March
SEOUL: South Korea’s finance minister said today that Seoul will become the first country in the world to start commercial operations of fifth-generation mobile network services next month.
Hong Nam-ki made the announcement at a meeting with senior officials on innovation-led growth in Seoul. KT Corp., South Korea’s leading wireless and fixed-line services provider, carried out a world first
trial service of its 5G system during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics last year. 5G data transmission speeds are 40-50 times faster than the existing 4G network or long-term evolution (LTE) and are expected to open a wide range of new business opportunities for the communication service sector.
The system, moreover, allows greater numbers of people to communicate with each other at the same time and promises to open vast markets for devices and services. The finance minister also said KT and two other local competitors – SK Telecom Co. and LG Uplus Inc. – will invest some 3 trillion won (US$2.6 billion) this year to set up seamless 5G connectivity in the country going forward.
Malaysia aims to become leading aerospace nation by 2030
MALAYSIA: Malaysia is aiming to become Southeast Asia’s leading aerospace nation by 2030, says International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking.
He said by 2030, the industry was targeted to generate an annual revenue of RM55.2 billion and create more than 32,000 high-income jobs.
“Under the 11th Malaysia Plan, the government had identified the aerospace sector as one of the new growth industries for Malaysia,” he said when launching SAM Engineering and Equipment (M) Bhd’s new plant here Thursday.
Darell said the government aimed to shift Malaysia’s economy from labour intensive to high value-added, as well as knowledge and innovation-based economy, with a focus on the services and manufacturing sectors.
“In 2017, the Malaysian aerospace industry recorded a revenue of RM13.5 billion, with aerospace manufacturing contributing 48 per cent of the amount.
“The (aerospace) industry’s export value reached RM8.51 billion, comprising mainly of aerospace parts and components,” he said.
Citing a report, Darell said aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing forecast that more than 40,000 new aircraft would be needed globally by 2037 and about 16,000 aircraft would be delivered to the Asia-Pacific region.
“Airbus valued the 35,000 of the planes to be delivered over the next 20 years at around US$5 trillion (US$1=RM4.07),” he said.
The minister said a strong ecosystem to support aerospace manufacturing, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) activities was needed in view of the expected increase in the number of aircraft globally and regionally.
“This positive development is spurring the government to view the aerospace industry as a critical sector offering abundant opportunities for the transfer of advanced technologies in engineering, electronics, composite materials, system integration, MRO, and industry-led research and technology,” he added.
Samsung launches flagship Galaxy S10 series smartphones in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO: South Korea’s top smartphone manufacturer Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. has officially launched its flagship Galaxy S lineup of smartphones at its Unpacked event in downtown San Francisco.
The newly unveiled products consist of three models — the cheaper S10e, the standard S10 and the S10 Plus, which Samsung claimed are next-generation mobile devices for needs of a future life.
Galaxy S10 Plus boasts a 6.4-inch screen featuring Samsung’s new “Dynamic AMOLED” display technology, and an Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor that is believed to be fast enough to become a strong contender of Apple’s iPhone XS Max.
The launch of the Galaxy S series smartphones coincided with the 10th anniversary of the Galaxy family since the first Galaxy S mobile phone made its debut a decade ago.
Samsung said the new lineup “delivers a next-generation experience in the categories consumers care about most: groundbreaking innovations in display, camera and performance.”
“Since its launch 10 years ago, the Galaxy S series has stood for premium innovation — offering consumers an incredible experience, and the ability to find the device that’s right for them,” said DJ Koh, president and CEO of IT and Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics.
With these new products, Samsung is “leveraging a decade of industry leadership to usher in a new era of smartphone technology,” Koh added.
Samsung also announced its new lineup of Galaxy wearables — Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Fit and Galaxy wireless ear buds at Wednesday’s event.