Google says ‘no changes’ to mapping platform in China after report

The Google mobile phone icon. (AP)
Updated 16 January 2018
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Google says ‘no changes’ to mapping platform in China after report

BEIJING: Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Tuesday it has made “no changes” to its mapping platform in China, denying an earlier media report that claimed it was re-launching the function in China, where many of its services are blocked.
Japan’s Nikkei reported earlier that Google had set up a China-specific version of the Google Maps website for the first time in eight years and introduced a map application for Chinese iPhones for the first time. (http://s.nikkei.com/2DcmYjU)
Google, however, stated that the Google Maps browser has been available in China for many years while there is no Maps application offered in the country.
“There have been no changes to Google Maps in China. Maps has been accessible on desktop for years, but does not have an official presence in Android or iOS app stores in China,” Google Spokesman Taj Meadows said in comments sent to Reuters.
A Chinese version of Google Maps was accessible on Tuesday on mobile and desktop browsers with certain functions available, but Reuters was unable to find a Google Maps app available in Chinese app stores.
Nikkei reported users could find an app, but if they tried to use features like navigation they were automatically transferred to an app from AutoNavi, a mapping company owned by China’s Alibaba Group Holding.
AutoNavi did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for a comment.
Google has tried to re-enter the China market, where its main search platform is blocked along with its popular video platform YouTube, limiting its access to China’s Internet users.
Google joined an investment in Chinese live-stream mobile game platform Chushou earlier this month after ramping up an artificial intelligence (AI) push last year, including launching an AI lab in December and hosting a match of the board game Go between its AI project Alpha Go and Chinese Go champion Ke Jie.
Last month, Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai spoke at a high-profile tech event in China organized by the Cyberspace Administration of China, which oversees Internet censorship.
A full Google Maps app has not been available in China since the company pulled many of its services in 2010 after refusing to self-censor its search results. Since then, it has maintained a limited presence in the world’s top smartphone market.


MBC Group inks deal with China’s National Radio and Television Administration

The agreement was signed at MBC Group’s headquarters in Dubai. (Supplied)
Updated 15 November 2018
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MBC Group inks deal with China’s National Radio and Television Administration

  • The deal will includ dubbed television programs from both territories, as well as joint productions
  • The digital media sector is of utmost importance to us: Al Ibrahim

JEDDAH: MBC Group has signed a three-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China’s National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) on Wednesday.
The MoU seeks to develop traditional and digital media content; sharing TV and film production expertise and competencies; and promoting and developing the human resource sector.
The strategic agreement will comprise media content in all its forms, including dubbed television programs from both territories, as well as joint productions.
The signing ceremony took place at MBC Group’s headquarters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in the presence of MBC Group Chairman Sheikh Waleed Bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim; Vice Chairman Ali Al-Hedeithy, and CEO Sam Barnett. Representing NRTA was Gao Jianmin, Deputy Minister of Information at NRTA, as well as a number of senior executives and consultants.
Al Ibrahim said: “The National Radio and Television Administration aims to develop a comprehensive media environment that simulates its peers from the world's largest companies, in terms of efficiency, performance, innovation, research and development, as well as other areas of growth and development.”
In terms of digital media, the agreement will see MBC showcasing Chinese films dubbed and translated into Arabic, with NRTA tailoring MBC content for Chinese audiences.
“The digital media sector is of utmost importance to us; digital platforms are now a necessity for the growth of any media organization in the region and the world. Investing in the event industry and in human capital is as crucial as investing in media content, so we are now sharing our experiences in these sectors with our partners in China,” Al Ibrahim said.
Jianmin stated: “We are pleased to announce today this strategic cooperation with MBC in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative. MBC has established over the years the prime broadcasting platform across the Middle East and North Africa region and we believe our partnership will support the cultural cooperation and content sharing across our regions.
“We are looking forward to a successful cooperation that will represent one more milestone on the long history of exchanges between China and the Middle East.”
The agreement also includes the attendance and participation of both parties in events and festivals hosted by either party. For example, this includes the participation of MBC in the China-Arab Cooperation Forum in Radio and Television, in addition to other television and film festivals held in China. Meanwhile, MBC Group will host NRTA at media, film, television and festival events in the region.
Resourcing and the human development sector is at the heart of this agreement, focusing on the exchange of expertise through joint seminars, courses and training programs aimed at honing the human talent of both parties.