Google signs patent deal with WeChat developer Tencent amid China push

Google did not disclose the scope of the new patent deal and Tencent did not immediately respond to questions about which products the patent agreement will cover. (Reuters)
Updated 19 January 2018
0

Google signs patent deal with WeChat developer Tencent amid China push

BEIJING: Alphabet’s Google has agreed to a patent licensing deal with Tencent Holdings as it looks for ways to expand in China where many of its products, such as app store, search engine and email service, are blocked by regulators.
The US technology company has signed similar agreements before with Samsung, LG and Cisco Systems, but the deal with Tencent is a first with a large Chinese tech firm.
Google has previously said that agreements such as these reduce the potential of litigation over patent infringement.
The agreement with the Chinese social media and gaming firm Tencent covers a broad range of products and paves the way for collaboration on technology in the future, Google said on Friday, without disclosing any financial terms of the deal.
Tencent oversees China’s top social media and payments app, WeChat, which has close to a billion users. It also oversees one of the country’s most popular app stores and hosts the country’s biggest gaming and livestream platforms.
Google did not disclose the scope of the new patent deal and Tencent did not immediately respond to questions about which products the patent agreement will cover.
“By working together on agreements such as this, tech companies can focus on building better products and services for their users,” said Mike Lee, Google’s head of patents.
Over the past year, Google has indicated that it was looking to increase it presence in the restrictive Chinese market, with the launch of a local AI research lab, introduction of a version of its translation app and expansion into new cities.
The company announced this month that it had invested in Chinese livestream gaming app Chushou, which is similar to Google’s own YouTube game livestreaming services.
In December, Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke at a conference in China hosted by the Cyberspace Administration of China, which oversees censorship in the country.


Turkish lira hits record low, down 20 pct against dollar this year

Updated 23 May 2018
0

Turkish lira hits record low, down 20 pct against dollar this year

ISTANBUL: The Turkish lira tumbled more than 5 percent on Wednesday before recovering some ground, the latest drop in a sell-off that reflects growing investor alarm over the direction of monetary policy under President Tayyip Erdogan.
The decline, exacerbated by stop-loss selling by Japanese retail investors overnight, brings the lira’s losses to more than 20 percent so far this year and puts it on track for its worst monthly performance since the 2008 financial crisis.
The sell-off has also increased expectations that the central bank may be forced to call an extraordinary meeting to raise interest rates before its next scheduled policy-setting meeting on June 7, as it has done in previous years.
“We expect the MPC to hold an interim meeting over the coming days to raise interest rates by at least 200bp,” Jason Tuvey of Capital Economics said in a note to clients.
“If policymakers refrain from tightening monetary policy, the risk of a disorderly adjustment and a sharp economic downturn (possibly recession) will mount.”
The lira was at 4.8500 at 0855 GMT from its close of 4.6746 on Tuesday. It earlier touched a record low of 4.9290. It also fell against the Japanese yen, amid talk Japanese retail investors were selling the lira as it hit stop-loss levels.
“We are bearish on the lira and always have been given its very weak external balances and with macroeconomic policy moving in the wrong direction as well,” said Kiran Kowshik, emerging markets forex strategist at UniCredit.
A self-described “enemy of interest rates,” Erdogan wants borrowing costs lowered to spur credit growth and construction, and he said last week he would seek greater control over monetary policy after elections set for June 24.
Economy officials told Reuters the government’s economic management team met at the start of this week to discuss potential measures, including possible steps by the central bank. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek and Central Bank Governor Murat Cetinkaya attended the meeting.
Ratings agencies sounded alarm about monetary policy. S&P Global senior sovereign analyst Frank Gill told Reuters government finances could deteriorate rapidly if authorities failed to stem pressure on the currency and government borrowing costs .
Investors want to see decisive rate increases to rein in double-digit inflation, and Erdogan’s comments have reinforced long-standing worries about the central bank’s ability to do that.
Borsa Istanbul Group, the Istanbul stock exchange company, said in a statement on Wednesday it had converted its foreign currency assets into lira, aside from its short-term needs, in a step to support the Turkish currency.
The lira’s weakness was exacerbated by dollar gains against a basket of currencies, with investors awaiting the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting for hints on the pace of monetary tightening.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year bond rose to 15.30 percent at the opening from a last trade of 14.92 percent on Tuesday.
The main BIST 100 share index fell 0.22 percent to 103,105 points on Tuesday.