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

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.


Sales of grounded Boeing jets lift off at Dubai Airshow

Updated 37 min 34 sec ago

Sales of grounded Boeing jets lift off at Dubai Airshow

  • Saudi Arabian budget airline Flynas confirms deal to buy ten long-range Airbus narrow-body planes

DUBAI: Boeing’s 737 MAX took center stage at the Dubai Airshow on Tuesday as airlines announced plans to order up to 50 of the jets worth $6 billion at list prices despite a global grounding in place since March.

Kazakhstan flag carrier Air Astana said it had signed a letter of intent to order 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets for its Fly Arystana subsidiary.

Air Astana, which operates Airbus and Embraer jets in its main network, said it was confident in Boeing’s ability to resolve problems with the MAX.

Global regulators banned commercial flights of Boeing’s fastest-selling jet in March after two fatal accidents.

Plans for the jet’s return to commercial service have been pushed back to early 2020 as Boeing finalizes software and training revisions that need regulatory approval.

“We are making flying affordable for the people of Kazakhstan,” Air Astana Chief Planning Officer Alma Aliguzhinova said, adding that budget carrier Fly Arystana would start taking the jets in late 2021.

The airline plans to hold 15 aircraft directly and may finance the rest through a lease transaction, she said, adding that Air Astana would not change the composition of its main fleet.

Separately, another airline signed a firm order for 10 Boeing 737 MAX 7 and 10 Boeing MAX 10 jets, a person familiar with the matter said. The airline’s name was not disclosed.

Boeing has used the past two major industry events to try to secure market momentum for the grounded MAX, which is seen as key to the planemaker’s financial health over the coming decade.

A letter of intent between Boeing and British Airways owner IAG for 200 jets, which grabbed the spotlight at the Paris Airshow in June, has yet to be finalized as the European holding company discusses the fleet change with subsidiaries that use Airbus for medium-haul operations.

In other business coinciding with the largest Middle East air show on Tuesday, Saudi budget airline Flynas agreed to buy 10 long-range Airbus A321XLR jets.

The airline’s chief executive had said on Monday that Flynas was in talks to exercise purchasing options for some or all of 40 Airbus A320neo narrow-body jets.. Airbus unveiled a provisional order in Dubai for eight of its small A220 jets from Air Senegal. Britain’s easyJet exercised options for 12 more Airbus A320neo aircraft.

Also coinciding with the show, leasing giant GECAS was expected to confirm an order for 25 Airbus planes, including 12 A330neo jets powered by engines from Rolls-Royce, a competitor to GECAS parent company General Electric.

However, there were no immediate signs that Dubai’s Emirates was ready to finalize a provisional order for 40 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.