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AI does grunt work on China's pig farms

Artificial intelligence technology has been developed to help piglets survive their first months – and then to decide which sows to kill. The scheme is being rolled out in China, the world’s biggest producer and consumer of pork. It marks the latest deployment of tech giant Alibaba’s ET Brain cloud computing service. China’s pig industry is notoriously inefficient, but one expert said the tech could also prove useful elsewhere. For now, the trial is limited to the country’s Sichuan province. Alibaba teamed up with local feed provider Sichuan Tequ and…

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China's birthrate dropped despite allowing 2-child families

The birthrate in China fell last year despite the country easing its family planning policies and allowing all couples to have two children. There were 17.2 million births in the country last year, down from 17.9 million in 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday. China changed its long-standing one-child policy in 2015 in hopes of reversing the trend toward an aging population. The number of births rose nearly 8 percent in 2016, with nearly half of the babies born to couples who already had a child. That increase…

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Will tech firms challenge China's 'open' internet?

Sometimes you can gauge how proud someone is about being at an event by the extent to which they want to talk about it. When that event is China’s annual global internet get-together in Wuzhen there are plenty who turn up, but fewer who want to advertise their attendance. China has been smart and ruthless in its control of the internet within its borders. It blocks some foreign sites all together and it censors – heavily – what Chinese are allowed to see. Nonetheless the big idea at this gathering…

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China's VPN developers face crackdown

China recently launched a crackdown on the use of software which allows users to get around its heavy internet censorship. As the BBC’s Robin Brant in Shanghai found, developers are facing growing pressure. The three plain-clothes policemen tracked him down using a web address. They came to his house and demanded to see his computer. They told him to take down the app he was selling on Apple’s App Store, and filmed it as it was happening. His crime was to develop and sell a piece of software that allows…

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Honour of Kings: China's most vilified online game

Chinese internet giant Tencent insists its profits won’t take a hit from a decision to limit the time children can play one of its most popular games. Access to Honour of Kings is now restricted to one hour a day for children aged under 12 and two hours for children between 12 and 18. The limits were put in place after the government-owned People’s Daily labelled the game “poison” and called for more regulations. What is Honour of Kings? Also translated as Kings of Glory, Honour of Kings is a…

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