RISE Day 2 Takeaways

Good morning,

If the first day of RISE was all about global giants, then Day 2 zoomed in on the Asian tech success stories, specifically in China. 

From talks by leading locally founded businesses such as Horizon RoboticsDiDi and DJI to a deep dive into China's internet trends, there were some fascinating insights for global and Australian brands to note. 

Here's our key takeaways from day two. Don't forget, we'll go into more detail in our upcoming event on the 24th - email us to RSVP

It's no longer about AI companies, it's about how AI is embedded in your company

Brands and investors alike agreed that for AI, it's no longer a question of if but when. And just like the shift from describing digitally-born businesses as 'internet companies' to a shared understanding that these companies obviously use the internet, the emergent 'AI brands' will use AI to deliver business objectives, with a more embedded and integrated approach to AI.

Discussing her company's focus on edge AI, Horizon Robotics CEO Annie Tao said they believe an infrastructure with distributed AI computation is just as important as the intelligent applications that are often the focus of AI discussion and media. She pointed out that AlphaGo has been evolving more powerfully each year since 2015 - not just the intelligence itself, but also the computational power improvements behind the scene. 

The more computation efficiency and lower power, the more AI will be able to integrate with existing and new businesses. 

Retail isn't dead, but the role of retail has changed

In news that should encourage any brand with a retail footprint, the speakers from fashion, beauty and technology at RISE today stressed that physical retail isn't dead. But if you're a brand keen to compete in the bricks and mortar environment, you need to be rethinking what your physical footprint means in your broader brand strategy.

"People misunderstand the incredibly flexible spaces of physical stores - they'll become part of an industrial solution change like at Apple because they're part of a distribution network, a place to ship as well as sell" said Tim Kobe of Eight Inc. who was one of the minds behind Apple's retail strategy. "Thinking of them as 'just' a retail transaction point is missing some of the complexity these spaces can solve."

Masahiko Uotani, CEO of beauty giant Shiseido said the brand's emphasis on personalisation and moving from mass retail to 1:1 selling has been empowered by technology. In learning that 90% of Chinese customers born after 1995 base their beauty purchases on online reviews, they looked to bring their products to the user rather than driving them to a store, leading to acqusitions of companies MatchCo and Optune, both mobile apps that offer personalised product recommendations.

Multiplayer entertainment is only going to get bigger

Twitch co-founder Justin Lin managed to not only help me understand why multiplayer entertainment has become so enormous in the past few years, but also why it's only going to grow in influence over the coming years. "We were the biggest website no one had ever heard of" he joked, sharing how Twitch was the fourth largest source of peak internet traffic in the USA in Feb 2014, despite many people having no idea what it was.

Lin says Twitch's massive reach and engagement (17.6 million daily uniques, spending an average of 90 minutes per day on the platform) is due to the fundamentally different way audiences and creators experience the content. Because the 'creators' broadcast directly through the platform and engage and respond to the fans, it's much more "accessible and collaborative" for both parties.

"The games are an important part of the show for sure, but it’s a backdrop to the creator personality. It’s really about how you engage as a content creator with your audience. You’re building a personal relationship that has a lot of depth around it, and this format works for things outside of gaming too.”

To learn more about Twitch and how multiplayer entertainment is shaping the type of content we consume, and how we consume it, here's a good explainer from Newsweek

The internet looks different in China - but we can learn so much from it

Hands down the most fascinating talk I went to today was from local media South China Morning Post and Abacus, who walked us through their China Internet Report 2019, a deep dive into the Chinese tech landscape from user behaviour to investment trends. 

From showing all the Chinese counterpart companies to Western giants (eg; Google vs. Baidu) to demonstrating just how big China's tech consumption is (eg; there are currently more people paying with their phones in China than people in the USA) the report provides a good primer on anyone wanting to understand the Chinese tech landscape and where it's headed. 

Only got time for the headlines? Here's the four key trends to know:

1/ China's 'copycat' tech industry is now being copied. Having pioneered the 'super app'; a one-stop shop for services from shopping to ride hailing to money transfers with platforms like WeChatAlipay and Meituan, Chinese companies are now seeing this type of app replicated overseas with Facebook's expanded Messenger app offering, LINE and Go-Jek.

2/ China is racing ahead with 5G. China is putting a lot of resources into rolling out 5G - its currently piloting 5G in more than a dozen cities with a total population of 167 million - and that's just to begin. It also holds double the amount of patents for 5G technology compared to the USA, indicating that there's already diversity in thinking and approach from the local market.

3/ China is using AI on a massive scale. With regulated systems in place to more easily roll out AI on a broad scale, China's focus of AI centers on access control, customised recommendations, surveillance and smart city solutions, meaning anything from paying your subway fare to catching criminals and identifying citizens could be rolled out in the near future.

4/ Social credit is becoming a reality in China. No it's not a Black Mirror episode, since 2013 China has had the intention to 'score each citizen based on behaviour' in order to encourage trustworthiness and good behaviour. While it's a big project, it's grown in prominence and has already spawned local businesses, and the structures to rolling out such a system rely heavily on tech. Wired have a good explainer if you want to learn more.


You can read the report in full here.

Insights from Monocle + RISE

Keen to join our Insights breakfast on Monocle and RISE on Wednesday 24th July at Creative Cubes Richmond from 7.30am - 9am?
Just click to register your RSVP below. 
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