Alibaba is aiming to launch its first AI inference chip in the second half of 2019
- The Chinese firm said at an event in Hangzhou on Wednesday that the new subsidiary would make customised AI chips and embedded processors to support the firm’s push into fast-growing cloud and internet of things (IoT) businesses.
- Alibaba’s aggressive drive to develop its own semiconductors comes as China’s government looks to raise the quality of home-made chips to help propel high-tech domestic industries from cutting-edge transport to AI healthcare systems.
- In April, Alibaba bought a Chinese microchip maker Hangzhou C-SKY Microsystems to help bolster its cloud-based “internet of things” (IoT) business.
- Jack Ma, Alibaba co-founder and chairman, said then that China needed to control its “core technology” like chips to avoid over-reliance on U.S. imports, something which has been put in the spotlight by whipsawing trade tensions.
Retail investors explain Soul Patts and Brickworks value gap
- One logical explanation for the discount to net assets gap is that Robert Millner and Todd Barlow at Soul Patts has been much better at attracting retail investors than Lindsay Partridge at Brickworks.
- Millner, who is executive chairman of Soul Patts and Brickworks, says retail investors like investing in Soul Patts because of its dividend growth and its defensive qualities in times of volatility.
- He says that over the past three years Soul Patts has seen a 58 per cent increase in retail investors on its share register from about 12,000 to 19,000.
- Millner says Partridge, who is chief executive of Brickworks, will be doing more to attract retail investors.
- Soul Patts shares were trading at $23.90 on Thursday morning, which is just above the inferred value of net assets of about $22.72.
Aged care royal commission won't be 'free-for-all for lawyers'
- When it comes to the royal commission into the aged care sector, don't expect a repeat of the Hayne banking royal commission with top-tier firms at 10 paces.
- But Thomson Geer partner Arthur Koumoukelis said people shouldn't expect a repeat of the banking royal commission "trying to pick out all the bad stories" – at least not if the commissioner wants to get to the bottom of what's actually going on.
- Mr Koumoukelis said due to the sheer number of operators in the sector, the aged care royal commission would likely look quite different to the banking royal commission, which is predominantly made up of well resourced for-profit firms.
- Maddocks partner Lucille Scomazzon said the aged care royal commission, and any additional regulatory burden it may recommend, could also prove to be "a line in the sand" for many operators and lead to greater consolidation in the sector.
Banking royal commission exposes Suncorp's 'very low cost of doing business' with ASIC
- The corporate regulator hit Suncorp with a $43,200 fine for promoting an insurance policy in an misleading way, instead of the $7.2 million the company was liable for, the Hayne royal commission has heard.
- Counsel assisting the royal commission Rowena Orr, QC, asked Suncorp's Gary Dransfield about a decision to continue promising customers complete replacement as part of home and contents insurance long after the regulator had expressed concern about the statement.
- The Australian Securities and Investments Commission would eventually serve Suncorp with four infringement notices for making false and misleading representations under section 12DB of the ASIC Act. ASIC would spell out in the notices that although it was within its rights to pursue the insurer for $1.8 million for each offence, or $7.2 million in total, it would only seek a fine of $10,800 for each offence or $43,200 in total.
- Mr Dransfield said although he accepted the Commissioner's view, Suncorp's board and risk management committees took the matters seriously.
Emerging markets could actually benefit from the trade war, says pension fund
- Tit-for-tat trade tariffs between the United States and China are widely expected to hit developing countries hard as they rely heavily on exports to fuel growth.
- But there's one bright spot, according to one of the world's biggest pension funds.
- International trade pressures could eventually force the governments of emerging economies to implement structural changes and long-term reforms, Suyi Kim, senior managing director and head of Asia Pacific at the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board said at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin on Thursday.
- That would be highly beneficial for long-term investors such as the CPPIB, Kim told CNBC.
Julia Gillard on resilience after misogyny
- She says the institute, which has appointed a director, Professor Rosie Campbell, will disseminate its practical findings to women’s activist groups, political parties, governments, companies, civil society and other research centres to ensure the information about what works “gets into the hands of those most able to use it”.
- The institute is in its early stages but Ms Gillard says planned work includes: providing more empirical evidence of the effectiveness of gender diversity initiatives; examining how to engage men and boys in the fight for gender equality; and how to share experience and knowledge better across borders.
- Even in the few years since she left her top job, there has been significant progress in remedying gender inequality, spurred both by popular movements such as #MeToo, which campaigns against sexual harassment in the workplace, and by a growing body of research, to which the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership hopes to add.
- Julia Gillard, former Australian prime minister, on resilience in the face of misogyny.
Suncorp billed homeless bushfire victims for home, contents insurance
- Suncorp sent bush fire victims who had lost their homes renewal policies for home and contents insurance and in some cases charged them premiums for homes that no longer existed, the Hayne royal commission has heard.
- Suncorp's handling of the bushfire victims claims would blow up on November 2016 when Sarah Henderson MP made a speech to parliament taking the insurer to task for delays and low balling policy holders who were promised complete replacement, prompting Suncorp CEO Michael Cameron to draft a letter to the Prime Minister.
- Ms Orr would repeatedly put claims to Mr Dransfield that Suncorp tried to pressure customers into accepting cash settlements as part of the complete replacement cover.
- Mr Dransfield was shown emails from Suncorp's former head of insurance Anthony Day to CEO Michael Cameron sent on Monday November 14 that said "Our preference (and contractual right) is cash rather than full rebuild)".
James Packer pays $82 million for Danny DeVito's former Beverly Hills compound
- Australian billionaire James Packer has splashed out $US59.5 million ($82 million) to buy Danny DeVito's former home in Beverly Hills, California.
- According to London's Sun newspaper, the 51-year-old splurged on the Hollywood pad – the biggest property purchase since leaving Australia five years ago – to be closer to his children.
- There is also a stand-alone entertainment building which includes DeVito's original screening room, a wine room and a cigar room.
- Mr Packer nabbed the keys to the property for $34 million below the asking price.
- The property was listed in May for $116 million.
- It comes after Mr Packer off-loaded his Bondi Beach bachelor pad a month ago for $29 million, smashing the suburb record.
Sen. McCaskill says she will vote against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh
- Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, facing a tough re-election battle in Missouri, said on Wednesday she will vote against confirming President Donald Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh.
- In a statement posted on Twitter, McCaskill said her decision is not based on recent allegations that Kavanaugh, currently a federal judge, assaulted a girl in high school, which Kavanaugh denies.
- Trump, a Republican, won Missouri in the 2016 presidential election.
Banking royal commission: Bushfires raise questions on Suncorp's cash splash
- The Suncorp group received 61 claims following the disaster, with 34 of those on AAMI branded products.
- An option under AAMI polices is called complete replacement cover, which allowed the customer to get cover whereby AAMI would cover the total cost of repairing and rebuilding the home.
- Dransfield told senior counsel assisting, Rowena Orr QC, that while Suncorp could have done more to keep customers informed as to the progress of their claims, he did not accept Suncorp had contributed to delays.
- Orr then showed a number of claims where Suncorp's proposed cash settlement was much lower than quotes customers had obtained.
- Orr asked whether Dransfield thought a cash settlement should allow a customer to "properly complete all necessary repairs" and whether Suncorp "acted consistently with that proposition".
- Orr again pointed Dransfield to ASIC's report, which showed that between October 2013 and November 2016, 81 per cent of complete cover claims were cash settled.