A spicy in­vi­ta­tion with a tech twist

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - PAGE TWO -

Rev­o­lu­tion is in the air. China is on the road to be­com­ing a tech­no­log­i­cal be­he­moth.

For­get be­ing the work­shop of the world — that’s yes­ter­day’s news.

This na­tion has set a path to­ward a fu­ture of in­no­va­tion and in­ven­tion, har­ness­ing its vast imag­i­na­tive and en­tre­pre­neur­ial skills with a vi­sion of be­com­ing a mid­dle­class so­ci­ety with high tech at its core.

In many ways it’s al­ready well down the road to ac­com­plish­ing its mis­sion. Tech­no­log­i­cal mar­vels are every­where to be seen.

One of my fa­vorites is WeChat. Us­ing this pop­u­lar Chi­nese app, as ev­ery­one surely knows, you can chat to your friends, shop, read

This Day, That Year

Item­fromJuly24,1994,in Chi­naDaily:China’scon­sumer­elec­tron­ic­sin­dus­tryis soar­ing.Dur­ingth­e­firsthalf oftheyear,pro­duc­tion­was worth36.3bil­lionyuan,up 35.6per­centover­the­same pe­ri­od­lastyear...

Of­fi­cialssaythatthe­gov­ern­men­tismaking­ef­fort­sto buildthe­elec­tron­ic­sin­dus­try­in­toap­il­larofthen­ationale­con­o­myin10years.

Smart elec­tron­ics have be­come an in­dus­try trend in China as con­sumers pur­sue con­ve­nience and a green lifestyle. ar­ti­cles and pay for pur­chases by scan­ning a QR code to take money from your vir­tual wal­let.

I love those lit­tle “pings” I hear when some­one con­tacts me on WeChat. It could be a pal shar­ing a joke, a col­league dis­cussing a work is­sue or — best of all — some­one new want­ing to be my friend.

As a mat­ter of fact, I had a friend re­quest a few days ago. A very at­trac­tive-look­ing lady — if her pic­ture was any­thing to go by — pinged my phone and asked me to add her. Was it a col­league, some­one I had met? I couldn’t tell be­cause her name was in Chi­nese, as was her mes­sage. She also sent me a QR code.

I added her to my friends list and replied, ask­ing for a trans­la­tion of her mes­sage — but none was forth­com­ing.

Puz­zled, I asked a Chi­nese col­league at work to look at the mes­sage and tell me who my new “friend” was. She

En­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly air con­di­tion­ers, re­frig­er­a­tors, wash­ing machines and a host of other house­hold prod­ucts are now widely avail­able.

The coun­try is be­com­ing a ma­jor player in tech­nol­ogy and prod­uct de­sign.

More than 1,500 Chi­nese com­pa­nies par­tic­i­pated in the Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show in Las Ve­gas in Jan­uary, ac­count­ing for 42 per­cent of all ex­hibitors.

Many com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Huawei, Changhong, TCL, LeEco and DJI, had large pavil­ions at the event, gig­gled: “It’s a lady. You don’t know her. She wants to get to know you.”

“Is she ... a naughty lady?” I asked, quickly putting two and two to­gether and get­ting 10. I didn’t want to be too spe­cific with my de­mure col­league. “Yes, she is.” Well, this was a reve­la­tion. I had ap­par­ently been con­tacted by — let’s mince words here — a scar­let woman. But not just any old es­cort. This one had a QR code — just scan it with your phone, choose from the drop-down menu of ser­vices, no doubt, and pay from your vir­tual wal­let. Not so much on­line gam­ing as be­ing on the game on­line.

Wow! China had taken its in­ge­nu­ity for in­no­va­tion to a new fron­tier — your fan­tasies ful­filled with the scan of a code.

Be­ing a re­spectable mar­ried man, a pil­lar of the com­mu­nity and all that, I wasn’t tempted. But what show­cas­ing smart home de­vices and ser­vices.

Haier, which bought GE Ap­pli­ances early last year, dis­played its U+ sys­tem, fea­tur­ing the com­pany’s smart home prod­ucts.

The com­pany has also es­tab­lished an in­ter­net of things net­work in co­op­er­a­tion with China Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Corp to roll out an ar­ray of new in­ter­con­nected house­hold prod­ucts.

Last year, Chi­nese home an in­ter­est­ing story.

Be­fore writ­ing it, I thought I’d bet­ter dou­ble check with my col­league to make sure I wasn’t in dan­ger of be­smirch­ing an in­no­cent woman. I showed her the mes­sages again. Did she re­ally think they came from a lady of the night?

“Maybe it’s just some­one who just liked the look of you. Or maybe she has a shop and wants to sell you some­thing. Or the code could be there to pro­tect her un­til she knows she can trust you.”

This was not what I wanted to hear. This was not the las­civ­i­ous sce­nario I had mapped out in my head. This was my story evap­o­rat­ing be­fore my eyes.

But never mind, I’ ll write it any­way.

As many a jour­nal­ist will tell you, never let the facts spoil a good story.

Con­tact the writer at david@chi­nadaily.com.cn ap­pli­ances man­u­fac­tur­ers re­ported 120 bil­lion yuan ($18 bil­lion) in prof­its, up 20 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous year, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Bureau of Statis­tics.

MATT ROURKE / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Peo­ple cool off in a foun­tain at Dil­worth Park in Cen­ter City, Penn­syl­va­nia, on Fri­day. The US Na­tional Weather Ser­vice has is­sued an ex­ces­sive heat warn­ing for the area.

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