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Weekly Recap - 08/28/2023
China's real estate, ChatGPT Enterprise, Online scammers, world athletic championship, EU fossil generation, China map controversy
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China’s real estate
Country Garder, a homebuilder, has also warned that the company could go into default after they reported a loss of $7 billion. These property companies are unable to pay back the money to their people who invested during the real estate boom.
People want their money and are taking action. Lawsuits and complaints to local authorities are piling up. Construction workers are posting protest banners at empty construction sites that have been chained and locked. “It’s shameful to delay wages,” one sign says. “Country Garden, pay back my hard-earned money,” reads another
Some interesting articles to read about what’s going on in China:
OpenAI has released an enterprise-grade version of ChatGPT. This offers more security and privacy-related features where an enterprise doesn’t want to share their private data for training to the public models.
You own and control your business data in ChatGPT Enterprise. We do not train on your business data or conversations, and our models don’t learn from your usage. ChatGPT Enterprise is also SOC 2 compliant and all conversations are encrypted in transit and at rest.
This is a great move as a lot of big enterprises were looking for this kind of feature so that they could easily deploy it and use it without worrying about data being shared for public training. A funny thing about this is it might kill a lot of startups that were trying to do the same thing last year. The reach of OpenAI is massive and it is hard to compete with them. I guess if Google’s Bard can compete that should create a healthy competition.
According to this report by the United Nations, hundreds of thousands of people are forced to participate in online scamming by criminal gangs in Southeast Asia. These people are forced into scamming and are treated very inhumanely.
Credible sources indicate that at least 120,000 people across Myanmar may be held in situations where they are forced to carry out online scams, with estimates in Cambodia similarly at around 100,000.
In recent years, we have been observing an increase in scams related to social media, crypto, etc. This apparently is making billions of dollars for the criminal gangs and the affected people are the people who are forced into scamming and obviously the victim of a scam.
There is this report if anyone wants to go deep into what is happening.
India at the World Athletics Championship
The World Athletics Championship is being held in Budapest. India’s Neeraj Chopra won Gold in the Men’s Javelin Throw discipline. He also was the Olympic champion in 2020.
A lot of people question India’s ability to perform in Olympic events and the argument is that even though India is the most populated country, why don’t we have good athletes participating and winning more Olympic sports? I think we are seeing more and more participation and better performance as India’s sports infrastructure is getting better and I feel over the next 10 years we will hear more stories like this.
India also celebrated National Sports Day on August 29th, which is a tribute to a great Indian hockey player Major Dhyan Chand.
EU Fossil generation
A report on the analysis of fossil generation in the EU has shown that fossil fuel generation has reduced by 17% from January to June of this year. This change comes due to a decrease in the demand (by 5%) and also an increase in renewable sources of energy like, solar, wind, etc. Coal and gas has become too expensive which has helped increase in renewable source of energy.
Growth in solar power continued in the first half of the year, with generation up 13% compared to the same period in 2022. Wind generation rose by 5%, while hydro recovered towards average levels (+11%). Nuclear fell (-4%) but is set to improve as the year continues. From January to June, 17 countries generated record shares of power from renewables, with Greece and Romania passing 50% for the first time and Denmark and Portugal both breaking 75%.
I believe this is a great move (even though it comes out of the necessity of coal and gas prices being increased), especially when it comes to Solar energy generation. Over time nuclear energy could add to it and coal and gas would eventually be eliminated across the world. When this happens in countries like India and China at scale I think it would help a lot in reducing global emissions and hopefully helping in reducing climate change.
China Map controversy
China recently released its 2023 edition of the standard map and launched it on the website of the standard map service hosted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and it created a bunch of controversy in the surrounding countries.
Vietnam has opposed the map. It has also angered India, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Apparently, China has told India to ‘stay calm’ over the controversy. Interestingly, there was a lot of good news from BRICS last week but this map doesn’t reflect what happens in the summit. This is a very interesting turning point where China has made its neighbors furious over this map. There’s also some news that Xi Jinping will likely skip next week’s G20 summit in New Delhi. Very interesting turn of events. Let’s see what happens. World politics is hard when there are more alphas.
Book Recommendation: I’ve finished reading Anti-fragile by Nicolas Nassim Taleb where he talks about a lot of skin in the game. He gives interesting examples of how you should think about it. He talks about any recommendations given to you by anybody else. For example, recommendation for investing - if you ask someone about investing advice, you should ask what you have invested in instead of what they recommend you should invest. If they haven’t invested in the thing they recommend, they don’t have any skin in the game and they have nothing to lose. So it’s not a good recommendation. The same goes for any other recommendations like restaurants, wine, etc.
He also talks about marketing. He says that those corporations that market a lot about how they are good or how their product is the best should not be trusted. Word of mouth should be considered the best marketing. He gives an example of Pepsi-Cola where he says they market a lot that it brings family together and all those feed good marketing gimmicks. They just sell sugar water. So it is not a good product and has only lasted because of people giving in to marketing. The product is as harmful as tobacco but due to lobbying it still exists. The same applies to people, if they talk about themselves a lot, they are not trustful.
A tweet I liked this week
That’s all for this week folks. I hope this was interesting and if you have any comments or other interesting things to share, feel free to put in comments.