lending appXiaomi Challenges Samsung in India With New Lending App Aimed at Millennials

This is a fascinating story that reveals the depth and complexity of global competition fueled by advanced digital technologies. In India, a Chinese smartphone maker is hoping to gain a competitive advantage by offering low-interest loans to millennials, according to a report by Manish Singh in TechCrunch.

Xiaomi officially launched the lending service, called Mi Credit, in India this week. “The Mi Credit app will come preinstalled on Xiaomi smartphones running an Android-based MIUI operating system and can also be downloaded from the Google Play Store,” writes Rayna Hollander in Business Insider.

The new app-based lending service will likely represent a challenge to Samsung, which has already launched a similar service. Samsung is Xiaomi’s main rival in India.

“Xiaomi displaced Samsung as the No. 1 smartphone vendor in India by shipments in Q4 2017 — just two years after its entry in 2015 — and has held the title of leading vendor ever since. The Mi Credit launch comes two months after Samsung launched Samsung Finance Plus, which provides financing to purchase Galaxy smartphones,” notes Hollander.

chargingGM, LG Chem Form $2.3 Billion Joint Venture to Manufacture Battery Cells for EVs

Battery cells got a boost this week, another indication of how the tech industry is contributing to the wider economy.

General Motors and LG Chem will invest up to $2.3 billion by 2023 to form a joint venture in Ohio for the production of battery cells for electric vehicles,” writes Michael Wayland of CNBC. “The companies plan to build a battery cell factory in the Lordstown area of northeast Ohio. Construction of the plant, which is expected to be among the largest in the world, is scheduled to begin in mid-2020.”

From my perspective, these kinds of joint ventures clearly demonstrate the ability of technology to create jobs across multiple sectors of the economy.

hackerMalicious Hackers Targeting Local Governments with Ransomware Attacks

The bad guy always look for new targets of opportunity. Now it looks like local governments are attracting unwanted attention as bad guys target them for ransomware attacks. Part of the problem is that local governments often have little choice but to capitulate to the demands of their attackers, which only encourages more bad actors to join the party.

“After seeing Atlanta spend $2.6 million to restore its systems rather than pay the $52,000 ransom, many officials have decided that it's cheaper to pay the hackers,” writes Alfred Ng in CNET. “Such payments have convinced hackers to target more governments and ramp up their demands, according to security experts.