CloudMinds

Cloud AI developer CloudMinds has partnered with Zenlayer to power its artificial intelligence engines in the cloud.

Challenges

Twenty-four entities, including SoftBank Group Corp.-backed robotics and artificial intelligence company CloudMinds and cybersecurity provider Qihoo360, will be banned from exporting U.S. goods for allegedly supporting the acquisition of items for Chinese military use, the department’s Bureau of Industry and Security said. CloudMinds lost almost 75 percent of orders in the US and cut 80 percent of its US workforce after Washington imposed sanctions over national security risks. As the pandemic eases in China, CloudMinds is targeting the retail and security sectors as well as janitorial and reception service

 

Initiatives

Cloud AI developer CloudMinds has partnered with Zenlayer to power its artificial intelligence engines in the cloud. Currently, Zenlayer supports CloudMinds’ cloud computing needs in Tokyo and Silicon Valley.  As CloudMinds expands globally into Europe and Southeast Asia, Zenlayer is prepared to not only supply storage and connectivity, but also power real-time data processing at the “edge”. The U.S. unit of SoftBank-backed robotics startup CloudMinds has changed its name to distance itself from the blacklisted China-based firm, two people with knowledge of the matter said, and is selling face-scanning temperature monitors through T-Mobile US. The unit is selling its cloud-connected products under the new name at a time of heightened concern in the United States about the national security risk of Chinese firms collecting and using the personal data of U.S. citizens. Documents filed in California showed the unit became Wright Robotics in August, after the United States in May added CloudMinds to its Entity List, citing the risk of the firm procuring items and technology for China’s military. The United States can restrict sales to blacklisted firms of goods made domestically, as well as goods made abroad containing U.S. technology. It expanded the definition of military end-use in April to include any firm that supported the maintenance or production of military items, even if they primarily did commercial business. CloudMinds has since been bailed out by a state-backed fund in Shanghai as part of Chinese government action to prop up such firms, two other people familiar with the matter said. It has also been on promotional drive-by marketing its technology as a coronavirus countermeasure, with the U.S. rebranding to Wright Robotics in an attempt to avoid negative baggage associated with the CloudMinds name, the first two sources said.

 

Result

Cloud robotics and artificial intelligence start-up CloudMinds has abandoned plans to go public in the US, as it eyes a move to Shanghai and listing on China’s new Nasdaq-style board after its business was hit by rising tensions between the world’s two largest economies. The company was founded in Silicon Valley in 2015 by Bill Huang, a Chinese born engineer who spent most of his working career in the US, including several years at the famed Bell Labs in New Jersey, where core technologies such as the transistor, lasers, and mobile phone networks were first developed. “Definitely, we will not consider listing in the US anymore after the sanctions,” Huang, the CEO of the SoftBank-backed CloudMinds, said in an interview with the South China Morning Post. In July last year, the provider of cloud-based systems for robots was blocked from exporting any of its US-developed technology to China, Reuters reported in March. Then in May this year, CloudMinds was banned from buying US products without Washington’s approval on the grounds that it posed a “significant risk” of supplying US technologies for military end-use in China. “The sanctions disabled our operations in the US. We lost almost 75 percent of orders in the country and 80 percent of our US workforce has been cut for obvious reasons. Six months ago, we had nearly 100 employees in the US while now we have less than 10.”

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