Global Tech Roundup: Jack Ma Dethroned as China’s Richest Man, Trump Suspends Work Visas and Other Stories

Jack Ma Officially Retires as Alibaba’s Chairman at the Age of 55

Hi Guys! It’s the end of another busy week in the global tech space. A lot happened over the past few days, from Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference to other stories of funds raising and new product releases.

Here is a quick roundup of some of the major stories you might have missed.

Tencent’s Pony Ma Dethrones Jack Ma as China’s Richest Man

Tencent’s founder, Pony Ma now worth $50 billion has surpassed Jack Ma’s $48 billion fortune to become the richest man in China. This comes after Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s shares surged $40 billion this week.

Pony Ma, Tencent founder and richest man in China

The boost in value of the country’s largest game developer not only pushed it above Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. as Asia’s most valuable company but also increased the worth of its founder.

With the latest rankings 4 of the top 5 richest people in China ar tech tycoons. This is in part due to the rising share values of many internet companies caused by the accelerated digitization of the workplace and change in consumers’ habits.

Take a Near-space Tour Around the Earth for $125,000

Do you have $125,000 lying around? New Space tourism startup, SpacePerspective wants to take you on a near-space tour around the earth. The startup will offer 8 “explorers” a 6-hour-long journey to an altitude of roughly 30 kilometres in their ballon-craft “Spaceship Neptune”.

Provided that the launch is made right before the sunrise, explorers will at its highest altitude be able to observe the curvature of the earth and the pitch-black darkness of space. They will also experience an unmatched view of space with stars visible to the naked eyes just like what a telescope sees, and the soothing warmth of sunrise.

The first uncrewed test flights are expected to take place in 2021, while the first crewed tests are scheduled for 2023. The first commercial near-space balloon tours are expected to happen in 2024.

Facebook kills off ‘Oculus Go’ its cheapest VR headset

Just two years after launching the Oculus Go, Facebook has announced that it is will stop production of the headset. The VR headset which costs about $199 is the least powerful and expensive VR hardware sold by the company.

Barnabas Lazarus tries out the new Oculus Go during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California on May 1, 2018. – Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced the world’s largest social network will soon include a new dating feature — while vowing to make privacy protection its top priority in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

The product was meant to be an affordable option to hook consumers on the idea of VR and convince them to upgrade. However, after the success of the $399 Oculus Quest it released last year, the company decided that the Quest was likely the best path forward for Oculus’ consumer ambitions.

Although the company will stop selling the Oculus Go this year, users will still continue to receive drive bug fixes and security patches for the device through 2022.

Apple’s WWDC 2020 Conference

Apple’s worldwide developer’s conference (WWDC) 2020 was unique this year as it was held online due to the pandemic. This is the first time that Apple’s biggest event of the year has been streamed exclusively online with no in-person event.

YouTube player

During the event, Apple made several announcements and here are some of the biggest. Apple revealed details for its next major software update, iOS 14. One of the major changes comes in the form of widgets that you can place on the home screen. Check out other new features added here.

The company also debuted a new feature called Scribble, which allows you to write in any text field with the Apple Pencil, then it will be automatically converted to text. AirPods Pro will be getting spatial audio that tracks users head and device location. Spatial audio should provide a more immersive sound experience by making you feel like you’re inside of the audio mix.

WATCHOS 7 and APPLE TV among other features and services were also upgraded. Check the full list here.

Trump temporarily suspends work visas for highly skilled workers

Following the rise of unemployment in the US caused by the pandemic, President Donald Trump has temporarily suspended the issuance of work visas for highly skilled workers.

Although the suspension is a ploy by the government to increase jobs for Americans, it is cutting off a critical source of foreign high talent labour for tech companies already complaining about tech talent shortages.

Donald Trump, US president

It will also significantly affect migrants from emerging countries like Nigeria looking for jobs in tech companies like Google and Facebook

The restrictions are intended to last until the end of the year, but
Visa holders already in the U.S. and those applicants who have already received a visa are exempt from the ban.

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