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Sep 6, 2017 | 3 min read


This Week in GAFAnomics, September 5th

“This Week in GAFAnomics” features top articles from FABERNOVEL’s internal Slack discussions. Read here your weekly dose of curated news about the Network Economy.

Joachim Renaudin

Senior Project Analyst

GAFAnomics [ga-fɑː-nom-iks], noun: A modern, networked, economic system spurred by the eponymic GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) but also encompassing Unicorns, Chinese tech giants and all other companies changing our lives through computer technology.

#The week of September 5th

So what happened this week in GAFAnomics ?!

Chinese bikes are invading London

Source: Pixabay


Chinese bike sharing startup Ofo will start flooding the city of London with on-demand bikes next week. The chinese bike sharing giant’s expansion strategy is rather ruthless: putting on the street hundreds of self service bikes, and let users test the service. Because the bikes don’t need to be docked at a station, the company is able to roll out its service overnight. If this trial is successful, Ofo will spread the service to the whole city of London.

Founded in 2014, the company now has over 8 million bikes in 170 cities, and want to more than double this number within the next 6 months. In many Chinese cities, the startup grew exponentially by flooding the streets with bikes.

That’s typical pirate management, inspired by Uber&co: flood the city with bikes without authorization to reach liquidity first and be the first settler in the market. Become ubiquitous, then negotiate with public powers.


French transportations giants ally against Google



Last week, Les Echos revealed that SNCF, Transdev, Blablacar and RATP, are working together on a shared database to compete with Google, and other tech giants.

The 4 transportation behemoths will share their data (planned and real time schedules), but each of them will be able to use it as it please (most expected use cases being efficient multimodal calculators).

As Google is becoming the main contact point for transportation and mapping (book your flights with google flights, find your way through google maps…) and gathers ever-increasing amounts of data, the incumbents are forced to cooperate in order to compete.

Coopetition is the right way to go for the traditional corporations: sharing data will help them fight as equals with Google and maybe delay the same intermediation that occurred in hotels or travel industry.


Amazon and Microsoft’s AIs can talk together



Every major technology company (Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon ahead) competes to build  a smart voice assistant powered by artificial intelligence. Last week, Amazon and Microsoft announced that their respective artificial intelligence will be able to talk to each other to answer questions. Alexa (Amazon) will be able to summon Cortana (Microsoft) to answer a task where it is more efficient (for example, finding information on your outlook calendar).

A likely outcome for personal assistant in the future is that they will be tied to devices (ie: Siri for iPhone, cortana for PC…) and that they will be able to summon another assistant seamlessly if it is best suited to answer. What about Google and Apple, will they join the partnership? Apple has no interest in doing so, as it will use SIRI to promote its competing speaker, the  homepod. As far as Google is concerned, we don’t see why Amazon would allow Google to capture more data than it already has, and give it an opportunity to make its Google Home more efficient. According to the New York Times, both have declined to comment on the subject.
If you want to learn more on how smart assistants like Alexa work, you can read FABERNOVEL’s latest review of the Amazon Echo Show.


Alibaba is launching smile to pay

Source: Geralt

Alibaba’s payment subsidiary Ant Financial is providing “smile to pay” payment in KFC in China. Assuming that you have already logged in your payment app and accepted facial payment, you’ll be able to pay by smiling at the camera at the ordering counters. Sounds futuristic ? Well in China, mobile payment is already mainstream: the chinese mobile payment market is 50 times bigger than the US market!

Because the payment opportunity is so large in China, providers like Alibaba and Wechat are fighting a war for market share and experimenting new ways to digitize payment and retail. Last year, Alibaba unveiled cashless stores and startups like Bingobox are opening fully automated grocery stores (no cash, no staff, no lines…).

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