Afternoon Coffee: Google to Open AI Center in Beijing, Toyota and Panasonic Mull Battery Partnership

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Alphabet’s Google unit will open a new research facility in Beijing dedicated to creating an edge in artificial intelligence, Bloomberg reports. The Chinese government has made AI a national priority, with policymakers announcing plans in July to develop a $60 billion industry around the science, and Google wants to both foster and tap engineering talent in the country.

Panasonic Batteries

Toyota is considering a joint venture with Panasonic to make batteries for electric vehicles, Reuters reports. Panasonic, the global market leader for automotive lithium-ion batteries, already works with Toyota on hybrid vehicles. For the Japanese automaker to meet its goal of green car sales comprising half of global sales by 2030, however, increased collaboration between the two companies may be necessary.

Aluminum Supply Chain

Indonesia is trying to gain greater control over the global aluminum supply chain, according to Nikkei Asian Review. Indonesia Asahan Aluminium, the country’s only aluminum producer, was recently appointed as the holding company for three state-owned mines. The firm wants to double production capacity to 500,000 tons a year by 2020 and 1 million tons by 2025.

Oil Prices

And finally, an energy update: The crude oil glut may finally be coming to an end, the Wall Street Journal reports, after a wave of oil-supply disruptions and rising demand have brought global oil supplies back in line with demand for the first time in years.

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