20 Years Providing Weekly Foresight
The most accurate predictive report on technology and the global economy,
read by leaders in industry, finance, and government worldwide.
[Please open the attached .pdf for best viewing.]
We would like to recognize our friends at Telstra as the most recent of our SNS Enterprise License sites, with almost a thousand new SNS members signed up in just a couple of weeks. Thank you, Team Telstra, and welcome to all of our new members in Australia and around the world. We hope this helps keep the entire team ahead of the curve, and of the competition. - mra.
Top Ten Predictions for 2016
Last Thursday evening we had a chance, for the eleventh year running, to enjoy the company of a rather amazing group of friends and colleagues, at the SNS Annual Predictions Dinner. This year we moved the event from the Waldorf Astoria, where we had held the event for 10 years, to the Lotte New York Palace Hotel. The primary reason for the change was security: China had purchased the Waldorf, and we assumed our conversations would no longer be private. (It was heartening to see President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry follow our decision exactly, about four months later.)
The Palace has turned out to be an excellent venue for us, with great service, more modern facilities, and an incredible staff. I assume we will be there for some time to come.
Who joined us for this event? The New York Times, Fortune, Forbes, The Daily Beast, TechnoBuffalo, the BBC, and other media. Colleagues from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the UK, France, and even New York. Venture and angel investors, film producers and directors, CEOs of tech firms, security experts, new-media execs, and one of the best jazz musicians in New York. And others.
After a VIP reception, our attendee cocktail reception, and a delicious dinner, we began the affair with a Centerpiece Conversation interview with Vern Brownell, president and CEO of D-Wave. SNS members may recall first meeting this firm through founder and CTO Geordie Rose, who appeared at FiRe many years ago to describe the company's plans and achievements - before it had built its first commercial quantum computer.
Well, that was then, as they say. Vern described the company's new, 1,000-qbit "2k" computer, just recently shipped to Lockheed (another D-Wave customer is a Google and NASA partnership at Ames), and what he and his customers hope this new technology can achieve. By the time we finished a rather deep dive into quantum mechanics, superposition theory, entanglement, and "annealing" and adiabatics, I think everyone in the room felt we'd passed the "what if" test and were now witnessing the "now" in this version of quantum computing.
We were also fortunate to have Evan Anderson, director of Research at INVNT/IP and SNS (and author of a recent white paper on China) in the room - having just arrived in New York from doing volunteer work in Haiti, saving lives under the guidance of Dr. Megan Coffee, director of Ti Kai. Megan was kind enough to join us as well, and Evan gave a moving tribute to her efforts to create a new clinic in Port au Prince, the last temporary tent version having lost its venue rights a year ago.
And then we came to the predictions.
As usual, I broke them into sections: general major themes, the economic landscape, the technology landscape, a reckoning of the previous year's predictions, and the Top Ten predictions for the coming year.
Here are my thoughts and notes, in that order, on the threats and opportunities facing all of us in the coming year:
I. Global Warming: Paris / ISIS accelerates alternative energy development. Global warming is the most serious threat facing the planet, the science is in, and world leaders are working to solve the problem. They need to do more, dig deeper, and get it done. Here's our new SNS word for the day:
"Terracide": any intentional action that harms the planet on a measurable scale.
II. Energy: Oil Prices Stay Down. OPEC succeeds in eliminating weak players, but not in driving prices above $60. Long term, prices will remain in the $40-$50 range. This continued low pricing has dramatic impact on nearly all national economies.
III. Anderson's Law of War:
The evolutionary consequence of war is to make enemies perfect.
A. Radical Islam (ISIS) makes Snowden irrelevant. It also creates new global political cohesion in the midst of a prior trend toward fragmentation. The world vs. ISIS is the 2016 political story that unites every country except the Sunni nations. Israel and China try to find their way onto the NATO-led team.
B. The Saudi Royal Family, long the prime financial supporter of Sunni fighters, finds itself at terrific risk, as it simultaneously faces increased costs supporting ISIS with low oil prices and a failing economy.
IV. The Main Global Theme Continues: Thieves vs. Innovators, as we enter
Phase II: Stealing and Stumbling vs. Inventing and Persevering.
Economies by Major Country:
I. China. The China Crash, the InfoMerc Model, and defining economic "black holes." The conflict between InfoMerc Phase I theft and 30 years of fraud.
The China Crash is real, and it is affecting virtually all other country economies.
Is it possible for a country whose model is focused solely on creating more exports than imports to become an economic "black hole" in the world economy, taking in more than it gives? Yes. Just ask China's top trading partners how it's going, as the thrill of their promised market access wears off and the reality of their punishing asymmetric partnerships sinks in.
A. SAD and ICBM: Steal, Amplify and Dominate are the terms that best describe China's model today: steal IP, amplify it at home with artificial barriers and government funding, then ship it out and dominate global markets, destroying the companies and countries that created that invention.
We have described China now as a country of "NO ICBM"s: Innovation that is not innovation, Companies that are not companies, Banks that are not banks, and Money that is not money.
The country will experience increased economic tension between getting rich by theft and facing collapse caused by fraud. China's economic problems make it more likely to be less aggressive in some sectors and more aggressive in others; think "Economic Panic" at the top.
B. The South China Sea: Chinese islands will likely see large-scale infrastructure development in 2016.
C. China will also shift its IP theft programs into increased forced IP disclosure, with participation led by foreign "losers" - those companies with high exposure and low or negative growth which have little to lose and, it will turn out, nothing in the long term to gain. The once-dominant Four Horsemen - IBM, Cisco, Intel, and Dell/HP - are all on this list. This leads to the "China Cave": caving in to China's demands will signal global investors that one's firm has failed in its primary business plan.
II. Japan. Most analysts and investors will gain a new appreciation for this country's (InfoMerc III) offshore growth model, even as others get it wrong.
We strongly suggest that SNS members pre-order and read Scott Foster's amazing new book, "Stealth Japan: The Surprise Success of the World's First InfoMerc Economy." You can do so here :
III. South Korea. As China damages Samsung, President Park Guen-hye will question her China alliance and trade reliance.
IV. The EU. Refugees swamp all other economic plans.
The Schengen Agreement is suspended (at least in practice), as border checks are reinstated, refugee status redefined, and newcomers turned back. The EU Commission (and the EU itself) loses power and prestige as infighting among EU states grows, all leading to military pressure to end Syria's civil war on any terms.
V. The UK. The UK has now sold everything to China but the china.
Thanks, George Bush Jr., for pushing Britain into this fake-Iraq-war corner, and thank, David Cameron, for ignoring your own security agency chiefs; you have both paved the way for the German / US relationship to begin to trump the UK / US special relationship.
VI. Australia. Australia faces a hard, resource-driven ride down; its primary advantage now is its improved leadership in the PM's office.
VII. India. India will continue a trend of slowing momentum, as PM Modi fails to bring reforms or infrastructure improvement. The country loses its way this coming year, having squandered a clear mandate through an unclear strategy.
Summary: Most of the world is flat to down, economically, while the US will be moderately up. Global investors will see the US as a near-standalone safe haven, with the result that hot money from abroad will flow into equity, real estate, and other US markets at record rates. For this coming year, nothing else will look safe to most sophisticated money managers.
Major Theme: We Are Moving from the Trivial to the Heroic
This trend happens as the tech focus shifts from unicorns that a smart high-schooler could program in a couple of weeks (in order to carry lots of ads to people without lots of money) to deep science and technology.
One example: Jeff Bezos / Amazon moving from shopping for books and CDs to Internet Assistant Alexa, Amazon Web Services (where all his profits are), the New Shepherd personal rocket program, and supplying BE-rocket engines for Boeing.
We're Entering the Era of BITs: Biology-Inspired Technologies.
I. Brain-Inspired Computing
Virtually every effort in advanced computing has now turned to biology for inspiration on design. It makes sense: why rely only on bright hardware or software engineers sitting at a screen, inventing and testing for a few man-weeks per problem, when you can turn to evolution's inventing and testing of the whole suite of problems, run together, over millions or billions of years and iterations?
II. Pattern-Recognition Processors
This SNS concept has now been captured in the IBM TrueNorth processor, and we are waiting to see many more contributions to the field. Purpose-designed processors with the primary task of pattern recognition will drive the next few generations of computing.
III. The Pattern Computer
For the first time that I am aware of, a new computer design, and company, have come off the stage at a conference - in this case, FiRe 2015. As we move toward stealth mode, we want to note that everyone involved was offered stock in the new firm. New computer architecture, new business model.
IV. How Brains Work: Signaling and Messaging Systems
While most computer systems architects and chip designers are looking at the issues of latency, synapse number per neuron, power requirements, etc., it's a good time to review brain function in terms of cell signaling and information flow. What else can biology teach us on this level about smart new designs that maximize these two parameters?
V. How Cells Work: Information Theory in a Wet 3D Medium (Cell Dynamics and Mapping)
While brain cells are a subset of human cells, the larger issue of how cells work will provide fascinating new solutions to everything from long-term DNA information storage to using wet 3D matrices as a computing environment.
VI. Nutritional Microanalysis and Food Recognition
While we see a rapid increase in interest by the general public in avoiding toxins, GMOs, and processing chemicals in our food, we also move toward making this a science, taking food down to a biochemical description and cross-developing facial-recognition software and pattern-recognition software for food. These are two of the cornerstone research and development areas of the SNS initiative called Nutritional Microanalysis.
VII. Microbiome Genetics: Redefining What Is "Human, Human Health and Human Disease"
Now that we know 90% of the cells in our body are not human, we need to redefine what "human" means, in terms of the ecosystem, health, and disease. A very large number of researchers will be working on this in the coming year, and decade.
VIII. "Augmented Immunity": A New SNS Term
There is so much promise for disease and health treatments that are based on augmenting the human immune system that we decided to give this category of research and medicine a name: Augmented Immunity. Want to cure cancer? Here you go. Don't believe me? Ask President Carter, who announced, at about the same time I was giving this talk, that the use of Keytruda - this exact type of drug - had freed him of brain melanoma.
IX. Precision Medicine
This term refers to the increasingly precise correlations and treatments available to researchers and doctors as they link human and microbiome genetics, biochemical cell function products such as proteins and metabolites, and outcomes. SNS member Lee Hood's Institute for Systems Biology is a leader here, as is member Larry Smarr's new microbiome lab at the Calit2 Institute.
While most of our 2015 predictions set did very well, we had one obvious "Houston, we have a problem" prediction.
First, you can see the complete graded set here -
- and we encourage anyone who disagrees with the scores noted to write in, to firstname.lastname@example.org, with their reasons. If they're right, we will make adjustments.
And then, there was that one problem call. Here, first, is the prediction from last year:
Amazon stumbles - as Jeff's appetite finally exceeds his reach, and customers are turned off by his megalomaniacal drive: the Fire phone debacle, off-book rocket adventures, hapless drone delivery scenarios, Hachette punishments - all lead to a loss of customer, and investor, confidence.
Grade: 5 Pts. (out of 10)
Comments: Jeff Bezos was publicly ranked as one of the worst CEOs in the world by the Harvard Business Review (falling from first place the previous year), and the company was vilified for his management practices in a famous New York Times article - even as the stock climbed. The result of the NYT piece was to stall recruitment for the company, forcing Amazon to hire an ex-White House press secretary and issue long-form counter-releases.
The NYT: "Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace"
From the Harvard Business Review CEO Rankings: Jeff Bezos was downgraded from 1st to 87th in the HBR's "World's Best Executives" list. But much more important was the calculation behind this drop: his fall to a ranking of 827th out of 907 total CEOs judged in the category of "environmental, social and governance" factors, based on Sustainalytics findings. HBR and Sustainalytics specifically noted his poor record for the year on "patent infringement lawsuits, concerns about tax avoidance, and controversy about treatment of warehouse and office workers."
Of course, contrary to the SNS prediction, the stock went from $300 to $669 over the year. One could suggest that almost all of this came from the company's cloud services (AWS) division alone, which mostly operates outside Bezos' management issues, but that would be unkind, and perhaps only partially true. Servers have feelings, right?
Here is the current accounting on our prediction accuracy, as of this week:
2006-2014 Average = 94.7%
2015 Year Score = 95.0 %
(94.7 x 9 + 95) / 10 = 94.7 %
Total Accuracy Average to Date Since 2005, including 2015 Predictions = 94.7%
We hope these new predictions not only prove to be accurate, but provide material that will help you, your family, and your firm find success and - perhaps more important - reduce risk.
I. Mobile Retail Purchasing Explodes, growing by 30%-40% in 2016. Phones are good for some things and not so good for others, but they are very good for buying things - often while you are looking at them in someone else's expensive bricks-and-mortar store. All of which begs the question: When will someone notice that mobile ads don't work?
II. 3D Printing Goes Mainstream. With a little help from materials such as doped polymers and graphene, and companies like the new HP, 3D printer manufacturing moves from hobby markets to high-end manufacturing markets.
III. Pay-by-Phone Takes Off At Last. With Africa in the lead for once, and thanks mostly to Apple Pay, pay-by-phone will now become a true commercial standard, gaining common vendor and user acceptance on a global basis.
IV. Cyber Insecurity Dwarfs Cyber Security. China will likely continue its cyber thefts of crown jewel IP. Phishing and "watering hole" exploits will ramp exponentially in effectiveness and scale, as data from personal ID sources (such as medical personnel files) is munged with IP target data. No website is safe, no email secure, as criminal enterprises and theft nations do what they wish on the Net.
V. Drones Crash Everywhere. This year will highlight drone safety and security problems, with at least one internationally reported major crash incident, and likely the first drone / plane collision, all leading to a dramatic increase in global government drone regulation.
VI. The Content / Carrier Collision: An increasing number of telecom carriers shift business models as they move directly into content and services, while software (and some content) companies continue moving into carrier roles.
VII. China Extends Its Tech Hardware Domination.
Computers. Led by Lenovo, China takes the InfoMerc model more deeply into the PC world, simultaneously creating and dominating a low-end laptop market (in the $100-$200 price range) and doing serious damage by selling at half price to the middle market. With the same past conquests in smartphones, low-end servers, and now laptops, what's left? Which leads to:
Chinese Chips. 2016 will see ramped aggressive steps by the Politburo Standing Committee to build a global chip market presence. Expect more IP thefts, company purchases, and forced IP disclosure in this targeted sector.
VIII. Hurray! Handheld IA's finally work! Hound and Viv make our newest Internet Assistants truly personal, effective, and exciting again, at last finding a permanent place in commonly used apps.
IX. Space Goes Private. Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen, and Richard Branson turn the page on space commerce, as private launches and commercial space offerings dominate the news - a trend that will never be reversed.
X. The EU Wins on Data Privacy, forcing US and other non-EU e-commerce providers to locate servers in the EU (i.e., Germany) - and, soon, everywhere that matters. The Cloud becomes Balkanized.
The complete video of last week's Predictions Dinner in New York is located here:
We thank D-Wave and all of our alliance partners and sponsors who made this event possible, and look forward to seeing our West Coast friends and colleagues at our Predictions West event on February 11th. Please mark your calendars now, and we'll send out location and registration details next week.
Your comments are always welcome.
Mark R. Anderson
To arrange for a speech or consultation by Mark Anderson on subjects in technology and economics, or to schedule a strategic review of your company, email email@example.com.
We also welcome your thoughts about topics you would like to suggest for future coverage in the SNS Global Report.
"Threats to [intellectual property] are unlikely to disappear soon. --- Visitors to China should have no expectations of privacy. Taxis, hotel rooms, and meeting spaces are all subject to on-site and remote technical monitoring. Furthermore, the Chinese government's access to infrastructure means that all forms of communication, including phone calls, faxes, emails and text messages, as well as Internet browsing history, are likely monitored.
"Upon successful [network] intrusion, threat actors may enjoy continued network access long after the traveler has departed, facilitating the theft not only of trade secrets (e.g., formulas, designs and chemical compounds), but of any information that would give an organization a competitive advantage (e.g., contacts, finances and business models)." - US State Department report, released last week, which noted that hacking is part of a much broader trend, with an estimated 80% of all cyberattacks against Americans coming from China, despite the recent agreement by Mr. Xi to curb intellectual property theft.
"We give our source code to no one. --- We spent three years winning the trust of the Chinese government and if you watch most American companies, their businesses in China is [sic] down dramatically, so was ours for several years. Do you know how much we grew in China last quarter? Forty percent. --- There are legitimate needs of all government in terms of the issues of terrorism and national security." - Cisco Chair John Chambers; quoted by Reuters.
John, you sold out to China, and your top team left Cisco because of it. You traded off long-term success and shareholder reward for short-term gain. And neither I nor anyone else I know believes you have not also handed over the crown jewels. Too bad for Cisco, its remaining employees, its shareholders.
Great company, dumb move. How hard can I long-term short your stock, John?
"I disagree with that whole logic of people who say we don't need to apologize and we don't need to condemn it. We're not owning up to the problem when we say: 'This isn't my Islam. I didn't pull the trigger. I don't believe in extremist ideas.' I think we're setting ourselves in for this animosity that comes our way." - Asra Nomani, author of 'Standing Alone: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam,' and advocate of Islamic reform; quoted in the AP.
"Through the deal, we'll grow our relevance with our customers. We'll have the size to become a strategic partner." - Rajeev Suri, Nokia CEO, on buying the dying Alcatel / Lucent; quoted in the New York Times.
I hope you're right, Rajeev, but since you'll be facing the same illegal Chinese national activities that built Huawei and killed off Lucent, Alcatel, Siemens Networks, Nokia Networks, Nortel, Motorola, and drove Cisco out of its home markets (including yours) and into the arms of Ericsson - good luck, but wrong bet.
» SNS Annual Predictions:
2016 on Video, Grading of 2015 Predictions, & Photo Highlights
Mark's Top Ten Predictions for 2016 (video): https://youtu.be/1cKag7eTnB4
Top Ten Predictions for 2015 (video): www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=i1isOwNeMfU
Top Ten Predictions for 2015, graded (blog):
Photos from NYD15 at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel:
Three non-tech - but important - ideas:
» The Islam Brand Is Dead
While the radical Islamists use social networks, mass media and the Net in brilliant fashion to gain recruits from around the world, something else happened, from a pure advertising perspective, this week: the brand that was "Islam" is now dead.
What I mean by this: the move by ISIS and other Islamic jihadists to use global smaller-scale weapons attacks against civilians is having the (intended?) effect of destroying the word, the brand, "Islam," - except, of course, for those who believe in terrorism driven by Allah.
This takes the conversation from the older generation of moderate Islamic worshippers who are concerned that these acts will "rub off" on them, to the younger set, who are more likely to believe that something needs to be done to avoid this (brand) confusion. This move by the young to separate moderate Islam from radical Islam is exactly what is needed, so that the non-Islamic world has a way of talking, and thinking, about these two groups differently.
One could say that the terrorists behind the Islamic State have hijacked the brand, and it would be true. But from the perspective of global perceptions - which, in many ways, now is the real question - the Islam brand is tarnished beyond repair, at least for our lifetimes.
Can the young create a new brand? One hopes so, and there is little doubt that the rest of the world would quickly embrace "The New Islam," or even, "The Old Islam."
Good luck with this.
Is there anyone less relevant to the moment, in the wake of Paris, San Bernardino, the bombed Russian flight out of Sharm-el-Sheik - and 9.11 - than Edward? Nah.
The world is buying surveillance as fast as it can, and Snowden is now cast back into the simple role of traitor.
Everyone in the world seems mystified by the growing poll figures behind Donald Trump's success in the GOP primary. This is because they are debating his comments and ideas.
Here is the real Donald, who, if nothing else, is one of the best self-promoters on the planet: Donald understands TV. He "gets" TV in the way that Roger Ailes does - he's a genius at understanding what to do and say to stay on television, constantly.
While everyone else is playing cross-the-"t," Donald Trump is using his experiences on The Apprentice (and its ratings) to redefine politics, based on media time. And that is how one wins elections, in this mass-media age, and that is why TV is the top line-item expense for all candidates, and why Donald is getting more for free than anyone else can pay for.
OK, he also is saying the politically incorrect things that many want to hear, right or wrong, but those things come from the first idea. Donald Owns TV.
RE: "SNS: Online Advertising: Fertilizer or Waste?"
"SNS: Letter from India: Modi in India 2015: Still Learning How to Govern?"
I pay for the NYT digital offering about $35 a month. I want the Times to be there. And my local paper too! But the amount of ads thrown at me by both is mighty annoying.
There IS a price they have calculated that they could charge me for ad-free reading that I'd gladly pay. It might screw up the layout algorithms, but just throwing up blank space would be a simple way out of that. And pages would certainly download faster.
I'm starting to get more than annoyed.
CEO, Lynch Enterprises
I am now seeing an interesting mix of other angry people around the world ready to protest mass ads, including Banksy, the famous (anonymous) artist. Another group suggests that billboards, and any outdoor advertising, is being done without the permission of viewers, thereby entitling viewer-targets to empower themselves by repainting or reusing these surfaces. "And don't ask for permission, just do it" seems to be the idea.
Perhaps we will get to a time when people of the world will have a Network (the film) moment, when we all lean out of our windows and shout, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
It would be great if there were a technical equivalent - perhaps ad-blocker software is the start.
Subject: The role of advertizing
Excellent missive, as usual. (Wait till you see my next book, the dedication of which is shared among several world-changing mavens.)
Here's a first draft, if you want an essay .... This one in response to your recent SNS. I can provide much more. In fact, a great big article on micropayments.
Mark, your excellent thoughts on Internet Advertising provoked me to re-examine.
Who among us would have predicted that advertising would carry the weight of the Web for two decades, serving as the wealth-generating system for giants like Google, Facebook and so on? Or that new methods for "targeting" ads would become the focus of much civil-libertarian hand-wringing? There is a tendency to project this trend pessimistically onward forever. Dour folks foresee Orwellian corporations or agencies collecting our data in order to sift and target, pushing products and services, till we are reduced to purchasing automatons, like in Pohl's "The Marching Morons."
But how does that even make sense? If we tumble back into feudal-style overlordship (and it could happen!) then why bother persuading consumers to make market decisions? Allocation will be back in the hands of owner-lords and that will be that. Only if citizens retain sovereign powers of choice will advertising remain pertinent.
And in that case, why would we choose to submit to manipulative badgering, of the sort we see Tom Cruise's character suffering in "Minority Report"? That example of relentlessly aggressive push-style advertising was chilling... and improbable. Far more likely is a version of "pull" in which our whims summon information about goods and services from trusted comparison services who will irritate us at their own peril. When advertising consists of quick-efficient presentation of agile personal choices, the ad industry - ironically - will wither.
In other words, the present system that finances nearly all of the open Web is likely to become untenable. Whether we become targeted puppets or sovereign summoners, the channels communicating supply availability to customers will be much narrower in the future.
Will the web then collapse? Or become a purely amateur realm of wikis and open-source? More urgently, will modern journalism continue its death-spiral, as ad dollars scurry elsewhere, harming civilization at its root? There is an alternative to advertising as a system to subsidize the online world. That alternative is the old-fashioned one. Pay for what you use.
For that to work, you need an agile tool we've been lacking, so far... micropayments.
Soon, someone will establish a solid system by which consumers can fluidly and easily pay a nickel or penny to read an article, or to view a comic or a video. Do not listen to fools who claim that net-citizens will balk, refusing to pay a cent or two for something they'll read or watch for five minutes. That's just dumb. What folks hate is not paying small amounts, but slowing down their surfing experience. And there are ways to solve this.
Nothing about PayPay is applicable here. Micropayments will need a completely different structure. And yet, just like PayPal, we will see a dozen or so uber-billionaires emerge, when this thing is done right.
Keep up the great work.
Author, Physicist, and
SNS Ambassador for Science Fiction
La Jolla, CA
I find, yet again, that we are in violent agreement - which is why I included the comments about mobile ads not matching mobile purchasing, in the main section above.
Micropayments will help, but I am yet to be convinced that the ad overload will not continue, partly out of broker cupidity and vendor stupidity, but also fraud (a very large fraction, I believe, of current online ad spend) and the unfortunate fact that ads you hate can still make you buy.
Let's hope for fewer, more helpful, marketing touches and less loud, red, sex-charged flashing crapola everywhere we go.
Subject: Chinese brokers under investigation
China's main share index closed down by more than 5% after several major brokerage firms announced they were under investigation.
The Shanghai Composite index ended the day 5.5% lower at 3,436.3 points - marking its biggest drop since August.
Late on Thursday, it was announced that China's securities regulator was investigating the country's largest brokerage, Citic Securities.
The firm is being probed over the possible breaking of market rules.
Rival brokerage Guosen Securities is also being investigated, and shares in both Citic and Guosen fell by 10%, the maximum allowed in one day.
In addition, trading in China Haitong Securities was halted earlier on Friday as some reports indicated that the firm was also under investigation.
Chen Xingyu, an analyst at Phillip Securities, told the AFP news agency: "The biggest reason for such a sudden drop today is because of regulator's investigation of the top brokers. It has triggered a broader sell-off."
Market sentiment was already wavering ahead of a new batch of initial public offerings set to make their debut next week.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished down 1.9% at 22,068.32. The index fell 3% over the week, its worst weekly performance for two months.
Having worked at Lehman, HSBC and BNP Paribas, I really enjoy watching financial companies and markets get zapped like this.
Bust them all. Wreck their clients' portfolios. Sick the Red Guard dog on ''em. Foul up those IPOs.
SNS Asia Editor
Private Equity Analyst
I find it incredible that the world, fully aware that China's government completely took over the equity markets, still writes stories about these markets as though they are real or mean anything.
They aren't, and they don't.
Subject: CNBC - IMF to include China's RMB in SDR currency basket
Optimistically speaking, hopefully in the long term this decision ends up being a good thing rather than a bad thing.
IMF to include China's RMB in SDR currency basket
The International Monetary Fund was widely expected to add the Chinese yuan to its reserves basket on Monday.
This was the magic moment for me: IMF chief Christine Lagarde pre-announces that she is going to approve China's rmb entry into the IMF Special Drawing Rights reserve list because of, and based on, the IMF's own (confusing) test for whether it is "freely usable."
So the day comes, not long after China again shoved the rmb value way down for political reasons, and she cites the test, says China met it, and the rmb is in the international currency basket. There is no free market for the currency, it is not freely traded, and its value remains hostage to the Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.
My first response: obviously Lagarde succumbed to pressure, and will someone please fire her tomorrow; this is the end of her career and reputation.
But wait, there's more:
China then follows up with its own press release, expressing its hope that its currency will, indeed, become "freely usable" by the year 2020 or so.
Translation: Lagarde says it is. China says it is not.
What a mess.
Are you ready for Russia to now issue rmb-denominated bonds? That happened this week. Next we'll have North Korea issuing China ETFs.
Subject: Thai Airlines gets banned by US
Conspiracy theory for selecting the C919?
Google news must think I have Thai relatives, as they keep giving Thai airline stories. Yeah, I know it's search history.
[Past Boeing manager
No sooner had Thai's City Airways placed the very first order for China's C919 copycat version of Boeing's 737 (with a bit of copying of the Airbus A320 thrown in) than the US issued a safety warning.
The message I'm getting: Stop ripping us off. Pretty simple, and it's a great move.
Would you want to fly in a C919? Never.
Please visit www.stratnews.com/insideSNS for:
Register now for FiRe 2016, our 14th annual Future in Review conference:
September 27-30, 2016 / Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley
Park City, Utah
With great appreciation for our SNS Global Platinum Partners
Our Global Silver Partner
And our SNS Computing and Communications Channel Partner, Telstra
... for their Partnership and Support of SNS Events.
Thank you to our FiRe Bronze Partner, Deloitte
And Additional Supporting Organizations
FiRe/Thunderbird Internship Sponsor
FiRe Academic Partner
* On January 15, Mark will be keynoting the annual TAG Predictions Luncheon at Syre Hall in Whatcom Community College in Bellingham, Washington (a national cyber security Center of Excellence). * On February 11, he will be hosting the annual SNS Predictions West event in Silicon Valley, with interview guests Bill Ribaudo of Deloitte and Oracle CEO Mark Hurd.
In between times, he will be looking for that perfect Christmas tree, in a field filled with trees that are all perfect except for one small thing. Just like us.
"Strategic News Service," "SNS," "Future in Review," "FiRe," "INVNT/IP," and "SNS Project Inkwell" are all registered service marks of Strategic News Service LLC.