Asia’s tech news, weekly: November 8th round-up

In this edition: Japan joins NATO cyber body; Australia’s $1BN startup fund; WeChat and palm print payments; India gains more Apple manufacturing; Binance mulls buying banks; and more

• GrabPay and StraitsX are set to test ‘purpose-bound’ digital Singapore dollars, enabling senders to dictate conditions for the use of their digital SGD

• Australia’s Blackbird VC firm unveils Au$1 billion fund, aiming to back emerging startups in Australia and New Zealand

• Singapore: Digital and Intelligence Service now formally inaugurated, providing a 4th military branch alongside army, air force and navy

“A comprehensive supply chain strategy would look not only at new, leading-edge chips but also at legacy, trailing-edge chips, which are still used widely.”

• Japan: ‘Quantum sensor’ set to enter the Japanese market, a technology developed by a US startup providing extremely accurate location data without relying on GPS

• Indonesia: FishLog fisheries management startup gains $3.5M pre-Series A with 4-product suite aimed at streamlining operations for participants

• Australia: Following Countering Ransomware Initiative summit, Australia to convene Int’l Counter Ransomware Task Force in 2023, seeking intelligence-sharing and coordination of enforcement and cyber agencies

‘Elon Musk’s Twitter Buy Raises Cybersecurity Risks For The Rest Of Us. The problem is not just more misinformation, but five new threats to the network.’

• China’s app data: “…apps that operated in China last year decreased by 930,000, which is equivalent to about 2,500 apps disappearing each day, according to the [Ministry].”

• China: Alibaba Cloud launches open-source Model-as-a-Service platform with over 300 ready-to-use AI models, looking at developer and researcher adoption for corporate services relevance

• An intro to the 12 startups selected for UOB FinLab’s Greentech Accelerator, hailing from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and India

• China: Tencent’s WeChat app giant launches mini-program enabling payments using palm prints, opening new concerns in biometric data collection

• Binance cryptocurrency exchange giant reportedly considering acquisition targets including banks as the boundary between digital-asset industry and traditional finance blurs

• Australia: Fishburners startup community unveils 10 startups selected for the first cohort of the Google News Initiative Startups Boot Camp

“Rural banks serve more than half of the Philippines’ population [of 111 million]. Yet less than a quarter of them have started digitising.”

• Sri Lanka: Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub launches, aiming to empower local founders in turning their ideas into reality

• She Loves Tech Pakistan 2022 concludes with Tibbi health startup taking first place from over 1000 applicants and 10 city events

• Australia: New security number to be introduced for all Victorian driver licences after recent cyber-attacks, with near 1 million to be reissued

• Indonesia Stock Exchange inks MOU with Singapore’s Metaverse Green Exchange for IDX emissions trading scheme, launching in 2025, with MVGX to build blockchain-based carbon registry and exchange

• UnionBank of the Philippines launches pilot program to intro crypto assets custody and trading for clients, partnering Switzerland’s Metaco to offer retail clients trading in Bitcoin and Ethereum

• Thailand: Siam Commercial Bank’s SCB 10X invests $10M in Singapore’s digital asset custodian, RakkaR Digital

China’s crypto trading ‘crackdown’: “…China recorded more than US$220 billion in total transactions between June 2021 and July 2022 to remain East Asia’s top cryptocurrency market…”

• Australia: Samsara Eco raises $54M with ‘infinite recycling’ tech that breaks plastic down to core molecules, allowing it to be reused repeatedly and more efficiently than current methods

• Japan to budget $2.38BN for research collaboration with US on development of next-generation semiconductors, whilst also looking to diversify supply chains for batteries, magnets and rare earths

• Japan: A podcast discussion and analysis of Japan’s approaches to cybersecurity, looking at Japan’s cyber capabilities and their impact on national security

• Monetary Authority of Singapore launches Ubin+, an expanded collaboration with international partners on cross-border foreign exchange settlement using wholesale central bank digital currency

“Faced with such profound uncertainties, it would take a particular kind of bulletproof optimism to go big in the NFT market right now. Enter Meta Platforms.”

• Hundreds of undersea cables link up the worldwide web, with about a dozen connected to Australia. How does this little-known network work — and what happens if it’s sabotaged?

Japan formally joins NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, following on from 2021 participation in large-scale cyber war-gaming exercise

• An interview with Leanne Robers, co-founder of She Loves Tech, the world’s largest acceleration platform for women in tech

• China pushes ambitious 5-Ministry plan to deliver 25 million VR headsets by 2026, aiming to grow 100 companies in its domestic VR industry

Cybersecurity & EVs: “If somebody can get into the systems that run public charging infrastructure, then there is potential to inject some sort of malware into the vehicle…”

• India: Pegatron, Taiwanese contract manufacturer for Apple, likely to join Foxconn in manufacturing iPhone 14 models in India

• China: Microsoft raises concerns of state-backed hackers using vulnerability disclosure requirements for military purposes including exploiting zero-day issues before reporting them

ICYMI: In other news

Wider-world technology news with broad Asia Pacific relevance, or simply providing larger points of reference and food for thought.

» October’s month-end round-up of microchip and semiconductor funding news headlines

» European firm Axelera AI secures $27M Series A with concentrating the computational power of an entire server into a single chip at a fraction of the power and cost of current AI hardware

» European Union Digital Markets Act now enacted, likely to force tech giants including Amazon, Google and Meta to make platforms open and interoperable in 2023

» “Open-internet advocates are breathing a sigh of relief after a recent election for the International Telecommunications Union’s top leadership.”

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WK Wright

All things tech, startup & funding: Short form for the time-poor at Startup News Asia