Asia’s tech news, weekly: September 26th
In this edition: Philippines fintech growth; Qualcomm in Taiwan; China’s semiconductor firm woes; Indonesia & digital banking; India’s AI database moves; Australia and nation-level cybersec; and more…
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• China: Huawei boosts moves from core business activities with release of ‘Digital First Economy Whitepaper — Asia Pacific’, seeking ICT infrastructure & policy role
• “AUKUS is not a security alliance…AUKUS is a technology accelerator agreement…to allow 3 countries to work closely to translate the promise of today’s maturing technologies…into tomorrow’s military edge.”
• India: Govt proposes law to intercept encrypted messages on over-the-top comm services — OTT — such as WhatsApp et al, and literally anything deemed in future to be a ‘telecommunication service’
“…includes internet-based communication services, in-flight and maritime connectivity services, interpersonal communications services, machine to machine communication services…”
• China: “As many as 3,470 [chip-related]ms…deregistered between January and August…That number surpassed the 3,420 such firms that closed in 2021 and the 1,397 that went defunct in 2020…”
• VC in Thailand: “…money — from banks, agriculture conglomerates, retail groups and telecom providers — comes with strings attached, which makes it difficult for fund managers and founders to move fast and build new products.”
• Australia: “We can learn from the Optus Data Breach whether it was criminal or state actor”, Fergus Hanson says. “Australia should consider establishing an ‘Office of Future Threats’ to deal with national-level risks from stolen data”, he writes.
• Philippines: GCash app to offer stock trading in move Stock Exchange hopes will be a game changer for local equities, growing GCash from payments app to wider finance platform
• China: Nio electric car firm moves on Europe’s growing EV market, launching network of battery lease/swap stations, seeing opportunities over on-site charging
• India: Proton VPN joins ExpressVPN, Surfshark and NordVPN in leaving the country, removing servers with ‘no intention of ever complying with this or any other mass surveillance law’
• Nutrition Technologies raised $20M, manufacturing protein from black soldier fly larvae as a sustainable alternative to fishmeal for animal feed.
• China: Baidu’s text-to-image AI is unveiled, claiming better Chinese-focused generation than other AIs — but built-in censorship filters out politically-sensitive words, places…
• Social media & disinfo: NewsGuard’s Misinformation Monitor takes a deep dive into the disinfo and misinformation in posts on TikTok.
“…sampling of searches on prominent news topics, almost 20 percent of the videos presented as search results contained misinformation…”
• India: Gov’t is building a database of anonymized non-personal data for Indian companies and startups using artificial intelligence, primarily to aid local firms in training machine learning models
• US Federal Comm’s Commission adds China’s Pacific Networks, ComNet subsidiary and China Unicom to ‘Covered List’, citing national security concerns over company control, data access and more
• Hong Kong’s WeLab fintech platform and Indonesia’s PT Astra conglomerate complete acquisition of PT Bank Jasa Jakarta, with plans to launch Indonesia-focused digital banking services
• Indonesia’s HappyFresh grocery delivery startup closes operations in Malaysia and Thailand, shrinking back to focus on its main Indonesian market
• Taiwan: 10 tech startups selected for the Qualcomm Innovate in Taiwan Challenge 2022, working in AI-driven med-tech, cryptography, blockchain credentials in education and beyond
• India: Reserve Bank to bring card-on-file tokenisation norms into effect October 1st, driven by cyber-fraud around card data saved by merchants for future payments
• China: & big tech: Local gov’t and CCP propaganda units for cities, provinces, districts able to buy ads on Twitter — banned in China — targeting global audiences
• Nasdaq to launch a digital assets services business, initially offering custody of crypto tokens for institutional investors
• “Following China’s lead…majority of SCO members, as well as other authoritarian states, are quickly trending toward more digital rights abuses…mass digital surveillance…censorship and controls on individual expression.”
• “In hindsight, maybe SPACs were too good to be true. The term is short for special purpose acquisition companies, but you can think of them as big piles of money that trade on the stock market.”
“The company, which projected $210 million in revenue for 2021, has still yet to make a commercial flight. Its stock is down 91%…”
• Download: ‘A Policy Framework For Blockchain & Digital Assets In Korea’ (pdf)
• “South Asian social media is now a contested space. Multiple politically motivated actors deploy inauthentic accounts to shape discourse on the region’s historical and modern geopolitical disputes.”
• Taiwan: A quick overview of Qualcomm’s moves in the country, including the launch of Qualcomm South Taiwan Innovation Center in the Kaohsiung Taiwan 5G AIoT Innovation Park
And in case you missed it…
ICYMI: Wider-world tech news with Asia-Pac / Indo-Pac relevance, alongside useful points of reference, and additional tech news items as food for thought.
» Boeing and Red 6 defense-tech firm join for AR and metaverse-related tech in fighter pilot training, adding virtual elements to combat simulations
» Education & national security: “In an era when a single person’s productivity in one country can be greater than that of 90 people in another, human productivity will increasingly affect the global balance of power.
» Payment apps & cybercrime: “In many instances, it is…easier to investigate cases involving the illicit use of cryptocurrencies than other traditional means of payment or some of the alternative payment systems…”
» “…in China…housing price-to-income ratio is ‘much higher’ than the international average of 3 to 6 times. In 2021, average housing prices were 12 times more than average incomes…”
» Metaverse myths & realities: “A majority of consumers know and engage with some form of the metaverse, and many expect it to become a significant part of their lives.”
» Aqua Cultured Foods develops shrimp dumpling filling made from mycoprotein, seeing a global market value of $10BN by 2027