Discover more from Asia's tech news, weekly
Asia's tech news, weekly: August 29th 2023
Lithium in Singapore, space-tech in Australia, Xiaomi & electric vehicles, Vietnam and cross-border payments, Thai PM's digital currency pledge, Japan's bid for 6G...
• India: West Bengal New Town Kolkata Dev Authority partners Airchains platform to digitally record land ownership via blockchain using 500,000 NFTs
• China: State bodies including gov't-backed chip fund to invest $1.7BN in Shenzhen's CR Micro wafer firm in ongoing bid to boost tech capacity and independence
• Australia: Hadean Energy launches to commercialize CSIRO tech to reduce hydrogen production costs, at the same time allowing industry to decarbonise
• Singapore: An intro to NEU Battery Materials, focusing on lithium extraction via environmentally-friendlier electrometallurgy, making extracted lithium available for production of new batteries
EVs & public charger risks: "...it’s something that’s connected to the grid, it’s connected to the cloud, it’s periodically connected to your automobile, it’s probably connected to your phone (and) it’s connected to your bank..."
• Australia: HEO Robotics raises $12M Series A with satellite and space debris monitoring, using software to redirect the cameras of existing satellites
• Vietnam: Net Zero Challenge launches seeking early-stage climate tech projects that want to pilot solutions in Vietnam
• India: BharatBenz and Reliance Industries unveil India's first intercity coach powered by hydrogen fuel cell tech, claiming up to 400km on a single 'charge'
• Vietnam: Central bank officially enters Regional Payment Connectivity initiative, joining central banks of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand
• China: Xiaomi smartphone maker gains state auto industry body approval to produce electric vehicles in move away from main smartphones business amid slumping demand
• Australia: Transurban toll-road operator partners Plus, US autonomous driving software firm, to advance Level 4 autonomous trucks for automated freight transport
• Thailand: Digital Minister to ask courts to shut Facebook in SEA's second-largest economy unless it takes action on scams that have affected more than 200K citizens
• Myanmar's Kanbawza Bank partners Thailand's Kasikornbank for smartphone-based remittance service to send money from Thailand to Myanmar
"China continues to dominate the blockchain patent landscape, with 43,937 filings since 2009 and 68% of all blockchain patents granted. However, even China has not been immune to the global downturn..."
• Australia and digital currency: "...it is likely that any serious policy consideration of issuing a CBDC in Australia is still some years away..."
• Singapore: Qashier digital commerce firm gains $10M with over 6K merchants in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, with services spanning inventory, customer loyalty, QR ordering and more
• Taiwan's CakeResume, used by Google, Nvidia and TSMC, raised $5M Series A from Mynavi, one of Japan's largest HR firms, aiming for Indonesia, Vietnam and India entry
• Philippine: Ayala conglomerate inks JV to bring Taiwan's Gogoro into the country to provide 2-wheeled e-scooters, battery-swap tech and battery-swap stations
• ‘Flax Typhoon, "a nation-state actor based out of China", has since mid-2021 mainly "targeted government agencies and education, critical manufacturing, and [IT] organizations in Taiwan"‘
• Japan, Korea and US financial institutions ink MOU to cooperate on financially sustainable, transparent investment in ICT, energy & transport infrastructure
• India: Reserve Bank unveils voice payments plan for UPI users, using AI-based speech recognition allowing users to give verbal instructions, with multi-language options in the pipeline
• Huawei, Denmark and a $200M Battle Over 5G, via Bloomberg: "...equipment deal spiraled into a saga of hidden microphones, drone encounters and covert surveillance, according to investigators..."
• Australia: An intro to MyBrix, blockchain platform facilitating ‘fractionalisation’ of property enabling owners to sell shares of their properties as units of value to investors
• Vietnam: A quick overview of Startup Island Taiwan's recent Tech Solution Day in Ho Chi Minh City, a showcase of 14 Taiwanese digital startups
"…you can sanction Tornado Cash and charge its founders… but that isn’t going to shut off the actual smart contract… self-executing code that will continue to function – i.e. continue laundering funds – whether they’re in jail or not."
• Japan: Legislators look to revise laws around Nippon Telegraph and Telephone to allow the telco to pursue 6G tech without regulatory restrictions, thereby boosting global competitiveness
• Australia: US space launch firm, Spinlaunch, conducting feasibility study on two possible launch sites for its orbital 'slingshot' in WA
• Thailand's Arun Plus, part of state-owned oil and gas group PTT, and Taiwan's Kymco to establish JV forming Aionex, aiming to produce e-bikes and operate battery-swapping services
• China's domestic e-CNY struggle: "...last year e-CNY accounted for only 0.13% of the supply of central bank reserves and cash in circulation."
• Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia & Singapore advance with implementation of bilateral transactions via QR codes, with payments settled in local currencies
• Huawei and Ericsson ink deal providing rights to use each other's cellular tech in network gear and consumer devices, in part a further move by Huawei to boost income from patents
• Japan: PowerX works on 'battery tanker', cargo ship storing electricity from solar, wind and renewable sources produced in rural areas in on-board batteries, for transportation to urban end-users
• China: Hangzhou Data Exchange launches, a blockchain-based platform to 'facilitate the trading of enterprise information technology data using distributed ledger technology'
"Thailand is waiting to see whether newly-elected PM Thavisin will make good on a campaign promise to airdrop about $300 worth of digital currency to some 50 million citizens."
• China: Online platforms including Tencent Music removed live-streaming 'lucky draws' to minimize risks in state crackdown on illegal online gambling, taking a profits hit in the process
• Taiwan: A video intro to the T-Radar Pro, portable small drones-focused detection system
• North Korean hackers believed to be preparing to cash out near $40M-worth of stolen bitcoin, part of $200M crypto hacking haul this year alone for DPRK's Lazarus Group
• China to establish recycling system for ageing wind turbines and solar panels, drawing industrial standards to decommission, dismantle, and recycle materials
• An intro to i2Cool and Super Bamboo, startups backed by City Uni of Hong Kong's HK Tech 300 incubator, providing building-cooling paints and sustainable building materials respectively
• Australia: The Hugh Victor McKay Fund launches to invest $100K-200K in at least 5 early-stage startups over 12 months, focusing on tech and innovations in the agricultural sector
• South Korea's NGeneBio, next-gen sequencing-based diagnostics firm, inks MOU with China's MGI gene sequencing firm, aiming to grow NGeneBio cancer testing products globally
• Singapore's DBS Bank launches metaverse foray with DBS BetterWorld to raise awareness about environmental, social, and governance issues, starting with global food waste
'Cryptoassets, peddled as the future of finance, have not only failed to deliver on their promise but are...adding to financial risks in developing economies...'
• Cambodia: An intro to Tenbox, digital marketplace connecting suppliers, distributors and local producers to marts, restaurants, coffee shops, mom-and-pop stores and more
• China: TikTok to end Storefront feature, no longer allowing merchants on Shopify et al to sync product catalogues to TikTok, in move to push TikTok Shop e-commerce platform
• China's hyper-subsidised domestic electric cars market hits the same problems the country's e-bikes market struck in the past
• Payoneer gains Singapore payments license, allowing account issuance, cross-border and domestic transfers, e-money issuance and merchant acquisition, fueling SEA expansion
In wider-world tech news…
» KoBold Metals backed with AI platform crunching private/public-sector geological data globally to locate minerals, with 10 times the precision of conventional exploration
» China's Nanjing University in 2022 launched a metaverse-focused major, renaming Info Engineering Dep't to Metaverse Engineering Dep't, signaling the space's expected importance
» Multiple major news organisations internationally are now preventing OpenAI GPTBot web crawler from scanning their online content over copyright concerns
» Enough Food Co raised €40M to speed production of Abunda mycoprotein, aiming to scale for enough protein to replace 5M cows, or 1BN chickens, by 2032
"Taylor Swift had to rerecord her entire back catalog, but tokenized music royalties [as NFTs] show there’s an easier and fairer solution."