Discover more from Asia's tech news, weekly
Asia's tech news, weekly: August 8th 2023
China's LLM AI models, Foxconn & EVs, Korean tech funds, SXSW in Sydney, Malaysia insure-tech, Australian tech map, RISC-V chips growth, Thai health-tech...
• South Korea: LG Electronics to form $100M NOVA Prime Fund for startup investments, 5 times larger than previous startup fund launched in 2020
• China: Alibaba Cloud open-sources 2 large-language AI models, Qwen-7B and Qwen-7B-Chat, aiming for multi-platform integration
• Australia: Fishburners Services Hub launches, one-stop marketplace for startups to connect with quality, vetted, affordable providers to help build businesses
• Google for Startups Women Founders Fund to provide equity-free funding and support to women-led AI startups in India, Japan & Korea
"...technology is creeping into the mainstream that is designed to upend this consumerist churn — devices that can be taken apart, repaired and upgraded by the user, and not via an over-priced service."
• China: GalaxySpace launches Lingxi-03, its 1st satellite with ultra-thin, flexible solar wings, seeking large-scale, stackable sat constellation launches
• India: Gov't restricts import of laptops, servers and some consumer-electronics, seen as bid to boost manufacturing and to mirror success of past, similar restrictions
• Australia: MGA Thermal secures $5.39M with thermal long-duration storage solutions featuring aluminium-graphite alloy holding heat for later energy dispatch
• Malaysia: Digital Penang Hardtech Accelerator Program applications are open to August 25th, providing coaching and mentoring towards commercialization
• China's proposed cyber limits: "Users aged 16-18 would be allowed 2 hours a day…aged 8-16 would get 1 hour while children under 8 would be allowed just 8 minutes."
• Thailand: KX, subsidiary of Kasikorn, backed Magic and Transak in strategic move towards decentralized commerce, seeing opportunities in Web3 and crypto
• India: Draft National Deep Tech Startup Policy released, seeking public comment on 9-point program aiming to create a conducive ecosystem for the sector
• Malaysia: Slush, major tech startup event from Finland, expands with new conference in Kuala Lumpur, Slush'D KL 2023, set for October 26th
"While US rules...slowed down China’s development of advanced chipmaking...they left largely untouched the country’s ability to use techniques older than 14-nm. That has led Chinese firms to construct new plants faster than anywhere else in the world."
• South Korea: Seongnam city launched Semiconductor Fabless Alliance in July with reps from semicon demand and supply firms, industry and academia
• China: Spacemit CPU firm completes Series A backed by Lenovo, focusing on RISC-V chips, open-source architecture seen as workaround to restricted Intel and Arm chips
• Australia: Applications open for Social Impact Pre-Accelerator Program, seeking 60 participants with intakes in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong
• Malaysia's Capital A, formerly AirAsia Group, partners Philippines' UnionDigital Bank to embed BigPay, Capital A's fintech arm, in SEA markets via super-app integrations
• Australia: Tech industry outside major capital cities is key to job creation, with 60 suburbs and 36 regional towns making 62% of tech jobs created in Australia
• Taiwan's Foxconn looks to standardized EV platform, seeing India or Thailand for production of 3-seat EV under $20K and focused on corporate delivery fleets
• China: Shenzhen boosts Huawei with push for gov't bodies and state-owned firms to use HarmonyOS and EulerOS, Huawei's Android/Linux alternatives, in bid to reduce foreign tech use
• Thailand's HD health and surgery marketplace backed by Vietnam's FEBE Ventures, sights on go-to platform for affordable healthcare and elective surgeries in SE Asia
"Though...tested in 25 cities, and 260M unique wallets hold a total of [$1.9 billion], last year [China’s] e-CNY accounted for only 0.13% of the supply of central bank reserves and cash in circulation."
• South Korea: Gov't announces 42 venture funds, selected by 9 ministries, to receive approximately $858M, in bid to boost innovation and support startups
• Proposed People's Republic of China Patriotic Education Law 'codifies existing practices, but more importantly...expands...to include Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, overseas Chinese and the internet'
• Hong Kong: Terminal 3 raises pre-seed round with decentralized storage and zero-knowledge proofs for Web3, keeping user data and ownership private and secure
• Australia: Women in Technology Bootcamp 2023 applications are now open for university students in STEM subjects, a 4-day program set to run in 6 cities
• Malaysia: FWD Startup Studio and 1337 Ventures launch FWD Startup Studio Accelerator cohort 5, 13-week program for insurance-tech or adjacent verticals
• China: Intel partners Shenzhen’s Nanshan district gov’t and local tech firms for chip innovation, AI and edge computing centre, despite deepening chip-related restrictions
AI 'microdirectives': "A future where A.I.s interpret, apply, and enforce most laws at societal scale like this will exponentially magnify problems around fairness, transparency, and freedom."
• China: Cyberspace Admin proposes 'minor mode' to smart device providers, to bar under-18s from ‘net access on mobile devices from 10pm-6am; instantly impacting share prices
• Australia: 8 startups raised a total of Au$85.6M in the first week of August, with solutions in mining tech, cybersecurity, wellness, food waste and medical tech
• China: Tencent expands testing of Hunyuan AI model, integrating with Tencent Games, Tencent Advertising, QQ Browser, WeChat Search and Tencent Fintech
• Australian gov't set $50M to back Indonesia's clean-tech and renewables startups, building on $200M Australia-Indonesia Climate and Infrastructure Partnership
• Thailand: Huawei Thailand Education Summit 2023, recently held in Khon Kaen, building on goals from Thailand Nat’l Digital Talent Development White Paper
• Singapore: Cerebry artificial intelligence-driven education-tech startup raised $1M with 'adaptive learning' focusing on K-12 students across the Asia Pacific
• Japan: ROSE, low cost, nature-inspired robotic gripper unveiled, for use in delicate work in multiple industries, with 3D-printable components
• China: Japan's Toyota and China partner PonyAI ink JV to mass produce robotaxis using PonyAI autonomous drive tech and ride-hail services
"In 2022, malicious cyber actors exploited older software vulnerabilities more frequently than recently disclosed vulnerabilities and targeted unpatched, internet-facing systems"
• “What is RISC-V? An Open Alternative to Intel and ARM”
• China: NIO EV firm to release its first smartphone, ‘NIO Phone’, in Q3 2023 - running on Google’s Android tech
• AI-powered NFTs: "...by embedding a GPT-3 into their smart contracts...AI NFTs can make new content and integrate dynamic experiences into their smart contracts thanks to their self-learning capabilities..."
• China: A brief look at recent policy focusing on sales of New Energy Vehicles such as electric cars and plug-in hybrids, with measures for infrastructure as well as incentives
In other news…
» Tesla acquires Germany's Wiferion wireless EV charging platform firm, building on Wiferion's entry to North America last month
» Qualcomm, NXP Semiconductors and others to form new company to speed development of RISC-V, open-source standard and chips architecture
» Google to launch new privacy tools to provide more control over personal images online and to ensure explicit or graphic photos appear less easily in search results
"[Cash] is one of the purest and oldest forms of public good, a symbol of identity and sovereignty. Choices about this...are, ultimately and rightly, ones for citizens rather than central bankers or cryptographers"