Asia's tech news, weekly: January 31st 2023
In this edition: National Australia Bank 'green stablecoin', China's EV bid for London's black cabs, no-code metaverse building in Malaysia, India and lithium-ion batteries...
• South Korea and the metaverse: "In the world’s testing ground for tech, K-pop singers are being spun up out of pixels and doing battle in a virtual universe."
• Japan to remove a key limit on overseas investments by domestic venture funds dedicated to backing startups, in a bid to attract more foreign investors into the sector
• China's Geely planning investment in maker of London's iconic black taxis, aiming for all-electric brand spanning range of commercial and passenger vehicles
"Fake bylines. Content farming. Affiliate fees. What happens when private equity takes over a storied news site and milks it for clicks?"
• Australia's Rumin8 backed by Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Ventures, focusing on anti-methanogenic cattle feed to limit methane emissions from agriculture
• Cambodia: Techo Startup Center launches local edition of Global Cleantech Innovation Program, a program supported by the United Nations Industrial Organization
• National Australia Bank eyes 'green stablecoin' with recent moves into blockchain, tokenized deposits and green assets and AUDN stablecoin launch
"Telegram markets itself as secure messenger app to communicate outside of authoritarian regime surveillance. The results that some data is being sent to Huawei makes us question Telegram as a safe application..."
• National Australia Bank minted AUDN bank-backed stablecoin on Ethereum blockchain in December, aiming for solution roll-out mid-2023 for trading carbon credits and overseas payments
• India: Log9 battery startup raises $40M, aiming to commission the country's first fully-integrated lithium ion cell production line
• Pegasus Tech Ventures VC firm partners Japan's Denka chemical and life sciences major for $100M fund to focus on startups in renewable energies, EV batteries, chips and health-tech
• Vietnam: Fintech Revolution Summit 2023 set for March 27-28 in Hanoi, aiming to gather leaders in the banking, financial services and insurance sectors
• Indonesia: Imajin gains seed funding, drawing production across mold and dies, metal and plastic parts, materials trading, fabrication and production from more than 500 manufacturers
• Porsche China unveils first digital collectibles series, the 911-Dreamer collection, in a limited run of 996 pieces
India and 'net blocking: "The total number of websites, URLs, applications, social media posts and accounts that are blocked in India within the time period from 2015 to 2022 are 55,607..."
• Startup 20 Engagement Group to hold inaugural meeting under India's G20 presidency, aiming to 'create a global narrative for supporting startups'
• Malaysia's HelloGold, Shariah-compliant app for buying, saving and selling gold, to shut down operations in home country and in Thailand from February 2nd
• Australia: Consumer watchdog to investigate beauty, lifestyle, parenting and fashion influencers who reportedly failed to disclose affiliations with products, misleading consumers
• Are Google Ads trustworthy? "Security experts say caution should be exercised when clicking on adverts at the top of the search engine’s home page."
"More than a thousand students and recent graduates in the US were surveyed about their career ambitions in the Future Workforce Study. Only 16% of them said they would consider taking a job at a startup or small company..."
• China: Voice Health Tech AI firm partners researchers around speech analysis in depression screening, using 30 seconds of speech submitted via smartphone
• Malaysia: Virtualtech Frontier gains new funding with services including Mitoworld no-code metaverse platform, enabling creation of metaverses for other businesses
• Vietnam: VinBrain, an AI-driven healthcare firm funded by VinGroup conglomerate, inks collaboration agreement with Microsoft to further develop services
In other news…
» European Central Bank's proposed 'digital euro' will be free to use and available to all, but limited in scope so as not to compete with commercial banks
» JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and others are working on a digital wallet project, stepping into competition with Apple Pay, PayPal and others
» LA's Spatial Labs aims to bridge physical and digital fashion with microchip verification of authenticity and ownership via blockchain
» "...45% of 'citizen' project managers say they manage projects simply because their supervisor asked them to, which points to the ad-hoc nature of this responsibility."