Asia's tech news, weekly: March 21st 2023
Nissan's NFT moves, SVB's Asia impacts, Foxconn in India, North Korea & LinkedIn, Thailand mulls crypto ban, Japan & quantum computing, India & semiconductors...
• India: Taiwan's Foxconn to construct manufacturing facility in Telangana in H2 2023 focusing on Apple AirPods, with sights on production by end of 2024
• Japan: Country's first domestically-built quantum computer to become available for use by corporations and universities later this month for research projects
• China's Hozon electric vehicle maker breaks ground at its first overseas car plant in Thailand, seeing SEA opportunities while dealing with increased competition and weakening demand in China
India & SVB: "...every third startup in Silicon Valley is founded by Indian-Americans...a significantly large number of these founders would be impacted...in...even making basic payments and giving paychecks to their employees."
• North Korean hackers modify tactics to use polished LinkedIn profiles and WhatsApp to target security researchers, posing as recruiters to send hacks disguised as offer documents
• South Korea: Samsung Electronics to invest $230BN over 20 years to build 5 semiconductor plants, aiming for world's largest facility with advanced fabrication, 150 firms producing materials, R&D and more
• Thailand: SEC seeks public feedback on potential crypto lending and staking ban, with securities regulator believing crypto firms should not be able to deploy user deposits and provide lending services
• TikTok's US woes continue: Former Trust & Safety Division employee tells investigators "...a truly leakproof arrangement for Americans' data would require a 'complete re-engineering' of how TikTok is run."
• India: Gov't imposes anti-money laundering provisions on the crypto sector in regulatory move, in part hoping to ensure that KYC is not simply best practice but a compliance requirement
• Japan's Nissan automaker files Web3-focused trademarks, indicating plans for virtual goods such as clothes, cars, trading cards, tickets, and an NFT marketplace for trading and minting
"The growing commercialization of deepfakes will bring new challenges to the Asia-Pacific’s information space."
• Australia: An intro to the 12 agri-tech startups selected for Rocket Seeder's latest AgTech Seeds cohort
• TikTok vs Douyin: "...a lot of the measures that ByteDance is now starting to introduce outside China with TikTok have already been tested aggressively [in China] with Douyin."
• Japan lifts export controls on South Korea relating to materials for semiconductor and display production, following Seoul's withdrawal of WTO litigation
• China: Shenzhen Stock Exchange seeks intelligence tech firm help to detect fraud and vet listings as part of anti-corruption bid, with regulator having uncovered near 100 accounting scams last year
• India: 35% of employees at the nation's IT organisations may soon be gig workers according to Microsoft and Zinnov study
• ‘Sequoia heats up early-stage startup investments in India and Southeast Asia' via TechCrunch
SVB & China: "The crown jewel of its global operations was China, where [SVB] served more than 2,000 clients and advised government regulators eager to make their banking system more innovation-friendly."
• India & semiconductors: "...will reach $55BN by 2026 with more than 60% of the market being driven by 3 industries which include smartphones & wearables, auto components, and computing & data storage."
• China's LiangDao lidar system supplier inks cooperation with Germany's Deutsche Telekom, focusing on smart city data management with cloud-based smart traffic counting and monitoring solutions
• Nepal's Ringaze joins Tech4Democracy Asia finalists, alongside India's Right 2 Vote, New Zealand's SafeToOpen, Singapore's Smile, and Indonesia's Sunrise
• Australia: Brisbane's Hypersonix Launch Systems aerospace firm selected by US Defense Innovation Unit to provide hypersonic vehicles for testing, beating international companies for the contract
• China: Ensound raises $14.5M with acoustic AI tech, allowing customers to detect abnormal sounds as a way to identify faulty mechanical equipment
• Philippines: Founders Launchpad startup incubator program launches, delivered by AHG Lab and Draper Startup House
AI risks making any crisis worse: "...when something goes gravely wrong, AI systems trained on older data from a relatively 'peaceful' world might be woefully [ill]equipped to handle a more chaotic one."
• GPT-4, successor to ChatGPT: "...the model might be able to look at an image of a big group of people and offer...known information...a possible facial recognition use case that could be used for mass surveillance…"
• Russia, China & open-source: "...concerns over cyberattacks fuel increasing reluctance among developers to incorporate [open source] software components created in China..."
• OpenAI CEO: "I'm particularly worried that these models could be used for large-scale disinformation...Now that they're getting better at writing computer code, [they] could be used for offensive cyberattacks."
• Australia: City of Sydney opens applications for 'Ready Set Grow', a 12-week business innovation accelerator, delivered by Disruptors Co and based in the city's Tech Central innovation precinct
• 2 Bangladeshi startups selected for new cohort of Singapore's Iterative accelerator - Nuport, working on full-stack supply chain automation, and PriyoShop B2B marketplace for neighborhood merchants
• Vietnam: A brief intro to Prime Commerce, e-commerce enabler offering centralized software for multi-channel sales order management, spanning inventory, payments, data analysis and more
"...state-backed groups from Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China regularly leverage LinkedIn to connect with targets in an attempt to steal information through phishing scams or by using malware..."
• Australia: Investible venture capital firm partners with UAE's Hub71 to support tech startups and early-stage companies in Abu Dhabi
• Australia: "ASX-listed companies have revealed tens of millions of dollars in exposure to the Silicon Valley Bank collapse, as Australian tech leaders face an anxious wait..."
• Australia-India Critical Mineral Investment Partnership has been extended with new lithium and cobalt projects providing key milestones towards sustainable supply chains
And in other news…
» SEEQC, US quantum computer startup, announces chip that can operate at temperatures colder than outer space, allowing it to be used with quantum processors usually sited in cryogenic chambers
» Microsoft reportedly working on non-custodial built-in Ethereum crypto wallet for Microsoft Edge browser to allow users to send and receive crypto and NFTs
» US Cybersec & Infra Security Agency launched Ransomware Vulnerability Warning Pilot to warn critical infra entities that their systems have vulnerabilities that may be exploited by ransomware
» Bayer and Microsoft formalize partnership to create cloud-based set of data tools and data-sci solutions for the food and agriculture industry
» Meta is to scrap nonfungible token features across Facebook and Instagram, just 10 months after launch