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Asia's tech news, weekly: November 7th 2023
South Korean space-tech, Xiaomi's unified OS, Japan & nuclear fusion, Asia's digital economy, Australia & semiconductors, Hong Kong tokenizes gold, Tencent's AI...
• Singapore: Qosmosys secures $100M seed funding, principally to focus on developing ZeusX lunar transportation vehicle for public and private sector use
• Japan: Fusion power project hits superhot plasma milestone, moving towards energy source easier to control, more sustainable and less radioactive than fission
• China: Xiaomi launches its own cross-device HyperOS, aiming for a single, unified platform for all products; Huawei continues detaching HarmonyOS from Android
• Taiwan: Police break money laundering operation involving $324M Tether cryptocurrency
Southeast Asia: "...gross merchandise value... continues an upward trajectory and is set to reach $218BN, growing 11% year-on-year... SEA's revenue from the digital economy is poised to hit $100BN..."
• HSBC launches tokenized ownership of gold using distributed ledger tech to allow trading between HSBC and institutional investors
• Australia: SunDrive secures $11M to scale copper-based solar cells technology, replacing high-cost silver components with 1000-times more abundant low-cost copper
• China: Didi Chuxing ride-share giant unveils service allowing citizens in 250 areas to use 'digital yuan' CBDC to rent motorcycles via app-run sharing service
• Singapore: Monetary Authority and IMDA jointly publish paper proposing Shared Responsibility Framework assigning financial institutions and telcos with duties, and victim payouts, around phishing scams
• Hong Kong Monetary Authority 'Digital Hong Kong Dollar' pilot program with HSBC, Hang Seng Bank and Visa completes testing of tokenized deposits using digital currency
• Taiwan's Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp to build $5.3BN factory in Japan, backed by SBI Holdings and the Japanese gov't, in latest bid to expand Japan's chip manufacturing base
• China: CATL, world's largest battery maker, unveils new base with assembly lines claiming production of 1 battery cell per second, and entire EV battery pack in under 3 mins
• South Korea's Naver Pay expands on-site payments across SE Asia, adding Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines to September addition of China and Japan
• China: WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, Baidu, Xiaohongshu, Bilibili and other tech majors now display real names and info for accounts with over 500K followers under gov't mandate to curb anonymity
"In 2022, 5G plans made up just 2.2% (26M) of mobile subscriptions (1.14BN) in Southeast Asia, compared to 4G’s 55.7% (637M). This stands in contrast to East Asia, where 5G made up 29.8%..."
• South Korea: TelePIX space-tech firm partners Poland's SatRev to supply satellite imagery data from proprietary satellite, focusing on greenhouse gases
• China: Tencent implements Hunyuan AI model in over 180 services as Baidu and Alibaba competition heats up, with likely goal of making AI a core feature across all its products
• Enterprise Singapore unveils new Global Innovation Alliance nodes in Mumbai, Melbourne and Sydney, aiming to further facilitate Singapore tech and startup collaborations
• Malaysia: Penjana Kapital, gov't-owned fund of funds, partners Taiwan's APAC Investment & Innovation Development Association
• Canadian state officials banned from use of China's WeChat and Russian Kaspersky antivirus on gov't-issued mobile devices due to 'unacceptable' privacy and security risks
• Mandiri Capital Indonesia and Singapore-Australia early-stage VC, Investible, prep for launch of Global Climate Tech Fund
• China's Tsingshan preps for $233M investment in Chilean mining firm SQM, gaining access to 11,244 tons of battery-grade lithium carbonate at a preferential price until 2030
• Australia's Q-CTRL and Quad Investors Network partner to grow quantum workforce in Australia and US, with quantum-focused Black Opal learning platform made available to TAFE students
"Yangtze Memory Technologies Co, China's largest memory chip maker, has had to appeal for new funding after burning through cash reserves in its efforts to adapt to sanctions..."
• India: Skyroot Aerospace secures $27.5M backing, led by Singapore gov't Temasek fund, with sights on the global small-to-medium size satellite launch market
• MangoBoost, a Seoul-Seattle startup developing data processing unit chips for data centers, secured $55M Series A, aiming to boost efficiency in existing server equipment
• Hong Kong & CBDC: "...phase-2 trial will delve deeper into the e-HKD technology, its business model and legislation... The HKMA is already looking for banks to partner with for the next trial... anticipated to get under way early next year."
• Japan: More info on Canon's new, potentially game-changing, nanoimprint lithography tech, used to print circuit patterns on semiconductor wafers
• Australia: Liontown Resources secures Au$1.13BN backing for completion of Kathleen Valley lithium project, with sights on production by mid-2024
• Better Bite Ventures backs 3 food-tech startups in latest First Bite funding - Singapore's Fattastic, Australia's Pivot Eat, and South Korea's Everything But
• Hong Kong: Zodia Custody expands HK operations following receipt of trust license from Monetary Authority, with custodial services for cryptocurrencies and digital assets
• China's space-tech moves: "By offering the chance to win missions from the space agency, China is pursuing a strategy used by NASA with Mr Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp..."
One of the problems with small satellites: "Miniaturization can only go so far before it comes to a crashing halt against some very fundamental laws of physics."
• Singapore's Drive Lah p2p car-share service gains $2M funding from ComfortDelGro transport giant, with sights on growth of Australia-focused Drive Mate brand and connected-car tech
• Philippines: IdeaSpace Foundation unveils 6 startups selected for next cohort of IdeaSpace Accelerator Program, working on solutions in digital community, education-tech and more
• Indonesia: Bali Investment Club angel investor network to launch $25M Archipelago VC fund focused on sustainability early in 2024
• Australia: Provectus Algae opens 30K-liter demo facility for growing seaweed additive for livestock feed to reduce methane emissions
• Singapore's YouTrip, a fintech offering multicurrency wallets for consumers and business accounts with corporate cards for SMEs, lands $50M with sights on SE Asia expansion
• Japan: SusHi Tech Tokyo 2024 Global Startup Program event is set for May 2024, featuring pitch comp, exhibition and conference
• Vietnam and Republic of Korea ink 5 agreements on cooperation in artificial intelligence use in medical, healthcare, smart city, and automation technologies centered on Da Nang city
• Taiwan: Food Industry R&D Institute establishes Plant Milk R&D Center to develop plant-based products and protein-rich milk alternatives
Cybercrime: "Despite having a population of just 1,400, until recently, Tokelau’s .tk [web] domain had more users than any other country. Here's why..."
• Singapore: Tech in Asia to be acquired by Singapore Press Holdings Media, the parent firm of The Straits Times and The Business Times newspapers
• South Korea: An overview of the forthcoming ComeUp 2023 Global Startup Festival, set for November 8-10 in Seoul
• The Thailand Digital Valley project in Chon Buri, aiming to become a tech and startup hub for ASEAN
Technology news beyond the Indo-Pacific:
» Finland's Wirepas secures $22M for Internet-of-Things based on mesh networks instead of cellular or Wi-Fi, minimizing hub-and-spoke architecture and need for base stations
» MDIF Ventures opens Digital Media investment fund applications, seeking independent media firms with positive social impact and the potential to scale
» 40 nations in US-led Counter Ransomware Initiative agree to not pay hacker ransoms, and to share data that helps apprehend them
» Seurat Technologies 3D metal-printing firm raised $99M in part from NVIDIA's NVDAO VC arm, focusing on green energy-powered manufacturing allowing reshoring of supply chains
"Qatar's state-owned energy firm has entered into a 27-year sales and purchase agreement with China Petrochemical Corp, also known as Sinopec, to supply 3 million tons of liquefied natural gas annually..."
More of Asia's tech news:
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