H.E.R.O.’s Journey in Tech (6 April 2018) – Edge Computing + TKP Corp (TSE: 3479), “Japan’s Airbnb In Office Space”, Up >350% Since Mar 2017 IPO + At the heart of China’s techno-nationalism is a hit list of 200 unicorns

Companies

  • TKP Corp. (TSE: 3479): Renting Out Rooms Made This Bank Worker a Billionaire (Bloomberg)

In 2005, when Takateru Kawano founded TKP Corp. (TSE: 3479), hardly anyone was harnessing the power of the web to rent out office and event space. Today, the company controls more than 1,900 conference rooms from Japan to Hong Kong to New York, serving about 94,000 corporate clients. Kawano’s net worth eclipsed $1 billion in January after Tokyo-based TKP’s stock had surged as much as 415 percent since its debut last March, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The shares have dropped since, paring his fortune to about $886 million. The company leases and transforms underused spaces into conference rooms that it rents out for seminars, training, exhibitions and concerts, in what it describes as “space regeneration and distribution.” Tokyo was the world’s third-highest-priced office market, real estate consulting firm Cushman & Wakefield said in a November report. The average cost of operating an office space in the city was $18,111 per workstation in 2017. That’s what makes TKP’s unique model of space sharing thrive.

  • SOU Inc. (TSE: 9270): Used Louis Vuitton Bags Propel Pawn-Shop Startup to IPO (Bloomberg)

The resale of Hermes bags, brand-name jewelry and other luxury items is a thriving industry in Japan, with one critical bottleneck: building inventory is tough. SOU Inc. (TSE: 9270) offers a solution: pawn shops dedicated only to buying up second-hand merchandise. Business has been so good for founder Shinsuke Sakimoto — who posted profit of 1.14 billion yen ($11 million) on sales of 22.7 billion yen for the year ending August — that he’s taken the company public. Shares of SOU opened for trading in Tokyo on March 22 at 4,100 yen a share, 24 percent higher than the IPO price of 3,300 yen. “We are specialists in purchasing other items; we do not sell them,” Sakimoto, 35, said in an interview. Mercari Inc. became Japan’s first startup unicorn with a marketplace app, and even EBay Inc. is returning to the market. With plenty of demand for second-hand goods, Tokyo-based SOU has focused on making it easier for people to part with their expensive bags, watches and jewelry. “Other companies will open stores to sell the items they buy as an exit. We are B-to-B, so we use auctions to say ‘bye-bye’ to the items in a short amount of time.” The company, named after the Chinese character for “thought,” has a network of 57 stores across Japan. They’re stylish, attractive locations where people can sell their used luxury goods in a relaxed atmosphere. SOU is planning to open more stores, funded in part with the sale of 4.9 billion yen worth of shares. SOU, which is trading on the Mothers Exchange, has a market cap of about 24.5 billion yen.

  • Start Today (TSE: 3092): Zozotown founder Yusaku Maezawa follows eclectic path (JapanTimes)

In 2004, Start Today launched Zozotown, which initially introduced products from 17 apparel stores. The company was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Mothers section for high-growth startups in 2007 and continued to expand over the next decade. Today the site features around 6,300 brands with over 520,000 items, and the company that began with just four staff members now employs nearly 900. With a market capitalization of around ¥845 billion and annual sales topping ¥76 billion last fiscal year, Maezawa, who owns around 39 percent of Start Today’s shares, is Japan’s 14th-richest man, according to Forbes.

  • TSMC is about to become the world's most advanced chipmaker (Economist)

  • Ennoconn (TSEC: 6414) to acquire semiconductor equipment maker Marketech International Corp (帆宣) for about NT$5.34 billion (US$183 million) in an effort to expand its business scope and enhance its technological capabilities. (Taipei Times)

Ennoconn is an industrial computer manufacturing arm of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密). The acquisition is the latest step in Ennoconn’s move to expand its product portfolio beyond contract manufacturing of industrial computers. In January, Ennoconn said it plans to acquire a 19.5 percent stake in medical display supplier Diva Laboratories Ltd (鈺緯科技) for NT$279 million as the company expands its presence into the healthcare market. “The deal would also help the company strengthen its technological capabilities in providing industrial Internet of Thing devices.” Marketech supplies manufacturing equipment and factory facilities to the world’s first-tier semiconductor companies, flat-panel makers and LED chipmakers

  • Gentrack (ASX: GTK): Surviving and thriving after missing earnings forecast due to timing of revenue recognition (Intelligent Investor). Gentrack Group has inked a contract with Eon, providing Germany's largest renewable energy producer with its velocity utility billing and customer management software for its UK and Romanian energy supply businesses. (Sharechat)

In May 2015, billing software maker Gentrack (ASX: GTK) was about to commit the cardinal sin of newly listed stocks - missing the earnings forecast disclosed in its prospectus. Over the following four months, the stock would lose more than a third of its value. Gentrack’s customers were utilities and the company had barely lost a customer in 20 years. Cash flow was relatively predictable and contracted price increases ensured long-term revenue growth. The profit downgrade was due to one thing: two contracts were taking longer to finalise than expected, which meant the revenue they would generate would need to be recognised in the following year’s financial statements. If Gentrack was your family business, you wouldn’t give two hoots whether a sale was recognised this year or next. It’s an accounting issue. The delay has no impact on the company’s long-term prospects – and this was a good company with excellent prospects. Every investor worth their salt could tell you that. The reason Gentrack lost a third of its value was that most investors and brokers are unduly focused on the short term.

  • China's internet tiger NetEase aims to make retail as big as games; Understanding consumers key to future growth, says CEO Ding (Nikkei); Netease - China's Kaola.com to spend $5bn on more 'made in Japan' items; Japanese merchandise proves crucial in beating rivals Tmall and JD.com (Nikkei)
  • Taiwan-based Ardentec is expected to enjoy growing revenues generated from orders for automotive MCUs in 2018. The IC testing company has seen orders for auto MCUs ramp up from its foundry and IDM clients. Ardentec is among the testing partners of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), which has reportedly been contracted by Renesas Electronics to manufacture all the Japan-based vendor's auto MCU products. (Digitimes)
  • We plan to invest $500 million in India over ten years: Dalip Sharma, Delta Electronics India. Our market share in the telecom power industry is 75 per cent in India and we are the leading suppliers of PV inverters with a market share of over 36 per cent in the renewable energy industry. We are also a prominent player in UPS for data centres, Information Technology, as well as digital display systems that constitute video walls and projection systems. Our market share is 5 per cent in UPS, 60 per cent in display solutions and we are among the top five players in the industrial automation space. (India Times)
  • Bizlink sets its sights on electronic vehicle market (Taipei Times)
  • Taiwan Semi: Intel's Apple Pain Could Be Its Gain (Barron’s)
  • PC Maker Acer Is Going High End With Virtual Reality Gear (Forbes)
  • Machvision, Utechzone seeing brisk demand from semiconductor and FPD industries (Digitimes)
  • Daifuku offers world-class technology for factory functions (Deccan)
  • Rise of AI keeps chip equipment investment flowing; Tokyo Electron and Canon boost capacity despite smartphone slump (Nikkei)
  • Tokyo Electron to sell US unit to Singapore's ASM Pacific (Nikkei)
  • Smash-hit Switch revives Nintendo and supplier stocks; Game publishers seen as next in line to get boost from hybrid device (Nikkei)
  • Rare Japanese unicorn Mercari eyes rapid expansion in US (Reuters)
  • Weathernews Inc., accompanied Japan's Nordic skiing team and fed them first-hand information about expected weather conditions in the games' mountain area. (Kyodo)
  • Kakao, operator of the nation’s top mobile messenger service KakaoTalk, will introduce its new Kakao Melon music platform to be infused into its chat rooms (Korea Herald); Kakao M names new CEO (Yonhap)
  • Vista Group's Movio has grown from a garage enterprise to seeing its audience-analysis technology adopted by more than half the screens on the North American large cinema circuit. (Next)
  • IRESS acquires digital advice compliance business (FS)
  • ViTrox set to grow market share. ViTrox is poised to win more market share in the advent of global semiconductor growth leveraging on its technology leadership in machine inspection, especially in 3D-AOI and AXI. However, MVS-S sales are highly dependent on single customer and majority of sales are non-recurring. (Edge)
  • VGI Global Media Plc (VGI) will expand its out-of-home media business to Malaysia after the acquisition of a 25.1 per cent holding in Meru Utama Sdn Bhd - the airport media service provider at major airports as well as airports for low-cost airlines in Malaysia, under its business expansion plan in Asean. (Nation)

BAT – Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent

  • Tencent Music streams Beatles albums on path to IPO. Tencent also agreed in December to swap minority stakes with Spotify, the world’s biggest music streaming service, valuing the Chinese service at US$12.3 billion. (SCMP)
  • China Literature to step up book adaptations as content war heats up among tech giants (SCMP); China Literature 2017 Net Profit Jumps On Higher Revenue, Better Margins (Nikkei)
  • A peek at how Tencent has 200 million Chinese gamers hooked (SCMP)
  • Tencent vs. Alibaba: Battle extends to bikes and food delivery (Nikkei)
  • Meet Pony Ma, the media-shy billionaire behind Tencent (TIA)

  • Tencent president sells US$55 million worth of company shares (CNA)
  • The Savviest Tech Investor You’ve Never Heard of Is Selling Down Tencent; Move by little-known Naspers to sell 2% of Chinese giant set to land it about $10 billion (WSJ); Naspers - how Koos Bekker exerts control over the South African media conglomerate he chairs. (FT)
  • Tencent Derivatives Go Wild as Bearish Options Surge 34,900% (Bloomberg)
  • Tencent Joins Ranks of Internet Mortals; Revenue missed estimates and user growth has plateaued. That's just the beginning. (Bloomberg)

  • Tencent, China’s largest game publisher, has launched the mobile version of one of the world’s bestselling titles in the US, to run on both iOS and Android. (SCMP)
  • Pony Ma, Tencent's chairman, urged the launch of an ID system that would link multiple sets of travel documents with a mobile phone as part of a plan to boost regional trade between Hong Kong and the mainland. (Bloomberg)
  • In China payment war, Walmart places bet on Tencent (Reuters)
  • Tencent-backed Bilibili IPO Fizzles Despite Big China Generation Z Audience (Barron’s)
  • Tencent shows off their vision for the future of unmanned retail (Technode); The Success Of Alibaba And Tencent Could See China End Up With Just Two Retail Powerhouses (Forbes)
  • Online retailers go offline in China (Economist)
  • China's over-50s love WeChat and can't get enough chicken soup for the soul (Technode)
  • Baidu's iQiyi Drops in Debut After IPO Raising $2.3 Billion (Bloomberg); IQiyi Investors Are China Content War Truce Believers; Profitability may be a way off for the content-streaming service. (Bloomberg)
  • Baidu Powers Ahead With Autonomous Cars (Barron’s)
  • FANG Selloff Threatens China Offshore Stocks More Than Trade War; Just three tech companies -- Tencent, Alibaba and Sunny Optical -- account for half of the MSCI China Index's 4.6 percent gain (Bloomberg)
  • Don't Call It a Car: China's Internet Giants Want to Sell You 'Mobile Living Spaces'; Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are betting the auto industry will shift from selling hardware to selling subscriptions to internet-equipped autonomous cars (WSJ)
  • Alibaba founders bet on US subscription clothing pioneer; Rent the Runway eyes luxury-obsessed Asia for future growth (Nikkei)
  • Alibaba bets billions on China's top food delivery app; Deal puts $9.5bn value on company controlling half of domestic market (Nikkei); Alibaba Buys Delivery Startup Ele.me in $9.5 Billion Deal (Bloomberg)
  • Alibaba is preparing to invest in Grab (Techcrunch)
  • Alibaba Might Want to Watch the Goodwill; If growth slows, that balance sheet item will become harder to support. (Bloomberg)

  • Future of retail; As Alibaba's Jack Ma sees it, data and technology will transform retail, not just online but offline too (Forbes)
  • To Buy a Car in China, Hit the Vending Machine; Internet giant Alibaba aims to disrupt China’s auto retail landscape with an experiment that sidesteps car salesmen (WSJ)
  • Alibaba counters Amazon's expansion in SE Asia; Injection of $2bn into Lazada will boost logistics network, cement lead (Nikkei)
  • SoftBank, Alibaba to invest $445 million in India's Paytm E-Commerce (Reuters)
  • Is Alibaba Losing To Tencent In China's Trillion-Dollar Payment War? (Forbes)
  • Privacy concerns stall Alibaba's plans for Japanese Alipay; Banks reluctant to give China an opening to access customer data (Nikkei)
  • Alibaba is planning a China listing by mid-2018 via the use of Chinese depositary receipts (SCMP); Alibaba's Homecoming May Not Prove a Home Run; The tech giant is mulling a listing in China to go alongside the one it already has in the U.S. That may not be much benefit to existing shareholders. (WSJ); Beijing fast tracks foreign-listed Chinese tech firms' A-share flotation with CDR system launch (SCMP); China to Trial CDRs, Startup Listings to Lure Tech Firms Home (Bloomberg); China Unveils Its Plan to Bring Nation's Tech Giants Back Home (Bloomberg)
  • Meet one of China's most powerful businesswomen at the helm of e-commerce firm Lazada. Lucy Peng Lei, one of the 18 co-founders of Alibaba, has been tasked to lead Lazada’s efforts in driving online retail activity across Southeast Asia, a market of more than 600 million consumers (SCMP)
  • Business Lessons from Jack Ma- Alibaba and the 40 SaaS (25iq)

Asian Tech & Innovation Trends

  • At the heart of China's techno-nationalism is a hit list of 200 unicorns (SCMP)

  • Meituan to Seek a $60 Billion Valuation in Hong Kong IPO (Bloomberg); Chinese food-to-flights app offers half-baked IPO (Reuters); China's Meituan to buy large stake in Mobike: Caixin (Reuters); Bike Rentals + Food Delivery. Fusion That Works; This is about connecting consumers' daily activities under one umbrella. (Bloomberg); China’s Meituan buys bike-sharing firm Mobike in mobility push (SCMP); How Mobike's Founder Turned Crazy Idea Into $3 Billion Startup (Bloomberg)
  • Online road transport operator Shanghai Tiandihui eyes mainland IPO. (SCMP)

Tiandihui raised 500 million yuan (US$79.1 million) in a third round of financing led by CICC Jiacheng Investment Management, a subsidiary of investment bank China International Capital Corp. The company, whose online platform matches lorries with cargo in more than 50 cities across the mainland, would not disclose its valuation after the financing. Based on annual revenue of 5 billion yuan in 2017, its valuation could have reached US$1 billion, the threshold for an unlisted technology firm to become a unicorn. If it were to make a profit this year, it would meet the earnings requirements of mainland securities regulators for an A-share listing. Tiandihui handled transactions worth 118 billion yuan in 2017, nearly double the amount a year earlier. Road transport makes up 60 per cent of China’s 11 trillion yuan logistics market. The staggering size of the logistics sector is seen as a drag on the country’s manufacturing industries because they end up footing a huge bill for transport costs. Aside from expanding its network and investing in new facilities, Xu said the proceeds from the fundraising would also be used to reinforce Tiandihui’s supply-chain finance segment. Tiandihui offers loans to logistics firms operating on its platform to help them upgrade their fleet of trucks and enhance efficiency.

  • After Dominating The Consumer Drone Market, DJI Sets Its Sights On The Business World; The Chinese drone giant’s new Payload Software Development Kit opens up a wide range of new applications for businesses. (FastCo); DJI charts a risky flight path (BT)
  • China is serious about cleaning up Jinri Toutiao and Kuaishou this time (Technode); China’s largest news aggregator Jinri Toutiao shamed by state media for misleading medical ads (SCMP); Jinri Toutiao responds to ad fraud accusations (Technode)
  • Weibo isn't dead. It's China's public square (Technode)
  • Bad Year for the FAANGs? In Asia Tech, It's Just A Little Worse (Bloomberg)

  • Why Emerging Markets Are Hanging on the Fate of Silicon Valley; Emerging markets' growing tech contingent increases their exposure to swings in the sector (WSJ)

  • China's Blowing Hot on Tech Stocks; It's moving fast and breaking things -- rules, to be precise. Watch for the fallout. Just as U.S. technology shares are losing air, China's planning to engineer its own boom. (Bloomberg)
  • Harsh truth looms for China tech stocks. Based on their reported price-earnings ratio, the 470 technology firms on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges were at least 87 per cent more expensive than the overseas-listed trio of industry giants Baidu, Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, Bloomberg data showed. (SCMP)

  • China's Generation Z is hooked on these short video apps (SCMP)
  • China's consumers are paying to watch movies online, but foreign streaming giants are missing out (SCMP)
  • China Cracks Down On Jaywalkers With AI, Facial Recognition, & Automated Fines (Zerohedge)
  • Hong Kong’s investment watchdog suggests curbs on robot advisers and online trading platforms (SCMP)
  • China steps up crackdown on online asset management sector: sources (Reuters)
  • China Consumer Loan Giant Ant Financial Threatened by Debt Slump (Bloomberg)
  • Pricier Than Apple? Xiaomi's Hot Again, and Investors Could Get Burned; Some fear pursuing a sky-high valuation for a planned blockbuster IPO would be a mistake (WSJ); Inside Xiaomi: The perks and perils of startups that join its ecosystem (TechInAsia); China's Xiaomi Is Set To Disrupt The TV Market In India, Just Like It Did For Smartphones (Forbes); China's Oppo embraces Xiaomi's flash sale gambit to grow Indian smartphone sales (SCMP)
  • Fosun’s technology investments, which will focus on biotech, fintech and artificial intelligence technologies, are expected to reach at least 100 billion yuan in the next ten years (Reuters)
  • China's battery king poised to overtake Panasonic-Tesla alliance; CATL strengthens foothold in global supply chain backed by government policies (Nikkei); Here Are the Firms Feeding China's Battery Revolution (Bloomberg)
  • Virtual love in China produces real money (AsiaOne)
  • The latest in China's online shopping scene is the US$3 shop ; E-commerce retailers are trying everything from live-streaming to 24-hour shopping festivals to entice more shoppers to spend online. (SCMP)
  • China's HNA and JD.com team on e-commerce logistics (Nikkei)
  • China Wants Its Own Brains Behind 30 Million Self-Driving Cars (Bloomberg)

  • China Auto Exec on Self-Driving Cars: 'You Can't Just Put Some Sensors on Top'; The fatal self-driving Uber crash in Arizona has become a cause for concern in China (WSJ)
  • China draws up plans to promote standardization in electric vehicles (Reuters)
  • China Is Hoarding Unicorns and Breeding Squirrels; That's only a sign venture capitalists have few exit options. (Bloomberg)
  • Walmart opens first high-tech small-sized supermarket in China (Reuters)
  • China caps store mobile payments at $80; New daily ceilings gum up the wheels of commerce and add to costs (Nikkei)
  • Hong Kong e-commerce site aims to be more than its Goxip name as it expands into Thailand (SCMP)
  • Tsinghua Unigroup postpones mobile chip unit IPO; Qualcomm rival Unigroup Spreadtrum & RDA undergoes management shakeup (Nikkei)
  • China's semiconductor 'Big Fund' to focus on advanced chips; Chief seeks to prevent low-end products from causing supply glut (Nikkei)
  • Why Google, IBM & Microsoft Are All Expanding In Taiwan This Year (Forbes)
  • Taiwan IC design houses vying for orders for ASIC. Other Taiwan's first-tier fabless IC companies including Realtek Semiconductor, Novatek Microelectronics, Phison Electronics, Silicon Motion Technology, Himax Technologies, FocalTech Systems and Sunplus Technology have also been vying for orders for custom ASICs amid the ever expanding AI (artificial intelligence) applications. (Digitimes1, Digitimes2)
  • IC designers gearing up to develop datacenter server chipsets. Taiwan IC design houses enjoy three short-term advantages that can help them more easily tap the global server chipset market. First, Taiwan boasts a mature upstream and downstream industrial chain for server contract production, making it easier for domestic IC designers to successfully promote their solutions to local contractors. Second is that Taiwan-designed chipsets usually bear high price-performance ratios, a major attraction to cost-minded customers. One more advantage is that China datacenter server customers would rather adopt Taiwan-designed chipsets or farm out ASIC production than relying on US chipmakers, so as to avoid any undesirable trouble. Smaller Taiwan IC designers such as Aspeed Technology and Nuvoton Technology are moving to tap the growing market demand for MCU, a vital component for servers, while VIA Technology and RDC Semiconductor have also emerged as the top choices for new China datacenter operators to supply X86 CPU IP for their servers. (Digitimes)
  • Taiwan IC designers poised to embrace robust orders for AI chipsets (Digitimes)
  • Taiwan 3D sensor supply chain to gain more from new iPhones (Digitimes)
  • Explainer: Why Taiwan is slow to adopt mobile payments (Technode)
  • Renesas Electronics will outsource all of its automotive microcontroller production to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. as it seeks to cut costly outlays on chipmaking machinery and concentrate on the development of software and semiconductors. (Nikkei)
  • Taiwan's MediaTek denies merger talks with Singapore's Broadcom; Chipmaking sector undergoes consolidation, as competition heats up (Nikkei)
  • Semiconductors are the latest fashion in China; Foreign and local chipmakers eye big opportunities as Beijing champions sector (Nikkei)
  • Innovation-hungry Japanese companies investing directly in startups; But some question whether corporate venture capital will truly pay off (Nikkei)
  • Panasonic marks 100th anniversary by redefining itself; Home appliance maker shifts to supplying key components to regain bubble glory (Nikkei)

  • SoftBank Vision Fund will buy into 100 companies then consolidate some, says CEO. (CNBC) SoftBank mulls $1 billion investment in Chinese truck-hailing firm Manbang Group: WSJ (Reuters); This Venture Capitalist Says SoftBank Is Creating a Subset of 'Untouchable' Companies (Fortune); SoftBank's Venezuela-Sized Debt Triggers Angst; There's a whiff of anxiety in the market as Masayoshi Son keeps borrowing. (Bloomberg)
  • Aging Japan: Robots may have role in future of elder care (Reuters)
  • AI-based boarding bridge inches closer to full automation; ShinMaywa's latest version moves to 10cm of plane doors without human assistance (Nikkei)
  • 'VR of sound' works for entertainment and surveillance alike; KDDI tech lets you listen to one singer in a group, or a person in a crowd (Nikkei)
  • Bike-sharing boom in Japan a prelude to online payment war? Tech companies seen copying Chinese model of using two-wheelers to market e-pay (Nikkei)
  • E-payment soars in Vietnam as a solution to skimpy bank coverage; Spread of mobile devices has companies scrambling to cash in on fintech boom (Nikkei)
  • Foodpanda and Line Are Fighting to Feed Bangkok (Bloomberg)
  • SEEK and OneVentures back $8 million round for HR start-up Employment Hero (AFR)
  • Meet the most disruptive fintech startup in South Korea (Forbes)
  • Mukesh Ambani is playing a new tune. India’s richest man, through his flagship conglomerate Reliance Industries, is merging two music-streaming services into one worth $1 billion. Reliance is following a well-trodden path of telecom operators dabbling in music, movies and other entertainment to attract subscribers. (Reuters, Nikkei, Forbes)
  • Ambani's Triple Play Disrupts Cozy Club; Combining carriage with content and commerce is a winning strategy. (Bloomberg)
  • Upstarts Are Swiping Business From Visa and Mastercard in India (Bloomberg)
  • How Dotcom Survivors Built a $950 Million Startup in India; Bigbasket is the nation's largest e-grocer and recently raised $300 million in a round led by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. (Bloomberg)
  • India's Farmers Could Be Making More Money Soon, With The Help Of Clever Agritech Startups (Forbes)
  • ‘We have to be positioned for change’: GIC bets on deeper investments in tech (CNA); A peek into the workings of GIC's tech investment group (BT)

Apple’s Asian Ecosystem

  • Apple's Chinese suppliers rise to highest number; US tech titan increasingly reliant on China despite trade war threats (Nikkei)

  • Hon Hai: Meet Asia's Biggest Hedge Fund. (It Also Makes iPhones.) (Bloomberg)

  • Foxconn suffers first yearly profit drop since 2008 as iPhone slumps; Taiwanese assembler touts two M&As in a week to cut reliance on Apple (Nikkei)
  • Apple Supplier Sunny Optical's 2017 Profit More Than Doubles As Revenue Jumps (Nikkei)
  • Taiwan's electronics makers face triple threat; Higher costs, iPhone disruption and US-China friction erode profits (Nikkei)
  • Belkin, Nokia, Nostalgia and Foxconn; Older names with consumer resonance are a theme of the Taiwan company's acquisitions. (Bloomberg, Reuters)

  • Apple chip supplier ASE vows to grow as 'big keep getting bigger'; World's top chip assembler does not rule out listing other units in China (Nikkei)

Rogue Tech

  • Leshi: Chinese tech firm that once vowed to disrupt Tesla and Apple faces delisting under pile of unpaid debt (SCMP)
  • Disclosure obligations: ASX tightens listing rules after GetSwift, Big Un debacles (AFR); Beware tech stocks on the financial critical list; More than 81 per cent of tech companies are exposed to unacceptable risks. (AFR)
  • The proof Big Un CEO Richard Evertz did prison time for blackmail; Big Un has misled the market by claiming CEO Richard Evertz "does not have a criminal record". (AFR)
  • YuuZoo Corp, the online-gaming and e-commerce company, says given 'impossible' task of producing business plans and five-year cashflow analysis of 46 franchises (Edge); SGX reports YuuZoo to 'relevant authorities' for possible breach of Securities and Futures Act after issuing notice of compliance (Edge); YuuZoo confirms CAD investigation into company and chairman Zilliacus (Edge)
  • KPMG hit by Hong Kong High Court in $400 million China Medical fraud. Company liquidators have presented evidence showing the company’s former management had stolen at least $355 million through fake technology acquisitions. (Reuters)
  • Chinese Developer Cuts Losses After Tech Rescue Mission Fails. Sun Hongbin, chairman of property giant Sunac, abandons effort to save video-streaming firm Leshi, part of the embattled LeEco conglomerate (SCMP)
  • Why 'The China Hustle' is a finance documentary all U.S. investors need to see. In the new documentary, “The China Hustle,” there’s a moment when Dan David, a whistleblower and activist short-seller, returns home to his extended family and explains his work. He is trying to stop dubious Chinese firms from profiting on the U.S. stock market through backdoor, reverse takeovers. He argues these Chinese entities are frauds that egregiously overstate profit and revenue in order to attract U.S. investors who are hungry for exposure to the China boom following the 2008 market crash. (Marketwatch)
  • Up-and-Down IPO Longfin Is Facing an SEC Probe; The financial-technology company, which went public under 'Reg A+,' has fallen sharply in recent days (WSJ)
  • Fintech Mozido Founder Accused of Stealing Millions to Fund Luxurious Lifestyle; SEC says Michael Liberty misled investors about Mozido's worth and financial results (WSJ)

FAANNMG – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Nvidia, Netflix, Microsoft, Google

  • Microsoft Windows Chief Myerson Out, New Focus on 'Edge Computing'. Edge computing is being seen as the complement to cloud computing, with more and more processing distributed among end-user devices, being they smartphones, wearables, Amazon.com (AMZN) “Echo” speakers, or, eventually self-driving cars. (Barron’s)

  • How Microsoft Could Reach $1 Trillion in Stock Market Value (Fortune); Why Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Is Tearing Up the Windows Business (Fortune); Microsoft Unveils Biggest Reorganization in Years (Bloomberg); The End of Windows (Stratechery); Microsoft Collaboration Tools Gain Share Amid Shift to Cloud (WSJ)
  • Why Apple and Microsoft Are Healthier Than Facebook; Tech's old-timers have business models based on selling things customers want to buy. That's especially useful now. (Bloomberg)
  • The new rules of data capitalism; The rise of data-rich "superstar" firms, such as Google, Apple, Alibaba and Samsung, will suck the life out of many traditional companies, a new book argues. (AFR)
  • Sound waves offer new way to lock doors and secure payments; Google Home and Amazon Echo call Japanese entrepreneurs into action (Nikkei)
  • 'Where can I buy?' - Google makes push to turn product searches into cash; Over the past two years, mobile searches asking where to buy products soared by 85 percent (Reuters)
  • Google to acquire GIF platform Tenor (Reuters)
  • How Apple, Amazon, Pandora and More Are Trying to Gain on Spotify: A look at the competition for music streaming (WSJ)
  • Swipe no more: Apple said to be developing 'touchless' iPhone screens (SMH); Apple Plans to Use Its Own Chips in Macs From 2020, Replacing Intel (Bloomberg); Intel-Apple Rumor: Bears Mull Existential Risk (Barron’s); Apple Is Secretly Developing Its Own Screens for the First Time (Bloomberg); Apple doesn't understand what makes Chromebooks great (TNW); Former Apple Employees Reflect on Siri's 'Squandered Lead' Over Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant (Mac)
  • How Facebook Helps Shady Advertisers Pollute the Internet; "They go out and find the morons for me." (Bloomberg); Controversial Facebook Memo Shows Perils of Business Model (Barron’s); Facebook cuts ties to data brokers in blow to targeted ads (Reuters); Facebook Delays Home-Speaker Unveil Amid Data Crisis (Bloomberg); Facebook crisis could bust digital-ad duopoly (Reuters); 'Socially responsible' investors reassess Facebook ownership (Reuters)
  • It's Amazon's Turn in the Tech Hot Seat; There's a perception issue, and Trump's tweets aren't helping. (Bloomberg)
  • Jeff Bezos is making more money out of AWS than online retailing (AFR)
  • JPMorgan Brings Amazon's Alexa to Wall Street Trading Floors (Bloomberg)
  • Return on Failure: Why Jeff Bezos Doesn't Believe in Profit (Procurify)
  • Amazon Is Squeezing Suppliers to Curb Losses in Price Wars (Bloomberg); When Amazon's Willing to Lose Money, Grocers Are in Trouble (Barron’s)
  • Retailers Race Against Amazon to Automate Stores (NYT)
  • Tech Stocks Fear Premium Just Jumped to a 13-Year High (Bloomberg); FANG stocks' bite has U.S. fund managers looking for alternatives. Margaret Patel, a senior portfolio manager at Wells Fargo Funds, said that she is increasing her exposure of non-FANG technology stocks like Adobe Systems Inc (Reuters); Days Before Selloff, Tech Hit a Milestone Not Seen Since 2000 (Bloomberg)
  • Short visits rise at Whole Foods stores with Amazon lockers (Reuters)
  • Warehouses Are Now Worth More Than Offices, Thanks to Amazon (Bloomberg)
  • Nvidia: One Analyst Thinks It's Decimating Rivals in A.I. Chips (Barron’s); A New A.I. Era Dawns for Chip Makers (Barron’s); Nvidia’s Chip Software Pushes Deeper Into A.I. Market (Barron’s); Nvidia: Does the Whole Self-Driving Timeline Have to Be Reassessed? (Barron’s); Nvidia using cloud to simulate self-driving vehicles covering billions of miles (Reuters)
  • Nvidia's CEO on Uber, AI, and Moore (EETimes)
  • The best discoveries Netflix made while researching how people watch TV (QZ)
  • Netflix: Why It's 'Virtually Impossible' to Call It a 'Buy' (Barron’s)

Global Tech & Innovation Trends

  • U.S. Tariff List Aims at Technology; China Vows It Will Respond (Bloomberg)
  • Tech Unicorns: Which Are Growing, Which Are Shrinking? (Zerohedge)
  • Wealthfront and Betterment Fight For Growth, Relevance (Barron’s); Wealthfront Valuation Plunges, in Wake-Up Call for Robos (Barron’s)
  • What's on Your Mind? Bosses Are Using Artificial Intelligence to Find Out; AI tools give companies instant insights from employee surveys that once took months to process (WSJ)
  • Adobe Has Built a Wide Moat (Morningstar); Adobe: Some Serious Risks Lurk in JMP's Sudden Downgrade (Barron’s)
  • Lam Research to Ride Memory’s Continued Success, Says FBN (Barron’s)
  • Cloud Software Stocks Rise on M&A Hopes (Barron’s)
  • Red Hat CEO: Bigger and Growing Faster Than Pivotal's Software (Barron’s)
  • The New Game of Global Tech: As distinctions dissolve among the hardware, software, services, and telecom sectors, companies are changing how they compete. (Strategy@)
  • TV's Death by a Thousand Streaming Apps; Media companies are scrambling to get bigger and create their own online-video services, which don't make much money or even meet consumers' needs. (Bloomberg); TV's Troubles Just Got Real; Growth in TV ad-spending just turned negative as dollars flow to digital platforms, an opportunity the media giants are fumbling. (Bloomberg)
  • Spotify CEO Daniel Ek: Once the Music Industry’s Slayer, Now Its Savior; The Swedish entrepreneur built his business by proving its value to artists and record-label executives (WSJ); Spotify and the triumph of the subscription model (Wired); How Spotify's founder became a self-made millionaire at 23 - and a billionaire at 35 (CNBC)
  • Spotify's Trading Slump Raises Questions About Listing Process; Music-streaming company's stock has mostly been on slow grind lower since Tuesday's splashy market debut (WSJ); How Spotify’s Unusual First Day of Trading Will Play Out (WSJ); Spotify direct listing piles risks upon risks (Reuters); Spotify and its direct listing win popular vote (Reuters); Spotify Saved Music. Can It Save Itself? Investors are about to decide whether it matters that the most popular music streaming service doesn't make any money. (Bloomberg); 'Netflix For Podcasts' Looks Doubtful Despite Steadily Growing Listenership (Forbes); Podcast Listenership Continues To Grow, But Revenue Growth May Be Challenging (Forbes); The music business had its second year in a row of big-time growth, thanks to streaming (Recode); Disney creates streaming video unit for digital future (Reuters)
  • 91 Global Startups Are Now Unicorns Worth $1 Billion or More; More companies outside of the U.S. are reaching unicorn status at a quicker pace than ever before. (Medium)
  • How to Succeed as an eCommerce Brand in an Era of Dominant Retailers? (BSOTT)
  • Zilingo, an e-commerce startup trying to replicate the experience of browsing Southeast Asia's colorful bargain bazaars on a smartphone, has raised $54 million to delve deeper into markets from Indonesia to the Philippines. (Bloomberg)
  • 'Fast and Furious' Driverless Cars Aren't as Crazy as They Sound (Bloomberg); From ADAS to Autonomous Cars: Key Design Lessons (EETimes)
  • BMW Subscription Pilot Puts You in a Top Tier Car for $3,700 a Month (Bloomberg)
  • Micron: How a Boise company thrives in the global chip business (Wired); Micron unruffled by rise of Chinese chipmakers; Tech and intellectual property demands pose high hurdles for newcomers, CEO says (Nikkei)
  • Intel's bigger problem isn't Apple but Amazon (AFR)
  • Retail’s Adapt-Or-Die Moment: How Artificial Intelligence Is Reshaping Commerce (CBInsights)
  • Why Walmart Is Testing Robots In Stores-and Here's What It Learned (Fortune)
  • L'Oreal Acquires App Provider That Gives Virtual Makeovers (Bloomberg)
  • Hermes keeps luxury in the family as it translates its model of super exclusivity online; ‘In my view, there is no hesitation about going digital. It reminds me of the debate about going international or not in the 1970s,’ says CEO Axel (SCMP)
  • Smart Home Devices: These Categories Are Growing the Fastest (Barron’s)
  • These AR Goggles Are Making Faster Fixes in Oil Fields (Bloomberg)
  • The Next Big Thing in Agriculture: Smart Collars for Cows; Some startups are betting that technology can replace fences and become the dominant way to herd livestock (WSJ)
  • House-Flipper Opendoor Raising Funds at $2 Billion Valuation; The company, which buys homes and quickly resells them, is expanding to Charlotte and San Antonio (WSJ)
  • Fraudulent Web Traffic Continues to Plague Advertisers, Other Businesses (WSJ)
  • Kyklo is bringing the billion-dollar electromechanical industry into digital sales (Techcrunch)
  • The Four Triggers For The 'Big Data' Bubble To Burst (Zerohedge)
  • E-Signature Software Maker DocuSign Files for IPO (Bloomberg)
  • Zscaler Doubles in IPO: Nice Day for Tech Vet Chaudhry. (Barron’s)
  • Fintech Firm GreenSky Files Confidentially for IPO; Atlanta company could seek to raise $1 billion at a valuation of roughly $5 billion in public offering (WSJ)
  • Utah Education Software 'Unicorn' Pluralsight Has Filed Confidentially For An IPO (Forbes)
  • How Software Startup BetterCloud Survived A Long Rebuild To Raise $60M At Double Its Valuation (Forbes)
  • For new-age real estate startups, it's not about listing properties anymore; Firms like NestAway are getting their hands dirty and managing the properties they list (Forbes)
  • How LiveNation Makes Money; Live Nation Rules Music Ticketing, Some Say With Threats (NYT)

  • Subscribers are the new, new thing in business; But companies face a fresh set of difficulties by locking in their customers (Economist)

Companies build technologies with a certain target in mind. These great companies all built great technology for the world of IT, where users sat in the office, or machines sat in the company data center, and the companies all sought to provide what’s called network security. It’s called network security because it secures the network, you control the corporate network. But, look at this new world, where applications are living in the cloud. Users are not sitting in the office. You don’t control the network. So, how do you control things? We think the notion of network security is broken. There is a new way of doing security. We are a policy engine sitting at 100 locations around the world. The user checks with us, and we connect you to the right application, and we make sure nothing bad comes in, that nothing confidential leaks out. The fundamentals of this design are very different. Typically, technology evolves slowly over time, and you can improve your product slowly, the way Check Point, and Netscreen and Palo Alto did for years. This big cloud mega-shift requires a disruptive new technology. You can think of the existing [security] companies as analogous to power generators. Once, there were power generators for home use, and the companies that made them loved that business, and made wonderful power generators. Then people over time said that they didn't want to mess with power generators. It had been a cottage industry, and it moved to being one of professionally managed equipment, one of power plants. That required a different scale, a different architecture, a different design. You couldn’t just stack power generators in a plant. Similarly, you can’t take current boxes and put them in a VM [virtual machine] and say, We are cloud. That’s why all these very large companies, from Siemens to GE to Auto Nation, are all deepening their relationship with Zscaler.

  • Dropbox Is Not Like the Others, and Investors Are Just Fine With It; Stock buyers in the newly public company put their faith in its untested novelty.(Bloomberg); Ignore the GAAP when pricing Dropbox; In place of profit, Dropbox's prospectus highlights its '500m+' registered users. (AFR)’ Why Dropbox's IPO Makes Some VCs Giddy: The View From Silicon Valley (Barron’s)

  • Starbucks' mobile order push meets resistance from ritual seekers (Reuters)

Life

  • Tim Ferris: "To succeed, entrepreneurs need a good idea, sufficient resources, good timing, and a certain amount of luck. But they also need to follow this commandment: have grit and stay on your hero's journey." (MOS)
  • From Alibaba to Zynga: 28 Of The Best VC Bets Of All Time And What We Can Learn From Them (CBInsights)
  • Lessons from Robert Smith of Vista Equity Partners (25iq)
  • 50 Big Companies that Started with Little or No Money (Hackernoon)
  • How This Founder Turned A Text Blunder Into A Successful Business (Forbes)
  • This Fashion Entrepreneur Just Launched A Netflix For Your Wardrobe (FastCo)
  • How Sarah Kauss Turned S'well Into A $100 Million-Dollar Company (Forbes)
  • 'Own that niche': How a former triathlete created $100m business 2XU (TheAge)
  • 12 mistakes founders make when trying to scale quickly (e27)
  • The Key to Good Luck Is an Open Mind (Nautil)
  • Leading with inner agility (McKinsey)
  • On the Art of Learning with Josh Waitzkin (Progression Project)
  • Building your attention muscle in our distracted age (AR)
  • Leonardo da Vinci: How to See the World Like Nobody Else (Medium)
  • Developing a Circle of Competence: How to start developing a circle of competence. It's not a fast process, but it's essential (Gurufocus)
  • Can Strategy Be Decisive and Flexible? (Strategy@)
  • The Last Mover Advantage (SFV)
  • Investing is Hard (MCC)
  • Understanding Speed and Velocity: Saying "NO" to the Non-Essential (FS)
  • How to Prepare for a Crisis You Couldn't Possibly Predict (HBR)
  • Don't Be Too Eager to Make a Deal: If someone sends you something to sign, 'put it in the corner of your desk.' (WSJ)
  • Having the confidence to live your life (AR)
  • The 3 Keys to Becoming Irresistible (Medium)
  • Warren Buffett’s ‘20 Slot’ Rule: How to Simplify Your Life and Maximize Your Results (Medium)
  • How to Invest Like Charlie Munger: Lie in Wait (Gurufocus)
  • Intelligent Fanatics Leverage Antifragility (IF)
  • How to Hardwire Resilience into Your Brain (Berkeley); Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness (Amazon)
  • 11 Ways Emotionally Intelligent People Overcome Uncertainty (Medium)
  • Understanding These 6 Hidden Truths Of Life Will Help You Live Better (Medium)
  • Fastenal Co-Founder Bob Kierlin's Smart Frugality (IF)
  • This Is How To Become Mentally Strong: 3 Secrets From Neuroscience (Barker)
  • Creating urgency amid comfort (BCG)
  • 王石落泪演讲:熬过人生最黑暗时刻的经历,会成为你的财富 (Weixin)

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