H.E.R.O.’s Journey in Tech (12 March 2019) – Lasertec: iPhones Are Improving Every Year Thanks to an Obscure Japanese Company; Lasertec is the world’s sole maker of mask blank equipment that tests glass squares slightly bigger than a CD case that act as a stencil for chip designs + India Fights Diabetic Blindness With Help From A.I.


  • Tencent-Backed Meituan’s Losses Balloon in Duel With Alibaba (Bloomberg, Nikkei)
  • Lasertec: iPhones Are Improving Every Year Thanks to an Obscure Japanese Company; Lasertec is the world’s sole maker of equipment that tests glass squares slightly bigger than a CD case that act as a stencil for chip designs. (Bloomberg)
  • How Sony Sped Up A Factory With These Tiny, $35 Computers (Forbes)
  • Flipping the Switch: What’s next for Nintendo? Investors are keen for the next hit console, but some are losing patience (Nikkei)
  • Airtac sees strong growth as IA looks poised to pick up (TT)
  • ReadyTech, set, go; first chunky IPO hits the streets; ReadyTech provides mostly cloud and SaaS-based payroll and human resource software systems. It targets the education and employment sectors (AFR)
  • Appen turbocharges AI growth (AFR)

BATTSS – Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, TSMC, Samsung, Softbank

  • Baidu’s mini programmes now have more than 150 million users (KRA)
  • Baidu, Chery launch electric car with face-scanning payment, AR navigation features; A new smart version of Chery’s Exeed TX electric sports utility vehicle will run Baidu’s AI platform, DuerOS (SCMP)
  • Ant Financial reportedly preparing to IPO on Shanghai tech board (Technode)
  • Samsung smartphone chief: 5G jolt will revive market; Koh Dong-jin says leaps in virtual reality and AI will beckon ‘renaissance’ (Nikkei)

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

  • Facebook’s pivot must be viewed with scepticism; The company has to overhaul its business model to protect user privacy (FT)
  • Amazon’s Alexa has 80,000 Apps-and No Runaway Hit; The advent of the smartphone triggered an app gold rush. So far that hasn’t happened with Alexa. (Bloomberg)
  • Amazon domain battle rages on as internet overseer postpones decision (Reuters)
  • Amazon Investment in Yankees Network Could Threaten Sports TV Bundling (Bloomberg)
  • Amazon eases price restrictions on third-party vendors; Concession comes amid growing criticism of power wielded by big tech platforms (FT)
  • Alphabet’s Waymo seeks outside investors: The Information (Reuters)
  • Apple sets date for next ‘show time’; The iPhone maker is expected to unveil a renewed push into news and video services (FT)
  • Microsoft moves into biological computing with Platform B; Tech giant rolls out new system to analyse vast volumes of biomedical data (FT)
  • Microsoft is suing Foxconn unit over unpaid royalties (Axios)
  • Nvidia’s Mellanox Buy Begs the Questions: Who’s Next? (MW)
  • Netflix dives deeper into anime as Disney readies streaming rival; Video giant partners with trio of Japanese producers on original content (Nikkei)

Asia Tech & Innovation Trends

  • Traders Are Paying Close Attention As Farmers Become Live-Streaming Stars; Video clips on Kuaishou monitored for tips on sentiment (Bloomberg)
  • China’s authorities propose to keep minors out of live streaming (TC)
  • Hong Kong’s theDesk to open Shanghai project as China’s shared workspace providers shut up shop, scale back (SCMP)
  • SoftBank-backed Japanese startup Uhuru considering London listing (Reuters)
  • OYO China CFO: We’ll have clear models for hotel operation and profitability (KRA)
  • India’s biggest news app in spotlight as elections near; Dailyhunt has 206m monthly users and a big Chinese investor (FT)
  • Indonesia’s online P2P loan sharks are driving people to suicide; There’s a dark side to Jakarta’s embrace of the digital revolution: unchecked online lending services with increasingly aggressive debt-collection methods (SCMP)
  • ‘Airbnb for playdates’: Motherhood app draws on Tim Fung’s expertise (Age)
  • India Fights Diabetic Blindness With Help From A.I. (NYT)
  • Indian invasion of Chinese social media apps like TikTok, SHAREit and Helo sparks fear and loathing in New Delhi (SCMP)

Global Tech & Innovation Trends

  • Jeffrey Katzenberg’s vision for the future of TV is snackable movies (qz)
  • Quantum computing could change the way the world uses energy (qz)
  • OpenAI turns itself into a for-profit enterprise; Research group backed by Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman seeks to build ‘safe’ AI (FT)
  • Farfetch to merge China sales platform with JD.com; Move aimed at improving offering in world’s largest luxury market (FT)
  • Web inventor calls Tim Berners-Lee for drastic changes to the internet amid concerns over data privacy hacking, misinformation; Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web Foundation are advocating for a universal online social contract (SCMP)


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