Asia Tech Review: 10 February 2020





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February 10 · Issue #143 · View online
Asia Tech Review
Welcome back,
This newsletter covers tech, but it’s impossible to not mention two tragedies from last week.
In China, Dr Li Wenliang, one of the first doctors to Wuhan to note the development of the Coronavirus, died from the virus. When he raised alarm in a WeChat group with fellow doctors in December, he was reprimanded by authorities for “rumour mongering.” He was right, and he paid for it with his life.
Over in Thailand, more than 20 people died after a soldier stole weapons and ammunition and headed to a shopping center in Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Korat, in the center of the country. This is a tragedy Thailand hasn’t experienced in modern times.
If you want to keep up with current affairs in Southeast Asia, I recommend Erin Cook’s newsletter.
Now on to the tech news and see you next week.
You can get Asia tech news as it happens by subscribing to the ATR Telegram channel. It’s totally free and there’s no catch, just follow 👉🏻

How the Coronavirus outbreak has shaken up the tech industry
US AG Barr said the US and allies should consider taking a “controlling stake” in Nokia and Ericsson to counter Huawei’s 5G business – gotta love the Trump administration 🙃 link
The UK enraged the US but granting Huawei partial involvement in its 5G rollout, but Vodafone has said it will remove Huawei from the core of its European network link
Meanwhile, Huawei sued Verizon for alleged patent infringement link
Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo are reportedly working to allow developers outside China to upload apps to all of their app stores simultaneously link
Political tensions saw publicly disclosed investments in US startups by Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent fall by a reported 84% link
FBI is investigating more than 1,000 cases of Chinese theft of US technology link
Ofo, the bike-sharing startup you may remember from a few years ago, is said to be pivoting into shopping – it was once valued at $2B link
Hong Kong
Google has been forced to look at alternatives for a proposed undersea cable in Asia after US authorities blocked plans to link it to Hong Kong due to a Chinese investor involved in the project link
Foxconn intends to use its colossal manufacturing power to make masks for the coronavirus outbreak link
But its plan to reopen factories in mainland China was blocked due to the current situation with the virus link 🔒
WhatsApp finally gets green light for payment service in India
SoftBank’s Vision Fund put $300M into baby and kid product startup FirstCry link
Byju’s raised a further $150-$200M from General Atlantic – the deal follows an investment from Tiger Global and is said to be part of a larger round link
US hedge fund Falcon Edge is reportedly raising a $250M fund for India link
Agritech startup WayCool foods raised $35M link
The former co-founder of PayU raised $8M for his new fintech startup, Dot link
A look at the potential and challenges behind the emergence of video commerce in India link 🔒
Truecaller, a call screening service aiming to be a ‘super app,’ just crossed 200M MAUs in India – I don’t care much for vanity metrics but the story of how the Swedish company dug itself out of a tough spot, apparently became profitable and popular is quite something. It is now shooting for an IPO with India the core focus of its business link
Disney+ will come to India at the end of March, and there will be a bundled option with Hotstar link
Zomato has ended exclusivity for cloud kitchens that use its service link
SoftBank's second Vision Fund may be half of $108B target
North Korea
North Korea’s internet use surges
Southeast Asia
Grab buys robo-advisory startup to add new financial services
Cento Ventures’ newest Southeast Asia report – lots of numbers, graphs etc link
Indonesian edtech startup Zenius raised $20M led by Northstar link
Malaysia recently began trialing motorbike taxis – initial signs aren’t great link
The Philippines privacy watchdog has banned new Grab features that use selfies for verification and record in-car audio – both are designed to increase safety (copying features Didi uses in China) but Grab is said to have failed to assess privacy risks for consumers before launch link
A ‘plastic-eating enzyme’ marketed in Southeast Asia is now alleged to be a scam link
Singapore and Vietnam are among the governments that have made demands for Netflix to remove content link
Accelerator program Antler raised more money, undisclosed but it has $75M in total to date link
Myanmar has reimposed an internet shutdown in two conflict-torn western states, after partially lifting the blackout five months ago link
Outside of Asia tech
Seeing is believing: Uber says it can be profitable by the end of 2020 link
A look into the world of childcare in Asia: “The Woman Who Left Her Children Behind to Look After Mine” link
That's all for now, see you next week!
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