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Asia Tech Review: 28 October 2019

Welcome back, It's been a long break -- the longest in 5 years of ATR -- as I went back to the UK wit
October 28 · Issue #133 · View online
Asia Tech Review
Welcome back,
It’s been a long break – the longest in 5 years of ATR – as I went back to the UK with the family and found myself swamped with work, family commitments and more.
October has certainly been eventful for Asia. China and the NBA blew up – a story that seems to keep rolling daily – Gojek’s CEO left to become a government minister, WeWork’s bubble burst and SoftBank ran to pick up the pieces, while the situation in Hong Kong continues to worsen – including a new wide-ranging law that’s designed to protect police but could have serious implications on the media and free speech.
I haven’t tried to summarise three weeks of news in one go, but pertinent news from beyond the last week is mixed in with more recent developments.
Normal service will resume next week so expect more then.

ARM will continue to supply tech to Huawei
The US is said to have stepped up studies on its dependence on China’s supply chain for advanced chips link
The Trump administration is also reportedly looking to limit what US tech and IP is available overseas link
Perennial struggler Faraday Future says it is aiming to raise $850M to restructure debt and gets its electric vehicle business to IPO (!) link 🔒
Home design platform X is reportedly valued at $1B following new round link
Hyundai and are testing autonomous taxis in California link
While WeWork struggles, Chinese rival Ucommune has reportedly filed for a US IPO which could happen this year link
“China is not a technology superpower so stop treating it like one” link
Foxconn finally admits its empty Wisconsin ‘innovation centers’ aren’t being developed link
A look at how Taiwan uses a social network to develop laws and regulation
It looks like OYO's US expansion hasn't started well
Uber says it remains committed to India but execs avoided questions on the future of its food business, which it has tried to sell unsuccessfully link
Startups in India have already raised more this year to date ($11.3B) than the whole of 2018 ($10.5B) as rebound following 2016 downturn continues link
India is also seeing record smartphone shipments – 49M units in Q3 2019 signals 10% annual growth, but just 5 brands account for nearly 9 in 10 devices link
UPI will reportedly expand to overseas markets, starting with the Middle East and Singapore – copying the WeChat tourism model, but there are already many options for this link
Apple now has a chip design team in Bangalore courtesy of recent acquisition of Intel’s smartphone modem unit link
CNN profiles Paytm founder Vijay Sharma, includes details on 2021 IPO goal and ambition to expand to the US – nicely timed as Paytm is up against it in India right now link
Another high-profile hire for Sequoia, which added ex-Uber APAC chief Amit Jain as a managing director in India link
India handed down fines on its telcos which could wipe out one (Vodafone Idea) to leave a two-horse race – the issue relates to how telcos define their revenue, and thus what license fee they are eligible to pay. This could change the game for upcoming 5G auctions link
Speaking of which, telco Airtel now operates an accelerator program link
Mobikon raised $12M, it will reportedly pivot to a restaurant customer engagement platform and has added investor Binny Bansal to its board link
MobiKwik denied it plans to sell its payment gateway business and said it plans to raise more capital – it recently claimed to be operationally profitable link
Amazon sells clothes from factories other retailers blacklist 🔒
SoftBank takes 80% ownership of WeWork and provides $5B in new financing
Sony reportedly plans to sell its Vue TV service link 🔒
Credit card issuer Credit Saison launched a $55M fund for India and Southeast Asia – it aims to back 6-8 early-stage companies per year with a check of up to $1M
Southeast Asia
Gojek CEO Nadiem Makarim steps down to become education minister in President Joko Widodo's cabinet
Tokopedia is reportedly in talks over a pre-IPO round ahead of a proposed dual-listing – although there’s no timetable for the latter link
PropertyGuru, which is backed by KKR and TPG, has canned plans to go public in Australia link
UK fintech startup Revolut says it has finally launched its bank account/card in Singapore following a long (long) beta link
Grab is moving into healthcare with a service that connects users, initially in Indonesia, with doctors and healthcare professionals – this is from its Ping An Good Doctor partnership link
Netflix launched its cheaper, mobile-only package in Malaysia link
More Android app malware detected, this time it is said to come from a Vietnamese college student link
A look at the new challenges that’ll face the ex-Gojek CEO in his ministerial role link
How timing helped President Joko Widodo capitalise on the surge of tech and startups link 🔒
Singapore will make the east side of its country a testing ground for driverless cars link
On that note: Singapore just had its first flying taxi trial – the company (Volocopter) is best-known for being driverless but it doesn’t plan to bring that to Singapore for some time link
Outside of Asia tech
Incredible Reuters report on Asia’s drug networks, which are said to work like corporations and formed a surprising collaboration to rake in $17 billion  each year link
Another Reuters investigation, this time on relatives of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen buying EU passports via Cyprus through their immense wealth – two things the PM has denied/criticised link
The BBC now has a ‘dark web’ presence on Tor to help thwart censorship link
Photo of the week
Manya Koetse
Don't know the brand (or whose desk this is), but I need this in my tea cup.
This beat off a bunch of ‘serious’ contenders ☕️
ICYMI from me in the day job
I was on a working vacation which means I did still work on stories for The Ken.
‘Grab plays up social impact as SoftBank unicorns face a reckoning’ – Grab’s efforts to paint itself as part of Southeast Asia’s economic fabric got me thinking about its sustainability
'RedDoorz: The unlikely David to OYO’s Goliath in Southeast Asia’ – RedDoorz has had a breakout 2019, and its battle with OYO has similarities to the Uber-Grab face-off. This is also a free story that you can read if you register an account with The Ken.
Upcoming events
Hong Kong FinTech Week: 4-8 November in Hong Kong link
TechCrunch Shenzhen: 9-12 November in Shenzhen, China link
Singapore Fintech Festival: 11-15 November in Singapore link
If you run a tech event not listed here or want to recommend an addition, please email me
That's all for now, see you next week!
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