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Asia Tech Review: May 27 2019

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Welcome back, This week is again focused on Huawei, simply because there's so much happening and I've
 
May 27 · Issue #116 · View online
Asia Tech Review
Welcome back,
This week is again focused on Huawei, simply because there’s so much happening and I’ve seen a lot of confusion out there.
I’ll be back again next week – have a good one 😀

What's happening with Huawei?
My job is to keep up with news and, I’ll be honest, I’ve had a tricky time staying on top of the latest developments with Huawei. Here’s my effort at an update on where things are.
An overview
The US government added Huawei to its Entity List, preventing the company from doing trade with US companies without permission from the government.
Google responded by suspending certain business alliances with Huawei – including, potentially, the company’s use of Android, as Reuters reported.
But:
  • Google responded to the blacklisting by claiming it will continue to offer updates and Play Store services for Huawei phones – Google didn’t say if future Huawei phones will be able to use Android or whether phones in the market now will get future Android updates
  • Huawei said it will continue to offer security updates and after-sale purchase support – but, like Google, it said nothing about future Android OS usage and updates
The story was similar for laptops: Microsoft has stopped selling Huawei products, according to SCMP, but neither company is commenting on its use of Windows. Added that, some operators have also elected to not carry Huawei phones.
Beyond software, things got very serious when numerous component suppliers following Google’s lead and paused business with Huawei, according to Bloomberg. Those include: Intel, Xilinx, Broadcom, Qualcomm and – later confirmed by the BBC – ARM but there may be other unreported deals.
How does impact Huawei? The company isn’t talking about that, but Ars Technica has a detailed look at what components went into Huawei’s P30 Pro – that’s just one device but it does give an indication.
Tl;dr: Huawei may be able to source non-US components, it appears to have already shifted much of its supply chain, but replacing Android and potentially apps will be a huge challenge.
What’s Huawei doing?
It’s been well-documented that Huawei has a Plan B for Android, but here’s some of what we know.
Huawei had pitched developers and carriers on a new app store that was aimed at reaching 50M consumers by the end of 2018 – it didn’t as it didn’t launch although it test the idea with its own ‘app gallery’ concept.
The Information’s Juro Osawa – a reporter who is particularly well-sourced when it comes to Huawei – reported that the Android alternative is “far from ready” but it may be rushed out.
Juro Osawa
Lots of chatter about Huawei's OS after Android ban. Sources inside Huawei say:
1) The OS, known internally as Project Z, is far from ready—though Huawei may rush it.
2) The project has largely focused on China. It wasn't meant to be a global Android replacement.
9:52 AM - 23 May 2019
It does, though, appear to have a name as Huawei trademarked ‘Hongmeng’ earlier this month, as KrAsia reported.
On the components side, Huawei has stockpiled three months of components, so says Bloomberg, but its R&D focus could be hard hit by a pause on work with ARM.
Broken bridges, but a deal?
My uninformed opinion is that there is so much chaos, both for the US and China, that there is sure to be a deal at the end.
President Trump hinted at it when he said Huawei could be a part of a trade deal with China, per the BBC, but the truth is that many bridges have been burned. Even if Huawei is given some punitive measure to undo much of these sanctions, as was the case for ZTE, what little trust there was is gone. Huawei will expedite Project Independence with the knowledge that it can’t afford to give the US any pathway to shutting it down in the future.
The big question, however, is whether it is even possible to develop a globally competitive smartphone without any US fingerprints.
China
US ordered Grindr sale due to access to user information
US spy chiefs reportedly used classified info to warn tech execs about doing business with China link
China’s robot censors crank up as Tiananmen anniversary nears link
China’s largest chipmaker is delisting from the NYSE – but it claims it isn’t trade war-related link
Xiaomi says it is aiming for more global growth following earnings, which beat analyst expectations link
ByteDance launched a chat app in China – it’s called Feiliao and has been wide-anticipated… although it doesn’t compete with WeChat directly link
ByteDance is also rumored to be planning a music app for India and other emerging markets link
Amazon now offers a Traditional Chinese portal on the Kindle link
Luckin raised over $500M in its IPO but, after a week, its shares are trading below IPO price link
China’s smart speaker market is now reportedly rather than the US link
💸Deals of note 💸
Travel startup Mafengwo raised $250M link
Baidu reportedly plans to spin out its autonomous car unit, just as Uber has done link
India
Ola drops Foodpanda delivery and lays off employees
An investigative report into how unicorn Byju’s deals out misleading loans to parents for its child education services link
Decoding ByteDance’s India gameplan link
Modi’s re-election isn’t what global tech firms in India wanted link 🔒
Tiger Global’s new focus is B2B deals link
Flipkart is reportedly planning to get into offline retail link
💸Deals of note 💸
KaiOS raised $50M for its ‘smart OS’ for dumb phones link
PhonePe is said to be raising $1 billion from investors that could include Tencent link
Glasses maker Lenskart is reportedly raising $350M from SoftBank’s Vision Fund at $1.3B valuation (link)
Craftsvilla – once dubbed 'India’s Etsy’ – is reportedly for sale link
Snapdeal is close to acquiring rival ShopClues link
Used-car marketplace Spinny raised $13.2M link
Ikea confirmed an undisclosed investment in Livspace (link)
Japan
Sony will stop selling smartphones in a range of markets worldwide, leaving its focus on Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and parts of Europe link
A look at the development of Japan’s answer to Uber and some of the struggles it has faced as it prepares for 2020 Olympics link
Southeast Asia
Indonesia restricts WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram following deadly riots
A look at how Singapore courts tech funds and startups to grow its ecosystem link
A look at e-commerce startup Qoo10 which claims to have beaten Lazada in Singapore and has its sights set on the rest of the region, starting with Indonesia link
Southeast Asia’s family offices are mad about tech and startups link 🔒
Grab launched three-wheeled taxis in Jakarta link
💸Deals of note 💸
Struggling Honestbee is reportedly trying to raise $14M at a value of – wait for it… – SG$680 million (that’s nearly US$500 million) 🤨 link
Trax could be Singapore’s next unicorn – it is reportedly raising $100 million at a valuation of over $1 billion link
Food startup Dahmakan announced a $5M raise for expansion in Southeast Asia – just weeks after Grain, a similar service in Singapore, announced funding (link)
Heath-tech startup Biofourmis raised $35M (link)
Elsewhere in Asia
I wrote about Deligram, an e-commerce delivery startup in Bangladesh that combines online and offline and is founded by a 26-year-old link
North Korea’s newest (and fanciest) smartphone has an iPhone-like notch and no headphones jack link
Why is Facebook working on a crypto project? The FT has some ideas and answers for you: link 🔒
Outside of Asia Tech
That fake Nancy Pelosi video was just social media doing what it is supposed to do link
The Economist on why coffee is taking off in China, a nation of tea-drinkers link
Photo of the week
Cheat: this week's photo is actually a GIF
Tech developed by Samsung can bring photos and paintings, like the Mona Lisa, to life.
Upcoming events
  • Tech Sauce: June 19-20 in Bangkok, Thailand link
  • Ignite: 24-25 June in Manila, Philippines link
  • Innovfest Unbound: 27-28 June in Singapore link
  • Wild Digital: 3-4 July in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia link
  • Rise: July 8-11 in Hong Kong link
  • Deal Street Asia’s PE-VC Summit: 17-18 September in Singapore link
  • Tech In Asia Conference: 8-9 October in Jakarta, Indonesia 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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