When sages speak
Leong has a
convincing take on the battle for
supremacy between south-east Asia's
two "super apps": Grab and Go-Jek.
Leong thinks there are three metrics
worth considering to "determine the
Jeffrey Ding (@jjding99),
author of ChinAI,
takes aim at the "New Cold War"
mantra that is spreading its
tentacles through media and
academia, arguing against what he
sees as hype. Stop cherry-picking a
few cases to justify a narrative of
US-China "decoupling" and recognise
instead how intertwined the US and
Chinese economies are.
And here is
an excellent overview from CSIS' China
Power project on where China stands
in innovation versus other
competitors. Hint: it is catching up
Heard by Henny
A stark read
out on the US' lack of competitiveness
in 5G telecoms comes from the Defense
Innovation Board of the United States.
"The country that owns 5G will own many
innovations and set the standards for
the rest of the world. That country is
currently not likely to be the United
States," the Board says in a report.
"Chinese equipment is cheaper
[and] in many cases is superior to
its western rivals."
The introduction of 5G is a big deal,
both in itself and because of its
multiplier effect on a range of other
technologies including autonomous
vehicles, the internet of things, smart
cities, virtual reality and,
battlefields, whether physical or in
The companies or countries which are the
first movers get to set global
standards. That in turn brings hundreds
of billions of dollars in revenues,
substantial job creation and leadership
in any other technologies that require
ever swifter transmission of data, the
Read the story here by
Henny Sender, the FT's chief
correspondent for international
In the spotlight
If you can
tear yourself away from digesting news
of Facebook's new cryptocurrency,
we at Tech Scroll Asia were interested
by another digital maneuver by the US
tech giant this past week - Facebook
quietly made its first direct
India. Eager to deepen its reach
in one of the world's biggest internet
markets, the social network bought a
stake in four-year-old social commerce
startup Meesho for an undisclosed
Founded by two engineering graduates in
2015, Meesho has raised more than $65m
in funding. The Bangalore-based company
provides sellers on its platform with
products - which it gets from its more
than 15,000 suppliers - and
those more than 2m resellers then hawk
those wares to friends and family.
Meesho handles all payment and
logistics, and the sellers get a cut of
the transaction. Chief executive Vidit
Aatrey (pictured) says the
company's aim is to simulate the exact
experience that happens offline. The
attraction for Facebook, meanwhile, is
Meesho's strong uptake in India's
smaller cities and towns.
Thailand may be the second-largest
economy in south-east Asia but
it is yet to produce any unicorns -
unlike a number of its neighbours. And
foreign players are dominating the
fastest growing segment of Thailand's
broader internet economy: ecommerce.
A joint study by Google and Temasek
predicts that ecommerce in Thailand will
reach $13bn in annual sales by 2025. But
not even local startup Tarad.com managed
to dent the supremacy of Lazada and
Shoppee. Lazada, owned by Chinese
ecommerce giant Alibaba, has more than
50 per cent of online retail sales in
scoutAsia research shows.
shaken up its executive ranks ahead of
its planned secondary listing in Hong
Kong. Maggie Wu,
chief financial officer, will now
oversee strategic investments, a key
area for the group which has its roots
in ecommerce. She will work alongside Joe
Tsai, who now has responsibility
India's Ola is
hiring in the Valley. The cab
aggregator startup is setting up an
Advanced Technology Centre in San
Francisco and wants to build a team of 150 engineers.
Chen as head
of its China business, plugging a
key gap in the
top layer of its Asian management.
Chen previously ran the US tech
group's Taiwan operations.
Rajarshi Sahai, who formerly
led bike-sharing start-up Ofo
India's public policy strategy, has
joined Zurich-based venture capital
firm Ennea VC as partner.
Ennea is planning imminent investments
in India's urban mobility sector.
Todd Combs, one of the top
lieutenants of the Sage of Omaha, Warren
Buffett, will reportedly join
the board of India's mobile payments
unicorn Paytm. More here.
A climbdown from India's protectionist
government? The country said it would
review concerns raised by foreign
technology companies around stringent
rules to store data locally. Don't
hold your breath: the issue has been
simmering for some time and lobbying
by Mastercard, Visa and American
Express has not been successful in
softening the stance of the Modi
government so far.