This has been a big week for the Xiaomi ecosystem, as one of the companies in the Xiaomi fold just acquired Segway. The acquisition caught the attention of industry-watchers the world over, but beyond being a big move for purchasing company Ninebot, the acquisition was also a big step for Xiaomi, as it marks the first time a company in its ecosystem has purchased a globally-recognized brand.
NEW DELHI: In the eye of the storm over net neutrality, Bharti Airtel today said it will always provide same treatment to every website and application irrespective of whether they are on its toll free platform or not. Launched last week, Airtel Zero is an open-marketing platform that allows customers to access certain mobile apps for free with charges being borne by the app makers. The company has drawn flak on social media for violating the concept of net neutrality.
The Philippines plans to roll out free Wi-Fi to nearly 1000 cities by November, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has said. This week it tendered for the PHP 1.408 billion (US$31.6 million) project to set up Wi-Fi hotspots in 997 cities. Town plazas and parks, public schools and universities, libraries, government hospitals, train stations, airports, city halls and central government offices will all have free Wi-Fi, according to the Terms of Reference for the project.
Baidu, China’s top search engine company, has just taken the wraps off of its own smartwatch OS. It’s called DuWear. Because pretty much every single Google service is blocked in China, Android Wear with its baked-in Google services is useless in China. That seems to have prompted Baidu to take a stab at it making its own. Kaiser Kuo, Baidu’s director of international communications, tells Tech in Asia that a “major manufacturer” is going to make a smartwatch that uses DuWear and it’ll be available to buy in June.
Some policies need many agencies to pull together, and affect huge numbers of people, all with different views on how an issue should be resolved. These more complex topics are called “wicked problems”, and Peter Ho, Singapore’s former Head of the Civil Service, has dedicated a big chunk of his career to tackling them. Ho exclusively caught up with FutureGov in the towering office of Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to discuss how governments should create structures, use technology, play policy games and include citizens to design solutions for the world’s toughest problems.
Often the development of a new government web site is top-down: leaders decide that they need a new site, and then the work slowly begins. But two public servants in Western Australia have come up with an alternative way of pushing forwards their government’s digital delivery. Their new project, Ready Steady Gov, provides free web templates based on an open source CMS so that any agency can quickly upgrade their web site, for free.
XI’AN: The historic city of Xi’an in northwest China is busy developing a new software city inspired by the Bengaluru model. Local authorities are looking up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for assistance in this regard and want him to sign a contract with the Chinese government to this effect during his visit next month. Prime Minister Modi is expected to visit Xi’an, which is also Chinese president Xi Jinping’s birthplace, as a reciprocal gesture.
OnePlus One owners are at a crossroads right now. The young Chinese smartphone maker is ending its relationship with the maker of its Android-based operating system, Cyanogen, after the latter struck an exclusivity deal with rival brand Micromax in India. In dire need of an alternative, OnePlus chose to build its own fork of Android Lollipop, which it released earlier this month. OnePlus owners looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of Android must choose between the two. The OnePlus ships with Cyanogen 11S, which is based on Android KitKat.
Remember earlier this week when the venture arm of Japan’s DeNA made its premiere investment in Indonesia in the form of a US$1 million seed round for live-streaming entertainment site Zeemi.tv? 500 Startups participated in the investment also, and Zeemi founder Tom Damek now has the bragging right of grabbing one of the largest seed rounds on public record in the archipelago. Tech in Asia caught up with the principal of DeNA’s venture arm James Riney this morning in Jakarta.
As globalisation makes the world ever more connected, the number of tough challenges like pandemics, financial crises and terrorism increase. Peter Ho, Singapore’s former Head of the Civil Service has dedicated a big chunk of his career to monitoring these strategic shocks, finding new ways to prepare for them and reduce their impact. Ho established Singapore’s Centre for Strategic Futures in 2009, a think tank within government that studies emerging issues and their implications on Singapore, and develops tools and conversations with agencies to help them consider an uncertain future systematically.
Australia is upgrading its 30 year old welfare payments system to encourage more people to transact online and to cut the cost of administering payments. Changes to the system, which manages welfare payments to retirees, job seekers, families and the disabled, will allow it to share data with other agencies in real-time, so that citizens don’t have to provide information twice, said Minister for Human Services Marise Payne. For instance, students will not have to update the government when they graduate from school or change jobs, the Department of Human Services said.
China’s internet companies are flocking to the country’s rural regions, an untapped market that has proven to offer great business opportunities, reports the Beijing Morning Post. Cuncunle is one the companies that managed to establish a presence in China’s rural region after the portal site built a team of over 200,000 representatives across the country, the newspaper said. The portal site that markets products in rural regions for its clients reportedly posts sales of tens of million yuan a year and is estimated to be worth 1 billion yuan (US$161 million) by venture capital funds, according to the newspaper.
Australian satellite company NewSat has been placed into court-appointed administration in a bid to save its $600 million flailing Jabiru-1 satellite project. NewSat’s secured creditors today appointed PPB Advisory as administrators and McGrathNicol as receivers. Both have been tasked with taking control of NewSat’s assets, urgently assessing its financial position and progressing recently commenced capital raising activities as an immediate priority.
NEW YORK: “Disagreeing” with critics of the zero-rating concept, which allows Facebook-led initiative Internet.org to deliver free basic internet services in several countries including India, its founder Mark Zuckerberg today said universal connectivity and net neutrality “can and must” coexist. Zuckerberg’s comments come amid a raging debate that such plans lead to violation of the principle of Net neutrality in India, with partners in his dream initiative Internet.org leaving the portal.
ATM giant NCR is taking the money machine to the cloud with a new Android OS thin-client system it is billing as the biggest change to the ATM since the machine was invented 50 years ago. The company claims its new Kalpana software will reduce the cost of operating ATMs by up to 40 percent and make them more secure. It also today launched a new thin-client ATM, featuring a 10-inch touchscreen and integrated biometrics and cameras.
Amid rising demand and spending budgets, the Chinese market for enterprise IT services has been migrating towards nimbler and more profitable cloud-based solutions, says a report from the Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Review published Wednesday. The trend has compelled the sector’s bellwethers to begin contesting the new niche, departing from their previous business models, the piece said.
Telstra will discontinue the Pacnet brand after today announcing the completion of its $857 million takeover of the cable operator and telecommunications provider. Two days before Christmas last year Telstra revealed its intention to acquire the company and therefore gain access to Asia’s largest privately-owned submarine cable network. It today announced the deal had been completed after meeting the majority of conditions, regulatory and financier approvals.
SHANGHAI: Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has tied up with Sinopec, Asia’s biggest oil refiner, to provide cloud computing services and ‘big data’ analysis, the companies said. The link-up was for technical services and did not involve equity cooperation, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, said on its official microblog. It did not say how much money was involved. Cooperation between Alibaba, a poster child for private enterprise in China, and one of the country’s biggest state-owned companies dovetails with government policy.
TSMC would prefer to set up its own 12-inch wafer fab in China, and management is evaluating the feasibility “aggressively,” according to the Taiwan-based contract chipmaker. There is no time-frame for when TSMC would build a 12-inch fab in China, said the company during an April 16 investors conference. TSMC has been advised by some of its major clients to set up 12-inch wafer facilities in China, and believes that having a local fab for advance-node manufacturing in the region could help it accurately grasp customers needs, the chipmaker indicated.
Telstra will switch on 1500 additional hotspots as part of an extension to a trial of its proposed national wi-fi network before June, the telco announced today. Last May the telco revealed plans to spend more than $100 million to build a national wi-fi network before the end of 2015. The network is slated to include around 8000 Telstra-built hotspots (utilising the national payphone network) and a further 1.9 million wi-fi access points provided by its customers.