Hello everyone, James here. The vogue for Spacs, a stock market phenomenon that galvanized Wall Street, could come to Asia (The Big Story). If so, we could see a wave of local tech start-ups getting public listings in Singapore. In other stories this week, don’t miss the US-China spy thriller Zoom and Facebook’s WhatsApp works in the region. (Mercedes Top 10). And Jack Ma seems to have resurfaced.
The big story – Exclusive
Singapore Stock Exchange Seeks to Capitalize on Global Vogue for Listing of Blank Check Companies, According to This exclusive in the Financial Times. The stock market’s interest in Spacs, which have taken Wall Street by storm, is driven by its ambition to be the regional hub for tech start-ups.
Spacs, or special purpose acquisition companies, use the proceeds of a public listing to find private companies to acquire. In the case of Asia, this could facilitate the IPO of many fast-growing tech start-ups.
Main implications: The Singapore exchange said it would begin a formal consultation within two months to allow Spacs to register in the city-state. However, previous initiatives to get tech companies to register locally have failed.
Bankers said SGX would be well positioned to attract Asian-based, regionally-oriented acquisition vehicles that have been listed in the United States, such as Bridgetown Holdings, a Spac backed by the Hong Kong businessman. Richard Li and Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel.
Bridgetown raised $ 595 million in an IPO in the United States in October, making it the largest Southeast Asia-focused Spac. Bridgetown 2, launched this month, is looking to raise $ 200 million to target other Asian businesses.
Result: Singapore would be the first exchange in Asia to join the Spacs craze. In the United States, the asset class raised a record high of nearly $ 80 billion in 2020. health warnings on Spacs, however.
Mercedes Top 10
Handyman, tailor, soldier. . . Spy zoom? The striking case of Chinese monitoring Zoom users is a Must read from FT Beijing bureau chief Tom Mitchell.
Facebook was already struggling with a WhatsApp Exodus in the region for privacy issues. In another huge setback, India asked the company to cancel the planned modification to its data sharing policy.
TaiwanTSMC increased its capital expenditure to record $ 28 billion, making it even more difficult to catch up with rival chipmakers Samsung and SMIC.
By staying with the minimum wage, the FT has plunged into extraordinary boardroom drama will play Chinathe largest chipmaker.
Who wins the robot battle? Japan and Europe – But China East catch up.
Meanwhile, ChinaThe hope of challenging the dominance of Boeing and Airbus was struck a blow by the Trump administration.
Nice piece here on the global chip shortage. Semiconductor companies are struggling to meet growing demand from manufacturers of everything from cars to electronics.
On the other hand, this demand helps fuel a rush of investors in semiconductor stocks listed in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
In case you missed it, we got a scoop on how the international investors in Ant Group have been. left in limbo by the IPO abolished.
Smart masks and social distancing robots? CES served a few curious gadgets to help users manage their lives during the pandemic.
When the wise speak
This is a useful bumper report by Merics, a Berlin-based think tank, and the EU Chamber of Commerce in China companies to assess the damage caused by the US-China technology war. The momentum of decoupling is expected to continue under the Biden administration, creating a “patchwork globalization.”
For readers looking for a guide to how the rivalry between the United States and China might play out under the new presidency, this piece by Evan feigenbaum at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is perceptive and nuanced.
“Deep learning” is a somewhat misleading label applied to one of the branches of artificial intelligence, writes Ken Koyanagi, editor-in-chief at Nikkei Asia. The word “deep” refers to the different algorithmic layers that make up this neural network. But it has nothing to do with depth of understanding.
A new deep learning-based natural language generator, dubbed GPT-3, caused a stir when it debuted last May, with its ability to compose sentences indistinguishable from those written by humans. He created blog posts and discussion posts that many people thought were written by humans.
But Gary Marcus of New York University, a renowned cognitive scientist, revealed in August that GPT-3 can also go wrong by producing sentences that make no sense in a given context. He said in the MIT Technology Review that GPT-3 “has no idea what he’s talking about.”
Trained from hundreds of billions of words on the Web, GPT-3 roughly guesses which word sequences it “knows” that would best suit a given query or context. But it can’t be certain whether grape juice is a common drink or a poison, according to Dr. Marcus’ study.
Now a Singaporean AI start-up – which uses an approach that does not rely on “deep learning” – is gaining popularity by outperforming “deep learning” competitors such as IBM’s Watson. The start-up, called Taiger, has expanded into the processing of documents such as contracts and powers of attorney. Its advantage comes from superior comprehension skills acquired by working out the meaning of a word in each context using libraries of machine-readable human knowledge.
Taiger’s growth indicates that companies on the ground are realizing the reality of deep learning weaknesses. In fact, IBM itself is rapidly developing what it calls “neurosymbolic AI” – an attempt to combine human knowledge and deep learning neural networks.
Lee jae-yong (Photo), Samsungvice-president and chief decision-maker, was jail this week after being sentenced to two and a half years in prison – a milestone in the life of South Korea’s richest man and the country’s most important society.
The Seoul High Court on Monday sentenced Lee on a retrial, although prosecutors requested a nine-year term. The billionaire, who was immediately detained after the judgment, will only spend 18 months behind bars, having previously spent a year in prison before being released by an appeals court in 2018.
The final decision, which follows years of legal disputes, is a setback for Samsung, whose electronics unit is the world’s largest maker of computer chips, smartphones and electronic displays.
The art of business
A new deal of the day is being played out in the Indonesian technology sector: the purchase of banks. Indonesian tele-assistance and payment “super app” Gojek at the end of last year paid approximately $ 160 million increase its participation in Jago Bank, its biggest investment in financial services to date. Now listed on Nasdaq Sea, which is Southeast Asia’s most valuable company, acquired Indonesia Economic Welfare Bank. Sea owns e-commerce and gaming businesses, but it also moved into financial services with the launch of SeaMoney. BKE Bank, established in 1991, is a small lender with 7 billion rupees ($ 261 million) in assets.
This trend reflects how the region’s tech companies, whether it be e-commerce, ridesharing or gaming, all converge around the lucrative opportunity to provide financial services to their millions of customers. Indonesia is home to the world’s fourth largest unbanked population and is at the heart of internet companies vying for a share of digital banking. They offer consumers everything from loans to insurance to wealth management.
#techAsia suspects there may be more to come. Headquarters in Singapore Grab last week announced a $ 300 million fundraising by its financial unit. The start-up, which also doubles on Indonesia, plans to use the funds for M&A activity, among others.
Vivid Economics, a London-based consultancy firm, examined green stimulus policies introduced by governments around the world to address the Covid-19 pandemic and found many in Asia wanting.
His Green stimulation index assigned negative scores to the United States, China, Japan and South Korea and positive scores to Great Britain, France and Germany. Japan received a negative rating for factors such as reduced taxes on certain types of vehicles. China also scored negative because the country streamlined coal mining permits.