H.E.R.O.’s Journey in Tech (25 April 2019) – Scientists develop an AI that can turn brainwaves into speech + Why Bill and Melinda Gates wash dishes together every night

H.E.R.O.’s Journey in Tech (25 April 2019) – Scientists develop an AI that can turn brainwaves into speech + Why Bill and Melinda Gates wash dishes together every night


  • Salesforce nearly doubled its money in Zoom IPO, but company says it’s in for the long term (CNBC)
  • Tencent-backed real estate platform Beike announces ambitious growth plans amid legal row with rival; Can newcomer Beike dethrone Fang.com as China’s top online property portal? (KRA)
  • China’s digital music market expands with rising subscriptions; TME has a strong grip on the market, claiming 800 million users, three times more than Spotify, but less than four percent of those users pay for subscription compares with 45 percent (CGTN)
  • In Japan, busy singles are turning to apps to find love; Linkbal Inc., an operator of an e-commerce portal website for matchmaking events, has offered the CoupLink online dating app since July 2016. (JT)
  • Japanese team aims to test 3D-printed blood vessel transplants on kidney patients; 3D bioprinter developed by Shibuya Corp. (Mainichi)
  • Robot king Fanuc risks missing out on 5G boom; After forecasting 60% profit drop, company faces new challenges as clients ditch metal casing (Nikkei)
  • Pro Medicus share price hits an all-time high on seven-year contract with Duke Health worth $14 million (Yahoo)
  • VGI and iClick Interactive Announce Marketing Technology Joint Venture to Address Thailand’s Booming Digital Marketing Space and Connect Brands in Southeast Asia with China Opportunities (Yahoo); VGI links with iClick to smooth the way for SE Asia brands in China (Nation)

BATTSS – Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, TSMC, Samsung, Softbank

  • Tencent Trusted Doctors raises USD 250 million, bringing valuation past USD 1 billion (KRA)
  • Tencent eyes silver generation with investment in video app for dancing grannies (SCMP)
  • Alibaba Cloud takes 19.6% in Asia Pacific market, beats Amazon and Microsoft combined (KRA); Alibaba Pushes Its Cloud Unit Globally As It Trounces Amazon in Asia (Bloomberg)
  • Samsung Plans $116 Billion Splurge on Chips to Take On Intel (Bloomberg)

FAANNMG – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Nvidia, Netflix, Microsoft, Google

  • Facebook Says Settling FTC Probe Could Cost Up to $5 Billion (Bloomberg)
  • Instagram is becoming Facebook’s sugar daddy (Reuters)
  • Audible now offers live customer service through Alexa devices (TC); Amazon Launches Free Music Streaming to Juice Alexa-Device Sales (Bloomberg); Amazon’s Alexa Team Can Access Users’ Home Addresses (Bloomberg)
  • Apple Stock Will Gain Because iPhone Users Spend More on Apps, Analyst Says; iPhone owners spend 10 times more than Android users on mobile apps (Barron’s)
  • Amazon goes into luxury beauty (AFR)
  • Microsoft tops $1 trillion as it predicts more cloud growth (Reuters); Microsoft is closing in on becoming a $10 billion-a-quarter cloud company (qz)’ Tech Trio Races Toward $1 Trillion Valuation on Cusp of Earnings (Bloomberg); Microsoft Sales Top Estimates Amid Flurry of Cloud Wins; Software maker’s 73% Azure revenue gain ‘blew away’ Street (Bloomberg)
  • Will Netflix eventually monetize its user data? (Conversation); Here’s how new streaming services could really hurt Netflix; WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, Disney shows make up 40% of Netflix’s viewing minutes (MW); Nobody Watches Netflix’s Original Shows, And That’s A Huge Problem (ZH)


Asia Tech & Innovation Trends

  • Why China’s unicorns may not trot happily to market (FT); China tech groups delay IPOs as US tensions bite; Companies are also accepting lower valuations amid dwindling investor appetite (FT)
  • Chinese companies face surging write-offs; After a global investment spree, impairments weigh on tech and energy companies (Nikkei)
  • Didi reveals it is still making losses on many fares charged in China as it discloses costs breakdown (SCMP)
  • The Chinese state-owned tech company supplying signal-boosting laser amplifiers to the world’s largest financial centres; Report reveals that Wuhan-based Accelink’s gear has been used in West for a decade (SCMP)
  • Chinese regulator hints at better access for foreign cloud computing companies (SCMP)
  • Made in China, Exported to the World: The Surveillance State (NYT)
  • The Future of Shopping Is Already Happening in China; Traditional retail and e-commerce hold little interest for consumers who are wedded to smartphones and take their cues from influencers. (Bloomberg)
  • China’s unchecked expansion of data-powered AI raises civic concerns; Local industry is growing fast but there are signs of a pushback (FT)
  • Taiwan’s Top Stock Investor Sees Tech Frenzy Getting Extreme (Bloomberg)
  • Cashless payments in Fukuoka accelerate, and large-scale commercial facilities introduce Melpay and Origami Pay (TC)
  • Japan Has a New Emperor. Now It Needs a Software Update. (NYT)
  • Japan lays bare the limitations of robots in unpredictable work; Forerunner in automation worried about progress being too slow rather than too fast (FT)
  • AI becoming a viable way to bridge the gap in the doctor-patient ratio: mfine CEO Prasad Kompalli; mfine, which uses AI to enable users to link with doctors through live chat or video under a minute, has just bagged (e27)
  • Indonesian social commerce platform TokoTalk raises US$3.2M; TokoTalk is a chat-based e-commerce platform built specifically for online sellers on social media such as Instagram (e27)
  • AI-based visual training platform Chooch AI secures US$2.8M (e27)
  • ai raises $17M to equip online retailers with AI smarts (TC)
  • Go-Jek and Grab’s competing visions play out; Funding gap between the competitors reflects big philosophical differences between their investors; Go-Jek’s directors think too much capital is a drug; it enables founders to become profliga (FT)

Global Tech & Innovation Trends

  • Scientists develop an AI that can turn brainwaves into speech (Age)
  • Behind Airbnb’s bet on show business to hook travellers (Reuters)
  • MongoDB to acquire open-source mobile database Realm for $39 million (TC)
  • Securing the 5G future – what’s the issue? (Reuters)
  • SAP shares hit high on Elliott’s $1.3b investment; SAP reported an adjusted operating margin of 24 per cent for the first quarter as it grapples with a catch-up transition to cloud computing (AFR); SAP/cloud services: mist opportunity; German group needs to integrate its acquisitions flawlessly to remain in the race (FT)
  • iRobot Stock Takes a Hit Because There Are Too Many Robots (Barron’s)
  • Sirius XM profit dented by Pandora acquisition (MW)
  • This In-Ear Translator Can Interpret A Bilingual Conversation On The Fly (Forbes)
  • Start-up makes robots small manufacturers can afford; Collaborative robots market expected to snowball to $12.3bn by 2025 (FT)
  • PayPal’s Venmo Isn’t Enough to Drive Payment Volume Growth (Bloomberg)
  • Apollo, Cerberus Consider Shutterfly Bids, Lifting Stock (Bloomberg)
  • Explosions Threatening Lithium-Ion’s Edge in a Battery Race (Bloomberg)
  • Slack Finds New Ways to Fit In at the Office, Ahead of Stock Debut (Bloomberg, Reuters)
  • A $603 Million Deal Sheds Light on Cybersecurity Space (Bloomberg)


  • Why Bill and Melinda Gates wash dishes together every night (AFR)
  • This Question Will Change Your (Reading) Life; What should you read next? Whatever books shaped the people you most admire and respect. (RH)
  • How to train your brain to be resilient to failure (FastCo)
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