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Terry Gou will resign as Foxconn’s chairman to run for president of Taiwan

Posted by on Apr 17, 2019 in Asia, China, Foxconn, Government, Politics, taiwan, TC, Terry Gou | 0 comments

Foxconn chairman Terry Gou officially announced on Wednesday that he will run for president of Taiwan. Gou will step down from leading the company (also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd.), one of Apple’s most important manufacturers, in order to campaign for the nomination of the Kuomintang, the pro-China opposition party.

Taiwan’s economy and complicated relationship with China will be at the heart of the 2020 presidential campaign, as incumbent Tsai Ing-wen defends her position against not only candidates from the Kuomintang and other parties, but also a challenger from her own party, the Democratic Progressive Party, William Lai, who entered the race last month.

Gou earlier said that his presidential aspirations had been blessed by Mazu, the sea goddess who is one of the most important Taoist and Buddhist deities. Gou founded Foxconn in 1974 and has held no political office, but his campaign will be helped by his business reputation and reported $7 billion net worth.

Gou’s lack of government experience may be balanced in the mind of voters by his relationships with Donald Trump and China’s government. Foxconn has committed to building a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin. Even though Taiwan’s sovereignty is not recognized by China, which views the country as a rogue province, Foxconn has more plants there than in any other country.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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With China tariffs delayed, Beijing faces startup dilemma

Posted by on Feb 25, 2019 in Asia, China, data localization, Government, H-1B, immigration, India, Intel, Policy, robert swan, taiwan, Tencent, The Extra Crunch Daily, video games | 0 comments

China is facing a challenging juxtaposition in the coming years: can the government remain in control of business and media while also opening up the country to the knowledge economy?

China has uplifted more humans in a shorter period of time than any other country in the history of the planet. That mesmerizing growth engine, though, is starting to face an intense slog. Economic growth has slowed considerably, and while there are vagaries to these indicators, it is clear that China needs to rebuild its economy as it migrates from industrials into services.

The future (of course) is all the buzzwords that linger in Silicon Valley coffee shops: innovation, startups, and entrepreneurship, mixed in with some Chinese flavors like indigenous technology development. China has designs to be the world-leader in semiconductors and artificial intelligence. To get there though, it needs to create the intellectual environment to push the frontiers of science and technology.

That’s the debate happening right now. On one side, you have this discussion from the New York Times’ Asia business columnist Li Yuan from this weekend. Chinese entrepreneurs are supposedly fleeing the country and seeking safer waters as the government clamps down on dissent and further censors China’s already narrow internet.

Few are predicting a crash, but worries over China’s long-term prospects are growing. Pessimism is so high, in fact, that some businesspeople are comparing China’s potential future to another country where the government seized control of the economy and didn’t ease up: Venezuela.

Only one-third of China’s rich people say they are very confident in the country’s economic prospects, according to a recent survey of 465 wealthy individuals by Hurun, a Shanghai-based research firm. Two years ago, nearly two-thirds said they were very confident. Those who have no confidence at all rose to 14 percent, more than double the level of 2018. Nearly half said they were considering migrating to a foreign country or had already started the process.

Minxin Pei, a well-known writer on China’s business environment and politics, was quoted by Yuan as saying:

“It’s clear to the private businesspeople that the moment the government doesn’t need them, it’ll slaughter them like pigs. This is not a government that respects the law. It can change on a dime.”

China’s government furiously denied the article’s contention, arguing in its international-focused mouthpiece that:

Because some Western media’s always tend to smear or even subvert China’s political system. Take Chen Tianyong’s story. With ulterior motives, the New York Times tells stories of certain Chinese individuals and then exaggerates the fact, thus declaring that there are serious problems in China’s economy and political system. This is their consistent practice and some foreign people who do not understand China will fall into the Western media’s trap. Chinese people always need to be on the alert for such ill-intentioned articles.

(Really, it’s fun to read the Global Times in the morning, in the way that taking a New York City subway at 8:15am on Monday morning is fun).

Yet, for all the entrepreneurs supposedly leaving, business opportunities remain robust. China’s government announced a huge economic development plan to create a “Greater Bay Area” region around Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau and others to compete directly with California’s Bay Area (The Lesser Bay Area: Even Better Without High-Speed Rail!™). The goal is to build upon the region’s manufacturing prowess and increasingly turn it into a source for technology innovation. If the blueprint’s economic goals are achieved, the region would rival the United Kingdom in economic size.

But that’s a big “if.”

Few areas of the economy show the tension between openness and control better than the video game industry. China has once again stopped approving licenses for games in the country last week, after a brief session of approvals following last year’s nine-month long hiatus. Tencent, which produces some of the country’s most popular games, has lost nearly a quarter of its value in the meantime, even while it puts new streaming rules into effect to try to please the government.

China has incredible potential to lead in technology (and frankly beat the United States) if it can figure out how to open its economy, perhaps not to foreign competition, but at least to its own talent. Yuan quotes several entrepreneurs saying that Trump’s trade war with China may be the country’s last hope for a more open environment. Trump’s delay implementing tariffs on China this weekend, though, highlights the danger of relying on external forces to push domestic change. Only the Chinese can rebuild China’s economy.

Across the strait, Taiwan’s Silicon Valley is fizzling

Photo by keel via Getty Images

Becoming the next Silicon Valley is every government’s dream, although few seem capable of putting all the pieces together to make it happen. Take Taiwan, which has made innovation a key watchword as it attempts to survive in the penumbra of China’s overwhelming economy.

It’s Silicon Valley plans are fizzling from lack of action and a stagnant economy according to a translated article in the Taiwan Gazette:

But according to a member of the opposition Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the Agency’s goal is hindered by cumbersome business regulations and restrictive visas and work permits.

“Although [the government was] targeted to issue 2200 visas, the Plan so far has disbursed a mere two,” said Jason Hsu, a KMT legislator with experience in Taiwan’s innovation sector.

Hsu said the government has not succeeded in attracting any global entrepreneurs to the island since the plan was implemented. The Agency has been slow to implement the Asia Silicon Valley plan, prioritizing other aspects, or simply failing to match action with words.

Compounding Taiwan’s global talent crunch is competition from China and the US, with graduates moving house to take advantage of higher wages and better employment opportunities.

You can’t build an innovative economy if the talent can’t or won’t show up.

U.S. slowing H-1B visas

Image by Blue Diamond Gallery used under Creative Commons

Meanwhile, the United States has plenty of talent that wants to show up of course, but increasingly wants to prevent at least some of them from staying in the country.

We previously talked about how the Trump administration was attempting to simplify some elements of the H-1B process. Now, USCIS has released new data that shows a decline in the approval rate for H-1B visa applications. In 4Q18 only 75% of H1-B applications were approved, compared to 83% and 92% in 2017 and 2016 respectively.

The application process itself has also gotten more intensive, with reviewing agencies requesting additional evidence from roughly 60% of corporate applicants in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to 46% and 28% in 2017 and 2016, respectively. The Wall Street Journal noted that Apple, Microsoft and others had a 99% approval rate, while Capgemini was much lower at 60%.

Maybe some of these applications are marginal, and protecting the wages of American workers is a fair compromise. More transparency here would be very helpful. But if the United States wants to maintain its technological edge, it needs smart and talented workers to congregate here. These new rates do not bode well.

Intel investing heavily to regain lost ground in the battle for chip supremacy

Photo via Intel Corporation

Written by Arman Tabatabai

At a press event last week, Intel’s newly appointed CEO Bob Swan reiterated the company’s strategy of investing heavily in growth markets outside of its core competencies. The company has taken heat for racking up its R&D bills, but Swan insisted that the chip giant needs to spend that money after struggling in recent years to keep up with the industry’s transition to new technologies.

Intel invested nearly $30 billion last year in R&D with a focus on memory, 5G, and graphical processing units (GPUs), which are seen as the best option for artificial intelligence, machine learning, and any use case needing strong parallelized processing capabilities. The FT quoted Swan as saying :

…“If we want to play in a much larger market we’re going to continue to invest more in R&D, there’s no question about that,” he said. “We don’t want to get too penny wise and pound-foolish so we don’t invest for the future.”

Traditional brand names chipmakers have lost dominant share by investing heavily in whatever was driving profits at the time, while ignoring emerging tech that has become the primary source of growth. Intel is now paying for their failure to move sooner.

Are India’s nationalist policies creating a closed internet?

Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images

Written by Arman Tabatabai

India is facing a similar dilemma to China on how open it wants to make its economy.

India’s government announced draft policies that will dictate operational requirements for ecommerce, social, and messaging companies. Following the country’s heightened focus around data localization, which we have discussed before, the set of proposals announced over the weekend would require internet companies to maintain locally-housed data centers and servers, impose a legal framework for regulating the movement of user data across borders, provide the government with access to company data stored abroad upon request, and force ecommerce websites or apps operating in India to have a locally registered business entity.

At the same time, the government also announced plans to institute policies that would require social networking and messaging platforms to swiftly remove content deemed “unlawful” or threatening to the “sovereignty and integrity of India.”

While the Indian government is trying to take a hardline approach to avoid the misconduct that has followed the expansion of big tech, they’re also putting further pressure on companies that already face a tougher, more expensive operating environment behind India’s “national champion” policy push as we’ve harped on before.

As India continues to move towards nationalist policies that make it difficult for companies to compete, a Chinese-style closed and censored internet increasingly seems likely.

Obsessions

  • We’re excited since Little Brown & Co just announced a retrospective from Netflix co-founder and original CEO, Marc Randolph, coming this fall and entitled “That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea.”
  • Lots of other book coverage coming this week including Billonnaire Raj by James Crabtree, The Next Factory of the World by Irene Yuan Sun, and The Next Billion Users by Payal Arora.
  • More discussion of megaprojects, infrastructure, and “why can’t we build things”

Thanks

To every member of Extra Crunch: thank you. You allow us to get off the ad-laden media churn conveyor belt and spend quality time on amazing ideas, people, and companies. If I can ever be of assistance, hit reply, or send an email to danny@techcrunch.com.

This newsletter is written with the assistance of Arman Tabatabai from New York


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Ambitious Singapore startup Delegate wants to bring its event booking platform to the US

Posted by on Feb 9, 2019 in Asia, austin, Companies, delegate, funding, Fundings & Exits, Jacqueline Ye, Melissa Lou, Pinterest, Singapore, Southeast Asia, taiwan, United States, Zendesk, zopim | 0 comments

It’s not often that you hear about a startup from Singapore with ambitions to expand to the U.S, but that’s exactly the goal for event booking service Delegate.

Founded in August 2015, the company aims to be a one-stop shop for booking an event, that covers corporate and professional functions, celebrations like weddings and more personal events such as birthdays or get-togethers.

Beyond the essential step of securing a venue, Delegate’s platform covers a range of different needs that include: food and beverage, photography and videography, flowers and decor, entertainment such as bands, invitation and gifts, event staff, production equipment and transport.

“We saw a huge gap in the market,” co-founders Melissa Lou and Jacqueline Ye, who both worked in the event industry prior to starting Delegate, told TechCrunch in a recent interview. “There was no one resource for finding events and resources.”

The Delegate platform covers venue booking, catering, staffing, entertainment and more.

But, beyond being a booking platform for consumers, Delegate has a smart hook that attracts those on venue and event hosting side. In addition to helping them generate bookings via its sites, Delegate offers a subscription ‘Pro’ product that helps them manage daily operations, generate leads, collect bookings and handle collaborations with others in their supply chain.

There’s also an element of granularity with the consumer side of the business. Delegate has set up options to make the myriads of suppliers, venues and more navigable for less experienced customers. That includes a ‘deals’ section for, well, deals and an inspiration board for the planning process which is itself inspired by Pinterest’s visual approach.

Coming soon, the company hopes to add payment plans to help make it easier to pay for major events, as well as a new offering focused squarely on business users and API integrations for third-party services.

Lou and Ye started the business nearly four years ago with around 100 vendors thanks to their personal and business networks. Today, it claims 1,700 vendors and 70,000 users across Singapore and Hong Kong, its first expansion market.

Delegate co-founders Jacqueline Ye and Melissa Lou (left and right) want to expand their service to the U.S. market.

Already present in two of Asia’s top event locations, where average spend is among the highest for the region. But since those countries are limited in size — Singapore’s population is just shy of six million, Hong Kong’s is around seven million, it makes sense that Delegate is now looking for its next moves. Lou and Ye said they plan to launch the service in “key cities” in Australia and the U.S. to tap what they see as lucrative markets, while Korea and Taiwan are also on the radar closer to home in Asia.

“We see these markets as a good fit for us,” Lou explained. “They have a fair share of corporate events already and, in particular, Australia is a good country because we have a good network there.”

Entering the U.S. might sound implausible to some, but already soft launches of the platform in LA and Austin have drawn interest from over 100 vendors, the Delegate co-founders said. That’s without any major marketing push to either businesses or consumers, and it gives the company optimism. Already the U.S. is a listed location on their service but, for now, there are less than a dozen vendors and there’s no specific location.

Beyond early outreach, the company has raised funds for expansion. Last month, Delegate announced a $1 million pre-Series A round from an undisclosed family office (with apparent links to the event industry) and angel investors who founded Zopim, the Singapore-based startup that sold to Zendesk for around $30 million in 2014.

That network and Saas expertise is likely to help with those ambitious global expansion plans, although Lou and Ye said they aren’t planning to raise their Series A just yet. They say they plan to stretch their runway and keep their costs lean, a practice the founders say they have stuck to since bootstrapping without outside funding for the first year of the business. It’s unlikely bet for most startups in Southeast Asia, but if Delegate can gain even just a small foothold in the U.S, it would be a massive validation of its business model and niche, and no doubt precipitate that larger Series A round.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Atari teams up with some startup to pretend to make blockchain-based games

Posted by on Dec 18, 2018 in Apps, Bitcoin, blockchain, China, computing, cryptocurrencies, data, data management, Startups, taiwan, TC | 0 comments

Animoca Brands will produce and publish blockchain-based versions of RollerCoaster Tycoon and Goon Squad worldwide (excluding China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau); the new titles will feature the integration of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The term of the Agreement extends through to 31 March 2022.

In honor of this exciting announcement I’d like to propose the following blockchain-based products available for license to those hunting for a quick buck:

Blockchain! The Musical
Blockchain Cereal
Blockchain Brand Kombucha
Blockchain & Me, An Alien Adventure
Blockchain Whiskey
Blockchain Soda
Blockchain The Miniseries
Blockchain Lingerie – Shake His Merkle Tree
Blockchain Brand Firestarters
Blockchain Pessaries For Her
Blockchain French Ticklers
Blockchain Getaway Cars
Blockchain Killer Apps (rumored not to exist)
Blockchain Airlines
Blockchain Margarita Mix
Blockchain Cowboy Hats
Blockchain Burgers
Blockchain Dance Studios
Blockchain Pants


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Taiwan-based travel startup AsiaYo raises $7M Series B led by Alibaba Taiwan Entrepreneurs Fund

Posted by on Dec 6, 2018 in Asia, AsiaYo, Fundings & Exits, hotels, Startups, taiwan, TC, Travel, travel bookings | 0 comments

AsiaYo, a travel accommodation booking platform based in Taipei, Taiwan, has raised a $7 million Series B led by Alibaba Taiwan Entrepreneurs Fund, a non-profit initiative run by the Chinese e-commerce giant, and China Development Financial. Darwin Ventures and Delta Ventures also participated in the round, which brings AsiaYo’s total raised since its launch in 2014 to $10 million, including a $3 million Series A.

Founded by CEO C.K. Cheng, AsiaYo has grown over the past four years to a team of about 100 people and now claims about 300,000 members on its site. In addition to Taiwan, the platform also operates in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Thailand, and says overseas bookings account for 60% of its business. AsiaYo’s new funding will be used to launch in new markets, with operations in Singapore and Malaysia and a new Japanese website slated to launch next year. Cheng told TechCrunch that it picked Singapore and Malaysia as its newest markets because of the amount of travel between the two countries, which are next to one another.

AsiaYo works with 50 partners, including Hong Kong Airlines, KKday, and Rakuten LIFULL STAY, to provide reward programs and deals on vacation bookings. The website is currently available in English, Chinese, and Korean and claims 60,000 listings across 60 cities. The startup targets younger tourists traveling within Asia with what it calls “hyper-personalized journeys” created with the help of its AI-based algorithm AYSort, which analyzes user behavior to provide booking suggestions.

In a press statement, Alibaba Taiwan Entrepreneurs Fund executive director Andrew Lee said “With rapid economic development across Asia, we have seen a significant rise in inter-regional tourism. AsiaYo has capitalized on this trend, demonstrating its growth potential. We’re currently working with AsiaYo to further develop technological capabilities in the travel industry.”

AsiaYo’s listings include a combination of rooms, apartments, hostels, and hotels, which means it competes against a wide variety of other accommodation booking sites, like Airbnb, Agoda, and HotelQuickly. The startup differentiates, however, by verifying listings with landlords before they go live for quality assurance and to “inspire travelers to step out of their comfort zone,” said Cheng. The company also provides multi-lingual customer support through several channels, including Line, Facebook, WeChat, and its own helplines.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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As Taiwan prepares to vote on LGBTQ issues, a homophobic group is running ads before kids videos on YouTube

Posted by on Nov 22, 2018 in gay rights, Google, inclusion, lgbtq, taiwan, TC, YouTube | 0 comments

This Saturday, several issues related to LGBTQ equality, including marriage, are up for referendum in Taiwan’s mid-term elections. A little more than a year after the country’s top court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, the LGBTQ community is once again fighting for their rights due to efforts by anti-gay groups. The battle has reached social media platforms including YouTube, where a group called 3 Yes is running an ad, often appearing before popular children’s videos, that claims teaching about LGBTQ issues in schools will confuse young children about their gender identity.

3 Yes’ name refers to three referendum items (proposals 10, 11, and 12) that anti-gay groups want voters to approve during Saturday’s election. The questions ask voters “Do you agree that marriage should be restricted to being between one man and one woman under the Civil Code?”; “Do you agree that the Ministry of Education and schools at the elementary and junior high level should not teach about homosexuality as detailed in the Gender Equity Education Act?” [passed in 2004 to promote gender equality and prevent discrimination]; and “Do you agree to unions outside of the ones defined as marriage by the Civil Code to protect the right of same-sex couples to live together permanently?”

In an attempt to counteract those proposals, LGBTQ advocacy groups introduced two additional referendums (14 and 15) that ask “Do you agree that the rights of same-sex couples to get married should be guaranteed by the Civil Code’s marriage regulations?” and “Do you agree that gender equity education as defined under the Gender Equity Education Act should be taught at all stages of the national curriculum and include education about emotions, sex, and homosexuality?”

Even though Taiwan’s Constitutional Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2017, the fact that the issue and others made it to referendum this year underscores the power of anti-gay groups led by religious conservatives, including the Bread of Life Christian Church, the Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance, and the Alliance of Taiwan Religious Groups for the Protection of the Family. In addition to YouTube videos, groups such as these have also spread homophobic propaganda and misinformation through demonstrations, flyers, banners, and other online platforms including YouTube, Facebook, and Line, one of the most popular messaging apps in Taiwan.

An example of a flyer denouncing education about LGBTQ issues.

3 Yes’ YouTube channel has three videos. Two appear to show same-sex couples before they suddenly veer into messaging that marriage is between one man and one woman. The third, which was uploaded to 3 Yes’ channel a week ago and is currently running as an ad, is even more pernicious.

It opens at a school, with young students looking at a textbook. A girl says “He must be 80% like a girl,” referring to a boy, who gets upset and runs home. Upset, he asks his parents “My classmates are laughing at me for being 80% like a girl. Do you think I’m a boy or girl?” as they look in shock at the textbook. His older sister then turns to their father and says “Dad, you must be 100% girl” as both parents gape at her in horror. The ad cuts to the slogan “Support ACCURATE, AGE-APPROPRIATE gender equity education.”

(It is worth pointing out, considering the video’s misogyny, that Taiwan’s government had to issue guidelines against sex-selective abortions because the preference for boys has skewed the country’s sex ratio).

I am the parent of a toddler and began noticing the ad popping up this week when we watched popular kids’ channels on YouTube. The example embedded was taken before a video by Super Simple Songs, a channel with over 12 million subscribers that features nursery rhymes and other content for very young kids. While I’ve seen it at other times, the frequency it appears in the afternoon and early evening suggests that 3 Yes scheduled their ad to run during those time slots, when many kids are home from school, in front of content targeted to them.

(It is important to note that while YouTube content creators can filter out certain advertisers from running before their videos, many may be unaware of ads like the one by 3 Yes because they aren’t located in the same market. Super Simple Songs, 3 Yes, and Google have all been contacted for comment. When reached through their Facebook page, someone from 3 Yes said they don’t run TV ads. I clarified that I mean YouTube ads and am awaiting a response.)

The ad is especially concerning because it helps the spread of misinformation about sexuality and gender by anti-gay groups in Taiwan. Debates are required for referendums and during one of them, the executive director of the National Alliance of Presidents of Parents Associations, Yang Chun-tzu, stated that children should not learn about homosexual issues during elementary and junior high school because it could influence their sexual orientation. That notion has been debunked by growing mounds of evidence that sexual orientation is mainly determined by genetic factors.

Indeed, statements like the those made by Yang and 3 Yes support the case for more education about LGBTQ issues in Taiwan’s schools, not less. 3 Yes’ video also appears to contravene Google’s new initiative against misinformation, though it’s less clear if it violates its policy against hate speech.

But even if it doesn’t incite physical violence, it promotes harmful stereotypes about LGBTQ people and is a sad echo of other instances when anti-gay ads have run on YouTube, sometimes appearing before videos by LGBTQ YouTubers. It is also a reminder that YouTube’s attempts to make its platform safer for children, including “safeguarding the emotional and physical well-being of minors,” is difficult to enforce.

Imagine being a LGBTQ child in Taiwan and seeing an ad like that pop-up while you are watching your favorite channels, at a time when the basic rights of LGBTQ people are up for a vote, and you are already confronted every day by banners and posters that declare you are in a lesser category of human. This is a stark reminder that social media platforms and content creators must pay more attention in different markets to the kind of ads and content that are allowed to be targeted to kids, especially during elections and other politically-charged times.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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After extradition to Texas, 3D-printed gunmaker Cody Wilson is out on bail

Posted by on Sep 24, 2018 in austin, cody wilson, defense distributed, Hardware, taipei, taiwan, TC, texas | 0 comments

Last week, after Hatreon creator and 3D-printed gun activist Cody Wilson was charged with the sexual assault of a minor, he managed to evade arrest briefly in Taipei. On Friday, authorities successfully located Wilson and extradited him back to Texas, booking him into a Harris County jail. Now, Wilson is out on a $150,000 bond.

Wilson’s arrest in a Taipei hotel on Friday was the result of a collaborative effort between the U.S. Marshals, Taiwan’s police force and the U.S. State Department. His charges stem from an August 22 incident during which Wilson allegedly sexually assaulted a 16-year-old he found on SugarDaddyMeet.com, paying her $500 for sex in a North Austin hotel.

The charges are corroborated by security footage showing Wilson himself and a car with a license plate registered to his business. The charges originated from a report by a counselor who had spoken with the 16-year-old girl who identified Wilson and described the alleged assault.

Wilson lives in Austin where he owns and operates Defense Distributed, a defense company that conducts research and development “for the benefit of the American rifleman.” He reportedly fled to Taiwan after receiving a tip that authorities sought to arrest him.

“This was a collaborative effort that demonstrates the dedication of local, state, federal and international officials working together to bring this fugitive to justice,” U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas Susan Pamerleau said of the arrest.

In a statement to local news, Wilson’s lawyer Samy Khalil announced Wilson’s intentions to fight the charges. “We are glad that Cody is back in Texas again where we can work with him on his case,” Khalil said. “That’s our focus right now, representing our client and preparing his defense.”


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Deliveroo will enter Taiwan, its fourth market in the Asia-Pacific so far

Posted by on Sep 12, 2018 in Deliveroo, food delivery, Startups, taiwan, TC | 0 comments

Food delivery service Deliveroo is making headway in its Asian expansion strategy. The London-based company announced today that it will launch in Taiwan in the coming weeks, starting with Taipei, the country’s capital, before heading to other cities. This marks Deliveroo’s fourth market in the Asia-Pacific region (the others are Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore) and is also a launch with personal significance for founder and CEO Will Shu, whose family is Taiwanese.

In a press statement, Shu said “Our launch in Taiwan is also a personal milestone for me, my parents were born in Taiwan and much of my family still lives in Taipei. Taiwan is the market with my favourite food in the world—my personal favourite is a big bowl of 牛肉麵 [beef noodle soup] and a huge piece of 炸雞排 [fried chicken]. From a personal standpoint, It’s an amazing feeling to launch Deliveroo in Taiwan.”

Once its Taiwan business starts, Deliveroo, which is reportedly eyeing an IPO to take place in the next two years, will operate in a total of 13 markets around the world. The company already faces stiff competition in Taipei, however, where its rivals will include Foodpanda, Uber Eats and Honestbee. Foodpanda was the first, launching five years ago, but Uber Eats quickly became a formidable rival when it entered Taiwan in 2016. Honestbee, a grocery and food delivery service, is also popular, and during lunch and dinner times riders carrying these services’ cooler bags on the backs of their scooters are a ubiqutious sight on Taipei’s streets.

Like other food delivery startups, all three offer costly incentives like discount codes, flash sales and free delivery to entice customers. The resulting war of attrition has forced food delivery services in other markets to withdraw or consolidate. For example, Foodpanda sold off its Vietnam and Indonesia operations, before the company itself was sold by Rocket Internet to larger rival Delivery Hero at the end of 2016.

Deliveroo has the advantage of a large war chest, however, and its funding (its Series F last year raised about $480 million at a valuation of more than $2 billion) will help it with the high cost of competition as it expands into new markets.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Taiwan Dispatch: Taiwan Baseball? It’s ‘Hot Noisy,’ and Ingrained in National Identity

Posted by on Aug 5, 2018 in Baseball, Tainan (Taiwan), Taipei (Taiwan), taiwan, Taoyuan (Taiwan) | 0 comments

Baseball is one of the most potent instruments of soft power in this small but spirited bastion of democracy. And what goes on in the stands is unlike anything seen, or heard, in America.
Source: New York Times

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Virus shuts down factories of major iPhone component manufacturer TSMC

Posted by on Aug 4, 2018 in Apple, Asia, China, cybersecurity, Hack, Hardware, Security, semiconductors, taiwan, TSMC, Virus | 0 comments

Apple touts the cybersecurity of its iPhone, but less can be said for the exclusive manufacturer who makes the processor for the iPhone.

Semiconductor foundry TSMC, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, was hit by a virus late Friday night, which forced it to shut down several factories according to Debbie Wu at Bloomberg. The virus and the shutdown were confirmed by TSMC representatives.

It is not clear at this time which factories were hit, or whether those factories were producing the iPhone’s main processor. Apple is expected to unveil new iPhones this fall, and supply chain disruptions in the critical month of August could have significant adverse consequences for the rapid availability of the new phone before the key Christmas holiday.

TSMC has grown to become the largest independent semiconductor foundry in the world, with profits last year of $11.6 billion. The company has benefitted from partnerships with smartphone companies like Apple, which produces the designs for its own A-series chips and then contracts out their manufacturing to foundries.

TSMC is a critical partner for the launch of the new iPhone. It announced earlier this year that it had begun volume production of 7mm chips, which will drive performance while limiting energy usage.

The origins of the virus are not known, although a statement by the company to Bloomberg said that it wasn’t introduced by a hacker.

Cyberattacks are nothing new to the island nation, which has increasingly faced sophisticated cyberattacks, mostly originating from China, which holds deep antipathy for Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen. Taiwan’s government websites have sustained 20 million cyberattacks per month, with the bulk believed to be originating from China. Jess Macy Yu at Reuters reported earlier this summer that Chinese cyberattacks had grown more successful, even as their total volume has declined. Taiwan’s local elections will be held later this year in November, and the number and intensity of attacks is expected to increase as the date approaches.

Alongside Foxconn, TSMC is one of Taiwan’s most important and profitable companies, and is an obvious target both due to its wealth and scale, as well as its centrality in the increasingly fraught cross-straight relations between China and Taiwan. China has made becoming the world leader in semiconductors a national priority, and companies like TSMC are deeply competitive with mainland foundries.

That’s the paranoid context for many tech executives in Taiwan, and while the culprit of this particular virus is not yet publicly known, eyes and fingers are already beginning to point in one direction.

More information about the attack is expected to be available next week.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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