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Asia tech, March 2024
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March 2024: Critical technologies

Critical and emerging technologies were, of course, in the headlines globally in March of 2024.

In Asia and the Indo-Pacific we saw Alibaba’s research unit announce server-grade RISC-V chips, North Korean hacks of semiconductor companies in the South, Australia’s moves in quantum computing, and discussion of a made-in-Taiwan satellite network.

In the wider world, critical technology coverage saw the United Kingdom and the European Union partner on semiconductor manufacturing, Barcelona’s moves into RISC-V chips manufacturing, the roll-out of France’s national quantum tech strategy, plans for lunar mining of a hydrogen isotope, and more.

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Canton Project Pilot Project Results

Canton Project Pilot Project Results – Tokenized Real World Assets

  • Silicon batteries: ‘StoreDot’s near-term goal is a 100-mile charge in 5 minutes. In about 2 years the company expects that its EV batteries will drop to a 4-minute charge, towards a goal of 2 minutes…’ / read it here
  • The Critical Risks of Critical Minerals: “Many of the minerals being sought are in some of the poorest performing countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index…” / read it here
  • Critical minerals supply chains: “Since last year, lithium is down by more than 80 percent, while nickel and cobalt have both tumbled over 40 percent…” / read it here
  • ‘High demand for energy-related critical minerals creates supply chain pressures’, a deep dive from the World Trade Organization / read it here
  • US gov’t issues Executive Order ‘to prevent the large-scale transfer of Americans’ personal data to countries of concern and provides safeguards around…those countries access to Americans’ sensitive data’ / read it here
Stablecoins and de-dollarization

Stablecoins – a potential counter to de-dollarization?

  • ‘Why hydrogen is losing the race to power cleaner cars, from MIT Tech Review / read it here
  • NVIDIA unveils new flagship B200 AI-focused chip, alongside growing focus on software and ‘microservices’ / read it here

‘Our current cryptographic techniques are highly secure against current techs. They are totally unready for the quantum age and the new types of attacks our adversaries are aggressively developing.’ / read it here

  • Applications open: XPRIZE Quantum Applications, a 3-year, $5M global competition to generate quantum computing algorithms that can be put into practice to help solve real-world challenges / read it here
  • Chevron Technology Ventures, part of Chevron oil-and-gas major, joins $100M funding round for OQC quantum computing firm, seeing potential for efficiency improvements / read it here
  • HP launches world-first business PCs with chip-level measures to protect firmware against quantum computer hacks / read it here
  • ‘Anticipating the Quantum Threat to Cryptography’, a deep dive from HP Security Lab / read it here
Digital assets 2023-2024

KPMG: Virtual Assets 2023 Review and 2024 Outlook

  • France rolls out French National Strategy for quantum technologies with projected investments of $1.1M over 4 years with additional investments from the private sector / read it here
  • A quick overview of NVIDIA’s importance in quantum computing, spanning research, education, innovation and hardware / read it here
  • Quantum tech startup Alice & Bob lands $17.8M innovation grant from France’s public investment bank, Bpifrance, aiming for a new architecture for fault-tolerant quantum computing by 2027 / read it here
  • An overview of Barcelona Supercomputing Center’s moves to develop a European presence in expertise and manufacturing for RISC-V-based chips / read it here
  • Download: ‘2024 Global Semiconductor Industry Outlook’ from Deloitte / read it here
  • Download: ‘APAC Semiconductor Industry Trends’ from Deloitte (direct pdf link) / read it here
  • An overview of semiconductor-related funding in January 2024, touching on chiplet packaging, AI, and quantum tech, with 20 startups raising near $840M / read it here
NBR Securing Semiconductor Supply Chains

NBR: Bolstering and Securing Semiconductor Supply Chains

  • Semiconductors: An overview of 49 firms and startups that collectively raised over $800 million in February 2024 / read it here
  • Efficient Computer unveils chip processor architecture set to be 100 times more energy-efficient than current general-purpose CPUs, with software re-configuring workloads for quicker execution / read it here
  • Arm Flexible Access for Startups Contest applications are now open, seeking products and solutions focusing on system-on-chips technologies – deadline is May 17th / read it here
  • United Kingdom commits $45M to $1.4BN European Union research and innovation fund, aiming to develop and manufacture advanced semiconductors in Europe / read it here
  • An overview of global semiconductor-related funding in February 2024, looking at 49 startups that raised over $800 million across quantum tech, photonics and more / read it here
  • Eliyan Corp lands $60M Series B led by Samsung with connecting architecture for semiconductor ‘chiplets’ / read it here
XPrize quantum technologies competition

XPrize quantum technologies competition

  • Spain’s Sateliot now raising funds for small satellites, targeting data connectivity for small devices in logistics such as monitoring refrigerator containers shipped by sea / read it here
  • More on Interlune, targeting lunar explorations for helium-3 with plat construction in 2028 and commencement of mining by 2030 / read it here
  • To celebrate World Day Against Cyber Censorship, the Tor Project Anti-Censorship team released a new Tor bridge designed to help users in heavily censored regions access the internet / read it here

Indo-Pacific: “For the first time, over 33 nations worked and trained together in the space domain, as well as air and land, establishing a new standard for multinational space operations.” / read it here

  • MIT Tech Review looks at how open source tech, as provided by VotingWorks, may help improve trust in election systems / read it here
  • Hong Kong: Gov’t unveils Project Ensemble initiative to test functionality of a wholesale central bank digital currency and tokenization of private bank deposits / read it here
Artificial intelligence in radio access networks

AI-RAN Alliance: Artificial Intelligence in Radio Access Networks

  • Putin signs ‘CBDC, Digital Assets Payments’ Bill into law, apparently fast-tracked in bid to help domestic companies use digital tokens and CBDCs to evade sanctions / read it here
  • Hong Kong Monetary Authority rolls out Phase 2 of e-HKD Pilot Program, opening applications for proposals on potential use cases of a digital HK dollar / read it here
  • ‘Darwin Dialogue on Critical Minerals and Rare Earth Elements’ is set for April 17-19, an event from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute / read it here

“North Korean hackers breached at least two South Korean microchip equipment companies in recent months, stealing product design drawings and facility site photos…” / read it here

  • China & critical minerals: Which controls can China meaningfully deploy, in line with which specific interests, and with what domestic consequences? / read it here
  • Australia and Canada to partner on critical minerals, aiming to coordinate on supply chain security, sustainability, investment and beyond / read it here
  • Researchers from Japan and Switzerland successfully laser-etch circuits onto glass, triggering generation of electric current upon light exposure / read it here
ORF: Fixing Cyber Vulnerabilities - A Quad Agenda

ORF: Fixing Cyber Vulnerabilities – A Quad Agenda

  • A brief overview of results from a recent Australian study comparing Hydrogen batteries and lithium-ion batteries in both technical and financial performance / read it here
  • Huawei rolls out initiatives including global ITU-Huawei Generation Connect Young Leadership Program, Huawei-UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in Morocco, and Huawei Cloud startups program / read it here

Silicon batteries: ‘StoreDot’s near-term goal is a 100-mile charge in 5 minutes. In about 2 years the company expects that its EV batteries will drop to a 4-minute charge, towards a goal of 2 minutes…’ / read it here

  • Romania formally rejects Huawei request for equipment to be used in Romanian 5G network citing ‘national interest’ in decision / read it here
  • China: A little more on the successful small-scale tests of CASIC’s T-Flight hyperloop train, using magnetic-levitation and a low-vacuum section of track to reach high speeds / read it here
South Korea National Cyber Security Strategy

South Korea: National Cybersecurity Strategy

  • Australia: Kathleen Valley Lithium Project secures $230M loan agreement following lithium price collapse-prompted pull-out of previous support, with sights on mid-year production / read it here
  • China-made surveillance cameras installed on Romanian NATO base raise concerns around cyber- and national security / read it here
  • Radio Access Network versus Open Radio Access Network, another aspect of the US-China technology competition / read it here
  • Japan: Institute for Molecular Science and firms including Fujitsu, Hitachi and NEC partner to establish company to commercialize high-speed quantum computer by 2030 / read it here
  • Japan: New ABCI-Q supercomputer, designed to advance quantum computing research, to be powered by NVIDIA hardware and platforms / read it here
  • South Korea’s cloud firm, MegazoneCloud, lands solutions role with Europe’s Terra Quantum, looking to develop quantum and deeptech applications for Asia and South Korea / read it here
  • Australia: Diraq quantum tech firm hits milestone for spin-based quantum processors, functioning at temperatures 20 times warmer than before while holding stability and accuracy / read it here
MERICS: China - Aligning economic actors with Party goals

MERICS: Aligning economic actors with China’s strategic goals

  • India’s home-grown RISC-V chips, DIR-V VEGA, have debuted in development boards / read it here
  • China: Damo Academy, Alibaba’s research arm, announces delivery of server-grade RISC-V processor later this year / read it here
  • India: Gov’t approves semiconductor fabrication plant partnership for Gujarat between Tata Electronics and Taiwan’s Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp / read it here
  • India: Gov’t approves semiconductor assembly and test facility plan for Assam state, to be operated by Tata Semiconductor Assembly unit and partners, focusing on semicon packaging / read it here
  • India: An intro to 7 Indian semiconductor-related firms boosting the country’s tech ambitions / read it here
  • An overview of Barcelona Supercomputing Center’s moves to develop a European presence in expertise and manufacturing for RISC-V-based chips / read it here
Hypersonic space defense

CSIS: Space and airborne sensors for hypersonic missile defense

  • India: US-based D-Matrix AI chips firm outlines goals for India as a crucial market, with sights on the country for 30% of its workforce / read it here
  • India: Azimuth AI gains backing from UAE’s AUM Ventures with first generation of System-on-Chip products, developing purpose-built SoCs for smart city and broad EV applications / read it here

“Taiwan’s semiconductor industry chain was worth NT$2.67 trillion (US$86.3 billion), making it the second largest in the world after the US…” / read it here

  • India: Gujarat state gov’t reportedly has allotted 160 acres to Tata Group plan for the country’s first large-scale chip fabrication unit / read it here
  • ‘Assessing India’s Readiness to Assume a Greater Role in Global Semiconductor Value Chains’ from Information & Technology Innovation Foundation / read it here
  • Singapore’s Silicon Box semiconductors firm to invest $3.5BN in Italy to build a chip fabrication facility in the country’s north / read it here
Cisco 2024 cybersecurity readiness

2024 Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index

  • Taiwan’s TSMC semiconductor giant set to receive over $5BN in US Dep’t of Commerce grants for Arizona facility / read it here
  • A look at Taiwan’s moves to ensure the net generation of talents and skilled engineers for the country’s semiconductor industry / read it here
  • Samsung is set to receive $6BN from the US gov’t with plans for a second chip manufacturing facility in the US, adding to chip project already underway in Texas / read it here
  • South Korea: Rebellions AI chip firm preps for mass production of energy-efficient ATOM chips with Samsung as manufacturing partner for 5nm tech in H1 2024 and 4nm in H2 / read it here
  • China’s gov’t increases push for domestic-only tech: “…one foreign bidder failed to secure a contract despite offering a price they estimated was 30% lower than the eventual winner…” / read it here
  • NVIDIA unveils new flagship B200 AI-focused chip, alongside growing focus on software and ‘microservices’ / read it here
  • China: Ecarx auto tech firm, backed by Geely exec, unveils 7-nanometer AD1000 system-on-a-chip, claiming over 256 trillion operations per second / read it here
Fragmenting Cyberspace - Future of internet in China

MERICS: Fragmenting Cyberspace – The future of the internet in China

  • Biden administration reportedly considering adding a number of Chinese semiconductor firms linked to Huawei to tech access and exports blacklist / read it here
  • China: Huawei and partner, SiCarrier, file patents for low-tech alternative way to make advanced semiconductors, potentially side-stepping the need for extreme ultraviolet lithography / read it here
  • European Union and Republic of Korea to collaborate on research and innovation in semiconductors, with projects set for selection in June for commencement by year-end / read it here
  • Australia: AGL Energy and SunDrive Solar cells firm partner for facility feasibility study into commercial-scale solar cell manufacturing / read it here
  • China: Beijing City to create ‘Rocket Street’ for commercial aerospace research and production, with 41 launch projects in progress supported by over $14M in funding, and over 157 enterprises / read it here
  • India preps for 3 unmanned space launches prior to manned launch, with first G1 mission set for July to test Gaganyaan Crew Module and featuring a humanoid robot / read it here
China Strategy For RISC-V chips

Jamestown Foundation: Examining China’s Grand Strategy For RISC-V

  • India: Digantara raises $2M with Space-Mission Assurance Platform – Space-MAP – leveraging multi-modal data pool to provide stakeholders with insights aiding safety and sustainability of space operations / read it here
  • State-owned China Aerospace Science & Tech Corp to launch 4-meter and 5-meter-diameter reusable rockets in 2025 and 2026, with 4-meter capable of delivering up to 6500kg of payload to orbit / read it here

‘…China Satcom will promote the construction of satellites with larger, single-satellite capacity… by the end of the 14th Five-Year Plan the total capacity of high-throughput comm sats will exceed 500GBps…’ / read it here

  • “More than $9 million in funding has been awarded to 12 Australian space firms as part of the latest rounds of the federal government’s Moon to Mars Supply Chain Capability Improvement Grants program…” / read it here
  • China reportedly planning lunar surveillance camera network based on the country’s domestic surveillance system, using AI systems to identify and respond to perceived issues / read it here
Asia-Pacific Semiconductor Trends

Deloitte: Asia-Pacific Semiconductor Industry Trends

  • China: Status of two spacecraft left uncertain following issues with achieving lunar orbit, with neither launch nor purpose officially announced / read it here
  • China: Ellipspace satellite firm targets completion of Starpool, a comprehensive satellite network, in 2027, set to comprise over 100 300kg satellites / read it here
  • Indian Space Research Org’n finalizes New Generation Launch Vehicle project team, building towards space station ambitions under Space Vision 2047 plan / read it here

“A made-in-Taiwan satellite network could do more than give Taiwan an alternative communication system. It could establish Taiwan as a producer of key technology…” / read it here

  • China preps launch of Queqiao-2 satellite with goal of relaying data between Chinese landers, rovers and spacecraft with ground stations in future lunar missions / read it here
  • China: Research advances in use of magnetic rail-gun technology to launch space vehicles at hypersonic speeds, tho viability remains uncertain / read it here
  • Australia: A brief look at the work of ELO2 Consortium, one of two consortia working with Australian Space Agency funding on the Moon to Mars Trailblazer Program Stage 1 / read it here
India's digital potential

KPMG: Unlocking India’s digital potential

  • Australia: iLAuNCH Trailblazer initiative commissions Nikon multi-metal 3D printer to make space missions more affordable and efficient with lighter, faster and more robust aerospace components / read it here
  • “China continues to add new members to its International Lunar Research Station initiative, but many of these are subnational, suggesting issues attracting partners…” / read it here
  • Australia: An overview of the recently-announced Solar SunShot, a Au$1 billion government initiative to bring solar manufacturing back to Australia / read it here
  • How Much Trade Transits the South China Sea?: ‘…roughly 80% of global trade by volume and 70% by value is transported by sea. Of that volume, 60% of maritime trade passes through Asia…’ / read it here
  • “In 2023, Malaysia shipped RM975 million worth of rare earths to China, making it the second-largest source of imported ore for the Asian giant behind Myanmar, according to trade statistics from Beijing.” / read it here
  • Malaysia: An intro to Graphjet Technology, converting palm kernels into graphite for EV batteries and commencing production in H2 2024 with carbon and cost reductions compared to synthetic graphite / read it here
WEF Cybersecurity Futures 2030

WEF: Cybersecurity Futures 2030 – New Foundations

  • Download: ‘Virtual Assets 2023 Review and 2024 Outlook’ from KPMG / read it here
  • ‘A Google engineer ran a secret startup in China while stealing AI technology, DOJ alleges’ / read it here
  • Investment NSW invites expressions of interest from NSW New Energy firms for participation in New Energy delegation to India, and to attend India Energy Storage Week in July / read it here
  • Australia and Canada to partner on critical minerals, aiming to coordinate on supply chain security, sustainability, investment and beyond / read it here
  • Japan: A brief interview intro to EX-Fusion, working on laser-powered nuclear fusion as a next-gen clean energy source / read it here
  • Monetary Authority of Singapore has advised financial institutions to prep for post-quantum cryptography and quantum key distribution tech / read it here
  • India: Samsung Semiconductor India Research unveils R&D facility in Bengaluru / read it here
  • South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix have ceased sales of used chip fabrication equipment to Chinese entities, in adherence to US export curbs / read it here
  • India: First 28nm semiconductors from Gujarat plant now under construction by Tata Group and Taiwan’s PSMC expected to be in hands by year-end 2026 / read it here
Australia's critical minerals

ASPI: Developing Australia’s critical minerals and rare earths

  • Singapore: Japan’s Toppan breaks ground on Singapore semiconductor packaging materials plant, targeting production of chip substrates by year-end 2026 / read it here
  • Malaysia, and in particular Penang state, emerge as an unexpected winning destination for the global semiconductor industry as supply chains respond to geopolitical concerns / read it here
  • South Korea: More on Rebellions AI chip-maker, partnered with Samsung and Korea Telecom and aiming to be ‘Korea’s NVIDIA’ for specialized processor chips / read it here
  • Japan: Taiwan’s TSMC to partner Sony and Toyota for over $20BN investment in second Japan plant, producing chip-on-wafer-on-substrate semiconductor packaging / read it here
  • India: An overview of the challenges India’s nascent chips industry faces, both in terms of domestic funding capability and from China’s chip industry export ambitions / read it here
  • China’s Starfive Technology chip design firm to open R&D center in Hong Kong, focusing on the company’s RISC-V chips and alongside partnership looking at data center-focused chips / read it here

“Taiwan is also interested in stepping into the Indian semiconductor industry because the Indian government has already announced it would cover 50% of the costs of setting up semiconductor fabs.” / read it here

  • Japan’s Astroscale launches rocket via New Zealand’s Rocket Lab services to inspect ‘dead’ rocket debris in orbit, aiming to identify method to remove this, and later, other, debris, from space / read it here
  • AsterX 2024 Military Space Exercise took place in France, with Japan and South Korea taking part for first time, likely heralding future presence in European, NATO and US bids to boost cyber defense / read it here
Critical technologies, quarterly news

Critical technologies, quarterly: Q4 2023 news summary

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Asia tech quarterly - First quarter 2024

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