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Q4 2023: Critical Technologies

Critical technologies, quarterly
December 2023  |  November 2023  |  October 2023

In Q4 of 2023, the world’s broad critical technologies sector saw developments, concerns, challenges and opportunities, including: space launches from China, delivering satellites to orbit for undeclared purposes; growing interest in alternatives to lithium in electric vehicles; RISC-V open-standard chips architecture as an alternative for semiconductor manufacturing; concerns over ‘harvest now, decrypt later’ cyber-attacks in preparation for quantum decryption technologies; emerging risks for the supply chains underpinning these, and all other, technologies; and more.

Other editions: Asia’s tech news, daily (via LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter/X); and Indo-Pacific technology newsletters, weekly.

China Strategy For RISC-V chips

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

Critical Technologies
in December 2023

CBDCs:
“Central bank digital currencies are the bad idea that won’t go away. There are simpler, more straightforward ways of solving the problems that CBDCs are deemed to address…”

Quantum technology’s future impacts, today:
“…a global effort to plunder data is underway so that intercepted messages can be decoded after Q-day in what he described as ‘harvest now, decrypt later‘ attacks…”

Innocuous gadgets, data & privacy:
“Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.”

EY 2024 Geostrategic Outlook

EY 2024 Geostrategic Outlook – Thrive in ongoing geopolitical complexity

Semiconductors - Europe and Indo-Pacific

Semiconductors in Europe & Indo-Pacific Economies: Supply Chain Risks

Chinese state hacking

MERICS: ‘Here to stay’ – Chinese state-affiliated hacking for strategic goals

Quantum technologies:
“Toshiba is a global leader in the field. It has successfully sent and received quantum encrypted data transmitted 600 kilometers between Tokyo and Osaka…”

Australia quantum conference 2024

Quantum Australia 2024 Conference & Careers Fair – February 20-22

Examining China’s Grand Strategy For RISC-V

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

“For China, one way around technology transfer restrictions is advanced packaging, because so far it’s a safe space that everyone invests in…”

“…10900 chip-related companies have lost their registration in 2023… That means an average of 30 Chinese chip-related companies closed their doors each day in 2023.”

NATO and submarine cables

CSIS: NATO’s role in protecting critical undersea infrastructure

“India is looking at semiconductor packaging
as a low-hanging fruit to capture a share
of the global semiconductor supply chain
ATMP and OSAT are good starting points…”

PRC United Front Targets EU Semiconductors

Europe in the Crosshairs: PRC United Front Targets Semiconductor Sector

authoritarian AI

ASPI: Derisking authoritarian artificial intelligence

“How secure is European maritime trade with the Indo-Pacific? Sea lines of communication between the two regions pass through several chokepoints…”

“Investigating great power rivalries, littoral rivalries, maritime disputes, internal instability, piracy and armed robbery, terrorism, and climate security, the report demonstrates that different areas of the Indo-Pacific face different threats.”

“While the Western part is particularly at risk from littoral rivalries and internal instability, the Eastern part mainly faces great power rivalries and climate hazards.”

“The 12,000-sat G60 Starlink project,
along with the 13,000-sat Guo Wang
national network which is currently
under construction, is widely seen as
China’s answer to Elon Musk’s Starlink

India's technology hubs

Deloitte & NASSCOM: Emerging technology hubs of India

Recorded Future North Korea's Cyber Strategy

Recorded Future: North Korea’s Cyber Strategy

Critical Tech: November 2023

“…automakers from General Motors to Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and major suppliers like BorgWarner are researching, or have developed, motors with low- to zero-rare earth content such as magnet-free externally excited synchronous machines (EESMs), which generate a magnetic field using electric current.”

pwc Digital Trust Insights 2024

pwc Digital Trust Insights 2024 survey findings

Deloitte - India in space

Deloitte: NewSpace – the India perspective

World Economic Forum: Quantum Readiness Toolkit

World Economic Forum: Quantum Readiness Toolkit

Australia & semiconductors:
“For Canberra, such an endeavour is of the same magnitude as America’s historic ‘moonshots’ during the 1960s and 1970s. It’s a once-in-a-generation challenge…”

“It’s important to note that both AUKUS Pillar 2 and the Albanese government’s April 2023 publication of the Defence Strategic Review reflect a shift in Australia’s strategic thinking on defence and national security, and the important correlation and greater cooperation between industry, education and defence priorities, particularly when it comes to technology.”

“Delivering on that shift will be difficult and often costly, but this report provides a series of recommendations of what that correlation and cooperation could look like.”

Small satellites 2023

BryceTech: Small Satellites in 2023


‘Vietnam Sets Sights on Becoming Semiconductor Hub’, an interview with representatives from Vietnam’s FPT Semiconductor


Artificial Intelligence constraints and limitations

CSIS: Onboard AI – constraints & limitations for drones, satellites, vehicles

“In the future, SMIC, startup foundry Nexchip, DRAM firm CXMT, and microLED startup Silan have plans to construct an additional ten fabs Therefore by the end of 2024, China is aiming to establish 32 large fabs, and all of them are about to focus on relatively mature processes.”

“The 44 fabs currently operated by Chinese companies exclude seven sites where construction is temporarily suspended. The 44 comprise 25 fabs at 300mm, 4 fabs in 6-inch wafers, and 15 fabs for 200mm wafers. The 22 under construction are 14 for 300mm wafers and 8 for 200mm wafers. The 10 wafer fabs in planning are all for 300mm wafers except one.”

Quantum Technology Monitor

McKinsey & Co: Quantum Technology Monitor

“Yangtze Memory Technologies Co, China’s largest memory chip maker, has had to appeal for new funding after burning through cash reserves in its efforts to adapt to sanctions…”

“According to the Financial Times, YMTC has already used up $7 billion in capital it received from shareholders earlier this year, including from the state-run China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund.”

Economic potential of AI

McKinsey: The economic potential of artificial intelligence

China & space technologies:
“Shanghai is aiming to foster a complete industrial chain for commercial rocket production, with an annual production capacity of 50 commercial rockets and 600 commercial satellites by 2025…”

Chinese state-affiliated hacking

MERICS: Chinese state-affiliated hacking for strategic goals

Qatar‘s state-owned energy firm has entered into a 27-year sales and purchase agreement with China Petrochemical Corp, also known as Sinopec, to supply 3 million tons of liquefied natural gas annually.”

“This marks the third long-term LNG supply deal between Qatari and Chinese firms. The two companies previously signed a 10-year LNG purchase and sales agreement in 2021 and a 27-year contract in 2022.”

Securing the Software Supply Chain

Securing the Software Supply Chain: Managing Open-Source Software

NATO's role in protecting undersea infrastructure

CSIS: NATO’s role in protecting critical undersea infrastructure

Critical Tech: October 2023

Quantum Technologies

McKinsey & Co: Quantum Technologies Monitor

Semiconductors, AI & prefabrication:
“The bulk of the facility can be preassembled, flat-packed and put in shipping containers so that the facilities can be built ‘in 80% of the world’…”

pwc SEA Digital Trust Insights 2023

pwc Digital Trust Insights 2023: The Southeast Asia Perspective

Economy and AI

McKinsey: The economic potential of artificial intelligence

2024 Global Semiconductor Industry

KPMG / GSA: 2024 Global Semiconductor Industry Outlook

Tech news, Daily: Asia & Indo-Pacific

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Software Supply Chains

Securing the Software Supply Chain: Managing Open-Source Software

Asia tech weekly: Email newsletters

Critical technologies in December 2023

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