Global financial watchdogs take aim at Big Tech's data dominance

(Dec 9): Google, Alibaba and other “Big Tech” companies could be forced to share data on financial services customers with banks and financial technology firms to prevent unfair competition.

As Facebook’s plan for its Libra “stablecoin” faces scrutiny, a global body of regulators from the world’s main financial centers said that Big Tech’s growing tentacles raised questions for financial stability, competition and data privacy.

CapitaLand launches new retail concept store at Plaza Singapura

SINGAPORE (Nov 8): CapitaLand today announced the opening of NomadX: a double-storey, 11,000 sqft multi-label concept store at Plaza Singapura that puts forth “a new blend of physical and digital experience” with a combination of olfactory, audio-visual and other consumer experiences offered by its tenants.

NomadX incorporates short-term leases and “plug & play” retail units that are integrated with smart retail infrastructure with data analytics capabilities.

Starbucks to implement 'significant changes' to company structure

(Sept 25): Starbucks Corp. is planning an organisational shake-up, including corporate layoffs that will start at top levels, as the coffee chain tries to reverse stagnant sales and rekindle investors’ interest.

“We must increase the velocity of innovation that is relevant to our customers, inspires our partners, and is meaningful to our business,” Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson said in a memo to employees viewed by Bloomberg News. “To accomplish this, we are going to make some significant changes to how we work as leaders in all areas of the company.”

Alibaba's Jack Ma says can't meet promise to create 1 million US jobs

SAN FRANCISCO (Sept 20): Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma said the company can no longer meet its promise to create one million jobs in the United States due to US-China trade tensions, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

Ma had met US President Donald Trump two years ago and laid out the Chinese e-commerce giant's plan to bring one million small US businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers over the next five years.

Chinese investors can help cut trade deficit, says Mahathir

(Aug 19): Chinese investors can help reduce the country’s trade deficit with Malaysia, the Southeast Asian nation’s prime minister said in Beijing on Sunday at an event alongside Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma.

During a question and answer session with Chinese executives who expressed concerns about investing in Malaysia given its recent change in power, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad insisted it still welcomed companies willing to do deals that help employ the country’s workers and improve its efficiency without harming local manufacturers in industries like steel production.

Stocks to benefit from the coming AI, IoT boom

SINGAPORE (Aug 16): Internet of Things or IoT is on the verge of becoming a mainstream technology, reaching its tipping point next year after which adoption will accelerate among the masses, says DBS Group Research.

In a Thursday report, DBS believes the advent of IoT would provide a much-needed boost for the development of Artificial Intelligence with billions of IoT devices creating ample data to feed AI systems.

Sheng Siong likely to see stellar FY19F as growth momentum continues: DBS

SINGAPORE (July 31): DBS Group Research is maintaining its “buy” call on Sheng Siong Group (SSG) with a higher target price of $1.26, implying 25 times FY19F earnings.

The valuation is pegged at +1 standard deviation (SD) point of SSG’s historical mean valuation since listing, and below regional peers’ average of 26 times earnings.

See: Sheng Siong posts 6.3% rise in 2Q earnings to $17.2 mil on higher sales

Grab to launch bike-sharing platform by mid-2018

SINGAPORE (Mar 9): Grab is making its first move to take over the bike-sharing market. It is due to launch GrabCycle Beta by mid-2018 as a digital platform that allows consumers to rent bicycles or scooters from oBike, GBikes, Anywheel and Popscoot.

The project is the first under GrabVentures, the ride-hailing operator’s innovation arm to test out new concepts.

As 2017 sets, here are my observations about Asia tech: Bloomberg Gadfly

(Dec 28): I'm not feeling quite bold enough to make predictions about 2018. After all, a year ago I didn't get why bitcoin was worth US$1,000 (yeah, I know), or why Pokemon Go was so exciting.

Instead, here are a few of my observations about the Asian technology industry over the past 12 months.

Amazon’s primed to rule Singapore: Bloomberg Gadfly

SINGAPORE (Dec 7): Southeast Asia is shaping up to be a fascinating retail battleground, with two distinct approaches vying for dominance.

The Chinese tech trinity of Baidu Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. are trying to gain an advantage by flexing the online payment capabilities they've honed at home. Further abroad, they're investing in everything from shopping portals such as Lazada Group SA to ride-sharing apps like Go-Jek.

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