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Infosys founder slams working from home, side hustles, as slowing India's growth

PLUS: Australia to appoint cyber-coordinator; FTX Japan resumes operations; India's PC market bucks trend with growth; and more

Asia in brief Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy last week weighed into the debate about the propriety of tech workers moonlighting in second gigs, opining that it's not just wrong – it hurts India's drive to modernize.

"This whole issue of moonlighting, this whole issue of saying I will attend the office three days a week, that should not be the way in Indians should behave at this point of time," the elder statesman opined during a panel at the Pune International Centre's Asia Economic Dialogue 2023.

Murthy (who, despite what he claims in the video, is 76 years old) made that assertion on grounds that "for the first time in the history of India in the last 300 years, India has tasted some success, and we have to consolidate on the little success that we have achieved."

That means coming to the office and only working one job.

"My fervent desire and humble request to youngsters is: Please don't fall into this trap of I will moonlight, I will work from home I'll come to the office three days a week.

"The future of the country is on your shoulders."

"You may have a little bit of comfort in saying that I'll work three days a week, you may get a little bit more money by moonlighting."

"That will not go very far."

YouTube Video

– Simon Sharwood

Australian government to appoint cyber-incident responders

Australia's government will today announce the creation of a National Office for Cyber Security, and the appointment of a Coordinator for Cyber Security to oversee responses to major cyber incidents.

Home Affairs minister Clare O'Neill told local media that in the wake of the major data breaches at local health insurer Medibank and telco Optus, she was unhappy to discover that the government lacked resources and capacity to coordinate a response that would assist consumers and industry alike.

The coordinator and team within the Home Affairs department are intended to deliver that missing capacity, and to provide central management and triage when major incidents occur.

O'Neill will also release a draft of Australia's 2023–2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy – Discussion Paper, which aims to set Australia on a course to becoming the world's most secure nation by 2030.

– Simon Sharwood

FTX Japan users withdraw $50 million in a day

Collapsed crypto exchange FTX's Japanese operation has, as promised, roared back to life.

As of February 22, over 7,000 users had moved a total of around $50 million from FTX Japan to an associated entity named Liquid, from which withdrawals into fiat currency are possible. Japanese retail customers of FTX are the only users yet able to remove money after the exchange's spectacular failure. The ability to do so started at noon on the 22nd and has been credited to Japan's regulatory regime covering virtual assets.

Hong Kong budgets for Web3 development, microelectronics R&D

Embedded within Hong Kong's 2023-2024 budget is an allocation of almost HK$50 million ($6.4 million) to develop the Special Administrative Region's Web3 ecosystem.

That money will go toward organizing major international seminars, promoting cross-sectoral business co-operation, youth-focused workshops and more.

Financial secretary Paul Chan Mo-po called virtual assets "an integral part of a vibrant Web3 ecosystem. Chan vowed to "establish and lead a task force on VA development, with members from relevant policy bureaux, financial regulators and market participants, to provide recommendations on the sustainable and responsible development of the sector."

In October, Hong Kong declared it wanted to be a virtual assets hub. Last week, it expressed its desire for regulation of the industry and called for feedback on a plan to require virtual asset trading platform operators to acquire the same sort of licenses the territory requires securities traders to obtain.

In addition to the money for Web3 development, the budget earmarks another HK$500 million ($64 million) for a Digital Transformation Support Pilot Program targeting small and medium-sized enterprises.

The government will also support the building of a microelectronics R&D center.

China claims it has six million operational datacenter racks

According to Chinese state sponsored media on Wednesday, China's big data industry hit near ¥1.57 trillion ($226 billion) in 2022, representing an 18 percent year-on-year increase.

The article, reposted by the Cyberspace Administration of China, also claims China is home to the world's largest optical fiber network totalling 60 million kilometers, six million standard datacenter racks and 2.3 million 5G base stations.

Next on the agenda is to accelerate construction of 5G and gigabit optical networks, 6G development, IPv6 deployment and constructing integrated big datacenter hub nodes.

Google sends users to DMZ

Google Arts & Culture marked the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice by offering users a 3D digital experience of Korea's Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The interactive exhibit is in partnership with nine South Korean research and cultural institutions and includes the DMZ – where civilian activities are restricted – surrounding flora and fauna, as well as historical archives.

India's PC market bucks the trend and grows – slightly

India's traditional PC market grew by 0.3 percent year-on-year for 2022, even as the global market experienced a decline of 28.5 percent in Q422, said analyst firm IDC. PC sales have been on a downward trend globally with IDC declaring in January the "pandemic boom is over."

Australian state to rip and replace Chinese CCTV cameras by 2024

Police in the Australian state of Victoria are reportedly preparing to replace all Chinese-made cameras in that state's government sites by the end of 2024. An audit earlier this month led by senator James Paterson revealed over 900 Hikvision and Dahua CCTV cameras installed in government facilities.

Samsung to manufacture autonomous driving chips for Ambarella

Samsung announced it will manufacture 5nm automobile semiconductors for US chip design company Ambarella. The resulting CV3-AD685 System-on-Chip (SoC) will be used in autonomous and self-driving vehicles.

In other news …

Our regional coverage from last week included news that all five submarine cables connecting Vietnam to the world are now experiencing degraded service.

Two submarine cables providing internet service to Matsu Island – a Taiwanese territory 50km away from mainland China – are also experiencing outages: one as the result of accidental actions by a Chinese fishing boat and the other after an incident involving an unknown freighter.

China's Academy of Sciences provided an outline of how the Middle Kingdom could circumvent the USA's technology export bans, which focuses on increasing fundamental and original research.

China's efforts to create ChatGPT-like AI chatbots continue this week as an alleged "rival" AI chatbot created by academics collapsed under a sudden massive traffic surge, and Beijing sought to implement regulations and restrictions on users of the original Open AI version.

Criminals hacked into Chinese and Singapore-based datacenters and attacked customers after they accessed tenant details via CCTV cameras.

Singapore and India will link money transfer schemes together, enabling real-time cross-border payments between the two nations.

Unfortunately for India's ride-sharing platforms, Delhi's Transport Department banned the use of motorcycle and other two-wheeled taxi services. The country's two-wheeled vehicles outnumber cars by a factor of three.

Top performing freshers with offers to work at Indian services giant Wipro were given the option to choose between starting their roles at an undisclosed date sometime in the future, or taking a nearly 50 percent cut in salary to start now. The move comes only a year after India's IT services industry had such strong struggles retaining talent that execs said bulking up its freshers was the only way out.

And to further illustrate how tech hiring trends have changed, Google's APAC headquarters in Singapore laid off an estimated 190 employees via an email sent between 11 and 11:59PM on a Thursday night.

The Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) – an organization that distributes and manages internet number resources – announced it has appointed external lawyers to consider possible code of conduct breaches by unnamed candidates.

The US is set to impose caps on Korean chip shops operating in China, according to undersecretary of commerce for industry and security at the Department of Commerce, Alan Estevez. ®

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