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Chinese state media hails Tesla megafactory in Shanghai as sign foreign business is on board

Also: India gets an Apple store; ZTE sells next-gen servers outside China; Foxconn invests in EVs; and more

ASIA IN BRIEF Tesla is set to open a new megafactory in Shanghai to produce large-scale rechargeable lithium-ion batteries known as Megapacks, according to a statement issued by the company on Sunday.

Each Megapacks store over three megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity and take up the space of a standard shipping container. The products are designed to store power from intermittent power generation sources like wind and solar and can be deployed during outages like grid failures, although they occasionally generate unwanted thermal power all by themselves.

According to Chinese state-sponsored media outlet Xinhua, Tesla's plant will break ground in the third quarter of 2023 in the Lin-gang Special Area of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. Production is slated for the second quarter of 2024.

Xinhua referred to the new Megapack factory as “a positive signal demonstrating foreign enterprises' confidence in the Chinese economy.”

Tesla already operates a Gigafactory in Shanghai where the final assembly of Model 3 and Model Y vehicles take place.

Tesla also unveiled a new product strictly for the Chinese market last week - its new CyberVault. The 13-kilogram EV home charging station, which essentially consists of a Tesla Wall Connector and housed in a box inspired by the look of the Cybertruck electric SUV, will reportedly retail for around $800.

ZTE starts selling 4th-gen Xeon servers outside China

Chinese telecoms kit-maker ZTE on Monday announced it will start selling its recently-launched G5 servers in Thailand, the first overseas market that will receive the range.

Partnering with local outfit AIS, ZTE will start sales of the the 5200 G5 high-density server, 5300 G5 full-scenario universal server, 5500 G5 mass storage server, 6500 G5 heterogeneous computing power server, and 8500 G5 high-performance server.

All offer fourth-gen Intel Xeon processors, Chipzilla's latest models.

Telco-centric tech vendors like ZTE tend to enter the server market to address demand for software-defined networks that run on servers instead of single-purpose carrier kit. Volumes for such products are low, but create "land and expand" opportunities to target customer workloads beyond networking.

At the launch of the range in Thailand, ZTE officials pointed out that the Chinese company's servers are used in over 40 countries, in fields including "communications, Internet, finance, power, government affairs, transportation, and other industries."

- Simon Sharwood

Apple store comes to India

Apple is preparing to open its first physical store in India's city of Mumbai. The opening will take place two years after initial plans were derailed by COVID-19.

“Hello Mumbai. We are getting ready to welcome you aboard our first store in India,” states the company’s website at time of reporting. According to reports, the store, which is still being built, is likely to open this month.

SpaceX collaboration to fix New Zealand’s internet blind spots

One New Zealand, the telecommunications company formerly known as Vodafone NZ, said last week it had launched an agreement with SpaceX to bring 100 percent coverage to New Zealand from 2024.

“Currently, our mobile network covers 98 percent of the places New Zealanders live and work, however due to the length and geography of the country, almost 50 percent the landmass still has no coverage,” said One New Zealand CEO Jason Paris.

Foxconn invests $820 million in EVs

Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn said on Sunday it would invest $820 million over three years to further its expansion into electric vehicles (EV). The money will go toward building factories in Kaohsiung Taiwan that make electric buses and EV batteries.

In other news

Our regional coverage from last week included news that nearly two million mobile phone subscribers in Vietnam could have their services terminated for not updating their registered user information to match a national database, a new requirement designed to curb spam.

The Government of Pakistan’s Twitter account was blocked in India last week and remains “withheld in India in response to a legal demand” at the time of writing. The social media platform also appears to have changed course on restricting the influence of state media, against its own policies, by boosting the reach of state-sponsored media in China and Russia.

Microsoft released a local version of Teams in China.

China’s race to develop its own ChatGPT-analogue continues with Alibaba rumoured to release a generative AI model this week, while Huawei provided updates to its Pangu large scale model at a summit last weekend.

Samsung had its own ChatGPT woes as it reportedly suffered a leak after employees shared company secrets with the AI chatbot, including sensitive info about future semiconductor products.

Meanwhile, the Indian government has decided not to regulate the growth of AI.

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ Bank) has stopped handling cash over the counter at some branches as a response to a decline in use of cash and an increase in real-time peer-to-peer payments.

The Australian government announced it would prohibit the use of TikTok on state devices “as soon as practicable.” ®

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