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China's Mars rover finds signs of 'modern' water

AWS adds Korean support; Singtel creates InfraCo; Philippines SIM registration drive extended

Asia In Brief China's Zhurong rover may have succumbed to dusty solar panels, but while the robot explorer was operational it found potential evidence of water on Mars.

The journal Science Advances last week published a paper detailing "crusts, cracks, aggregates, and bright polygonal ridges on the surfaces of hydrated salt-rich dunes" visited by the rover.

The most likely cause of those features is felt to be the product of "saline water from thawed frost/snow."

The paper notes that Zhurong visited very low latitudes on Mars, where temperatures could reach -5°C, allowing very saline frost to form and then melt back into the dunes and cause the cracks and crusts the rover observed.

That's still a long way from finding water on Mars, but the paper explains "This discovery sheds light on more humid conditions of the modern Martian climate and provides critical clues to future exploration missions searching for signs of extant life, particularly at low latitudes with comparatively warmer, more amenable surface temperatures."

AWS adds support in Korean

Amazon Web Services last week started offering support in Korean.

The decision means Korean language support is available by email, phone, and live chat for those with support contracts.

"As the number of customers speaking Korean grows, AWS Support is invested in providing the best support experience possible," reads an AWS statement on the decision. It makes Korean just the fourth language in which the cloud colossus offers support after English, Japanese, and Chinese.

Singtel re-org creates digital infrastructure group

Singaporean telco Singtel has restructured, with the biggest change being creation of a standalone infrastructure unit called "Digital InfraCo" that will take charge of the outfit's regional datacenter business, subsea cable and satellite carrier businesses, plus the Paragon 5G MEC and cloud orchestration platform.

The company has also consolidated its consumer and enterprise businesses in Singapore into a singular operating company.

"Singtel has a large and unique portfolio of digital infrastructure assets across Asia, which is a key differentiator for the Group," said Group CEO Mr Yuen Kuan Moon. "Since COVID, accelerated digitalization has turned these assets, the passive backbone of our business, into an area of growth. Having invested heavily in these assets through the years, establishing them as a standalone business will allow us to capture new growth as their importance and appeal continue to increase."

Philippines SIM registration deadline extended

The Philippines' deadline for registration of SIM cards has been extended by 90 days after less than half of the nation's 150 million-plus SIM cards were enrolled under the scheme.

High rates of SMS spam and scams led the Philippines to require that users inform their carriers of their name, birthday, gender, and address, and share details of a national identity document.

An April 26 deadline came and went with less than half of users having registered, leading to an extension announcement last week.

The difficulty of registering users in remote areas was cited as the main reason for the extension.

China's digital spend to top $2 trillion

Analyst firm IDC last week predicted China's ICT spending for developing and operating digital businesses will total over $2 trillion over the next four years. "Irrespective of the economy, enterprises will not cut investments in security, customer experience, systems integration services, workspace solutions, as well as infrastructure and IT operations optimization," said Matthew Eastwood, IDC's senior vice president, Enterprise Infrastructure and Datacenter Research. "We are in a period of transformation from multiplied innovation to intelligent automation, with future digital infrastructure deployments becoming more fragmented and enterprises partnering more with multiple public cloud providers as cloud becomes an operational model," Eastwood added.

In other news

Our regional coverage from last week included news that the US Department of Homeland Security plans a 90-day sprint to assess threats posed by China.

The Singapore government advocated the use of ad blockers to prevent scams.

China said it is exploring 3D printing on the Moon using lunar soil as a way to build structures necessary to create a base on the natural satellite.

Singapore is bringing 5G internet to its southern islands – an area that includes what is arguably the city-state's best beach as well as a key site for its massive maritime industry.

Samsung and SK hynix both posted difficult quarterly results as the semiconductor industry strives to overcome a surplus of memory inventory.

The Chinese city of Changshu announced it will pay salaries to its employees in digital yuan starting in May, as the country strives to drive adoption of the e-currency.

UK politicians and Big Tech are not too happy about India's upcoming tech laws that tackle data localization.

South Korea announced it will prosecute Terraform Labs co-founder Daniel Shin and others for their roles in the collapse of the Terra/Luna stablecoin.

Japanese tech giant NTT said Tokyo should use its millions of surplus Wi-Fi access points to cope with increased demand for wireless comms.

China has again signalled its desire to shape global IPv6 standards and has set a goal for 750 million users to actively use IPv6 by the end of 2023. – With Laura Dobberstein ®

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