Samsung teases 1TB DDR5 modules with launch of 32Gb die

PLUS: China allows first wave of chatbots, India’s sun-spotter soars; ASUS smacks down speculation it will quit smartphones

Asia in Brief Samsung last Friday announced it has developed a 32-gigabit DDR5 DRAM die using its 12 nanometer-class process technology.

The Korean giant has mass-produced 16Gb DRAM since May 2023, and claimed its new and denser product "paves way to DRAM modules of up to 1TB capacity" without offering any hint of a roadmap or timeframe for those colosso-modules to debut.

Nor has Samsung hinted at the price a 32Gb module will command.

But SangJoon Hwang, executive vice president of DRAM Product & Technology at Samsung Electronics, said 1TB modules will be welcomed by those running AI and big data applications.

China allows first wave of generative AI services

China last week allowed public-facing generative AI serivces to start operating within its borders.

Local web giant Baidu made its ERNIE chatbot available on August 31. Earlier versions of ERNIE debuted in March and appeared competent – both as a chatbot and in terms of complying with Chinese laws that frown on certain types of content.

ERNIE's formal debut was made alongside Gen AI services from from TikTok creator ByteDance, AI firms Baichuan Intelligent Technology, SenseTime, Zhipu AI and MiniMax, plus another pair from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

By making ERNIE Bot widely available, Baidu can collect real-world human feedback from hundreds of millions of internet users, which is expected to improve both speed and the foundation model, said CEO Robin Li

Baidu said on Thursday that it is set to launch a suite of AI-native apps. In August, it announced it would be putting ERNIE in vehicles.

The day after ERNIE's debut, China's Cyberspace Administration revealed it's had 110 applications to operate other generative AI services.

India's sun-spotter soars

India's space agency is celebrating another success after its Aditya sun-spotting satellite launched without incident on Saturday.

The agency also announced that its Pragyan lunar rover's mission completed its assignments and has been placed into sleep mode. The rover's battery is fully charged, and it's hoped it can be reactivated on September 22 – the date of the next lunar sunrise. The rover has traveled over 100 meters.

New Zealand pursues digital services tax

New Zealand last week announced a digital services tax on large multinational companies beginning in 2025.

"This is a problem faced by countries across the world. With more and more overseas businesses embracing digital business models, our ability to tax them is restricted and the burden falls to smaller groups of taxpayers," said the country's minister of finance Grant Robertson.

Robertson said the government had worked with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on its anti-tax-avoidance measures but was preparing legislation in case an agreement did not materialize – which it hasn't.

"While we will keep working to support a multilateral agreement, we are not prepared to simply wait around until then to find out," said the minister.

The tax would be applied at three percent on gross taxable New Zealand digital services revenue and begin in 2025.

It would apply to multinational businesses making over US$812 million a year from digital services and more than US$2.1 million a year from those services provided to New Zealand users. It is expected to bring in US$132 million over four years. – Laura Dobberstein

Australian blockchain fail fallout

The failure of the Australian Securities Exchange's attempt to replace its core platform with a blockchain-powered application had a sequel last week, with the nation's central bank and investment regulator issuing a strongly worded letter calling for the bourse to consult with an Advisory Group as it considers its next steps.

The Exchange responded [PDF] with a promise to engage with the Group and a pledge not to replace its core systems without dialog and agreement on its future strategy.

ASUS rubbishes mobile exit rumour

Taiwanese hardware giant ASUS last week published a statement to deny rumours it intends to quit the smartphone business, and that its current tenth-gen product would be its last.

"This is not true," the statement opens, with ASUS, not The Reg, applying the bolding. "We will continue our two main phone business product lines, the ROG Phone and the Zenfone," the statement adds, before advising news of 2024 product lineups can be expected soon.

In other news …

Last week's APAC coverage started on a slightly Trumpian note, with billionaire Foxconn founder and political outsider Terry Gou announcing a run for the presidency of Taiwan.

The ongoing trade tension between the US and China thawed ever so slightly as the two agreed to talk about how their various embargoes against each other will be enforced – but not when they'll end.

Japan released contaminated water from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, much to the displeasure of its neighbors. The release reportedly prompted a flood of spam from China.

Meta released a report on its recent activities taking down troll farms, and revealed that a huge China-based group has apparently been cribbing notes from a Russian gang.

Speaking of Chinese miscreants, a flaw in some Barracuda Email Gateway devices allowed cyber snoops in, and the baddies may still be in control of those networks, according to Mandiant.

On the more positive side, a cadre of Chinese RISC-V developers have formed an alliance to share patents and licenses and basically not sue each other in order to push the tech forward.

Speaking of licenses, Digital Guandong had an embarrassing week when it was discovered that its CEC-IDE product – hailed as a triumph of local development not dependent on the West – contained open source code that belongs to Microsoft, but failed to disclose it.

Following reports that Chinese regulators were behind the scuttling of Intel's proposed acquisition of Tower Semiconductor, Broadcom was emphatic that no such Middle Kingdom barriers would prevent its acquisition of VMware.

The Augmented World Expo took place in Singapore, where HTC predicted that in the future the multiple devices we carry about would be replaced by wearables or even implants.

Both India and China were bursting with patriotic fervor as they flagged wins for local tech hardware manufacturing. - Matthew JC Powell ®

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