Fujitsu to quit Tokyo HQ

PLUS: Micron breaks ground in India; Hong Kong goes for green fintech; Taiwan to launch first sub; and more

ASIA IN BRIEF Fujitsu last week announced it will move out of its Tokyo headquarters and consolidate its other offices in the capital.

Corporate and technology development functions currently housed at the Shiodome City Center offices, not far from central Tokyo, will be integrated into Fujitsu's Kawasaki Plant.

The decision will see Fujitsu concentrate its activity in Tokyo's suburbs – a change made possible by the manufacturing giant's embrace of flexible work.

There's also a "dogfooding" aspect to the move. Fujitsu currently emphasizes its "Uvance" digital experience practice and methodologies. The office consolidation will see Fujitsu "create metrics that directly improve productivity by leveraging various data stored in the company-wide data utilization infrastructure, drawing on data surrounding the usage of business systems and cloud tools, attendance at work, and frequency of communication in the office, to visualize and optimize the way teams work." – Simon Sharwood

Micron breaks ground on Indian memory plant

Micron broke ground on a DRAM and NAND testing and assembly plant in Sanand Gujarat, India, over the weekend.

"This facility will serve as a beacon for all investors, manufacturers, and participants in the global semiconductor ecosystem, encouraging them to partner with India," declared Indian minister for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

Micron has reportedly committed to spending $825 million on the facility, with government subsidies covering some of the build.

The plant is the largest to date built under the India Semiconductor Mission – the nation's plan to grow a chip manufacturing ecosystem. Tata Projects on Sunday announced it will build the facility on 93 acres of land. Operations are expected to commence by late 2024 after a first phase of construction. A second phase will be built out in the second half of the decade.

Indonesian politicians warn of potential election disinformation

Indonesia's Ministry of Communication and Information has warned of potential election-related misinformation. The Ministry claimed to have identified 152 hoaxes in 2023 alone – since 2018, the total looms at 1,471.

"Disinformation in electoral activities can result in prolonged polarization between communities, reduced trust in democracy and government institutions, and give rise to political instability that hampers the economy," warned communications minister Budi Arie Setiadi.

India's Moon mission doesn't wake up

India's Space Research Organisation (IRSO) has tried to communicate with the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover it sent to the Moon, but as of Saturday had not received a return signal.

That failure is not unexpected, as neither vehicle was designed to survive the recently-ended and punishingly cold Lunar night – but ISRO officials hoped they might get lucky. – Simon Sharwood

Azure AI goes big in Hong Kong

Microsoft has reportedly witnessed a sevenfold increase in the use of AI on its Azure cloud platform over the past six months in Hong Kong, according to the South China Morning Post..

Rival AI tools such as OpenAI's ChatGPT and Google's Bard aren't offered in the Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. Microsoft's Bing Chat, however, is accessible without a virtual private network (VPN).

The US government is reportedly preparing to restrict access to US cloud-computing services on grounds of national security, although whether those restrictions would include Hong Kong is not known.

Taiwan's first sub to hit the water

Taiwan's first Indigenous Defense Submarine launch date, name and hull number was confirmed this week after seven years in the making. Hain Kun, or SS-711, will launch on September 28.

Seven more submarines will follow, with hull numbers between 712 and 718, said Taiwanese media.

The diesel-electric submarines are equipped with Lockheed Martin MK-48 torpedoes. Hain Kun cost around $1.5 billion. "The Chinese armed forces want to isolate Taiwan if they launch an attack. Submarines deny their ability to do so and provide room or time for an intervention from the US, Japan and others," Admiral Huang Shu-kuang, convener of the National Submarine Task Force told Nikkei Asia last week.

Hong Kong's green fintech competition

Hong Kong's government last week announced a competition to promote green fintech solutions in the banking industry.

Global fintech firms are invited to submit solutions on one of four topics: net-zero transition or transition planning; climate risk management; green and sustainable finance; and sustainability or climate-related disclosure and reporting.

In other news …

The Register's coverage of the Asia-Pacific region last week included a developer's extraordinary account of developing a simple spreadsheet to aid Uber's expansion into China – it's quite a read.

The ongoing tension between the US and China over tech development reared its head once again with the US commerce secretary apparently dismissing the Middle Kingdom's ability to produce advanced chips at scale despite the existence of the Huawei Mate 60 Pro.

The commerce secretary was also on the front foot announcing safeguards for the US CHIPS Act subsidies, to ensure that no American taxpayer money made its way to Russia or China.

And the tit-for-tat continued with China accusing the United States of hacking into Huawei's servers as far back as 2009 to steal secret info.

For its part, Huawei sees itself as the student, learning from a master in the US – with CEO Ren Zhengfei describing himself as an unabashed Apple fan.

Caught in the crossfire between the two superpowers, Korean manufacturers SK hynix and Samsung are growing anxious as the deadline for their sanction exemptions draws near.

Meanwhile, some analysts have pointed out growth in a somewhat retro wafer tech might be a path towards supply chains easing up as more fabs build 200mm dies for chips in certain industries.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong authorities made arrests in connection with the failing JPEX crypto platform.

Two of India's biggest technology hubs were identified as hot spots of cyber crime activity.

And after literal years of uncertainty and stop-start attempts at reform, Japanese conglomerate Toshiba finally managed to sell itself – though what happens next is still an unknown.


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