Foxconn founder Terry Gou quits Taiwan presidential race

PLUS: Japan, UK, Italy, collab on new fighter jet; Korea's CBDC trial; Toshiba to delist

Asia In Brief Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of contract manufacturer Foxconn, has ended his campaign to be elected as president of Taiwan.

A late Friday Facebook post confirmed the end of his campaign, which earlier last week secured sufficient signatures from voters to allow Gou to appear on the ballot.

Gou ended his campaign just as opposition figures sought to unify behind a single candidate in the hope of defeating the incumbent Democratic Progressive Party. That effort appears to have failed, for now.

The Foxconn founder explained his withdrawal as likely the best thing for Taiwan, using English to implore the island to "STOP, RESET, RESTART" and complete the job of reform by electing a president from another party.

– Simon Sharwood

Chinese tech CEO allegedly jailed over gambling

Chinese live-streaming video game platform DouYu announced in a regulatory filing last week that CEO and chairman Chen Shaojie had been arrested by the Chengdu police on or around November 16.

"The Company has not received any official notice of the investigation against Mr Chen or the reasons for Mr Chen's apparent arrest," stated DouYu.

But according to state-sponsored media, the arrest was for suspicion of running an illegal gambling establishment.

On the November 22, Chengdu police stated on social media that a 39-year-old person with the surname Chen had opened an illegal casino. Chinese state-sponsored media linked the two scenarios.

Chen has been conspicuously missing since early November.

Italy, UK and Japan set up fighter jet development group

Italy, the UK, and Japan have agreed to set up a development group for their next-generation frontline fighter jet, intended to debut in the mid-2030s.

Officials from the three countries will help make up a "control tower" which will oversee the countries' requirements for aircraft and place orders with manufacturers participating in the program, according to The Japan Times.

Britain's BAE Systems, Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Italy's Leonardo are the three prime contractors currently working on the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP).

The GCAP is expected to replace around 90 F2s in Japan, 144 Eurofighters in the UK and 94 in Italy.

Toshiba to delist

Toshiba will delist from the Tokyo Stock Exchange following a vote [PDF] at an Extraordinary General Meeting of Shareholders last week.

The vote caps the process of Toshiba's acquisition by a consortium led by Japan Industrial Partners and ends a run of public ownership dating back to 1949.

South Korea schedules CBDC pilot

The Bank of Korea (BOK) announced details last Thursday of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) pilot program slated for Q4 2024.

Together with the Financial Services Commission and Financial Supervisory Service, the BOK revealed that 100,000 individuals will be able to purchase items with the digital won. During the pilot program, the payment will be restricted in its use and not available for personal remittance.

The bank first announced it would develop CBDCs in October 2023.

The BOK announcement follows a visit from General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), Augustin Carstens. Carstens declared that "while the monetary core of the digital won project has a familiar – if technologically enhanced – feel to it," it also incorporates completely new components. Among those new components are "use of satellite platforms that interact with the monetary ledger, providing functionality for a wide variety of use cases, [and] making the platform more flexible and open to market developments."

In other news …

The Reg's Asia-Pacific coverage last week kicked off with the news that Chinese Linux vendor Union Tech has hit three million users of its Desktop edition.

Chinese academics, in partnership with a group in the US, developed a biodegradable implantable drug pump that would overcome numerous problems with current versions of such devices.

North Korea played its accustomed role as regional bogeyman by telling the world it was readying another launch of a spy satellite – though previous launch attempts failed, and the "satellites" turned out to be junk. This launch appears to have succeeded, but the disposition of the payload remains obscure.

Kim's Kingdom also made news with its continued nefarious activities in the cyber realm – with attacks on software supply chains and infiltration of recruitment networks to distribute malware.

China's regulators suspended their probe into the acquisition of VMware across a span of days that included Broadcom’s desired day for the deal to drop. The deal was finally approved last week.

Two of China's heaviest tech hitters, Baidu and Tencent, assured investors that the geopolitical tensions and chip tech export restrictions affecting business between their home country and the US (and its allies) will not affect them too badly – but they would say that, wouldn't they?

UK-based Graphcore wasn't quite so stoic, announcing that the trade war means it cannot continue to do business in China, so it's ceasing business there and laying off staff.

India's efforts to become a major player on the world tech stage rolled on, with the debut of a repository of digital public infrastructure projects that other countries are free to use and contribute to.

Meanwhile China flagged its intention to be less reliant on other countries for satellite internet, by launching a demonstration satellite – proof of concert for the People's Republic's own version of Starlink.

And finally, Singapore's odd relationship with cryptocurrency became a little more confusing, as the city-state (which actively promotes CBDCs and has licensed several entities to trade stablecoins) issued draft regulations that treat cryptocurrency like a vice, akin to gambling or tobacco, and severely restricts their use and promotion. ®

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