Elon Musk's X to challenge Australian content takedown orders in court

PLUS: Samsung in 'emergency mode'; Tim Cook's Asian charm tour; APAC AI spend to surge

Asia In Brief Elon Musk's X, the artist formerly known as Twitter, has vowed to commence court action against Australia's government over orders to take down content depicting violence and violent extremism.

The content depicts two recent knife attacks – one a multiple murder at a shopping center and another in which a Christian bishop was stabbed in his church.

The shopping center attack saw a prominent Australian troll use X to falsely blame the incident on a Jewish man. That claim was also broadcast by a mainstream television news service.

The church attack – which has been declared a terrorist incident – saw a teenaged man stab an Assyrian bishop who has a wide following on social media.

Graphic footage of both incidents was quickly posted to social media, leading Australia's eSafety Commissioner – an agency dedicated to keeping Australians safe online and imbued with powers to demand content removal and levy substantial fines for noncompliance – to order social media operators to remove the videos.

X attempted to comply with the Commissioner's demand, but in a Saturday post claimed the Commissioner had requested video of the church attack be removed globally and stated that the platform will not comply.

"While X respects the right of a country to enforce its laws within its jurisdiction, the eSafety Commissioner does not have the authority to dictate what content X's users can see globally," the posts declares, adding "We will robustly challenge this unlawful and dangerous approach in court."

Australian politicians have strongly criticized that stance, and called for tougher regulation of social media platforms.

Samsung reportedly enters 'emergency mode'

Samsung has reportedly gone into "emergency mode" and made top execs work six-day weeks.

According to the Korea Economic Daily, the chaebol is concerned about numerous crises including high energy prices, persistently high interest rates, the depreciation of the Korean Won, and geopolitical risks such as conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine.

Internal emergencies – such as missed sales targets – are further cause to sound the alarm.

Having execs work an extra day – they'll apparently get to choose if it's Saturday or Sunday – is apparently seen as a way to ensure Samsung is doing all it can to return to Safe Mode.

Working hours can be punishingly long in South Korea, which in 2021 replaced a 68-hour working week with a mere 52 hours of labor.

Tim Cook's Asian teaser tour

The CEO of Apple visited Asia last week and expressed enthusiasm for doing more business in the region.

Cupertino's chief was received by Vietnamese prime minister Pham Minh Chinh last Tuesday. A government account of the meeting notes that since 2019 Apple has invested over $16 billion in Vietnam – making it the largest source of foreign funds.

"The Prime Minister also thanked Apple and its partners for their important contributions to Vietnam's development, creating jobs for people, bringing Vietnam deeper into Apple's global supply chain, and gaining an ever-increasing position important in Apple's development strategy," the government article states.

Cook reportedly proposed new cooperations between Apple and Vietnam around clean energy, digital transformation, and human resource training.

The CEO also revealed that Apple is committed to buying more components manufactured by partners in Vietnam, but seemed uninterested in having a direct presence.

Next stop Indonesia, where outgoing president Joko Widodo met Cook and was told Apple is considering a presence in the nation – but without details or timelines. Indonesia is one of the world's largest and fastest-growing economies, but Apple's smartphone market share is under one percent.

Singapore was next to receive Cook, and also received an actual concrete commitment: $250 million to expand its regional hub in the island nation.

Regional AI spend to surge, and peak

Analyst firm IDC last week predicted spending on software, services, and hardware for AI-centric systems across Asia will grow to $26 billion by 2027.

That level of spending will represent a 95.4 percent compound annual growth rate.

"We anticipate that Asia/Pacific will experience a surge in the adoption of Generative AI, with growth rates expected to match those of North America, largely due to enterprises investing heavily in developing data and infrastructure platforms tailored for Gen AI applications," opined Deepika Giri, IDC's head of research on big data and AI for the Asia-Pacific and Japan region.

"We forecast that this investment in Gen AI will reach its zenith within the next two years, followed by a period of stabilization," he added. "China is projected to maintain its position as the dominant market for Gen AI, while Japan and India are set to become the most rapidly expanding markets in the forthcoming years."

Boeing bringing flying cars to Asia

Beleaguered aerospace giant Boeing plans to launch flying cars in Asia by 2030.

As reported by Japan's Nikkei, Boeing will almost double R&D staff in its Tokyo office to help the effort, which will rely on craft approved for use in the US.

Boeing thinks Asia's congested megacities are ideal locations for flying cars.

Japan confirms app store regs under discussion

Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi confirmed last Tuesday that a bill seeking to curb monopolistic practices by app distributors is under discussion among lawmakers. The anticipated bill would see app store operators face a rise in penalties to 20 percent or more of their sales across Japan – more than triple current fines of six percent – if they exclude competitors. Multiple violations could see fines rise even higher – up to 30 percent, according to reports.

"Right now, the government is mulling over the bill on the applications such as the Apple Store," stated Hayashi in a press conference.

The government official called it "necessary" to have punishments in place in case of violations.

"This economy is indispensable for the Japanese economy and having a fair competitive environment is important," Hayashi added. – Laura Dobberstein


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