Author: Jon Russell

Gogoprint raises $7.7M to expand its online printing business in Asia Pacific

TECHCRUNCH Gogoprint, a startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional printing industry in Southeast Asia, has pulled in a $7.7 million investment as prepares to expand its business in Asia Pacific. We first profiled Gogoprint in 2016 soon after its launch the previous year, and since then the Bangkok-based company has expanded beyond Thailand and into Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Now, the company is looking to go beyond Southeast Asia and enter Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and other markets over the coming 12 months. Those moves will be funded by this Series A round, which is led by...

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Indonesian co-working startup GoWork lands $10 million

TECHCRUNCH Co-working today is a global game that’s played by many more than just WeWork, despite the company’s valuation surging to $20 billion. But, as WeWork increasingly globalizes its focus, the U.S. firm is coming into contact with smaller players who are highly localized in markets with the potential to grow significantly. One such market is Indonesia, the largest economy in the growing region of Southeast Asia. Indonesia’s capital alone has a population of 10 million and it is tipped to overtake Tokyo as the world’s most populous city by 2020. WeWork is prioritizing Indonesia as one of the...

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Rejected journalist visa sparks press freedom fears in Hong Kong

TECHCRUNCH There’s concern for the freedom of the press in Hong Kong after the government declined to renew the visa of a veteran Financial Times’ editor, dealing an alarming blow to the country’s thriving journalism community. Victor Mallet, the FT’s Asia news editor who is also vice-president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, is effectively being expelled after he was denied a new work visa without reason. The incident follows a controversial FCC event in August, chaired by Mallet, which featured pro-Hong Kong independence activist Andy Chan. “This is the first time we have encountered this situation in Hong Kong, and we have not been given...

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Samsung forecasts record $15.5B profit thanks to chips not smartphones

TECHCRUNCH Samsung’s last quarter of business saw its slowest growth of profits in a year thanks to weak sales of its flagship Galaxy S9 smartphone. But the company is about much more than just phones, and that’s why it is forecasting a record operating profit of nearly $15.5 billion for its upcoming Q3 results. The Korean firm said in a filing that it expects to revenue jump five percent year-on-year to hit 65 trillion KRW ($57.5 billion) with an operating profit of 17.5 trillion KRW ($15.5 billion), which represents a 20 percent annual jump and an 18 percent increase on the...

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Tencent backs fintech firm Voyager to set up battle with Alibaba in the Philippines

TECHCRUNCH China’s internet battle is rapidly reproducing itself in Southeast Asia. One new hotspot is the Philippines, where Tencent just agreed to invest in Voyager, a fintech business started by telecom firm PLDT. The deal would bring Tencent into direct competition with arch-rival Alibaba, which entered the Philippines 18 months ago when its fintech affiliate Ant Financial invested in Mynt, a financial venture from Globe Telecom which is a competitor to Voyager. Following a week of speculation, PLDT announced a deal today that sees Tencent and KKR pay up to $175 million for a minority stake in the Voyager...

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Amazon reportedly offloaded its Chinese server business because it was compromised

TECHCRUNCH It looks like Amazon’s move to sell off its physical server business in China last year was because the unit had been compromised by a Chinese government spying program. That’s according to a report from Bloomberg which details how the Chinese government infiltrated a number of U.S. companies by sneaking tiny chips onto motherboards from Supermicro. They then became part of servers deployed by the companies giving remote operatives potential access to data. It’s a huge story that includes a comparatively small but important passage shedding light on Amazon’s China deal last November — the U.S. firm sold the physical server...

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China reportedly infiltrated Apple and other US companies using ‘spy’ chips on servers

TECHCRUNCH Ready for information about what may be one of the largest corporate espionage programs from a nation-state? The Chinese government managed to gain access to the servers of more than 30 U.S. companies, including Apple, according to an explosive report from Bloomberg published today. Bloomberg reports that U.S-based server motherboard specialist Supermicro was compromised in China where government-affiliated groups are alleged to have infiltrated its supply chain to attach tiny chips, some merely the size of a pencil tip, to motherboards which ended up in servers deployed in the U.S. The goal, Bloomberg said, was to gain an entry point within company systems to potentially grab IP or confidential information. While the micro-servers themselves were limited in terms of direct capabilities, they represented a “stealth doorway” that could allow China-based operatives to remotely alter how a device functioned to potentially access information. Once aware of the program, the U.S. government spied on the spies behind the chips but, according to Bloomberg, no consumer data is known to have been stolen through the attacks. Even still, this episode represents one of the most striking espionage programs from the Chinese government to date. The story reports that the chips were discovered and reported to the FBI by Amazon, which found them during due diligence ahead of its 2015 acquisition of Elemental Systems, a company that held a range of U.S. government contracts, and Apple, which is...

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ZTE hit with 2-year ‘monitoring’ extension after breaking probation terms

TECHCRUNCH Embattled Chinese tech firm ZTE narrowly survived after the U.S. Department of Commerce hit it with a $1 billion fine and forced changes to its business earlier this year, and. Now it is back in the news for negative reasons after it was judged to have broken the probation around a fine that it copped in 2017. The company agreed to pay $892 million last March after pleading guilty to charges of violating U.S.-Iran sanctions — the same issue that triggered the initial ban from the Department of Commerce. A condition of that 2017 deal was that the company...

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