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Posts Tagged ‘high tech’

Ang moh manufacturer employs more people here than in China and planning to employ a lot more

In Economy, EDB on 29/10/2018 at 1:49 pm

Dyson which already has facilities here (and employs more people than in China — see below) is to build the first of its electric cars in Singapore, choosing the country over the UK and China.

Privately owned by one  Mr Dyson, Dyson is planning to break into the automotive industry with a series of electric vehicles, using its existing knowledge in batteries and electric motors to give it the edge over established manufacturers. It manufactures and sells hairdryers, vacuum cleaners and air filters.

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Something that alt media doesn’t tell S’poreans

The PAP govt is attracting advanced manufacturing here and Dyson shows this.

Advanced manufacturing is a priority for Singapore, which deems it a way to raise productivity at a time when the city-state has struggled to maintain high levels of efficiency.

FT

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The FT reports

Singapore’s incentives include tax breaks for five years, which can be extended, and R&D grants that can cover up to 30 per cent of the cost of projects that involve product, application or process development, according to the Singapore Economic Development Board. They also offer expensive land at discounted rates, says a person with experience of Singapore’s economic planning. “They definitely would have given [Dyson] a favourable tax break,” they add.

Dyson refuses to reveal the scale of its investment, though the EDB’s Kiren Kumar says the company would double its 1,000-strong workforce in the country through the investment.

For Dyson, which says its Singapore investment was premised on market access rather than incentives, no amount of government support can remove the need to pour its own resources into the venture.

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Akan datang: Drones to supply ships in harhour

In Economy, Shipping on 25/10/2018 at 5:08 pm

Next month, in Singapore, a drone made by Airbus, a European aerospace group, will begin ferrying supplies and spare parts to ships moored offshore. Airbus is working on the project with Wilhelmsen, a marine-services company. Wilhelmsen reckons that using drones will reduce delivery costs to vessels by up to 90%, and will be safer than employing launches to carry those deliveries by sea.

https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2018/10/23/fast-food-via-drone-takes-flight

US elite education and AI

In China on 04/08/2018 at 4:19 am

Big advances in AI research are more likely to come from the US due to our education system which needs improvement. But in use of AI in everyday life, China will lead

Cheetah Mobile’s Fu Sheng

Magic: Saudis joining Temasek/ GIC deal

In GIC, Temasek on 05/03/2018 at 4:06 am

FT reported that the Saudi Public Investment Fund was is in talks to invest as much as U$400m in Magic Leap at a $6bn valuation even though the start-up has yet to even put one of its augmented reality glasses on the market. Temasek invests in Magic

DoorDash has raised $535 million from SoftBank’s Vision Fund, GIC of Singapore and Sequoia Capital for a $1.4 billion valuation. (Recode)

 

Weak productivity: PAP’s Frankensteinian monster

In Economy on 01/02/2018 at 7:16 am

When I read the u/m from Rana Foroohar, a FT columnist that I love to hate (usually so pretentious and full of BS and who refuses to accept that Trump the bum is doing some good), I couldn’t help but think of the S’pore economy which the PAP administration claims it created:

— looking at the “supply side”: all those FTs;

— “capital intensity of the most innovative sectors – like pharma and high tech – is quite low”: pharma and high tech are high on the PAP administration’s wish list of investments that we must have;

— “the most digitally advanced industries – again, software, biotech, etc – aren’t the biggest employers.”: throw in the oil refining and petrochemical industries and that describes to a “T” the industries that are paid and paid to come here; and finally

— “The industries that are labour rich – retail, healthcare, education, public sector – are both tech and productivity poor.”: think of our huge finance sector (13.1% of GDP in 2016). The “retail, healthcare, education, public sector” are all part of any modern economy, so the PAP administration’s can’t be faulted for encouraging their growth.

Here’s what the FT columnist wrote:

According to James Manyika, the head of the McKinsey Global Institute, weak productivity – a real mystery in a time of such dramatic technological change – is down to a cocktail of issues that we aren’t looking at in the right way. First, demand is weak in most parts of the developed world, yet economists studying productivity typically look more at the supply side. Second, the capital intensity of the most innovative sectors – like pharma and high tech – is quite low relative to the past (they just don’t need big factories or expensive equipment). Third, in the past, big productivity gains were seen when the biggest employers made large tech jumps. Yet today, the most digitally advanced industries – again, software, biotech, etc – aren’t the biggest employers. The industries that are labour rich – retail, healthcare, education, public sector – are both tech and productivity poor.

FT

The kind of economy we have

— lots of FTS;

— with capital-intensive hi tech, oil refining and petrochemical industries that don’t need much labour; and

— finance which is labour rich, productivity poor,

was created by the governing party, the PAP, which has ruled since 1959 this de facto one-party state.

And which said party is louding KPKBing has a productivity problem

Which begs the question, “Do PM and his team deserve their millions?”: At 8.38 pm January 8, PM’s pay would pass Ah Beng’s yearly salary.

After all, they created an economy that is inclined towards low productivity.

What do you think?

 

Chinese don’t trust M’sian Chinese?

In Uncategorized on 29/01/2018 at 2:42 pm

Broadcom, a  fabless semiconductor company that make products for the wireless and broadband communication industry is headed by one Hock Tan. He’s a US citizen but was born in M’sia.

Broadcom is now trying to acquire Qualcomm, a US semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company.

Senior executives of three Chinese handset makers, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, recently voiced their opposition to the proposed acquisition at a Qualcomm event held in China.,

Tomorrow China, The Day After S’pore

In China, Internet, Political governance, Public Administration on 19/01/2018 at 6:46 am
Further to

Why does PM wants a cashless payments system?

Because no-one can hide from Big Brother when the banks are at the centre of the system.

Why PM wants a cashless payments system

from NYT Dealbook late last yr

The tech that will power China’s police state in the future.

The World Internet Conference in Wuzhen wasn’t just a gathering to show off the latest in Chinese gizmos, like a version of the Consumer Electronics Show. It also offered a glimpse of how new advances in artificial intelligence and facial recognition can be used to track citizens, and how they have become widely accepted.

From Paul Mozur of the NYT:

Investors and analysts say China’s unabashed fervor for collecting such data, combined with its huge population, could eventually give its artificial intelligence companies an edge over American ones. If Silicon Valley is marked by a libertarian streak, China’s vision offers something of an antithesis, one where tech is meant to reinforce and be guided by the steady hand of the state.

Big Brother is watching you. thanks to the the internet and other technology.

Related post: Coming here, China’s new tool for social control?

 

Home-grown Razer’s sharp

In Uncategorized on 13/01/2018 at 11:01 am

Using magnetic force to power a batteryless wireless mouse is cutting edge stuff

At the recent CES tech trade fair in Las Vegas, Razer has a first

PC gaming hardware specialist Razer has come up with an interesting way of powering their new wireless mouse – take the battery out entirely.

BBC

It unveiled a wired mouse mat that generates a magnetic field, which in turn, powers the Mamba mouse directly.

“While other companies have attempted to do wireless charging for mice, they have been unable to achieve true wireless power as their mice still need a battery to be charged,” said Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan.

BBC continues

No wonder Razer is proud of itself – tech firms are desperate to free us from the chore of regularly re-charging batteries because they know it could result in a far greater appreciation of their products, according to Ben Wood.

“This is the Holy Grail,” he said.

 

Bitcoin buyers: Young and male

In Uncategorized on 12/01/2018 at 10:55 am

And East Asian: the int’l financial media reports that the Chinese and Koreans are the most active traders based on info on which exchanges are used.

As to young and male, a FT reporter reported that in December

a survey released by Blockchain Capital, a venture capital firm, found that while two per cent of Americans have owned bitcoin, four per cent of millennials — generally seen as those born between the early 1980s and the early 1990s — have dabbled or owned the digital currency. Among male millennials that share rises to 6 per cent. More than 50 per cent of millennials polled said bitcoin was a positive technological innovation and more than a quarter considered bitcoin safer than banks.

Temasek invests in Magic

In Temasek on 22/12/2017 at 1:10 pm

Cybernuts beware. PAP could use Magic tool in next GE to project light directly into voters’ eyes to trick their brains into perceiving virtual objects as part of their surrounding environment.

Magic Leap has unveiled the first version of its augmented reality system to be made public.

The Magic Leap One Creator Edition is designed to project light directly into users’ eyes to trick their brains into perceiving virtual objects as part of their surrounding environment.

It consists of a large pair of goggles that wrap around the head, a body-worn computer and a wireless controller.

The firm has raised close to $1.9bn (£1.4bn) from investors.

The Florida-based company’s biggest backers include Google, the Chinese tech giant Alibaba and the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42430003

Will ISD use this Amazon service?

In Internet on 23/11/2017 at 4:34 am

Secret Squirrel, Morocco Mole and Maxwell Smart certainly will

From NYT Dealbook

Amazon’s cloud storage unit has a new service called the Amazon Web Services Secret Region to handle classified information for United States spy agencies. (WaPo)

Robot 1 Lawyers 0

In Uncategorized on 12/11/2017 at 4:36 pm

In a contest between 100 lawyers, many of London’s most expensive firms, against an artificial intelligence program called Case Cruncher Alpha, the program won easily.

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-41829534

Both the humans and the AI were given the basic facts of hundreds of PPI (payment protection insurance) mis-selling cases and asked to predict whether the Financial Ombudsman would allow a claim.

In all, they submitted 775 predictions and the computer won hands down, with Case Cruncher getting an accuracy rate of 86.6%, compared with 66.3% for the lawyers.

The world in 2027

In Internet on 27/10/2017 at 5:45 pm

No “smart homes” and driverless cars in cities.

From http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-41694991

Back in 2001 a book called “The Future of Wireless Communications” predicted the following technology developments by 2020:

  • A personal communicator that would book flights and allow you to check in at airports.
  • A personalised news feed delivered to your communicator.
  • A robot that mows the grass.
  • A function allowing you to pre-order your cappuccino from a coffee chain and then direct you to its location.

Those predictions look pretty accurate and now the book’s author, William Webb, a telecoms consultant, is publishing his vision of how the world will look in 10 years.

His predictions include:

  • Virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa will play bigger roles in our lives.
  • AI will have become extremely good at specific tasks.
  • In the workplace facial-recognition technology replaces security staff and robot vacuum cleaners take away cleaning jobs.
  • Retailing will be almost entirely online.

But mostly he is very cautious about the pace of change. He does not believe we will all have smart homes – “the benefits are not that great but the price is quite substantial” – and he is not convinced that autonomous cars will soon be cutting congestion in cities.

“It’s a nice vision,” he says. “I think we will see a very limited autonomy. In 10 years we might well see cars on the motorways but I don’t think we will see that in city centres – it’s just too complicated.”

And as for general artificial intelligence able to complete a variety of tasks, he thinks that is a long way off.

We are told that technology is advancing at breakneck speed. But if William Webb is right it may take something of a breather over the next decade.

Oh and in S’pore PAP still in power much to the frustration of the anti-PAP cybernuts who lost their nest when TRE closed because the cybernuts were too cheapskate to fund it. TeamTRE got tired of being taken for a ride by the cybernuts.

Why Tharman wants to “evolve” a good education system

In Economy, Public Administration on 22/09/2017 at 4:34 am

“The Singularity is coming” is the short answer.

To face a tumultuous future with challenges, Singapore’s education system will need to keep evolving as it has done over the last 50 years, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the first Majulah Lecture organised by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on Wednesday (Sep 20).
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/if-it-ain-t-broke-don-t-fix-it-will-not-cut-it-for-singapore-s-9235202

He wants the system to

— “to make the most of technology or those who are displaced and disempowered by technologies?”

— to maintain “a sense of togetherness in society.

–to become “an innovative society – with individuals and people with a mind of their own – while retaining a deep sense of community.”

Well in NY (a day earlier), Masayoshi Son made a speech (reported by NYT’s Dealbook) that explains why Tharman (and the PAP administration) thinks the education system needs to change

The Singularity is coming, Masayoshi Son says.

The founder of SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate, had the business world chattering on Monday night with his speech at the Appeal of Conscience FoundationFoundation. (DealBook is the first to report on it.)

His main thrusts:
• The Singularity, when artificial intelligence finally outstrips that of humans, will replace huge swaths of jobs.
• The number of sentient robots on Earth will rival the number of humans.
From his speech:
“Here we have white collar and blue collar. I said a new collar will start: that is metal collar. That metal collar will not only replace most of the blue collar jobs, but many of the white collar jobs. So when they become so smart and the muscles to move, what is the definition of what mankind’s job should be? What should we do if they replace many of our jobs? What is the value of our lives? We have to think once more, deeply.”

More from Mr. Son on artificial intelligence:
“I predict 30 years from now, the number of smart robots, the smart robot population on this earth will be 10 billion. By that time, human population will be around 10 billion. So here on this earth we will have 10 billion population of mankind and 10 billion population of smart robots. This is the first time on this earth that we live together with 10 billion robots.”
“Every industry that mankind created will be redefined. The medical industry, automobile industry, the information industry of course. Every industry that mankind ever defined and created, even agriculture, will be redefined. Because the tools that we created were inferior to mankind’s brain in the past. Now the tools become smarter than mankind ourselves. The definition of whatever the industry, will be redefined.”

NYT discovers that Chinese internet firms are big

In China, Internet on 22/08/2017 at 2:16 pm

Can’t stop laughing that this fan of Hilary Clinton and hater of The Donald (he returns the hate) has only just discovered the existence of big Chinese internet firms.

From NYT Dealbook

The new Silicon Valley may be in China.
America’s technology giants have new neighbors as the Chinese companies Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings have quickly become darlings of global investors by dominating their home market.
Alibaba and Tencent are among the world’s most highly valued public companies, with market capitalizations twice as big as the longtime tech leaders Intel, Cisco and IBM.
They have joined an elite club of tech companies worth $400 billion and up that has been dominated by American businesses: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
“We’ve come to the point where China has finally caught up with the U.S. in the internet space,” said Hans Tung, a managing partner at the venture capital firm GGV Capital.
Alibaba and Tencent have grown to prominence by dominating e-commerce and online life in China, the world’s largest internet market. Their growth has come as Western companies, such as Facebook, have been blocked by the country’s tight internet controls.
This week, Alibaba and Tencent reported financial results that were well ahead of analysts’ expectations and point to the growing influence of technology on the Chinese economy.
Tencent is expected to soon become the only company other than Facebook to have a social network with more than a billion users, while Alibaba has more than 500 million monthly active users for its online shopping apps. The Chinese companies’ revenue also grew at a faster pace in the past three months than at Facebook and Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

Samsung beats ang mohs hollow

In Uncategorized on 09/07/2017 at 2:26 pm

But ang moh tech cos have better valuations. Ang moh tua kee isit?

FT’s Lex thinks Samsung is undervalued given its competitive strengths in the semiconductor arena.

It points out Samsung’s quarterly operating profit of US$12.1bn surpassed that of its rival Apple, which is on track for an estimated operating profit of US$10.5bn for the same period.

This US $12.1b would be bigger than the combined operating profits of the four major US tech companies — Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google — estimated at US $11.15bn.

But there are good reasons why Samsung is worth less in terms of valuation multiples. There’s — Korean factors (S Korea can be attacked by the North, internal political instability and corporate governance is really lousy)

— conglomerate discount (old- fashioned industrial conglomerate, not high tech one like the American ones)

— semi conductors are cyclical in nature.

 

China’s plans to rule tech & finance

In Banks, China on 22/09/2016 at 2:33 pm
“It is the goal of Chinese outbound industrial policy programs to replace foreign technology leaders in the medium term — not just in China but also in global export markets.”
— Sebastian Heilmann, president of the Mercator Institute for China Studies, a think tank based in Berlin, on China’s strategy of investment.

 

 

China’s Wealthy Help Bolster European Capital

Asia’s high net-worth individuals, whose wealth has surpassed counterparts in North America, have been major investors in regional bank bonds.

 

From NYT Dealbook

Tech progress and bad times

In Uncategorized on 07/09/2016 at 3:24 pm

Let us go into the weekend with an optimistic, questing spirit. Set aside your macro worries, the flippant or dangerous pronouncements of our political class, or portentous terms such as “secular stagnation”. Sometimes the grimmest times are also the most technologically fruitful, seeding multi-squillion dollar opportunities. Apple launched its iPhone just before the global financial crisis. The dire decade that was the 1930s has been called the most technologically progressive of all time, incubating inventions such as radar, the jet engine and nylon. And capital markets play a part in all this, sluicing funds towards where those great opportunities lie.

Letter from Lex a few months ago

Mobile tech: China is cutting edge

In China on 04/08/2016 at 4:12 am
A cellphone user in Shenzhen, China. The country’s tech industry — particularly its mobile businesses — has in some ways pulled ahead of the United States.

China, Not Silicon Valley, Is Cutting Edge in Mobile Tech

American tech companies study Chinese users and apps as a smartphone revolution changes how people interact, buy products and manage their money.

NYT Dealbook

Global champs in maths & science; so what?

In Uncategorized on 26/07/2016 at 6:54 am

If young S’poreans end up as chumps? Or rather unemployed PMETs, with FTs, some with fake degrees, getting the jobs because they are cheaper to hire?

FT had a long article (Article is on SgDaily’s FB wall) on S’pore’s education system: all the usual clichéd stuff that lazy journalists put out. The journalist should have read this post of mind before spewing BS.

But here be some gems in the muck.

This chart from the article shows that Israeli students are way, way behind our kids in maths and science tests. But where are IT, cybersecurity experts and entrepreneurs coming from? Certain;y not from S’pore but from Israel. Btw, NS there helps develop the relevant skills, not like here.

Take another example. Estonia is just below us, behind us but it’s a high-tech nation full of tech entrepreneurs. And it has a tinier population: 1.2m.

 

And one reader asked a relevant question:

How does Singapore do when creating people who can apply the maths they are so good at to actual progress? Theoretical physics etc? Are there are lot of top Singaporean research scientists using this maths around the world in leading research centres, or financial centres etc? Would be interesting to know. Otherwise you are just training people to pass exams, which is not exactly something to envy or emulate.

Another reader made this snaeky comment:

Horses for courses! Singapore’s requirements of its future citizens differ from the UK. Strategically Singapore, small and without natural resource endowments, has to think about attracting FDI and providing educated manpower towards meeting that goal.

As many commentators have raised, the Singaporean education system has not translated into any discernible  advantages in the theoretical sciences. Singapore also lacks the military-industrial complex, that has always proved crucial in funding – throwing money, at ideas. So as a future competitor the rest of the world can rest easy.

They’ll make good obedient workers – and students, though!

Then there’s this:

I used to interview a lot of students for the global graduate recruitment programme at my bank.  I came across a fair few from Singapore and think your comment is spot on.  You can tell that they would be very diligent employees and they were generally very competent at maths and the usual maths puzzles, but once you asked a question about for example geopolitical risks, they would often really flounder.  Since we were looking to recruit traders and risk managers, this was a big issue.

I’ll end with two S’poreans the author quoted, an unhappy, unimpressed parent, and a local academic:

A Singaporean bank executive and father of three, who asked not to be named, criticised a narrow focus on achieving top grades, which he regarded as the product of hard work as much as intelligence. “It’s a system that really channels you through the network as they deem fit. It’s their criteria, which is grades,” he says. “There’s nothing else. My question is: is that a fair assessment of someone’s capability? I don’t know whether you associate top grades with high IQ. I don’t think so.”

====================

One academic at a Singapore university said many of his students had been fashioned into ‘learning machines’

===========================

He praised the system for developing good “technical skills” in maths and imparting facts but said there was an unhealthy emphasis on drilling children according to an approved method. In his experience, children were marked down for using their own methods to solve maths puzzles, even if the answers were correct, he said. “When they’re given a set of [maths] problems … some children turn to their own logic. And the answer’s right, but they’re considered wrong. You’re stifling someone’s ability to think for themselves. You’re like robots. You can’t think out of the box.”

———

*Note I disagree with the parent on “using 0wnself logic” because it may not work. When I was in sec 1, we were taught a maths certain technique. I tot there was a short cut, and the teacher took the trouble of showing that while the short cut works most of the time (he had difficulty finding an example of where my trick didn’t work), it can lead to a serious miscalculation. `

 

 

 

 

 

Media visionary

In Media on 24/05/2016 at 6:29 am

“If you integrate big data, supercomputing and virtual reality with the skill sets of editors and writers, you could create a news network that is unprecedented,” Dr Soon-Shiong who bot a 13% stake in Tribune Publishing. He’s a Califonian South African-born pharmaceuticals billionaire,

More on Buffett’s Apple buy

In Uncategorized on 18/05/2016 at 1:27 pm

It’s peanuts for starters, both fot Buffett and Apple.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Mr Buffett did not make the actual investment himself, meaning the order would have been placed by his stock-picking team Todd Combs and Ted Weschler. The paper says they are willing to invest in areas that Mr Buffett himself wouldn’t.

They are each thought to manage a $9bn portfolio and usually make the smaller investments, while Mr Buffett makes the big bets.

The Apple holding makes Berkshire Hathaway the 56th largest shareholder.

BBC

Sex, robots and AI

In Uncategorized on 07/04/2016 at 4:30 am

Research done at Stanford. “This research has implications for both robot design and theory of artificial systems.”

Sex robot ‘turns humans on by getting them to fondle its private parts’ (Daily Mirror)

BBC

 

Bue bye Brics, Hello Tick

In China, India on 01/02/2016 at 4:36 pm

Tech-heavy Taiwan, India, China and Korea are the new darlings of the fund mgrs managing emerging mkts funds. Brazil, Russia and South Africa are history. They produce now unwanted commodities.

S’pore’s an inefficent innovatar

In Economy on 18/12/2015 at 5:39 am

But so’s HK: phew. M’sia and Vietnam are efficient innovators.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2015/09/global-innovation-rankings

HK has an edge over us in IOT

In Hong Kong, Internet on 29/11/2015 at 10:51 am

“For IoT [internet of things], we see Hong Kong as much more advantageous than other places like Singapore because of its proximity to Shenzhen and the ease with which you can rapidly develop prototypes,” the FT quotes VXC David Chen . He helped investee co Hanson Robotics, move from Texas to Hong Kong’s Science Park

WTF? Innovation S’pore style

In Uncategorized on 03/08/2015 at 2:10 pm

Singapore-based Rotimatic uses modern technology to solve a traditional problem: making rotis – or Indian flatbreads – using a machine.

“People want to eat more healthily,” Pranoti says, “and we have seen huge demand for our machines since we put up a video online about how it works.”

Rotimatic is just one example of Asian technology start-ups that has recently been able to attract funding.

AND

Hong Konger Jeffrey Liu and his partner Robert Pachter moved from the US, where they were living, and set up GuavaPass in Singapore.

They started the company by initially funding it themselves and were able to close their angel round within the second month of operations.

Their start-up currently offers customers access to premium fitness studios across three Asian cities – Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok – and they’re planning on rolling out to additional cities across Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33747058

 

Unicorns are not real: latest US tech “scam”/ Can unicorns be exited?

In Financial competency on 21/07/2015 at 2:43 pm

PROTECTIONS FOR INVESTORS INFLATE START-UP VALUATIONS Don’t believe all the hype over the “unicorns,” or start-up technology companies valued at more than $1 billion, Randall Smith writes in DealBook, pointing to the late-stage financing terms that inflate a company’s valuation before any initial public offerings of stock – often with little or no disclosure of those terms. Venture investors say that these terms include extra protections, like a discount to the price of any eventual initial offering, a minimum return on investment or extra shares if the company later raises money at a lower valuation. Early stage investors warn that these terms can jeopardize a company’s financial stability, diluting the value of their original stakes and worsening a company’s prospects in a downturn, but the protections appeal to company founders because they provide new cash at the highest nominal valuation, reducing dilution if all goes well.

The protections can push up a unicorn’s valuation 10 percent to 25 percent, said Rick Kline, a lawyer at Goodwin Procter whose firm does legal work on start-up and initial offering financings. He said the phenomenon has been part of a general “frothiness” in late-stage valuations. Neeraj Agrawal, a general partner at Battery Ventures, said such structures work for companies when, “like ‘The Lego Movie’ theme song, everything is awesome.” But, he added, “things won’t always be awesome, and when they aren’t, a company can blow up over this issue.”

THE CASE AGAINST A TECH BUBBLE Last month, three partners at Andreessen Horowitz – Morgan Bender, Benedict Evans and Scott Kupor – made the case to the firm’s limited partners for why today’s tech boom is different from that of the dot-com era. It’s not too surprising that a major venture capital firm is arguing that Silicon Valley is not in a bubble, Steven Davidoff Solomon writes in the Deal Professor column. But he says that the presentation, which was released to the public, is worth a look, “not just for the debate over whether a bubble exists but also because it leads indirectly to the fate of the unicorns and the eventual fallout.”

The partners cite plenty of data to back up their arguments. E-commerce has a lot of growth potential in the United States, making up only 6 percent of retail revenue, and technology funding as a percentage of gross domestic product is only 2.6 percent, compared with 10.8 percent in 1999. Another key difference is the unicorn factor, the start-ups with a valuation of at least $1 billion. Gains that used to go to the public through stock offerings are now going to private investors, the partners contended, citing the example of Facebook. When Facebook went public with a valuation of more than $100 billion, all of its gains went to private investors.

However, Professor Solomon writes, the Andreessen Horowitz presentation inadvertently highlights the problem of the unicorns: No exit.“Competition among venture capitalists to get in on technology start-ups is driving up prices exponentially. But that pricing is justified only if there is an exit. And as Dan Primack noted recently in Fortune, there isn’t one for unicorns.” The venture partners may be right that private markets have pushed out the public ones, but Professor Solomon contends that this shift does not justify the ever-increasing valuations or identify potential buyers of these unicorns. “Perhaps most important, it is silent on how to salvage a unicorn investment when it sours,” he writes.

NYT Dealbook

S’pore at tech cutting edge

In Economy, Humour on 12/11/2013 at 6:08 am

If you recently read Kirsten Han’s stuff (juz google her leh) in ang moh publications, you would get the impression that S’pore thrives because locals are repressed and FTs exploited, with xenophobia thrown into that mix. Recently too, TOC and TRE carried quite a number of recent BBC articles, clips that didn’t put S’pore in a gd light.

But going by other stuff the BBC has been broadcasting recently (and not highlighted by TRE or TOC), S’pore is doing real cutting edge techie stuff to make life better for S’poreans and the the rest of the world:

Researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have been working on ways to improve rush hour traffic flows in Singapore.

They are trying a system of tracking vehicle movements through GPS and combining the data with fluid dynamics to predict congestion ahead.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24673439

The ‘supertrees’ of Singapore are the central attraction of the Gardens by the Bay, an energy-efficient district of the bustling city state.

During the day, the man-made structures, which mimic real trees, gather energy through solar panels. At night, they come to life and form a spectacular lightshow.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-24678421

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay were created six years ago from reclaimed land and are now part of trial for the country’s “super wi-fi” white space programme.

White space is the name for a wireless network made available when old frequencies for analogue television signals are repurposed to carry data.

It is hoped free public wi-fi will be rolled out across the island within the next two years.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24822458

Near Field Communications (NFC) technology allows small amounts data to be exchanged when enabled devices are tapped or held closely together or one device is touched against an NFC tag.

Although the technology can be found in many smartphones, credit cards and passports it has yet to become mainstream.

But Singapore’s size and willingness to embrace new technology might make it the perfect place to roll out a nationwide NFC network.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24756033

And here are two plugs for the PAP govt, courtesy of the BBC:

To stay competitive, a country needs to constantly innovate.

Where the US has Silicon Valley, Singapore has Biopolis – a major biomedical research and development hub.

From almost nothing more than a decade ago, the sector has grown to account for a quarter of the country’s manufacturing output.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24799516

Singapore’s economy has often been the envy of many of its neighbours.

Many people have marvelled at how this small island, smaller than New York City, has come to be worth more than $270bn (£167bn).

One key to that success has been the vibrant shipping port.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24605503

As far as the issue of state repression, the closest the BBC has come to reporting repression here are these:

Singapore’s Marine Life Park is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the world’s largest aquarium, but it has already come under the scrutiny of environmentalist and critics.

They say that dolphins should not have been caught from the wild to be exhibited in its newly-opened enclosure.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24738828

— Dan Tan’s case

In the next few weeks all the evidence that has been gathered against the syndicate will be presented behind closed doors to the Ministry of Home Affairs and then an advisory council, before a final decision is made by the president.

If all agree that the suspects should remain under “preventive detention”, then Dan Tan and his associates could be held for years without ever having the evidence tested in a court of law.

Under huge pressure to act, the Singaporeans say they’ve now “cut the head off the snake”.

In doing so, the world’s biggest match-fixing syndicate may have been disabled but if the process remains behind closed doors it hardly feels like justice being served.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24238681 (BTW, Ms Han and her friends ignore Dan Tan’s case. He got more money than them? They jealous?)

This blog while often critical of the PAP govt, is very happy to live here as quitter in residence.So that tells you that on balance, this blogger is one of the ungrateful S’poreans (at least as the PAPpies are concerned). He’s juz glad that he’s not a young, working S’porean working here. But if he was a young S’porean, he would be working overseas. When he qualified, it was difficult to work overseas because of immigration rules. Eventually he did do stints abroad, but today he could have found a job overseas easily after he qualified.

Financial centres’ curses

In Economy, Internet, Political economy, Political governance on 13/10/2013 at 5:10 am

For all the highfaluting talk of govt and talk-cock artists especially in the local media, we don’t do things like this even though Burma is in Asean (our backyard):

[I]n Burma – or Myanmar – social media sites and the whole internet have been inaccessible for years.

For one Canadian-Vietnamese woman that has provided a unique business opportunity to found the Burma’s first-ever social networking site.

However, Rita Nguyen had never been to the country before this year as BBC South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head heard.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24393043

Why?

(Related post: https://atans1.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/a-very-high-tech-inventive-low-population-country/)

Are we are more comfortable as serfs slaves PMETs in a financial centre?

A recent article, interestingly, makes a compelling argument that places that depend on the financial industry (like S’pore) are like resource-rich countries, and like them suffer from the triple problems of a high exchange rate that causes problems for manufacturers, revenue volatility and poor governance.

Is finance like crude oil? Countries rich in minerals are often poverty-stricken, corrupt and violent. A relatively small rent-seeking elite captures vast wealth while the dominant sector crowds out the rest of the economy. The parallels with countries ‘blessed’ with powerful financial sectors are becoming too obvious to ignore.

http://taxjustice.blogspot.sg/2013/09/is-finance-like-crude-oil-resource.html

Another US innovation to breed entrepreneurs

… has designed I-Corps as a way of converting the most promising science and engineering projects in American universities into start-ups. The I-Corps teams … comprise just a principal investigator (usually a tenured professor), a younger entrepreneurial lead (undergraduate, graduate or post-doctoral student) and an experienced entrepreneur or venture capitalist as a mentor. Each of the 100 or so teams has received a [US}$50,000 to cover a crash course on how to avoid the pitfalls common to all new ventures … New ventures, they are taught, are all about finding customers, what distribution channels to adopt, how to price the product, who to partner with, and more. From day one, the mantra is “get out of the lab” … The I-Corps programme is based on the premise that all new ventures are little more than a series of untested hypotheses—in other words, optimistic guesses about market size, customer needs, product pricing and sales channels. With so many unknowns, the programme teaches participants to treat their start-up as if it were a typical research project, amenable to the same iterative process of hypothesis testing and experimentation.

http://www.economist.com/node/21559734

Where NS leads to successful high tech start-ups

In Uncategorized on 17/09/2013 at 4:48 am

In S’pore, NS is often seen (esp by those doing it) as a waste of time and a source of cheap labour for public events like National Day, F1 and the Kiddie Games.

In Israel, which is surrounded by hostiles threatening to destroy the nation, NS is seen as impt not only for the defence of nation and the Jewish tradition, but also as a training ground for budding high tech entrepreneurs:

Inside the HQ of the Mamram, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) technical support unit in nearby Ramat Gan, computer training course commander … says new recruits on a six-month intensive programming course study from dawn till night and are taught programming skills, teamwork, project management and – most importantly how to be creative. It’s like a school for start-ups.

“When you do a degree in computer science you study the technical things,” she says. “You study how to write a code, mathematics. We don’t focus on that. We focus on how to work in a team. How to understand what your client needs and make software that fits his demands. How to write good code that you will be able to de-bug and maintain.”

Tal Marian, founder of the TechLoft, a commercial shared workspace just off Rothschild, says the results of the military training are obvious. “Some of the military units work like a civilian organisation,” says Marian. “They encourage entrepreneurship, the feeling that if you come up with a good idea that answers a real need of that unit’s mission, you will get the funding and manpower and the time you need.”

After years of helping to solve the nation’s major security threats, the challenges of gaming and mobile apps pale by comparison, he adds.

And

“Entrepreneurs in Israel are unique,” he says. “Their approach to problems is different to others because the army is a huge incubator for innovation and entrepreneurship. The army gave us a few million dollars at the age of 18 and asked us to build technology and systems that address problems that only people 10 or 20 years older are dealing with in other parts of the world. That kind of pressure and challenge really brings a lot of things out of you.”

Tal skipped university to work at a start-up before launching his own, but another important driver of the tech scene is the fact that Israeli university students pay only about $3,100 (£2,000) a year in tuition fees. They emerge from military service and three years of studying with zero debt, eager to take a year off to pursue their dreams.

That youthful exuberance, combined with the rigorous military training in technology and project management, has found a natural home among cafes running down the centre of Rothschild.

When one Tony Tan was DPM a few yrs back, he visited Israel to learn the secrets of building a high tech entrepreneurial culture. Obviously he wasn’t brought to Rothschild Boulevard, or the IDF unit. Obviously, they must have been state secrets then. We know he visited Israeli research institutes and signed shume MOUs.

Related

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16787509

The IDF has already changed enormously in recent years. Its largest unit, 8200, is focused on cyber-warfare. http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21583317-israels-armed-forces-are-shifting-emphasis-mechanised-warfare-toward-air-and