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APAC Digital Digest - 24 July 2020

APAC Digital Digest is a fortnightly round-up of what has been happening in APAC in under 3 minutes.


Here is what has been happening:



US report accuses China of 'digital authoritarianism'

A US report accuses China of "digital authoritarianism" - using technology not only to track its own citizens but to exert power beyond its borders. It warns that China's mounting influence on the digital sphere could soon overshadow that of the US and other democracies. And it expresses concern about its export of surveillance technology. The US has put pressure on other countries to ban Huawei from their mobile networks.

Source: BBC


On average, Singaporeans made $2,200 selling stuff on Carousell during circuit breaker

According to Carousell, Singaporeans made more than one million transactions for second-hand items. These included cases where folks wanted to earn extra money, supplement income or cushion the blow of unemployment. An average of four baking items was sold every hour on the platform during the circuit breaker. This is on top of a five-fold increase in search queries for baking items, ingredients and equipment.

Source: AsiaOne


India raises need for accountability of digital platforms at G20 forum

Union information and technology minister of India, Ravi Shankar Prasad, has called for digital platforms to be responsive, accountable and sensitive to the concerns of sovereign nations as far as safety, defence and privacy is concerned. Prasad raised the issue during the G20 Digital Minister’s Meet hosted by Saudi Arabia.

Source: Hindustan Times


Australian government fronts up $19 million for digital health tech development

The federal government has announced it will be handing over a total of AU$18.8 million to fund the development of 21 new biomedical and medical technology projects. The funding is part of round three of the government's AU$45 million BioMedTech Horizons program, an initiative designed to support the development of health technologies.

Source: ZD Net


TikTok’s new offering for small advertisers could help it lure them from Facebook

TikTok has officially opened up its “self-serve” platform that lets companies buy and manage ad campaigns directly, a move to lure the ad dollars of small and medium-sized businesses. The company said it’s also providing $100 million in advertising credits to small businesses.

Source: CNBC


Ransomware attacks up in India as firms turn digital

Ransomware-related cyber-attacks on the Indian enterprises saw a 4 per cent rise in the first three months of the year, and the increase has been enabled by operators offering ransomware as a service (RaaS) to cyber attackers. The report from Global cyber security major K7 Computing also found that Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad recorded the highest rate of infections amongst Tier-I cities.

Source: Zee News


India to witness huge growth in digital lending

India will witness huge growth in digital lending as the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the acceptance of digital payments, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said. Speaking at the virtual 'Global Fintech Fest', Kant further said, "India is economically poor but data rich and the future of the fintech sector in the country is extremely bright."

Source: Live Mint


Google announces $10bn investment in 'digital India'

Google will invest $10bn (£7.93bn) in India in the next five to seven years, the chief executive of its parent company Alphabet Inc has announced. The investment will be used to build products and services for India, help businesses go digital and use technology "for social good".

Source: BBC


India tells U.S. that decision to levy digital tax on Google, Amazon isn't biased

India’s decision to levy a tax on companies offering digital services in the country is not aimed at any particular country and the decision will not be reconsidered. The decision has been conveyed to the U.S. trade department, which had initiated a probe alleging India was targeting companies such as Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

Source: The Economic Times


Coinbase says it halted more than $280,000 in bitcoin transactions during Twitter hack

The cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase said that it stopped around 1,100 customers from sending bitcoin to hackers who gained access to high-profile Twitter accounts last week. Recently over 100 Twitter accounts, some belonging to major companies like Apple and high-profile people like Vice President Joe Biden and Bill Gates, were hacked as part of a massive coordinated bitcoin scam.

Source: The Verge


TikTok is withdrawing its app from Hong Kong as tech reckons with new security law

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, will pull out of the Hong Kong market within days, and the app will be inoperable there. The announcement comes one week after the enactment of a controversial new national security law in Hong Kong that prompted a spate of technology companies to suspend some operations in the region while they review the new law.

Source: Fortune


Hundreds of brands are pulling ads from Facebook.

Hundreds of companies have promised to halt advertising on Facebook and its sibling platform Instagram as part of month-long boycott officially set to begin on Wednesday, according to the civil rights groups behind the protest.

Source: CNN


Social media giants refusing to cooperate with Hong Kong police may have to make exit plans

Social media giants’ reluctance to hand over user data to Hong Kong police in national security cases could prompt the government to block their sites in a worst-case scenario or see them relocate, analysts warned, as the firms presented, for now, a united front against such requests.

Source: SCMP


Google adds new Knowledge Panel insights to Google Image Results for added context

Google is adding new Knowledge Panel information listings to Google Images results, helping to provide more context about visual entries.

Source: Business Fast


LinkedIn is developing a new design, and the company rolled out its Stories Feature for Users in Australia

LinkedIn updated in a support page that the company has rolled out the Stories feature for users in Australia (as reported by SMT). This means that users in Australia can now use the new temporary status update feature. The company confirmed a few months ago that LinkedIn is releasing the Stories feature. This feature is similar to Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories and it also functions pretty much the same as Stories function on Instagram and Facebook.

Source: Digital Information World


Snapchat rolls out the first of its Mini apps with meditations from Headspace

Snap announced it was launching Minis at its virtual Partner Summit last month. The Minis, as the name suggests, are miniature apps made by third-party developers that run inside of Snapchat to create more social experiences among friends, and they are built using HTML. The Headspace Mini is one of four Snap is launching this week. The others are Let’s Do It, Prediction Master and Flashcards.

Source: The Verge


Facebook to challenge YouTube with licensed music videos

Facebook hopes to distract users from fake news and hate speech with flashy music videos. The social network is reportedly prepping for an August launch of officially licensed music videos from artists across the platform.

Source: PC Mag

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