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How Asia Is Transforming Into An Innovation Powerhouse | 2020-01-06

China, Japan and South Korea are leading the charge when it comes to spending on research and development (R&D). In 2018, the three countries spent a combined $613 billion on R&D, bagging three of the top five spots globally, according to a report by Lux Research. The United States continued to take the top position while Germany came fourth on the list.
Start-ups in Asia raised $107 billion in 2018, the report said, wherein China dwarfed all others with more than $85 billion alone. With those numbers, the country overtook the US for the top spot globally.
China had 1.6 million patent applications in 2018, representing a staggering 24 per cent annual growth rate since 2008. In the same period, its share in Asia patent applications rose to 87 per cent from 46 per cent. South Korea saw 8 per cent growth while it was 3 per cent for Japan during the same period. According to the report, despite having seen more than 10 per cent growth rates over the past decade, India sees minimal patent application activity. A majority of the applications continue to come from locally registered foreign corporations, it said.
The report found that manufacturing beat all others when it comes to innovation in China. “Technologies like robotics and 3D printing are key areas of focus for domestic expertise as the country continues to ramp up its manufacturing capabilities and capacity,” it said. Manufacturing was followed by information technology (IT) and chemicals and materials. In Japan, chemicals and materials led the wave of innovation while IT far surpassed every other sector in Singapore.

Indonesia Travelio Raises $18 Million in Series B Funding | 2019-12-12

Indonesian property-technology company, Travelio, raised $18 million in a series B funding round led by Temaseks unit, Pavilion Capital, and Chinese late stage venture firm, Gobi Partners.
The company said it plans to use funds to invest in marketing, talent, expanding its product line for tenants and property owners, and integrating new services, like interior design, financing, payments and other logistics-related services, it already has in the pipeline, into its overall ecosystem.
Founded in 2015, Travelio is an online rental marketplace which connects property owners to renters who can lease apartments, villas and houses for a few days to several months. The company said it is looking to serve the growing demand for temporary housing, urbanization, and affordable living options in Indonesia that comes with the country rising middle-class population. Travelio already has more than 4,000 properties exclusively signed up with the platform, and the company charges property owner partners between 20 per cent to 35 per cent of their total revenue, according to a TechCrunch report. Apart from connecting property dealers with renters, the company also provides housekeeping and guest services.
The startup has raised over $24 million from four funding rounds so far. Its investors include Vynn Capital, Insignia, and Pegasus Tech. Over the last 30 days, its app was downloaded 6,133 times, according to Apptopia, a mobile-app metrics analysis company. Its website sees over half a million vists on a monthly basis.

Toyota leads $50 million investment in autonomous shuttle startup May Mobility | 2019-12-04

May Mobility, a Michigan-based startup that is operating autonomous shuttle services in three U.S. cities, has has raised $50 million in a Series B round led by Toyota Motor Corp.The funding, which comes less than a year after May Mobility raised $22 million, will be used to expand every aspect of the company, including its AV shuttle fleet as well as its engineering and operations staff.
May Mobility has 25 autonomous low-speed shuttles spread out between Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan and Providence, Rhode Island — the three cities it operates in. The startup wants to build that number up to 25 vehicles per city, co-founder and COO Alisyn Malek told TechCrunch. That fleet size improves the economic picture for the startup and begin to meaningfully impact transportation in that city. This latest round does more than provide May Mobility with capital. The startup, which launched in 2017, has has gained a customer as well. Toyota has picked May Mobility as one of its “autonomous driving providers for future open platforms,” according to the startup. Toyota and May Mobility didn’t share specifics of about what this partnership will lead to. But it will likely pair the startup’s autonomous vehicle technology with the Toyota e-Palette, a platform the automaker unveiled in 2018 at CES, the annual tech trade show in Las Vegas. The e-Palette was presented as a concept vehicle, but really it’s a platform that fits into Toyota’s vision for mobility ecosystem that will transition from a company that just produces and sells cars to one that handles all aspects of moving people and things from point A to point B.
The e-Palette is designed for flexibility. The platform, which theoretically will be outfitted with autonomous vehicle technology, could be used as a shuttle, for delivering packages to customers or even as a roving mobile shop. May Mobility will be working with Toyota to identify market opportunities, Malek said, adding that the company will be one of the automaker’s primary partners in co-development to bring those platforms out to market. “They really believe in the transportation-as-a-service work that we’re doing and want to support that,” Malek said.

Prince William speaks about mental health on Pakistan school visit | 2019-10-14

The Duke of Cambridge has spoken about the importance of young people learning about mental health during the first stop on the royal tour of Pakistan.
Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge met boys and girls at a government-run college in Islamabad on the first full day of their visit. The couple also met Pakistans Prime Minister, Imran Khan, for lunch. Later they arrived by auto rickshaw for a special reception hosted by the British High Commissioner to Pakistan.
The couple are the first royals to officially visit the Commonwealth country since the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited the region in 2006. As they left the Islamabad Model College for Girls, Prince William said to a teacher: "In the UK we are trying to make sure mental health is part of education as well."
The princes tour of Pakistan follows in the footsteps of his parents. His father, the Prince of Wales, visited in 2006 and his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, went on several charity work trips there before her death in 1997. One pupil at the visit to the college told Prince William she and her classmates were "big fans" of his mother. "Oh, that very sweet of you. I was a big fan of my mother too," the duke said. "She came here three times. I was very small. This is my first time and it is very nice to be here and meet you all," he added.

Shaniera Akram Wants Pakistanis To Donate For Child Education | 2019-10-11

Shaniera Akram, a lady born in Australia and later on married to Pakistani cricketer, Wasim Akram. She considers herself very lucky to be part of Pakistan. Out of love, she has started working in Pakistan as a social worker to bring change in society.
Shaniera Akram spends time with underprivileged kids. Recently, she posted her picture with school kids on Instagram with the caption, “You know your love, is lifting me higher, higher than ever before.”
“The children of Muslim Hands School in Wazirabad reach to the stars and say thank you for loving them, thank you for not forgetting them, thank you for giving them a chance. Please keep sending in your donations so that these children can learn, grow and be cared for the way every child should be. No child should be left in the dark, all children deserve to have a chance, so take a chance on them. These are our children and these are the smiles that come from within them because they know what it feels like to be loved,” she concluded

Huawei gets caught up in China territory controversy | 2019-08-16

Chinas Huawei, the tech giant under scrutiny for its alleged links to the Chinese government, has become caught up in a controversy surrounding the representation of Taiwan.
Huawei has come under fire for allegedly implying in its smartphone settings that Taiwan is independent. Despite a backlash on social media, Huawei has declined to comment. It is the latest firm - and an unexpected one - to get caught up in this kind of controversy. Global brands such as Versace, Coach, Givenchy, and Swarovski all faced similar criticism this week for listing Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan as a separate countries or regions - not part of China - on their official websites or branded T-shirts. It comes at a time of heightened sensitivities, as Hong Kong has faced weeks of unrest, with pro-democracy protestors clashing with police.
"Are you just ignoring [this] and [you are] not going to explain why this happened? As a user of Huawei products… I am disgusted," one user said.
The US blacklisted the firm in May saying it posed a national security risk. The company vehemently denies this and has repeatedly said it is independent from the Chinese government. Huawei has also come to symbolise the tensions between the US and China that have been playing out in trade and, more recently, the technology sector. The US has targeted Huawei with trade restrictions, while also pushing to persuade allies to ban the Chinese company over the potential risks of using its products in next-generation 5G mobile networks.