IBM launches its first blockchain innovation center


IBM plans to open a blockchain innovation center in Singapore in collaboration with the Singaporean government to digitalize the trade and finance sectors, reports ZDNet. The centre will develop applications and solutions based on blockchain, cybersecurity, and cognitive computing technologies and also engage with small to medium enterprises to create new applications and grow new markets in finance and trade.

The blockchain can translate to strong benefits throughout our entire finance ecosystem including the boosting of local tech capabilities.

As Singapore aims to become Asia’s main financial technology hub, IBM’s initiative perfectly aligns with the government’s goal. The tech company will be working with the main economic planning agency, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to accelerate blockchain adoption for finance and trade.

One project, together with PSA International—one of the world’s largest container transshipment ports owned by state investor Temasek Holdings—aims to connect fintech with global trade and logistics.

Singapore is rushing to reinvent itself as Asia’s fintech hub to fend off a regulatory threat to its wealth management industry and revive a sluggish economy.

Singapore is now ahead of its long time rival, Hong Kong, but measures to cut the number of foreign workers and regulations have created a risk averse culture which is at odds with the trial and error approach of fintech startups. This remains a key obstacle in developing this sector in Singapore.

The opening of the new blockchain center will build on IBM’s work with the Linux Foundation Hyperledger Platform. At the end of 2015, IBM was among one of the tech companies to partner with the Linux Foundation to develop an enterprise grade, open-source distributed framework. This aligns with the foundation’s belief that this standard of innovation can transform the way business transactions are conducted across the world.

A version of this appeared in ZDNet on July 12. Read the full version here.

Ericsson mobile and the Yayasan DiRaja Sultan Mizan (YDSM) foundation have entered into a partnership agreement to use information and communication technology (ICT) to provide high speed mobile broadband and boost the wetland ecosystem in Setiu, a district in the state of Terengganu, Malaysia, reports Digital News Asia.

The project will explore five main areas: mobile broadband for all, connected agriculture, intelligent fisheries; enhanced learning; and digital ecotourism in order to provide sustainable solutions.

The first phase of work is due to commence in the last quarter of 2016 in tandem with connectivity provider Celcom Axiata and Bhd partner Luimewah.

As part of the project, Ericsson and its partners will:

  • Provide high speed mobile broadband in the wetlands area to enable the use of mobile applications, video streaming and internet of things to support the community, government and research.
  • Establish a remote monitoring system for rivers and plantations.
  • Develop a mobile app for fisherman in order for them to access information such as weather forecasts, plankton grounds and water temperature. This initiative should go onto reduce time spent at sea for workers, as well as connect the workers with their peers under one platform.

An initiative like this shows how mobility, broadband and cloud and unleash untapped potential in Malaysia. Todd Ashton, Head of Ericsson Malaysia.

“This initiative will allow Setiu to leverage ICT to digitally transform communities and industries for enhanced day-to-day living and better productivity,” he added. The partnership is a testament to how communities and the agricultural industry will be able to gain from digital platforms.

The partnership between Ericsson and the Malaysian foundation is the first of its scale, it also marks the first time ICT will be used for environmental preservation efforts.

A version of this appeared in Digital News Asia in July 11. Read the full version here.

Jack Ma presenting Alibaba's new smart car to the world. Source: Tech In Asia

Jack Ma presenting Alibaba’s new smart car to the world. Source: Tech In Asia

Alibaba has unveiled its first smart car, a collaborative project between Alibaba and Chinese auto manufacturer, SAIC, reports Tech In Asia. The smart car, CarOS Roewe RX5, was introduced by founder Jack Ma to the Chinese Press in Hongzhou on July 6. Dr. Wang Jian, Chairman of Alibaba’s Technology Steering Committee comments,

We are creating a ‘car on the internet’. Smart operating systems become the second engine of cars, while data is the new fuel. 

The car will leverage Alibaba’s various ecommerce functions in order to help drivers search for every day things such as parking spaces and gas stations.

Drivers will be able to make e-payments through Alipay, Alibaba’s electronic payment system. The car will assign a unique ID for each driver and be able to make recommendations on things such as music and restaurants.

Drivers will also be able to take selfies with a detachable 360-degree camera that comes with the car.


The cost of an RX5 will start at $22,300 and is available for preorder on Tmall; more than 100 people have already signed up.

The cost of an RX5 will start at $22,300 and is available for preorder on Tmall; more than 100 people have already signed up.

Alibaba is aiming to place itself in the center of car-based data services, as well as enable other companies and third party services to bring new innovations to its new platform. Using a smart car as a new platform for the company’s services moves past mobile restrictions and internet based services and introduces drivers to Alipay. They will be able to use internet and navigation services without getting out of the vehicle.

According to Your Story, the launch of RX5 has placed Alibaba ahead of companies such as Google, which has not yet released a commercial car product despite making headway in the sector.

No words on how the car performs in terms of driving experience as the RX5 is expected to be delivered to owners in August.

A version of this article appeared in Tech In Asia on July 7. Read the full article here.