Asia's newest big ideas in the world of technology.

Takeout troubles for Chinese food delivery apps
For Mike Wong, the owner of a restaurant called Hong Kong Grassroots Canteen with two branches in Beijing, takeout service has long been something of a headache. In China, the delivery app Meituan Dianping and its rival dominate meal delivery services. ( is owned by Alibaba Group, the parent company of Inkstone). Users log on to the apps and order from the restaurants listed. Wong says Meituan charges a minimum of 20% commission on each order – a significant amount for a small business. “My profit margin is only 10% to 15%. So for a takeaway order, all my profits have to be given to Meituan.” Wong says many people order takeout for items as simple as a cup of noodles or a glas
These tiny robot worms may be able to connect to the brain
In southern China, there is an ancient form of black magic known as Gu. According to folklore, a small poisonous creature similar to a worm could be grown in a pot and used to control a person’s mind. Now a team of researchers in Shenzhen have created a robot worm that could enter the human body, move along blood vessels and hook up to neurons. “In a way it is similar to Gu,” said Xu Tiantian, a lead scientist for the project at the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. “But our purpose is not developing a biological weapon. It’s the opposite,” she added. In recent years, science labs around the world have produced many micro-bots. So far, they have mostly
China is launching its own digital currency. No, it’s nothing like Bitcoin
The Chinese government wants to build its own digital currency, but it is unlikely to experience the investment frenzy that launched Bitcoin into the mainstream. The central bank official in charge of the project said the new currency, developed under a project known as the Digital Currency Electronic Payment, would not be open to speculation like other cryptocurrencies, disappointing would-be speculators. Mu Changchun, head of the People’s Bank of China’s digital currency research institute, on Saturday said it would be “a digital form of the yuan,” China’s official currency. There would be no speculation on its value and it would not need the backing of a basket of currencies, according t
TikTok boss hopes DC visit can ease censorship and privacy concerns
The Chinese-owned social media app TikTok is wildly popular in the US, especially among teenagers who spend hours posting videos about the latest dance trends, their love-life complaints and personal unique talents.  As it grows into one of the world’s most used social media platforms, TikTok has found itself under increased scrutiny in the US, its third-largest market.  In an attempt to assuage concerns over censorship and user privacy, the head of the short video platform, Alex Zhu, is embarking on a goodwill tour to Capitol Hill.  The meetings with American lawmakers, scheduled for this week, come as the video app’s Beijing-based owner ByteDance is under increasing scrutiny to address cen
Blade Runner and beyond: Hong Kong is the city of cyberpunk
Nearly 40 years ago, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner hit the silver screen and changed cinema forever. The 1982 film imagined November 2019 as a dark, gritty, dystopian world dominated by inequality and technology, as it introduced a new generation of fans to cyberpunk culture. Bridging the science fiction and neo-noir genres, its cultural impact continued to resonate in films ranging from The Dark Knight series to Ghost in the Shell. And while the Blade Runner story was supposed to be located in Los Angeles, the cult film drew massive influence from 1970s and 80s Hong Kong, referencing its distinctive streets and urban panoramas in nearly every scene. We take a look at Hong Kong's enduring leg
Chinese internet giant Alibaba gets greenlight to sell shares in Hong Kong
Chinese internet giant Alibaba has gained approval to raise as much as $15 billion dollars in a November share sale in Hong Kong, several sources told the South China Morning Post. Alibaba, which owns Inkstone, is already listed in New York. This secondary listing in Hong Kong would bolster the company’s capitalization and finally give investors in mainland China the chance to participate in the growth of one of the country’s most profitable technology giants. Investors in mainland China are expected to be able to trade Alibaba shares in Hong Kong through the Stock Connect program upon regulatory approval. The program allows investors to trade stocks listed on each other's markets through br
New China mobile gaming rules have echoes of the past
For kids in China hoping to invite over their friends, order some food and play video games on their phones until the sun rises, they may have to find another hobby. This week, the Chinese government issued new rules in an effort to tackle online gaming addiction among minors. In doing so, regulators placed a slew of restrictions on the mobile gaming industry for people under the age of 18.  While the rules may sound shocking, they actually follow a pattern that was applied to PC and console gaming years before.  “In general China always tries to balance its core social values with economic growth. They’ve always been paternal in terms of [gaming] policies and regulations,” said Daniel Ahmad
Beijing has more tech unicorns than San Francisco and New York combined
When US venture capitalist Aileen Lee coined the term “unicorn” in 2013 to refer to privately-held startups worth more than $1 billion, San Francisco was leading the world with 15 of them.  “It’s really hard, and highly unlikely, to build or invest in a billion-dollar company,” Lee wrote in 2013. She said the odds of building one were more than 100 times tougher than getting into Stanford.  Now, Beijing, China’s capital, has 82 of those companies, making it the world’s top city for tech unicorns.  San Francisco ranks second with 55. Shanghai, China’s eastern metropolis, takes third with 47, followed by New York with 25.  China also leads the US in the total number of unicorn startups at 206
US forces Grindr’s Chinese owner to sell
The Chinese owner of Grindr has been forced to sell the gay dating app by June next year over American national security fears. United States officials raised concerns over the ownership of the app, which collects the personal data of millions of users, including their sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status. The app’s owner, Beijing Kunlun Tech Co, said on Monday that it had reached a deal with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) to sell the app before June 30, 2020. CFIUS vets foreign buyers of American businesses and is empowered to block deals that it considers a threat to US national security. The US in August passed legislation to broaden the committee’s