This Week in Asia #4: Do you fake it till you make it?

This Week in Asia #4: Do you fake it till you make it?
Here are the key stories in week 4 of 2024 for Asia with the spotlight on tanking China Tech stocks and entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia faking their credentials.

Our week 4 starts with the Nvidia CEO visiting China, the Chinese tech stocks took a beating followed by the reckoning of founders in Southeast Asia faking their credentials. Of course, there is optimism as AC Ventures has just raised US$210m to focus on Indonesia & Southeast Asia and TSMC is garnering more revenues with the rising demand for AI semiconductors.

What we are reading this week:


Nvidia chief visits China for the first time in 4 years as mainland market headwinds mount via Xinmei Shen, South China Morning Post (SCMP). Our take: Despite the current US and China tensions, the Chinese market remains significant. NVIDIA intends to create compliant products so that they do not cede the market to any potential upcoming player that might threaten NVIDIA in the future.

Wilting fortunes: Wong Kar-wai’s Blossoms Shanghai drama series offers stock investors painful reality check on past glory by Daniel Ren and Zhang Shidong in Shanghai & Jiaxing Li in Hong Kong. Our take: China's once-mighty capital market, which soared to an impressive peak of US$13 trillion in December 2021, has experienced a substantial decline, shedding one-third of its value since that zenith. Particularly, stocks listed on Shanghai's stock exchange, the largest among the three mainland bourses, have seen a staggering erosion of US$1.45 trillion in their overall worth since reaching their pinnacle.

Baidu denies report linking Ernie AI chatbot to military research: Chinese tech company's stock plunged more than 11% on allegations from Nikkei Asia Review. Our take: In response to recent reports, Baidu firmly refuted any assertions of its involvement in Chinese military research through its artificial intelligence chatbot, Ernie. The company clarified that Ernie Bot is a public-facing tool, accessible and used by the general public, and it has not entered into any business collaborations with the entities mentioned in the academic paper. Baidu emphasized that the use of large language models like Ernie Bot is accessible to any user and does not imply complicity in military research. The company's statement underscores its commitment to transparency and adherence to all applicable rules and regulations. This development reflects broader concerns among investors regarding the potential impact of U.S. sanctions on Chinese technology companies with government or military ties. As geopolitical tensions persist, it becomes increasingly crucial for companies to clarify their roles and operations to maintain trust and confidence among stakeholders.

China extends lead in lidar tech crucial to self-driving cars: Chinese companies gain ground in patents and market share by Noashige Shimizu. Our take: China's remarkable progress in LiDAR technology underscores its ambition to dominate the autonomous vehicle industry. By significantly outpacing global competitors in patents and innovation, Chinese firms are positioning themselves as leaders in this critical technology. However, while this advancement is impressive, it also highlights concerns about intellectual property rights and data security, given the vast amounts of data LiDAR systems collect. As China extends its lead in LiDAR, it will be essential for the international community to address these issues collaboratively. Additionally, the industry should not underestimate the challenges of scaling up production to meet global demand, as LiDAR remains a linchpin in the development of safe and reliable self-driving cars.

Japan and Korea

LG Energy's battery expansion hits speed bump as EV adoption slows: Revenue drops on weak U.S. and Europe demand and competition-driven price declines by Kotaro Hosokawa and Shizuka Tanabe.


TSMC forecasts return to strong growth as the global chip market recovers: Revenues are expected to increase by up to 25% in 2024 on strong demand for AI semiconductors by Kathrin Hille in Taipei.

Southeast Asia

AC Ventures raises US$210M to back tech-enabled businesses in Indonesia and Southeast Asia from AC Ventures. We congratulate AC Ventures on their new fund, and Helen Wong, one of the partners of the fund was on our podcast explaining that Indonesia is the new China. We are not stopping here as Adrian Li, the founder & managing partner of AC Ventures will be on the upcoming episode of the show to talk about the Indonesian startup and venture capital ecosystem after a recent panel with our host Bernard Leong in the XA Network AGM 2023.

Commentary: Is Singapore’s tech start-up scene giving CEOs a free pass for deception? by Gwendolyn Regina in Channel News Asia. Our Take: The woes continue to spiral for the company Vizzio after their CEO faked his credentials. The CEO steps down (Source: Tech In Asia). The essential lesson is whether as a startup ecosystem, we are willing to condone the "fake it till you make it" mentality.

Did the CEO of Indonesian startup Octopus graduate from UC Berkeley? Gabriel Budi Sutrisno from Tech In Asia. Our Take: We should question why we are seeing more founders from startups faking their credentials. One possibility is the insistence from the venture investors indexing specific credentials in founders, for example, having degrees from top schools. Even the venture capitalists who funded the company have dissociated from them.

Our Sponsor:

Do you manage your IT for distributed teams in Asia? You know how painful it is! Esevel helps your in-house team by taking cumbersome tasks off their hands and giving them tools to manage IT effectively. Get help across 8 countries in the Asia Pacific from on and offboarding, and procuring devices, to real-time IT support and device management. With their state-of-the-art platform, gain complete control of all your IT infrastructure in one place. Our team of IT support pros are keen to help you grow! Check out Esevel and get a demo today. Use our referral code “ASIA” for 3 months Free. Terms and conditions apply.

If you like this newsletter, please like and share it. You can subscribe to our newsletter here or on our main site. Follow and subscribe on YouTubeApple PodcastsSpotifyX (formerly known as Twitter), Threads and TikTok.