Zen Soo, The Star

Zen Soo

The Star

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Past articles by Zen:

China moves vast trade fair online, but few buyers follow

Standing in front of shelves laden with colourful backpacks, a saleswoman promoted bags on the Canton Trade Fair’s website without knowing whether anyone was watching as the world’s biggest sales event opened in cyberspace to avoid the coronavirus pandemic. → Read More

China moves vast trade fair online, but few buyers follow

Standing in front of shelves laden with colourful backpacks, a saleswoman promoted bags on the Canton Trade Fair’s website without knowing whether anyone was watching as the world’s biggest sales event opened in cyberspace to avoid the coronavirus pandemic. → Read More

AI-backed app identifies travellers who have contracted the Wuhan virus, Digital, China News

Chinese internet company Qihoo 360 has partnered with a Chinese tech firm to introduce a platform that lets users check if they have recently travelled with someone who contracted the new coronavirus. By entering the date of their journey, together with flight or train numbers, users can find out if they were travelling with someone who has been infected with the virus. The platform also advises… → Read More

For Carousell founder Quek Siu Rui, starting up hasn't been a walk in the park, Digital, Singapore News

Quek Siu Rui has not taken a holiday in nearly eight years. Since he co-founded Carousell in 2012, almost all of the 32-year-old's free time has been devoted to thinking about what is next, he said. "I have this almost extreme view of the world where [if you do something] you've got to do it well and good. You've got to be laser-focused and almost obsessed about it." → Read More

How being 'late' to e-commerce gave Singapore's Shopee an edge, Digital, Singapore News

For an e-commerce platform under four years old, Shopee has done pretty well for itself. Since it was established in 2015, the Singaporean e-commerce site has become the most visited across Southeast Asia, according to a recent iPrice report which also found that Shopee's mobile app ranked at the top of its category in terms of downloads and average monthly active users in the region. One of the… → Read More

China dreams of becoming an AI utopia

For China, the advent of artificial intelligence is meant to be the silver bullet that unlocks further economic growth and helps solve deep-rooted social problems, such as the uneven distribution of resources in education and health care. The targets are ambitious - by 2025 China wants wide-scale adoption of AI in manufacturing, health care, education, agriculture and national defence, and is… → Read More

The Singapore start-up taking on money changers in Southeast Asia, Digital, Singapore, Asia News

As an ex-McKinsey consultant and a frequent business traveller, Hongkonger Caecilia Chu was all too familiar with having to fork out foreign transaction fees on her credit card. Calculated over time, the amount could range from hundreds to even thousands of dollars. → Read More

Grab's transport business is no longer driving most of its growth, Digital, Asia News

Despite being known mainly as a ride-hailing company, Grab's transport business is no longer the key driver of its growth. With the company expanding into other services in the past few years, food and financial services now generate more than 50 per cent of the Singapore-based company's gross merchandise volume (GMV), according to Lim Kell Jay, regional head of Grab's food delivery service… → Read More

Carousell just snapped up another rival in Southeast Asia, Digital, Asia News

Singapore-based mobile classifieds company Carousell announced on Thursday that it was merging with online classifieds company 701Search in its bid to become the industry leader in Southeast Asia. The cash and equity agreement between Carousell and Telenor Group, which owned 701Search, will merge 701Search's online marketplaces Mudah in Malaysia, Cho Tot in Vietnam and OneKyat in Myanmar with… → Read More

China consumers spend $13.6 billion in 30 minutes in Alibaba's Singles' Day, Digital, China News

Chinese consumers collectively spent US$10 billion (S$13.6 billion) in just under 30 minutes at Alibaba's Singles' Day shopping extravaganza, scooping up everything from consumer electronics to luxury items and even cars. The figure is almost one-third of last year's final tally of US$30.8 billion. Alibaba's Singles' Day shopping festival, which falls on November 11 every year, is the world's… → Read More

This university helped groom some of Singapore's biggest tech startup founders, Digital, Singapore News

When Shih Choon Fong became president of the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2000, he recognised the need to produce more enterprising graduates as the internet looked to become the future. The Silicon Valley dot-com boom was in full swing, though it would soon bust and put many of the more dubious internet start-ups out of business. Still, the realisation that Singapore had few of its… → Read More

SEA ride-hailing market takes interesting turn as Gojek founder joins Indonesian cabinet, Digital, Asia News

Southeast Asia's ride-hailing market took an interesting turn on Monday when Gojek founder and chief executive Nadiem Makarim said he has stepped down from the company to join Indonesia president Joko Widodo's cabinet. Makarim was speaking to local reporters at Indonesia's state palace on Monday, ahead of a cabinet announcement by Widodo, who previously indicated that he would include old hands… → Read More

Why WeRide believes its remote tech can advance self-driving cars, Digital, China News

After 10 years in academia, Tony Han Xu gave up a coveted tenured position as an associate professor at the University of Missouri two years ago to pursue a new path - becoming an entrepreneur. Following close to a decade of research in computer vision and deep learning, coupled with a stint as Baidu's chief scientist for autonomous driving at a time when investors were chasing the industry, Han… → Read More

Can Taiwan keep its perch as top chip manufacturer?, Digital, Asia News

It was the first day after Lunar New Year in February 1974 when seven men gathered over breakfast at the Little Xin Xin Soy Milk stall in central Taipei and mapped out Taiwan's foray into semiconductor manufacturing. In an anecdote that is now legendary, Pan Wen-yuan, a Chinese expatriate who was then a US-based research director at Radio Corporation of America (RCA), advised Sun Yun-suan, the… → Read More

Singapore's not-so-secret formula to becoming a regional tech hub, Digital, Singapore News

When Darius Cheung co-founded Singaporean mobile security start-up tenCube in 2005, the city state was not yet the start-up hub it is today, flush with venture capital or billion-dollar start-up companies with their eye trained on expansion throughout the Southeast Asia region. But back then the government had already put in place schemes and grants aimed at laying the foundations for Singapore… → Read More

What Telegram's cryptocurrency may mean for Hong Kong protests, Digital News

For the anti-government protesters in Hong Kong, privacy is a priority. The cautious steps they have taken to protect their identities include wearing masks on the streets, paying for single-trip MTR fares with cash and using encrypted messaging apps. Telegram, the most widely used app for the city's protesters to organise and disseminate information, is moving to provide additional layers of… → Read More

US-China cooperation needed for world to benefit from digital era, says Jack Ma, Digital News

Amid an escalating trade and technology war between the US and China, both countries need to make a concerted effort to work together on technology for the world to benefit from the digital era, said Alibaba Group Holding founder Jack Ma. "In the smart era, it is almost impossible for anyone to strike out on their own," Ma said in a speech at the Smart China Expo in Chongqing on Monday. "Only if… → Read More

As China turns towards facial recognition payments, are QR codes on their way out?, Digital News

The QR code, a bar code system first invented by a Japanese automotive parts maker to keep track of components, found widespread popularity in China through the use of mobile payments. But as the familiar square mosaic gains greater popularity outside China, the tech giants that helped to drive its adoption are already moving away from the app-based payment method to something even more… → Read More

Huawei enters period of reckoning for its smartphone business, Digital News

The next seven weeks could prove to be a period of reckoning for Huawei Technologies' smartphone business, as the company prepares for the overseas launch of its next flagship device - the Mate 30. Indications are that Huawei could launch the smartphone in Germany around mid-to-late September. But a successful launch would depend on a host of factors - chief among them is whether the Chinese… → Read More

How Hong Kong start-up Sandbox VR built hyperrealistic virtual reality games, Digital, Asia News

A swarm of monster bugs are running toward towards me and I'm frantically shooting at them, all while trying to ignore the fact that I'm standing right at the edge of a skyscraper. As someone with acrophobia, this is the stuff of nightmares. → Read More