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Episode 83: The Five Major Events in Asia 2015 with Sameer Singh

Sameer Singh, author of Tech-Thoughts.net and senior industry analysis manager of App Annie, joined our host in a two episodes arc discussion on the five major events that shook Asia for the year of 2015 and the predictions for the year of 2016. In the first part, we discuss the five major events in Asia this year: (a) the surge of venture capital financing in Asia and its implications, (b) SoftBank’s Pepper with Alibaba and Foxconn, (c) the Nintendo-DeNA deal, (d) Xiaomi’s challenging year and (e) global recognition of Wechat’s messaging platform and why Facebook is learning from them to build their messaging app. We also added a short discussion on the upcoming dawn of self-driving cars and examine its implications across Asia from the on-demand taxi-hailing apps, the investors such as SoftBank, Tiger Global and the car makers.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Sameer Singh (@sameer_singh17, LinkedIn, Tech-thoughts.net)
  • Event 1: VC investments in Asia have reached record high in China, India and Southeast Asia, with unicorns. On-demand hailing apps and Ecommerce dominate the conversation. [1:10]

  • Event 2: Foxconn, Alibaba investing in SoftBank’s Pepper with US$236M (US$118M each) with Asia seek to dominate the conversation for robotics and hardware. [9:40]

    • Asia’s always held the upper hand with hardware. But as hardware improves, it becomes important to build the brains (data layer as a hive mind, much like for Google’s self-driving cars). Baidu and Google are leading the way
  • Event 3: NintendoDeNA deal and how it changed the landscape of gaming not just in Japan but the world. [14:02]

    • Their first attempt, Miitomo, was pretty disappointing (their stock slid right after – about 10% loss). Interestingly, Niantic Labs’ attempt with Pokeman Go might have more of an impact.
    • Attempting to link mobile games to consoles will likely hamstring both businesses. Strategy not driven by market needs, but needs of primary profit center.
    • See our earlier podcast episodes 26 and 50 with Serkan Toto and his recent article “Nintendo Shock”.
  • Event 4: Xiaomi’s challenging year [18:00]

    • According to some estimates, Xiaomi saw its first YoY decline in some quarters. In danger of missing annual sales target. Clear case of low-end disruptor in turn facing low-end disruption. Need to move upmarket (expand overseas) to continue growth. Conservative expansion strategy fraught with dangers. Expansion into home tech, etc. are not a substitute, but rather a (higher margin) way to monetize the base created through the smartphone business.
    • The empire strikes back with traditional Chinese technology companies are fighting back against Xiaomi by copying their go to market strategy. Huawei is the third largest global smartphone maker with 8.7% and Lenovo is the 5th with 4.7%. (Ref: Episode 59 with Kitty Fok on why Huawei has competitive advantage in building smartphones with chips and carrier technology)
    • Xiaomi missing their sales target report by Wall Street Journal
  • Event 5: Wechat gaining global recognition and going mainstream – 650M users in Q3 2015 [23:30]

    • In the past year, for the first time, a senior executive from a top US company (Dave Marcus from Facebook) accept that Facebook is learning from WeChat, and WeChat has been covered extensively by many in the western media and how they are influential in the market.
    • Is Wechat the roadmap for platforms with no operating system capabilities such as Facebook as to how one can innovate against the mobile operating system layer?
    • Why did Yahoo miss the boat 5 years ago with the messaging apps? Hear Michael Smith Jr tell the story in episode 5.
  • Side event: Investments in self-driving cars from Google, Uber and its implications to Asia. [28:37]

    • Competitive advantage of ride sharing companies is the network effect between drivers and riders. With self-driving cars, one side of the network goes away completely, i.e. competitive advantage purely becomes accessibility (fleet size) and reliability (data/AI) of self-driving cars. In the short-run, this benefits companies that own the best self-driving car tech, once self-driving cars are “good enough” biggest value in licensing tech to other ridesharing companies.
    • BL’s pet theory on how SoftBank’s play in taxi apps with Pepper can align with a world of self-driving cars.
  • Other references: App Annie Predictions 2016

We embed Arnaud Bonzom’s report here:

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bleongcw) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Aspirus Desk on Indiegogo (Twitter, Facebook, Medium) and Linkcious (and check out their other product, Chiibi). Also check out Ideal Workspace’s new standing desk, Aspirus and sign up for their mailing list.

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By | 2016-01-02T07:00:30+00:00 December 30th, 2015|Analyse Asia Podcast, Podcast Shows|

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A pragmatic idealist in technology, media & entrepreneurship.