Sarawak launches logo, welcomes global tech community to World Congress on Innovation and Technology 2023

(L2R): Launch of WCIT 2023 Logo with SDEC CEO Sudarnoto Osman, SDEC Chairman Amar Mohamad Morshidi, Premier of Sarawak Abang Johari Openg, WITSA chairman, Dr Abang Johari Openg and Pikom chairman, Ong Chin Seong.

The World Innovation, Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) welcomed the unveiling of the official logo of the World Congress on Innovation and Technology 2023 (WCIT 2023) which will take place on October 4 – 6, 2023 in Kuching, Sarawak. Kuching takes over the hosting from another Malaysian city, Penang, which hosted the 2022 congress last Sept. 

Officiated by the Premier of Sarawak Abang Johari Openg, the event also saw the announcement of key partners that are joining the effort to organize the 27th edition of WCIT that was first staged in 1978 in the United States.

WCIT 2023 is hosted by the Sarawak Government, organized by the Sarawak Digital Economy Corporation Bhd, co-hosted by the Sarawak Multimedia Authority and Sarawak Information Systems Sdn Bhd (SAINS), with The National Tech Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) as the Host Association.

At the launch, Abang Johari highlighted the role of innovation in advancing the new economy through applications such as algae as a source of energy, data and AI in disrupting conventional means of production. He hoped WCIT 2023 would bring to Sarawak new innovations, data and technology to impact the energy industry, the circular economy and digital transformation.

A signature event of WITSA, WCIT 2023 is an event for the global tech industry, bringing together leaders, experts and stakeholders to discuss, deliberate and challenge the latest tech and innovation trends. The congress will feature keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops and networking opportunities with delegates from around the world.

WITSA aims to bring its member economies and global tech leaders to attend WCIT 2023 to experience the diverse and exotic culture as well as take advantage of all the investment and business opportunities that Sarawak, Malaysia and the broader ASEAN economies have to offer.

WITSA Chairman Dr Sean Seah said, “WITSA is the leading recognized voice of the global tech industry which is the key driver of global economic growth. Delegates from around the world will experience the diverse and exotic culture while fostering collaboration in various technology, innovation and business sectors.”

WITSA CEO Dan E Khoo added, “With the host organizers’ aims to leverage innovation and technology for prosperity, inclusivity and sustainability, WCIT 2023 is set to be the catalyst of a sustainable future for the tech industry.”

WCIT offers a global perspective on fulfilling the promise of the digital age and its ability to draw users, providers, media and academia from around the world to focus on technology for societal good. WCIT expects to bring together more than 2,000 global leaders in business, government and academia from over 80 countries to impact economic and social development through the exchange of policies, practices, trends and ideas on tech.

Over 10000 Microsoft employees may lose jobs soon

After Twitter, Meta, and a host of tech giants, Microsoft is preparing mass layoff due to uncertain macroeconomic conditions. As reported by The Verge, the company may fire 5 per cent of its workforce by this week. A Bloomberg report claims that the tech giant may announce layoffs as soon as today. Currently, Microsoft has over 220,000 employees, and 5 per cent roughly translates to 11,000. In October last year, Microsoft laid off close to 1000 employees across divisions.

The latest reports point out that the latest round of job cuts will majorly impact the engineering divisions. This comes just days after Microsoft announced an “unlimited time off policy” for its salaried employees in the US. As a part of the policy, US salaried workers won’t have a fixed number of vacation days and can take unlimited leaves for the same. This does not apply to part-time workers.

Although the news about the job cuts is unfortunate, the development isn’t entirely surprising as Microsoft has been giving signs of uncertainties ahead. For instance, its CEO Satya Nadella, who recently visited India, said in an interview with CNBC that Microsoft is not immune to global changes. 

Nadella expects the next two years to be challenging for tech companies after the pandemic-fuelled growth. He also admitted that Microsoft is not immune and says the tech sector must look inwards to boost efficiency to remain competitive.

Microsoft is yet to confirm reports about a potential mass layoff this week.

Over the last five months, many American tech giants have fired thousands of employees to save operational costs. The companies have mainly blamed the Ukraine-Russia war, slow growth, and over-hiring during the peak COVID-19 pandemic.

Mass layoffs majorly began with Twitter in October, following Elon Musk’s formal takeover. The new Twitter CEO has taken strict measures to limit expenses. Twitter has fired over 3000 employees. Amazon laid off close to 10,000 workers late last year, and the company recently announced that more employees would lose jobs. This will take the total tally to 18000.

Meta, formerly Facebook, too, fired thousands of employees last year. It trimmed nearly 13 per cent of its workforce, which impacted more than 11,000 employees worldwide. Several other tech giants such as HP and Adobe also announced layoffs to save expenses. 

In India, startups such as Dunzo and ShareChat have taken similar measures. Many companies have also ended their work-from-home and hybrid work.

Huawei Malaysia Launches “My Suria Home” Contest To Encourage Malaysians To ‘Go Solar’

Huawei Technologies (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (Huawei Malaysia) kicked off its MY Suria Home” Instagram contest to encourage Malaysians to ‘Go Solar’. The contest runs for a period of 10 weeks from January 01 to March 12, 2023.

This contest is open to all FusionSolar Smart Energy Controller homeowners who stand to walk away with prizes worth up to RM250,000. The terms of the contest are simple, with contestants only required to creatively showcaseand relate their experience of using Huawei’s Smart PV Controllers which are safety-compliant, cost-effective, and energy-efficient for their solar-powered homes via their Instagram posts. 

Six weekly winners will be chosen throughout the 10-week duration of the contest for an opportunity to win six units of Huawei’s latest flagship smartphone, the Huawei Mate50. The weekly winners will then be in the running for the top three awards for the most creative entries and stand a chance to win the Huawei Mate50 Pro and Huawei Watch GT3 Pro.The FusionSolar management system provides new generation string inverters with smart management technology that creates a fully digitalised smart PV solution.

The FusionSolar Smart PV Controller has a built-in Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered DC arcing protection with the detection range of up to 200 metres (150 per cent better than the global standard requirement) to improve the reliability and capability of the solar PV product. All these are part of Huawei’s efforts in the drive towards achieving the carbon neutrality goals of the nation.

Huawei is a global leading provider of fully digitalised smart PV solutions, harnessing more than 30 years of expertise in information and communications technology, and serving more than a third of the world’s population. The company leverages its advantages in the field and integrates its established digital technologies with PV, energy storage, Cloud, and AI technologies.

Registrations for the MY Suria Home contest are now open. To enter, all entries must include the hashtag #MySuriaHome. Visit myhuaweisolar.com or Huawei Malaysia’s official Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/HuaweiMalaysia to learn more about the contest and submit your entry today.

Apple eyes India, Vietnam to replace China as its key manufacturer

China, which is still the key Apple supplier, may lose its tag as leading iPhone manufacturer as Apple looks at India and Vietnam to bolster its supply chain, the media reported on Saturday.

Largest Apple supplier Foxconn has “quietly finalised plans” to relocate some of its Apple iPad and MacBook production to Vietnam, reports The South China Morning Post.

Apple has reportedly cut back on orders citing weakening demand in potential blow to its Chinese suppliers amid Covid disruptions.

At the moment, China is way ahead on the Apple product manufacturing global map.

According to Bloomberg’s analysis of Apple’s global supply chain, 121 (17.7 per cent) of Apple’s 2022 suppliers were domiciled in China, making the country the second largest global source of Apple’s supply chain after the US.

India is in eighth spot, with two companies (0.3 per cent) and 278 out of 12,248 global facilities (2.3 per cent).

Vietnam was in 14th place with two companies (0.3 per cent) and 160 facilities (1.3 per cent).

Apple is eyeing to ramp up manufacturing in India amid Covid-related supply chain issues in China.

Apple is fast forwarding its manufacturing plans in India and Vietnam in the wake of unrest in China over zero-Covid policy which has severely disrupted its supply chain, leading to an acute shortage of new iPhone 14 Pro models last last year.

The Wall Street Journal had reported that the company is “telling its suppliers to plan more actively for assembling Apple products elsewhere in Asia, particularly in India and Vietnam” in order to “reduce dependence on Taiwanese assemblers led by Foxconn”.

Apple aims to ship 40-45 per cent of iPhones from India compared to a single-digit percentage currently, according to Kuo.

Every fourth iPhone will be made in India by 2025, according to JP Morgan.

Buoyed by the ease-of-doing business and friendly local manufacturing policies, Apple’s ‘Make in India’ iPhones will potentially account for close to 85 per cent of its total iPhone production for the country in 2022, according to industry experts.

Apple first started manufacturing iPhones in India in 2017, with iPhone SE.

The tech giant manufactures some of its most advanced iPhones in the country, including iPhone 11, iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 at the Foxconn facility, while iPhone SE and iPhone 12 are being assembled at the Wistron factory in the country.

Xiaomi resolves patent disputes with IP Bridge, Orange, Siemens

Xiaomi today announced that it has ended long-standing patent disputes with IP Bridge, Orange, and Siemens. The company said that it resolved the disputes through an “innovative patent licensing transaction” that will allow it to license multiple technologies from the three companies.

“This unique transaction structure lets Xiaomi customers enjoy benefits of inventions from 3 companies, efficiently.” Siemens is a leading technology company focusing on technology with purpose. “For us, protection of innovation by patents is of high importance. We highly welcome this agreement, as it constitutes a mutually very satisfactory solution over litigations and appreciates the solution-oriented approach of all parties involved in the deal,” said Rudolf Freytag, Head of Licensing and Technology Acceleration at Xiaomi, in a press statement.

While Xiaomi has ended patent troubles with other companies, it continues to face trouble in the Indian market with the government. In April last year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seized Rs 5,551.27 crores belonging to the company for alleged violated foreign exchange regulations. Xiaomi has denied the charge.  ED claimed that Xiaomi remitted large amounts of money abroad to entities related to the company. The amounts were royalties paid for services, but no service was rendered, according to the ED.

At the time, Xiaomi countered this by saying that 84 per cent of the seized amountwas due to be paid as royalties to Qualcomm. According to the company, Xiaomi India is an affiliate and one of the Xiaomi Group companies has entered into a legal agreement with the Qualcomm Group to license intellectual property for manufacturing smartphones.

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