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Daily briefing - 08 October 2019

After investors eviscerated the valuation of his Vision Fund, Japanese entrepreneur Masa Son has admitted that he is embarrassed by its performance. "The results still have a long way to go and that makes me embarrassed and impatient," Son said in an interview with Nikkei Business. "I used to envy the scale of the markets in the U.S. and China, but now you see red-hot growth companies coming out of small markets like in Southeast Asia. There is just no excuse for entrepreneurs in Japan, myself included." Mr Son is referring to Grab and Go-Jek, the southeast Asian upstarts that he partly controls. But now those red-hot markets are looking carefully at their options, and looking at which model to follow: data localisation or internationalisation? In fact, that's part of a bigger question about global data flows: who shares what data, and with whom. The story of Huawei's dominance also tells us that the US has not given up on trying to watch everything happening in the world. But it won't be able to spy using Huawei's equipment.

Mastercard and Visa, it seems, have been lobbying against the local schemes taking up the example of RuPay. Vietnam is electing for data localisation and Indonesia was set to follow. "The Indonesian government's rules were set to force foreign companies to process credit and debit transactions through a domestic partner in Indonesia's payments network, the National Payments Gateway (NPG)," Reuters reports. "The US government stepped in to help payments companies after being lobbied by Mastercard and Visa." As Business Insider reports: "SEA's immense payments potential likely makes expanding to the region worthwhile despite challenges posed by local regulations. Gross transaction volume for the region's consumer payments is forecast to rise from $1.4 trillion in 2019 to $2.3 trillion in 2025, per a report from Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company. This includes digital payments volume nearly doubling from $600 billion to $1.1 trillion over the same span, illustrating that there's a tremendous opportunity for payments companies that can establish themselves in SEA and start developing their offerings there."

US comedy writers are complaining that president Donald Trump is beyond parody, after the US president apparently warned the entire nation of Turkey to pay attention to statements made 'in my great and unmatched wisdom', which sounds like a quote from the Wizard of Oz. While Silicon Valley taxi-hailing apps have captured millions in venture capital, the US has stumbled on telecoms equipment and now finds itself fearfully behind Huawei, to the extent that US officials are now considering funnelling money to Nokia and Ericsson. (This type of state aid is technically banned in the EU.) One senior government official said: "We gave up our superiority in making telecoms equipment decades ago, and now we are realising that this might not have been the best choice for national security reasons. Almost every department and agency is desperately looking right now for ways to get back into this game." They've even asked Cisco and Oracle to think about getting into 5G (they politely declined.)

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