This article first appeared in Digital Edge, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on December 26, 2022 - January 1, 2023
Jan 10: AirAsia Group Bhd (now known as Capital A Bhd) obtains approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to conduct remote pilot training in support of its drone pilot project to deliver goods from the company’s e-commerce platform.
Jan 21: HSBC Malaysia launches HSBC Global Wallet, Malaysia’s first multi-currency digital wallet for small and medium enterprises to make and receive international payments swiftly and securely from a single global account.
Feb 24: The start of the Russia-Ukraine war. Tech giant Meta, through Facebook and Instagram, announces that users can create posts calling out the violence that Russia is inflicting on Ukraine. In response, Russia bans both Instagram and Facebook, causing Meta to lose close to US$2 billion in revenue.
March 1: Local technology group Finexus announces an investment of RM10 million over the next five years in the Creative Digital District @ George Town ([email protected] Town) in support of Penang’s Digital Transformation Master Plan to build a sustainable financial technology (fintech) ecosystem in the state.
April 13: The Department of Statistics Malaysia launches OpenDOSM, an alternative open data platform for official statistics.
April 24: TikTok launches its e-commerce arm, TikTok Shop, in Malaysia, charging merchants a 1% service fee for purchases made via the shop.
April 29: Bank Negara Malaysia announces five successful digital bank licence applicants. Three entities are licensed under the Financial Services Act 2013: a consortium of Boost Holdings Sdn Bhd and RHB Bank Bhd; a consortium led by GXS Bank Pte Ltd and Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd; and a consortium led by Sea Ltd and YTL Digital Capital Sdn Bhd.
The remaining two are licensed under the Islamic Financial Services Act (IFS) 2013: a consortium of AEON Financial Service Co Ltd, AEON Credit Service (M) Bhd and MoneyLion Inc; and a consortium led by KAF Investment Bank Sdn Bhd.
May 6: China orders its central government agencies and state-backed corporations to replace foreign-branded personal computers with domestic options within two years due to growing concerns about information security.
June 15: Microsoft retires Internet Explorer after 27 years of service.
June 18: Bitcoin’s price drops below the US$20,000 key threshold for the first time since Nov 2020.
June 23: The Measat-3d satellite is launched at the European Spaceport at Kourou, French Guiana. The new high-throughput satellite will enable high-speed internet in underserved rural areas with speeds of up to 100Mbps.
(i) A Federal Communications Commission (FCC) representative from the US, Brendan Carr, requests Apple and Google remove TikTok from their app stores due to “surreptitious data practices” following a report that US-based users’ data collected until January 2022 can be accessed by TikTok’s staff in China.
(ii) The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) approves the merger of Axiata Group Bhd and Digi.com Bhd to form CelcomDigi.
(i) Service-hiring platform Kaodim shuts down its operations.
(ii) Found8, a Singapore-based co-working space, shuts down its only Malaysian branch at KL Sentral.
July 4: The MSC Malaysia initiative is rebranded as Malaysia Digital, a national strategic initiative by the government to attract companies, talents and investments while enabling Malaysian businesses and citizens to play a leading part in the global digital economy.
July 12: Denmark-based blockchain company Vleppo develops a blockchain contract management system that enables non-fungible token (NFT) owners to create their own digital contracts.
July 26: Touch ‘n Go Group’s TNG Digital raises RM750 million from a Lazada Group-led funding round.
July 27: Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc, pushes back its plans to phase out third-party cookies in Google Chrome to 2Q2024, a one-year delay from its initial plans.
Aug 3: Malaysia’s largest co-working space, Common Ground, raises US$51.5 million in a funding round led by Catcha Group and Emissary Capital, taking its total funding amount to US$71.5 million.
Aug 9: Apple Pay is launched in Malaysia, supporting cards from AmBank Malaysia Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd and Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Bhd.
Aug 10: Google expands its cloud region to cover Malaysia, New Zealand and Thailand, with plans to set up a cloud data centre in Malaysia.
Aug 13: Virtuous Kuala Lumpur, a video game development company is launched. Led by Muhfizal Mokhtar, the company consists of a team of veteran Malaysian game developers with 20 years of experience.
Sept 6: Video game designer Jason Allen’s artificial intelligence (AI) artwork, “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial”, wins the digital art category at the Colorado State Fair’s annual art competition, sparking debates among artists on the role of AI in art. The artwork is generated by typing keywords on Midjourney and refined using Gigapixel.
Sept 22: HappyFresh shuts down operations in Malaysia and Thailand, focusing on its base market in Indonesia.
Sept 26: Aerodyne Group raises US$30 million in a bridging round led by Petronas Ventures, the corporate venture capital division of Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas). The global drone service provider also receives a follow-on investment from Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) during the same round.
Sept 30: “Employee base optimisation” was what Carsome, Malaysia’s first tech unicorn, called its retrenchment exercise. Tech giants such as Amazon, Twitter, Meta and Salesforce also laid off employees this year.
Oct 4: The European Parliament passes a law to standardise all charging ports to USB-C cables starting in the fall of 2024. The law extends to laptops, with a 2026 deadline.
Oct 6: The Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI) Park Master Plan is launched to nurture domestic capabilities in 4IR (The Fourth Industrial Revolution) and rapidly developing technologies from Internet of Things (IoT) systems, end-to-end intellectual property (IP) services and laboratories to contract manufacturing facilities with advanced technology.
Oct 13: Malaysia Digital Climate Action Pledge (MDCAP) is launched. The corporate pledge is aimed at building capacity and increasing the adoption of sustainability and climate action by businesses across the digital economy.
Oct 18: NEC Corp of Malaysia Sdn Bhd is awarded the sub-contract to implement its automated biometric identification system and border control solution (e-Gate) by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The solution uses fingerprint, iris and face recognition to authenticate visitors at air, sea and land immigration checkpoints.
(i) Elon Musk officially takes over Twitter months after making an offer to buy the social media platform for US$43 billion or US$54.20 per share in April.
(ii) The European Union launches the Digital Services Act to regulate online services and combat the dissemination of illegal online content.
(iii) Twitter expands its #ThereIsHelp notification service for disaster preparation and “Freedom of Expression” search prompt in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The notification service will appear when keywords associated with freedom of expression are searched, making available hotline numbers of organisations and links to local partners for those in need of advice or access to resources related to freedom of expression and digital rights.
Oct 28: Meta’s shares plunge 24.5%, closing at US$97.94, the lowest price since 2016. The company also reports losing over US$9 billion this year on its Reality Labs division — its virtual reality hardware and virtual social networking ventures.
Oct 31: Five mobile network operators (MNOs) — Celcom Axiata Bhd, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, U Mobile Sdn Bhd and YTL Communications Sdn Bhd — officially sign the access agreement with Digital Nasional Bhd to lease DNB’s 5G network.
Nov 15: Google’s mobile payment service, Google Pay, is officially available in Malaysia, supporting cards from CIMB Bank, Hong Leong Bank Bhd, Hong Leong Islamic Bank, and Public Bank Bhd.
Nov 28: Meta is slapped with a £265 million (RM1.4 billion) fine by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) for breaching European data protection law. The fine is related to an inquiry opened by the DPC following reports of 530 million Facebook users’ personal data being exposed online.
(i) TikTok takes down 1,126 provocative and extreme videos after the 15th general election (GE15), which are automatically blocked by TikTok’s AI system.
(ii) The US state of Texas bans TikTok on government-issued devices, citing security concerns about the app’s data-sharing practices with the Chinese government, triggering similar bans in Maryland and South Dakota.
(iii) WhatsApp welcomes avatars on the messaging app.
Dec 14: (i) US Energy officials announce a nuclear fusion breakthrough when scientists successfully produced a net energy gain, getting more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to power their experiment.
(ii) Instagram introduces a new feature on the app called Instagram Notes that allows users to post a 60-character status that their followers can view on the Messages page.
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