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Founder of auto giant Geely buys Meizu as smartphone demand weakens

Remember Meizu, the once-promising competitor to Xiaomi ? The Alibaba-backed Chinese smartphone maker is making a comeback — in a way — as it gets acquired by the founder of Geely, China’s largest private automaker and Volvo’s parent comapny. China’s smartphone industry is notoriously competitive. Founded in 2003, Meizu has been making affordable, trendy Android-based smartphones that allowed it to gain brief moments of prominence at home and abroad. As of late, the phone maker’s market share in China has been marginal — 1% in Q4 2019, according to market research firm Counterpoint . But the firm is now taking another shot as Xingji Technology, a smartphone company launched by Geely’s founder and chairman Eric Li last September, acquired a controlling stake of 79.09% from it. Meizu will continue to operae as an “independent brand” following the strategic investment. Its founder Huang Zhang, also known as Jack Wong, will be involved as the brand’s “product strategy advisor.” The t

Ultrahuman busts out a smart ring to decode metabolic health

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Indian fitness platform, Ultrahuman , is expanding its wearable portfolio by launching a smart ring to boost its ability to provide tech loving ‘biohackers’ — and, it hopes, health-concerned Boomers — with more insightful metabolic insights. Sensors embedded in the forthcoming Ultrahuman Ring include temperature, heart rate and movement monitors, which enable the device to track the wearer’s sleep quality, stress levels and activity density, per CEO and co-founder, Mohit Kuma. The device is designed to work in conjunction with the startup’s existing wearable, a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) sensor-based service it brands ‘Cyborg’, to deepen the quality of insights for users — such as by identifying when a poor glucose response might be linked to a bad night’s sleep, say, or elevated stress levels, rather than putting all the focus on whatever it was the user ate right before their blood sugar spiked. The Ultrahuman Ring is not a CGM itself but it can function as a standalone heal

UK’s Oxford Quantum Circuits snaps up $47M for quantum-computing-as-a-service

Quantum computing has been making quantum leaps of progress in the last several years — going from theoretical concept to multiple testing environments, to help organizations prep for a time when quantum computers, and their unparalleled processing power, become a scaled reality. Now, UK-based Oxford Quantum Circuits is announcing £38 million ($47 million) in funding to fuel the growth of its own contribution to the space — a patented 3D processor architecture it calls Coaxmon , plus quantum-computing-as-a-service that will run on it. OQC says that this Series A is the largest to date for a UK-based quantum computing startup. “We work at pace, and our systems are being optimized. We’ll continue to scale and reduce error rates,” said Ilana Wisby, OQC’s founding CEO, in an interview. “Our vision is seamless quantum access.” Lansdowne Partners and The University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners (UTEC) a deep tech fund out of Japan, are co-leading the round, with British Patient Capital,

MarketWolf is a trading-first platform for new investors

Live in India, Singapore-based MarketWolf has plans to introduce stock trading to first-time investors in more markets. The platform announced today it has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Singaporean venture capital firm Jungle Ventures and Mumbai-based Dream Capital. Returning investors 9Unicorns, iSeed, Crescent and Riverwalk also participated. This brings MarketWolf’s total raised to $17.4 million since it was founded in 2017 (it launched in India in 2020). The new funding will be used to build product suite and on hiring for its product, marketing and engineering teams. MarketWolf wants to making trading accessible to first-timers with low minimum investment amounts and a risk management system, as well as modules for practicing and learning about investing. They can invest in options, futures, ETFs and stocks, starting at $5. Most of its users are in the 18 to 35 year old age bracket. MarketWolf’s risk-management features include setting mandatory risk and reward

India’s Tata Motors wants to sell 50,000 EVs by end of fiscal year

Mumbai-based automaker Tata Motors wants to sell 50,000 electric vehicles by the end of the fiscal year ending March 31, the company’s chairperson Natarajan Chandrasekaran said during a shareholders’ meeting on Monday. In the 2023/24 period, Tata — which produces passenger cars, trucks, vans, coaches, buses, luxury cars, and construction equipment — aims to hit 100,000 EV sales, according to Chandrasekaran, as reported by Reuters . The push towards EVs follows a national plan to ensure that up to 30% of total passenger car sales in India are electric by 2030, up from about 1% today. E-scooters and e-bikes will account for 80% of two-wheeler sales, up from 2% today. Given the Indian government’s high import duties on EVs, getting citizens to make the switch to electric will largely depend on the success of local production. After attempting to bring its EVs to the Indian market, Tesla appears to have abandoned efforts to set up a factory in t he country. Tesla usually has a “try befo

Xiaomi launches smartphone with enormous imaging sensors and Leica optics

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With a limited launch in mainland China today, one glance at the new smartphones from Xiaomi leaves little doubt what the smartphone is all about. A third of the back of the smartphone is dominated by a dome covering a number of cameras with one of the biggest sensors we’ve seen in a smartphone so far – a 1-inch sensor covered with Leica glass. A lot of people – men especially – will tell you that size doesn’t matter. In the case of imaging sensors, that just isn’t the case; the glass in front of lenses can only do so much and perfect glass doesn’t exist. Bigger sensors means higher resolution, yes, but it also means that the sensors have space for  bigger individual pixels. This helps both with the cooling of the sensor and could indicate much better low-light performance. The entire 12S series of smartphones features different imaging systems jointly developed by Xiaomi and Leica. I know that in the process of making fun of Leica recently, I was making fun of Hasselblad for its sm

Crypto platform Vauld suspends withdrawals, trading and deposits amid financial challenges

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Vauld, a Singapore-headquartered crypto lending and exchange startup, has suspended withdrawals, trading and deposits on its eponymous platform with immediate effect as it navigates “financial challenges,” it said Monday. The three-year-old startup — which counts Peter Thiel-backed Valar Ventures, Coinbase Ventures and Pantera Capital among its backers and has raised about $27 million — said it is facing financial challenges amid the market downturn, which it said has prompted customer withdrawals of about $198 million since June 12. Vauld founder and chief executive Darshan Bathija said the startup is exploring restructuring options and has engaged with Kroll for financial advice and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Rajah & Tann for legal advice in India and Singapore. The startup intends to apply to the Singapore courts for a moratorium. “We are confident that, with the advice of our financial and legal advisors, we will be able to reach a solution that will best protect the int

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