Horizons Newsletter – week 32 // 2019

Horizons is a bi-monthly Dasym Research initiative to show you how the Dasym themes have been in the news. We publish the Horizons on our website and as an email newsletter. If you wish to receive the email, please contact Investor Relations.
Do you have a question about the digitization of consumer’s daily lives? As a research-driven investment company, we want to be relevant to you, so please provide us with your questions and remarks. Your feedback will help us to drive our research agenda.

Beyond ‘Beyond Meat’
Meat alternatives are booming. Following this year’s best performing IPO, producer of meat substitutes Beyond Meat beat expectations with its first earnings report. The ‘meatless mania’ is spreading: Brazilian startup Fazenda Futuro wants to be the ‘Beyond Meat of Latin America’ and the ‘Beyond Meat of fish’ is in the making. Indeed, high dependence on animal-based ingredients is becoming a risk to business. As meat is one of the major drivers of global environmental change in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, land and water use, animal welfare, and human health, firms are working on their protein transition. However, the transition to a more sustainable model to meet the world’s growing protein demand is complex, and companies are only just beginning their journey towards protein diversification. The environmental sustainability gains of processing meat alternatives, algae- and insect-based food are still limited. Furthermore, 95% of people who purchased a plant-based burger this year are meat-eaters. As the trend towards alternative protein continues, meat substitutes are only the first step in the protein transition.

Business apps for busyness
In today’s ‘always-on’ workplace, a multitude of productivity tools is available for organizing and spending time efficiently. Apps such as Trello (collaboration tool), Asana (project management) and Slack (workplace communication) support employees to manage their own and their team’s work. Increasingly, these apps are also being used in modern households to plan big events (such as a wedding or a move) and/or manage family affairs. According to U.S. research from Pew Research Center, especially households with two working parents and children under age 18 say it is difficult for them to balance work and family. They seek assistance from productivity apps to streamline home life: facilitating family communication and helping everyone keep organized by coordinating and scheduling family members’ daily activities. By incorporating these tools – that were invented in the workplace for team building, problem solving, productivity, and communication – as a way to organize life at home, families are creating a second use case for these business systems. In addition, they may also win time to spend as quality family time.

Rare earth materials are none of Tencent’s and Alibaba’s business

Alibaba and Tencent are not investing inraw materials. As far as Alibaba is concerned, the comparison ends with the 4,456 ‘raw earth metals’that can be found for shopping on Alibaba.com.

The implementation of 5G is important for the upgrade of Alibaba & Tencent’s services

5G is the next generation of ultra-fast wireless technology, offering faster data rates, reduced latency, energy savings, cost reductions, higher system capacity, and massive device connectivity. It is expected to power industrial applications such as smarty city infrastructure and the industrial internet, but can also impact consumer services. For example, 5G will enable Tencent’s gamers to seamlessly stream PC and console-quality games on their smartphones without sacrificing processing power or battery life. For Alibaba’s short-video platform Youku, a 5G connection would mean that users can send high-resolution 4K video within a few seconds.

In fear of dependency on Western hardware, Alibaba has set up a semiconductor division

Resembling the States’concern, both Ma’s have outspoken their fear of western depencency when it comes to core technologies:

Alibaba’s Ma:

If we do not master the core technologies, we will be building roofs on other people’s walls and planting vegetables in other people’s yards.

Tencent’s Ma:

[China]’s digital economy will be a high-rise built on sand and hard to sustain if we don’t continue to work hard on basic research and key knowledge, not to mention the transformation from old to new forms of drivers or high-quality development.

In reaction, Alibaba’s R&D arm DAMO (Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum, and Outlook) has set up its own semiconductor manufacturing business and unveiled its chip in July 2019. The chip is designed to process AI tasks such as image, video and voice analysis and will be used for tasks such as autonomous driving, smart cities and smart logistics.