Zilingo in $100mn investment to digitise fashion supply chain
The fashion-technology firm, Zilingo, has announced an investment of $100mn as part of the company’s drive to digitally transform the fashion supply chain.
As part of the firm's first steps to expand into the United States, it is anticipated that the investment will have significant benefits for US factories and retailers, in addition to sustainable fashion advocates everywhere.
“The fashion industry is exploitative, wasteful and, frankly, completely broken,” commented Ankiti Bose, co-founder and CEO of Zilingo. “We’re a technology company at heart, and firmly believe in the power of technology to improve business and the world. We’re bringing technology to a supply chain that hasn't changed since the industrial revolution. Zilingo levels the playing field in fashion so that businesses - no matter how big or small - can have access to a fair, transparent, affordable, fast supply chain.”
Zilingo leverages smart, technology-led solutions in order to redefine the fashion supply chain. These are:
Software: SaaS connects merchants and factories to digitise, automate and scale painlessly in order to remove unnecessary middlemen that eat into their margins.
Data Science: Artificial intelligence predicts upcoming fashion trends that are produced and on-shelf in as little as 21 days to cut overproduction and waste.
Financial Services: Unlocked credit, working capital and insurance provide fair and healthy competition in the market.
Sustainability: A global network of sustainable supply allows opportunity and transparency in sustainable retailing.
Compliance: The company provides access to internationally recognised auditing and compliance services to ensure responsible manufacturing.
Factories can compete in a global marketplace with improved line efficiency, labour management and sustainable sourcing. Zilingo enables 60,000 retailers and 6,000 factories on its platform across 17 different countries. The firm holds its headquarters in Singapore.
The investment into the US marks Zilingo’s continued drive in new markets as the company seeks to expand into Australia, Europe and the Middle East.
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Japan Seeks to Revive Stalled Semiconductor Industry
Post-pandemic, Japan has seen the consequences of relying solely on foreign imports for its semiconductors. Over 64.2% of its chips are usually imported from South Korea and Taiwan, leaving the country dependent on its neighbours. Industries from auto manufacturers to consumer electronics firms wait for chips, to no avail. But now, the Japanese government looks likely to put real funding behind its semiconductor industry, with top officials emphasising their support.
Domestic supply chains have never been more important. Rather than remain tied to international shipping routes during shortages and delays, governments are doing everything in their power to develop local lines of supply. But the question remains: can Japan pull it off?
How Will Japan Pay For It?
Herein lies our first issue. Japan’s debt has rapidly increased over the past few years, and the semiconductor industry will need roughly a trillion yen—US$9bn—in this fiscal year alone. This cost, however, pales in comparison to what Japan could lose if it fails to keep up with Europe and the US. Both nations have launched aggressive funding measures to revive their local semiconductor industries. And if Japan refuses to invest due to its debt, it could slow down progress in fields ranging from artificial intelligence to autonomous driving.
According to Tetsuro Higashi, the former president of Tokyo Electron and Japan’s top government advisor in semiconductor strategy, ‘If we miss this opportunity now, there may not be another one’. Yet one advanced wafer fabrication factory can cost more than US$10bn, and any money poured into the industry will go fast. That’s why Japan, rather than invest trillions and trillions in failing domestic firms, is considering a second option.
What Do They Plan To Do?
Japan now intends to look abroad and convince overseas chip foundries to come to its shores. Its past failures mostly centred on trying to merge domestic firms that were already going through tough times. ‘This sort of made-in-Japan self-reliance approach hasn’t worked out well’, said Kazumi Nishikawa, a director at the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry’s IT division. ‘This time the goal is to offer a strong incentive for an overseas logic foundry to come to Japan’.
As follows, Japan will now reach out to industry partners and leaders in other countries, including the industry heavyweight Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), to build Japanese bases. According to the South China Morning Post, the heart of Japan’s mission is a US$337.2mn research and development project in Tsukuba that will involve TSMC and more than 20 Japanese firms. ‘I think we need to cooperate with our overseas counterparts’, said Akira Amari, a senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. ‘[And] TSMC is the world’s top logic chipmaker’.
Indeed, if that’s Japan’s strategy, the future looks bright. TSMC recently set up a venture near Tokyo to research energy-efficient 3D chips with several Japanese partners. And in the future, the multinational chipmaker may consider expanding its Japanese operations—that is, if government incentives pave the path forward.