Kr-Asia Daily: Hyundai Makes A Strategic Investment in Grab

Plus, Didi prepares to break into Mexico. Dropbox is said to have filed confidentially for a U.S. IPO.

Jakarta city. Image credit to 123rf.com.cn

Latin America is likely to be the next battleground for the embattled car-hailing industry.

Didi, after showing its ambition to expand in the region by acquiring Brazil’s car-hailing company 99, is preparing to enter another Uber-dominated market, Mexico.

Kr-ASIA Daily is a five-minute read to brief you everything you need to know to start your day. We only choose the latest tech & startup news that is worth your time, with a focus on Southeast Asia and China.

Southeast Asia:

Singapore: Hyundai, South Korea’s largest automaker, has made a strategic investment in Grab. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: oBike has launched a new delivery service, called oBike Flash. (Vulcan Post)

Singapore: City-state-based independent asset manager EFA Group’s latest fund EFA SME Trade Finance Fund has deployed over $100 million to its portfolio of over 30 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within six months of its launch. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: Japanese general trading firm Itochu Corporation has become a strategic investor in OUE Lippo Healthcare (OUELH), the healthcare subsidiary of the SGX-listed property developer and owner OUE Limited, through a private placement of S$78.8 million ($59.1 million) worth of shares. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: AdAsia Holdings, an artificial intelligence-driven technology solutions developer, announced today it has restructured the business by establishing AnyMind Group as its parent company. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: DBS, a Singapore-headquartered bank notable for its digital-focused approach, has awarded S$1.1 million (US$825,000) to 14 social enterprises, as part of the 2017 Social Enterprise Grant Programme run by its social entrepreneurship foundation. (e27)

Singapore: JobTech, a Singaporean company that temporarily shut down its job-matching service in October, has relaunched and tweaked the product. (e27)

Thailand: The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) is to launch the DEPA Fund with a commitment of 200 million baht ($6.2 million) next month, aiming to support the business expansion of startups and small and medium-sized enterprises, according to The Nation’s report. (Deal Street Asia)

Vietnam: Thanks to growing consumption power, a tech-savvy population, and good Internet infrastructure, Vietnam is now actively blipping on the radar of venture capital investors who are scouting for deals in Southeast Asia. (Deal Street Asia)

Malaysia: BM Mobility, a Singapore-listed investment holding firm, said Thursday that it has offered to acquire Malaysian electric car- sharing firm UNiRide Ecotour Sdn Bhd (UNiRIDE), for RM850,000 ($212,944). (Deal Street Asia)

China:

Chinese ride-hailing company Didi has advertised online for a range of jobs in Mexico as it prepares to break into the country, one of rival Uber’s regional strongholds. (Reuters)

Following Didi’s announcement that it is to launch a bike-sharing platform, two bike-sharing startups U-bicycle and 1bgx are reportedly asking Didi to host their services on its platform. (36Kr)

Alibaba and its financial arm Ant Financial sealed a strategic partnership with the local government of Chongqing to boost the development of cloud computing, IoT and AI technologies in the city. (IT Home)

Asia is becoming the most popular region for VC investment after the U.S. The total VC investment in the region hit $70.8 billion last year, while the number for the U.S. is $71.9 billion, according to a report by PwC and CBInsights. (FT Chinese)

Facebook’s VR subsidiary Oculus teamed up with Xiaomi to toll out VR hardware in China. (FT Chinese)

China has banned the bitcoin mining after prohibiting the bitcoin exchange in last September. (36Kr)

Bitcoin mining is about to become more expensive for some after China ordered mining facilities to close. (Bloomberg)

JD announced it plans to build three departments focused respectively on consumer goods, digital entertainment and fashion. Its financial arm, JD Finacial, has made a profit in a quarter in 2017. (36Kr)

As China’s Spring Festival is soon to come, suppliers asked LeEco founder Jia Yueting and his wife to pay the debt. (36Kr)

Toutiao: Algorithm doesn’t decide everything. We are constantly supervising and correcting it. (36Kr)

Fu Sheng, Cheetah Mobile CEO, announced the company plans to weigh in the blockchain business to help customers protect their data. (36Kr)

Alibaba’s logistics arm, Cainiao, rolled out a recycling scheme of second-hand mobile phones at its package collection points for users of Alibaba’s social credit system Sesame Credit. (36Kr)

Huawei wins the intellectual property case against Samsung. (iFeng)

Genome sequencing company, Beijing Genomics Institute, announced it seeks to finish the genome sequencing process of a person within 24 hours with the cost controlled at less than $300 by 2020. (36Kr)

Chinese talent in the Silicon Valley is coming back to China, allured by the growing salary, opportunities and the sense of belonging. (36Kr)

Beijing regulators plan to roll out laws to tackle the bike-parking mess caused by the booming bike-sharing services. (Weibo)

Baidu Coo Lu Qi: Ai will help push innovations in the field of 5G. (The Paper)

World:

Dropbox, the file-sharing private company valued at $10 billion, has filed confidentially for a U.S. initial public offering, people familiar with the matter said. (Bloomberg)

In its quest to become an alternative to YouTube, Facebook has struck a deal with the popular video site’s biggest critic in the music industry. (Bloomberg)

Apple’s plan to migrate China-based iCloud user accounts to a local host on Chinese soil is already running into controversy after the iPhone-maker appeared included accounts registered overseas in the data. (TechCrunch)

At CES 2018, Razer showed off Project Linda, a companion piece of hardware for the recently released Razer Phone that extends the smartphone into a full laptop. (The Verge)

The South Korean justice ministry is drafting a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading on local exchange, weeks after it announced it will introduce new legislation to regulate cryptocurrency trading. (e27)

Homegrown cab aggregator Ola is planning to set up operations in Australia and New Zealand as it looks to explore new avenues for growth and play a part in investor Didi Chuxing’s plans to dominate the global ride-hailing ecosystem. (Business Standard)

Skype partners with Open Whisper Systems, which makes Signal, to begin testing of end-to-end encrypted “Private Conversations”. (Techmeme)

A self-driving car made by Ford-backed autonomous driving company Argo AI was involved in a car accident in Pittsburgh. (MyDrivers)

Google is planning a new push to vet top-tier YouTube videos that it bundles for major advertisers, people familiar with the effort said, moving to address resurgent concerns that inappropriate content is being shown alongside brand messages.  (Bloomberg)

Unbabel, which combines human and machine translation for 70+ languages, raises $23M Series B from Microsoft Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Samsung, others. (Techmeme)

Ripple partners with global payment company MoneyGram to pilot the use of XRP tokens on MoneyGram’s network using Ripple’s xRapid service. (Techmeme)