Kr-Asia Weekly Roundup

Highlights from the past week, as well as something cool for the weekend.

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Kr-Asia Weekly Roundup

Editor’s note:

This week saw the price of Bitcoin barreled to an all-time high at $11,000. Main stream optimism keeps driving more investors to weigh in despite warnings that the cryptocurrency is in an asset bubble. Among many others, some Nobel economists are skeptical about the cryptocurrency’s future, with Robert J. Shiller, the Yale economist, said the Bitcoin will just come down despite the recent Bitcoin frenzy.

News of the week:

For the bike-sharing industry in China, the two top players were grappling with rumors. Mobike and ofo were said to have misappropriated users’ deposit worth approximately $9 billion. Then there was speculation that the two are to merger. Mobike and ofo have both denied conjectures.

China strengthened control over online microlenders. Beijing and Guangzhou regulators urged Online microlenders operating without license as well as P2P lending platforms to shut down. Accordingly, Lexin Fintech, the owner of Chinese online lending platform Fenqile, was reportedly planning to meet advisers last weekend to discuss its proposed U.S. IPO.

Go-Jek reported to have bought minority stake in Bangladesh motorbike ride-hailing startup Pathao, investing about $2 million in the company’s Series A round. Through this deal, Go-Jek will get an insight into the Bangladeshi market which is one of the most populated and untapped markets. (DealStreetAsia)

Uber is to allow Vietnamese users to pay for their trips using local mobile wallet MoMo. This move aims at serving millions of users in the country who don’t have credit or debit cards. MoMo has five million users who use the mobile wallet to pay for bills, airline tickets, and many other services. This move comes as Uber’s local rivals Grab and Go-Jek seeks adoption of their own in-app digital payment platforms. (Bloomberg)

Shares of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google (FANG) saw a 3.7 percent drop, making the biggest amount of lost money on a single day. This drop comes as there were speculations that U.S. tax reform prompted traders to flock to firms that are most likely to benefit from a potential reduction in the corporate tax rate such as banks. (Bloomberg)

Alibaba agreed to invest around $227 million in Chinese deep learning unicorn startup SenseTime.The investment is the biggest one so far in the field of AI. The leading tech startup has just closed a Series B funding round worth $410 million in July. Qualcomm has also injected tens of millions of dollars strategic investment in the startup.  (Caixin)

Best of Kr-Asia Features:

Many Chinese VCs see Indonesia as an investment opportunity like China was in 2008. Here is a realistic portrayal of Chinese VCs in their paradise land for the hunt for the next unicorn company.

Cash loan, similar to payday loan, has become China’s latest billionaire breeding ground. Here is an in-depth analysis.

Alibaba reported to has injected 1.5 billion yuan in AI unicorn SenseTime, which, if true, will be the largest financing deal in the AI sector so far. Here is an analysis that will give you an insight into how the Chinese tech mogul is buying itself a dominance in the AI race.

Blog posts that worth your time:

Bitcoin is hot, but be prudent using it.

Tech giants like Amazon and Google tend to infuse the world with AI. But many other tech companies face the challenge that AI experts are in short supply.

China tightened control over online microlenders. Here is why the crackdown is notable.

Cool thing of the week:

UAE announced its intention to build the first city on Mars. Here is how our grandchildren’s world might look like on Mars.

Kr-Asia Weekly Roundup highlights tech & startup news of the past week, with a focus on Southeast Asia and China. We also pick up the best features from Kr-Asia and the web that worth your time. Also, there is always something cool for the weekend.