KrAsia Daily: Alibaba Buys 15% Stake in China’s 2nd Largest Home-Improvement Store Easyhome

Plus, ComfortDelGro is expanding its footprint in the United Kingdom through the acquisition of a bus and coach operator in South Wales. Uber agreed to give Waymo about $245 million to cut short a trade-secret theft trial.

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KrAsia Daily: Alibaba Buys 15% Stake in China’s 2nd Largest Home-Improvement Store Easyhome

Editor’s note:

The latest investment in Easyhome further underpins Jack Ma’s ongoing “New Retail” strategy which seeks to merge online and brick-and-mortar shopping to create an integrated online-to-offline shopping experience for consumers.

Alibaba’s archrival Tencent has extended the battleground from supermarkets/department stores to vertical industries by teaming up with China’s leading menswear HLA.

The rodeo between the two tech giants in offline retail is likely to involve more vertical businesses and capital in 2018.

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:

Image credit to ComfortDelGro.

Singapore: ComfortDelGro Corporation is expanding its footprint in the United Kingdom through the acquisition of a bus and coach operator in South Wales for £13.4 million ($18.7 million). Additionally, it has bought over an insurance joint venture it launched in 2003. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: Singapore’s Global Logistics Properties (GLP) has set up its first China value-add fund with a single investor, China Life, it announced on Friday. The fund, GLP China Value-Add Venture I, has total equity commitments of RMB10 billion ($1.6 billion) and will focus on acquiring completed logistics and industrial assets in China, GLP said in a statement. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: The initial public offer of MLP Saglik Hizmetleri (MLP Health Services Inc.), Turkey’s largest private healthcare service provider, on the Borsa Istanbul has seen Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings emerge as one of its major backers, according to Turkish media reports. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: B Capital Group, which counts Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin as a founding partner, Friday said it had closed its maiden fund at $360 million, substantially exceeding the original target. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: Singapore-based private investment firm Aetius Capital is leading a $30 million Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for technology startup Cloud Alliance, also claimed by the investor as the region’s first digital games platform token sale. (Deal Street Asia)

Indonesia: Telco firm XL Axiata has teamed up with HR and accounting platform Sleekr to provide a digital solution to small and medium enterprises in the country, the latter has announced. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore & Vietnam: Singapore-based security services company Ademco Security Group has acquired 60 percent of one of Vietnam’s leading security solution providers TNT Technologies Joint Stock Company (TNT) as a part of its plan to grow overseas revenue by 50 percent over the next three years. (Deal Street Asia)

Cambodia: The exiled Cambodian politician Sam Rainsy has filed a legal suit against Facebook, demanding it hand over any information which could prove that the Cambodian prime minister, Hun Sen, purchased millions of “likes” to appear popular on the social media platform. (The Guardian)

China:

Image credit to hinglish Notes on Flickr.

Alibaba is buying 15 percent stake for USD 866m in Easyhome, 2nd largest home-improvement store in China. The duo will launch an online platform for home decoration products and services. The move marks Alibaba’s latest push to combine its digital prowess with physical stores in its “new retailing” initiative. (KrASIA)

Alibaba will invest $486 million for a stake in a domestic big- data firm focused on hotels and retail, as part of a push to deepen its offline presence. The firm will buy a 38 percent stake in Shiji Retail Information Technology Co via its subsidiary Alibaba Investment Ltd, the data firm’s listed parent said in a filing to the Shenzhen stock exchange on Thursday. (Reuters)

Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba, said businesses and startups across the world should compete with an Olympic spirit. Addressing the media on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, Ma remarked that if businesses compete with an Olympic spirit, the world would become more peaceful. Alibaba is the cloud services and e-commerce platform services partner of the International Olympics Committee (IOC). (e27)

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Chairman Terry Gou, best known for assembling Apple Inc.’s iPhones, plans to increase its focus on artificial intelligence and big data over the next few years as he seeks to transform the contract manufacturer into a more influential force in the global technology industry. (Bloomberg)

Tencent Music and NetEase Cloud Music will exchange more than 99% of their exclusive content and work together in the long term on music rights as well as licensing for other streaming platforms. (Seeking Alpha)

NetEase rolled out a blockchain-based app which allows users to mine cryptocurrency-like “black diamond”. (36Kr)

Baidu teamed up with Agricultural Bank of China to roll out a fintech lab. The duo put in use a “financial brain” which helps to achieve smart management of bank account and credit, as well as anti-fraud. (cs)

Alipay is testing its NFC-enabled payment on buses in Wuhan city. (TechWeb)

World:

Image credit to 123rf.com.cn

Uber agreed to give Waymo about $245 million in closely held stock to cut short a trade-secret theft trial, ending a high-stakes conflict that already cost the ride-hailing giant its top driverless car engineer and threatened to further embarrass the company. (Bloomberg)

Walt Disney raised admission prices to its theme parks and said it plans to introduce fixed-date ticketing in coming months to help reduce crowding at peak times. (Bloomberg)

Canalys estimates that Apple sold 8 million Apple Watches in the last quarter of 2017, outsolding the entire Swiss watch industry combined last quarter. (Business Insider)

Organizers of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics said Saturday its servers were hacked by an unidentified attacker during the opening ceremony the previous day. (Yonhap News Agency)