KrASIA Daily: Alibaba Joins China’s Autonomous Vehicle Competition, Confirming Road Tests

Plus, The Philippines criticized Facebook’s fact-checker. Ola mulls to roll out a million EVs by 2021.

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KrASIA Daily: Alibaba Joins China’s Autonomous Vehicle Competition, Confirming Road Tests

 Editor’s note: 

Alibaba is regularly running tests of self-driving cars and has already the capability for open road trials, SCMP reports. 

Jack Ma’s tech giant is recruiting 50 specialists in self-driving for its AI research lab according to local news service Caixin. 

KrASIA 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 Facebook.

The Philippines: The Philippines government criticized on Monday Facebook’s choice of two independent online news platforms to help fight the spread of fake news, saying they are biased against President Rodrigo Duterte. (Reuters)

Singapore: Singapore-listed Noble Group announced on Monday a “simplified structure” to its controversial $3.4 billion debt restructuring deal and said this had won the support of its founder and biggest shareholder, Richard Elman. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: Singapore-based fintech company Silot Pte Ltd has raised a pre-Series A funding round worth millions of dollars from Arbor Ventures and Eight Roads Ventures for technology upgrades and overseas expansion. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: Real estate investment manager LaSalle Investment Management has closed its LaSalle Asia Opportunity V fund at over $1.1 billion, exceeding the $750-million target announced at the launch of the vehicle in August 2016. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: Singapore-based disruptive skincare brand Alcheme has announced the successful close of its seed funding round led by investment firm DSG Consumer Partners and backed by private investor Kenneth Bishop. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC is looking to sell a large chunk of its private equity portfolio, worth about $2 billion, according to a PE Hub report. (Deal Street Asia)

Vietnam: VTVCab, one of Vietnam’s largest pay-TV players, is cancelling its initial public offering (IPO) on April 17 after only one investor registered to attend the auction, according to an announcement by the Hanoi Stock Exchange. (Deal Street Asia)

Vietnam: ESP Capital, the one-year-old homegrown venture capital firm in Vietnam, targets to increase investments in pre-seed and seed rounds to $300,000 and hopes to help build the first unicorn in the country, said the firm’s new General Partner. (Deal Street Asia)

Malaysia: Malaysia’s Ekuiti Nasional Bhd (Ekuinas) has acquired a controlling stake in electronic turnkey and components manufacturer Flexi Versa Group in a deal that ascribes the latter an enterprise value of about $84.8 million (MYR 330 million). (Deal Street Asia)

Malaysia: Malaysia’s IHH Healthcare Bhd said on Monday India’s Fortis Healthcare Ltd declined to engage with the company regarding a takeover offer, citing binding agreements made with other parties. (Deal Street Asia)

The Philippines: Traxion.Tech, a blockchain startup that has built a permission-based distributed ledger for enterprises, has inked a deal with Union Bank of the Philippines and DigiVation Digital Solutions to build a payment-management system for SMEs. (e27)

Thailand: Truemove H, the second-largest telco operator in Thailand, experienced a data leak over the weekend that resulted in sensitive materials of customers — such as passport and national ID card information — to become public. (e27)

China:

Image credit to hinglish Notes on Flickr.

Alibaba joins its rival internet giants Baidu and Tencent – which are collectively known as BAT – in the artificial intelligence-driven industry. The company is looking to hire 50 more self-driving specialists for its AI research lab, said an Alibaba spokeswoman, confirming an earlier report by Caixin. (SCMP)

JD.com Inc will invest 536.6 million yuan ($85.4 million) for a 33 percent stake in the China unit of global insurance giant Allianz SE, the companies said, as part of the Chinese e-commerce firm’s push into financial services. (Deal Street Asia)

Tencent’s simultaneous translation system, which was designed to provide both interpretation and transcripts, made an error-filled debut at the high-profile forum, sometimes known as Asia’s Davos. (SCMP)

Xiaomi Corp. has picked China’s Citic Securities to handle its issuance of Chinese depositary receipts as the smartphone maker prepares to file for an initial public offering in Hong Kong, people familiar with the matter said. (Deal Street Asia)

Meilishuo, the online fashion retailer backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., is in talks with several investment banks about a U.S. initial public offering that could value the startup at about $4 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.  (Bloomberg)

CHJ Auto, the Beijing-based electric-start-up founded by internet entrepreneur Li Xiang, has teamed up with Didi Chuxing, the market leader in China’s on-demand transportation market, to develop what would probably be the first car designed specifically for ride-pooling. (SCMP)

A representative from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) has said that cryptocurrencies are challenging to ban, but are worth experimenting with in the development of an international reserve currency. (Technode)

Ever Grande Group invested US$300 million in EV maker Faraday Future. (finance.qq)

Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Financial is reportedly investing in convenience store chain XingBianLi. (36Kr)

China’s Didi Chuxing establishes a car service platform, covering services like rental services, refueling, maintenance, etc. (36Kr)

Baidu led a Series B round investment in driverless vehicle startup idriverplus, with participation from Shunwei Capital and JD.com. (36Kr)

World:

Image credit to Ola.

Ola, Uber Technologies Inc.’s fiercest Indian competitor, wants to roll out 10,000 electric three-wheeled rickshaws within a year and a million battery-powered vehicles by 2021. (Deal Street Asia)

U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm will refile as early as Monday an application with the Chinese government to clear its $44 billion takeover of NXP Semiconductors, sources said, giving regulators more time to decide on the deal and averting a collapse. (Reuters)

Oracle Corp co-CEO Safra Catz said on Monday she expects an acceleration in the company’s cloud business after the software maker last month reported sales from its cloud business that fell short of Wall Street expectations. (Reuters)

Russia began implementing a ban on the Telegram messenger service for refusing to hand over encryption keys to security services, a move that forced Kremlin officials to switch to another provider for communications with media. (Bloomberg)