KrASIA Daily: Buying out Baidu, Alibaba Rumoured to Acquire Top Food Delivery Startup Ele.me

Plus, East Ventures is planning a USD100 million fund. Apple is preparing to release a trio of new smartphones later this year.

Image credit to Shwangtianyuan.

Editor’s note:

In May 2017, Alibaba, together with its financial arm Ant Financial, led a US$ 1 billion round into Ele.me. Part of the funding was used to acquire the largest Chinese search engine Baidu’s food delivery operations announced in last August.

According to market researcher Bigdata-Research, Ele.me, Meituan Waimai and Baidu Waimai represented 34.6%, 33.6% and 18.5% of the market share respectively in 2016.

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 East Ventures.

Indonesia: Indonesia and South East Asia-focused venture capital firm East Ventures is planning a $100-million seventh fund and is slated to raise this vehicle in 2018. This will mark the largest fund by East Ventures, which has been active in this region since 2010. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: SGX-listed New Silkroutes Group has acquired two Shanghai-based makers of medical consumables for a consideration of S$65 million ($49.3 million), it announced in a stock exchange filing on Friday. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: The Morpheus Labs, a blockchain-platform-as-a-service startup, today announced that it has raised 6,200 ETH (US$6 million) in the first phase of its token sale. The Singapore startup said in a statement that the private sale, commenced earlier this month and ended on February 24, has brought in over US$30 million in written commitments from supporters globally on a limited invitation basis. (e27)

Indonesia: Indonesian P2P firm Investree expects to close a Series B funding round in two to three months, which will be used to finance the company’s marketing activities and expansion. (Deal Street Asia)

Indonesia: Malaysian healthtech startup BookDoc announced its expansion to the Indonesian market through a partnership with Siloam Hospitals Group. Indonesia will be the fifth market the startup is operating in, following Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand. (e27)

Myanmar: Private equity firm Anthem Asia is raising $40-50 million for its Myanmar SME Venture Fund, according to an investment disclosure by International Finance Corporation (IFC). The World Bank arm disclosed it is considering investing up to $15 million in the fund. (Deal Street Asia)

Thailand: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a loan equivalent of up to $235 million with Thailand’s B.Grimm Power to develop renewable energy capacity in a number of Southeast Asian countries. (Deal Street Asia)

Thailand: Thai stock trading and analytics startup StockRadars is launching an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) next month to raise US$12 million, as per a press statement. The fintech startup will use the money to develop a decentralised social trading platform called CoinRadars, in addition to expanding regionally and globally. (e27)

Vietnam: Mirae Asset Global Investments, the asset management unit of South Korea’s Mirae Asset Financial Group, has inked a joint venture agreement with a subsidiary of Vietnam’s sovereign wealth fund State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC). (Deal Street Asia)

Malaysia: French carmaker PSA and Malaysian company Naza Corp have signed a deal to jointly produce PSA-branded cars for Malaysia and other Asian markets, as part of plans by the owner of Peugeot to boost its presence in the region. (Deal Street Asia)

China:

Image credit to hinglish Notes on Flickr.

Source: Alibaba would be pumping in US$ 9.5 billion to fully acquire food delivery startup Ele.me (饿了么), meaning “are you hungry?” in Mandarin. (KrASIA)

Zhaogang.com (找钢网), China’s largest e-commerce platform in the steel industry, is planning to raise USD500 million in a Hong Kong IPO, according to HK-based media Sing Tao Daily.  (KrASIA)

Meituan-Dianping, the world’s largest O2O lifestyle platform, has just obtained an insurance license through a subsidiary, according to an announcement by China Insurance Regulatory Commission (in Chinese). With the license, the company is entitled to operating insurance business in China. (KrASIA)

Long-time collaborators Tencent Holdings and JD.com have each bought minority stakes in Better Life, a Chinese retail conglomerate. According to a filing made on Friday by Better Life, which is traded on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Tencent paid 886.9 million RMB (about $140 million) for a 6% stake, while JD.com took a 5% stake for 739.1 million RMB ($117 million). (Tech Crunch)

China’s largest news aggregator Toutiao, which has already invested into a bunch of short video apps, is reportedly making a bold stride to produce longer videos, namely making self-produced TV dramas and variety shows, adding the likes of Alibaba’s Youku, Tencent Video and Baidu-backed iQiyi to its competitors list. (KrASIA)

Anbang Insurance Group Co Ltd said on Monday it fully supported the Chinese insurance regulator’s decision to temporarily take control of the company and remains committed to the development of its overseas subsidiaries. (Deal Street Asia)

EV maker Faraday Future‘s FF91 is likely to be priced at RMB2 million in China, more expensive than a Tesla Model S with primeum equipment. (36Kr)

YU Chengdong, president at Huawei: “Only three to four phone manufacturers will survive.” He thinks Huawei is going to be the #2 largest smartphone manufacturer in this year or next year, and will eventually become the #1 player in the field. (tech.sina)

Meituan-Dianping is in talks with Tencent-backed menswear Hla to deliver clothes to shoppers, diversifying the services-focused e-commerce major’s business. (36Kr)

China’s Dankegongyu, an apartment rental platform, closed a Series B round of financing worth USD100 million. (36Kr)

Xiaomi and Shunwei Capital invested in Shanhuishou (闪回收), an online marketplace for second-hand digital products. (36Kr)

Turkey’s Zorlu Holding has signed an agreement with Chinese investment firm GSR Capital for investments in battery production totaling $4.5 billion until 2023, Zorlu’s chief executive said on Sunday. (Deal Street Asia)

BAIC Motor Corp. and Daimler AG plan to build a new factory in China for Mercedes-Benz vehicles to meet growing demand as the German automaker deepens its ties with the country. (Deal Street Asia)

World:

Image credit to Apple.

Apple is preparing to release a trio of new smartphones later this year: the largest iPhone ever, an upgraded handset the same size as the current iPhone X and a less expensive model with some of the flagship phone’s key features. (Bloomberg)

As WeWork has grown to 200 buildings across the globe, the company said its increased size is helping cut costs for everyday needs like glass, wood flooring, aluminum and light fixtures.  (Bloomberg)

The NYSE FANG+ Index — which covers Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Netflix Inc. and Google-owner Alphabet Inc., plus six other leaders including Chinese favorites Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Baidu Inc. — is up 20 percent year-to-date, rising to a record on Monday. (Bloomberg)

One-time Flickr rival 500px acquired by Visual China Group, the “Getty of China”, which had been one of its strategic investors. (Techmeme)

Source: Glassdoor Inc. is interviewing banks to advise on an initial public offering that could come as soon as this year. (Bloomberg)

Cronos Group, which already trades in Canada, will be the first marijuana company on a major U.S. exchange — right alongside Nasdaq stocks such as Apple, Microsoft and Starbucks. (Bloomberg)

Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) and University of California Retirement Plan (UCRP) have jointly invested KRW 50 billion ($47 million) to purchase a minority stake in South Korean taxi-hailing service provider Kakao Mobility Corp. (Deal Street Asia)

Google Assistant expands to 7 more languages and now lets developers deep link to Android apps from Assistant Actions. (Techmeme)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro claims a new state-sponsored cryptocurrency called the petro raised $735 million on Tuesday—its first day on sale. (Ars Technica)

The guy who bought two pizzas with 10,000 Bitcoin back in 2010 to prove the digital currency worked. Now he’s at it again. This time, early Bitcoin developer Laszlo Hanyecz wanted to test the Lightning Network, a technology that runs parallel to a blockchain like Bitcoin’s network and aims to speed up transactions. He ended up paying 0.00649 Bitcoin for two pizzas, or $67, and the transaction cost about 6 U.S. cents. (Bloomberg)