KrASIA Daily: China’s Largest News Aggregator Toutiao Taken Offline from Local App Stores, as Regulations on Cyberspace Tightens

Plus, Uber acquires bike-sharing startup JUMP. SoftBank Ventures invested $23.5 million in Singapore-headquartered IYUNO Media.

By

KrASIA Daily: China’s Largest News Aggregator Toutiao Taken Offline from Local App Stores, as Regulations on Cyberspace Tightens

Editor’s note: 

Toutiao is China’s most popular news app with over 120 million daily active users.

The news aggregator has been in and out of app stores under government orders for a variety of reasons, mostly over alleged inappropriate content such as “pornographic and vulgar content”, in addition to “bad influence in shaping online opinion.”

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:

KrASIA Daily: China's Largest News Aggregator Toutiao Taken Offline from Local App Stores, as Regulations on Cyberspace Tightens
Image credit to SoftBank.

Singapore: SoftBank Ventures, the early stage venture capital arm of Japan’s SoftBank Group, has invested $23.5 million in Singapore-headquartered localization services provider IYUNO Media Group, according to a joint statement. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: ComfortDelGro Corp is buying Australian non-emergency patient transport provider National Patient Transport (NPT) for A$30 million (S$30.2 million). (The Straits Times)

Singapore: Mainboard-listed MindChamps Preschools has inked a deal with a unit of state investment firm Temasek Holdings to invest in setting up or buying pre-schools, the pre-school operator said on Monday (April 9). (The Straits Times)

Vietnam: Japanese venture capital (VC) firm CyberAgent Ventures on Monday announced an undisclosed investment in Vietnam’s Airbnb-like startup Luxstay. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: Antler, a self-described startup generator that recently closed a $3-million seed round, is on the road to raise a $15-20 million Southeast Asia-focused fund, its CEO said. (Deal Street Asia)

Indonesia: Leading the venture capital wave among banking institutions in Indonesia, Mandiri Capital Indonesia (MCI), the VC arm of the country’s largest lender by asset Bank Mandiri, says it is now looking to source startups outside Indonesia, with Singapore the most likely target. (Deal Street Asia)

Malaysia: Hospitality investment firm Cornerstone Partners Group has acquired a 10 percent stake in co-working space Colony in a deal valuing the eight-month-old company founded by entrepreneur Timothy Tiah in the $15-20 million range. (Deal Street Asia)

Malaysia: Ballarpur Industries, India’s largest manufacturer of writing and printing paper, has agreed to sell its Malaysian subsidiary Sabah Forest Industries for RM1.2 billion ($310 million), according to a stock exchange filing. (Deal Street Asia)

China:

KrASIA Daily: China's Largest News Aggregator Toutiao Taken Offline from Local App Stores, as Regulations on Cyberspace Tightens
Logo of Jinri Toutiao.

Chinese news aggregator app Jinri Toutiao, along with three other similar apps, were taken offline from local app stores on Monday as Beijing moves to better regulate its cyberspace. (KrASIA)

In an email to his employees on Monday, Jack Ma, the founder of China’s e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba, announced an important management reshuffle at its financial affiliate Ant Financial. Current CEO Eric JING has been appointed as the Executive Chairman of the company in addition to his current role. Former Executive chairman Lucy PENG is going to focus on the business of Lazada. (KrASIA)

Xiaopeng Motors, which counts Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Foxconn Technology Group among its investors, plans to raise 17 billion yuan ($2.7 billion) in funds this year as the Chinese car startup seeks to take on rivals in the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles. (Bloomberg)

Liepin.com, one of China’s largest online talent service platforms, filed on April 4 to list on HKEX. The company plans to use the funding to broaden product offerings and to attract more customers. (KrASIA)

LEI Jun said Xiaomi’s products are typically priced up to 50 percent lower than competing offerings of similar quality – will not putting a cap on hardware profit margins turn off potential investors ahead of a widely anticipated IPO? Lei’s answer: make the profit from higher-margin, fee-based internet services instead. (SCMP)

Chinese smartphone and electronics maker Xiaomi is in discussions to acquire a stake in Bengaluru-based financial technology startup ZestMoney, according a report in The Economic Times quoting sources. (Deal Street Asia)

China’s Xiaomi said it wants its global smartphone component makers to set up base in India, in what is likely to bring as much as $2.5 billion of investment to the South Asian nation while also creating up to 50,000 jobs. (Reuters)

SenseTime Group Ltd. has raised $600 million from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other investors at a valuation of more than $3 billion, becoming the world’s most valuable artificial intelligence startup. (Bloomberg)

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, and E-Glober today announced a partnership to bring powerful, reliable and cost-effective cloud computing products and services to the Turkish market, in a bid to help local businesses capture opportunities presented by digital transformation. (Business Wire)

The latest updates to ride-hailing app Didi allow users to integrate their journey with public transport and hire bikes, plus “virtual meeting points” for better ride-sharing while taxi drivers are hit hard. (Technode)

South Korea’s PUBG Corp, the developer of hit game Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), is suing NetEase in the US District of California in Northern California for copyright infringement, unfair competition and trade dress infringement–imitating the visual appearance of elements of intellectual property–over the Chinese company’s Knives Out and Rules of Survival. (Technode)

China Evergrande Group, one of China’s largest developers, announced a 100 billion yuan (US$15.9 billion) foray into the country’s hi-tech industry, echoing President Xi Jinping’s call to make China a global tech powerhouse. (SCMP)

L2 Studio (艾尔平方), an original animation production company, announced that it has completed a tens of millions of yuan B round financing by Tencent. (KrASIA)

Sichuan Haidilao Catering, one of China’s most popular hotpot chains, is planning to raise $600 million to $700 million in a Hong Kong initial public offering in a push to take the brand global, said three people with knowledge of the transaction. (Deal Street Asia)

In what promises to be a world first, naked Hub is opening up its spaces on a by-minute basis with a hot desk seat and full access to a hub’s facilities for RMB 15 an hour (approx. $2.4), including community services and free tea, coffee–and beer. (Technode)

JD.com launches an express delivery service that delivers merchandise to shopper’ doorstep in minutes. (36Kr)

Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Tmall opened its first offline supermarket in a university in Sichuan province with a plan to open similar stores in 1000 universities in a year. (iyiou)

Cross-border e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu is planning to raise funding through a pre-IPO round this year and will possibly go public in two or three years, according to its founder ZHAI Fang. (36Kr)

Ele.me, China’s largest food delivery app acquired by Alibaba, will integrate its customer system with Alibaba’s lifestyle e-commerce platform Koubei.  (36Kr)

JD Finance will soon close a new round of financing worth over $2 billion. The company will be valued at over $20 billion post-money. (Leidi Chuwang)

YY’s game streaming unit Huya filed on Tuesday to SEC for an over $200 million IPO on NYSE. (tech.qq)

World:

KrASIA Daily: China's Largest News Aggregator Toutiao Taken Offline from Local App Stores, as Regulations on Cyberspace Tightens
Image credit to 123rf.com.cn

Uber has acquired bike-sharing startup JUMP for an undisclosed amount of money. The final price was closer to $200 million, according to one source close to the situation (TechCrunch)

A trade group representing top technology companies on Monday told U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that it opposes the Trump administration’s focus on tariffs to try to change China’s unfair trade practices. (Reuters)

Facebook Inc Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg will hold meetings with some U.S. lawmakers on Monday, a day before he is due to appear at Congressional hearings over a political consultancy’s use of customer data, two congressional aides said on Sunday. (Reuters)

Rakuten Inc said on Monday it won government approval to offer mobile services as the Japanese e-commerce company expands its business into a market dominated by three major carriers. (Reuters)