KrASIA Daily: Pinduoduo Adds $ 3 Billion to Its War Chest to Keep Growing Momentum 

Plus, Lyft mulls to enter Japanese ride-hailing space. Allianz invested in Go-Jek. 

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KrASIA Daily: Pinduoduo Adds $ 3 Billion to Its War Chest to Keep Growing Momentum 

Editor’s note: 

Pinduoduo is the 2nd most popular shopping app in terms of monthly active users, only trailing behind the Taobao app, according to Cheetah Mobile’s apps analytics service. JD is in 3rd.

Pinduoduo offers its customers, most of which live in tier 3 and lower cities in China, a wide range of products at steep discounts.

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:

A Go-Jek rider.

Singapore: German insurance giant Allianz is following Google and Tencent by backing Go-Jek, the Indonesia-based ride-hailing and local services company valued at over $4.5 billion, after it announced an investment. (TechCrunch)

Singapore: Singapore’s largest taxi operator ComfortDelGro has announced that it will acquire the private bus chartering assets of AZ Bus Pte Ltd for $10.25 million as it seeks to consolidate its position in the industry. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: Singapore-based e-scooter-sharing startup Telepod announced that it has closed an undisclosed funding round led by MomentUM, a corporate venture and incubation platform of SMRT Corporation. (e27)

Singapore: Kristal.AI, a Singaporean fintech company that has built an artificial intelligence-driven asset management platform, announced today it has raised a US$1.85 million seed round led by IDG Ventures India. (e27)

Singapore: Singapore-based fintech chat application Consentium has raised a total of $20 million after its latest round of private sale. The proceeds include the $10 million it had raised in March. (Deal Street Asia)

Indonesia: Indonesia’s largest online portal Kaskus has officially announced the appointment of COO Edi Taslim as the company’s new CEO to replace former CEO On Lee. (Deal Street Asia)

Myanmar: Travel company Oway has raised $14.7 million from investors including Daiwa PI Partners Co Ltd and International Finance Corporation (IFC) for business expansion. (Deal Street Asia)

Vietnam: Vynn Capital, a new Southeast Asia-focused venture capital firm founded by former Gobi executive Victor Chua and Singapore’s Darren Chua, says it categorizes Vietnam as one of its Tier 1 markets. (Deal Street Asia)

Malaysia: Taiwan’s Cathay Financial Holding Co said on Wednesday two of its group firms have scrapped a plan to buy Bank of Nova Scotia’s Malaysian unit as the deal could not closed before its deadline. (Deal Street Asia)

China:

Image credit to Pinduoduo.

China’s fastest growing e-commerce startup Pinduoduo has recently closed a new round of financing worth around $ 3 billion led by Tencent, with participation from Sequoia Capital, China’s biztech media 36Kr, KrASIA’s parent, reported on Wednesday. The startup was valued at $15 billion. (KrASIA)

Ant FinancialAlibaba‘s financial unit, is reportedly in talks with investors to raise over $10 billion in a round which would value the unicorn at a $150 billion valuation, Bloomberg reports on Wednesday. (KrASIA)

Tencent, China’s social networking and gaming behemoth, is making a bet on China’s short-video streaming industry. The Shenzhen-based company is reportedly giving out subsidies worth RMB 3 billion (almost $ 478 million) to influencers to entice them over to its short video platform Wei Shi, locking horns with Toutiao‘s video-streaming unit Tik Tok. (KrASIA)

Bytedance’s short video app Douyin has temporarily removed its live-stream and comment feature, local media is reporting. The company said that Douyin will undergo a “system upgrade” and both features will be back on after the upgrade. (Technode)

Jinri Toutiao founder and CEO, Zhang Yiming, released an open letter of apology today, after the removal of Neihan Duanzi from app stores. (Technode)

Gionee, once one of China largest smartphone manufacturers, said it has begun laying off employees at its headquarter, according to NetEase reports. The Shenzhen-based company is reportedly cutting as much as 50% of jobs at its headquarter. (Technode)

SouChe, a Chinese automotive platform backed by several investors including Ant Financial and Alibaba, announced that it has acquired used car marketplace Cheyipai. (Deal Street Asia)

Global co-working giant WeWork’s China unit is reportedly buying Chinese shared office space startup naked Hub for US$400 million according to sources close to the deal. (China Money Network)

China’s HNA Group, the aviation-to-financial services conglomerate that is selling assets and restructuring operations, has hired a former U.S. commerce department official for a senior strategy role. (Deal Street Asia)

HNA Group Co. is postponing a planned share sale in its aircraft ground handling company Swissport Group, roughly two weeks after abandoning a similar plan for its Swiss airline caterer Gategroup Holding AG. (Deal Street Asia)

New York-based investment firm Blackstone Group LP has announced that Yan Yan, former president of Chinese office real-estate developer Soho China, has joined as a managing director in its real estate team in Asia. (China Money Network)

World:

Screenshot from Lyft.

Lyft, Uber’s chief nemesis in the U.S., is thinking of entering the fiercely competitive Japanese ride-hailing space, according to comments from one of its founders. (TechCrunch)

In the wake of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony on Capitol Hill, John Zimmer of Lyft chimed in on the subject of user privacy. “I think within any company, user trust, and therefore user privacy, has to be a top priority,” said the Lyft president. (SCMP)

Mark Zuckerberg faced a harsher crowd Wednesday on Capitol Hill in the second day of congressional hearings for the Facebook founder and CEO. Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee grilled Zuckerberg for nearly five hours about his company’s legal obligations, guiding principles and his own philosophies as steward of the largest social media platform in the world. (CNBC)

The family of a driver killed in a Tesla car crash has hired law firm Minami Tamaki to explore legal options, the law firm said on Wednesday, adding that the Autopilot feature in the electric carmaker’s vehicle probably caused his death. (CNBC)

Investors should buy Netflix shares into its earnings report next week even after its stunning gains this year, according to Goldman Sachs. (CNBC)

Blockchain start-up Ripple, whose digital currency has seen huge volatility this year, is investing in a blockchain-focused fund to encourage the next great technology app built using its software. (CNBC)