KrAsia Daily: Tencent Teams up With Carrefour To Take on Alibaba in New Retail

Plus, Grab and Singapore Taxi Academy (STA) has announced the launch of ExpressOne. YouTube asked musicians to agree not to disparage the streaming-video service in exchange for promotional support.

Image credit to 123rf.com.cn.

Editor’s note:

2017 has been hailed as the beginning of an era of new retail, with tech giants investing in offline chain stores and department stores. As tech giants including Alibaba, JD and Tencent all seek to beef up their presence in new retail, brick and motor stores are to be revolutionized 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 Grab.

Singapore: Grab and Singapore Taxi Academy (STA) has announced the launch of ExpressOne, a programme designed to provide drivers with the support they need to obtain their Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational License (PDVL). Under the programme, additional training and testing facilities will be added via multiple Grab premises to support close to 400 drivers everyday, with free coaching sessions for drivers who need more help. (e27)

Singapore: Google engineer Steve Yegge has joined Grab as its head of engineering. (Medium)

Singapore: German social trading platform Ayondo AG is set to become the first overseas fintech venture to list on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) this year even as the bourse seeks to expand and strengthen its technology cluster. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: City-state’s state investor Temasek Holdings has joined a group of top technology investors, led by Activate Capital, in backing the $80 million Series D round in US-based intelligent energy storage provider Stem Inc.
(Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: Luye Life Sciences Group Ltd., run by acquisitive Chinese entrepreneur Liu Dianbo, is considering a Singapore initial public offering of its health-care services arm that could raise as much as $500 million. (Deal Street Asia)

The Philippines: Philippine telco and digital services provider PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications have partnered with Amdocs for a technology-enabled digital transformative program. (Deal Street Asia)

The Philippines: State pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is looking to hire two foreign fund managers for its $800-million overseas investment this year. (Deal Street Asia)

Malaysia: The eighth largest integrated telecommunications infrastructure services provider globally, Malaysia’s edotco Group is eyeing an entry into markets such as Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, and will tap funds to set itself up for more deals in the region, the telecommunications tower services unit of Axiata. (Deal Street Asia)

China:

Image credit to 123rf.com.cn.

French retailer Carrefour recently announced a preliminary deal with Chinese internet juggernaut Tencent and Yonghui, a local retailer specializes in fresh good, regarding a potential investment in Carrefour’s China business. (KrASIA)

Tencent rolled out short video sharing app DOV to glue generation Z. (KrASIA)

Orix Corp has invested $60 million in peer-to-peer lending platform Dianrong, in what is the Japanese financial firm’s first investment in a Chinese fintech venture as it looks to tap into the fast-expanding sector, sources said. (Reuters)

Tencent’s WeChat Pay announced that international credit cards are now allowed on the mobile payment platform. (technode)

Baidu president Zhang Yaqin suggests that Baidu is likely to collaborate with Netflix with initiatives in the pipeline. (tech.sina)

JD’s logistics arm is reportedly raising over US$ 2 billion and is likely to trade publicly in the future, probably in Hong Kong or abroad. The company seeks to build more than 10,000 airports for drones. (finance.iFeng)

Baidu is working on a smartphone assistant powered by AI technologies. (36Kr)

JD’s express delivery service is now available for merchandise in grand sizes. Users in more than 50 cities and 200 districts can receive their purchases within 3 hours when they make the order between 9 am to 5 pm. (Beijing Business Today)

Xiaomi co-founder and VP Lin Bin: Xiaomi is set to hire 1000 specialists for its R&D center in Shenzhen. (36Kr)

Toutiao plans to make how its algorithm recommend and audit content public. (36Kr)

Wang Xiaochuan, search engine Sogou’s CEO announced the company plans to enable search in Japanese and Korean. (tech.qq)

Didi predicts that more than 3.3 million commuters are likely to use its car-pooling service during the spring festival. (The Beijing News)

Car-hailing company Yidao Yongche cut its prices by 20% in Beijing. (tech.sina)

Beauty camera app Meitu announced its blockchain business department wouldn’t raise money through an ICO. (36Kr)

Lenovo-backed Legend Capital led a Series B financing round worth RMB 9 digits (approx. USD 15.65 million) in Hongliyu Cinema. (nbd)

Sequoia China led a USD 15 million Series B round in Medtech company XtalPi. The round was joint by Tencent and Google. (36Kr)

Alibaba seeks to beef up its presence in new retail by betting on staff-less restaurants. (36Kr)

Alipay allows users to fill in digital exit and entry form when leaving or entering China in Wuhan. (hbtv)

Baidu seeks to raise as much as USD 2 billion for its financial arm to further bet on financial services. (36Kr)

Mobike has reportedly closed a USD 1 billion round, according to Caixin. (Caixin)

World:

Image credit to YouTube.

YouTube has asked musicians to agree not to disparage the streaming-video service in exchange for promotional support, according to people familiar with the matter, a way to quell persistent criticism by artists. (Bloomberg)

In 2018, YouTube said it will invest $5 million in its Creators for Change program, including production and marketing support. The program, which launched in September 2016, is aimed at boosting the profile of YouTubers whose videos “counter hate and promote tolerance.” (Variety)

Visa and UnionBank said they would offer the country’s first direct blockchain payment system for businesses. (abs-cbn.news)

Alphabet announces a new “graduate” from its moonshot program, Chronicle, that uses big data to detect security vulnerabilities, run by a former Symantec COO. (Techmeme)

Ex-Twitter COO Anthony Noto always aimed to be CEO, quitting to become SoFi CEO after it became clear that Dorsey was there to stay. (Techmeme)

A key voice for Amazon, Facebook, Google and other tech giants in the nation’s capital is kicking off a new initiative to try to diversify the industry’s predominately white, male ranks. (Recode)

Apple announces ARKit 1.5 in iOS 11.3 beta with support for vertical planes, 2D image recognition, and imagery in 1080p. (Techmeme)