KrAsia Daily: U.S.’s 2nd Largest Food Retailer Kroger and China’s E-Commerce Giant Alibaba Said to Explore Collaboration

Plus, Vertex Ventures invests in Malaysia-based retail technology company StoreHub. Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi will make his first visit to Asia next month 

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KrAsia Daily: U.S.’s 2nd Largest Food Retailer Kroger and China’s E-Commerce Giant Alibaba Said to Explore Collaboration

Editor’s note:

Great minds think alike.

That is true for Tencent and Alibaba. Following Tencent’s investment in Carrefour, Alibaba is reportedly in talks with Kroger with potential collaboration to push for its new retail strategy.

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 Vertex Ventures.

Malaysia: Malaysia-based retail technology company StoreHub has announced the close of a $5.1-million Series A financing round led by Vertex Ventures.   (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: Capital Match Holdings Pte. Ltd. (Capital Match), a Singapore-based fintech company which operates a regional platform for invoice financing and secured lending, has closed an oversubscribed Series B financing round led by B Capital Group. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: tryb Group has secured an investment of $30 million from Makara Innovation Fund to accelerate the development of its financial infrastructure platform for ASEAN. The firm said it will use the proceeds to finance the acquisition, development and expansion of growth-stage fintech companies. (Deal Street Asia)

The Philippines: IT and outsourcing firm Easycall Communications Philippines said it will offer more shares to the public in line with the new minimum ownership requirements set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  (Deal Street Asia)

The Philippines: Listed technology firm Cirtek Holdings Philippines Corp has concluded the purchase of a 49 percent stake in Multipay Corporation, a provider of back-end and front-end payment solutions.  (Deal Street Asia)

Thailand: The Finance Ministry of Thailand is preparing to sell its shares in 24 unlisted companies, including four massage parlour businesses, in the first quarter of this year.   (Deal Street Asia)

Vietnam: The Vietnamese government has raised VND4.18 trillion ($184 million) by selling a 20 per cent stake in PVOIL via an initial public offering (IPO) on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange on Thursday. PVOIL is the second largest petroleum distributor in the country after Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex).  (Deal Street Asia)

Malaysia: Although Bitcoin has been declared an illegal payment and transaction instrument in the country, the government is still considering the cryptocurrency‘s use as an investment instrument, the Trade Ministry’s Futures Exchange Supervisory Board (Bappebti) has said. (The Jakarta Post)

China:

Image credit to hinglish Notes on Flickr.

Kroger, U.S.’s 2nd largest food retailer, is reportedly in talks with Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba with potential initiatives in the pipeline to help the American company counter Amazon Go, according to a New York Post coverage. (KrASIA)

China’s leading bike-sharing company Mobike has reportedly just closed a new financing round worth as much as US$1 billion, according to Caixin. (KrASIA)

Didi just launched its self-owned bike-sharing brand Qing Ju in Chengdu. (KrASIA)

Short video app Kuaishou is soon to close a new financing round worth USD 1 billion. Existing investors Tencent and Sequoia also participated the round. Kuaishou is reportedly eyeing an IPO in Hong Kong in the second haft of 2017. (36Kr)

Ctrip, the head of China’s biggest online travel service is predicting the number of passport-holding citizens will double to 240 million by 2020, a trend that could fuel an explosion of mainland tourists exploring the world. (Bloomberg)

Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao announced it aims to shorten the time that deliveries take by allocating merchandise in warehouses near consumers. (36Kr)

Didi revealed its smart system which targets to manage traffic with AI technologies and cloud computing. (36Kr)

Alibaba upgraded its content platform MP.DAYU to better satisfy the need of content makers in terms of acquiring users and monetize the traffic. (36Kr)

Tencent backed super-app Meituan emerges to rival its own WeChat, as Meituan expands into payments, ride hailing, even KTV rooms. (Bloomberg)

Xiaomi co-founder Lin Bin: Xiaomi’s overseas market is likely to outperform the domestic market in one or two years and Xiaomi is already the No.1 smartphone manufacturer by market share in India. (36Kr)

China’s top bike-sharing startup Ofo has officially launched its service in South Korea, it’s 21st counties. The company has docked its bike in over 250 cities across the world. (36Kr)

Tencent’s game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds urged users not to use third-party software to cheat. (weibo)

Toutiao-backed short video app Douyin seeks to become China’s largest music video platform by providing supports to musicians on its platform. (36Kr)

Microsoft’s researcher in computer vision and multimedia, Dr. Mei Tao, joined JD as VP of its AI research institute. (tech.sina)

Alibaba’s share price hit a record high on Wednesday at USD 195.42, marking it the seventh company with a market capitalisation over USD 500 billion after Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, Tencent and Facebook. (techweb)

Video streaming platform Bilibili rolled out a scheme to attract content makers by improving their income. (weibo)

Didi users can manage their invoices within Alipay app. (weibo)

Supermarket chain Yonghui became the second largest shareholder of chain supermarket Hongqi Chain. (stcn)

World:

Image credit to 123rf.com.cn

Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi will make his first visit to Asia next month as the new head looks to improve the image of the controversial ride-sharing firm in the region. (Reuters)

Amazon is offering unique payments services and actively approaching finance-technology startups for investments and acquisitions. In India, Amazon has a doorstep cash-pickup service that lets customers load money into a digital wallet. In Mexico, Amazon has a cash payment service meant to be an alternative to a credit or debit card. (Bloomberg)

Twitter is working on a new Snapchat-style feature that makes it easier to post videos on the social-media company’s app, according to people familiar with the matter, aiming to attract more users and cement a nascent turnaround. (Bloomberg)

Apple is working on a redesigned version of its iBooks e-book reading application for iPhones and iPads and has hired an executive from Amazon to help. (Bloomberg)

YouTube Gaming grew streamer base by 343% in 2017 vs 197% for Twitch. Twitch had an average of 27K concurrent streamers vs 7K for YouTube Gaming in Q4. (Techmeme)

Zero-fee stock trading app Robinhood says it will let users trade bitcoin and ether starting in February using its Robinhood Crypto platform. (Techmeme)