KrAsia Daily: Uber Not Giving up Asian Market

Plus, Tencent, Alibaba is buying 33 percent in Ant Financial. Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil giant and Google parent Alphabet are in talks to build a technology hub.

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KrAsia Daily: Uber Not Giving up Asian Market

Editor’s note:

While rumors were around that Uber is about to retreat from Asia, no one told the company’s APAC chief.

“I have been given absolute instructions to run and grow the business,” said Brooks Entwistle, head of the Uber in the region, in an interview, “That’s what I’m doing, and that’s what I’m going to do.’’

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 123rf.com.cn

Singapore: Uber is planning an expansion in Japan and is offering faster booking and cheaper rides to gain share in Singapore, according to APAC chief. (Deal Street Asia)

SE Asia: Grab and Samsung Electronics, one of the world’s largest electronics companies, today announced that they have signed a multi-year memorandum of understanding to drive digital inclusion in Southeast Asia. (e27)

Love, Bonito announced that it has secured an additional US$13 million (~S$17 million) in a Series B funding, led by Kakaku.com and existing investor NSI Ventures. (VulcanPost)

Singapore: Crowd Genie Financial Services, an operator of a P2P lending platform licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, today announced the launch of its Initial Coin Offering’s public sale through its related entity CGSPV. (e27)

Singapore: City-state-based Love Bonito, a digital-first womenswear label, has announced the completion of a $13 million Series B funding round led by Japanese price comparison site Kakaku.com. The round was joined by return backer NSI Ventures. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: Singapore Medical Group Ltd and South Korea’s CHA Healthcare Co Ltd have together bought a majority stake in Australia’s fourth-largest fertility clinic operator, City Fertility Centre. (Deal Street Asia)

Singapore: Temasek Holdings is reportedly considering the acquisition of equity stakes in listed groups Marco Polo Marine and Ezion Holdings through its unit Heliconia Capital Management. (Deal Street Asia)

Indonesia: Boutique fitness and indoor cycling studio Ride Jakarta has secured a $500,000 seed round of financing led by Indonesia-focused venture capital firm Intudo Ventures. (Deal Street Asia)

Indonesia: Three local banks have announced plans to raise capital via a rights issue this year, according to a report by Kontan. The three banks are Bank Kesejahteraan Ekonomi (Bank BKE), Bank MNC Internasional and Bank Harda, are all currently categorized as small to medium size banks (technically classed as BUKU I and BUKU II banks) based on core capital. (Deal Street Asia)

The Philippines: Listed conglomerate holding company San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is raising up to Php30 billion ($580 million) through peso-denominated fixed rate bonds due in 2023. (Deal Street Asia)

The Philippines: Integrated Micro-Electronics, a listed electronics manufacturing firm, has received approval from the PSE for a stock rights offer that would raise up to Php5 billion ($97 million) for the company’s budgeted capital expenditures and debt refinancing. (Deal Street Asia)

Thailand: Thai Containers Group, a 70:30 joint venture between SCG Packaging Pcl and Japan’s Rengo Co Ltd, has acquired the 25 percent stake it does not own in two packaging companies for a total of 263 million baht ($8.4 million). (Deal Street Asia)

Vietnam: Vietnam’s government raised over VND144.5 trillion ($6.35 billion) by divesting its stake in state-owned enterprises (SoEs), including via initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2017, according to an official report released on January 31. (Deal Street Asia)

China:

Image credit to hinglish Notes on Flickr.

Alibaba is buying a 33 percent equity stake in Ant Financial, its affiliate specializes in mobile payment, in exchange for certain intellectual property rights owned by the Chinese e-commerce conglomerate. (KrASIA)

Tencent, the tech mogul behind WeChat, is acquiring a 5% stake in Chinese leading menswear HLA. The two companies are said to establish a joint venture dedicated to investing in the clothing industry. (KrASIA)

Chinese insurer Ping An announced earlier this week to spin off its online healthcare unit and float it on the main board of Hong Kong stock exchange. It’s seeking up to US$ 1 billion in the initial public offering. (KrASIA)

Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company, said on Thursday its third-quarter revenue jumped 56 percent, beating expectations as it shrugged off concerns about a wider market slowdown. (Reuters)

China United Network Communications, one of the big three Chinese telecom operators, and the auction platform of e-commerce giant Alibaba today formally opened an online asset trading platform, they announced. (Yicai Global)

Chinese agribusiness company New Hope Group has led a US$92 million series B round in Meiliche Financial, a secondhand car financial services platform, with participation from personal finance management firm Wacai. (China Money Network)

CEO at Alibaba’s film arm, Alibaba pictures, announced the company’s ticketing platform Taopiaopiao targets to become China’s biggest one of its kind and is projected to see a fast growth in 2018. (36Kr)

Update on Baidu-Toutiao war of words: China’s most popular news aggregator Toutiao says the country’s largest search engine Baidu’s PR team should stop lying and Toutiao has paid for the Baidu ranking. (36Kr)

Nasdaq-listed ChangYou, China’s online game developer and operator, is exploring possibilities of privatization, according to Chairman Zhang Chaoyang’s email to board members. (tech.sina)

Tencent’s newly launched information aggregator Lizhi suspended its service since the app was alleged to have plagiarized a Tencent-invested app dubbed Jike. Jike CEO said Tencent has helped his company on a WeChat moment and Pony Ma replied “Thank you” to the moment. (36Kr)

Cashier-less convenience store startup Xingbianli is reportedly laying off many of its employees and the company said the layoff comes as part of the company’s plan to optimize its team and prepare for its future development. (36Kr)

Tencent has suspended its credit scoring system after one-day open beta due to licensing issue. (Caixin)

Meituan-Dianping Senior VP Wang Chuan: The company plans to branch out to verticals of mobile payment and SaaS-enabled cashier system to merger customer’s online and offline data. (36Kr)

World:

Image credit to 123rf.com.cn.

Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil giant and Google parent Alphabet, two of the world’s biggest companies, are in talks about jointly building a large technology hub inside the kingdom, people familiar with the potential deal said. (wsj)

YouTube Go, a mobile version of YouTube built for emerging markets with features like offline viewing and nearby sharing, is today expanding to over 130 countries worldwide. (TechCrunch)

Instagram Stories begins rolling out its “type mode” feature to users, letting them post text-based pages. (Techmeme)

India will move to stamp out use of cryptocurrencies, which it considers illegal, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday, launching a no-holds-barred attack on virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. (Reuters)

Nintendo confirmed Mario Kart Tour on Twitter, adding that the game is in development and is expected to be released sometime in the next fiscal year, which ends in March 2019. Nintendo describes the game as a “mobile application” but isn’t releasing any more information at this time. (polygon)

Gaming-focused chat platform Discord today announced a new integration with Spotify that will allow users to connect their Spotify accounts to Discord in order to showcase what they’re listening to. (macrumors)

Apple announces Q1 2018 revenue of $88.3b: 77.3m iPhones, 13.2m iPads, 5.1m Macs. (9to5mac)

Amazon beats with Q4 revenue of $60.5B, up 38% YoY; $1.9B net income, up from $749M YoY; ~$789M benefit from new tax law. (Techmeme)

Alphabet names John Hennessy as chairman, after Eric Schmidt’s departure last year; Google’s traffic acquisition costs to distributors reaches 24% of ad revenue. (TechCrunch)

Authorities in several countries are investigating last week’s $530 million heist involving the NEM cryptocurrency, a member of the foundation behind the digital coin said on Thursday. (Reuters)