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KrASIA Weekly: China’s private markets still bullish amidst trade war

Written by Robin Moh Published on   4 mins read

The Sino-US trade war and its effect on the markets.

Hi there, it’s Robin.

The US midterm election happened this week, and it looked like it could offer a glimmer of hope for the many who have been affected by the Sino-US trade war’s effect on the global public markets. As it happened, the Republican only managed to edge the Democrats by a mere 7% of the votes.

That minor setback for the Republicans, however, as of now, did not have much influence on this fight against free trade. Quartz recently cited self–described e-commerce analyst Li Chengdong’s opinion that while both the Democrats and Republicans have opposing views in other areas, they both have the same negative opinion of China. Therefore, Trump’s agenda to trade war is likely to remain.

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba is already taking many steps to circumvent the potential problems that these trade restrictions might bring.

One example will be its recent announcement of pledging to support $200m worth of imports into China over the next 5 years.

A stronger illustration will be how Alibaba’s strategy to expand beyond e-commerce has kickstarted its ambitions to manufacture its own chips – something that Chinese companies traditionally do not compete fiercely in, has been forced to accelerate in the face of the trade war. These chips – targeted for artificial intelligence (AI) tasks like object detection and voice recognition will be part of Alibaba’s plans to build up its AI and cloud computing abilities.

Despite all of these uncertainties, China’s private funding markets did not slow down. A Hurun report revealed that the Chinese unicorn list has doubled in less than a year. Ant Financial still tops the list while Toutiao has officially overtaken Didi Chuxing as the second largest unicorn in China.

The short video app wave in China is showing no signs of stopping. The $75b valuation giant Toutiao has seen its monthly active user and daily active user numbers surge up yet again in the short span of 5 months. The company also claims that its international version has been making breakthroughs globally.

Maybe a working business model in the midst of a burgeoning trend could be the answer for all these market uncertainties.

As for the tech scene in Southeast Asia, the race to become the efficient all-in-one app just got more exciting and tech companies are riding on that wave.

Grab, for example, has been on a roll, launching out two new partnerships all in one week – one with Thailand’s Kbank, and another with Hyundai. All of these were announced just after Go-Jek’s move to start hiring drivers for its upcoming entry into Singapore.

With the race getting more intense between Grab and Go-Jek, it is worth remembering how the local knowledge can be the advantage that players need to thrive. Uber lacked that and has since exited, leaving the market to Grab. Go-Jek relied on that to grow in Indonesia.

Spotify can be very successful in the West, in addition to making progress in Asia, but it is nowhere near Tencent’s Joox – the market leader in Asia’s streaming market.

Read on to find out more interesting stories from last week, and feel free to tip us if you have news clue or you just want to talk with us, email us at [email protected] and we are looking forward to hearing from you.

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China grows its unicorns count by 50% in less than a year: Hurun report

Ant Financial invests tens of millions RMB in IT leasing enterprise RRZuJi

Xiaomi TV rises against the fall of Chinese internet TV makers

Tencent’s WeChat claims 1m mini programs, growing an app store-ish ecosystem

Alibaba’s on-demand subsidiary now values at $30b

International logistics transaction platform Yun Lian raised USD 10 million Series A2

China’s Lightinthebox to acquire Singapore-based Ezbuy for nearly US$86m (updated)


Rest of Asia

This Finnish startup wants to be the transport hub for Singaporeans

WhatsApp’s newfound challenges in Indonesia: Hoax news

Spotify facing growth pains in Asia, where Tencent’s Joox is more popular

Grab bolsters strategic investor roster with $250m from existing backer Hyundai

Shopee prepares for 11/11 sale as market gets crowded

Rumour: Indonesia payments app Sepulsa plans to rebrand, go after travel segment

Indonesian data center providers protest law revision seen as too soft on foreign companies


Interesting Stories

Sniffing opportunities in the Middle East, logistics app iMile eases delivery of Chinese goods

Take a tour to the world’s first Baidu AI-powered park

This ‘Alibaba for commodities’ is ready to support Indonesian export to China

GSR Allen Zhu: China is recovering from startup market crunch next year

Charles Zhang of Sohu: 2C opportunities are never-ending in China

Zhang Lei of Hillhouse Capital: Pony Ma protects his users like his family members


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