KrASIA Weekly: SoftBank is at it again

Alibaba seeks SoftBank help to battle Meituan.

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KrASIA Weekly: SoftBank is at it again

Hi there, it’s Robin

Do you remember Uber’s exit from Southeast Asia in March?

The world’s largest tech investor SoftBank who invests both in Grab and Uber, played a vital consolidating role there, after years of a blood-bleeding battle in the Southeast Asia region.

SoftBank seems to be at it again, with rumours circulating within the battle for supremacy in China’s buoyant online-to-offline (O2O) sector. The giant is said to be in talks to be helping Alibaba in its fight against Meituan. Alibaba is now looking to raise $3 billion to $5 billion for Alibaba’s Ele.me in a SoftBank led financing round that will see a merger of Ele.me, an on-demand food delivery platform, and Koubei, a Chinese lifestyle e-commerce service.

Capital infusion has become a rampant need for these fast-growing giants in the food delivery sector and this comes at a time when Ele.me is playing catch up against archrival Meituan-Dianping, a Chinese online-to-offline platform major player.

This is not a new strategy in the playbooks of SoftBank. Other than the case in Uber’s exit in Southeast Asia, there are other examples such as the case with wireless carriers Sprint and T-mobile, and another between Uber and Ola in India.

On a separate note, the fights and battles in China can really never be predicted. The merger of Meituan and Dianping was a case of Alibaba and Tencent putting aside their rivalries, only to fight again now between the Alibaba-backed Ele.me and the Tencent-backed Meituan in China’s food delivery startup sector.

That said, every fresh problem brings about a new opportunity. After the vaccination scare in China, Tencent took a huge step forward merging its medtech investees to build its own O2O medical network to tackle the issue of reliable healthcare services in China.

Alibaba, on the other hand, collaborated with Merck, a science and technology company in June 2018 to provide Chinese patients and their families improved access to patient-centric healthcare services, looking to meet the healthcare needs of the Chinese population amidst prolonged and delayed process for patients in China due to the undersupply of doctors at hospitals and under-usage of primary care services.

In addition to the healthcare industry and food delivery, both Alibaba and Tencent are also continuing their battle at other sectors.

This week, for instance, Alibaba went on to add Pinduouduo-like features on Alipay, even as Pinduoduo grapples with its counterfeit goods problems. The latter, who is heavily dependent on Tencent’s platform, is now facing public scrutiny for the listing counterfeit of products on its platform.

It seems that, as of now, things are escalating rather than stopping and the battle between Alibaba and Tencent is set to only increase across multiple sectors.

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.

Here are some stories you shouldn’t miss.

 

China

Alipay adds Pinduoduo-like group buying feature

Tencent-backed Weimob files for IPO in Hong Kong

Chinese transport major Didi Chuxing spins off car services platform

Ant Financial in talks with Bangladesh on-demand startup Shohoz

 

Southeast Asia

More fintech funding, Grab fuels up, cleaning up the internet

Flipkart launches e-grocer service, Flipkart Supermart, in Bengaluru

Singapore image recognition solutions firm Trax leverages new retail in China

 

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