Today’s Tech Headlines: Alibaba invests in Xiaohongshu; Oppo in talks to invest in Indonesia’s Baca

All you need to know about what happened in the tech world today.

By

Today’s Tech Headlines: Alibaba invests in Xiaohongshu; Oppo in talks to invest in Indonesia’s Baca

SEA

Chinese smartphone maker Oppo has been in talks with Indonesian news aggregator startup Baca for a potential investment, people familiar with the matter told KrASIA on Thursday. Jimmy Sie, co-founder and chief operating officer of Baca, originally wanted to launch the idea in China in 2014, but was warned of the intense competition in China’s startup ecosystem and that the Chinese market was already saturated. (KrASIA)

Singapore’s Co-working space operator JustCo aims to set up 50 centres by 2019, and 100 centres by 2020, in Asia. In 2018, JustCo plans to add offices in Jakarta and Shanghai. It opened its first co-working space outside of Singapore in Thailand this year. JustCo targets corporations which make up 60-70% of clients. (Deal Street Asia)

Startups and United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd’s small business customers will have an alternative financing solution. They will be able to raise as much as RM500k from individual and institutional investors using a peer-to-peer funding platform, Funding Societies, which just formed a partnership with UOB Malaysia. (Deal Street Asia)

 

China

Chinese e-commerce startup Xiaohongshu, meaning “Little Red Book”, recently completed an Alibaba-led financing round, raising more than US$300 million with a valuation in excess of US$3 billion, the Shanghai-based company confirmed to Chinese biztech media 36Kr exclusively, Thursday night. Some of the notable backers include GGV, GSR Ventures, ZhenFund, as well as, interestingly, Tencent which backed Little Red Book’s last C round. (KrASIA)

Alibaba’s Ant Financial has invested RMB 2.06 billion (approx. US$321 million) in Hellobike, China’s third-largest bike-sharing startup. The round valued Hellobike at US$1.47 billion. (36Kr)

Hangzhou-based ImToken, the world’s largest digital asset wallet, announced on Thursday a US$ 10 million Series A from IDG Capital. In addition to capital injection, the company said it also looks to benefit from IDG’s financial support and invaluable expertise in the blockchain industry. (KrASIA)

Ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing launched its food delivery service in Nanjing on Friday, the second Chinese city to render its service, giving out subsidies and coupons to promote its service. (PingWest)

Companies such as Beihang Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) are developing drones to carry cargo, as well as SF Express who has already developed such a drone, as the country’s couriers and on-demand services are increasingly looking to adopt unmanned aerial vehicles for deliveries. (SCMP)

Dianrong, a leading Chinese online P2P lending service provider is cooperating with R3, a global platform specializing in distributed data technology. The goal of this cooperation for Dianrong is for micro and small business to have greater access to financial services and credit. (Technode)

Alibaba-backed AI firm Kneron raised US$18 million Series A1 financing led by venture capital firm Horizons Ventures. The funds would be used to speed up product development and implement vertical industrial applications in three areas: smart home, smart surveillance, and smartphones, through collaborating with strategic partners. (Deal Street Asia)

Theft of Mobikes in Mexico City, as well as the limited 500 bicycles Mobike is allowed to deploy there due to regulations, has led to complains of shortages of bikes. (Reuters)

Data is being retrieved from second-hand mobile phones and are being sold for as cheap as 10 RMB (US$1.56) in China. Formatted phones to prevent recovering of data are not safe from exploitation. (Technode)

ZTE has replaced one top executive in a bid to persuade the US to lift its seven-year ban on the Chinese telecommunication company’s purchase of vital American parts. (Bloomberg)

Bike-sharing giant Ofo suspended its deposit-free service in most Chinese cities where it operates. Users now need to pay a monthly fee to access its yellow bikes. (PingWest)

Baidu reached a partnership with Shenzhen Expressway to pursue smart transportation. The two are also going to collaborate in environmental protection and digitalization. (PingWest)

Tencent announced on Friday it has sued Toutiao for unfair competition and defamation, asking for 1 yuan worth of compensation and open apologies from Toutiao. According to Tencent, Toutiao has deliberately distorted and spread an article that was critical of Tencent’s gaming division initially published by state media Xinhuanet. (Technode)

 

Rest of Asia

Although losses have been lessened by a fall in logistics and storage costs, marketplace arm of Flipkart India, Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd’s overall sales of the e-tailing major grew at a pace slower than expected. (Deal Street Asia)

 

World

Softbank’s $92 billion Vision Fund would invest $2.25 billion in General Motors Co.’s driverless-car unit and Waymo LLC, a self-driving car subsidiary of Alphabet. While there was no disclosure of the purchase price, the total could amount to an excess of $2 billion, as revealed by people familiar with the matter. (KrASIA)

Walmart has revealed Jetblack, a concierge shopping service for busy urban families. The service is invitational only and costs US$50 a month for same-day delivery for requests of Walmart, Jet and other retailers. (Bloomberg)

Facebook is close to launching news programs on its Watch video platform after months of talks and several strategy shifts. The news to be shown are likely to include content from Fox News and CNN. (WSJ)

Alphabet’s autonomous driving unit Waymo will add as much as 62k Fiat cars to its driverless program. Waymo plans to kick off a robotaxi service in the US this year. (Reuters)

“Sweep tech, not tents.” Around 50 people protested in San Francisco, blockading routes to tech companies with a pile of electric scooters on Thursday. They were not happy about the economic impact by the tech industry on the Bay Area, where tech billionaires share the city with homeless people. (CNBC)

Apple has prevented Telegram from updating globally after Russia put a ban on the service and asked Apple to remove the app from its iOS App Store, according to Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov. Russia only makes up 7% of the messaging app’s users. (Reuters)

 

Gadgets

Xiaomi unveiled its Mi Band 3 on Thursday. The new wearable fitness tracker has a battery life per charge of longer than 20 days per charge and 50-meter water resistance. (TechCrunch)

 

Good News Bad News

2018 is a tough year for Mark Zuckerberg. The latest bad news for Facebook is that Reddit has replaced the social networking website as the third most visited website in the US, according to Amazon’s traffic analytics platform Alexa. (TNW)