Today’s Tech Headlines: Ant Financial claims 622m users and has $345bn worth of assets

Alibaba Health Information Technology aims to broaden its investments in AI.

Photo by Lee Ferrell on Unsplash

SEA

Vertex-backed Validus Capital has joined hands with Lighthouse Canton Group to kickstart a ‘LVC Trade Finance Fund’ – providing growth capital for SMEs at bank-liked rates. While the SME Financing Fund began with a S$20 million launch, the company hopes to scale it up to S$200 million. The MAS-licensed firm uses machine learning and AI to identify and underwrite small business is looking to replicate its success in Singapore in the region. (Deal Street Asia)

GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, invested approximately $32 million into Turkish Discount Grocer. Operating 1,500 small-format stores that sells a wide range of products, the grocer’s recent IPO is one of the biggest equity issues in Turkey. Sok’s chief executive was pleased with the response that showed clear confidence in Turkey, the retail industry and Sok Marketler. According to a Yıldız statement, 85% of the shares on offer were backed by foreign investors and the remaining 15% bought by domestic investors. (Deal Street Asia)

 

China

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s fintech arm, claims 622m users and has US$345bn worth of assets under Ant Financial Services group’s wealth management business, making Ant the world’s biggest consumer wealth platform. (FT)

China’s Social Security Fund, made a fair value return of 40 billion yuan (approx. US$6.3 billion), more than 5 times the original amount invested 3 years ago, having bought 5% of shares in Ant Financial for 7 billion yuan (approx. US$1 billion). Ant Financial currently is seeking a Pre-IPO round of financing of US$10 billion to value the company at US$160 billion. (36Kr)

Alibaba Health Information Technology aims to launch a range of new services and broaden its investments in AI, as revenue increased by 414.2% to 2.4 billion yuan (approx. US$376.5 million). On Thursday, the company’s shares spiked 26.13% to close at HK$5.60. (SCMP)

E-commerce giant Alibaba becomes the very first Chinese company to join global computer language management organization the Executive Committee of the Java Community Process (JCP), probably will bring Chinese experiences to Java standards. (Yicai)

NetEase shares dropped by 6% from US$266 to US$250 the day after it released its first-quarter earnings. Analysts EPS forecast (US$1.99) were off by US$1.08 as EPS hit US$0.91.  (Technode)

OneSpace Technology has successfully launched its first single-stage OS-X solid rocket earlier today. The rocket from China’s first private rocket producer has surpassed Mach 5 travelling 170 miles in 265 seconds to an altitude of around 25 miles before falling back to Earth in the designated zone. Founder and CEO Shu Chang wishes to be one of the largest small-satellite launchers in the world. (China Money Network)

HNA Group Co. disposes its 29 million shares in South African airline Comair Ltd.. The 6.2% stake in Comair was sold off at an undisclosed price at an unknown date, but with regards to current market prices, the stake is valued at around US$14 million. The debt-laden Chinese conglomerate with US$94 billion debt has sold over US$13billion of assets this year. (Bloomberg)

iQiyi is finally stepping foot in the space of social and user-generated short-form videos that is already flooded by the likes of Douyin and Kuaishuo, but says it would take as long as three years to do so. iQiyi chooses only now to enter in this market, even as they saw the rising trend, as previous years it had to focused on its main core business, long-form videos, because of fierce competition. (Bloomberg)

Didi Chuxing is on the blacklist of the government of Shenzhen city, as the ride-hailing company has violated the regulation regarding the placement of new shared bikes and electric bikes in the city. Didi Chuxing has previously pledged that it will quit the local market if it fails to comply with rules and regulations. (PingWest)

According to Jack Ma, Alibaba executive chairman, there is a bubble in Bitcoin. However, the man is bullish on blockchain, the technology behind cryptocurrency. New York-listed Alibaba has 43 published blockchain patent applications last year. (South China Morning Post)

Disputes over the alleged patent infringements between two smartphone makers – Coolpad Group and Xiaomi came at a delicate time even as Xiaomi’s recent filing of market debut IPO can possibly catapult the company to become China’s third largest technology company by value. Once a major smartphone brand in China – Coolpad Group, it has since lagged behind rivals, citing from research firm IDC. The company has been ranked out of the top 10 smartphone suppliers in the first quarter of this year. (South China Morning Post)

Hong Kong Stock Exchange official website released news yesterday about HaidiLao Hotpot’s application for an IPO. According to its prospectus, the company’s profit and revenue for 2017 were approximately 1.2 billion yuan (approx. US$188 million) and 10.6 billion yuan (approx. US$250.8 million) respectively. Over the last 3 years, profits grew at a whopping compound annual growth rate of 70.5%. The company is also bullish on its catering service market and expects a compound growth rate of close to 10% from 2017 to 2022. (Pingwest)

 

World

Betting on point-of-sale transactions, small businesses and the European market, PayPal is buying Swedish payments startup iZettle for US$2.2 billion amid competition with Square, Stripe and other global payment giants. (TechCrunch)

Intel and subsidiary Mobileye have begun testing 100 self-driving cars in Jerusalem. They chose Jerusalem for its geography and conditions as it is notorious for its aggressive driving and roads are not always marked, with complicated merging situation and people walking off-crosswalks. They want to prove their cars are 1,000 times safer than human driver. Intel and Mobileye’s goal is to achieve Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicles on the road by 2021. (Techcrunch)