Today’s Tech Headlines: Toutiao seeks $3b in fundraising

All you need to know in the tech world today.

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Today’s Tech Headlines: Toutiao seeks $3b in fundraising

SEA

Singapore payments service provider NETS has launched an app that helps small business owners to track and accept QR code payments. The company has been bullish about the use of QR codes to make Singapore less reliant on cash. (KrASIA)

Chinese group buying site Pinduoduo’s (PDD) sprint from launch to a US$1.6 billion IPO on Nasdaq in just three short years is one of the most talked-about e-commerce stories this year. PDD hasn’t announced immediate plans to expand beyond China, but could it become one of the many Chinese tech firms who start looking at Southeast Asia for further growth? (KrASIA)

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority will grant licenses to six out of seven dockless bike-sharing operators in end-October 2018. Going forward, Chinese bike-share operators ofo and Mobike will be limited to a fleet of 25,000 bikes each. (KrASIA)

Vietnam-based financial services and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company Tima has secured US$3 million in a Series B round led by Belt Road Capital Management, which it will use to grow its footprint across Vietnam, further develop its technology offerings, and increase hiring efforts. (KrASIA)

The future of SEA fintech could be in the peer-to-bank (P2B) space, rather than peer-to-peer (P2P), says John Patrick Ellis, the co-founder of C88 Technologies. He believes that the volatility in currencies will spur P2P lenders to work with players with bigger pools of cash which happen to be banks and financial institutions in countries like Indonesia and the Philippines. (Deal Street Asia)

Australia and Singapore-based Gilmour Space Technologies have secured $19 million to scale-up and launch the company’s first commercial hybrid rocket to space in 2020, supported by a growing group of Australian venture capital firms seeking to enhance the domestic space industry. (Defence Connect)

 

China

ByteDance, the developer behind China’s most popular news app Toutiao and short video app Douyin, is reportedly in talks with SoftBank and other global investors to raise as much as US$3b at a valuation of US$75b. The company is also set to join the ranks of other Chinese tech giants in the public markets by 2019. (KrASIA)

Latecomer Hellobike push for the untapped opportunity in third tier Chinese cities has paid off. It has survived a shake out in China’s bike sharing market to emerge as the country’s No. 3 player. (SCMP)

China’s BATs – Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent – have collectively lost close to $165b in valuation year-to-date. Their falling stock prices have ruined their record highs at the beginning of 2018. However, just by looking at the growth and size of their businesses, they still remain as potent threats to the major US tech names. (CNBC)

Didi Chuxing admits its inability to meet all the demands of China’s ride-hailing market. Its openness to welcome new players and efforts to strengthen its safety management comes at a time when the company is hit by two recent murders in the space of 3 months. (Technode)

Jack Ma surrendered his ownership of entities that hold Alibaba Group’s business licenses in China. This change was done to reduce Ma’s administrative burden, following his Sept 10. announcement to step down as Alibaba’s executive chairman. (WSJ)

The craze of being a WeChat rival is ebbing away and the real challenges are starting to become more apparent for Bullet Messenger. It is losing traction and has seen its daily downloads drop significantly. (Technode)

 

Elsewhere

A US trade judge has accepted that Apple’s iphones infringed on one Qualcomm patent related to power management but declined to block the importation of Apple’s iPhones with Intel chips into the US, citing “public interest factors” as a reason, dealing Qualcomm a major defeat in its ongoing legal dispute with Apple. (Reuters)

Tesla’s Elon Musk is now hinting that the company is on the brink of turning a profit amidst the turbulent times that the Tesla is in now. This news came in the wake of an upcoming Q3 production numbers report that will be out by this week. (CNBC)

The European Union’s privacy watchdog is looking to see whether Facebook has violated its new privacy law. This breach could potentially lead to a $1.63 billion in fines for the US social media giant. (WSJ)

The Japan-based mobile messenger Line is now launching 5 decentralised apps that runs on its proprietary blockchain network, Link Chain. The company is looking to promote co-creation and mutual growth. (The Nation)

More accurate data is a necessary ingredient to create unbiased algorithms. Yet, algorithms, when unbiased, can still be problematic. The data itself has to be generated via a fair process or we will be left with the problem of systemic bias. (TechCrunch)