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Rio de Janeiro. Brazil is the next market in Didi’s sights. Photo credit: marchello74 / 123RF

After conquering its native China, Didi sees plenty of ride-hailing opportunity in another of the world’s megapopulations.


Sequoia Capital and Tencent back electric vehicle startup WM Motor (China). Both investors have previously pumped capital into WM Motor’s rival NIO, suggesting that a future merger may be on the cards. China Structural Reform Fund and Wukuang Capital joined the round, while Baidu and Baidu Capital have also backed the startup. (China Money Network)

Didi Chuxing considers takeover of Brazilian counterpart (China). The ride-hailing company is in talks to buy a majority stake in 99, which is Uber’s main rival in Brazil. If the deal goes through, Didi would come closer to returning to direct competition with Uber, the Chinese business of which it acquired last year. (The Information)

Baidu sues former exec for alleged trade secret theft (China). The internet giant is suing ex-senior vice president Wang Jin for US$7.6 million in the Beijing Intellectual Property Court. Baidu claims that Wang misappropriated trade secrets relating to its self-driving car technology for his US startup JingChi, which is developing software for autonomous vehicles. (Technode)

Consumer tech

Xiaomi expects to beat revenue target (China). The company has told prospective underwriters for its planned 2018 IPO that it has surpassed its US$15 billion annual revenue target by as much as 18 percent, and expects to turn a profit of about US$2 billion next year. The figures bode well for Xiaomi as its plots its public listing, suggesting it has weathered slowing sales in recent years. (Reuters)

Mi Box

Photo credit: Aaron Yoo

LeEco unit files for liquidation (China/Hong Kong). LE Corporation, a Hong Kong-based subsidiary of the ailing Chinese tech firm, has petitioned the territory’s high court to begin winding up its business. LeTV Sports Culture Develop, another Hong Kong-based LeEco entity, said its operations are not affected by the liquidation. (Reuters)

Property and real estate

UrWork raises US$45 million in series C round (China). Qianhai Wutong Mergers & Acquisition Funds led the round, with CKing Home-Key Investment Group and VC firm Context Lab joining in. The investment follows a US$179 million pre-series C round closed by shared workspace operator UrWork in August. (China Money Network)


LexinFintech raises US$108 million in NASDAQ debut (China/US). The online lender – formerly known as Fenqile – is the sixth Chinese fintech firm to IPO in the US this year, following China Rapid Finance, Hexindai, Jianpu, PPdai, and Qudian. (China Money Network)


CoderSchool co-founder Charles Lee. Photo credit: Tri5 Ventures

CoderSchool gets seed funding (Vietnam). The Ho Chi Minh City-based startup, which offers computer programming courses, raised the undisclosed investment from Singapore’s Tri5 Ventures. CoderSchool alumni have bagged jobs at tech companies including Grab, Lazada, Uber, and Zalora. (Tri5 Ventures)

Cyber security

Security Platform raises funds from SoftBank (South Korea). SoftBank Ventures Korea and Premier Partners together invested US$2.78 million in the startup, which develops security solutions for IoT devices and networks. Security Platform will use the capital to fund its international expansion and fulfill its goal “to become a unicorn in IoT security,” said CEO Su-ik Hwang. (Security Platform)

Media and entertainment

Mumbrella acquired by Diversified Communications (Australia). The news platform, which covers the Asia-Pacific media and marketing industries, has been sold by its founders to US events company Diversified Communications for an undisclosed amount. Mumbrella said it made US$7 million revenue and US$1 million profit last year. (Mumbrella)

India’s Sachin Tendulkar defends the wicket during a cricket match against Australia in 2010. Photo credit: Pulkit Sinha

Sachin Tendulkar-backed Smaaash secures US$14 million funding (India). The virtual reality gaming startup, which counts the cricket star among its backers, scored the investment from unnamed high-net-worth individuals. Last month it raised US$10 million from Sixth Sense Ventures. (DealStreetAsia)

Investors, incubators, and accelerators

Brinc Capital to up investments in IoT and drone startups (Hong Kong). Hardware-focused accelerator Brinc has secured funding from Australia’s Artesian Venture Partners, allowing it to invest up to US$100,000 in IoT startups for 8-13 percent equity, and US$70,000 in “drones-as-a-service” startups for similar equity. It plans to back 28 startups next year. (e27)

See: Previous Asia tech news roundups

This post Asia tech news roundup – Dec 22 appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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