An ailing Chinese bike-sharing startup may have found its savior, while one of the world’s biggest proposed fintech deals has hit a brick wall. Here are the top tech news headlines from around the region today.
US blocks Ant Financial’s US$1.2 billion MoneyGram deal (China). The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has rejected the Alibaba affiliate’s takeover bid for Texan cash transfer firm MoneyGram. The regulator has torpedoed a number of Chinese-led acquisition proposals in recent years amid growing US concerns about intellectual property theft, espionage, and Beijing’s involvement in dealmaking. (Reuters)
Has Didi Chuxing acquired beleaguered bike-sharer Bluegogo? (China). The ride-hailing giant has reportedly taken over the stricken bike-sharing firm, which hit headlines in November after failing to pay employees and return users’ deposits. Bluegogo CEO Li Gang cited overwhelming competition from Mobike and Didi-backed Ofo as the primary cause of the startup’s troubles. Didi’s relationship with Ofo is said to be under strain after the latter resisted the shareholder’s attempt to strengthen its management role. Buying Bluegogo could help Didi build its own bike-sharing business. (China Money Network)
Meituan subsidizes drivers and users to beat Didi at its own game (China). Ecommerce player Meituan is dishing out handsome incentives as it pushes into the ride-hailing space dominated by Didi. The firm is rewarding users as much as US$15 for completing 13 rides, while it is waiving fees for drivers for up to three months. (Technode)
Korea’s SoCar eyes international expansion (Malaysia). The Korean ride-hailing firm will launch its first service outside its home market in Malaysia, where it will compete with established players Grab and Uber. Indonesia’s Go-Jek has also indicated it will expand to other Southeast Asian countries this year. SoCar raised US$18 million in a Bain Capital-led round in 2015, and is also backed by conglomerate SK Group. (DealStreetAsia)
Deliveroo plotting entry into crowded food-delivery space. (India). The UK food-delivery startup is hiring a country head in advance of its planned India launch. Deliveroo will be up against established competitors in the country, including homegrown startups Swiggy and Zomato, Uber’s UberEats service, and Ola-owned Foodpanda. (The Times of India)
Tiket co-founder departs following Blibli takeover (Indonesia). Natali Ardianto, who co-founded Tiket and served as its chief technology officer, is leaving the online travel agency startup. Writing in a blog post, he said his presence was no longer required. Ecommerce firm Blibli’s acquisition of Tiket was revealed in June last year. (Medium)
Background verification firm IDfy raises US$3 million (India). Existing US-based investor New Enterprise Associates participated in the round, alongside new backers including UAE family office NB Ventures and Japan’s Dream Incubator. IDfy uses data analytics tech to help businesses perform background checks on job candidates. (VCCircle)
App analytics platform CleverTap nabs fresh funding (India). Japanese outsourcing and business services company Recruit led the round, with existing backers Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners joining in. CleverTap will use the undisclosed investment for product development. (VCCircle)
<h2>Property and real estate</h2>
FundPlaces secures US$1.5 million in funding (Singapore). The startup, which uses blockchain technology to enable real estate investments, raised the money from Global Yellow Pages. FundPlaces will use the capital to expand its presence in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. (e27)
See: Previous Asia tech news roundups
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