Here are the top tech stories as another weeks draws to a close.
Ant Financial eyeing hectocorn status (China). Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial is aiming to raise up to US$5 billion in fresh equity funding. Such an investment would value the fintech firm at between US$80 billion and US$100 billion, and is expected to precede its as-yet unannounced IPO. Alibaba owns around a third of Ant Financial, which operates the Alipay digital payments platform and has itself become a prolific backer of fintech startups in the Asia-Pacific region. (Reuters)
Didi and SoftBank team up to mount challenge in Japan’s ride-hailing market (Japan). China’s Didi Chuxing and its investor SoftBank are launching a joint venture in Japan to offer a service that allows users to hail licensed taxi operators. The platform will bring Didi into direct competiion with Uber, another of SoftBank’s portfolio companies that operates in Japan, as well as Nihon Kotsu’s JapanTaxi, which yesterday announced more than US$63 million in investment from Toyota. (Reuters)
Huami raises US$110 million in New York float (China/US). The firm, which is Xiaomi’s key design and manufacturing partner for wearable devices, offered 10 million shares at US$11, in a range of US$10 to US$12 at its New York Stock Exchange debut. The offering, which was less than the hoped for US$150 million, gives Huami a market valuation of US$690 million – stripping it of its previously rumored unicorn status. It will trade under the symbol HMI. (China Money Network)
Media and entertainment
Electronic Sports League operator pumps US$4 million into IPO hopeful Nazara (India). Germany’s Turtle Entertainment, the company behind the Electronic Sports League (ESL) esports organization, is reported to have invested around US$4 million into Mumbai-based mobile games developer Nazara. As a result, ESL is thought to have acquired a 1.8 percent in Nazara, which is preparing for an IPO later this year. (VCCircle)
Tencent to invest US$474 million in Shanda Games (China). The move will further boost Tencent’s increasingly dominant position in computer gaming. The Shenzhen-based firm also holds stakes in US studios Riot Games, Epic Games, and Activision Blizzard, as well as Finnish Clash of Clans maker Supercell. (Reuters)
Property and real estate
Placio gets US$2 million for Southeast Asia expansion (India). The Noida-based student co-living platform secured the capital from Singapore private equity firm Prestellar Ventures. Placio will use the pre-series A funds to expand into Malaysia and Singapore. (e27)
Google fined for “search bias” (India). The Competition Commission of India has imposed a US$21.1 million penalty on the US tech giant for unfair business practices in relation to its web search service. The amount of the fine is reported to represent 5 percent of Google’s total revenue generated in India. The US company was last year fined US$2.7 billion by the European Commission for abusing its dominance of the web search market. (Inc42)
Investors, incubators, and accelerators
B Capital closes US$360 million startup fund (Singapore/US). The VC firm, which is based in Singapore and the US, exceeded its fundraising target. B Capital counts Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin among its partners, and it has invested in startups such as 99.co and Ninja Van. (B Capital)
See: Previous Asia news roundups
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