Here’s a wrap of the day’s news.
Uber confirms sale of Southeast Asian business to Grab (Singapore). The ride-hailing company has announced the sale of its Southeast Asia business, including its food-delivery service UberEats, to Grab yesterday. The deal hands Uber a 27.5 percent stake in its local rival and the US firm’s second exit from a major market in Asia. In 2016, China’s Didi purchased Uber’s business in the country. (Reuters)
Xiaoming Bike to file for bankruptcy after failing to pay deposits (China). Consumers in China may soon lose their deposits if the bike-sharing company files for bankruptcy. The bike-sharing firm failed to separate users’ deposits from its company account, which resulted in a total of 2,952 user complaints filed with Guangdong Consumer Council. The council ordered the startup to return the money and apologize to the public. (China Money Network)
Delivery and logistics
Grab poised to be region’s food-delivery mammoth after Uber SEA buy (Singapore). Uber’s sale of its Southeast Asia business to Grab includes UberEats, the US company’s food-delivery unit, which ranks well on app stores in Singapore and Malaysia. Grab runs its own food-delivery operations called GrabFood in Thailand and Indonesia. It will expand across Southeast Asia by next quarter. (Tech in Asia)
Singapore and Japan cooperate to grow fintech (Singapore). In a joint statement on Monday, the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) and the Fintech Association of Japan (FAJ) pledged to boost cooperation. The associations will work on joint projects on fintech innovation and development, and benefit from each other’s expertise. Japan recently updated its laws to allow banks and fintech companies to collaborate. (Straits Times)
First fintech debuts on Singapore’s stock market (Singapore). Ayondo, a global fintech group, is the first fintech company to appear on the Singapore Exchange. It enters with a value of US$0.18 a piece – 7.7 percent lower than its initial public offering. Ayondo offers social trading and brokerage services through its platforms, WeTrade and Tradehub. (Business Times)
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies
China leads in blockchain patent application (China). In 2017, the country filed 225 blockchain patents, more than half of the global total of 406 applications, according to data from Thomson Reuters. The runner-up was the US at 91 applications. China’s applications ranged from cryptocurrency to chicken tracking, though China’s still behind the curve on bitcoin and digital currency applications, an area dominated by US and European companies. (Financial Times)
Malaysian mobile marketplace gets on the blockchain train (Malaysia). ServisHero has announced a decentralisation of its system to allow for more efficient internal operations. It allows homeowners to search and hire service providers to do cleaning, plumbing, or electrical wiring, to name a few. The company claims blockchain also adds transparency to worker reputation scores, making them more credible. An initial coin offering is in the pipeline. (ServisHero)
Alibaba in talks with Thai government to open logistics center (Thailand). The Chinese tech giant is reportedly eyeing a logistics hub in Chachoengsao, which the Thai government plans to develop into a leading economic zone. This move comes at the heels of a recent US$2 billion investment in ecommerce firm Lazada and last year’s opening of an electronic trading center Kuala Lumpur. Alibaba wants to use Thailand as a base to launch in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, said Thailand’s industry minister. (South China Morning Post)
Singapore passes media blackout law to ban photos or videos during crises (Singapore). The city-state passed a controversial law in parliament that blocks any form of electronic communication during a terror attack – a move that has sparked concerns about press freedom. Local police can stop anyone in the vicinity from posting photos, videos, or updates of what transpired. In September 2016, the Singapore government launched SG Secure, an app that crowdsources photos and information from affected individuals during a terrorist attack. The city-state is ranked 151 out of 180 countries on media watchdog Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index. (South China Morning Post)
Policy and regulation
AI and facial recognition tech to help Shenzhen fine jaywalkers (China). Law enforcers in the city have upgraded their arsenal with AI artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology. Jaywalkers caught by cameras will be identified by the software, and traffic police will fine the flouters by sending an instant message to their phone. The tech comes from Intellifusion, a Shenzhen-based AI firm. (South China Morning Post)
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