In today’s news, Facebook’s data use scandal seeps into Asia Pacific, while a smartphone company fights a costly battle for market share in China.
Zilingo secures US$54 million in series C round (Singapore). Ecommerce startup Zilingo, which links independent fashion designers to shoppers, received US$54 million in a series C fundraise co-led by Sofina, Burda Principal Investments, and Sequoia Capital. The company said the investment will be used to accelerate growth in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. The startup raised US$17 million in its series B funding round in September last year. (Tech in Asia)
Paytm ventures into wealth management (India). One97 Communication, the parent company of mobile wallet app Paytm, has entered the mutual fund industry under its new unit Paytm Money. The platform is slated for launch on Android and iOS by end of April. Users will be able to invest in mutual funds from 12 asset management companies via the app, and Paytm plans to raise the number of available providers to 25 by August. (Livemint)
Japanese financial regulator inks fintech deal with Swiss counterpart (Japan). Japan’s Financial Services Agency and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority will cooperate on areas related to fintech, the Japanese regulator announced. Under the agreement, both countries will refer financial innovators to each other and share fintech-related information. (Financial Services Agency)
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies
ZPX receives US$1.3 million in funding (Singapore). The startup is launching what it claims to be Asia’s first cryptocurrency index token. The funding came from investors including local seed-stage VC firm SeedPlus and Milliways Ventures, among others. The company said in a statement that it plans to use the capital injection to build its blockchain stack, launch new products, and make new hires. (ZPX)
Facebook data leak may affect more than 3.6 million Asian users (Asia-Pacific). On Thursday morning, the social media giant announced that it believes data of up to 87 million of its users was leaked. Out of the 87 million users, 3.6 million are in Asia. The Philippines, which is estimated to have about 1.75 million affected users, appears to be the country worst hit by the scandal in the region. Indonesia, India, and Australia may all be affected as well. This statement comes two weeks after news broke that Cambridge Analytica, a UK political consulting firm, harvested user data from Facebook improperly. (Facebook)
Authorities to start investigation into leaked Facebook data (Australia). The government said on Thursday that it has started investigating whether Facebook’s data leak has breached the country’s privacy laws. This comes after the social media firm announced that private information of about 300,000 Australian Facebook users may have been leaked. Facebook said it will be “fully responsive” to the investigation, and that it had recently updated privacy settings. (Reuters)
Health and well-being
UK digital health startup strikes deal with Tencent (China). British healthcare startup Babylon, which uses an algorithm to assess illness based on symptoms, will plant its technology in Tencent’s chat app WeChat to offer an estimated 1 billion users medical advice through messaging. Both companies did not disclose financial aspects of the deal. (The Financial Times)
Smartphone firm slashes half its factory workforce amid budget cuts (China). Shenzhen-based Gionee, the Chinese smartphone which ranks sixth place in sales in China, laid off half of its factory workers due to financial concerns brought on by slow sales growth and stiff competition, the company said earlier this week. Staff cuts hit the firm’s main plant in Dongguan. (The South China Morning Post)
See: Previous Asia tech news roundups
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