Here’s a wrap of the day’s news.
Funding Societies lands US$25 million in series B round (Singapore). The peer-to-peer lending startup, which allows small and medium-sized enterprises to borrow money from both accredited and retail investors, closed its series B funding round. Softbank Ventures Korea led the round with participation from Sequoia India, Golden Gate Ventures, and Alpha JWC Ventures. Funding Societies – which does business as Modalku in Indonesia – said the funds will be used for product development and to ensure regulatory compliance. (Tech in Asia)
Sharia-compliant HelloGold closes series A round from 500 Startups (Malaysia). The Kuala Lumpur-based fintech startup, which provides what it claims to be the world’s first sharia-compliant platform for trading gold, secured the funding from 500 Startups. The firm will use the capital to integrate and test blockchain elements on its app, and introduce Ethereum smart contracts by the year’s end. (HelloGold)
Delivery and logistics
Park N Parcel raises US$648,000 in seed funding (Singapore). The self-collection platform for online shoppers has closed its seed round with funding from TRi5 Ventures and a group of angel investors. Park N Parcel will use the capital to boost its team through new hires, and to expand its business to Hong Kong, Japan, and Thailand by the end of the year. (Tech in Asia)
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies
Citizens will soon be able to pay utility bills via blockchain (Malaysia). Everus Technologies, a Malaysia-based blockchain firm, has developed a mobile wallet for EVR, its Ethereum-based digital currency which can be purchased using bitcoin and certain other cryptocurrencies. The firm did not list the merchants on its platform, but said the wallet – which requires fingerprint and facial recognition – will allow users to pay for “most of the utilities services in Malaysia.” (The Edge)
Amazon’s global customers can now shop from the US (Asia Pacific). Amazon has launched the “International Shopping” in its Amazon Shopping app, allowing non-US consumers to shop for over 45 million items available in the US in 25 currencies and in five languages. (Amazon)
Scroll acquires 26.9 percent stake in Cat Dong (Vietnam). Japan-based Scroll Corporation, which sells fashion items and accessories via catalog mail order, has purchased a stake in the Vietnamese firm for an undisclosed amount. Cat Dong – which owns ecommerce sites Cungmua.com and Nhommua.com – will sell Scroll’s Japanese products.(DealStreetAsia)
Media and entertainment
Authorities order shutdown of 370 live-streaming apps (China). The country’s Culture and Tourism Ministry has ordered the removal from app stores due to supposed failures to comply with regulations. It closed another 57 apps produced by companies that it said were operating under fraudulent licenses. Regulators are also investigating bigger players in the industry like Huajiao and Douyu for hosting “improper” content. This news comes hot on the heels of a series of clampdowns on content apps like Toutiao, Watermelon Video, and Youku. (Technode)
Cetaku raises seed capital from IDN Media (Indonesia). The student-centric startup, which allows university students to print lecture notes for free, has bagged an undisclosed amount in seed funding from IDN Media. Cetaku, which claims to have over 50,000 users, said the funds will be used to grow its user base, develop its product, and to make key hires. (DealStreetAsia
ZTE may have to ditch Android, while Huawei also likely hit by new telecom rules (China). ZTE hit another trade hurdle after a US telecom regulator proposed new rules that would prohibit government programs from working with companies that could pose a security threat to the country’s telecom network. Crosstown rival Huawei may also be affected by the updated rules. The US Department of Commerce’s seven-year ban on ZTE’s purchase of US technology, issued yesterday, could also mean the Chinese company will be unable to ship Google’s Android operating system on its devices in the future. (Reuters)
See: Previous Asia tech news roundups
This post Asia news roundup: Softbank leads $25m Modalku round, while 500 Startups backs HelloGold appeared first on Tech in Asia.