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Douyin advertisement on a karaoke mini-booth / Photo credit: Tech in Asia

Beijing cements its place as China’s unicorn capital, another “mini-gym” operator secures funding, and Huya prices its New York IPO. Here are some of the big tech stories from the past couple of days.

Health and well-being

Synyi raises US$15.7 million in GGV Capital-led series B round (China). Shanghai-based Synyi uses natural language processing tech to perform data analysis on medical texts and related data sources. It will use the funds for tech development and compliance matters. Existing investors Sequoia Capital and Zhen Fund also participated in the round. (China Money Network)

Malaysia’s first Google Launchpad inductee raises US$1 million (Malaysia). Almost a year after joining Google’s Launchpad Accelerator, HealthMetrics has secured funding from VC firms Cradle Seed Ventures, RHL Ventures, and Spiral Ventures. The Klang Valley-based company provides a web-based enterprise solution for managing employee healthcare plans. (HealthMetrics)

Parkbox secures series A+ funding round (China). The investment was led by Huazhu Hotels Group. The mini-gym operator provides fitness pods of varying sizes featuring workout apparatus, and mainly targets customers living in dormitories, apartments, and suburban areas. (KrAsia)

Media and entertainment

Huya lays down terms for US$165 million US IPO (China). The gaming and e-sports live-streaming platform, spun off from social network YY, has announced that it’s all set for its US IPO. The company plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange next week, with a price range of US$10 to US$12 per share. (Nasdaq)

Peppa Pig disappears from Douyin (China). The British cartoon pig is nowhere to be found on the Bytedance-owned online video app. As well as being popular with her infant target audience, Peppa has become something of a protest symbol among some Chinese teenagers and adults. State media suggested that the removal from Douyin may be because the main character’s Chinese nickname, shehuiren – which is slang for “gangster” – has inspired adult viewers to listen to gangster rap and get tattoos, which are apparently frowned upon by the authorities. (Bloomberg)

Social media

Photo credit: Freestocks.org

Facebook’s Free Basics program ceases (Myanmar). The social media giant’s app provides users in several countries with internet access, without incurring mobile plan charges. It allows curated browsing to take place within Facebook’s platform. Myanmar’s state-owned telco Myanma Posts & Telecommunications restricted the service at the behest of the country’s government, and Facebook pulled the app from the country at some point last year, it has emerged. (TechCrunch)


Volkswagen in talks with Didi Chuxing over fleet management (China). After forming an alliance with 31 automakers and parts suppliers last week, the ride-hailing company is reportedly negotiating a deal with Volkswagen that will see the German automaker manage part of its fleet and work with it to develop purpose-built cars. A senior Volkswagen executive said their company will manage 100,000 new cars for Didi, a third of which will be the German firm’s models. (Reuters)


Snooper raises US$756,000 funding (Australia). The crowdsourcing platform acquired the investment in a round led by Microequities Venture Capital Fund. Snooper pays shoppers to report on in-store experiences and complete surveys. Brands can use the data collected to inform their marketing campaigns. Snooper will use the funding to accelerate its growth in the Australian market. (DealStreetAsia)

Big tech

Running late for your flight? Show your face (Singapore). Changi Airport is testing out facial recognition technology that locates and alerts lost travellers who may be about to miss the last call for boarding. The Singapore airport’s Terminal 4 is already using facial recognition for self-service check-in, bag drop, immigration, and boarding. (Reuters)

BYD stock has lost US$9 billion in value since October (China). Fewer government subsidies and increased competition are just some of the reasons analysts and investors are shying away from the Chinese electric vehicle-maker, with the company predicting its first-half profit to tumble by as much as 83 percent. (Bloomberg)

Investors, incubators, and accelerators

Beijing is home to the most Chinese unicorns. Photo credit: peterguo / 123RF

Study reveals Beijing is top city for Chinese unicorns (China). Sixty-six out of 151 of the country’s billion-dollar startups are located in the capital, says a study by the Hurun Research Institute and WalkTheChat. Shanghai follows with 38 unicorns. In terms of highest aggregated unicorn valuation, Beijing leads with US$307 billion, followed by Hangzhou with US$106 billion. (TechNode)

Bootcamp for women founders launches (Malaysia). The Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) says that the “Female Founders” edition of their bootcamp aims to help women entrepreneurs develop business ideas, build working prototypes, and create go-to-market strategies. The application period runs until May 21. Only the top twenty-five applicants will be selected for the two-week program in June. (MaGIC)

See: Previous Asia tech news roundups

This post Asia news roundup: Synyi raises $15.7m, Douyin drops Peppa Pig, and more appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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