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Buyout negotiations between Flipkart and Walmart are heating up, while Grab is seeking another US$1 billion in funding as it looks to corner Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing, food-delivery, and digital payments markets.

Fintech

Alipay to assist small and micro-enterprises with new scheme. (China). The digital payments platform will pledge about US$158 billion in loans over the next three years to small and micro-businesses such as street vendors. Alipay serves up to 100 million businesses and gives the owners access to financial services such as wealth management, finance, insurance, operational analytics, and loans. (TechNode)

Consumer tech

BoAt raises US$899,000 in Fireside Ventures-led round (India). The New Delhi-based manufacturer of speakers and headphones will use the funds for marketing and product development. Other products sold by the consumer technology company include mobile accessories such as charging cables and wall chargers. (Livemint)

Transportation

Grab seeks US$1 billion at US$10 billion post-money valuation in latest fundraise (Singapore). This comes just over a month after Grab purchased rival Uber’s Southeast Asia business. The funds will be useful to Grab as it focuses on securing a bigger slice of the ride-hailing and food-delivery markets in Southeast Asia. Grab was reportedly valued at US$6 billion after a July 2017 funding round led by Didi Chuxing and SoftBank, which raised US$2.5 billion. (The Wall Street Journal)

Ecommerce

Flipkart and Walmart inch closer to final deal (India). As it prepares to sell a majority stake to Walmart, the online retailer bought back shares worth US$350 million from minority investors DST Global, IDG Ventures, and ICONIQ Capital. The buyback converts Flipkart into a private company, which would allow the proposed Walmart deal to push through. Sources said the transaction is expected to be finalized within the next four to six weeks. (Livemint)

Media and entertainment

Alax gets US$3.8 million from token-based fundraise (China). The mobile game distribution platform will use the amount for product development, internal expansion, and recruitment. In March, Alax partnered with smartphone manufacturers Gionee and Torque Mobile to pre-install its software into their products. A tie-up with mobile phone and accessories retailer Utoo followed, with Alax agreeing to sell the company’s top-up cards in exchange for digital currency in its e-wallet. Alax is a joint venture of blockchain technology business Decent and Dragonfly, an app and game distribution platform. (Alax)

Enterprise software and services

MyRepublic forms mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) partnership with StarHub (Singapore). The deal will enable the ISP to offer mobile services in Singapore using StarHub’s existing network. MVNOs are companies that sell mobile phone services through another company’s existing network infrastructure. MyRepublic would be the fourth MVNO in the city-state, which already has Circles.Life, Zero Mobile, and Zero1. (MyRepublic)

Sleekr acquires Talenta (Indonesia). The company, which provides human resources (HR) and accounting software to local SMEs, announced the acquisition this week. HR management startup Talenta uses cloud-based software to let employers create employee databases, records, attendance reports, and payroll processing. (Sleekr)

Property and real estate

Ucommune acquires competitor Workingdom (China). The shared workspace operator – formerly known as UrWork – is merging with its smaller rival as a result of a strategic investment. The deal will add an extra 20 locations and 15,000 registered members to Ucommune’s portfolio. The Chinese co-working firm has been on an acquisitions spree of late as it strives to fend off US competitor WeWork, which is expanding its presence in Asia Pacific. Since the start of the year, Ucommune has acquired shared workspace players New Space, Woo Space, and Wedo. (e27)

Big tech

Ubtech raises US$820 million in series C round (China). The Shenzhen-based artificial intelligence and humanoid robotics firm set a new financing record for largest investment raised in a single round by an AI company. The fundraise, which was led by Tencent with participation from investors such as CreditEase, Haier, and Telstra, brings Ubtech’s valuation to about US$5 billion. The company will use the amount in three key areas: R&D, marketing and branding, and recruitment. (TechNode)

Investors, incubators, and accelerators

Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF) sponsors Young Founders School (YFS) (Hong Kong). AEF joins the current school sponsor, Credit Suisse, in rolling out programs in Cantonese for the benefit of local students. YFS also announced the launch of “Teacher Training in Entrepreneurship,” a new program in partnership with AEF that aims to give educators the tools to include entrepreneurship education in their curriculum. The school already offers Weekend Bootcamp, a series of workshops and breakout sessions with successful local entrepreneurs. (Young Founders School)

GGV Capital raises US$236 million for renminbi fund (China). The venture capital firm says the fund – its first renminbi-denominated one – will invest in early-stage and growth-stage startups. These would include companies that make smart hardware as well as offer internet, corporate, and digital services. GGV has invested in over 200 Chinese and American companies, and manages eight US dollar-denominated funds. (TechNode)

China’s VC activity leads global market, deploys US$15.6 billion in April alone (China). At least 209 deals were made with venture-backed companies, resulting in that total amount. The total April venture capital deal value in China was 166 percent higher than the US monthly average, according to China Money Network’s VC tracker. Credit goes to the investing sprees by several of the country’s largest tech giants: Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu. (China Money Network)

See: Previous Asia tech news roundups

This post Asia news roundup: Walmart and Flipkart nears close, Grab seeks $1b funding appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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