The Walmart-Amazon-Flipkart saga continues, WeChat combats “fake news,” and more news from today and over the weekend.
Walmart said to edge Amazon in Flipkart fight (India). Sources have indicated that the Indian ecommerce company has approved the sale of a stake of around 75 percent to the American retailer for about US$15 billion. Under the reported terms of the deal, SoftBank will sell its 20 percent-plus stake at a valuation of around US$20 billion. Likely to join Walmart’s investment is Google parent Alphabet. If successful, the deal means Walmart has outflanked Amazon, which has been trying to woo Flipkart with a competing offer. (Bloomberg)
New funding round for iPrice amid growing market (Malaysia). The startup, which aggregates listings from a range of ecommerce sites so shoppers can compare prices, raised an undisclosed amount in the round. Line Ventures took the lead, with Cento Ventures and Venturra Capital joining in. IPrice is on track to reach more than 150 million visitors in 2018, and reported that much of its growth over the past year has been accounted for by a boom in Indonesian ecommerce. (Tech In Asia)
Shenma Finance raises US$47.3 million in series C round (China). The Shanghai-based fintech company, which focuses on motorcycle and scooter financing for rural customers, secured the investment in a round led by China Growth Capital, Hina Group, and Tongbanjie Group. Previous investors CreditEase and ChinaEquity Group also joined the round. Operating in 31 provinces and regions in China, Shenma plans to begin offering financing for “new energy” vehicles in the near future. (China Money Network)
Ant Financial boosts Yu’e Bao with two money market funds (China). The financial services group has added the funds to its online wealth management platform Yu’e Bao, which is already the world’s largest money market fund. This move allows Ant Financial to expand its client base while Chinese regulators are scrutinizing its existing fund over concerns about potential financial risks. Yu’e Bao is integrated with Alipay, one of China’s biggest digital payment platforms. (Reuters)
CapBridge appoints new board member, closes expanded series A funding (Singapore). The global private capital platform has appointed Chew Sutat, an executive vice president and head of equities and fixed income at the Singapore Exchange (SGX), as its non-executive director. CapBridge also closed its series A fundraise, which started last October, raising US$3.7 million. The platform’s investors include SGX and veteran venture capitalist Tim Draper, among others. (CapBridge)
Delivery and logistics
UberEats takes a bite out of more towns and cities (India). The service plans to expand beyond large metro areas into smaller cities, according to Bhavik Rathod, who heads the US company’s food-delivery operations in India. Competition picked up after UberEats’ entry last year. Rival Foodpanda was acquired by Ola in December. Meanwhile, local competitors Zomato and Swiggy respectively secured US$150 million and US$200 million funding from Alibaba. In India, UberEats includes more than 12,000 restaurants, with up to 40 new restaurants added daily. (Livemint)
WeChat blocks 500 million posts in effort to curb “fake news” (China). By the end of 2017, the app’s anti-”fake news” program had “quashed” rumors for 19.7 million users and had sent out 37 million alerts, according to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology. The academy’s report also noted WeChat’s efforts working with police against cyber fraud, assisting in over 3,800 arrests linked to illegal collection of personal data. (South China Morning Post)
Fosun Group’s Guo Guangchang plans US$630 million purchase of dating site Baihe.com (China). The conglomerate’s chairman is eyeing a 70 percent controlling stake of the matchmaker website. Guo will accomplish the proposed buyout through his firm Yuanhong Investment. The transaction needs regulatory approval, but the companies didn’t disclose when it will be finalized. (South China Morning Post)
ZTE asks US Commerce Department to lift ban (China). In a filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, the tech giant said it has submitted an application to the department’s Bureau of Industry and Security to suspend a trade ban imposed last month. The US barred ZTE from buying components from American firms for seven years after it found out that the Chinese company shipped telecom equipment to Iran in breach of US sanctions. (Reuters)
Investors, incubators, and accelerators
JPMorgan executive says more Chinese tech unicorns likely to IPO in Hong Kong (China). According to Nicolas Aguzin, the bank’s chairman and chief executive for Asia Pacific, several billion-dollar Chinese startups will launch IPOs in Hong Kong in the next 12 to 24 months. John Hall, JPMorgan’s co-head of investment banking in the region, added that “the combined valuation of these companies could reach up to US$1 trillion.” Last week, Chinese tech company Xiaomi filed for its IPO – which could be the world’s biggest since Alibaba’s 2014 debut – in the territory. (South China Morning Post)
See: Previous Asia tech news roundups
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