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Pu’er tea / Photo credit: ya87876 / 123RF

There was funding news from Droom, Jirnexu, and Sociolla today, while Didi made moves to address concerns following the alleged murder of one of its passengers.


Sociolla gets US$12 million backing (Indonesia). The beauty marketplace raised the funding in a round led by EV Growth. Other participating investors were Japanese beauty and fashion firm iStyle and an unnamed party from Singapore. The startup said some of the capital will bankroll marketing for its partner brands, while another portion will go to hiring tech talent for its newly launched social platform, Soco. (Tech in Asia)

ZhiEr raises “tens of millions of US dollars” (China). The secondhand fashion e-tailer closed series A and A+ rounds led by Redpoint China Ventures and Vision Capital, and joined by existing shareholder China Growth Capital. The money will be used to improve user experience and to optimize pricing and authentication algorithms, ZhiEr said. (KrAsia)


Jirnexu nets US$11 million funding, will focus on growth (Malaysia). The Kuala Lumpur-based online financial services provider got the funding in a series B round led by Japan’s SBI Group, with SIG Asia Investments joining as a new investor. Jirnexu, which automates the process of selecting and applying for financial products, plans to use the investment to hire more people. This latest investment brings the company’s total funding to US$17 million. (Tech in Asia)

Social media

Partipost lands US$1.7 million funding, launches app in new markets (Singapore). The crowd marketing platform secured the investment from OMG Venture and a group of angel investors. Partipost pays users between US$11 and US$22 for spreading branded content and sponsored posts on their personal social media accounts. The company is looking to improve its data analytics offering and grow its local and regional teams. (Partipost)

Travel and hospitality

Oyo Rooms expands to China (India). The Indian online hotel brand has entered the Chinese market, adding seven properties in Shenzhen to its aggregator site. This follows the startup’s expansion to Dubai last month. It also has a presence in Malaysia and Nepal in addition to its home market. Sources suggested that Oyo is now seeking out hotels in Beijing and Shanghai to add to its platform. (Entrackr)


Photo credit: khongkitwiriyachan / 123RF

Droom gets US$30 million funding, plans 2019 IPO (India). The online marketplace for new and used cars secured the money in a series D round led by Toyota Tsusho – part of Japan’s Toyota Group – and Tokyo-based Digital Garage. Joining the round were four new investors from family offices in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Droom will use the capital to enhance its ecosystem tools, expand internationally, and develop its machine learning capabilities. (Inc42)

Didi Hitch scraps social features (China). The ride-hailing company will deactivate user profile images, ratings, and tags for its carpool service after one of its drivers allegedly murdered a passenger earlier this month. Didi now requires all drivers to photograph themselves before every trip for facial recognition checks. It has also revamped its emergency help feature, and is proposing to audio-record all customer trips. (TechNode)

BMW first foreign company to get self-drive road test license (China). The German carmaker has received permits from Shanghai’s local government, allowing it to road-test autonomous vehicles on a 5.6 kilometer section of public road in the city. It’s believed to be the first non-Chinese company to obtain permission to conduct public tests in the country. (China Money Network)

Ofo wants to solve rental issues with blockchain tech (China). The bike-sharing company has set up a “blockchain research institute” to find new solutions related to bike deployment, redistribution, parking, and maintenance. Ofo’s move is aimed at addressing concerns about abandoned dockless bikes. Many local governments have already banned companies from adding more rental bikes to their fleet. (TechNode)

Health and well-being

Mfine secures US$4.2 million funding (India). The AI-driven healthcare startup received the series A backing in a round led by Prime Venture Partners. Other investors included Stellaris Venture Partners and healthcare entrepreneur Mayur Abhaya. Mfine, which produces an app that provides on-demand healthcare services, will use the money to extend its hospital network and boost its tech team. (Inc42)

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies

Tea-backed cryptocurrency project accused of US$48.2 million fraud (China). Shenzhen police arrested six employees of Shenzhen Puyin Blockchain Group in connection with the alleged defrauding of over 3,000 investors. The startup raised around US$48.2 million by issuing digital currency supposedly backed by one billion pieces of pu’er, a prized variety of fermented tea. The company is said to have rigged the token price by purchasing its own tokens with the money that investors plunked down. (China Money Network)

Big tech

Tencent under the microscope

Photo credit: piotrkt / 123RF

Tencent profits rise on back of mobile gaming and ad business (China). The internet company posted US$3.65 billion net income for the first quarter of 2018, surpassing market expectations by 30 percent. Meanwhile, revenue hit US$11.56 billion, spurred by online games and advertising as well as messaging services. (South China Morning Post)

Investors, incubators, and accelerators

Tianjin to establish US$15.7 billion fund to push AI (China). Focusing on a variety of areas including robotics, augmented reality, and connected cars, the fund could help Tianjin match other major Chinese tech centers like Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. Government-backed Haihe River Fund, along with financial institutions and private companies from China and overseas, will provide the money. (China Money Network)

See: Previous Asia tech news roundups

This post Asia news roundup: Tea-backed cryptocoin leaves bitter taste, $12m for Sociolla, and more appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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