Here’s a look at today’s news headlines.
Airwallex rings up US$80 million from Tencent and Sequoia (Australia). The Melbourne-based startup announced today a US$80 million series B led by Tencent and Sequoia China and joined by Asia-Pacific investors Hillhouse Capital, Horizons Ventures, Central Capital Ventura, and Square Peg Capital. The deal is believed to be the second largest in the country, and is the largest raised by a startup in Australia this year. Airwallex provides cross-border transactions and money transfers. It will use the funding to expand in Southeast Asia, starting out with Singapore and Hong Kong. (DealStreetAsia)
Neat pockets US$2 million to improve access to banking for small businesses (Hong Kong). The payments startup – which has created an alternative banking platform for individuals and small businesses – has raised US$2 million to draw in more users, improve its product, and hire fresh talent. The funding comes from venture capital firms Dymon Asia Ventures and Portag3 Ventures. Neat has just launched its business-facing product, which allows small startups and entrepreneurs to have a Hong Kong-based bank account, complete with a debit card for their business. (Neat)
Financial comparison platform snapped up by Australian counterpart (Singapore). Finty announced today that it has been acquired by Australian firm Credit Card Compare. The size of the deal is undisclosed, with the startup only saying it’s in the seven-figure range. Finty provides financial comparison services for credit cards and personal loans in Singapore. Together with its new parent, Finty will seek to expand in more countries in Asia. (Finty)
Chinese government tightens regulations over third party-payment apps (China). All online payments in the country will now have to go through a government-monitored online platform. The state’s central bank announced the online clearinghouse in 2017 and is now rolling out for third-party payment apps including Alipay and WeChat Pay. Previously, the Chinese government had no oversight on transactions through these online platforms. The move is part of a concerted effort to tighten state regulation of such apps. (The Global Times)
ShareBikeSG is the latest bike-sharing startup to quit Singapore after stricter regulations (Singapore). ShareBikeSG announced it would cease operations and round up its shared bicycles in Singapore, after determining it would not be able to keep up with regulations set by the city-state’s Land Transport Authority. The startup stopped offering its bike-sharing service last month, half a year after it started out. Its app will remain active for users who require refunds. ShareBikeSG becomes the third bike-sharing startup to shut down in Singapore, after GBikes and oBike. (Today)
Health and well-being
Caregiving platform for the elderly secures US$4.1 million series A (Singapore). Homage is an online service that connects qualified caregivers to families in need, particularly those with elderly parents. The startup’s system matches practitioners to the right care-seekers based on types of illness, their professional experience, their location, and more. Homage raised US$4.15 million for its series A round, led by Golden Gate Ventures and healthtech fund HealthXCapital. The startup will use the money to improve training and development programs for caregivers on its platform, explore more partnerships, and boost its matching tech ahead of an expansion to more countries in Asia. (Homage)
Amazon to include city-state in Prime Day for the first time (Singapore). Amazon has announced Prime Day 2018, a global one-day e-shopping event for members of its Prime subscription service. Singapore, where the Prime service launched late last year, is included for the first time. Benefits for subscribers include delivery within two hours from ordering and free international shipping on more than 7 million items, according to the company. (Amazon)
Xiaomi lowers IPO share price (China). The hardware company’s rocky road to the public markets continues as it sets its IPO share price at HK$17 (US$2.17) per stock. The pricing cuts the listing size in half, down to US$53.9 billion. Xiaomi had to postpone its China listing after regulators sought additional reassurances from the company, but Hong Kong retail investors might be bearish as well. The firm, however, still attracted investors like Hillhouse Capital and George Soros. (KrAsia)
Meanwhile, the smartphone maker has been hit by patent lawsuits. A person named Yuan Gongyi is suing Xiaomi for allegedly infringing on a patent he holds. The lawsuit could affect up to 12 Xiaomi phone models and is the latest challenge faced by the company. Rival phonemaker Coolpad recently filed a patent infringement suit targeting Xiaomi, just a day before it filed for its IPO. (TechNode)
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies
Regulators to investigate personal data handling by crypto exchanges (South Korea). The Korea Communications Commission and the Korea Internet & Security Agency announced they will probe into how crypto exchanges and third parties collect, use, share, and destroy users’ personal data. Penalties will be imposed if any of the companies are found in breach of the country’s data protection legislation. Eight crypto firms have already been found in violation of the law, but the investigation seems to have gained a boost from recent cyberattacks against Korean crypto exchanges. (Cointelegraph)
See: Previous Asia tech news roundups
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