Asia news roundup: Chinese answer to SpaceX lifts off, $21m for ‘smart luggage’, and more

Discussion in 'News Section' started by TechInAsia, May 18, 2018.

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    Here’s a wrap of the day’s news.

    Robotics and drones


    CowaRobot pulls in US$21.2 million series B funding (China). The Chinese robotics company raised the funds in a round co-led by SoftBank China Venture Capital and China Creation Ventures. Other investors included Infore Investment Holding Group, Orca M&A Capital, and China Minsheng Investment Group. CowaRobot develops robotics for low-speed autonomous driving, street cleaning, and logistics. It also makes “smart luggage” that auto-follows its owners. The company will use the money to develop its research and development team and self-driving technologies. (China Money Network)

    Fintech


    Jianwei Data secures pre-series A funding in Baidu-led round (China). The AI-powered financial data service provider raised the undisclosed capital in a round co-led by Baidu Ventures and Next Capital. Jianwei extracts information and statistics from different stock market sectors and organizes them into data sets. The funds will be used for tech development. (KrAsia)

    Open bags pre-series A funding (India). Bangalore-based fintech startup Open secured the undisclosed capital in a round led by Japanese staffing firm Recruit and Unicorn India Ventures. The round was joined by existing investors ISME-ACE and AngelList. Open, which offers digital banking services for small businesses, will use the money to attract more customers and roll out new products for lending and wealth management. (Inc42)

    GiveIndia and LetzChange join forces (India). The crowdfunding platforms are set to merge under the GiveIndia name and ramp up fundraising efforts for charitable causes. The combined nonprofit plans to spend more than US$2.2 million on enhancements, which will focus on subscription-based giving and scaling its services. (Livemint)

    Transportation


    OneSpace launches country’s first privately built rocket (China). Named “Chongqing Liangjiang Star,” the 9-meter tall OS-Xo rocket launched at an undisclosed site in northwest China, reaching an altitude of 25 miles before falling back to Earth. The sub-orbital journey was part of a research contract with an undisclosed company for aerodynamic and high-altitude tests. (China Money Network)

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    Photo credit: Andrew Gook / Unsplash


    Didi’s credit score to incorporate bike-rental violations (China). Recent illegal deployments of Didi’s dockless bikes and Street Rabbit e-bikes will be indicated on the company’s credit score, local government in Shenzhen have announced. Due to violations, around 9,000 of Didi’s bikes have been seized since May 15. The city’s transport commission has barred companies from adding more bikes since August of last year. (TechNode)

    Blockchain and cryptocurrencies


    Ethereum listed as top public blockchain project, Bitcoin in 13th place (China). The ranking comes from the Chinese government’s first monthly Global Public Chain Assessment Index. Ethereum got a score of 129.4 on the index, while the older Bitcoin blockchain earned a rating of 88. The index takes into account a project’s technological capabilities, application usefulness, and innovation. (Reuters)

    Ecommerce

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    An offline retail store in Hangzhou displays a Tmall logo after partnering with Alibaba / Photo credit: Alibaba


    Tmall debuts brick-and-mortar stores for customer services (China). The online retail platform has partnered with Alibaba-owned mall operator Intime on consumer services centers in Hangzhou. Officially named Tmall Wuyougo Service Center, the physical stores will offer smartphone and watch repair, clothing and jewelry alteration, and cleaning services for luxury goods. Users can book services, check rates, or track order status online with the Tmall or Mobile Taobao app. (Alizila)

    Media and entertainment


    NetEase loses gaming grip but tightens ecommerce hold (China). The tech company posted a net income of US$118 million for Q1 2018, falling 81 percent from the US$612.3 million it made during same period last year. Lower revenue from online gaming was cited as the main reason for the drop. Despite decreasing profits, NetEase’s revenue hit US$2.2 billion, marking a 3.9 percent increase from the same period last year. The growth was lead by the company’s ecommerce group, which accounts for US$580 million of the total revenue. (TechNode)

    Social media


    Bytedance files suit against Tencent and Baidu on the same day (China). The firm’s short-video platform Douyin is suing Tencent for defamation and is seeking US$157,000 in damages. According to the company, an article posted on a Tencent WeChat account, Fast Mini-Class, accused Douyin of publishing short videos that are allegedly harmful to children. On the same day, Jinri Toutiao – Bytedance’s news aggregation platform – sued Baidu for unauthorized streaming of the company’s talk show Yi Guo Hui. Toutiao is demanding that the company apologize and pay for economic losses totaling US$12,560. (TechNode)

    Investors, incubators, and accelerators


    Finance companies team up for SME-focused fund (Singapore). Validus Capital, a financing platform for small and medium-sized enterprises, has partnered with asset management company Lighthouse Canton to establish the LCV Trade Finance Fund. Launched with initial assets of US$20 million, the vehicle has plans to raise up to US$150 million over the next three years. LCV aims to supply at least US$744 million of the unmet financing gap of US$14 billion that Singapore SMEs face, the parties said. (Validus Capital)


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