Here’s what you should know today.

1. The Singapore and Abu Dhabi governments are working together to promote fintech

Details about the arrangement are sparse at this point, but it’s clear that the focus will be to improve the regulatory environment for budding startups.

Both government bodies will explore “joint innovation projects” in the fields of digital and mobile payments, blockchain, big data, and other technologies of the future.

The local market and ecosystem in the United Arab Emirates is small – similar to Singapore – but the expectation is for startups to use the business-friendly policies as a launching pad to the rest of the wider Middle East.

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2. KFit buys Groupon Singapore

Subscription gym startup KFit has continued to morph into Groupon after it acquired the third country business from the group-buying giant in Southeast Asia. KFit acquired Groupon Indonesia and Groupon Malaysia last year as part of a pivot to move from a business that sells fitness-based membership services to ecommerce.

The irony at play here is that Groupon itself long gave up on Asia, shuttering its presence in a number of markets last year as the promise failed to deliver. Whether the startup has a know-how into Asia that Groupon didn’t, is yet to be seen.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Jack Ma wants to throw counterfeiters in prison

Ma’s appeal seeks harsher laws to fight fake goods, and comes as China’s annual parliamentary meetings take place in Beijing.

“If the penalty for even one fake product manufactured or sold was a seven-day prison sentence, the world would look very different both in terms of intellectual property enforcement and food and drug safety, as well as our ability to foster innovation,” wrote Ma in a statement to China’s parliamentary delegates.

Ma’s recent comments have deflected responsibility, he said Alibaba was “itself a victim of counterfeiting.” Ma has now gone further to stress that China’s laws are far too lax. Ma has said that there has been a lot of bark surrounding counterfeiters, but no bite.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

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