State Owned China Post Group is investing in China’s ride hailing giant, Didi Chuxing, for an undisclosed amount, reports e27.

The two companies did not release the exact amount of investment, but focused on describing their strategic cooperation in relying on their respective advantages in the industry. This news comes two weeks after Didi Chuxing’s high profile merge with Uber China.

China Post’s well established presence across China will provide Didi with a more reliable mobility experience for its users. Meanwhile, China Post wishes to leverage emerging digital platforms and business models in order to ‘modernize’ the company.

Bringing state-owned companies on board has been a way to seek stability and utilize resources for startups.

Didi has previously obtained investment from state-owned companies such as China Life, China Merchants Bank and Baic Motor Corporation Ltd.

Didi is still growing, at the end of last year, the car-hailing app attracted 300 million users and 15 million registered drivers in over 400 cities. Over 16 million trips are completed every day on the platform.

Didi’s platform is looking very attractive to investors following Didi’s merge with rival Uber in China. New regulations is also re-shaping the ride hailing industry. In China, car hailing companies are now legal, prior to this, companies such as Didi were operating within the legal gray zone.

China Post and Didi have not elaborated on the details of their collaboration, apart from emphasizing on the ‘strategic partnership’ that will be formed as a result.

A version of this appeared in e27 on August 18. Read the full version here.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, vowed to develop all of Indonesia’s frontier areas to accelerate growth in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, reports Bloomberg.

“We will develop areas such as Entikong, Natuna [close to where it is embroiled in a dispute with China] and Atambua so the world sees Indonesia as a great nation that pays attention to every inch of its land,” announced the President during his annual Independence Day speech in Jakarta.

While Indonesia is not a claimant in the broader disputes China has with several other nations over its South China Sea claims, President Jokowi has been emphasizing Indonesian sovereignty in the area.

The President forecasted a growth rate of 5.3% next year, well below the 7% he promised to achieve when he came into office in 2014. The deficit was expected to climb $25.4 billion, but at 2.41% of GDP, debt will be lower than the figure announced earlier this month.

President Jokowi wants to transform Indonesia, a string of more than 17,000 islands that would stretch almost from New York to London, into a maritime power.

He has also outlined plans to improve the country’s poor infrastructure, which has been the key roadblock to various economic growth, including a roadblock to ecommerce, due to the complex logistics infrastructure that makes last mile solutions difficult to manage.

Second to infrastructural improvement, the President also wants to solve unemployment.

President Jokowi’s second full year budget speech comes only three weeks after he re-shuffled his economic team, bringing back former World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati as finance minister to pioneer a tax amnesty that could boost the economy next year.

The rupiah is forecast to be about 13,300 to the dollar in 2017, compared to today’s 13,096.

A version of this appeared in Bloomberg on August 16. Read the full version here

Indonesia is currently considering options for setting up tax-haven jurisdictions as it tries to attract investors through the country’s amnesty program, reports Bloomberg.

Indonesia needs money to fund its various infrastructure projects and also to finance the widening budget deficit, according to Coordinating Maritime Minister Luhut Panjaitan.

Both Indonesian and foreign businesses would be able to set up shell companies on islands located approx. 60km from Singapore.

The central bank has said the tax amnesty program could attract approximately $43 billion of funds stashed overseas. It could also encourage greater participation and help President Widodo plug a shortfall in tax revenue, as Indonesia faces the repercussions of a slowdown in China as well as low commodity prices.

However, the plan is still in its early stages.

Both Indonesian and foreign businesses would be able to set up shell companies in Bintan and Rempang, and enjoy lower tax rates. Both islands are located around 60km from Singapore.

The expectation that the amnesty will draw funds into the country appears to be putting upward pressure on the rupiah, domestic asset prices and demand,” said Edward Teather, Senior Economist at UBS Group in Singapore.

This initiative will also put Indonesia as a direct rival to Singapore, as it would prevent taxpayers from keeping their assets offshore in Singapore.

A version of this appeared on Bloomberg on August 14. Read the full version here

Metra Digital Investama (MDI), Indonesia’s Telkom corporate venture arm, has signed an agreement with Australian carrier Telstra’s venture capital arm, Telstra Ventures. The deal will see them jointly explore the investment opportunities in the growing tech startup scene in Southeast Asia. Nicko Widjaja, president of MDI, and Group Executive Internasional & new business head Telstra Cynthia Whelan signed the MoU in Jakarta last week.

Telkom Indonesia Director Indra Utoyo said the recent MoU will give Telkom access to Telstra’s experience and existing relationships in global startup centers in Silicon Valley, China and Israel. “Today, our continued partnership extends to collaborating on venture opportunities in the region, where we will again leverage both Telkom and Telstra’s deep local expertise as well as experience in global ventures investments,” said Pak Indra.

The MoU will give Telkom access to Telstra’s experience and existing relationships in global startup centers in Silicon Valley, China and Israel.

Telkomtelstra supplies network application services – corporate computer and telecommunications services – to large companies and enterprises based in Indonesia. The company is 51% owned by Telkom.

Over the past five years, Telstra Ventures has invested over $152.6 million (A$200 million) in more than 30 different technology companies. Telstra announced in the statement that the company believes now is the right time to collaborate more closely with Telkom, Indonesia’s largest telco company, to take a part to explore Southeast Asia potentials. There are many opportunities seen in areas like ecommerce, e-health, the internet of things (IoT) and fintech, Whelan added.

Telkom, through MDI has also invested in various potentials tech startups in Indonesia. The latest is when they led the $10 million pre-series B funding round of aCommerce.

“Through our existing joint venture with Telkom, Telkomtelstra, we have seen the pace with which new businesses are reaching scale in response to the digital transformation of the economy and the fact that the middle class in this part of the world is expected to double over the next decade,” she added.

A version of this appeared in Deal Street Asia on August 8. Read the full article here.

Indonesian health information portal Alodokter today announced that it has received $2.5 million in funding from Golden Gate Ventures, reports Tech In Asia.

The portal brings easy-to-understand and accurate health information to Indonesian web users, with the goal to help people take more informed health decisions.

The app monetizes through advertising, and will be using the newly acquired funds for regional expansion in Southeast Asia.

“Demand for health information was high but there was no reference source of health information available,” says Nathanael Faibis, Founder of Alodokter in an interview with Tech In Asia, 2015.

Alodokter was first launched in July 2014. By January 2015, it had 375,000 monthly unique visitors.

Alodokter offers articles on health, wellness, and family topics. The startup claims it’s now the leading health information website in Indonesia with 8 million unique monthly visitors.

The app gets more page views than competitors in the growing landscape, such as, MeetDoctor and Halodoc, according to Similar web.

Alodokter also lets readers submit questions and chat with doctors for free. Over 100,000 patient questions have been answered to date.

How does Alodokter work?

The app doesn’t give diagnosis or prescriptions, but it focuses on giving quick answers about basic health questions and what to do next in terms of treatment.

The app has also launched an android app in March this year which gives customers a chat function, so they can talk to doctors and get instant responses.

Currently, the main source of revenue are ads related to medical topics. Advertisers are brands such as insurance firms, hospitals and nutrition companies.

A version of this appeared in Tech In Asia on August 5. Read the full version here.

Rocket Internet’s Global Fashion Group is now valued at $1.1 billion, after receiving a new round of funding, as stated by a press release issued by Rocket Internet.

The only investors the company would disclose was Rocket Internet Capital Partners. Temasek and Tesco are among those which invested in other Rocket company Lazada, its Amazon-like service in Southeast Asia, so going outside of the usual circle of Rocket Internet-friendly investors is possible. But it appears that GFG wasn’t able to drum up that level of interest.

This latest round has closed at €330 million ($365 million) and retained that same $1.1 billion valuation since announcing a funding round in April 2016.

Founded in 2014, GFG is one of the leading online Fashion businesses in emerging markets. It combines six leading regional online fashion businesses, Dafiti in Latin America, Lamoda in Russia and GUS, Namshi in the Middle East, The Iconic in Australia, Jabong in India and Zalora in Southeast Asia.

Oliver Samwer, CEO of Rocket Internet, comments,

GFG has successfully built its position as a market leader in online fashion in many key emerging markets. The recent funding round provides GFG with the necessary capital to continue on that path. 

Funding has come in at a good time for the company as Rocket Internet’s latest report suggested that Zalora and Jabong were in desperate need of more money and scaling back the business.

A version of this appeared in TechCrunch on July 22. Find the full version here