Posts

Here’s what you should know:

1. Chinese regulator launches investigation against Tencent, Weibo, and Baidu

Chinese internet giants Tencent, Weibo, and Baidu are under investigation by Chinese government after reports of multiple violations.

The Cyberspace Administration of China instructed its Beijing and Guangdong branches to look into reports of content laden with “violence, porn, rumors” that swerling in the three platforms.

China has applied increasing pressure over internet media as the country prepare for Communist Party congress later this year that is expected to consolidate President Xi Jinping’s authority.

Read the full story here.

2. Logistics software Yojee raises $2.5M to grow in Asia Pacific

Singapore-based logistics software developer Yojee raises $2.5 million from undisclosed investors.

Its software enabling logistics providers to automate their business with features like real-time tracking, pickup and delivery confirmation, and more.

The company plans to fund its sales and marketing effort and further develop its technology. The company is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Read the full story here.

3. Ola raises $36M to fuel its battle with Uber in India

Indian-origin cab-hailing company Ola has raised $36 million from New York-based hedge fund Tekne Capital Management.

This funding will give Ola the much-needed ammunition for its fight with Uber, which has captured a significant marketshare in the country.

It is not clear if this is a part of a larger round of funding. Report of Microsoft in talks with the company to invest between $50 million and $100 million also surfacing earlier. As well as Softbank’s plan of $300 million.

Read the full story here

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Indonesian state-owned bank BRI to acquires a venture capital firm

Indonesian state-owned Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) is preparing $37 million (IDR 500 billion) of funding to acquire a venture capital, among the few, adding the business of venture capital and security among its subsidiaries.

The minimum funding required to set up a venture capital firm in Indonesia is $3.7 million (IDR 50 billion) for limited liability companies, and $1.8 million (IDR 25 billion) for cooperations or CV.

“We hope that the due diligence period may wrap up soon and the acquisition process can be finalised by this year,” expressed Suprajarto, BRI Managing Director.

The bank will be the latest Indonesian bank to owned a venture capital arm after Bank Mandiri (Mandiri Capital Indonesia) and BCA (Capital Central Ventura). BRI currently also operates five subsidiaries; BRI Syariah, BRI Agro, BRI Remittance, BRI Life, and BRI Finance.

Read the full story here.

2. CompareAsia Raises $50 million from investors including Alibaba, IFC, and Goldman Sachs 

CompareAsia Group has closed a $50 million Series B led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) with participations from new and existing investors including Alibaba, SBI Group, H&Q Utrust, Nova Founders and Goldman Sachs Investment Partners.

The company runs online financial marketplaces in seven Asian countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, under several different names and claimed to have more than 28 million people used its sites last year.

The new funding will be used to improve user experience across its sites, which uses machine learning and AI to match consumers with financial products based on their needs and risk profiles. The marketplace currently works with about 100 brands and financial institutions and makes money by sharing revenue with companies when customers sign up for their services through one of its sites.

Revenue-sharing incentivizes CompareAsia to remain neutral and provide accurate information in order to convince customers to continue using the site, which in turn convinces financial companies to stay on its marketplaces, said CEO Sam Allen

Read the full story here.

3. Amazon pours more money to its Indian business

Amazon reportedly has injected $260 million of new funding to its Indian business in the anticipation of the holiday shopping season, which centers around the Dussehra and Diwali festivals in the fall.

 

The company is looking more serious about its business in India. Amazon pumped $2 billion into its Indian marketplace in 2014 and Jeff Besoz has promised to invest $5 billion more in India during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the US.

However, Amazon is still facing a fierce competition in the country, as main rival Flipkart also recently bagged a $1.5 billion from noteworthy investors including Microsoft, Tencent, and Amazon’s rival eBay.

Read the full story here.

Here’s what you should know today.

1. Philips Lightings introduces Facebook ‘chatbot’

Philip Lightings has launched a chatbot on its Singapore Facebook page to help users make a purchase decision and buying products directly on the platform.

The move is part of its LEDs Get Smart Campaign, aimed at educating consumers of the benefit of installing the right lights at home. People from anywhere in the world can try out the chatbot, providing they access it via the Philips Singapore Facebook page.

The company has also partnered with Lazada Singapore to launch its first-ever specialty e-store on the ecommerce platform. Alok Ghose, MD of Philips Lighting, said that the partnership will serve as an excellent opportunity for the company to tap into the growing ecommerce segment.

Read the rest of the story here

2. Flipkart raises $1.4 billion from eBay, Microsoft, and Tencent

Indian ecommerce giant Flipkart has confirmed that it has raised $1.4 billion in new funding with some big names like China’s Tencent, eBay and Microsoft as strategic investors.

These names join the existing Flipkart backers that include Tiger Global, Naspers, Accel and DST Global as strategic investors. The company is now valued at $11.6 billion and getting ready to battle Amazon and Alibaba.

The investment will also see Flipkart take control of eBay India, which will remain an independent ecommerce site.

“This is a landmark deal for Flipkart and for India as it endorses our tech prowess, our innovative mindset and the potential we have to disrupt traditional markets. It is a resounding acknowledgment that the homegrown tech ecosystem is indeed thriving and succeeding in solving genuine problems in people’s daily lives across all of India,” founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal said in a statement.

Read the rest of the story here.

3. New report by Criteo reveals a distorted view of Southeast Asian online retailers

According to the new report published by Criteo, Southeast Asian retailers lacking a cross-device perspective will have a distorted view up to 41% of their online transactions.

The company indicates that in the long run, this distorted view results in inefficient allocation of marketing spend which in turn has a direct impact on the quality of shopper engagement and the volume of customer acquisitions.

It emphasizes the need for retailers to deepen their understanding of cross-device consumer behavior and align marketing strategies.

“In today’s competitive landscape, ecommerce businesses cannot afford to draw the wrong conclusions and waste money on the wrong channels,” explained Alban Villani, General Manager, Southeast Asia, Criteo.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

1. App Annie predicts worldwide app downloads to hit over 280 billion by 2020

If you look at how much time we’ve spent on apps over the last two years, it’s grown over a 100 percent. This is because of the explosion in the number of devices and recent growths have come from India, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Read the rest of the story here.

 

2. Mercedes-Benz Unveils delivery concepts that will use robots to deliver to your door

The robots will be loaded with their goods in the ‘Robovan’ using a racking system that enables 400 packages to be delivered every 9-hour shift, compared to 180 packages using previously available methods, an increase of over 120%. Read the rest of the story here.

 

3. Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University team up with Microsoft to boost local startups

This is a good initiative against the country’s tech talent shortage. This partnership is the first cooperation of its kind with the Thai educational sector. With strong collaboration and support from other parties, Microsoft hopes to help nurture and grow outstanding software innovations into new potential businesses. Read the rest of the story here.

 

4. China’s mobile gaming revenue will hit $8.3 billion in 2017

Niko research firm projects that mobile gaming revenues in China will grow 28 percent this year, and continue to grow in 2017, reaching US$8.3 billion. That’s good news for bigger developers, and in particular Tencent, which earns a whopping 53 percent of China’s mobile games revenue. Read the rest of the story here.

 

5. Jack Ma accepts offer to be ecommerce advisor to Indonesian Government

Ma will have to weigh several key factors upon accepting this position. How would helping Indonesia play in China? Read the rest of the story here.

Philippines Startup Launches Wifi Bundling Service, Wins Microsoft Grant

Now you can get free wifi when you buy your chocolate bars, thanks to Wifi Interactive Network

Microsoft is trying to get people in developing countries online. As a part of this initiative, the tech giant has launched ‘Affordable Access Initiative’, reports Tech in Asia.

Microsoft is partnering with local entrepreneurs and giving grants across the globe to startups that are working to provide affordable access in their  local markets. A Philippines based startup, Wifi Interactive Network (WIN) has won this grant through setting up a ‘wifi bundling’ startup. WIN gets brands to give wifi to the consumers by giving a wifi code that allows the consumer to connect to the local hotspot upon purchase.

WIN gets local brands in Philippines to carry the cost of installing and maintaining wifi hotspots at stores. This extends to small neighborhood convenience stores to bars. On the consumer’s side, it is also very straightforward, they simply need to register for access via smartphone and have the store approve the request, then they will receive a passcode for wifi access.

 Wifi Interactive Network (WIN) has won this grant with its ‘wifi bundling’ startup, which packages free wifi hotspots with typically bought consumer goods. 

WIN allows consumers to buy internet access in sachets. Sachets are a common way to buy consumer products, such as shampoo or milk in emerging markets, as they are cheaper than bottles. If a consumer buys a sachet of a sponsoring brand’s milk, they will get wifi access for usually 30 minutes.

This is a sustainable business model because the brands generate immediate revenue and acquire data analytics of purchase behavior at the store level. Philip Zulueta, WIN Founder

It monetizes by charging brands a monthly subscription fee per location, and now has 41 wifi hotspots. 34 in the capital with the rest in provinces in Luzon island.

The startup is planning to use the $150,000 funding from Microsoft to install base stations that will broadcast wifi signal to areas without any internet coverage.

By penetrating the low income markets, startups such as WIN are helping to boost the tech infrastructure of Philippines, as more people want access to data. Everyone has the potential to become a consumer, Philippines’ sachet market operates on smaller bite sizes with high purchase frequency, which is consistent with our sponsors’ target audience.

As WIN tackles the problem of consumers who can’t afford data plans that matches their income, its business model could go onto provide access to a whole new market segment.

A version of this appeared in Tech in Asia on July 4. Read the full article here.