Funding for a used luxury goods marketplace, corporate backing for Mobike’s ride-hailing venture, and another high-profile executive appointment at Grab. Here are the day’s top tech news stories from around the region.
More details of Didi’s Bluegogo takeover emerge (China). Ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing has agreed to purchase a stake in Bluegogo and pay out late wages owed to the startup’s staff, according to sources familiar with the matter. Users who have requested the return of their deposits will apparently be paid back in Didi ride coupons. The ride-hailing firm – which has had a strained relationship with portfolio company Ofo – plans to wholly acquire Bluegogo if and when it settles its remaining supplier and staff payment issues. (Technode)
Automaker FAW invests in Mobike’s ride-hailing service (China). Changchun-based FAW Car has acquired a 10 percent stake in Mobike Chuxing for an undisclosed amount, and will provide electric cars to the unit as part of their partnership. Tencent-backed Mobike entered the space last month, announcing its first locations in Guizhou. It is up against market leader Didi Chuxing – which backs bike-sharing rival Ofo – and ecommerce firm Meituan, which recently launched its own ride-hailing service. (Reuters)
Uber rickshaws to return (India). Uber will relaunch UberAUTO, its ride-hailing service for auto-rickshaws, two years after withdrawing it. The resurrected UberAUTO will initially be available in Bangalore and Pune, and will expand to other locations later. Ola, Uber’s main competitor in the country, offers rickshaw rides through its app. (VCCircle)
Grab poaches Visa exec to head up regional payments push (Singapore). The ride-hailing firm has appointed Ooi Huey Tyng as managing director of GrabPay for Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. She will lead the company’s effort to expand its digital payments services beyond Singapore, where it launched late last year. Huey Tyng was previously Visa’s country manager for Singapore and Brunei. (Grab)
Tencent obtains license to sell mutual funds (China). The license granted by the China Securities Regulatory Commission will allow Tencent’s Tengan subsidiary to sell mutual fund products directly to its users. Previously, only third-party fund houses and financial services providers could sell funds through Tencent’s QQ and WeChat platforms. (South China Morning Post)
Cryptocurrency mining could be Beijing’s next ban (China). Regulators are rumored to be drawing up policies that would prohibit cryptocurrency mining, which has grown into a significant industry in some parts of the country thanks to favorable electricity prices and agreements with local governments. Beijing banned cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs last year. (China Money Network)
Xinshang raises US$50 million in series C fundraise (China). GGV Capital and Joy Capital co-led the round, with Northern Light Venture Capital joining in. Xinshang is a consumer-to-consumer online marketplace for second-hand luxury goods, and claims to facilitate more than half the transactions for such items in China. (China Money Network)
Citiesocial nabs US$2.75 million funding in Alibaba-led round (Taiwan). The startup provides a platform for local brands to expand their presence and sales through online and other channels. Citiesocial will use the capital to enhance its launchpad services for brand owners. Alibaba’s Taiwan Entrepreneurs Fund led the round, with participation from CDIB Capital and existing investor Cherubic Ventures. (citiesocial)
Media and entertainment
Philippine model’s influencer marketing startup bags seed funding (Hong Kong). AlphaConcepts – a data-driven marketing platform founded by former model and reality TV star Irish Ong – has secured US$200,000 from unnamed angel investors. It will use the money for business expansion and product development purposes. (AlphaConcepts)
Tencent joins investment in online music tuition startup (China). Peilian has raised funding “worth hundreds of millions of [yuan]” in a round led by Tencent and private equity firm Orchid Asia. Existing investors BlueRun Ventures, GSR Ventures, and Long Capital also participated. (China Money Network)
Investors, incubators, and accelerators
Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Renault plan US$200 million mobility fund (Japan). The three auto giants – which work together in a strategic alliance – will use the fund to jointly invest in mobility-focused startups. (Reuters)
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