Asia news roundup: Grab sued in Vietnam, Alipay comes to the Apple Store, and more

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Inside the Apple Store in Pudong, Shanghai / Photo credit: Melv_L – MACASR / flickr

Here are the day’s headlines.

Transportation

Taxi firm sues Grab for over alleged unfair business practices (Vietnam). Vinasun has sued the Singapore-based ride-hailing company in a Ho Chi Minh City court, claiming its “rampant” promotion deals and discounts are akin to the “dumping” of manufactured goods. Vinasun further alleged that it must comply with more regulations than Grab, leading to unfair competition. Grab’s lawyers contend that its software solution actually creates competition, and that Vinasun’s evidence and methods of loss calculations are questionable.
(The Straits Times)

Blibli and Astra reported to join Go-Jek’s latest funding round (Indonesia). Local ecommerce startup Blibli reportedly invested up to US$120 million in the ride-hailing giant’s recent fundraise, which is expected to haul in around US$1.5 billion. Automotive firm Astra International is also said to have invested as much as US$170 million. Other reported backers of the round include JD, Google, Meituan-Dianping, Temasek, and Tencent. (e27)

Didi does deal with allied auto giants (China). The ride-hailing firm has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance of automakers to explore future collaboration on electric car-sharing services in China. The potential partnership could see the manufacturers supplying all-electric battery car models for Didi’s new service, said a person familiar with the matter. (Reuters)

Fintech

Alipay will soon be accepted at the Apple Store (China). Alipay, developed by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, will be the first third-party mobile payment system to be accepted at Apple’s stores anywhere in the world – though the service will be limited to the US company’s 41 China outlets for now. The move comes as Apple, whose own Apple Pay system has not taken off in China, seeks to expand its footprint in the country. (Reuters)

Mobile

Gogolook gets US$11.7 million (Taiwan). The app developer behind caller ID widget Whoscall nabbed the funds from unnamed investors. It will use the money to improve its user experience and expand into new markets. Gogolook launched in 2012 and was acquired by Korean web giant Naver the following year in a deal worth around US$17.6 million. (DealStreetAsia)

Artificial intelligence

Joveo raises US$5 million at series A (India). The startup, which provides its AI-driven job search platform to third-party partners, secured the funds in a round led by Nexus Venture Partners. It will use the fresh capital to enhance its product offerings, grow partnerships, and improve its AI and deep learning tech. (Inc42)

Big tech

Alibaba leads the world in blockchain patents (China). The Chinese tech giant had 44 patents relating to blockchain technology published last year, bringing its all-time total to 49 – the highest number of blockchain-related patents belonging to a single organization globally. Chinese companies comprise 49 of the top 100 blockchain patent recipients worldwide last year. (Technode)

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