Asia news roundup: Ola goes electric, Weibo censors LGBTQ content, and more

Ola plans to have 10,000 electric auto-rickshaws on India’s roads in the next 12 months / Photo credit: Ola

Here’s a roundup of news from today and over the weekend you might have missed.

Fintech

Silot raises US$2.87 million in pre-series A round (Singapore). A local fintech startup, which aims to help banks process digital payments more efficiently and securely, closed its pre-series A round from Arbor Ventures and Eight Roads Ventures. The firm will use the fresh funding to expand its business in Southeast Asia, where it’s planning to hire more people. Last year, it bagged US$800,000 in seed funding from ZhenFund, which is the China-based angel fund’s first investment in Southeast Asia. (Tech in Asia)

Silot team photo at Visa Everywhere Initiative

Silot CEO Andy Li (center) and team members at the Visa Everywhere Initiative in Thailand, where Silot won the People’s Choice Award / Photo credit: Silot

Transportation

Ola to build on its Indian fleet with 10,000 electric rickshaws (India). The ride-hailing company has announced that, over the next 12 months, it will add 10,000 electric auto-rickshaws to its pool of vehicles. Last year, Ola started an electric vehicle (EV) trial program in Nagpur which included rickshaws. The new addition is part of the firm’s plan to roll out 1 million EVs onto India’s roads by 2021. (TechCrunch

Ecommerce

Meilishuo seeks US$4 billion IPO in US (China). The Tencent-backed ecommerce startup is reportedly in discussions with several investment banks about an IPO which could value the firm at about US$4 billion. The women-focused online retailer, which sells clothes, shoes, handbags, and cosmetics, merged with its rival Mogujie two years ago. (Bloomberg)

Consumer tech

Xiaomi may seek Hong Kong IPO at US$70 billion (China). The Chinese unicorn is now rumored to be seeking US$70 billion for its anticipated Hong Kong IPO, though earlier reports had suggested it could fetch closer to US$200 billion. The Beijing-based electronics manufacturer is reportedly planning to submit its application for listing as soon as next month, and also intends to list its shares in Mainland China in the future. (Technode

Social media

Resentment online as Weibo culls LGBTQ content (China). The country’s social networking giant has announced that to comply with new cybersecurity laws, it will remove any LGBT-related content from the platform, as well as content considered to be pornographic or violent. This move has sparked online outcry and protests with the hashtag “#IAmGay” posted on Weibo 170,000 times until it was ultimately banned by the social media. Last week, news app Toutiao and video platforms Douyin and Kuaishou faced similar content crackdowns. (Technode)

Real estate and property

Authorities seek public feedback on short-term rental proposals (Singapore). The country’s Urban Redevelopment Authority has drafted a regulatory framework for short-term rentals typically offered by platforms like Airbnb. The proposed rules may allow private owners list their homes on such websites for 90 days per year if they meet certain criteria, such as getting consent from 80 percent of residents in their apartment block, and registering their guests’ details with the URA. Airbnb said in a statement that they are committed to reasonable solutions that will allow responsible home sharing, and will work with hosts and guests to ensure that their feedback are heard. (Channel NewsAsia

Health and well-being

HyTriage lands US$4 million in funding (China). The healthcare startup, which develops and supplies diagnostic testing kits to hospitals and other medical institutions, has announced the closing of its latest funding round from Yahui Medical Fund. HyTriage will use the capital to expand its market and refine its product. (KrAsia)

Investors, incubators, and accelerators

Jones Lang LaSalle secures US$1.15 billion for latest fund (Asia). The real estate investment manager has closed its fifth LaSalle Asia Opportunity fund, exceeding its original US$750 million target. Twenty institutional investors from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the US participated in the fundraise. LaSalle has said that 85 percent of the secured commitment will be assigned to the fund, while the remaining 15 percent will be used for co-investments. (DealStreetAsia)

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