Asia news roundup: Ant’s $14b super round, Bitmain’s IPO, and more

Photo credit: Ant Financial

Ant Financial snatches US$14 billion in its latest funding round, Bitmain eyes a July IPO, and Go-Jek has reportedly been offered a US$1 billion check.

Fintech

Ant Financial raises US$14 billion in latest funding (China). The Alibaba affiliate and operator of Alipay says it will use the proceeds to develop tech and hire talent. The round saw several overseas sovereign wealth funds participate, including Singapore’s GIC and Temasek and Malaysia’s Khazanah, alongside other global investment firms. Ant Financial served around 870 million annual active users worldwide over the 12 months ending March 31 this year, but there are indications that it will pivot to a B2B model to avoid stringent regulation in its home country. (Ant Financial)

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin mining giant mulls IPO (China). Bitmain, the world’s dominant cryptocurrency mining company, said it’s “open” to a stock listing in Hong Kong or overseas. Founder Jihan Wu previously said his company was worth US$12 billion. Cannan, Bitmain’s main competitor, has reportedly filed for a US$1 billion Hong Kong listing and could start trading as soon as July. (Bloomberg)

Central bank eyes cryptocurrency to facilitate inter-bank transactions (Thailand). The Bank of Thailand said it’s in the process of developing a wholesale central bank digital currency (CBDC) as part of the country’s wider efforts to deploy blockchain adoption. The central bank is already working with 14 Thai banks to pilot the use of blockchain in digitizing letters of guarantee. (CoinDesk)

Blockchain games publisher secures US$5 million seed round (Singapore). EON Foundation will use the investment to kickstart EON Protocol, a system of smart contracts that allows developers to exchange traffic, and continue the development of its EON Network, a blockchain platform for games publishing. The round was led by Cherubic Ventures, UpHonest Capital partner Wei Guo, and early Ripple and Coinbase investor Feng Li. (Deal-Street-Asia)

Social media

food, travel, cooking

Photo credit: Cookly

Cooking-class platform Cookly closes pre-series A round (Thailand). Bankrolling the round were 500 Startup’s Thailand fund, 500 TukTuks, and Poramin Insom, founder of cryptocurrency Zcoin. The startup plans to use the fresh capital to extend its global reach, which currently covers 65 destinations across 23 countries. It said it will explore potential payment options involving Zcoin at a later date. (Cookly)

Transportation

Investors may pump another US$1 billion growth capital into Go-Jek (Indonesia). The ride-hailing company has reportedly been offered a tranche of new capital to further its overseas expansion. Go-Jek, however, hasn’t decided whether it wants the additional funds. The offer comes a month after the firm announced that it would spend US$500 million on extending its reach to four Southeast Asian countries, marking its first consumer-facing operations outside of Indonesia. (Bloomberg)

Grab revealed annual revenue for the first time (Singapore). Ming Maa, the ride-hailing giant’s president, told Chinese news service Yicai that Grab has surpassed US$1 billion in annual revenue. Its acquisition of Uber has allowed it to stay ahead of the game in Southeast Asia, and it doesn’t have plans at present to break even. (Kr-Asia)

Ecommerce

New listing rules could bring Alibaba home (China). The country’s main securities regulator has announced a new set of rules to allow the domestic flotation of Chinese companies listed outside the mainland. Called “Chinese Depository Receipts,” the new instrument is said to target internet giants such as US-listed Alibaba and Baidu, as well as Hong Kong-listed Tencent. (Reuters)

Proptech

Co-working space Nash Work pockets US$78 million in “series B+” funding (China). The round was led by the investment arm of state-owned real estate firm Sino-Ocean Group. Since last year, China has seen major consolidation in the co-working industry as players race to edge out competitors. One such deal was, US giant WeWork’s buyout of Shanghai-headquartered Naked Hub in April 2018. . (China Money Network)

See: Previous Asia tech news roundups

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