Asia news roundup: Grab and Sea out for more money, Vietnam clamps down on tech, and more

Grab app in car

Photo credit: think4photop / 123RF

A look at today’s Asia news.

Transportation

Grab nabs US$1 billion from Toyota as part of ongoing new funding round (Singapore). Southeast Asian ride-hailer Grab is tightening up its relationship with prominent automakers, as Toyota returns to pour more money in the company. The Japanese stalwart’s US$1 billion investment is part of a new funding round that the Singaporean unicorn is raising. Grab says some of the new capital will be used to boost its other businesses like GrabPay and GrabFood. (Tech in Asia)

Ecommerce

SoftBank and Alibaba top up funding in Flipkart rival Paytm Mall by US$220 million (India). Ecommerce platform Paytm Mall has raised over US$220 million from SoftBank Group and Alibaba. The fundraise is part of a US$440 million commitment from the two mega-investors into the Indian retailer, US$385 million of which will come from SoftBank. Part of online payments giant Paytm, Paytm Mall claims gross merchandise value of $3 billion. (Livemint)

Sequoia-backed hyper-local grocery delivery startup raises US$3 million (India). DailyNinja, a hyper-local ecommerce startup that delivers milk and groceries, has bagged US$3 million in fresh funding from Saama Capital and existing investor Sequoia. The company wants to use the new resources to boost its operations in Bangalore and Hyderabad, and expand to Chennai. It uses a subscription model and makes deliveries as early as the next morning. (The Economic Times)

Internet & gaming

Sea is looking to raise US$400 million by issuing convertible senior notes (Singapore). Singapore-headquartered internet unicorn Sea announced today a proposed offering of US$400 million worth of convertible senior notes. Terms of the notes like offering price and interest rate have not been determined yet. Tencent, which is the largest shareholder in Sea, is expected to buy up to U$50 million of the notes. Sea posted its Q1 2018 results recently, reporting growth primarily in its ecommerce business, Shopee. (Tech in Asia)

Regulation

New cyber law puts pressure on foreign tech companies, sparks fears of censorship and market stifling (Vietnam). Legislators in Vietnam have voted for a controversial new internet security law that has set off concerns about online censorship and economic harm. It requires foreign tech companies like Facebook to store data of Vietnamese users in the country, open local offices, and comply immediately with government orders to take down content deemed offensive. Vietnam is home to approximately 55 million social media users, and is one of the most active countries for Facebook. (Reuters)

Online-to-offline services

Meituan could be considering US$6 billion IPO in Hong Kong soon (China). Chinese online-to-offline dynamo Meituan Dianping could be going public in Hong Kong within the month to raise US$6 billion, according to reports. Meituan offers restaurant reviews, food and grocery delivery, and group-buying discounts. Earlier this year, it acquired bike-sharing startup Mobike for US$2.7 billion. (Bloomberg)

’New retail’ coffee startup is China’s latest unicorn after fundraise (China). Luckin Coffee, a startup that combines online ordering and delivery of coffee with physical outlets, has reportedly raised between US$200 million and US$300 million at a valuation of over US$1 billion. The company was founded late last year and already has 525 stores across 13 cities in China. The startup’s mission is to “beat Starbucks in China” but it faces intense competition from domestic and foreign brands. (KrAsia)

Big tech

Baidu could be the first local company to do a secondary listing in China (China). Chinese media reports that internet giant Baidu, currently listed on NASDAQ, is considering a secondary listing in its home market by issuing CDRs, or Chinese Depository Receipts. The Chinese government has decided to trial CDRs, modeled after the US’ American Depositary Receipts, to attract large foreign-listed companies like Alibaba and JD back home. Meanwhile, this week it was announced that six funds in China will seek to raise US$47 billion in order to participate in such local tech IPOs. (KrAsia)

ZTE shares tumble after firm agrees to pay up to US$1.4 billion in fines (China). Communications equipment and smartphone maker ZTE’s Hong Kong-listed shares dropped by as much as 41 percent today after a two-month trading freeze. ZTE has been facing a seven-year ban from buying components from US companies because it breached trade sanctions on Iran and North Korea. For the ban to be lifted, ZTE has been ordered to pay up to US$1.4 billion in fines to the US government and remove a number of top executives thought to be involved in the incident. (Reuters)

Investors, incubators, and accelerators

Startup builder Antler selects 55 founders for its inaugural program (Singapore). Antler, a company builder in Singapore, has chosen 55 founders out of 1,500 applications to begin its startup-forming program in July. The new teams plan to tackle challenges in clean energy, networking technology for multiplayer games, drone traffic management, and more. Antler and its partners will help participants form co-founding teams, develop initial versions of their products, get their first customers, and fundraise. (Antler)

Axilor Ventures to start US$30 million seed fund (India). Early-stage investor and accelerator Axilor Ventures announced a new US$30 million seed-stage fund to boost the pipeline towards pre-series A and series A investments. The fund has a planned 10-year lifespan and will be evenly split between pre-seed and seed deals. The new vehicle addresses challenges brought about by a recent “angel tax” in India that saw some young companies saddled with income tax obligations for angel investments. (VCCircle)

Fintech

Sweden’s Truecaller acquires fintech startup to capture mobile payments in India (India). Mobile payments startup Chillr has been bought up by Swedish online services firm Truecaller, which claims 150 registered users in India. Mumbai-based Chillr will help Truecaller roll out mobile payment services. The Chillr brand will be integrated into new product Truecaller Pay. (TechCrunch)

Media and entertainment

Short-video streaming app Tik Tok boasts 150 million daily active users (China). Tik Tok, the short-video streaming app by Chinese startup Toutiao, has revealed its user numbers for the first time. Known as Douyin in China, the app claims a massive 150 million daily active users and 300 million monthly active users. The company cites improvements in its tech and user experience as the reason for the spiking numbers. The app became the most downloaded non-game app on iOS in Q1 2018, beating apps like Facebook and Instagram. (KrAsia)

See: Previous Asia tech news roundups

This post Asia news roundup: Grab and Sea out for more money, Vietnam clamps down on tech, and more appeared first on Tech in Asia.