Asia news roundup: Alibaba bets big on SenseTime, Grab and Uber face roadblocks, and more – ANITH
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Asia news roundup: Alibaba bets big on SenseTime, Grab and Uber face roadblocks, and more

Asia news roundup: Alibaba bets big on SenseTime, Grab and Uber face roadblocks, and more

SenseTime’s face clustering algorithm at work, using artificial intelligence to match different images of the same person. / Photo credit: SenseTime

Here’s what you need to know from the past few days in tech.

Artificial intelligence

Alibaba makes major AI bet as SenseTime raises US$600 million at series C (Hong Kong). The Hong Kong-based image recognition startup has said it reeled in a total of US$600 million in the Alibaba-led round. Other participants include Temasek and Suning. The company said the capital will be used to develop its AI platform and to explore a broader scope of industrial applications for its products. The firm raised US$410 million in its series B round last July. (SenseTime)


Authorities hit pause on Grab-Uber deal (The Philippines). The Philippines Competition Commission (PCC) has ordered both ride-share firms to operate separately until an antitrust investigation into the takeover deal concludes. The PCC has rejected Uber’s claim that it had already left the Southeast Asia market, and said the 27.5 percent stake it has agreed to acquire in Grab’s regional business reflected a merger, not an exit. Authorities in nearby Singapore, which is also looking into the deal, instructed the firm to continue operating its own app for another week. (The Philippine Daily Inquirer

Car-sharing business gets a boost from private equity firm (South Korea). SoCar, a car-share firm with 8,500 vehicles and 3.6 million users, announced an investment of close to US$55 million from private equity firm IMM. SoCar plans to use the funding to expand its presence, and develop autonomous vehicles and big data solutions. Earlier this year, it announced that it will begin operations in Malaysia. (Korean Bizwire


Xiaomi rumored to be in talks to invest in ZestMoney (India). The Chinese smartphone manufacturer is reported to be talking to the fintech startup about a potential investment. ZestMoney has plans to raise about US$20 million in a funding round with other participating investors like PayU, a payment company. (The Economic Times)

Xiaomi, Lei Jun

Xiaomi founder Lei Jun / Photo credit: Xiaomi

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies

Bitfinex announces 12 new token listings on its platform (Taiwan). The cryptocurrency exchange operator has announced 12 new token listings, with a total market capitalization of US$1.1 billion. These include Aion (AION), IOSToken (IOST), Request Network (REQ), Raiden Network (RDN), Loopring (LRC), BnkToTheFuture Token (BFT), (CFI), WAX (WAX), SingularityNET (AGI), MedicalChain (MTN), ODEM (ODEM), and Dai (DAI). (Bitfinex)

Property and real estate

HappyCo closes series A round at US$10.8 million (Australia). The startup, which provides mobile and cloud-based apps for managing residential and commercial properties, raised secured the funding in a round led by Alium Capital Management. Tempus Partners and PieLab Venture Partners, together with Larsen Ventures and Sandalphon Capital, also participated in the round. HappyCo said the funds will be used to invest in R&D operations in Australia and the US, and to maintain its Asia-Pacific customer base. (DealStreetAsia

Media and entertainment

Tencent introduces in-game credit rating system (China). The internet titan launched a system that rates online gamers via their WeChat and QQ accounts on their in-game social behaviors like play time, gaming assets, and account information. Players with high ratings will be rewarded with things like virtual presents, or the chance to beta-test new games. (Technode)

Investors, incubators, and accelerators

Marvelstone establishes AI-focused private equity fund (Singapore). The Singapore-based investment firm is launching a fund to invest in AI startups in Singapore, China, Canada, and the UK. Marvelstone is planning for a capital raise of US$20 million in its first stage, and will drive those funds into building an AI hub it plans open this year. (Marvelstone Group)

Go-Jek’s US$1.5 billion fundraise was the world’s biggest VC investment in Q1 2018. / Photo credit: Go-Jek

Asia beats North America for VC deals in Q1 (Asia Pacific). The first quarter of this year saw Asia eclipsing North America in venture capital deals. A report by Preqin recorded 3,269 Asian VC deals worth a total of US$51 billion. The previous best was US$41 billion in Q1 2016. Nine out of the top 10 deals during this quarter were in Asia, with Indonesian ride-hailing app Go-Jek’s US$1.5 billion funding topping the list. (DealStreetAsia)

Antler raises US$3 million in seed round (Singapore). The venture builder, which aims to build an ecosystem of incubators and accelerators and provide funding to aspiring entrepreneurs, launched in Singapore today. It also announced the close of its US$3 million seed round, with investors including John Riady of Indonesia’s Lippo Group, Ole Ruch of WeWork, former Airbnb managing director Birger Nergaard, and former Spotify CTO Andreas Ehn. Antler said it expects to produce 20 to 30 innovative companies per year in Asia, and will roll out the same program across other regions. (Antler)

See: Previous Asia tech news roundups

This post Asia news roundup: Alibaba bets big on SenseTime, Grab and Uber face roadblocks, and more appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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Anith Gopal
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