Asia news roundup: Meili targets US IPO, WeDoctor gets $500m, tech bosses squabble online
In today’s news, an online fashion platform from China looks to the US for its IPO, hundreds of rental bikes are discovered under construction waste, and two tech bigwigs have a very public argument.
Meili said to be seeking US$500 million in US IPO (China). The fashion ecommerce platform wants to raise the amount in an IPO slated for the second half of 2018, according to sources. Meili reportedly chose a US listing over Hong Kong or other options because it believes American investors will be more familiar with its business model. The company is the result of a 2016 merger between online fashion retailer Meilishuo and former rival Mogujie. (Reuters)
Health and well-being
Tencent-backed WeDoctor gets US$500 million investment (China). The online healthcare platform raised the amount, valuing the company at US$5.5 billion ahead of its planned listing later this year. The round was led by AIA Company – part of Hong Kong-listed AIA Group – NWS Holdings, and several other undisclosed investors. WeDoctor enables medical appointment bookings and remote consultations. (Reuters)
CCRManager raises US$6.5 million in series A round (Singapore). CCRManager, The digital trading platform for the secondary market in trade loans received the funds from a group of investors led by Asia Capital & Advisors chairman and former Temasek executive Francis Rozario. Supported by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and other financial institutions, CCRManager plans to use the money to expand its international network and enhance its product’s capabilities. (DealStreetAsia)
Edukasyon closes pre-series A (The Philippines). The startup, which assists students with their academic options and career choices, raised the undisclosed amount from French Partners, KSR Ventures, and other investors. Edukasyon wants to use the fresh funds to expand locally, add new marketplace verticals, and integrate data for its users. The startup connects more than one million students a month to over 10,000 academic institutions in the Philippines and overseas. (Edukasyon)
Tencent and Bytedance heads spar publicly over video app (China). Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming and Pony Ma, CEO of WeChat parent Tencent, had a short but public dispute on WeChat Moments. The exchange started when Zhang said his company’s Douyin was the most downloaded non-game app on Apple’s App Store. He later remarked that WeChat had obstructed Douyin and had copied Bytedance with the launch of its own short-video app Weishi. Tencent recently announced the suspension of all such apps after a government crackdown. Ma personally replied to Zhang, saying that his statement was defamatory.
Delivery and logistics
Swiggy to offer employees US$4 million in stock buyback (India). The online food-delivery company’s board has approved its first employee stock repurchase program, said sources close to the matter. Those who participate may tender up to 50 percent of their vested options by next month. Although it confirmed the buyback, Swiggy didn’t disclose the program’s size or which employees are eligible for it. The company, backed by Meituan-Dianping and Naspers, employs more than 2,500 people. (The Economic Times)
Hundreds of Ofo bikes discovered under construction waste (China). The bicycle graveyard was found in Chengdu by Ofo’s operations director, Chen Long, after he noticed a large number of the dockless units were left idle in the same spot for days. Company staff sent to the scene discovered fairly new bikes that had been badly damaged and buried. (TechNode)
Grab to charge riders who cancel trips (The Philippines). The company plans to implement the cancellation fee in the country within the next 100 days, though it still has to determine the amount. According to Grab Philippines marketing head Cindy Toh, company data shows that 12 percent of passengers cancel their bookings, as opposed to drivers who cancel only eight percent of the time. (Rappler)
CStone Pharmaceuticals secures US$260 million financing (China). The series B round for the Chinese biopharmaceutical company was led by Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC. Also participating were Sequoia Capital, 6 Dimensions Capital, and Taikang Insurance Group, among others. This recent round, combined with US$150 million raised in a 2016 series A, brings the total capital raised by the company to US$410 million. A developer of immuno-oncology drugs, CStone is focusing on China’s most common forms of cancer. (China Money Network)
Property and real estate
WeWork announces two future Singapore locations (Singapore). The co-working and shared office space provider has already started pre-selling both locations, one at 60 Anson Road, and the other at 22 Cross Street. WeWork also recently announced two other upcoming locations in Indonesia. (WeWork)
Intel Capital leads US$14.2 million series A funding for Avaamo (India). The VC round will be used for the AI company’s sales and marketing expansion as well as to meet enterprise demands for AI-based conversational computing solutions. Apart from Intel Capital, participating investors included Ericsson Ventures, Mahindra Partners, Wipro Ventures, and WI Harper. (Inc42)
Investors, incubators, and accelerators
Recruit Holdings acquires Glassdoor for US$1.2 billion (Japan). The Japanese human resources company bought the website – which lets employees anonymously review their companies – in what’s said to be one of the largest US tech acquisitions of the year. Glassdoor was reportedly in talks with banks regarding a potential IPO in the second half of 2018. Recruit Holdings owns ob search site Indeed and other related sites. (Recode)
Go-Jek reportedly entering venture capitalist arena (Indonesia). The homegrown ride-hailing firm might go into VC territory with Go-Ventures, which is said to focus on startups that support the company’s growth. According to sources, Aditya Kumar, a former senior investment associate at NSI Ventures, and former Northstar Group associate Jonathan Barki are among those being tapped to lead the business. (DealStreetAsia)
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