Asia news roundup: Razer Pay debuts in Malaysia, Anchanto raises series C, and more
Here’s a look at what happened today across Asia.
Razer Pay chooses Malaysia as the first country to launch (Malaysia). Razer announced today the debut of its long-awaited e-payment system, Razer Pay, starting with Malaysia. The company is partnering with local corporation Berjaya to roll out the payment system, which will be available to shoppers for online and offline transactions. Users of One2Pay, the digital wallet by Razer acquisition MOL, will see their payment app converted to Razer Pay through an update. (Tech in Asia)
Trouble continues for oBike as authorities push it to round up stray bikes and refund users (Singapore). The Land Transport Authority (LTA) stated it’s “deeply disappointed” with oBike’s failure to refund user deposits and citing the agency’s potential fees for breaking its promise. Today is the deadline for oBike to clear its remaining bicycles, and fees will be imposed if LTA needs to step in and do the collecting instead. The bike-sharer has said that such fees could affect its ability to reimburse its users, who are still waiting to get their deposit back. LTA responded by saying that oBike is responsible for managing these costs and should have a “concrete plan” for winding down its business in the city-state. The startup has already been slapped with almost US$90,000 worth of fines for stray bikes from various town councils in Singapore. (Channel NewsAsia)
Baidu teams up with SoftBank to develop self-driving buses (Japan). The Chinese firm has struck a partnership with SB Drive, a SoftBank subsidiary that was set up to develop self-driving technology for the public transport sector. Baidu and SB Drive will combine their tech and expertise to come up with an autonomous bus that will be manufactured in China. The companies are looking to ship 10 of them to Japan by 2019. (Nikkei Asian Review)
Montir fuels up with series A funding from East Ventures to boost on-demand automotive service business (Indonesia). Montir, an on-demand service that brings a mobile car workshop to users’ location when their car or bike needs attention, has raised an undisclosed amount from East Ventures for its series A round. The startup claims to cut down long waiting times for servicing and repairs in Jakarta’s busy workshops. The online platform lets users consult with a repair specialist, have their vehicle inspected, and get the necessary parts delivered and replaced at a fraction of the time and cost. (Montir)
Anchanto raises US$4 million in first installment of series C round (Singapore). The software-as-a-service provider secured US$4 million in the first stage of its series C round from MDI Ventures, the investment arm of Telkom Indonesia. Anchanto enables businesses and brands to sell their products across a number of online marketplaces in Asia. It also develops and offers inventory, warehousing, and order management system for merchants. The startup will use the funding to bolster its presence in Southeast Asia and reach out to more sellers in Indonesia’s growing ecommerce market. It reported over US$258 million in gross merchandise volume through its services in the last 12 months. (Anchanto)
HTC lays off 1,500 employees amid stifling market conditions (Taiwan). The company has announced that it’s laying off 1,500 people, or 25 percent of its workforce, this week, saying that the move is part of its efforts to to cut costs and streamline operations. HTC’s financial results have continued to decline in the face of increased competition from Korean and Chinese smartphone manufacturers. (TechCrunch)
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies
Binance suspends trading to investigate “abnormal transactions” (Japan). The cryptocurrency exchange halted trading across its platform and removed all its API keys “as a precautionary security measure” today over suspicious transactions related to one particular crypto. Syscoin, which is based on a fork of the Bitcoin protocol, reported “odd trading behavior coupled with atypical blockchain activity” on its SYS token and requested that exchanges stop trading it. The SYS token’s trading price against the bitcoin apparently skyrocketed during that activity. (Coindesk)
Government wants WhatsApp to do something about the spread of fake news (India). India’s IT ministry has asked Facebook, the parent company of WhatsApp, to take steps to curb the spread of misinformation on the messaging app. India is the biggest market globally for WhatsApp, with more than 200 million users. This reach is being used to spread malicious rumors and fake news, like a recent allegation about child kidnappers that led to mass beatings of people, including three casualties. WhatsApp has previously stated the need to educate users about fake news and has offered rewards to researchers and specialists who can identify such issues. (Livemint)
Streaming video app Tik Tok is banned in Indonesia (Indonesia). The country’s Ministry of Communication and Information Technology announced that the popular streaming video app has been banned in Indonesia. While the app can still be downloaded, users can’t view any of the content in it. The ministry said that it banned the app because it contains negative videos that are deemed to be a bad influence on the youth. However, it added that the ban may be lifted if Tik Tok can clean up its platform. (Tech in Asia)
Mobile streaming platform Inke is set to go public in Hong Kong (China). Inke, a mobile video streaming platform, is hoping to raise US$152.9 million through a public listing in Hong Kong. The funding will be used for to expand the business, build awareness in the market, and explore potential acquisitions. However, analysts are concerned about the platform’s revenue declining 10 percent from 2016 to 2017, and monthly active users falling by 16 percent year-on-year. (KrAsia)
Tech in Asia is making some changes to its daily roundup so that you get the day’s major news faster. The revamped format will begin on July 9. Stay tuned.
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