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Asia Tech Review: 1 June 2020

June 1 · Issue #152 · View online
Asia Tech Review
Welcome back,
This week’s issue (a nighttime Asia edition) comes as economies across Southeast Asia begin to reopen from the outbreak. This week in tech news we have:
  • IPOs and big money deals aplenty in China
  • Reliance still dominating the headlines in India, where there’s not one but two electric scooter deals
  • And, in Southeast Asia, China’s companies are building up bases in Singapore, Thailand got a major privacy scare and two F&B stalwarts jump into e-commerce and food
Plus—I wrote about cashback startup how ShopBack, a scrappy startup that flew under the radar before a recent Temasek investment, is well placed to grow post-Covid but it is suffering a fair bit right now.
See you again next week,
You can get Asia tech news as it happens by subscribing to the ATR Telegram channel. It’s totally free and there’s no catch, just follow 👉🏻

Meituan Dianping posts loss as outbreak weighs down on-demand business
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou could soon face extradition after a court ruled that fraud charges against her in the US would constitute a crime in Canada link
Unlike Huawei, AI giant Sense Time is weathering the backlash against surveillance in China thanks to US connections and partners link
Another big leak from ByteDance: Bloomberg reports it made a $3B profit on $17B of revenue in 2019, double the previous year link Its TikTok service has a new look US competitor: Zynn is an app that apparently pays users to watch videos—oh and its creator is ByteDance’s China rival Kuaishou link 🔒
Speaking of big money: Tencent raised $6B from a corporate debt deal. Time to go shopping? link First up: a $200M investment in Sony Warner’s upcoming IPO link
Despite US-China tension, Dada—a delivery platform backed by and Walmart—will reportedly conduct a US IPO roadshow this week with a view to raising $500M link
Most Chinese firms choosing local markets though. Such as NetEase, which filed for a secondary listing in Hong Kong, following Alibaba’s lead and weeks of speculation—it aims to raise $2B-$3B link Then there is VeriSilicon, a chip developer that includes Xiaomi among its investors, which is set to raise $111M from an IPO on China’s STAR Market link
China is planning to continue to monitor its population’s health through apps even after the pandemic, raising concern that it is exploiting the situation to mine yet more data link Also on government controversy: YouTube was apparently accidentally deleting comments that criticised China’s ruling party—it has now stopped link
Deals: VW will reportedly buy 50% of Anhui Jianghuai Automobile, the parent of EV maker JAC Motors, for at least 3.5 billion yuan ($491M) link In another automotive mega deal, SoftBank led a $500M investment in Didi’s autonomous division—apparently the money comes from the second Vision Fund… link The sale of Grindr by China’s Kunlun is now approved—new owner will be San Vicente Acquisition LLC following a government order link
HTC’s former CEO is making a risky bet on a new VR headset and virtual world
Jio Platforms prepares for overseas IPO following $10B in investments from Facebook and others
The government rejected Walmart-owned Flipkart’s proposed foray into food retail business link It is also said to be investigating allegations that Alphabet abused its market position to promote its mobile payments link
India is working on a homegrown video conferencing service link
Electric scooter maker Ather Energy partnered with scooter rental startup Bounce link Meanwhile Ola’s electric vehicle is also making moves after picking up a Dutch electric scooter company link
Uber is the latest to make cuts in India after shedding 600 jobs link
Deals: E-grocery service BigBasket is reportedly raising $200M link Ola’s financial services business is raising nearly $30M link Early stage program Antler has expanded into India link
Not just another day at the office: Rethinking Japan’s business culture amid the COVID-19 pandemic
South Korea
Coupang under scrutiny after S.Korea warehouse virus outbreak
Armed with disinfectant and admonishments, South Korean robot fights coronavirus spread link
Southeast Asia
Facebook slams 'severe' Singapore misinformation law
Chinese tech firms are staffing up in Singapore as Southeast Asia becomes an increasing focus link 🔒
In Thailand, a massive database of real-time internet records on millions was found online and unsecured—operator AIS, who it belonged to, shut it down after it was reported but played the incident down as a test. Others are less convinced link
How a volunteer army in Indonesia us helping the fight against coronavirus using data and the internet link
Mall operator CapitalLand has kicked off an online shopping and food delivery service in Singapore link Same for supermarket retailer FairPrice Group which has launched commission-free food delivery—the extra cost is a transparent 6% markup link
Deals: Malaysia’s Axiata is reportedly in talks to buy one of Indonesia’s smaller telcos link Singapore-based AI startup banked $6M from China’s GGV link Micromobility startup Beam raised $26M link GoBear raised $17M—slightly misleading as this is a JV being given money by its parents, and after some pretty major executive shuffling and service pivoting… link
Finally: Uber, which left Southeast Asia two years ago, will finally bid adieu by moving its APAC HQ from Singapore to Hong Kong (despite political and regulatory uncertainty) link
Outside of Asia tech
How South Korea turned an urban planning system into a virus tracking database link
‘Culture of violence’: The Thai military’s problem with abuse link
ICYMI on The Ken SEA
Here’s what we got up to last week:
  • The OYO Interview—the world according to Ritesh Agarwal link
  • Akulaku in limbo, Indonesian consumer loan players need a system reboot link
  • Funding secured, deals lost: Cashback prince Shopback’s Covid paradox link
This is where I (briefly) plug last week’s stories from The Ken, the subscription media startup where I work. We take a qualitative approach to telling business stories in Southeast Asia – you can sample our work at our free reads page.
That's all for now, see you next week!
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