Asia Tech Review: 13 April 2020





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April 13 · Issue #148 · View online
Asia Tech Review
Welcome back,
What a week: Luckin and friends under pressure for fraud, SoftBank sued over pulling WeWork commitment, Animal Crossing gets the China censorship treatment and seemingly everyone is trying to deliver groceries in India – and Masa Son sits down with Forbes for a timely PR push.
In notable non-Asia news, Apple and Google team up to develop cross-platform tracing tools which – as far as I can tell – will be their first-ever system-level collaboration. Something unthinkable were it not for Covid-19.
There’s all this and more to keep you busy in this week’s newsletter.
Take care, stay safe and 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 👉🏻

Luckin Coffee is investigating alleged sales fraud, confirming the suspicion of some pre-IPO investors 🔒
China topped US on international patents for the first time last year link
Venture capital in China is showing green shoots of recovering, as investors hint for deals link (that could include buying Car Inc link)
SCMP’s Abacus reports that live streaming shopping is surging in China thanks to Covid-19 link
Meituan, best known for food deliveries, is also now selling electronics such as smartphones link
Entertainment is also hot, and that explains why Sony invested $400M in Bilibili, the Nasdaq-listed streaming platform link
Animal Crossing disappeared from China after it became a space for Hong Kong protest art link
Former WeChat product manager Dan Grover looked in detail at how Chinese apps have handled the outbreak link
What funding downturn? Qiming Venture Partners raised a $1.1B fund focused on healthcare and tech deals link
Voice recognition tech startup AISpeech raised a $58M Series E link
The UN is criticised for using Tencent’s video calling service to conduct meetings amid concerns that it is not fully encrypted link
Chinese carriers have introduced 5G messaging services to battle WeChat link (good luck)
Hong Kong
Neat, a startup that gives small businesses access to global credit cards and banking services, raised an $11M Series A to take it to $16.5M to date link
Taiwan banned government organizations from using Zoom following privacy concerns link – Singapore’s teachers are also forbidden link
The country’s largest pirated movie and TV show just got shut down link
Startups and VCs in request government ‘relief package’ to fight outbreak disruption
Hotstar finally revealed its subscriber numbers in India: 8M – it just added Disney+ link
Online grocery startup BigBasket raised $60M led by existing investor Alibaba – that’s $720M raised in total so far link
Some half a dozen startups have moved into delivering groceries, including real estate startup NoBroker link
DeHaat, which connects farmers with suppliers, financers and buyers, raised $12M link
Online gaming firm Zupee raised $8M Series A link
WeWork sues SoftBank in intensifying crisis over canceled $3B tender offer
Paidy, which lets Japanese consumers buy online more easily, raised $48M from international trading conglomerate ITOCHU – that’s $281M to date link
Samsung's Q1 beat estimates and it hopes chip sales will shield it from Covid-19 impact in Q2
Grocery delivery startup Kurly raised $150M from Sequoia Capital, Hillhouse Capital and DST Global at a $780M valuation link
Southeast Asia
Healthtech startups help Indonesia manage Covid-19 surge
Honestbee creditor Benjamin Lim applied to have the company wound up link
Tencent and KKR pumped a $120M “lifeline” into Voyager, their mobile payment portfolio company in the Philippines link
It’s rare to see VCs merge, but Indonesia’s Agaeti Ventures and Convergence Ventures have done just that link
Facebook sued a Bangkok resident for selling fraudulent ad tools link
Outside of Asia tech
Details of that landmark Google-Apple agreement, which is based on letting developers build Covid-19 tracking apps across iOS and Android link
Even movie theatres have been (forced to) love streaming link
Covid-19’s impact on AWS link
“The internet is emerging stronger than ever” link
ICYMI on The Ken SEA
  • Filipino MSMEs experiment, huddle to fight Covid-19 chill link [free read]
  • Singapore’s new fintech order polarises wallets, crypto exchanges link
  • GoPlay’s descent from Netflix-beater to tragicomedy 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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