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Asia Tech Review: 17 December 2019

December 17 · Issue #139 · View online
Asia Tech Review
Welcome back,
With 2019 coming to an end, you’d be forgiven for thinking that’s not much happening in tech. It’s quite the opposite. Last week’s email was busy and this week… I’m not sure there have ever been so many notable highlights in ATR:
🍔 Europe’s Delivery Hero is buying Korea’s top food delivery business for $4B
🇨🇳 Github is considering opening a China-based business unit
📉 Ucommune, WeWork’s China rival, is struggling to complete its IPO… like WeWork
🍽 Uber is selling its food business in India to Zomato at a reported valuation of $400M
💵 Gojek is closing on an investment in taxi firm Blue Bird and the acquisition of payment startup Moka
🐝 Honestbee, 2019’s startup drama in Southeast Asia, is in talks to snag investment from JG Summit, one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines
Let’s get into it – I will see you again next week!

GitHub plans to open a subsidiary in China
Researchers used 3D masks to trick facial recognition payment systems for AliPay and WeChat link
The future of Foxconn’s Wisconsin project – which stands to receive $4.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies – remains unclear link
Ucommune, a Chinese WeWork rival, has lost key backers Citi and Credit Suisse from its US IPO push
ByteDance announced a joint venture with the Chinese government which “will focus on partnership in the digital rights of short videos” link
TikTok’s much-speculated music app is already in beta in India and Indonesia link 🔒
Chinese investors are increasingly backing African startups link
How Beijing’s ban on non-Chinese tech in government offices will impact US companies like Microsoft and HP link
An interview with the woman who accused founder Richard Liu of rape on the backlash she suffered on Chinese social media link
Video streaming service iQiyi, owned by Baidu, is going after global expansion with Southeast Asia an initial focus link
E-commerce startup Taojiji filed for bankruptcy after running out of cash link
Car parking apps are growing in popularity in busy Chinese cities link
Uber is reportedly close to selling Uber Eats India to Zomato
Netflix is offering discounts for new users who sign up for longer term subscription packages link
Amazon launched a new audio app for India link
A thorough explainer of xto10x, the startup consulting studio-style business from Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal link 🔒
Paytm raised $660M more from investors that include Alipay, SoftBank’s SVF Panther and funds managed by T Rowe Price link
YouTube’s Music app is reportedly outpacing Spotify and others in India link
General Atlantic and GGV Capital in talks to invest in Unacademy as part of a planned $100M round link
Walmart and Flipkart jointly invested in logistics startup Ninjacart link
Ride-hailing startup Pathao is reportedly merging with payment startup SureCash
SoftBank’s China strategy wobbles as key bets disappoint
Delivery Hero is buying South Korea's top food delivery service for $4B
Southeast Asia
Gojek is reportedly buying 5% of taxi operator Blue Bird 🔒
Honestbee is in talks with Philippines-based conglomerate JG Summit over an investment that could see it take control Honestbee Philippines, or potentially the wider business across Asia link 🔒
Zilingo is furthering its B2B play with the $15.5M acquisition of Sri Lanka’s nCinga Innovations, a company that develops an “industrial IoT platform”
How Google and Facebook balance a growing business in Vietnam with the pressure of censorship link 🔒
A look at PropertyGuru’s canceled IPO and the reasons behind it, including blowback from the WeWork saga, PE firms seeking a better price, PropertyGuru’s manipulation of financials and a merger of its rivals contributed to the cancellation link 🔒
The CEO of Indonesia e-commerce unicorn Bukalapak has stepped down link
Grab said food delivery and financial services are now responsible for over 50% of its GMV – note: this doesn’t necessarily mean take-home revenue and Grab isn’t profitable, but it is a sign of the business’s development link
Singapore-based scooter startup Neuron Mobility raised $18.5M link
Used car e-commerce platform Carsome raised $50M link
Sleek, which helps companies incorporate their business in Singapore or Hong Kong, raised $5M link
Travelio announced an undisclosed investment from Samsung Ventures link
Outside of Asia tech
The Verge’s gadgets of the decade link
An expose into how easily Amazon’s Ring smart doorbell can be used to map neighbourhoods link
An interview with the son of a woman detained in Xinjiang camps link
Bangkok Bank is buying a major stake in Indonesia’s PT Bank Permata for $2.7B in the first major overseas acquisition for a Thai bank link
Arsenal footballer Mesut Ozil is my hero for speaking out against Xinjiang – China predictably reacted by canceling a planned Arsenal game broadcast on state TV and then claiming the player has been misled by false information link
Photo of the week
Krishna Sadhana
Buriram United has just released their new home jersey for 2020 and the environmental theme is strong in this one! One shirt is made out of plastic fibers derived from 14 PET bottles! It means that if you buy this jersey, you’re recycling 14 bottles into this piece of beauty 💙
Very cool – I hope the claims behind this are genuine and not an eco-publicity stunt
That's all for now, see you next week!
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