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Asia Tech Review: 25 May 2020

May 25 · Issue #151 · View online
Asia Tech Review
Welcome back,
The newsletter lapsed into a hiatus – apologies for that – but we are back with plenty to catch up on today.
In China: ByteDance is on a roll with TikTok after it hired a big name CEO from Disney. All the while its valuation is surging in private sales, apparently to over $100B, which indicates pent up interest in a potential IPO.
But it isn’t clear where such a listing might take place.
Increased tension with the US means that public China companies face potential delisting from US exchanges. Some are already fleeing the US—both on their own initiative or for scandals. Hong Kong may be an early winner. It has already seeing two major listings come its way, although none are on ByteDance’s level yet.
In India, Reliance is hoovering up billions for its services platform as the average startup in the country teeters on the brink of bankruptcy. Over in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is leading the way into a post-Covid world.
That’s all for this week, see you again next Monday,
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 👉🏻

TikTok hires Disney's head of streaming as CEO and more
The Senate passed a bill that may delist Chinese companies from US stock exchanges link
Baidu is, for one, said to be considering delisting from the Nasdaq itself link
Luckin Coffee, meanwhile, is being forced to delist its US shares following a sales fraud scandal link
Alibaba saw online sales jump thanks to Covid-19 link—obvious, yes, but it beat even analyst expectations link
Xiaomi enjoyed a similar boost as China’s economy rebounded link
Investments to startups has also shown a “promising” bounce back link 🔒
Speaking of which: MissFresh, a delivery service back by Tencent, is reportedly close to securing $500M in new capital link
Fitness startup Keep, which offers apps, offline gyms and sports equipment, raised an $80M Series E at a valuation of over $1B link
The UK is now plans to reduce Huawei’s role in its 5G network link
Hong Kong
Hong Kong lands two big IPOs from China
VPNs saw a download spike after China announced a new law for Hong Kong link
The New York Times and others apply to station in Taiwan
Live-streaming firm M17 sold off its dating business Paktor thereby unwinding a merger from April 2017—the deal value was not disclosed link
Reliance Jio is sucking up investment for nationwide e-commerce
Despite billions pouring in for Jio, the average Indian startup is said to have just 3 months of runway left link
Amazon has finally launched a long-rumoured grocery delivery service in India link
Ola laid off 1,400 staff on account of the pandemic’s hit on business link
Swiggy let go of 1,100 staff link
BigBasket is said to be raising up to $200M as it eyes a boost for its e-grocery service during India’s lockdown link
Khatabook, which helps digitise book keeping and finances for SMEs, raised $60M link
iSeed is a new early-stage fund backed by Angel List and a bunch of top entrepreneurs link
Paytm has launched its games business in South Asian markets link
Chinese investors are coming under close scrutiny in India link
Japan's defence ministry reportedly investigates alleged hack of next-gen missile details
SoftBank’s “Unicornonsense” link
South Korea
Korea's chip and display makers have turned to homegrown chemicals after Japan imposed export curbs 🔒
Sony is said to have increased its focus on VR technology link 🔒
Southeast Asia
Vietnam nets supply chain deals
An insightful look into the battle for Southeast Asia between US and Chinese cloud services link 🔒
There’s more evidence of a merger between Tiki and Sendo, Vietnam’s two largest e-commerce services, after Vietnam Competition and Consumer Authority confirmed it has received a notification of a potential deal link
Uber is closing its Singapore office, and last presence in Southeast Asia, as a result of global costcutting measures link
Thailand has delayed the implementation of a new data law due to the pandemic link
PropertyGuru says sales grew 24% but it expects growth to slow due to the pandemic link
The Philippines hopes to raise coronavirus relief funds by taxing internet companies link
Grab Thailand’s CEO resigned to work on personal projects link
Indonesia-based capsule hotel Bobobox raised $11.5M link
Outside of Asia tech
A moving story of a business owner who became a delivery driver in Covid—and found a new appreciation for service workers link
ICYMI on The Ken SEA
There’s a lot more here than usual as we are playing catch up on newsletters:
  • Many arms, weak core. Zilingo’s unravelling “octopus strategy” link (free read)
  • Vickers Venture’s deep tech and shallow returns link
  • The Covid-19 inflection point for Singapore’s SMEs link
  • Teleport-ing AirAsia out of Covid-19 link (free read)
  • Sayurbox, Tanihub offer fix for Indonesia’s flawed food supply link
  • The Covid wedge for Alibaba, ByteDance’s productivity tools in Southeast Asia link
  • OYO, RedDoorz vs ZEN and the art of pandemic perseverance link (free read)
  • Backs to the wall, Singapore’s SMEs see a saviour in alt lending companies link
  • Charting the step-by-step collapse of India, SEA’s travel and tourism link
  • Carro, Carsome jumpstart SEA’s post-Covid used car race 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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