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Asia Tech Review: 3 February 2020

February 3 · Issue #142 · View online
Asia Tech Review
Welcome back,
It’s hard to see much in the news beyond the coronavirus, particularly as the number of cases begins to rise in Southeast Asia while spreading into Europe and beyond. But this week’s highlights include Apple’s plans to finally launch online sales in India, a massive new investment fund for Japanese startups and, in Southeast Asia, Sea is emerging from long-time investor Tencent’s shadow.
A quick word on The Ken: we’re launching a new subscription focused on Southeast Asia with the same format of one deeply-reported story per day. We open it up later this month, but you can join the waitlist here or read about us in Nieman Lab/Splice. I’m excited – this project is why I joined.
As for this newsletter, it – and I – will be back next week.
See you then,
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 👉🏻

China is arresting people for posting misinformation about coronavirus online
The president of the Internet Association is leaving to head policy at TikTok USA link
Apple removed 805 apps from the Chinese version of the App Store between 2018-2019 link
The UK will allow Huawei to play a “limited” role in its planned 5G rollout despite US pressure for a ban link
The US government is cracking down on Chinese drones link 🔒
Apple to finally begin online sales in India in Q3
Fast-rising payment company BharatPe is said to be in talks with Uber investor Coatue over a potential $100M investment link
The WSJ profiled Gaana, the Spotify rival backed by Tencent and Times Internet link🔒
InterviewBit, which helps graduates and engineer learn advanced computer science skills online, raised $20M – it was part of Sequoia’s Surge program link
A breach at Indian airline SpiceJet has affected 1.2 million passengers link
More Chinese investors are piling into India link
Google announced a $1M grant to promote news literacy in India link
SoftBank, Tiger Global and Naspers may join India’s Startup Council – feels a ironic given that India is prioritising local companies on one hand link
OYO’s cost-cutting has extended to the US, where it left around one-third of staff go link
Japan's SBI plans $920m venture capital fund 🔒
Yamasa made a $30M investment in US-based The Bouqs to bring its flower delivery service to Japan link
SoftBank’s self-driving buses will carry passengers on public roads from April link
After meager 2019, Samsung's modest chip recovery outlook falls flat
Southeast Asia
Sea bought Canada-based game developer Phoenix Labs
Gojek said it regularly reviews all of its services through a lens of sustainability – I find it fascinating that it talks of being the underdog that executes best… because arguably Grab is an execution machine… link
Meanwhile Grab launched its first electric cars in Indonesia, where it hopes to operate 50 by the end of 2020 link
Singapore has its first rules in place for crypto companies link
Indonesia has proposed a law to ‘step up’ consumer data protection link
Indonesia’s eFishery in talks with PE firm Northstar and Gojek’s Go-Ventures over potential funding link
Another contender for those Singapore banking licenses emerged: Chinese e-commerce group Zall link
Philippines-based ‘e-commerce enabler’ Great Deals, which helps brands get selling online, raised $12M – a notable deal for PH link
Indonesia had a ride-hailing exit… but it isn’t Grab or Gojek: instead Anterin, which has a very different model and more modest 300K drivers link
Outside of Asia tech
The Economist on the rise of “Chinese enclaves” in Southeast Asia link 🔒
Remarkable story of a 7-year-old artist in Thailand link
A look at why Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, has kept silent on Xinjiang link
Photo of the week
There are dozens of photos like this which capture the panic around the coronavirus outbreak.
That's all for now, see you next week!
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