View profile

Asia Tech Review: 4 May 2020

May 4 · Issue #150 · View online
Asia Tech Review
Welcome back,
It’s been quite a past week. Most countries have extended their lockdowns and, in the Russell household specifically, we are bracing for a ‘return’ to schools. That means online learning. Somehow I can’t help but feel that I’m the one who is most interested and open to learning from this experience. The idea of plugging in to lessons from an iPad at home would have been wholly inconceivable (and excitingly futuristic) when I was a young'un.
Speaking of unlikely realities, I’m still getting over Facebook’s huge investment in India’s Jio, which was easily the biggest tech story of April if not 2020. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, Facebook gave in to government censorship demands despite saying for many years it would do no such thing. A worrying precedent.
Catch you again next week – stay safe!
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 👉🏻

Warning over Xiaomi recording millions Of people’s ‘private’ web and phone use
Huawei’s HiSilicon has overtaken Qualcomm to become China’s top smartphone processor supplier link
Chinese regulators ordered ByteDance to suspend downloads of its Feishu office app for a month after finding content from Facebook and Twitter link
Alibaba said it plans to invest $28B in cloud technology over the next 3 years link
JD has reportedly filed for a secondary listing in Hong Kong to raise $2B, following Alibaba’s example from late 2019 link
SoftBank and Legend are said to have put $150M into Didi Chuxing’s bike-sharing business in first outside investment link
McDonald’s, Starbucks and Subway are among the foreign firms that will test China’s digital currency link
Starbucks plans to invest in Chinese startup deals alongside Sequoia link
Tencent took a 5% stake in Australia-based fintech firm AfterPay for around $250M link
Self-driving truck startup Inceptio has reportedly raised $100M link
Alibaba demoted its e-commerce head over an apparent affair with an online influencer link
Auto maker Byton is struggling with cash link
Rival Nio has, meanwhile, got a cash boost of nearly $1B led by state-owned investors link
A long read on the problems at Luckin from new outlet The Wire China link
Hong Kong
SoFi goes international with acquisition of investment app 8 Securities
Klook, one of Hong Kong’s few unicorns and only Vision Fund company, has laid off employees and launched food delivery services to navigate the disruption of Covid-19 – that despite raising over $500M link
Ola thought its app would help Coronavirus-hit farmers — it didn't
Facebook bought 10% of Jio Platforms for $5.7 billion link – my colleague Praveen Gopal Krishnan at The Ken has an excellent summary of the what and why
Meanwhile, a security lapse at Jio exposed coronavirus symptom checker results link
And it’s full speed ahead for Facebook, which may offer lending via WhatsApp, according to a filing in India link
How will India’s restaurant business recover from the impact of the outbreak? link
Byju’s is reportedly raising once again, this time at a $10B valuation link
Paytm could be the latest Indian unicorn to raise funds from Microsoft link
Sequoia India (and Southeast Asia) announced the third cohort for its Surge accelerator program, which now fully online/remote link
Vivo overtakes Samsung to second place in India smartphones link
OYO isn’t done with its restructuring with reports it plans to dump more unprofitable hotels from its platform link
A data story looking at changing prices and availability on India’s top e-commerce platforms link
SoftBank to write down WeWork by $6.6B
Nintendo Switch sales doubled year-over-year in March link
Israeli’s Otonomo raised $46M to bring its connected car data platform to Japan and South Korea link
South Korea
Samsung warns of second-quarter profit fall as coronavirus hits sales of phones
Southeast Asia
Facebook agreed to censor posts after Vietnam slowed traffic
Wired dives into the scuzzy world of dropshipping in Southeast Asia link
Google says a pilot using AI to detect diabetes in Thailand did not work as well in real life as had been expected based on theoretical tests link
Oriente, which offers digital loans and financing, raised $50M link
Indonesia-based Qoala raised $13.5M to grow its insurance platform link
Finally confirmed: Gojek bought payment startup Moka – the price is said to be around $130M link
Shopback expanded into Korea buying the local eBates business from Rakuten, which is a Shopback investor link
A hacker leaked 15M records from Tokopedia link
Two Bukalapak co-founders launched an early-stage fund link
Google and Facebook are offering grants to media organisations in Asia that say they are struggling to handle the impact of Covid-19 link
Outside of Asia tech
TikTok (ByteDance) is lobbying hard in Washington link
How Cyber-intel firms pitch governments on spy tools to trace coronavirus link
Some actually useful tips on how to do online conferences, or at least prepare for professional video call appearances link
We Are Social’s new ‘Digital around the world in April 2020’ report – mostly aggregated data but useful link
ICYMI on The Ken SEA
  • Equity crowdfunding is the Hotel California of fundraising in Malaysia link
  • Faustian deal? Malaysian restaurants’ power struggle with delivery giants link
  • MMA to esports: Jumping from ONE Championship to another link
  • For investors, there’s a post-Covid allure to Malaysian social enterprises link (free read)
  • A make-or-break moment for startup-government lockdown ties 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.
Photo of the week
From this National Geographic story on India’s living root bridges
That's all for now, see you next week!
You just finished reading Asia Tech Review, the weekly newsletter for keeping up with the tech industry across Asia.
If someone sent this to you, you can sign up for free at
Follow along on Twitter at @asiatechreview
Join the Telegram community here
Finally, you can subscribe to curated news alerts via Telegram here
Did you enjoy this issue?
In order to unsubscribe, click here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue