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Asia Tech Review: 6 April 2020

April 6 · Issue #147 · View online
Asia Tech Review
Welcome back,
This newsletter took a hiatus as the Covid-19 outbreak worsened. Keeping up with tech news seemed a distant second (at best) with all the chaos. I found it hard to get into the ATR routine, especially when, at The Ken, we have been figuring out where our reporting fits into this.
The positive, I hope, is that now things are beginning to show some stability – perhaps the situation has just become the new normal – and everything is adjusting. This week’s newsletter is a bit of a catch-up, and I hope it isn’t full on ASIA COVID-19 REVIEW mode.
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 👉🏻

TikTok told moderators ot suppress posts by the “ugly” and poor
It turns out Luckin Coffee faked its sales numbers, a major share price drop ensued link
An interview with Huawei’s CEO on the impact of Covid-19, Huawei apps and more link (Related: Huawei is getting deeper into autonomous vehicles)
How China built a Twitter propaganda machine then let it loose on Coronavirus link
It may have abandoned WeWork but one deal SoftBank is said to be going after is an investment in Didi’s self-driving unit (the Vision Fund is an investor in Uber’s autonomous unit, for reference) link 🔒
Ant Financial invested in Swedish fintech startup Klarna link while its Alipay serviced tied up with TranferWise for global money exchange link
Amazing data point: Nike’s sales dropped 5% in Greater China during the worst of Covid-19 in the country, but digital sales were up 30% link Meanwhile Xiaomi says its China business is nearly back to normal link
Related: WeChat, TikTok and other social apps are changing how luxury items are sold in China link
That could soon include Weibo, after ‘China’s Twitter’ added social commerce for users to offset its declining revenues link
Telegram became a refuge for WeChat users during the outbreak link
China’s mobile carriers lost 15M users link
MiningLamp – described as ‘China’s Palantir’ – raised $300M from Temasek, Tencent and others link
Yuanduao, which sells online course and homework plans to students, raised $1 billion led by Tencent and Hillhouse link
Another unicorn, AI startup 4Paradigm raised $230M at a $2B valuation link
Pinduoduo raised $1.1B in a private placement link
Investors tell Indian startups to ‘prepare for the worst’
Uber and Ola suspended service across many cities link
Spotify and Warner have resolved their licensing standoff in India link
Camp K12 raised $4M from Matrix, SAIF Partners and others link
Fintech startup Recko raised $6M from Vertex Ventures link
Google closed its Q&A neighbourhood app, this follows the shuttering of its national WiFi network link
Digital banking startup Kyash raised $45M
Sony span its camera business into a standalone company link
Southeast Asia
Investors in Southeast Asia's unicorns are stepping up secondary sales
Amazon contractors enduring ‘subhuman’ conditions in Philippines link 🔒
HOOQ, Singtel’s Netflix challenge, is being liquidated presumable as Singtel cuts its spending for this Covid-19 era link (one argument suggests that the timing is off as this is a moment for SEA’s streaming services – I disagree)
Use of Tencent’s JOOX music app is surging link
Telemedicine startup Doctor Anywhere raised $27m Series B link
TaniHub Group, which connects farmers with b2b and b2c customers, raised $17M link
Indonesian social commerce startup Chilibeli raised $10M link
Matchmove, a contender for a Singapore banking license, invested in e-commerce startup Shopmatic link
In Thailand, a man was arrested under the computer crimes act for a post claiming he had entered Thailand without a Covid-19 screening link
Logistics startup Inteluck raised $5M from investors that include logistics company Lalamove link
Outside of Asia tech
“Everyone says they want to be stuck on a tropical island, until you’re actually stuck” link
A Covid-19 virus survivor in Bangkok tells of his experience link
A documentary about a man who draws cryptic diagrams across Bangkok link
ICYMI on The Ken SEA
This newsletter went on pause which explains why this section is so full. Yes, we’ve been busy!
  • Fool’s gold? Singapore’s digital banking licence rush link
  • Amazon gets serious about Southeast Asia link
  • The many cooks spoiling Malaysia’s startup broth link
  • TPG Telecom’s wrong place, wrong time moment in Singapore link
  • Growth funds the new black for Southeast Asia’s VCs link [free read, just need an account with The Ken]
  • Earning gig bucks: The Gojek-ification of Indonesia’s workforce link
  • Coins is far from mint condition despite Gojek acquisition link
  • Time runs out as iflix’s ghost ship starts sinking link
  • Data points probe Southeast Asia’s app addiction link [free read]
  • Hungry, Thailand? Foodpanda, Grab, LINE deliver jobs during Covid-19 link [free read]
  • 10-year itch: Tokopedia bets on digital payments to take on Shopee link
  • Covid-19 pressure cooks Indonesia’s foodtech and cloud kitchens link
I have a limited number of 30-day trials up for grabs, email me if you are interested—first come, first serve basis. But do note that all subscribers to The Ken have trial invites, so if you know others subscribers, go ask them!
That's all for now, see you next week!
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