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Asia Tech Review: 9 December 2019

December 9 · Issue #138 · View online
Asia Tech Review
Welcome back,
It’s been a busy December, the storm before the double quiet period of Christmas and then Chinese New Year in January. This week’s biggest developments including more worrying insight into China’s use/planned use of facial recognition, new Asia-specific funds for Accel and Sequoia, IPOs for Chinese duo Ping An and Ehang… and an explosive story on Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan’s management style.
Things have also been busy in the day job. We added a new addition to our growing Southeast Asia team (hello, Jum) and our recent stories include a look at AirAsia’s trials and tribulations in Indonesia – where it was bullied off major OTAs – and Carousell’s breakout 2019, which has seemingly put it on course for an exit. More to come.
See you again next week,

China uses DNA to map faces, with help from the West
Meituan’s turnaround to profitable business is a lesson for Uber and other on-demand businesses link 🔒
Huawei’s Mate 30 contains no American parts in response to tensions with the US link
Huawei’s reputation in China took a hit following a saga that saw a former employee jailed for demanding severance pay after he was let go link
Alibaba’s Ant Financial is launching a $1B investment fund link
A look at video-first e-commerce, a trend that started in China but is tipped to take off elsewhere link
Another controversial leak from ByteDance’s content moderation policy: Its approach to preventing online bullying on TikTok is to limit the reach of “vulnerable” users – those with disabilities, or who are “fat or gay” link
Beijing has reportedly told state offices to replace overseas-made software and hardware over the next 3 years link
There’s concern ARM’s China unit is playing a strong role in helping China’s state semiconductor ventures get off the ground link 🔒
Anyone buying a SIM card in China will be required to submit to a facial recognition scan – the move is said to be about tackling fraud, but it will arm carriers and the government with yet more personal data link
Nintendo and Tencent launched the Switch in China for around $300 link (but don’t expect too much)
Sequoia has a new $3.4B fund for the US and China link
WeWork is still pushing hard in China despite layoffs and struggle to fill its office spaces link
Drone firm Ehang priced its US IPO, plans to raise nearly $50M which is less than expected link
Ping An launched a (downsized) US IPO targeted at raising $500M link (it also made its first investment in India)
Hong Kong
Facebook sued a Hong Kong company that it accuses of using celebrity clickbait on the social network to find victims for malware attacks link
China reportedly rolled out ‘Great Cannon’ – its program for knocking websites offline using DDoS attacks – to go after forums coordinating anti-Beijing protests – it had previously been used to target GitHub link
Selling to those who can’t pay: human cost of modern banking
How India is channeling China-style protectionism to boost homegrown tech companies link 🔒
Netflix plans to invest over $400M on content for the Indian market link
Accel closed $550M for its new (and sixth) fund in India link
Zomato says it plans to raise as much as $600M next month link
Amazon launched a battery-powered Echo in response to the need for greater mobility in India link
Flipkart led a $60M investment in logistics startup Shadowfax link is reportedly raising money from Temasek at a valuation of $800M link
Police shut down a call center that been defrauding Flipkart customers link
Y Combinator is doubling down on India – just weeks after it closed its fledgling China venture link
Southeast Asia
Razer CEO berated and threatened his staff, according to former employees
A detailed report on Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem from VC firm Asia Partners link
A gaggle of companies, including Grab Standard Chartered and Singapore Telecom, are said to be in talks to form consortiums to meet the tough entry requirements to bid for Singapore’s digital bank licenses link
Vietnam is the hot market for investors right now link
Indonesia-focused fintech startup Kredivo raised $90M at a valuation of $500M link
India’s BookMyShow has spun off its Southeast Asia business to go after the region link
Co-working company JustCo raised $74M link
Zenyum, a dental startup from Sequoia’s Surge program, raised $13.6M link
The Indonesian government is reportedly looking to create a sovereign wealth fund in the style of Singapore’s Temasek link
Indonesia is also planning new rules to make internet companies pay taxes link
Tada, a ride-hailing company that markets its (planned use of) blockchain technology, raised $5M link
Outside of Asia tech
A look at Southeast Asia’s e-waste industry, which has taken over business China doesn’t want, and its effects on people and the environment in countries like Thailand link
But, on the plus side, there’s a new fund aimed at tackling plastic pollution that has buy in from Coca Cola, Dow Chemicals and Pepsi link
Photo of the week
ABC News
A New York woman dressed as a unicorn has made something as mundane as clearing snow from her driveway a little more magical!
A SoftBank term sheet is on its way – hat tip Tim Culpan
That's all for now, see you next week!
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