Tokopedia, the Jakarta-headquartered ecommerce unicorn, is in talks to acquire Indonesian wedding marketplace Bridestory, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to Tech in Asia.The deal, which is in the final stages, values Bridestory at between US$30 million to US$35 million.Tech in Asia has reached out to both companies about this story, but Tokopedia declined to comment.Bridestory was founded in 2014 to cater to the country’s sizable wedding industry, a market valued at US$7 billion at the time.Founder Kevin Mintaraga got the idea while planning his own wedding.Instead of just creating Pinterest boards, as many couples do, Bridestory users can plan their big day by using the platform.
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Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Xiaopeng on Thursday launched a ride-hailing service in southern China, as automakers look to the industry and market leader Didi accrues losses from its operations.The move comes after the EV maker was granted a ride-hailing license by city authorities earlier this week.Unlike Didi, Xiaopeng will employ all of the “trained, verified and monitored professional drivers” on its platform, the company said in a statement.Xiaopeng is rolling out the service with an initial “several hundred” of its G3 SUVs, though it plans to increase its fleet size to 2,000 by the end of 2019.“The Pengstar service will allow Xpeng Motors to gain important operational experience from a diversified range of driving scenarios, [and] deeper understanding of customer behavior and preference,” the company said.Operating a ride-hailing fleet also gives the company access to additional training data that could be used to further develop its autonomous driving system.
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US-China trade war pushes Apple and Samsung deeper into India – Nikkei Asian ReviewWhat happened: Apple and Samsung, two of the world’s largest smartphone makers, are deepening their dives into the Indian market as the escalating trade war puts pressure on their operations in the US and China.Nikkei cites a source who says that Apple is close to choosing a site for its first retail store in India.In addition, the company is planning to expand local manufacturing, which would allow the iPhone to avoid the 20% tariff.In a similar move, rivals such as Samsung and Xiaomi are also strengthening production capabilities and sales channels in the country.Why it’s important: India, with its population of 1.3 billion and relatively low smartphone market penetration of 36% in 2018, presents an opportunity for smartphone makers looking to expand beyond slowing markets such as the US and China.
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The same day US Republicans introduced a bill to Congress restricting study visas for Chinese nationals, one of Mexico’s top STEM universities, Tecnológico de Monterrey, opened a technology exchange center in Hangzhou.The tech hub is co-funded by the university and the Hangzhou Jianggan government, and will act as a showroom and facilitator for Mexican technology and science research seeking to enter the Chinese market.The new center in Hangzhou, which opened Thursday, will tap into the more than 100 research facilities in Mexico.The private university was founded in 1943 and strives to become a leader in technology and innovation in Latin America by launching startup accelerators and partnering with banks and tech companies.It has since expanded into 32 campuses in 25 cities across Mexico.The Hangzhou center’s first task is to introduce Mexican science to China and to materialize research, taking it from the lab into the market, according to the director, who has lived in China for the last 20 years.
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US President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that allows the US to ban telecommunications equipment and services from foreign companies that could pose a threat to national security, making good on a threat that escalates the battle against Chinese telecom giant Huawei.The order doesn’t list any countries or companies by name but it instructs the Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, to ban transactions “posing an unacceptable risk,” which include import of gear or services from companies that have close ties to foreign governments and could use their equipment to monitor or disrupt US telecommunications or other infrastructure.In addition to the executive order, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday that it had placed the Huawei and 70 of its affiliates on a list of firms that are deemed a risk to national security.Companies on the so-called Entity List would not be allowed to buy American components and technologies without US government approval.The executive order invoked the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which authorizes the president to regulate commerce after declaring a national emergency in response to any unusual threat to the US with a foreign source.Huawei said in a statement sent to TechNode on Thursday that “restricting Huawei from doing business in the US will not make the US more secure or stronger; instead, this will only serve to limit the US to inferior yet more expensive alternatives.”
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Singapore-based Vertex Venture Holdings has raised US$230 million in the first close of its fourth Southeast Asian fund to invest in technology startups across the region and India, Bloomberg reports.It plans to finalize the funding in the next few months, which could take it above the first close, said Chua Kee Lock, Vertex’s managing partner for Southeast Asia and India.The venture capital arm of sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings, Vertex plans to continue backing early-stage technology for financial services, enterprise, and consumers in the region.Most of the investors in its third fund, including Cathay Financial Holding Co., have backed the new one.
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NetEase recorded strong first quarter results with substantial year-on-year increases in net revenues and gross profit, tempering lower gaming growth at home with overseas market earnings, particularly Japan.Driven by strong performance in online game services and e-commerce, gross profit also jumped by nearly 36% year on year to RMB 8 billion, continuing growth from the previous quarter.Net revenues grew close to 30% year-on-year to RMB 18.36 billion ($2.74 billion), driven by increased online game service and e-commerce revenues and beating analyst estimates by a notable margin.Online game revenue increased by more than 35% year-on-year to RMB 11.85 billion, thanks to the steady performance of legacy flagship titles such as “Fantasy Westward Journey” as well as popular overseas mobile titles such as “Knives Out” and “Night Falls: Survival.” Mobile games accounted for 72% of net revenues from online game services.While Tencent’s game revenues took a heavy hit in the first quarter due to more stringent licensing rules, NetEase hedged regulatory risks by emphasizing overseas markets, specifically Japan and South Korea.NetEase’s “Knives Out,” for instance, was a top earner on iOS in Japan in March.
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Japan to unify mobile payment codes, enlisting Chinese giants – Nikkei Asian ReviewWhat happened: Chinese tech giants Alibaba and Tencent are among the five internet companies that will help Japan standardize QR code payment.Other companies also taking part in this endeavor include Japanese messaging service Line, e-commerce platform Mercari, and mobile carrier NTT Docomo.Why it’s important: Mobile payment has become increasingly popular in Japan, but it is fragmented.There are more than a dozen payment service providers in the space and each has its own QR code standard.China’s leadership in cashless payments has nurtured homegrown payment companies which are eager to make inroads into other countries.
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Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group has invested RMB 4.36 billion (around $635 million) in home furnishings retailer Red Star Macalline (RSM) in an exchangeable bond subscription for 10% of common shares.Under the deal, the two companies will cooperate in the areas of home improvement and furniture shopping malls, shopping centers, and other business areas.The e-commerce company also acquired 3.7% of the furniture retailer’s Hong Kong-traded shares.One of the largest home improvement and furnishings shopping mall operators in China, Red Star Macalline operates more than 300 shopping malls across the country as of end-March.In addition, the company also operates a total of 364 home improvement centers through franchises.“The investment in Red Star Macalline, China’s leading home improvement and home furnishing shopping malls, underscores Alibaba’s commitment to providing Chinese consumers the highest quality experience when shopping for home-related products and services,” an Alibaba spokeswoman told TechNode on Thursday.
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Tesla issues battery software update after Hong Kong vehicle fire – TechCrunchWhat happened: American electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla is issuing an over-the-air software update to change the battery charge settings in its Model S and Model X vehicles after one of its cars caught fire while parked in Hong Kong.Tesla said the update is being done out of “an abundance of caution,” though it will not be applied to the Model 3.Why it’s important: Tesla has yet to identify the cause of the Model S fire in Hong Kong, which occurred just weeks after one of the company’s vehicles self-ignited while parked in a Shanghai parking garage.The incidents come as Tesla attempts to deal with flagging sales and challengers in the Chinese market.Chinese EV maker Nio reported a similar incident in which one of its SUVs caught fire while being repaired in central China.
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Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group Holding projected that its annual revenue will surpass 500 billion yuan (US$72.7 billion) this financial year despite a trade war between the US and China.The New York-listed company said its revenue rose 39% to 376.8 billion yuan (US$54.7 billion) for the 12-month period ended March, excluding newly consolidated revenue, according to a company statement.Alibaba’s financial results were announced as the US and China continued to pursue a resolution to their ongoing trade dispute.The US has also pledged to impose tariffs of up to 25% on all remaining Chinese imports, with an approximate total annual trade value of US$300 billion.“The US trade war has become both a challenge and an opportunity for China’s economy,” Daniel Zhang Yong, chief executive of Alibaba, said in a conference call with analysts on Wednesday.The trade war has an inevitable impact on ecommerce companies like Alibaba, which operate a global business across dozens of countries, Ben Kwong Man-bun, a Hong Kong-based director at brokerage KGI Asia, said before the results were announced.
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U.S. lawmakers want to tighten visas for Chinese students, researchers – ReutersWhat happened: On Tuesday, Republican members of Congress introduced legislation that could ban those working for or sponsored by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) from receiving visas to study or conduct research in the US.The bill would entail categorizing science and engineering organizations with ties to the PLA; anyone associated with these institutions would be denied student or research visas.Why it’s important: The news follows announcements of an escalation in tariffs after months of back-and-forth in the China-US trade war.It also falls in line with some US lawmakers’ longstanding accusations of intellectual property theft and industrial espionage by Chinese citizens, which helped kick off trade tensions to begin with.While it’s unclear whether the legislation will be passed, it certainly sends a message on behalf of some US Republicans, and further hints that the tiff over tariffs will be long and drawn out.
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After several failures of wanna-be Pokémon Go-likes in mainland China, Tencent’s new mobile game “Let’s Hunt Monsters” is a hit: it immediately climbed to the top of the free game chart in the Chinese Apple store after being released in mid April.A month later, it’s still at number six.What Tencent didn’t promote—and few have noticed—is the company’s first experiment with blockchain gaming.This might ultimately test the boundaries of Chinese regulation, which adamantly prohibit crypto trading.Now I’m running a virtual kitten mill off my cell phone: I’ve got a collection of 109 cats, two of whom are breeding.These visual traits were assigned randomly from a collection of virtual genes—currently 201.
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If you can’t see the YouTube player above, try watching here instead.In China’s increasingly convenience-focused economy, venture capital investor Linda Li says a more efficient healthcare is on the horizon.“It’s hard to imagine that in this day and age we can so easily use Meituan [food delivery app] to order lunch, but still have to wait for five hours at the hospital to see a specialist,” said Li, managing director and partner at Vickers Venture Partners in Shanghai.“I think e-health is the next step.”Li is responsible for the firm’s investment business in China and focuses on consumer internet, mobile applications, financial services and precision medicine.The company has offices in Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and New York, according to its website.
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Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba reported revenue of RMB 93.49 billion ($13.93 billion) for the fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2019, marking 51% growth from the same period a year earlier.Revenue beat analyst estimates of $13.42 billion for the quarter as growth momentum maintained compared with 58% year-on-year growth during the same period last year.Revenue for the 2019 fiscal year ended March 31 totaled RMB 376.84 billion, an increase of 51% year on year, lower than the company’s forecast of more than 60%.Alibaba’s net income in the quarter ended March 31 was RMB 23.38 billion, an increase of 252% compared with RMB 6.64 billion in the same quarter of 2018.Meanwhile, the percentage of revenue cost compared with total revenue in the quarter increased to 60%, or RMB 55.61 billion, from 53% of revenue or RMB 32.50 billion, in the same quarter of 2018.“The increase in revenue cost was primarily due to our consolidation of Ele.me, as well as an increase of the cost of inventory and logistics from New Retail and direct sale businesses,” the company said in its announcement.
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Tencent announced first quarter 2019 profits of RMB 27.9 billion ($4 billion), posting 16% growth year on year driven by strong earnings from the company’s fintech and cloud businesses.However, revenue growth was the slowest on record as the titan struggles to recoup losses from increased gaming regulations in China.Tencent grew its revenue 16% year on year to RMB 85.5 billion in the first quarter.RMB 21.8 billion came from fintech and other businesses including payment services and cloud computing, which posted strong 44% year-on-year growth.Fintech and cloud revenue momentum helped offset a disastrous period for games due to increased regulatory oversight.The company released only one new mobile title—Perfect World Mobile—in the first quarter.
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“What we are really trying to do is uplift the little guys,” Honestbee co-founder Joel Sng told me back in 2014, after I interviewed him for a story.After graduating from Harvard University in 2008, he had invested in illustrious tech companies like Airbnb, Razer, Coursera, Facebook, Uber, and Foursquare.(He has consistently declined to say how he came to back those firms.)Sng then returned to Singapore to run his family office.He set off on the entrepreneurial path in 2013 by starting LifeOpp, the company that would become Honestbee.Sng’s journey would turn out to be a dramatic one from start to finish.
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Huawei moved to grow its enterprise business by launching new cloud database and storage products on Wednesday, after announcing last month that it would expand its presence in the global cloud arena.The Shenzhen-based firm, best known for its smartphones and telecom equipment, said in a statement that the new cloud-computing products would help the company build a data industry ecosystem.Huawei announced last month that it would partner with Spanish telecom carrier, Telefonica, to operate cloud services in Brazil and Chile as it expands the business globally.The release of its cloud-computing products come as the company’s carrier business falters amid intensifying global scrutiny over the security of its equipment for next-generation wireless networks, known as 5G.As a result of the US-led backlash against its telecom equipment, Huawei’s carrier business declined 1.9% last year compared with an increase of 23.8% in its enterprise business.In five years, “China’s spending on private cloud infrastructure will surpass that of the US and become the world’s largest market,” said the report.
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Indonesian ecommerce unicorn Tokopedia launched its own order fulfillment service TokoCabang to help merchants expand their reach.TokoCabang will take care of storage, order receipts, buyer support, product packaging, and product delivery to logistics agents.The Alibaba-backed company already has warehouse facilities spread across Indonesia, according to its website.To use the service, stores will have to register for monthly subscription, which will cost 3,000 rupiah (US$0.21) per item for products to be kept in Tokopedia’s warehouses for above 60 days.Tokopedia also specified that TokoCabang will not be available for products that are banned from its platform, as well as for fresh food and beverage, expired products, aerosols, and items with dimensions exceeding 40cm x 28cm x 28cm.The service will also only be open to stores with a minimum Gold 1 reputation or Official Store label.
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We’re excited to unveil our next meetup – July 4 will mark the launch of Tech in Asia’s Pitch Night, where 10 handpicked startups will be given five minutes each to impress and persuade a panel of investor-judges.Getting funding for your startup can be a challenge.We designed Pitch Night to provide you with a platform where you’ll receive the undivided attention of keen investors.On top of gaining valuable feedback, Pitch Night is a great avenue for startups to learn alongside like-minded and passionate entrepreneurs.Pitch Night’s top three startups will receive media coverage on Tech in Asia and tickets to Tech in Asia Conference 2019, which will happen in Jakarta on October 8 and 9, 2019.We’re currently on the hunt for up-and-coming startups that have raised less than US$3 million of external funding and have a working prototype that solves a pressing problem.
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