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Asia news roundup: Huobi launches Australian exchange, Ofo doubles down overseas, and more

Re-posted from TechInAsia

· China,Blockchain,crytpocurrencies,Australia,Electric cars

Here’s a rundown of everything that happened in Asia’s tech scene today.

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies

Binance Labs injects funding into Chinese blockchain portal (China). Zhidian, or Pivot as it’s known on Telegram, aims to help crypto investors share information and track down interesting prospects. Binance’s fund led an undisclosed seed round in Zhidian, and was joined by LD Capital and INBlockchain. The money will be used to improve communication between users, influencers, and projects in the community. (China Money Network)

Huobi launches crypto exchange in Australia (Australia). The Chinese firm announced that trading on its Australian platform started yesterday. The exchange will initially trade Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ethereum Classic, and Bitcoin Cash, with more to come later. The company also plans to invest in the blockchain ecosystem through its investment arm Huobi Capital, a US$200 million fund. (Cointelegraph)

Transportation

Subsidies for electric cars possibly on their way down (China).Chinese authorities are mulling further reductions to subsidies for electric cars, citing the need for innovation rather than relying on state aid to fuel demand, according to reports. Potential changes include price incentives being lowered by more than a third compared to their current levels, and requiring vehicles to go for longer on a single charge – 200 km rather than the current 150 km. The government spent US$1 billion last year to make electric cars more affordable for consumers and drive growth in China’s market, while cities and provinces offered their own incentives as well. (Bloomberg)

Ofo reports over 25 million orders in Singapore, says it’s ready to double down on overseas markets (China). Even as other bike-sharing companies reel under a number of challenges, Ofo says it’s ready to enter a “second strategic stage” on its markets abroad after completing the development phase. This will involve going deeper into markets like Singapore, the US, and France. In Singapore, Ofo claims that orders have surpassed 25 million, with around 1 million weekly orders. Users in the city-state account for one-fifth of the total population, the company says. (TechSina)

Travel and hospitality

Airbnb invests US$5 million in real estate startup (China). Beijing-based Chengsu provides property management services like home renovation, cleaning, maintenance, and tenant communication, supplementing home-sharing services like Airbnb. The US home-sharing startup has pumped US$5 million in Chengsu so that the startup can expand in more Chinese cities. It’s currently in 20 cities and is looking to establish 30 new operation centers. Chengsu says Airbnb is its largest source of business. (QQ.com)

KKDay reportedly raised funding from Alibaba to bolster presence in China (Taiwan). Taiwanese travel startup KKDay is said to have raised funding from the Alibaba Entrepreneur Fund, according to local media. The company will leverage the strategic funding to strengthen its Chinese presence and reach more tourists coming out of China. It plans to set up an office in the country within the year. At present, it’s reaching Chinese audiences through an online store on Fliggy, an Alibaba-owned travel marketplace. (KrAsia)

Fintech

TransferWise launches international bank transfer service (Hong Kong). The European startup said it’s setting up shop in the financial hub to serve individual consumers and businesses. It claims that its money transfer service is two to five times cheaper and up to three days faster than banks and foreign exchange companies. TransferWise opened its Singapore office in April last year and also has an office in Tokyo. (TransferWise)

Education and training

Executive education startup scores US$2.3 million from Singapore’s InnoVen (India). Eruditus secured the funding from a subsidiary of Singapore state fund Temasek that specializes in venture debt financing. The Mumbai-based firm provides business-related education programs, collaborating with experts from schools like Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and INSEAD. Courses are delivered as workshops, online sessions, and more. Its clients include Microsoft, HSBC, Accenture, and Deutsche Bank. The startup will use the funding to expand its reach in Latin America and Southeast Asia. (VCCircle)

US investor pours funding into social-impact education startup (India). Stone2Milestones focuses on tech tools to teach reading to children aged 3 to 9 years old. It harmonizes its tools with current early school curriculum and has so far reached 100,000 children and 1,000 teachers. The Gurugram-based company raised an undisclosed amount of funding from a round led by US-based Unreasonable Capital and joined by InMobi co-founder Piyush Shah. (Livemint)

Enterprise software and services

Ant Financial bankrolls local public wifi provider (China). The Alibaba-backed payments company has invested in Peanut Subway, a company that provides free public wifi in subway stations, though the amount wasn’t disclosed. Peanut Subway gives free wifi to subway passengers, plus services like games, videos, and real-time information. The investment comes shortly after Tencent bid for a 49 percent stake in train wifi provider High Speed Network Technology Company. Free public wifi companies are attractive to investors because of the data they collect, including passenger phone numbers and social media accounts. (China Money Network)

Investors, incubators, and accelerators

Minister says corporate-backed tech fund to launch in the next six months (Indonesia). Communications minister Rudiantara said that Indonesian conglomerates will get together to launch a tech-oriented venture capital fund in the next six months. The size of the fund, which will be backed by the ministry, is undisclosed, but Rudiantara said it will focus across different stages from series A to unicorn. Sinar Mas Group had previously stated that it would participate in a venture capital fund supported by the government. (Jakarta Globe)

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