Weekly Roundup: Asian tech news and startup deals

Weekly Roundup: Asian tech news and startup deals

Here are the technology news, startup, and VC deals we tracked across the Asian region this week.

  • Walmart and its e-commerce platform Flipkart will invest $145 million in fresh produce supply chain startup Ninjacart, making it one of the largest investment rounds by the e-commerce giant in a startup.
  • Online grocery startup Grofers has changed its name to Blinkit, as it moves to deliver groceries "in the blink of an eye" - in just under 10 minutes as quick commerce gradually becomes the future of commerce.
  • Flipkart says it is now offering groceries on its social commerce platform Shopsy.
  • Google-backed neobank, Open which raised $100 million in October, says it has acquired consumer neo-banking platform Finin in a $10 million cash-and-stock deal to strengthen its enterprise business and expand overseas.
  • The government has approved a $10 billion incentive plan, in a move to attract semiconductor fabricators and display manufacturers to set up semiconductor factories in the country, with Reuters sources saying that Foxconn and other companies may key in.
  • Streaming giant Netflix says it has reduced its monthly subscription prices in India, by at least 18% and up to 60.1%, as it battles to find customers in the country.
  • Meta founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg says he is excited about India's role in building the future of Metaverse, and is betting on the country's vast talent pool in the creator and developer community to play a huge part in building its future for billions.
  • WhatsApp has launched a pilot programme in India that would allow 500 villages in the country to access digital payments via its platform, in a move to transform digital payments at the grassroots.
  • Bangalore-based fintech startup Uni, which provides buy now, pay later services, has raised $70 million in a Series A round led by General Catalyst.
  • Softbank has led a $60 million round in Indian digital payment processing firm Juspay.
  • Binance announced on Monday that it will close its digital token exchange platform in Singapore on February 13, 2022, due to regulatory issues. The platform will also stop accepting new registrations, crypto, and currency deposits, and trading on the Singapore portal effective immediately after it cited "strategic, commercial and developmental considerations globally." Singapore's monetary authority had earlier in September ordered Binance.com, Binance's main crypto trading platform, to stop offering services to residents in the city-state. Binance says it will now focus on "enhancing offerings of products and services supported by blockchain technology," in the city-state.
  • Indonesian insurtech startup Fuse secured $25 million of Series B extension round as it plans to enter more countries including Thailand and Vietnam in Southeast Asia. The startup has closed three funding rounds of Series B within the past six months, bringing the company’s total raised to over $70 million. The fresh capital was led by an undisclosed global fintech fund with participation from existing investors East Ventures, GGV Capital, eWTP, and Emtek.
  • Amazon's cloud service AWS is planning to invest $5 billion in a new cloud region in Indonesia that will result in 24,700 direct and indirect jobs annually over the next 15 years.
  • Local media reports that the eastern Jiangsu province in China is using blockchain tech to manage 21 prisons, making it the country’s first attempt to use blockchain technology in managing its prison system.
  • Social media platform Weibo has been fined 3 million yuan (~ $470,000) by China's internet regulator for repeatedly publishing illegal information. [Reuters]
  • WhatsApp customer engagement tool Wati.io has raised $8.3 million in a Series A round led by Sequoia Capital India.
  • Singapore-based social music platform BandLab, which allows musicians and fans to create music, collaborate, and engage with each other, has secured $53 million in funding led by Vulcan Capital, with participation from K3 Ventures.
  • Japanese IT giant NEC has launched a $150 million VC fund to invest in startups across Asia, Israel, the US, and Europe.
  • Singaporean analytics startup Nansen, which pairs blockchain data with wallet labels, has raised $75M in a Series B funding round led by Accel, with participation from GIC, Andreessen Horowitz, Tiger Global, and other prominent VCs and angel investors.
  • India's Hevo Data, a data pipeline startup, has raised $30 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital India.
  • Indian ride-hailing company Ola Cabs has raised a $500 million loan from international institutional investors, as it looks to make its stock market debut in 2022.
  • Indian edtech giant BYJUS is reportedly in advanced talks with a blank-check firm to raise $4 billion in a US listing via a SPAC merger that could value the company at $48 billion, according to a Reuters source.
  • Indian early-stage startup investor Venture Catalysts, which closed as many as 207 deals in 2021, and invested in 178 unique startups, plans to invest $108M in about 300 startups in 2022, in FinTech, EduTech, AgriTech, FMCG, e-commerce, and logistics.
  • Indian healthcare SaaS firm Innovaccer says it has raised $150 million in a Series E funding round led by existing investor UAE’s Mubadala Capital, more than doubling its valuation to $3.2 billion.
  • Social media and short video entertainment platform ShareChat has secured $266 million in a Series G funding round led by Alkeon Capital, at a valuation of $3.7 billion.
  • Japan's SoftBank has reportedly bought a significant minority stake (25-30% stake) in India's Snapdeal-owned Unicommerce, which provides an e-commerce enablement software for multichannel selling, inventory, and warehouse management, according to Entrackr.

The Draft provides a weekly roundup of the most important tech news across key emerging markets in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Follow the rest of our coverage @techloy on Twitter.