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.

  • 🇨🇳 China’s largest messaging app Tencent-owned WeChat with over a billion users, which has one of the country’s biggest payment services, will begin support for the country’s sovereign digital currency.
  • 🇮🇩 Open banking startup for Southeast Asian markets, Brankas raised a $20 million Series B funding round led by Insignia Ventures Partners, with participation from returning investors Beenext and Integra Partners.
  • 🇮🇳 Indian B2B e-commerce platform Udaan has raised $250 million in funding via convertible note and debt, after raising $280 million in an extended Series D round from new and existing investors a year ago.
  • 🇻🇳 Vietnam-based neobank Timo has raised $20 million in an investment round led by Square Peg.
  • 🇲🇾 Malaysian ed-tech startup Pandai raised $2.03 million in seed funding from local and international investors including Y Combinator, Global Founders Capital, 500 Global, Soma Capital, Harvard, RHL Ventures, Falnas Capital, and Kembara Kapital.
  • 🇮🇳 Indian artificial intelligence and analytics solutions company Fractal has raised $360 million in a new round from TPG Capital Asia, bringing its total funding raised to $685 million to date.
  • 🇯🇵 Japanese automaker Toyota has overtaken U.S.-owned General Motors to become America’s top-selling automaker in 2021, making it the first time in 90 years that the US automaker wasn’t the best-selling car company in the United States.
  • 🇮🇳 Indian food startup iD Fresh Food raised $67.8 million in a Series D round co-led by NewQuest Capital Partners and Premji Invest, to strengthen its market presence, foster product innovation, and expand its presence across key markets in Asia, the UAE, and the US.
  • 🇮🇩 Indosat Ooredoo and 3 Indonesia have officially merged after undergoing all the necessary regulatory and shareholder approvals, creating the second-largest mobile operator in the country, with an estimated annual revenue of $3 billion.
  • 🇸🇬 Singaporean-based health-tech startup Smarter Health, which facilitates secure data exchanges between insurers, healthcare providers, and patients, secured S$5.15 million SGD (about $3.8 million USD) in Series A funding led by East Ventures.
  • 🇮🇳 Indian fintech startup PineLabs, which raised around $700 million in multiple tranches last year and was last valued at $3.5 billion, says it has secured $20 million in funding from India’s largest lender, the State Bank of India.
  • 🇨🇳 China's central bank, The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), has officially launched a digital yuan wallet app on various app stores.
  • 🇮🇳 Indian cloud telephony company Exotel raised $40 million in a Series D funding round led by Steadview Capital, as it looks to transform into a full-stack customer engagement platform and expand across Southeast Asia and into the Middle East.
  • 🇨🇳 Chinese gaming and social media company Tencent says it would cut its stake in Singapore-based gaming and e-commerce firm Sea from 21.3% to 18.7%, bringing the total divestment to up to $3.1 billion.
  • 🇮🇳 India's antitrust watchdog has ordered an investigation into Apple’s business practices, relating to the company mandating iPhone app developers to use a proprietary payments system in India.
  • 🇮🇩 Indonesia's fastest-growing New Retail F&B chain Kopi Kenangan, well-known for its great-tasting coffee, raised $96 million in the first closing of a Series C funding, giving the company a valuation of more than $1bn.
  • 🇮🇳 Indian startups collectively raised a record $39 billion in private funding during 2021, with 44 startups becoming unicorns, bringing the total to 81, according to data from Tracxn.
  • 🇨🇳 China unveiled a five-year plan to drive its ambition of becoming a global innovation hub for robotics by 2025, with the operating income from its robotics industry projected to grow an average of 20% between 2021 and 2025, according to the China MIIT.
  • 🇮🇳 Indian mobile-first credit card company OneCard raised $75 million in a Series C round led by existing investor QED Fund.
  • 🇮🇳 Indian B2B manufacturing and automation company Groyyo raised $4.6 million in a seed funding round led by Alpha Wave Incubation to build its teams across key manufacturing clusters in South Asia, and expand into the United States and the Middle East.
  • 🇮🇳 Indian companies raised a record $62.7 billion from venture capital and private equity firms in 2021 across 1,202 deals, up 57% from $39.9 billion raised across 913 deals in 2020, according to a new report from research firm Venture Intelligence.
  • 🇻🇳 Vietnam plans to issue licenses for its 5G wireless service in 2022, with coverage starting from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City; while services are expected to be initially offered in high-demand areas such as industrial parks in urban areas.

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.