Tencent increases its focus on artificial intelligence

 When it comes to artificial intelligence (AI) and Chinese tech companies, thoughts often begin and end with Baidu. But Tencent, Asia’s second highest-valued tech company behind Alibaba, has reminded the world that it too is investing in the field. Search giant Baidu was one of the first to make a major commitment to deep learning. It spent over $2.9 billion on R&D over a 2.5… Read More

Snapcart raises $3M to track offline commerce data in Southeast Asia

 Snapcart, a startup helping to bring transparency to the world of offline commerce in Southeast Asia, has raised $3 million in pre-Series A funding. We first wrote about the company when it launched in September 2015 with the aim of providing data on the largely uncharted world of offline commerce in Southeast Asia, a region of over 600 million consumers and a growing middle class.… Read More

A win for Apple in Beijing as court overturns iPhone patent ruling

 Apple has bigger fish frying in the world of intellectual property. But it must be a relief that an IP court in Beijing has handed the smartphone pioneers a win. On Friday, the courts overturned a May 2016 ruling that said Apple had violated design patents of a small, and now defunct, Chinese company called Shenzhen Baili. The disputes were over the exterior design of the iPhone 6 and 6… Read More

SoftBank’s self-driving bus project pulls in $4.6M to push for 2020 commercialization

 SoftBank is doubling down on its self-driving bus project in Japan. SB Drive, an entity created last year to develop autonomous vehicle technology for public transport, just got a cash windfall after Yahoo Japan led a 510 million JPY ($4.6 million) investment. Yahoo Japan, the Yahoo affiliate which is one of Japan’s most influential tech companies, provided 490 million JPY ($4.4… Read More

Tencent leads $350M investment in Chinese photo/streaming app Kuaishou

 Earlier this month, we reported that China-based photo app firm Kuaishou is gearing up for an IPO in the U.S. later this year. Well the company, which also offers live-streaming video in its service, has stopped to refuel its tanks first after it raised $350 million in fresh funding led by Chinese internet giant Tencent. Tencent, Asia’s highest valued tech company, confirmed to… Read More

Alibaba plays politics with new cross-border e-commerce initiative in Malaysia

 Alibaba is planting another flagpost in Southeast Asia. Unlike its $1 billion acquisition of regional e-commerce player Lazada last year, the Chinese giant is making political moves after it announced a joint partnership with Malaysia’s government to facilitate international e-commerce in the country. Often overshadowed by India and China, Southeast Asia’s digital economy is… Read More

Apple’s drops AIDS charity branding for its red iPhone in China

 iPhone enthusiasts the world over were given a new slab of glass to lust over yesterday after Apple unveiled a red colored version of the iPhone 7 in its latest move to support HIV/AIDS charity [Red]. The (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition iPhone 7 is the first time that Apple has supported the charity through its flagship phone,  — previous (PRODUCT)RED editions have included Beats… Read More

Airbnb is doubling down on China

 Uber may have become the latest in a long line of Western tech firms to have failed in China, but fellow gig economy darling Airbnb is determined to succeed in the Middle Kingdom. Today, the company announced a new brand for its China-based business and the local launch of Trips, its travel services feature. Beyond those changes, the firm pledged to increase its local presence via plans to… Read More

Uber and Grab are bringing Southeast Asia’s taxi on-demand war to Myanmar

 Southeast Asia’s ride-sharing war is spreading to a new frontier after rivals Grab and Uber revealed plans to expand into Myanmar, the country also known as Burma. Singapore-based Grab announced its launch in the country today, its first new market expansion for nearly three years, to take it to seven markets but its U.S. rival wasn’t going to sit in the corner quietly. Digital… Read More