Kakao is putting speech recognition tech into cars from Hyundai and Kia

 Less than a month after announcing plans to spin out its transportation and mobility business, Korean tech firm Kakao has inked deals to put hands-free systems inside cars from Korea’s second largest automotive firm Hyundai and its Kia affiliate. Kakao is best known for operating Korea’s top messaging app, Kakao Talk, which is installed on over 95 percent of the country’s… Read More

Grab gets $2B from Didi and SoftBank to fuel bid to defeat Uber in Southeast Asia

 Grab, the ride-hailing company competing with Uber in Southeast Asia, has pulled in $2 billion of new financing from existing investors Didi Chuxing, the company that defeated Uber in China, and SoftBank. Didi said the round could expand by $500 million more with input from other existing backers and new investors, too. A Grab representative confirmed that SoftBank’s Vision fund is not… Read More

Alibaba and Tencent are carving up Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem

 Two global tech forces are putting their mark — and money — into Southeast Asia’s nascent startup ecosystem, but they may not be the Western names that you expect. Rather than Google, Facebook or Microsoft, increasingly Chinese duo Alibaba and Tencent are the driving forces behind the importing of large sums of capital and vast business experience into Southeast… Read More

Chinese brands have invaded Indonesia’s fast-growing smartphone market

 If you’re looking for a market with smartphone sales growth potential then India usually comes to mind, but the market is moving forward with much promise in Indonesia, the world’s sixth largest country. A new report from IDC shows that smartphones sales in the country accelerated by 13 percent year-on-year during the first quarter of 2017. A total of 7.3 million devices shipped… Read More

LinkedIn Lite launches as an Android app in India, coming to 60+ countries soon

 LinkedIn, the social network for the working world with over 500 million members that is now owned by Microsoft, is today taking its next step in its bid to court more users in emerging markets. The company has released an Android app for LinkedIn Lite, a pared-down version of its original LinkedIn mobile app that is developed for users in markets where data networks are slower and relatively… Read More

India’s Rentomojo raises $10M from Bain Capital and Lending Club founder

 Indian startup Rentomojo — which lets consumers rent appliances furniture, motorbikes and other urban living essentials — has closed a $10 million Series B to continue its expansion. The round was led by Bain Capital Ventures, and others that put in include Lending Club founder and former CEO Renaud Laplanche and existing investors Accel and IDG. It’s nearly one year to the… Read More

Apple’s Greater China business now has its own managing director for the first time

 Apple has appointed Isabel Ge Mahe as its first vice president and managing director of its business in Greater China. China-born Ge Mahe is tasked with managing Apple’s China business, and she will report into CEO Tim Cook and COO Jeff Williams when she takes up the role, which is based out of Shanghai, “later this summer.” Ge Mahe is currently located in California,… Read More

We went gaming at a VR arcade in Hong Kong

 TechCrunch was in Hong Kong last week for tech conference Rise — where we watched two robots talking together on stage, among other things. The event is well-known for its after-parties and social activities, but one night we sneaked away from the crowd with a few friends to check out a virtual reality arcade. Playdium is a new entry to the city, having only opened its doors at the start… Read More

Samsung plans to recover 157 tonnes of rare metals, including gold, from Galaxy Note 7s

 Samsung Electronics announced today that it will recycle parts from Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, which gained notoriety last year after a battery defect caused several to burst into flame. The company said in a statement on its Korean site (via Google Translate) that it also expects to recover 157 tonnes of rare metals, including gold, from the devices. Read More

Telegram agrees to delete terrorist content in Indonesia following partial block

 Messaging app Telegram has agreed to block terrorist-related content in Indonesia after the government threatened to block the service over fears it was enabling terrorist communication. The country’s Ministry of Communication and IT blocked the web-based version of the messaging service on Friday. It threatened to do more in frustration that Telegram continued to be used as a platform… Read More