Asia

Indonesian Uber rival Go-Jek closes in on new $1.2 billion round

 Go-Jek, the on-demand transportation company that rivals Uber and Grab in Indonesia, is getting close to pulling in its next huge funding round. That’s because JD.com, the China-based e-commerce firm that rivals Alibaba, has agreed to join Go-Jek’s upcoming $1.2 billion round, a source with knowledge of discussions told TechCrunch. The news was first reported by The Information.… Read More

Samsung heir handed 5-year jail sentence for bribery

 Samsung vice chairman and the company’s heir apparent Jay Y. Lee is headed to jail after a court in Korean ruled that he is guilty of bribery, embezzlement, capital flight and perjury charges. Lee, who has been earmarked as the future leader of the company, was handed a five-year jail sentence, although he is expected to appeal the decision. He took a board seat at Samsung last year in… Read More

Grab is investing $100M to shut Uber out of fast-growing Myanmar

 Grab is going all out to win the nascent ride-hailing market in Myanmar after it committed to investing $100 million into the Southeast Asian country over the next three years. Myanmar might just be the world’s most fascinating internet market. Internet access had been heavily restricted when the country was fully controlled by the military, but it opened up following the free elections… Read More

SoftBank pours $4.4B into WeWork

 WeWork just announced that it’s receiving a massive $4.4 billion investment from SoftBank Group and SoftBank Vision Fund. It’s been less than a month since WeWork announced $500 million in funding for a standalone WeWork China business, which SoftBank participated in. It’s also launching in Japan through a joint venture with SoftBank — so this funding deepens an… Read More

Baidu confirms sale of its food delivery business to rival Ele.me

 The online food ordering-and-delivery market, once very hot, appears to be cooling down a little in China. Today Baidu, the country’s search giant, announced an exit from the business: Baidu has sold its Xiaodu food delivery subsidiary (which operates under the Waimai brand) to Rajax, which operates Ele.me, China’s leading food delivery business that is valued at around $6 billion… Read More

India’s Supreme Court rules that privacy is a fundamental right for citizens

 India’s universal identification program — Aadhaar — suffered a setback today after the country’s Supreme Court voted unanimously in favor of individual privacy. Given the prevalence of data in today’s digital age, and the trend towards ‘smart living’ based on data, the ruling has the potential to be hugely impactful in India both now and in the… Read More

Business messaging service Eko picks up $2M to fuel push into Japan, US and UK

 Eko Communications, a U.S.-Thailand company that operates a messaging app targeted at businesses, has closed a strategic investment of $2 million to grow in Japan and expand into Europe and the U.S.. The funding was led by Japanese corporate Itoc...

Google expands its public Wi-Fi program for emerging markets to Indonesia

 Google is launching its public Wi-Fi program, which offers free connectivity at railway stations and other locations such as universities, in Indonesia, the company announced today. The Indonesia launch is the first expansion of ‘Google Station’ — as the program is called — since it debuted in India some 18 months ago. The project is quite simple, it offers a free way… Read More

Spotify launches in Thailand to continue its Asia push

 While talk of Spotify’s apparent upcoming IPO continues in the U.S., the music streaming service is furthering its coverage of Asia after it launched its service in Thailand. Spotify Premium, which counts over 60 million paying users, will cost 129 THB in Thailand. That’s just over $4 and in line with its pricing across Asia. Customers in the U.S. and UK will be aware that it… Read More

Auto giant Continental buys Singapore-based Quantum Inventions for $29M

 German automotive giant Continental is furthering its push into the future of transportation after it got its check book out to acquire Quantum Inventions, a Singapore-based company that specializes in mobility data services. The deal was announced in June with little fanfare and it is officially undisclosed, but a source told TechCrunch that it is around the SG$40 million mark —… Read More

Prisma shifts focus to b2b with an API for AI-powered mobile effects

 The startup behind the Prisma style transfer app is shifting focus onto the b2b space, building tools for developers that draw on its expertise using neural networks and deep learning technology to power visual effects on mobile devices. Read More

Messaging app Line adds livestreaming for group chats

 In the latest update to its messaging app, Line has added a livestreaming feature which can be used in group or multi-person chats of up to 200 people, called Chat Live. Read More