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Daily Briefing

In Brief

Sep 21, 2018 by The Passage Team
In Brief

NTUC Enterprise to buy Kopitiam by year-end Source: Channel News Asia

NTUC Enterprise is set to acquire home-grown food court operator Kopitiam Investment and its subsidiaries by the end of the year, the two parties announced at a joint press release on September 21. The deal will bring Kopitiam's 80 outlets islandwide, including the Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, under the NTUC umbrella.

NTUC Foodfare and Kopitiam will continue to operate as separate entities, with their respective management teams and workers, after the deal is completed. Kopitiam will also retain its name.

NTUC Enterprise oversees NTUC Foodfare, which operates 33 food establishments with the promise of "serving working people and their families by stabilising cooked food prices and helping them improve their quality of life", according to its website. They also provide budget meals for lower-wage workers starting from S$2 at coffee shops and S$2.80 at selected hawker centres.

Meituan buys Mobike ** **for $ 2.7 billion Source: SMP

Meituan-Dianping, China’s largest on-demand provider of services has acquired Mobike, the country’s biggest bicycle-sharing firm.

The acquisition was confirmed on Wednesday in a joint statement. Mobike will operate as an independent entity and brand after the takeover. The deal comes amid the further consolidation of the bicycle-sharing industry in China and Meituan’s ramped up efforts to expand into the country’s transportation-on-demand sector.

“Mobike will help Meituan customers to go to restaurants, go back home and travel around, becoming the best connection in forming a closed-loop shopping experience,” Wang said in an internal employee memo later published on Meituan’s WeChat account. Hu Weiwei, a co-founder of Mobike, said in a WeChat post that “it is a new beginning” and that there’s “huge space for imagination” to work with Meituan.

Alibaba partners with Bosch, Volvo, Ford Source: Alizila

Alibaba on Thursday announced three mobility-related partnerships that will shortly bring self-parking vehicle systems, upgraded car-to-home artificial intelligence services and new AliOS-equipped automobiles to market.

Alibaba is seeking driverless parking solution with Germany’s Robert Bosch GmbH, and to begin offering Car-to-Home AI services along with Gothenburg, Sweden-based Volvo Cars. It also unveiled its latest model of tthe aliasequipped Internet car with U.S. carmaker Ford. The announcements came during Alibaba’s Cloud Computing Conference 2018 in Hangzhou.

BAT wiped off $168 billion collective valuation Source: cnbc Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent — the BATs — saw a collective $168 billion wiped off their valuation. Alibaba shares are down over 11 percent year-to-date, Tencent has plunged 22.4 percent, while Baidu is off more than 6 percent.

In comparison, the FANGs — Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet — have outperformed the BATs. Amazon is up over 64 percent year-to-date and Netflix has surged more than 91 percent. Alphabet is also higher.

The China-U.S. trade war, concerns over valuation and a regulatory crackdown from Beijing have hit the BATs hard.


Vietnam bank bats for home solar power

Source: Vietnam News

The Bank for the Investment and Development of Việt Nam (BIDV), the BIDV Insurance Corporation (BIC) and Bách Khoa Energy Corporation (SolarBK) on September 20 signed a cooperation agreement to guarantee financial support for household rooftop solar power project in Vietnam.

The project, known as BigKilowat (BigK), will support the development of clean energy by offering monetary support for customers who want to install rooftop solar panels. BIDV will provide 70 per cent of the total cost for households to install solar electricity systems, with the goal of sponsoring 277,000 home installations in Vietnam by the end of 2019. Nguyễn Ngọc Quỳnh, the director of SolarBK’s marketing department, said 748 solar power systems have been installed on roofs across the country since July, including 327 in HCM City.

She said BigK will make it much more convenient for residents and homeowners to turn their rooftops into part of the green energy solution, letting them save on electricity while also supplying power to the country’s grid.


Lending platform Qbera raises USD 3 Million

Source: VCCircle

Bengaluru-based Qbera, an online platform for personal loans, has raised USD 3 million from E-City Ventures, the cinema exhibition and retail real estate arm of Essel Group. Qbera will use the capital for geographical expansion and to improve its technology.

Qbera is the second fintech startup E-City has backed, the first one being student loan lending company KrazyBee. Qbera claims to have processed more than 2 lakh applications and disbursed Rs 50 crore in loans. It aims to extend loans worth Rs 400 crore by the end of 2019-20.

Qbera, under the banner of Ant Creditex Technologies Pvt. Ltd, offers loans ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 25 lakh to salaried consumers. The company was founded by Aditya Kumar and Anubhav Jain in 2015 in Bangalore, is currently operational in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Delhi.

Social media emerges as marketplace in Asia: Paypal Source: Live Mint

A study by online payments company, Paypal, says that Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp have metamorphosed into digital marketplaces as 79 per cent merchants are using social commerce to access a large consumer base. The most-used social networks for online commerce are Facebook (89%), WhatsApp (43%) and Instagram (41%) mentioned the report titled report titled ‘Beyond Networking: Social Commerce as a Driver of Digital Payments’.

Among all Asian markets, excluding China, India has emerged at the top in usage of YouTube (64%), Twitter (61%), Google+ (50%), Skype (53%) and LinkedIn (33%) for the sale of goods and services, stated the report. It also mentioned that over 96 percent merchants attribute growth of business to social commerce and that the use of social networks has improved their financial condition.

Social commerce offers products and services across categories like groceries, insurance, fashion and electronics. About 52% the total consumer demand on social networks is commanded by cosmetics, followed groceries (44%). The report highlighted that it is also fuelling the adoption of digital payments and that social commerce is becoming a mainstream retail channel on the back of easy online payments.

Paytm concerned about Google Pay’s privacy policy Source: YourStory

Indian payments major Paytm on Thursday filed a notice to the Indian retail payments organisation National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) regarding Google Pay’s privacy policy. It highlighted that Google, "collects, stores, uses and discloses Indian users' personal data for advertising and promotional purposes" with not just its "group of companies" but also with unnamed "third parties".

Paytm said, “Google Pay, which is unregulated payments platform, has the scope of using their customers' data for their monetary gains with complete disregard of the user’s need for privacy. The critical payments data collected by them is being disclosed with advertisers and third parties.”

The notice was addressed to Dilip Asbe, Managing Director and CEO of NPCI. Paytm has stated this against the backdrop of India drafting its personal data protection bill. With the RBI’s deadline for transferring data to local servers (October 15), approaching, Google has sought for extension till December to comply with the directive.

The Passage Team

The Passage is committed to creating in-depth content over technology industry across Asia with a focus on emerging startups in the technology, healthcare, education, food, tech, travel & mobility segments.

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