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Daily Briefing

In Brief

Oct 5, 2018 by The Passage Team
In Brief

China to expand digital economy, create more jobs

Source: Reuters

China’s state planner on Wednesday called for further advancement in the country’s $3.8 trillion digital economy saying sectors such as big data and artificial intelligence (AI) will become drivers of job creation.

China will make further inroads into areas such as the internet of things, big data, cloud computing and AI, and create more high-end jobs, and actively attract foreign talent to promote the innovation of its digital economy.

Earlier this month, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) signed an agreement with China Development Bank (CDB) to offer CNY 100 billion (USD 14.55 billion) in financial support for the digital push.

WeChat updates worry subscription content creators

Source: Technode

Tencent announced its new version for iOS WeChat on September 25. The updates have introduced more challenges for subscription accounts content creators.

WeChat’s 6.7.3 version allows users to record their own facial expressions as a gif which can be edited. It will also allow moving to the next text line when typing by long-pressing the text being edited, as highlighted in the App Store.

At the same time, WeChat added a “Frequently Read” content row displaying users’ most popular content subscription accounts. The update is expected to further marginalize accounts with declining readership and those hoping to attract readers with eye-catching images. This appears as a further step towards the news feed model of Jinri Toutiao, China’s leading Chinese news platform operated by ByteDance.

Lenovo ties up with NetApp

Source: China Money Network

Chinese technology company Lenovo Group Ltd. announced the establishment of a joint venture in China with California-based hybrid cloud data services company NetApp, Inc. to deliver storage products and data management solutions for the country’s customers.

The joint venture’s products will be localized and tailor-made to meet China’s specialized requirements and distinct cloud ecosystem, said Yang Yuanqing, chairman and chief executive officer of Lenovo, at Lenovo Tech World 2018 on September 26.

The products will combine NetApp’s all-flash data management solutions with Lenovo’s ThinkSystem infrastructure, which refers to hybrid storage arrays powered with advanced technologies including cloud, artificial intelligence, among others. The new company is expected to be operational in the spring of 2019.

91mobiles acquires majority stake in Pricebaba

Source: Your Story

Smartphone e-commerce platform 91mobiles announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Pricebaba an electronic e-commerce site.

Pricebaba investors, including California-based 500 Startups, will exit the venture as a part of this deal and the co-founder Annkur P Agarwal will move to an advisory role. 91mobiles will invest USD 500,000 in upgrading the Pricebaba platform to deliver content in over 10 local languages, including text, video, and bandwidth-friendly audio content.

With this, 91Digital Web Pvt Ltd, the parent company of 91mobiles, now operates three websites in the gadgets vertical –,, and The company claims that this makes a combined reach of 30 million visits per month.

Meat delivery Licious raises $25 mn

Source: Inc42

Three-year-old meat delivery startup Licious has raised USD 25 million in its Series C round of funding led by Bertelsmann India Investments, Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, along with UCLA. The funding also saw participation from its existing investors including Mayfield India, 3one4 Capital, Sistema Asia Fund and InnoVen Capital.

Bangalore-based Licious said the newly raised funds will be used to expand to new markets, fostering the value-added product category, and strengthening its supply chain. It had recently announced its plans to enter the Mumbai and Pune market by the end of this year.

“With investors existing and new sharing our conviction in building an ecosystem which challenges the status quo, we are extremely bullish about our plans going ahead. These funds will greatly aid us in deepening and widening our market presence and enable us to offer new products and services our customers will love,” said Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta, co-founders, Licious.

Goals101 raises $3.5 mn from Nexus Venture Partners

Source: Your Story

Big Data analytics startup Goals101 announced it had raised Pre-Series A funding of USD 3.5 million from global venture capital firm Nexus Venture Partners.

With this round, Nexus becomes a significant minority stakeholder in Goals101. The funds will be used to strengthen its technology and data science capabilities and for geographical expansion in the middle east.

Started in 2016 Goals101 provides analytics, and leverages tools like Artifical Intelligence to offer complete solutions for its clients through its ‘Alpha Platform’. The platform focusses on sectors like banking, credit, consulting, and brand marketing, among others.

Flipkart acquires Israeli startup

Source: Live Mint

Flipkart has acquired an Israel-based analytics startup called Upstream Commerce. The latest buyout will enable Flipkart to have an outpost in Israel, which is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost start-up ecosystems.

This is Flipkart’s second acquisition in as many months after the Walmart-controlled e-commerce firm acquired Indian artificial intelligence start-up in August.

With Upstream Commerce, the online retailer looks to support its seller base with services such as real-time pricing and information on product assortment. The finances of the deal have not been disclosed.

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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