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Daily Briefing

In Brief

Oct 5, 2018 by The Passage Team
In Brief

China's US investments down by 92%

Source: SCMP

Chinese investments in the US plummeted 92 per cent in the first nine months of 2018 compared to its peak two years ago due to the escalating trade war between the two countries. Washington’s intensified scrutiny of tech investments also significantly dampened deal-making activity, business news portal Mergermarket said on October 3.

Chinese M&A in the US reached USD 2.67 billion for the first three quarters of this year compared to the all-time high of USD 34.4 billion during the corresponding period in 2016. It also reflected a year-on-year drop of 55 per cent from USD 5.9 billion achieved in 2017.

Domestic M&As surged to a record high for the first nine months of 2018, reaching USD 1.67 trillion in value, up 31 per cent year on year. Cross-border deals, meanwhile, saw their share of global M&As shrink to 38.6 per cent, 4 percentage points lower than the same period last year.

Ctrip partners with Splyt, clashes with Didi

Source: SCMP

Shanghai-based Ctrip, China’s largest online travel services provider, will allow users to book a ride on its app as they travel across the world through a partnership with London-based ride-hailing marketplace Splyt, a move that pits it against Chinese car-hailing giant Didi Chuxing in overseas markets.

Ctrip will be able to access local ride services in over 1,000 cities in 50 countries without the need to download a new app. Users can also pay on Ctrip using their local currency, Splyt said last week. Splyt does not operate its own ride-hailing service but integrates on-demand transport platforms in different destinations, such as Dubai-based Careem in the Middle East and Madrid’s Cabify in Europe and Latin America.

The global ride-railing feature is available on Ctrip now and will be added to Trip.com, its overseas brand, later this year. Ctrip entered the domestic ride-hailing market earlier this year after it was granted a licence to offer web-enabled ride services in China.

Blume Venture gets $40 mn

Source: The Economic Times

Early-stage venture capital firm Blume Ventures has raised USD 40 million from investors from India, US, Japan and Asia along with some existing limited partners who have invested in the firm’s previous funds.

With this funding, Blume Ventures has reached half of the total fund corpus of USD 80 million. The venture capital firm’s fund III has commitments for another USD 20 million from both new and existing investors and is looking to complete the entire fundraise over the next few months.

Blume is looking to write invest between USD 5,00,000- USD 1.25 million in 30-35 companies over the next three years across domestic-heavy sectors such as healthcare, financial services, travel, commerce and brands, jobs and education and digital media & entertainment, and innovation-driven software tech. Blume's portfolio companies are Grey Orange, Unacademy, HealthifyMe, Purplle, Railyatri, Turtlemint and Dunzo.

Droom raises Series E funding of $30 mn

Source: The Economic Times

Automobile marketplace and auto services startup Droom has raised Series E funding of USD 30 million. The round was led by the family office of Joe Hirao, founder of ZigExN, the Tokyo-headquartered company that owns and operates a number of content-focused websites, ranging from job information to real estate insights.

The company will use the fresh funds to further ramp up Droom Credit, its fintech product launched last year. Droom Credit provides auto financing to both dealers and buyers in the used car and bike segment.

The development comes about four months after Toyota Motor Corp, the world’s largest auto-maker, made its maiden India investment, leading a USD 30 million equity financing round in Droom. That round was co-led by Droom's existing backer, Digital Garage, in May. Droom is also expected to enter the Malaysian and Thai markets by the end of this year.

Amazon Pay gets Rs 590 crore infusion

Source: The Economic Times

Amazon, the US e-commerce giant has infused Rs 590 crore in its payments arm Amazon Pay, which is expected to offer large cashbacks to customers during the upcoming festive sales in India. Amazon Pay also has plans to start selling insurance in India. The latest infusion came from Singapore-based Amazon Corporate Holdings and US parent Amazon.com Inc.

This comes two months after Amazon put in Rs 230 crore into Amazon Pay. The company had pumped in an additional Rs 195 crore into the business in March. Amazon has now invested nearly Rs 1,600 crore into its payment business in India since 2016.

The company battles with Paytm and Flipkart's PhonePe in India.

Amazon Delhi fulfilment centre sealed

Source: The Economic Times

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation has sealed a building at Vasant Kunj, a neighbourhood in India's capital city that housed a large Amazon delivery centre citing illegal constructions. The move comes as a major blow to the e-commerce firm in the key National Capital Region market ahead of the festive season.

Amazon said it was a leased facility and it did not own it. “Customers whose deliveries were impacted have been informed, and have been offered a refund or replacement for their order,” an Amazon India spokesperson said in an email.

Two people in the know of the matter said the landlord had undertaken additional construction in the building where Amazon occupied one of the floors. Amazon is planning to appeal to the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) Appellate Tribunal to see if the company can take the inventory out of the centre, one of the people said. ** Singapore companies on global acquisition spree**

Source: The Daily Star

A host of Singaporean companies, ranging from real estate to engineering, are boldly hunting for acquisitions abroad.

Till September this year, companies in the city-state announced around USD 91 billion of overseas deals, more than double of the USD 41.9 billion worth of transactions seen in the same period in 2017, Bloomberg says.

While Temasek Holdings Pte and GIC Pte still loom large, increasingly others are inking their biggest-ever transactions to put Singapore on the world stage. The flurry of activity shows a new determination by local firms to adopt a more aggressive stance amid an escalating trade war between China—one of Singapore’s closest neighbours—and the U.S.

Philippines fintech firm raises $26 mn

Source: Deal Street Asia

First Circle, a Philippines-based fintech startup has raised USD 26 million in its Series A funding round led by Indonesia-based venture capital firm Venturra Capital. It saw the participation from Insignia Ventures Partners, Silverhorn Investment Advisors, and tryb Group in the funding round.

The two-year-old startup that operates a lending platform for SMEs will use the funds to enable its nationwide branch-out as well as expand in other Southeast Asian markets. Although Patrick Lynch, co-founder and CEO of First Circle did not disclose the post-funding valuation of the company, he said he is looking to increase First Circle’s capital base to over USD 100 million next year to keep up with soaring demand in the region.

“The funding will be used to cement our market-leading position in the Philippines and to invest in providing our customers with an ever-improved product. We also see this as a regional opportunity, with Indonesia and Thailand as two most interesting markets,” Lynch said.

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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