Today’s top tech news: December 18

Yon Heong Tung
Today’s top tech news: December 18

Today’s news roundup is focused on Chinese companies

Chinese news

Tencent and JD.com to invest in Vipshop [GlobeNewswire]

Two global Chinese tech giants Tencent and JD.com will invest US$863 million together in online discount retailer Vipshop.

Tencent and JD.com will subscribe for newly-issued Class A ordinary shares of Vipshop in the amount of approximately US$604 million and approximately US$259 million, respectively.

Upon completing the transaction, Tencent and JD.com will then own 7 per cent and 5.5 per cent of Vipshop’s total issue shares, respectively.

Additonally, Vipshop will be integrated into Tencent’s e-wallet Weixin Wallet and JD.com’s platform.

“The strength of Vipshop’s flash sale and apparel businesses, as well as its outstanding management team, create clear and strong synergies with us,” said Richard Liu, Chairman and CEO of JD.com.

“We already see substantial demand from our users to discover, discuss and purchase branded apparel in our applications, and we believe that connecting our users more deeply to products on Vipshop’s platform will enrich their online experiences while benefiting Vipshop,” said Martin Lau, President of Tencent Holdings.

Hong Kong property developer’s incubator launches VC fund [press release]

Mills Fabrica, the incubator of Hong Kong property developer Nan Fung Group, has announced the launch of a new VC fund.

Called Fabrica Fund, it will fund local as well as global startups — with a Hong Kong connection) — and will focus on digital retail platforms, smart production and supply chain businesses, and wearable tech developers.

Fabrica will target early stage investments from seed to Series B with ticket sizes ranaging from US$100,000 to US$2 million.

To date, Mills Fabrica has incubated eight startups.

Tencent acquires large stake in Chinese supermarket chain Yonghui Superstores [Bloomberg]

Tencent is set to purchase a US$638 million stake in Yonghui Superstores Co, a Chinese supermarket with 580 stores across China.

The purchase translates to a 5 per cent stake in the company at 8.81 yuan (US$1.33) per piece from existing shareholders.

Prior to Tencent, another Chinese tech giant JD.com made a US$700 million purchase in the company back in 2015 for a 10 per cent stake.

Tencent’s new investment will likely increase competition between tech companies in the physical retail space. In November, Alibaba made a US$2.88 billion purchase in Sun Art, a leading Chinese multi-format offline food retailer.

Chinese electric carmaker NIO’s first model goes on sale [Bloomberg]

After its founding three years ago, Chinese electric car-maker NIO has released its first electric car model to the market.

The NIO ES8 sports utility vehicle — a seven-seater car — retails for 448,000 yuan (US$67,783) and can run for 500 kilometres on a single charge. It can accelerate to 100 kilometres in 4.4 seconds.

ES8 owners can swap batteries at power-swap stations or call for a “Power Mobile” service vehicle to recharge the cars.

NIO has received over US$1 billion from investors led by Tencent.

Southeast Asian news

FinAccel announces hire of new VP of Data Science and Chief Product Officer [press release]

Singapore-based credit risk and consumer lending startup startup FinAccel has announched the new appointment of two new key hires, Honey Mittal as Chief Product Officer and Syafri Bahar as Vice President of Data Science.

Mittal was previously Senior Vice President of Product at travel deals platform wego.com. Bahar was previously the lead quant at Rabobank International in the Netherlands, where he was responsible for credit risk modelling frameworks for both banking and credit portfolios.

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Mittal and Bahar will help to strengthen the development and market position of FinAccel’s flagship product Kredivo, which enables ecommerce buyers to apply and qualify for instant credit and pay back over time.

Currently, FinAccel’s market focus is on Indonesia. It claims the default rate on its credit/lending side are below 5 per cent.

“Indonesia is going through a digital revolution and with the under-penetration of credit in the economy, FinAccel is leading the charge when it comes to building hi-quality and impactful digital products such as Kredivo,” said Mittal and Bahar, in a joint statement.

Property software developer IFCA MSC Berhad to launch US$2.4 million accelerator [e27]

IFCA MSC Berhad, a software company catering to property developers and property managers, has collaborated with Google Cloud to launch a RM10 million (US$2.4 million) accelerator programme for property-tech startups in Malaysia.

Christened IFCA Accelerator Programme, it aims to nurture and develop local proptech companies by providing fundraising, business networking and mentorship.

In its first stage, the programme will identify 10 companies and nurture them to achieve global scale. The shortlisted companies will be able to work with IFCA MSC’s experts to fine-tune their solutions and develop new proptech solutions that will disrupt the real-estate industry.

 

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