Today’s top tech news, July 20: SoftBank aims for SenseTime, Google develops Android successor

Anisa Menur
Today’s top tech news, July 20: SoftBank aims for SenseTime, Google develops Android successor

Facebook has to delay Whatsapp Pay launch in India, while Alibaba invests in sports retail and media

SoftBank seeks investment in SenseTime – South China Morning Post

SoftBank Vision Fund and Chinese AI company SenseTime are in talks for an almost US$1 billion funding round, anonymous sources told South China Morning Post.

The companies are still finalising terms of the deal, with a possibility for the details to change.

Established in the Hong Kong Science Park, SenseTime is the company that builds the system to analyse faces and images “on a huge scale.” It contributes to China’s “vast” surveillance system.

It has raised more than US$1.2 billion in two funding rounds this year.

Google quietly develops Android successor – Bloomberg

Bloomberg reported that a “small and stealthy” group of engineers within Google for the past two years has been working on a new software that is expected to replace Android.

Developed under the title Fuchsia Project, the new software was crated with the aim to “overcome the limitations of Android as more personal devices and other gadgets come online.”

“It’s being designed to better accommodate voice interactions and frequent security updates and to look the same across a range of devices, from laptops to tiny internet-connected sensors,” the report explained.

According to anonymous sources, the team also aimed to create a single OS that is capable of running the company’s in-house gadgets such as Pixel phones and smart speakers, as well as third party devices that have been relying on Android and Chrome OS.

Also Read: Today’s top tech news, July 19: SoftBank’s Son says Japan is ‘stupid’ for not allowing ride-sharing

Facebook faces delay in WhatsApp Pay’s India launch – Bloomberg

The Indian government through the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) is holding up Facebook’s plan to launch WhatsApp Pay in the country following concerns over issues, including users’ data storage, anonymous sources told Bloomberg.

MEITY has requested WhatsApp and partner banks to supply more details about the payments system; it has also requested confirmation from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) about the service’s compliance with requirements.

“We are working closely with the Indian government, NPCI, and multiple banks including our payment service providers to expand the feature to more people,” said WhatsApp spokesperson Anne Yeh. She declined to elaborate further on the timeline for the country-wide launch.

Alibaba, Goldman Sachs co-lead US$600M funding round for Suning Sports – China Money Network

Suning Holdings Group’s sports business unit Suning Sports announced that it has raised a Series A funding round co-led by Alibaba Group and Goldman Sachs, China Money Network reported.

Chinese property developer Evergrande Group, Yunfeng Capital, Chinese AI company Sensetime, Sports Industrial Fund of Zhejiang Province and Jiangsu Province, as well as overseas subsidiaries of Chinese banks CCB International, Minsheng Bank International and ABC International also participated in the funding round.

According to local media reports, the funding round was worth US$600 million and valued the company over RMB10 billion (US$1.5 billion).

Acting as a strategic investor, Alibaba’s partnership with Suning began when the two companies form an alliance to build an O2O e-commerce platform in 2015.

Suning’s business lines include club operation management, sports media operation, youth training, sports copyright operation, sports commercial operation, and sports real estate development.

Image Credit: Cody Davis on Unsplash

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