Chinese ecommerce and daily deals site Wowo (also known as 55tuan) is having a bit of a bumpy ride on its way to the US market. Wowo has been planning a US IPO for some time now, and was originally scheduled to list on the NASDAQ under the tag WOWO back in February. But that date came and went without an IPO. So did a subsequent date in March. Now, the company is reportedly scheduled for an April 1 IPO. But there are signs that might not come off either.
Philippine telecommunications giant Globe Telecom announced today it is injecting up to US$50 million into its incubator arm Kickstart Ventures, which will use the fresh capital to support high-potential startups. The amount the group dubs as “Fund 2” is possibly the largest commitment to early-stage startup investing coming out of a Philippine company, Globe claims. It will target startups expanding anywhere in the world with clear regional and global prospects.
Huawei is making more money than ever before, with a 33 percent increase in year-on-year profit from 2013, with smartphone sales driving these figures. The tech giant’s full-year net profit for 2014 rose to 27.9 billion yuan ($4.5 billion), up from 21 billion yuan in the previous year, citing better management of foreign exchange risks as well as borrowing costs as the factors contributing to the level of its success.
Quanta Computer has reported 2014 revenues of NT$926.32 billion (US$29.6 billion), up 5.2% from a year ago and EPS of NT$4.90, up from NT$4.84 in 2013. However, in the fourth quarter, despite a growth in gross margins from 4.5% in the third quarter to 4.57%, the company’s operating profit margins were only 1.26%, down from 1.49% of the third quarter because of expenses related to preparations for a new product, the company noted.
Enterprise IT spending in Southeast Asia will total $62 billion by 2018, with top spenders being Singapore and Malaysia. according to forecasts from Gartner, Inc. “Some might argue that given recent political, financial and climate challenges, Southeast Asia is a risky proposition,” said Venecia Liu, research VP at Gartner. “However, Gartner believes that Southeast Asia’s economic development and growing consumer demand mean that its growth potential outweighs the risk.”
Snapdeal today announced it acquired a majority stake in RupeePower, a financial products distribution platform. RupeePower will be integrated into Snapdeal’s newly launched financial services marketplace. Further terms of the deal were not disclosed. As a result, Snapdeal customers will now be able to apply for loans through the ecommerce site. RupeePower will use its credit comparison, matching, and processing tech and its network of banks and financial institutions to find the loans best suited for those customers.
Chinese cosmetics and skincare company Yu Jia Hui has raised an undisclosed funding round from Xiaomi founder Lei Jun and Shunwei Capital, according to iYiou. This is Lei Jun’s first investment in the cosmetics industry. Yu Jia Hui has four product lines, each under a different brand: facial masks, lotion, men’s facewash and skin care, and a Garfield cartoon-branded facial mask for kids. The company’s website states it developed its own patented skin care technology.
The back-and-forth between SmartNews and Gunosy, Japan’s premier news apps that are taking their domestic war global, added a new chapter today. Only a week after Gunosy filed for a US$263 million IPO, SmartNews tells Tech in Asia that it has nabbed a US$10 million bridge round at a pre-money valuation of US$320 million. The funding round features previous investors Gree, Globis Capital Partners, Atomico, Mixi, and Social Venture Partners. Since its founding in June 2012, SmartNews has publicly raised a touch over US$50 million.
Alibaba cloud subsidiary Aliyun announced Monday that more help is on the way for Chinese startups thanks to its new “Founder+” program. The program was created by Aliyun together with 30 venture capital firms including Zhenfund, IDG, and Innovation Works, as well as 20 research institutes and incubators and 20 marketing, distribution, and development firms. The collective effort will offer founders funding, office space (including office management resources and hardware), links with and guidance from investors, tax breaks, development units, and soft distribution and marketing services.
While the Indian IT firms are getting aggressive in buying smaller ticket size companies in the US, sources with direct knowledge share that one such candidate, Sierra-Cedar with HQ in Georgia, US is close to launching a sale process soon. Valuation expectation for a complete sale of Sierra-Cedar is pegged at around $350 million, a source said.
NewSat has been forced to halt trading on the Australian Stock Exchange as it continues to battle to have funding for its Jabiru-1 satellite project reinstated. The company revealed mid-last year that financing for the satellite project had been put on hold over “alleged technical or documentary breaches of financial facilities” related to the drawdown of its loan from Ever Tycoon.
Sinoze is most well known for mobile music game Thapster, which features Thai and international artists and has, it claims, about a million monthly active users. Today the company announced it has raised a US$750,000 round from InVent, the venture capitalist arm of Thailand’s largest telco Intouch. The funding will go towards international expansion through its second title Electhap, a music game aimed at the international market.
Huawei has expanded partnership with SAP and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with research institute Fraunhofer ESK. Both the agreements were recently made during CeBIT 2015. Huawei and SAP will deepen cooperation in Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. An expanded partnership with SAP aims towards establishing joint innovation efforts in Shenzhen, China and Walldorf, Germany.
MUMBAI: A group of investors led by Japanese mobile telecom firm SoftBank Corp is in talks to buy a 20 per cent stake in Indian handset maker Micromax Informatics for up to $1 billion, two people aware of the discussions said. The investment would value Micromax, an unlisted provider of affordable smartphones that competes with South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co, at around $5 billion, the people said. They did not want to be named because the talks aren’t public.
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taipei City’s Department of Labor (DOL, 勞動局) said yesterday that they will look into Yahoo Kimo (Yahoo奇摩) and China Television Company Ltd.’s (CTV, 中國電視事業股份) mass layoffs, which are estimated to lead to the loss of at least 100 positions. DOL chief Ye Chien-neng (葉建能) said they have yet to receive notice about CTV’s dismissal proposal, however, they plan to send officials to better understand the matter.
Just a week after Gumi confirmed that its South Korean operation was being investigated for alleged embezzlement, the embattled Japanese gaming company is bracing for layoffs. According to TechCrunch Japan, Gumi announced today that it will solicit “voluntary retirement” from 100 staff at both Gumi (Tokyo) and development center Gumi West (Fukuoka). The firm’s justification for the move is that the skill set of some employees no longer matches the company’s needs.
Chinese B2B e-commerce platform Hc360.com has reached a purchase deal with Zol.com.cn, an information technology vertical portal website in China, worth CNY1.5 billion. The acquisition deal covers several assets, including Zol.com.cn, Zol.com, and Ea3w.com. ZOL stands for Zhongguancun, which is the name for the area in Beijing rife with universities and technology companies. Zhongguancun is considered the Silicon Valley of China.
Big data may be used for credit checks for internet finance in China in the near future, reports our Chinese-language sister newspaper Want Daily. One correlation that has been thrown up already is that people who stay up late are more likely to be in debt, the paper said. At the session on internet finance during the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), an annual conference held in China’s Hainan province, several attendees said that behavioral data is being used more and more often as a gauge of credit security by e-commerce companies.
Philippine tech company Xurpas has announced yet another acquisition, this time of a mobile content provider in Indonesia, marking its first foray into the country. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), Xurpas said it bought 49 percent of PT Sembilan Digital Investama, parent of Ninelives Interactive, for US$245,000. The Indonesian companies are engaged in mobile content development and distribution, the same business as Xurpas’. They have existing contracts with top carriers such as Telkomsel, as well as XL Axiata and Indosat.
A recent survey by domestic job search site Kanzhun has shed some light on the average salaries of professionals in China’s biggest cities. For each city, the study shows the top three highest-paying industries based on monthly salary. In Beijing, IT and internet professionals take the top spot. That category consists of web developers, software engineers, and everything in between. They make a median RMB 9,420 (US$1,515) per month. By comparison, the median salary for a web developer in America is US$4,473, according to compensation information firmPayScale. In San Francisco specifically, the monthly wage jumps to US$6,393.