SoftBank eyeing stake in Micromax: Report

IndiaMUMBAI: A group of investors led by Japanese mobile telecom firm SoftBank Corp is in talks to buy a 20% 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.

Infosys mulls Rs 750-crore investment in startups in Silicon Valley, Israel & India

IndiaBENGALURU: Infosys plans to allocate a quarter of its $500-million (about Rs 3,000 crore) fund to invest in startups in Silicon Valley, Israel and India along with venture capital firms. India’s second-largest software services exporter has had discussions with about two dozen VC firms, including Andreessen Horowitz, for such investments, two people familiar with Infosys’ strategy said, requesting anonymity. “There are no formal agreements with any particular VCs. The strategy is to back startups and entrepreneurs with ideas that align with the company,” one of them said. “The idea is not just to be a passive financial investor but take disruptive solutions to customers.”

BSNL undertakes Rs 1,000 cr investment plan

IndiaChennai, Mar 20 (PTI) State-owned BSNL has undertaken a Rs 1,000 crore investment plan which include launch of Skype facility and setting up of Wi-Fi hotspots at tourist places, a top official said today. “We have taken several measures. Only last week we began migration of landline customers to next generation service facility. It will provide lot of services to customers. Second, we are experimenting with BSNL Skype. For the Wi-Fi hotspots, 14 centres in tourist places in South zone have been identified,” BSNL Director N K Gupta said.

Say hello to iMario: Nintendo goes mobile as it buys 10% stake in DeNA

JapanNintendo is finally getting smart. In Tokyo today, the company announced that it is entering into a partnership with DeNA, the Japanese tech giant which rose to prominence on the strength of its smartphone games.  During the press conference Iwata and Moriyasu revealed that this deal had been in the works since last summer. With the partnership announced, they confirmed that consumers can expect games to appear by the end of this year.

Telcos may face funding blues

IndiaMUMBAI: As telecom operators bid aggressively to retain existing airwaves and total bids crossed Rs 1.03 lakh crore on Monday, leading domestic lenders are getting worried, expressing reservations about their ability to disburse loans to the sector.  “We will be extremely cautious about lending to the sector,” said Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairperson of State Bank of India.

REPORT: Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is investing $200 million in Snapchat at $15 billion valuation

China.gifChinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plans to invest $200 million in Snapchat at $15 billion valuation, sources tell Bloomberg. This funding would be in addition to, not part of, the $500 million funding round Snapchat was reportedly in talks about last month, sources tell Bloomberg’s Serena Saitto. That round had Snapchat valued at $19 billion, instead of $15 billion.  This isn’t the first time Alibaba’s name has come up in funding talks. Saitto reported that the two companies were in discussions about a round at a $10 billion valuation back in July.

Snapdeal drums up custom in Slumdog’s Dharavi

IndiaFor viewers of Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire”, Mumbai’s vast Dharavi slum is a byword for poverty, but to online retailer it is a battleground for new customers and, it hopes, a source of better margins.  The company’s aspirations are backed up by serious investment from the likes of Japan’s Softbank Corp, which ploughed $627 million into Snapdeal last October, and could soon get a boost from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, which is in talks for another cash investment, a source told Reuters on Wednesday.

Alibaba invests $200M in Snapchat

China.gifAlibaba’s spending spree continues! The Chinese ecommerce behemoth has just given American chat startup Snapchat a US$200 million cash infusion, a source familiar with the deal told Tech in Asia. This latest investment values the American company at around US$15 billion. Neither company has officially announced the investment yet.

Nanya to pour NT$40 billion into technology transition

TaiwanDRAM chipmaker Nanya Technology plans to invest a total of NT$40 billion (US$1.3 billion) to transition its production to a 20nm process node, according to company president Charles Kau. The investment will be made over a period of 2-3 years, said Kau. Nanya will initially have half of its overall production capacity enter 20nm production, Kau noted. Nanya currently runs a 12-inch wafer fab capable of producing 60,000 units a month.

Amazon plans to invest Rs 1,155 crore to build its presence in India

IndiaMUMBAI: Amazon plans to invest Rs 1,155 crore to build its presence in India, a move that comes barely three months after the American e-commerce company raised Rs 610 crore, indicating the need to have deep pockets to survive intensifying competition in a market that has been driven largely by massive discounts.  In a filing with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) last week, the company said that it is raising the money through a rights issue to its parent.

Snapdeal, Alibaba in talks for $1 billion funding: Sources

IndiaSHANGHAI/MUMBAI: Alibaba is in talks with Indian online marketplace Snapdeal over a potential cash investment, a source familiar with the negotiations said, in what would be the Chinese e-commerce giant’s first direct investment in India.  Snapdeal competes in India with bigger rivals and, and media reports have said it is seeking $1 billion in its latest funding round to fuel growth.  In October last year, Snapdeal secured a $627 million investment from Japan’s Softbank, itself an early backer of Alibaba.

Japan’s P2P lending platform Crowdcredit raises $1.7 million from trading giant Itochu

JapanAs Nikkei reported last week, Tokyo-based Crowdcredit, a startup behind a peer-to-peer lending platform focused on financing emerging markets under the same name, officially announced on Monday that it has fundraised 200 million yen ($1.7 million) from Japanese trading house Itochu. According to the Nikkei article, Itochu has taken an 18% stake in the lending company, so the latter’s market cap is valued at over 1 billion yen ($8.4 million).

Alibaba buys US$383 mln stake in TV programme producer Beijing Enlight

ChinaSHANGHAI: Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has invested 2.4 billion yuan (US$382.67 million) in TV programme producer Beijing Enlight Media Co Ltd , Beijing Enlight said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday. The move follows investments by Alibaba worth more than US$3.1 billion in the entertainment industry last year as the company aggressively expands into film and entertainment content.

Alibaba to set up venture capital fund in Taiwan

TaiwanChina-based Alibaba Group has said it plans to set up a NT$10 billion (US$319 million) non-profit venture capital fund in Taiwan to finance local young entrepreneurs to build up a business on its e-commerce system. The funding also aims to assist local youths develop and market related products and services to China via Alibaba, the Internet service company said in a statement.

Indonesian jobs site Qerja raises series A from SoftBank Indosat fund

IndonesiaToday, Indonesian jobs information site Qerja announced that after just eight months in operation, the company has secured a series A funding round from the SB ISAT Fund, a collaboration between SoftBank and Indosat. The amount of the round was not disclosed, but Qerja is calling it “one of the highest Series A valuations of any Southeast Asian startup.” The round, it says, puts Qerja at an eight digit valuation. Previously, Qerja was supported by a seed round raised from Mountain Kejora Ventures (formerly known as Mountain SEA Ventures).

Mediatek announces $300M venture fund for investing in startups

TaiwanTaiwan-based chipset maker Mediatek has announced it will open up a US$300 million venture fund for investing in startups across the globe. The fund will be part of a new investment arm known as Mediatek Ventures, and will target the internet of things, internet infrastructure and services, and semiconductor systems and devices. A company spokesperson tells Tech in Asia that the branch’s core team will be based in Taiwan, but will “have presences around the globe.”

The land of the rising startups: how India is luring Japanese investors

JapanIndia’s startups have been mostly looking West for investment cash, but this is changing. Last year was an inflection point when Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank, visited India and announced plans to pump US$10 billion into India’s “information revolution.” Two-thirds of the first billion from SoftBank went to Snapdeal, to help it compete with ecommerce leaders Flipkart and Amazon. And nearly a quarter of a billion went to taxi app Ola to take on Uber.

Zendesk opens Asia head office in Singapore

SingaporeSINGAPORE: As e-commerce continues to grow in the Asia-Pacific region, so too are the efforts of online merchants. In a bid to gain an edge over the competition, online vendors are providing new ways to connect with their customers in real time through services such as online chats. Seeking to capitalise on that, United States-based customer service software company Zendesk – which last year acquired Singapore live-chat start-up Zopim for US$29.8 million (S$40.2 million) – on Thursday (Feb 26) opened its Asia-Pacific headquarters on Commonwealth Drive.

After CapitalFloat, now Aye Finance bags funding to provide loans to startups in India

IndiaThough startups in India raised nearly US$5 billion from venture capital funds and angel investors last year, a large number of young companies still find it tough to access capital, especially if they don’t want to share equity with VCs. Banks tie them up in red tape, informal moneylenders demand too much for too little, and microfinance companies have far too little to offer these entrepreneurs. Indian lenderAye Finance, which aims to mitigate this problem, has just bagged US$1 million in funding from SAIF Partners and Accion.

Singapore govt pushes venture debt financing for startups, M&As, skills education

SingaporeSingapore has announced new measures to invest in innovation and modernize its economy. Finance minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam mentioned in his Budget speech on February 23 that the government has added “advanced robotics” and “additive manufacturing” – 3D printing in other words – to a list of areas Singapore should be a leader in. To support its ambition, it is starting a SkillsFuture program that will finance every Singaporean’s pursuit of new skills.