Times of India — In March, Ola’s largest investor, Soft-Bank, declared that the cab aggregator controlled 85% of India’s taxi market. Uber India chief executive Amit Jain told ET that Uber is as big as Ola in India in terms of completed trips. Their battle can only get more intense. Jain, in an interview, said the San Francisco-based Uber, which last week raised $3.5 billion (about Rs 23,000 crore) from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, will continue to invest in India to increase its pool of drivers, improve technology, and add categories such as bike taxis. Edited excerpts:
China Tech News — During the late Steve Jobs’ entire tenure as chief of Apple, he never visited China. But now the company is hoping it’s not too late to the invest resources into country Jobs ignored. Chinese ride-hailing app Didi announced an important part of its latest round financing and said that Apple will invest USD1 billion in the company. This is reportedly the largest single investment received by Didi. With this investment, Apple will become a strategic investor of Didi.
News Straits Times — KUALA LUMPUR: A unit of German multinational software corporation SAP SE, Concur Technologies Inc (Concur), has collaborated with AirAsia to implement an integrated travel and expense solution for the local carrier’s subsidiary, AirAsia Global Shared Services. In a statement today, SAP said the solution provides business process outsourcing services to AirAsia Group’s 17,000 employees and is expected to be completed by early July this year.
Tech in Asia — On-demand logistics startup GogoVan raised a series C funding round, it announced today. The funding amount is undisclosed, but is described as “a decent amount for future business expansion.” The round was led by private equity firm New Horizon Capital and was joined by Singapore Press Holdings, Hotung Investment Holdings, and existing investors. Alibaba’s new US$130 million Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund also participated.
Forbes — In the 12 hours since Apple’s announced investment in Uber’s main Chinese rival, commentators have struggled to figure out why. Could $1 billion for Didi Chuxing show that Apple’s car-building efforts are further along than expected? Unlikely. Could the large investment be to integrate the computer maker’s new services, like Apple Music, Apple Maps, and Apple Pay into China?
IT News — Qantas expects to complete the massive shift of its core qantas.com website to the public cloud at the end of this year, following a multi-year effort that has seen the airline rework its approach to the migration. In 2014, Qantas began exploring the possibility of shifting to a public cloud platform for qantas.com to better manage the million-odd bookings the website receives every day.
Tech in Asia — Till now, if you were an Uber user in India who wanted to hail a cab anywhere outside the country, you would have had to mandatorily register a credit card on your account. But most Indian internet users don’t have a credit card. India, with its over 350 million internet users, has just 21 million credit card users. But today onwards, Paytm wallet users can hail an Uber cab and pay with the online wallet at any of the 400-odd cities Uber runs in. Paytm has tied up with Uber for this.
Tech in Asia — Remember the day Indonesia’s capital was practically held hostage by out-of-control taxi drivers? A violent street protest on March 22 in Jakarta was the climax of a series of demonstrations staged by Indonesia’s taxi industry in an attempt to get apps like Uber and Grab banned.
Tech in Asia — As Ashuvinder Ahuja says, epiphanies happen at very strange times. He got his in the middle of scorching Delhi heat, and it involved watching his wife wait for a school bus. “I was working from home, and I could see my wife waiting outside,” the George Mason alum told Tech in Asia. He has previously worked for user engagement company WebEngage and data protection software company Druva.
Times of India — BHUBANESWAR: After Mumbai Central, RailTel, the telecom arm of the Indian Railways today launched high-speed public free WiFi service at Bhubaneswar railway station in partnership with Google. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu accompanied by Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha, launched the WiFi service which will benefit 1.4 lakh visitors at Bhubaneswar station daily.
Enterprise Innovation — Real-time data can now help better manage traffic flows in the Philippines. The World Bank and Southeast Asian ride-hailing platform Grab launched on Tuesday a traffic management solution that would give traffic management agencies and city planners access to data that would aid in addressing not just traffic congestion but road safety challenges as well.
Digital News Asia — Singtel has announced that customers can pay for their MRT, LRT and bus rides with the company’s Transit NFC SIM, while Samsung Electronics Singapore said that 10 of its phone models have been approved for use. In a statement, Singtel said its Transit NFC SIM will enable commuters to pay for public transit rides using just their NFC mobile phones.
ZDNet — Singaporean incumbent telecommunications provider Singtel has announced the upcoming launch of its Transit NFC SIM, enabling customers to pay for train and bus trips using smartphones with near-field communication (NFC). Singtel customers across the island will be able to pay for MRT, LRT, and bus rides using an NFC phone that has the telco’s Dash app installed.
Tech in Asia — Manila-based U-Hop has closed seed investments worth a total of US$7.4 million, which it will use to roll out in major cities across Asia. The company has received US$2 million from a Philippine corporation with diversified interests, U-Hop’s founder Marvin Dela Cruz tells Tech in Asia.
Tech in Asia — China’s homegrown ride-hailing app Didi Kuaidi is now seeing 10 million rides each day, the startup said today. That’s up from six million daily rides in September. Didi connects riders with taxis, Uber-esque private cars, and even commuter shuttle buses. In Beijing and Chengdu (which Uber said last year is its top city) alone, the app “exceeded 1 million rides per day,” said a Didi statement.
Times of India — BOAO, CHINA: Ride hailing app company Uber Technologies is generating more than $1 billion in profit a year in its top 30 cities globally, and partly using that money to bankroll its expansion in China, chief executive Travis Kalanick said in an interview. The company said in February it was losing more than $1 billion a year in China’s red-hot ride hailing market, where it is battling large local incumbents to win customers.
Tech in Asia — Uber is testing cash payments in Malaysia, in the city of Johor Bahru, a place where Singaporeans like to go for cheap shopping and seafood. It’s the first city in Malaysia to have cash payments on the app. “Cash is the dominant payment option for residents and visitors in cities across Malaysia,” says Leon Foong, general manager of Uber Malaysia. The company has rolled out cash payments in dozens of cities, including 27 in India. Uber users in cities in the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia also have this option.
Myanmar Times — Telecoms and IT solutions provider Yangon Heartz is looking for local or international partners to build the project at an estimated cost of US$100 million, said U Zaw Zaw Myo Lwin, the company’s chief executive. “We are discussing the projects with potential partners,” he told The Myanmar Times. “We are also looking at buying a 5-acre plot, though I can’t yet tell you where exactly it will be.”
PRNewswire — HONG KONG: Huawei hosted the Asia Pacific Railway Summit 2016 in Hong Kongtoday. The event, which was themed “Leading New ICT, Building a Better Connected Railway”, drew in more than 100 railway decision makers and professionals from 10 countries to share best practices and discuss the trends and challenges shaping rail development.
Deal Street Asia — Indonesia state-owned telecommunications operator PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel) has launched its T-Bike mobile app, which enables users to monitor and control several functions of their motorcycles through their smartphone. Meanwhile, PT Menara KPM, an emerging telco tower construction solution provider is geared expanding into fiber optics network development..
Times of India — NEW DELHI: A clutch of startups on Friday asked Uber’s global chief technical officer Thuan Pham how over-hiring could be avoided when building a company. “Ask what problem your company has to solve and find a person with the right skill-sets,” said Pham, who was addressing entrepreneurs as part of the company’s mentorship session ‘UberEXCHANGE’, at IIT Delhi.
Times of India — BENGALURU: Uber has set up Asia’s first engineering centre in Bengaluru. The centre, which will focus on localization, is the cab aggregator’s tenth such global unit. Present for the launch was CTO Thuan Pham, a Vietnamese who was among the ‘boat people’ -refugees who fled Vietnam to the USA by boat and ship after the Vietnam War -and who went on to do a BS and MS in computer science and engineering from MIT.
Tech in Asia — Is Baidu getting into the car booking/car rental game? It’s starting to look that way. On Friday, somewhat out of the blue, some Baidu users got text notifications that led them to this site (works best on mobile). The site is about a promotion for “Baidu Zhuanche” (Baidu Private Car), promising a discount for those who try it out before the end of the month, and service available across more than 20 cities.
Tech in Asia — On Tuesday, a group claiming to be Al Qaeda hacked into a microsite of the Indian Railways, the world’s fourth largest railway network, in the first instance of the group attacking a government website in the country. The terrorist organization left messages addressed to Indian Muslims, local media reported. In the message, people were encouraged to participate in jihad and help defeat the United States and its allies.
Tech on Asia — The internet has been losing its mind over the last 24 hours following a speech from Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in which he said the company was “losing over US$1 billion a year in China.” That certainly doesn’t sound good. But is it bad news for Uber in China? Or just some sloppy wording that’s taken on a life of its own?
IT News — The world’s best-selling electric car, the Nissan Leaf, can be remotely hacked thanks to unsecure application programming interfaces (APIs) supplied by the car maker, two security researchers have found. Security researchers Troy Hunt and Scott Helme have demonstrated that the unsecured APIs combined with the VIN number of a car – which is easily visible through a car’s windshield – could allow attackers to remotely control features like the air conditioning and heated seating.
IT News — Qantas will tap into the NBN’s Sky Muster satellites to offer free wi-fi inflight from next year, the airline announced today. Qantas has partnered with broadband services provider ViaSat to conduct trials on a single Boeing 737 late this year in expectation of a full rollout across its domestic fleet of A330s and B737s early next year.
The States Man — Uber offered its first motorbike taxi service on Wednesday, launching a pilot scheme in Bangkok which could spread across Asia as it takes on chief regional rival Grab Taxi. Motorbikes have long been a popular commuting option in the Thai capital, which faced horrendous traffic jams due to increased car ownership and poor city planning. Ubiquitous motorbike taxi drivers, found at stands across the city wearing bright orange jackets, weave in and out of stalled traffic with both skill and knuckle-whitening speed.
Times of India — HYDERABAD: Taxi aggregator Uber ha opened its Center of Excellence (CoE) here which will house over 500 customer care executives. The first-of-its-kind facility in Asia is part of an agreement the company signed with the Telangana government in July 2015 to invest $50 million in the state, Uber said in a statement. The CoE, which was inaugurated by state IT minister KT Rama Rao, is expected to generate 500 jobs by the end of 2017.
Enterprise Innovation — India’s Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu recently launched three IT-enabled projects – a paperless unreserved ticketing through mobile phone in a suburban section of South Central Railway, the Handheld Terminals for TTEs on the Northern Railway, and e-booking of disposable linen on trains at New Delhi Railway Station and Nizamuddin Railway Station.