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Apple removes 25,000 apps from its China store – [Reuters]

Apple has removed 25,000 apps from its China store, in an effort to keep in check with regulators in the country, according to a report by Reuters.

Many of them were gambling apps, which are banned in China. State media broadcaster CCTV recently criticised Apple for allowing such apps to be distributed on the store.

Last year, Apple was forced to remove Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps in China, which allowed users to bypass the country’s Great Firewall so can they can access foreign media and services that are banned in China.

CDC group backs pi Ventures with US$6 million – [press release]

UK Government’s development finance institution CDC Group plc has invested US$6 million in pi Ventures, an India-based AI and IoT-focussed early stage fund.

The firm will use the funding to invest in deep tech startups that have market potential and can make impactful changes in society.

pi Ventures announced their second close in January this year at US$25 million and the fund is expected to announce their final close shortly.

Some of the companies it has invested include SigTuple, a big data and analytics healthcare company; NIRAMAI, a startup that uses non-invasive, non-touch, non-radiation approach to detect breast cancer); and ten3T, a startup that has developed a  medical grade wearable device.

LINE’s parent Naver invests in iPrice Group – [e27]

Naver Corp, South Korea’s leading search engine and parent company of mobile messenger app LINE, has invested an undisclosed sum in iPrice Group, which operates product discovery and comparison sites across Southeast Asia.

iPrice will use the funding to grow its Indonesian operations and improve its user experience, especially in its two core verticals — fashion and electronics.

Naver’s direct investment comes only three months after Kuala Lumpur-headquartered iPrice Group raised an undisclosed in Series B round led by LINE Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Japan’s LINE Corporation.

Vntrip raises undisclosed funding from Swiss investor – [e27]

Vntrip, an online travel agency in Vietnam, announced today it has raised an undisclosed sum in strategic investment from Swiss investor IHAG Holding at a US$45 million valuation.

The details of the transaction were not disclosed.

IHAG’s participation will bring an additional perspective into the travel market in Vietnam through their experience within the industry. It also positions Vntrip well for its next round of financing.

Also Read: Tencent supports Malaysia’s cashless society by launching WeChat Pay MY

Headquartered in Hanoi, Vntrip an online platform to book for hotels rooms. The firm claims to be offering the best prices, free airport shuttle services, convenient payment methods and customer service.

Ultra Taiwan to integrate blockchain payment – [e27]

Ultra Taiwan, an electronic music festival that expects 30,000 attendees, is planning to integrate a blockchain-based payment system for the two-day concert.

The system will be built by PundiX, a Jakarta-based company recently launched a system that would allow traditional retailers to use cryptocurrency .

PundiX will be building an internal payment system called an XPASS Card that will be distributed to partygoers who can use it at 35 point-of-sales kiosks throughout the event.

The hope is that the blockchain will add a security layer to the card and because it is an internal payment infrastructure, speed up the queue for goods, drinks and food.

OVO expands QR code system to 9,000 SME in Indonesia – [press release]

Major Indonesian payments platform OVO announced that it has made the OVO QR code payment system available to 9,000 merchants across Indonesia.

With this QR code expansion, OVO is making cheap payments technology available across Indonesia in cities such as Jakarta, Bandung, Solo, Yogyakarta, Surabaya and Semarang.

Many small business owners such as food courts, warung stalls and kiosks will now be able to tap into cashless technology for the first time and grow their businesses faster with OVO and Grab, which has also integrated OVO.