Alibaba to ramp up food delivery and lifestyle service offerings with merger and funding – [Reuters, Bloomberg]
Chinese internet conglomerate Alibaba is ratcheting up its war with its rival, Tencent-backed Meituan Dianping, in the online-to-offline (O2O) space.
A report by Reuters today said that the company is planning to merge of its platforms, food delivery platform Ele.me and food and lifestyle services firm Koubei. The report also said that Alibaba plans to raise between US$3 billion to US$5 billion in investments to funds its efforts.
Ele.me and Koubei and their competitor Meituan have been offering consumers huge discount codes in a bid to woo them to their platform. As a result of their efforts, both sides have racked up heavy losses. If Alibaba succeeds in executing the merger and fundraising goes through, the added time and firepower may help it win the war of attrition against Meituan, although it still has to be on the lookout for the latter’s IPO.
Xiaomi’s China-based smartphone parts supplier is investing US$200 million in India – [Reuters]
Xiaomi’s component supplier Holitech Technology is set to invest US$200 million over three years in India, according to a report by Reuters. The country is the world’s 2nd largest smartphone market and is Xiaomi’s biggest customer.
This move was likely sparked by a new law that the India government introduced in April, which states that all smartphone components imported into the country will have a 10 per cent tax imposed on them.
Holitch expects to set up shop in India by the first quarter of 2019 and create 6,000 jobs over three years. It will manufacture smartphone parts such as fingerprint sensors and camera modules.
Ola is set to launch in the UK – [Reuters]
India-based ride-hailing company Ola is set to launch in the UK this year, according to a report by Reuters. It has already secured licenses to operate in South Wales in September, and Greater Manchester.
Ola plans to expand nationwide by the end of this year. It will offer private cars as well as UK’s black cabs.
Singapore-based AI-solutions company AnyMind Group acquires Acqua Media – [DealStreetAsia]
Singapore-based AI solutions company AnyMind Group has acquired Acqua Media, a Hong Kong-based publisher trading desk, according to a report by DealStreetAsia.
Acqua Media provides programmatic advertising and monetisation solutions for web publishers and app developers. It works with over 252 publishers across Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China.
The acquisition will enable AnyMind to bolster its advertising solutions and expand its market share. The company currently oversees three subsidiaries advertising platforms AdAsia Holdings, recruitment platform TalentMind, and marketing and influencer platform CastingAsia.
Sanitary pad startup Carmesi raises US$500,000 – [press release]
Carmesi,ana India-based social impact venture that makes natural and biodegradable sanitary pads has closed a US$500,000 Pre-Series A round from Samrath Bedi, Managing Director Forest Essentials – a luxury Ayurvedic beauty brand.
The round also saw participation from other investors including Satveer Thakral from the Thakral Group, Mahesh Patel, Rohit Reddy, and Samir Saran, as well as existing investors.
The company will use the funding to further strengthen the brand’s marketing, expanding the product line to introduce more sustainable period-care products, and establish a stronger and well-penetrated distribution strategy.
Carmesi aims to make periods a ‘safe’ time of the month for women. Made of corn starch and bamboo fiber, the pads provide a natural and sustainable alternative to the chemically-laced synthetic pads. Each Carmesi pad comes with a chic resealable, easy-to-carry, and completely biodegradable disposal bag, for a convenient disposal.
The company claims to have more than 50,000 customers and is growing at a rate of 25 per cent month-on-month.