It was all about transportation today, from the arrival of electric car sharing in Singapore, to a high-profile executive departure at Ola. Elsewhere, Google made its first known direct investment in an Indian startup – a digital concierge and delivery service named Dunzo.
Sequoia Capital leads Leapmotor’s pre-series A round (China). The Hangzhou-based “green” carmaker raised an undisclosed amount in the round. Its previous backers include Dahua Technology, a Shenzhen-based manufacturer of video surveillance equipment. Two Dahua senior executives co-founded the startup. (China Money Network)
More management departures at Ola (India). Shalabh Seth has resigned as chief executive of the ride-hailing firm’s cab leasing unit less than a year after joining. Ola said he had left to pursue entrepreneurial ambitions. Seth’s departure follows the departures of chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal, chief marketing officer Raghuvesh Sarup, and design head Sunit Singh after similarly short tenures. (Livemint)
Electric car sharing goes live next week (Singapore). Eighty cars will be available to hire from stations in public housing estates, industrial areas, and the city center via BlueSG’s mobile app, which is available for download from today. Users will be able to pick from two price plans – the more expensive one costing about US$0.25 per minute for a minimum of 15 minutes, on top of an US$11 per month fee. BlueSG aims to roll out a total of 1,000 cars in the near future. (Channel NewsAsia)
Ofo comes to India (India). The Chinese bike-sharing app is expected to launch its first Indian service in Chennai. Ofo’s entry comes just after local players Ola and Zoomcar announced pilots of their own bike-sharing schemes. (VCCircle)
Google leads investment of up to US$12 million in Dunzo (India). Existing backers Aspada and Blume Ventures are also joining the round, which will see the US tech giant acquire a minority stake in Bangalore robo-concierge app Dunzo. The deal represents Google’s first known direct investment into an Indian startup. (VCCircle)
Amazon USA ends free shipping (Singapore). The ecommerce company’s Marketplace is not present in Singapore, but since 2013 its US business did offer free shipping to the city-state on orders over US$125. However, Amazon confirmed that this has been permanently scrapped. While no reason has been given, the decision may be linked to the launch of its Prime Now service in Singapore earlier this year. (Mothership)
Media and entertainment
Valuklik merges with Dentsu Aegis (Indonesia). The data-driven performance marketing startup will be rebranded as iProspect Valuklik as part of its merger into global communications firm Dentsu Aegis Network. The deal – the value of which was undisclosed – is expected to close in February next year and represents an exit for seed investor East Ventures. (Dentsu Aegis)
Xiaomi pricing its IPO at US$50 billion (China). It was reported yesterday that the tech unicorn is planning its stock market listing for as early as next year. Today, more details emerged, with Hong Kong said to be the most likely venue and Xiaomi seeking to raise as much as US$50 billion from the float. (Bloomberg)
See: Previous Asia tech news roundups
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