China tells teachers to quit assigning homework through WeChat

China’s education authorities are about to take some burden off parents with school-aged children. A proposal posted last week by the Department of Education in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang said teachers should be banned from using WeChat, QQ or other mobile apps to assign homework or ask parents to grade students’ assignments. As mobile internet … Read moreChina tells teachers to quit assigning homework through WeChat

China’s Didi is laying off 15% of its staff

China’s largest ride-hailing firm Didi plans to let go 15 percent of its employees or about 2,000 people this year, sources told TechCrunch. The cut comes as the beleagured transportation giant copes with a stricter regulatory environment that puts a squeeze on driver supply and backlash from two high-profile passenger murders last year. Chief executive Cheng … Read moreChina’s Didi is laying off 15% of its staff

Alibaba takes an 8% stake in Tencent-backed anime streaming site Bilibili

Ecommerce giant Alibaba is continuing its push into the world of youth culture after it scooped up an 8 percent stake in anime streaming and game publishing company Bilibili. According to a securities filing on Thursday, Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace has acquired about 24 million shares in Bilibili, the Shanghai-based firm that has captured 93 million monthly users … Read moreAlibaba takes an 8% stake in Tencent-backed anime streaming site Bilibili

Alibaba’s Ant Financial buys UK currency exchange giant WorldFirst reportedly for around $700M

Ant Financial, the financial services behemoth affiliated with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has made its first big move into Europe. It’s acquired London-headquartered payments company WorldFirst in a deal that sources tell us is valued at around $700 million. (That price would also line up with multiple reports from December claiming the two were in … Read moreAlibaba’s Ant Financial buys UK currency exchange giant WorldFirst reportedly for around $700M

GoEuro rebrands as Omio to take its travel aggregator business global

European multimodal travel booking platform GoEuro has announced a change of name and destination: Its new ambition is to go global, scaling beyond its regional grounding to tackle the challenge of intercity travel internationally — hence needing a more expansive brand name. The name it’s chosen is Omio, pronounced with the stress on the ‘me’ … Read moreGoEuro rebrands as Omio to take its travel aggregator business global

Thailand’s Jitta raises $6.5M to develop an algorithm-powered wealth fund

Jitta, a Bangkok-based fintech startup, has announced a $6.5 million round as it prepares to launch an investment fund for consumers in what would be a first for the Thai market. The deal, which is described as pre-Series A, is one of the largest in Thailand for some time and it was led by Beacon … Read moreThailand’s Jitta raises $6.5M to develop an algorithm-powered wealth fund

China’s Alipay digital wallet is entering 7,000 Walgreens stores

China’s payments heavyweights have been following tourists abroad as their home market gets crowded. Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial affiliate with a said valuation of $150 billion, now sees its virtual wallet Alipay handling transactions at 3,000 Walgreens stores in the U.S. and is eyeing to reach a roster of 7,000 locations by April. The alliance will … Read moreChina’s Alipay digital wallet is entering 7,000 Walgreens stores

CEO of Rappler, a media company critical of the Philippines government, is arrested

There’s serious concern around press freedom in the Philippines after Maria Ressa, the CEO of independent media company Rappler, was arrested last night. Ressa, who was CNN’s bureau chief in Manila and then Jakarta prior to starting Rappler in 2011, was arrested on cyber libel security charges for an article published in 2012, according to … Read moreCEO of Rappler, a media company critical of the Philippines government, is arrested

Indonesia-focused Intudo Ventures raises new $50M fund

Intudo Ventures, a VC firm focused on Indonesia, has closed a new $50 million fund. This is Intudo’s second fund to date following its $20 million debut last year. The firm is a relative newcomer to Southeast Asia but a key differentiator is that it is solely focused on Indonesia, which is the world’s fourth most populated country … Read moreIndonesia-focused Intudo Ventures raises new $50M fund

It isn’t just apps. China’s cinemas broke records during Lunar New Year

China celebrated Lunar New Year last week as hundreds of millions of people travelled to their hometowns. While many had longed to see their separated loved ones, others dreaded the weeklong holiday as relatives awkwardly caught up with them with questions like: “Why are you not married? How much do you earn?” Luckily, there are … Read moreIt isn’t just apps. China’s cinemas broke records during Lunar New Year