Localizing to the Chinese market is tough, and is Jeff Bezos in a Transformers’ movie? Welcome to Last Week in Tech, where we look back at what happened in the tech and startup ecosystem in the last seven days. We’ve also collated a list of regional events to look forward to in the week ahead for your convenience.
Here’s what we’ve got for you today.
A snapshot of last weeks’ news in sentences.
China’s hits and misses
- Airbnb woos China by localizing with a new name “Aibiying”. Chinese hate it because it sounds horrible (and very much like a sex drug brand). (LiveMint / Feng Cai)
- Alibaba shows us how powerful blockchain is by using it to fight against China’s fake food problem. (Tech in Asia / Steven Millward)
- Baidu pumped US$430 million into AI initiatives in the last three months of 2016, but loses its AI wizard and chief scientist Andrew Ng. (Tech in Asia / Eva Xiao)
- Xiaomi accused of taking advantage of a Google-backed AI startup, while other startups learn the costs of not getting agreements in writing. (Tech in Asia / Eva Xiao)
Jeff Bezos, metal man
- Forget driverless cars; the latest vehicular marvel is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a manned bipedal robot. (The Telegraph / Mark Molloy)
The suit in question.
Last week in funding
- Malaysia’s Jirnexu raises US$1.5 million for its full-stack technology, managing banking and insurance products. (Tech in Asia / Terence Lee)
- Chinese photo-sharing app Kuaishou gets US$350 million in strategic investment. A potential IPO is reportedly slated for the second half of this year. (TechNode / Emma Lee)
- Singapore’s auto classified Carro lands US$12 million. Participants include Venturra Capital, Singtel Innov8, Golden Gate Ventures, Alpha JWC Ventures, Skystar Capital and GMO. (TechCrunch / Jon Russell)
- Indonesia’s handicrafts marketplace Qlapa scores an undisclosed sum for its series A round, lead by Aavishkaar Frontier Funds. (Tech in Asia / Judith Balea)
A collection of meaningful long-form reads.
- Maintaining morale in a fast-growing startup is difficult. To manage this, startups should get their culture right in the early stages, and pay careful attention to transparency, recognition, and monitoring their progress after. (Harvard Business Review / David Niu, Mark Roberge)
- American cinema chain CEO says Netflix isn’t its biggest threat; it’s audiences that watch films in suboptimal circumstances. (Indiewire / Tim League)
- Uber’s public reputation can’t catch a break, as RECODE uncovers a “mini civil war” in Uber’s Self-driving division (RECODE / Johana Bhuiyan)
Events Next Week
Startup Grind Hosts Steve Melhuish
Tuesday, March 28 2017
Steve Melhuish, the co-founder of PropertyGuru will be speaking at Startup Grind, a startup community powered by Google for Entrepreneurs.
Skale up HK by Click Ventures on Friday
Friday, March 31 2017
5.30 – 8.30pm
WeWork Tower 535
Governments and academia estimate that between 30-50% of today’s jobs will be replaced by technology such as AI enabled software or robots. Click Ventures hosts a panel about how to stay ahead of the curve and avoid being replaced by technology.