China’s growing digital influence in Africa

There’s been a heap of China in Africa coverage over the last decade, but very little of it is focused on tech. In part, because the country’s engagement with African startups is light compared to its deal-making on infrastructure and commodities. Now, that all looks to be shifting. TechCrunch has tracked moves by a number […]

Alibaba acquires NetEase Kaola in deal worth $2 billion

Alibaba Group has acquired NetEase Kaola for $2 billion, the two companies said today, and will integrate it into Tmall, creating the largest cross-border e-commerce platform in China. The announcement follows weeks of media reports about a potential deal, which was said to have stalled in the middle of August after the companies reportedly disagreed […]

Google falls to third place in worldwide smart speaker market

The global smart speaker market grew 55.4% in the second quarter to reach 26.1 million shipments, according to a new report from Canalys. Amazon continued to lead the race, accounting for 6.6 million units shipped in the quarter. Google, however, fell to the third spot as China’s Baidu surged ahead. Baidu in Q2 grew a […]

Africa Roundup: Canal+ acquires ROK, Flutterwave and Alipay partner, OPay raises $50M

In July, French television company Canal+ acquired the ROK film studio from VOD company IROKOtv. Canal+ would not disclose the acquisition price, but confirmed there was a cash component of the deal. Founded by Jason Njoku in 2010 — and backed by $45 million in VC — IROKOtv boasts the world’s largest online catalog of Nollywood: a Nigerian movie […]

Aspire raises $32.5M to help SMEs secure fast finance in Southeast Asia

Aspire, a Singapore-based startup that helps SMEs secure working capital, has raised $32.5 million in a new financing round to expand its presence in several Southeast Asian markets. The Series A round for the one-and-a-half-year-old startup was funded by MassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia. Arc Labs and existing investors Y Combinator — Aspire graduated from YC […]

Flutterwave and Alipay partner on payments between Africa and China

San Francisco and Lagos-based fintech startup Flutterwave has partnered with Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba to offer digital payments between Alipay and African merchants. Flutterwave is a Nigerian-founded B2B payments service (primarily) for companies in Africa to pay other companies on the continent and abroad. Alipay is Alibaba’s digital wallet and payments platform. In 2013, Alipay […]

Meituan, Alibaba, and the new landscape of ride-hailing in China

Instead of switching between apps to secure a ride during rush hour, people in China can now hail from different companies using a single app. Some of the country’s largest internet companies — including ride-hailing giant Didi itself — are placing bets on this type of aggregation service. The nascent model is reminiscent of a […]

Image recognition, mini apps, QR codes: how China uses tech to sort its waste

China’s war on garbage is as digitally savvy as the country itself. Think QR codes attached to trash bags that allow a municipal government to trace exactly where its trash comes from. On July 1, the world’s most populated city (Shanghai) began a compulsory garbage-sorting program. Under the new regulations (in Chinese), households and companies […]

Warburg Pincus announces new $4.25 billion fund for China and Southeast Asia

Warburg Pincus, the private equity fund with over $60 billion under management, is doubling down on Asia after it announced a $4.25 billion fund dedicated to China and Southeast Asia. The firm has been present in China for 25 years, and it has invested over $11 billion in a portfolio of over 120 startups that […]

Splyt wants to connect the world’s ride-hailing apps for easy international roaming

The vision of a universal global ride-hailing service is over. Uber’s decision to exit markets like China, Southeast Asia and Russia coupled with the failure of its rivals to develop a proposed roaming system, means that global travelers must install multiple apps if they are to take advantage of on-demand taxis. That’s unless a little-known startup […]