Two noteworthy news items in tech:
- As we frequently note, China’s on-demand bike sector is booming. TechCrunch reports that Ofo, “one of China’s two billion-dollar-valued bike-sharing companies,” has announced a $700 million funding round “led by e-commerce giant Alibaba, Hony Capital and CITIC Private Equity,” with existing investors such as ride-sharing firm Didi Chuxing also taking part. This is the first investment for Alibaba in on-demand bikes.
- Tencent — the internet behemoth behind WeChat — runs a digital literature publishing company called China Reading, which has begun filing for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong, proposing to raise $600 to $800 million. It would be the first listing of a company dedicated to internet literature.
China Reading was originally a company owned by Chinese games giant Shanda. According to TechNode, “China Reading logged $390 million (RMB 2.6 billion) in operating income last year, 77 percent of which came from its reading-related businesses.” The company had around 175 million users at the end of 2016.
Tech firms in trouble
Cash-strapped LeEco’s chairman resigns and pledges to repay all debts / CNBC
China team heralds fusion breakthrough as step towards new energy future / SCMP
China’s Baidu being probed after CEO tests driverless car on public roads / Reuters
China’s tech giants are racing to popularize their versions of the Amazon Echo / Quartz
Airbus signs deal to sell 140 planes worth $23 billion to China / Reuters
Battle for 261 million wallets grips China’s online shopping giants / Bloomberg
First online payment clearinghouse takes on mission impossible / Caixin
China polishes up rust belt with switch to creative industries / Financial Times (paywall)