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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 23 August 2021


AMTD Digital completes its strategic acquisition of DigFin

AMTD Digital announced a strategic acquisition of Digital Finance Media Limited, a leading media and content company that operates DigFin, an online journalism brand and a fintech content agency. DigFin’s stories analyze business models in digital finance, fintech, and digital assets, and it also leverages its expertise to generate high-quality, bespoke content for its clients.

DigFin was launched in 2017 by Jame DiBiasio (pictured, right), an award-winning financial journalist and author based in Hong Kong. Jame is the founding editor of AsianInvestor magazine (2000) and served as editorial director at Haymarket Financial Media (2013-2016). He was the first journalist in Asia to be granted the “Outstanding Contribution to Institutional Journalism” by the State Street Institutional Press Awards. Jame is also the author of “Cowries to Crypto: The History of Money, Currency and Wealth” and co-author of “Block Kong”, profiling Hong Kong’s leading blockchain entrepreneurs. DigFin is a founding member of the Fintech Association of Hong Kong and Jame is currently a member of FTAHK’s board of directors.


5 observations about Asia’s changing startup landscape by Picus Capital

Munich-headquartered venture capital firm Picus Capital entered Asia last year. It is now shoring up its presence in East and South Asia, particularly in China, where it recently opened an office. Picus is closing its first Chinese investment this week, just as it is finalizing its sixth deal in India.

The firm focuses on early-stage tech startups across finance, logistics, health and wellness, renewable energy, real estate, education, and e-commerce. In India, it has backed companies that are addressing infrastructure gaps in areas like finance and healthcare, or have developed B2B SaaS solutions for the global market.


Chinese AI startup SenseTime to file for Hong Kong IPO by end-August

Chinese artificial intelligence startup SenseTime is planning to file for an up to $2 billion initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong as soon as the end of this month, three people with direct knowledge of the deal told Reuters. Reuters reported last year that SenseTime was considering an IPO on China's tech-focused STAR market in Shanghai after raising $1.5 billion in a private funding round that valued the company at $10 billion.The company, however, is pushing forward with its Hong Kong listing as the plan to debut on the STAR has been progressing slowly because of a slowdown of approvals for domestic listings after the cancellation of Ant Group's mega IPO, said two of the people.


Blockchain startup XREX gets $17M to make cross-border trade faster

A substantial portion of the world’s trade is done in United States dollars, creating problems for businesses in countries with a dollar shortage. Blockchain startup XREX was launched to help cross-border businesses in emerging markets perform faster transactions with products like a payment escrow service and crypto-fiat exchange platform.

The Taipei-headquartered company announced today it has raised $17 million in pre-Series A funding led by CDIB Capital Group. The oversubscribed round also included participation from SBI Investment (a subsidiary of SBI Holdings), Global Founders Capital, ThreeD Capital, E.Sun Venture Capital, Systex Corporation, MetaPlanet Holdings, AppWorks, BlackMarble, New Economy Ventures and Seraph Group. XREX’s last funding was a $7 million seed round in 2019.


Uber Hong Kong acquires HKTaxi

Uber is acquiring Hong Kong e-hail startup HKTaxi, in a move that will expand earnings opportunities for taxi drivers and bring greater convenience to riders. According to Uber Hong Kong, this partnership brings together HKTaxi's engineering strength and local knowledge with Uber’s global R&D capabilities and operational expertise. Uber first launched in Hong Kong in 2014.

It will accelerate growth in the taxi industry in Hong Kong, and underscores the city’s role as a regional startup and mobility hub. HKTaxi operates an app that connects taxi drivers with people wanting a ride. Locally built, it has been widely adopted by drivers and riders since its launch eight years ago. It includes booking, dispatch, and taxi fare e-payment capabilities.


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