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Asian tech news roundup – Oct 27


Members from the Carousell product, engineering and senior leadership team at the company’s Singapore headquarters. Photo credit: Carousell.


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Rumor has it that Carousell has closed its series C round, hauling in something in the region of US$70 to US$80 million; while Razer is said to be prepping for a US$550 million IPO in Hong Kong next week. Here are some of today’s top tech news highlights from the region…


Carousell gets up to US$80 million in series C round, sources claim (Singapore). The online marketplace rebuffed the rumor, saying it had no funding-related news to share at the moment. Nevertheless, the arrival of funding would be a timely boon for the company as it expands into online classifieds and takes on other well-funded ecommerce players in the region. (TechCrunch)


The company did respond to police figures on fraud perpetrated through its platform, however. Singapore Police found that over 800 individuals had fallen victim to scams on Carousell’s site this year, most of which were cases where payment was made to supposed vendors for items that were never delivered. The startup said just 0.1 percent of the 20 million successful transactions it has facilitated since launching in 2012 have been fraudulent, but added that it is “working hard to improve [its] detection tools and teams.” (The Straits Times)


Airbnb China head left over alleged relationship with staffer (China). Hong Ge – who quit as Airbnb’s China chief just four months after his appointment – left the company after he was found to have violated its code of conduct by becoming involved in a romantic relationship with a female employee. Ge told colleagues at the time of his departure he was leaving for another job. (Bloomberg)


Razer co-founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan. Photo credit: Razer.


Razer to IPO next week (Hong Kong/Singapore). The US-Singaporean peripherals company is aiming to raise as much as US$550 million when it floats in Hong Kong on Monday, according to people close to the deal. (Reuters)


OBike rolls out geofencing (Singapore). The bike-sharing company is introducing the technology to make it easier for its riders to find designated parking zones. Users who are found to consistently leave bikes outside of the zones will be penalized, and could even be banned from the service. (Tech in Asia)


Geofencing in action on the oBike app. Photo credit: oBike.


India overtakes the US to become world’s second largest smartphone market (India). Research from Canalys indicates that smartphone shipments in the country exceeded 40 million mark for the first time in Q3 2017, representing year-on-year growth of 23 percent. That means that India has overtaken the US in terms of smartphone sales, with China in top spot. (TechCrunch)

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SoundAI confirms US$15 million series A round. (China). Baidu, Aplus Capital, and Bank of Beijing were among the investors in the startup, which develops acoustics-related technology for purposes such as ultrasonic recognition, directional speakers, and acoustic communication. (China Money Network)

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OfBusiness secures US$3.8 million debt financing (India). This is the second tranche of debt capital the small and medium business financing platform has received from Kotak Mahindra Bank. It will use the funds to expand to additional locations in India. (The Economic Times)