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China Roundup: Xis power on bitcoin, the rise of Alibabas new rival

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s China roundup, a digest of the latest events that happened at major Chinese tech companies and what they mean to tech founders and executives around the world. Alibaba’s nemesis Alibaba’s new rival is shaking up China’s internet landscape. This week, four-year-old e-commerce upstart Pinduoduo displaced JD.com to be the fourth-most valuable internet company in the country. Its market capitalization of $47.6 billion on Friday put it just behind e-commerce leader Alibaba, social networking behemoth Tencent and food delivery titan Meituan in China. Baidu, the search equivalent…

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Sources: Lilium is looking to raise up to $500M for its electric flying taxis

“Flying cars” — airborne vehicles designed for urban and other short-distance commutes to replace conventional private automobiles — are (at best) still years away from being a reality, with significant safety, technology and business model hurdles to clear before they ever hit the sky. Now, sources tell us that one of the more promising startups in the field, the German startup Lilium, wants to put itself into pole position by ramping up its financial position. Lilium has been talking to investors to raise a big round of funding, between $400…

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Indias Milkbasket in talks to raise over $50M

Milkbasket, a Gurugram-based micro-delivery startup, is in talks to close a new financing round as it looks to expand its footprint in the milk, grocery, fruit and vegetable delivery market that has attracted the attention of many in recent months, including Amazon India. The four-year-old startup is in advanced stages of talks with private equity funds to raise more than $50 million, people familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. The round, Series C, is likely to close within the next two months, they said. A spokesperson of Milkbasket, which has…

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Alibaba to help Salesforce localize and sell in China

Salesforce, the 20-year-old leader in customer relationship management (CRM) tools, is making a foray into Asia by working with one of the country’s largest tech firms, Alibaba. Alibaba will be the exclusive provider of Salesforce to enterprise customers in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, and Salesforce will become the exclusive enterprise CRM software suite sold by Alibaba, the companies announced on Thursday. The Chinese internet has for years been dominated by consumer-facing services such as Tencent’s WeChat messenger and Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace, but enterprise software is starting to garner…

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Chinas WeChat is the latest to get Snap-like Stories

WeChat, the Chinese messaging giant with more than 1 billion monthly active users around the world, just added a Snap-like ephemeral video feature as part of its biggest overhaul since 2014. The revamp comes as Tencent, which owns stakes in Snap, sees increasing rivalry from up-and-comers like video app TikTok and news app Jinri Toutiao. WeChat has, over the years, morphed beyond a straight-up messenger to include many utility purposes. With more than 1 million lightweight apps up and running, users can accomplish a long list of tasks, ranging from shopping…

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Payment service Toss becomes Koreas newest unicorn after raising $80M

South Korea has got its third unicorn startup after Viva Republica, the company beyond popular payment app Toss, announced it has raised an $80 million round at a valuation of $1.2 billion. This new round is led by U.S. firms Kleiner Perkins and Ribbit Capital, both of which cut their first checks for Korea with this deal. Others participating include existing investors Altos Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Goodwater Capital, KTB Network, Novel, PayPal and Qualcomm Ventures. The deal comes just six months after Viva Republica raised $40 million to accelerate growth, and it takes…

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With $53 million in new funding, Movile looks to become the Tencent of Latin America

With its Rappido subsidiary looking to become a marketplace for all sorts of online and delivery services, Movile is moving further along in its mission to become the Tencent of Latin America. Given its backing by Naspers (a large shareholder in Tencent one of Chinas e-commerce giants), the move to replicate a business model thats worked so well for the investor already isnt that surprising. Indeed, Naspers just committed an additional $53 million to Movile (along with Innova Capital) so that the Brazilian company could continue to expand its services…

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Tencents online publishing arm files for IPO in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has secured its second high-profile tech IPO inside a week. Following on from gaming firm Razer, which filed its prospectus on Friday, Tencents online publishing service has followed suit with plans for a Hong Kong IPO. China Literature is akin to Amazons Kindle service, with 8.4 million pieces of content from more than five million writers. It counts 175.3 million monthly users across all services, of which more than 90 percent are on mobile. The service is beingspun out of Tencent, Asias highest valued tech firm,which currently owns…

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Satellogic raises $27M for affordable, high-resolution imaging satellites

Space tech company Satellogic has raised $27 million in a Series B round led by Chinese internet giant Tencent, and with participation by CrunchFund (disclosure: co-founded by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington). The company also launches its sixth micro-satellite into orbit on June 15, aboard a Long March-4B rocket that took off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. What Satellogic offers thats unique is affordable, high-resolution imaging in a micro-satellite platform, with the ability to capture photo data of the Earth at 1 meter resolution. By comparison, Planets constellations of 142 satellites…

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Tencent to open AI research center in Seattle

Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent will be opening a new AI research center in Seattle, open its first data center in Silicon Valley. Yu Dong, formally of Microsoft Research, is said to be leading the U.S. effort. He recently joined Tencent and has traditionally focused on the nexus of speech recognition and deep learning. Tencenthas a clear interest in developing a personal assistant that could tie its products together and increaseits competitivenessin the market. Tencents investment in machine learning will enable it to deploy the technology across the company. Rather than…

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