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ByteDance raising $1.45B to invest in AI; SoftBank Vision Fund nears $100B mark

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of recent investment deals and updates in the Asia-Pacific technology, media and communications sector.

Top news

* Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd. is in talks to raise about US$1.45 billion to invest in artificial intelligence and media content, The Information reported. The US$75 billion startup, which owns the video app TikTok, is reportedly in talks with potential investors, including major Chinese government-led funds and state-owned investment banks, for the new fund.

* SoftBank Vision Fund raised about US$98.58 billion from 14 investors since its first sale in May 2017. The private equity and venture capital arm of SoftBank Group Corp. raised about US$93.15 billion from eight investors in its first close in May 2017, indicating the tech fund has raised US$5.43 billion since its first sale and added six new investors.

* Indonesian e-commerce operator PT Tokopedia secured US$1.1 billion in its latest financing round led by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and SoftBank Vision Fund, with participation from SoftBank Ventures Korea Inc. and other existing investors.

Startup funding

* Chinese startup FinoGeeks raised 30 million yuan in its series A funding round, 36Kr reports. FinoGeeks is the developer of FinChat, a messenger tool used by traders.

* Indian online tutoring startup Byju's raised US$400 million in its latest funding round, valuing the company at nearly US$4 billion, Mint reports.

* Singtel, through its corporate venture capital arm Innov8, led a A$22 million series B fundraising for Australian tech startup Data Republic Pty. Ltd., The Straits Times reports.

* ZStack, a Shanghai-based cloud computing startup, raised 100 million yuan in its series B funding round, PEdaily reports.

Capital investments

* Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. Ltd. secured a US$150 million investment from Japan's Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. This comes a week after Grab invested US$103.4 million in OYO Hotels & Homes as part of the Indian hospitality chain's ongoing US$1 billion fundraising.

* Alibaba Group invested in Israeli mobility startup Optibus Ltd. to help the company expand its artificial intelligence software for improving mass transit operations.

* SoftBank Group invested an undisclosed sum in ParkJockey, a Miami-based developer of a technology platform aimed at monetizing parking lots, TechCrunch reports.

Other funding

* AsiaYo, Airbnb Inc.'s counterpart in Taiwan, raised NT$200 million in its series B funding round, China Times reports. With investors including Alibaba Group, the company aims to expand outside Taiwan.

* Pakistan-focused venture capital firm Sarmayacar is joining the fundraising round of local ride-hailing app Bykea, sources close to the development told DealStreetAsia.

* PT Go-Jek Indonesia's investment arm Go-Ventures is finalizing a US$30 million financing round for local mobile gaming company Mobile Premier League, two people aware of the deal told The Economic Times (India).

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