Monday Tech Briefing: Ele.me, Souche, Hellobike
Food delivery company Baidu Waimai announced Monday that it has rebranded as Ele.me Xingxuan, or “Star Select” in Chinese.
Alibaba-owned food delivery business Ele.me acquired the Baidu subsidiary more than a year ago. Ele.me said at the time it would target the mid-to-lower-end market while Baidu Waimai would operate independently and target higher-end users. (Caixin, link in Chinese)
Meanwhile, Alibaba has officially merged Ele.me with food review platform Koubei.
The merger is seen as an offensive against the sector’s goliath, the newly Hong Kong-listed Meituan Dianping. The new venture, Alibaba Local Life Services Co, is touted as the e-commerce giant’s “flagship local services vehicle” and has secured $3 billion from backers.
The on-demand market is becoming a new battlefield for internet giants seeking to connect internet users with offline merchants through takeout, grocery delivery and reservation services. (Caixin)
Outside of China, the e-commerce giant reached an agreement with the Indonesian government to help train the country’s management-level tech talent.
Alibaba will train Indonesian chief technology officers at its Hangzhou headquarters, Rudiantara, Indonesia’s minister of communication and information technology, told Caixin at last week’s International Monetary Fund meetings in Bali.
Indonesia wants its digital economy to be worth $130 billion by the end of 2020 — 12% of total gross domestic product — and is also working with Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. to train 20,000 technical staff. (Caixin)
Car-trading site Hangzhou Dasouche Auto Service Co. Ltd. (Souche) is partnering with state-owned PetroChina Kunlun Hospitality Co. Ltd. to sell used cars at more than 20,000 of the latter’s locations, or nearly a fifth of all gas stations nationwide.
PetroChina Kunlun runs the service functions at the gas stations of China’s top oil producer, PetroChina Co. Ltd. Souche outlets will first open in Guangdong, Yunnan and Zhejiang provinces in southern China before being tested elsewhere in the country. (Caixin)
Chinese bike-sharing firm Hellobike has launched ride-sharing services in three cities in a direct challenge to sector giant Didi Chuxing. The Shanghai-based company announced on Friday that it added a new cab-hailing function to its mobile app for users in Shanghai, Nanjing and Chengdu.
The move comes one month after the company renamed itself Hello TransTech — or HelloChuxing in Chinese — as part of an expansion into other transportation services.
Founded in September 2016, Alibaba-backed Hellobike is a relative latecomer to China’s once-booming bike-sharing business, currently led by Mobike and Ofo. Hellobike has become the sector’s third largest player thanks to its strategy of focusing on smaller Chinese cities, which the sector’s leaders tend to neglect. (Caixin)
Apple CEO Tim Cook visited the Beijing offices of Bytedance, the most valuable startup in the world, during his trip to China.
Photos circulated on Chinese social media last week of Cook walking through the Bytedance headquarters talking to employees and shaking hands with company founder Zhang Yiming.
Cook is visiting amidst allegations that China, where most of Apple’s hardware is made, had compromised the company’s supply chain, implanting spy chips in motherboards headed to key American targets. (SCMP)
Compiled by Isabelle Li
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