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Hong Kong Startup News Round Up - 1 Apr 2018

5 in 5 minutes

Rocketbots closes funding round and launches new AI Platform 

Rocketbots, a Hong Kong-based AI Chatbot company has just closed their Seed Round to help kickstart it’s new Software-as-a-service (SaaS) AI Chatbot Platform. The round was led by angel investment group -  Global Technology Alliance. Valued at USD 190.8 million in 2016, sources are predicting the global chatbot market to reach $1.23 billion by 2025.

The Rocketbots Platform brings together CRM, analytics, insights, and human-handoff, designed to bring bot-assisted service into the mainstream. According to Gerardo Salandra, CEO of Rocketbots and Chairman of the Artifical Intelligence Society of Hong Kong, “the latest technological revolution has birthed numerous businesses based on apps,” and they would like to “spearhead and empower the next wave of entrepreneurs to build the next big thing based on chatbots”, who he dubs “Botpreneurs”.  

Huawei's Blockchain Platform for Insurance Innovation

Within Bay’s “This Week in China Tech”, Huawei’s new partnership with Che Che Technology and Hai Lian Jin Hui was highlighted to bring to light the creation of a blockchain-enabled platform for insurance innovation.

As a renown mobile phone manufacturer, but also a big cloud company, the new platform will be build on top of Huawei Cloud and will be available to existing cloud members as well as new groups that are useful to these new insurance products. Targeted companies include insurance assessors, third-party payment gateways, supervisory institutions among others.

This article originally includes China's loosened residential regulations to attract tech talents and how the booming bike sharing phenomenon is busting.
Bay posts This Week in China Tech regularly for Forbes,
Bay’s insights can also be found on his personal blog: http://betabay.me/press/

Mastercard works with HKTaxi app for in-app payment 

Mastercard collaborates with local taxi hiring app HKTaxi to allow cardholders a conveniently means of digital payment over the app, while protecting local taxi drivers from potential safety risks such as receiving counterfeit banknotes.

Benjamin Gilbey, Mastercard Senior VP of Digital Payments and Labs, explains their motivation behind the digital platform - “approximately 65% of all urban transportation is still paid in cash globally which slows down consumers in their daily commutes. In response, Mastercard is working to create cashless solutions that empowers consumers to get on their way in the easiest and most convenient manner.”

IBM assists startups building blockchain projects with cheaper platform 

IBM reveals their new their blockchain services that allows startups and developers to create their own distributed ledger projects, aiming to help firms explore and commercialize their own blockchain applications, and providing a more economical alternative to Big Blue’s current applications.

Contrasting to public blockchain networks, IBM’s platform only accommodates for a limited number of trusted parties to access. Some well-established companies are already piloting their blockchain technology with IBM’s platform, which is free before their commercial release. Designed to be tamper proof and keeping transaction data private, this type of “permissioned” blockchain platforms are preferable for many big businesses.

WeWork expands its reach in HK to Quarry Bay

WeWork, one of the top 10 most valuable startups in the world right now and a reputable co-working space, has just announced their lease of four floors in Taikoo Shing, Cityplaza Three of Swire Properties, following their leases at Pheonix Properties’ Tower in Causeway Bay, Mass Mutual Tower in Wanchai, and Lan Kwai Fong hotel in Central, among others that will be opened later this year.

Besides developing their influences in Hong Kong, they also have motivations to “expand their footprints to China and the US”. WeWork already hold 10 centers in China, and has publicly stated that it will expand into eight more cities – Shenzhen, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Chengdu, Nanjing, Xi-an and Wuham.

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