Updated whub blog banner visual  600 200   26

Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 10 May 2020


Fitbit acquires Doki Technologies- a HK wearable startup 

According to Engadget, “Fitbit will launch a kids smartwatch with 4G connectivity later this year.” A child-focused product would complement the company’s existing Ace fitness trackers, with the Ace 2 essentially just the regular Fitbit Inspire with a protective rubber case that comes in several colors and fun watch faces.

To develop this product, Fitbit — before the Google deal was announced — acquired Doki Technologies. The Hong Kong startup is known for a handful of kid-friendly wearables that feature video/voice calling and GPS over 4G LTE. Other specs include IP68 water resistance, fitness tracking, scheduling tools, and even an assistant.

Following the purchase, though both companies are not commenting on the transaction, Doki is shutting down communication and other connected services on July 1.

HK virtual bank ZA launches insurance platform

ZA, the first virtual bank to go live in Hong Kong, has branched out into insurance after obtaining a digital-only insurer license from the Hong Kong Insurance Authority under its Fast Track pilot scheme.

ZA Life, operating under the trade name ZA Insure, will eliminate intermediaries through a digital-only insurance platform that fulfills quotations, underwriting and claims.

Established in collaboration with Fubon Life Insurance, ZA Insure will launch in the near future, with products including life insurance and critical illness insurance to cover different needs.

Paddy Choy, chief actuary of ZA Insure says: “Technology plays an important role in ZA Insure’s endeavor to improve user experience. ZA's self-developed eKYC technology will be fully applied to our underwriting process, substantially reducing the time required for purchasing coverage. We will also employ multiple security, risk control and anti-fraud technologies to ensure the safety of user information.”

Tencent Launches Blockchain Accelerator Program

Chinese internet giant Tencent has waded into the blockchain accelerator space.

According to The Block, Shenzhen-based tech company has launched a blockchain accelerator seeking to aid about 30 blockchain-focused companies.

Named the Tencent Industrial Accelerator, the program is open to early-stage startups as well as established companies looking to add a blockchain twist to its wares. Early-stage companies however will need to have secured at least one round of funding to be eligible.

Selected projects will receive a slew of benefits, including mentoring meetings and one-year access to Tencent’s blockchain-as-a-service platform, gratis.

Tencent is absolutely no stranger to blockchain tech. As The Block notes, the company has filed the most blockchain patent applications in 2019, sending out nearly 720 applications versus Alibaba’s 470.

The program has begun taking applications and will continue to do so until June 6, 2020.

Plantible Raises $4.6M to Scale Plant Protein, co-led by Hong Kong-based VC Vectr Ventures

Investors are banking on a plant-based ingredient that behaves like egg whites — with potential use across a broad range of food and beverage categories. To boost its mission, B2B food tech startup Plantible announced this week the close of a $4.6M seed round, co-led by Hong Kong-based early-stage venture capital group Vectr Ventures and New York-based Lerer Hippeau, along with Kellogg’s venture arm eighteen94 Capital and San Francisco-based Food for Thought Worldwide (FTW) Ventures.

The company’s star protein-packed ingredient, RuBisCO, or “Rubi protein,” is extracted from lemna, an aquatic plant that’s more commonly called “duckweed.” The company says RuBisCO is significantly more protein efficient than beef (50,000 times), peas (400 times) and soybeans (100 times) and has no additives.

Fintech firm Oriente lays off 20% of workforce since Q4 2019

Oriente has laid off around 20 percent of its employees since the fourth quarter of last year amid disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, the online lending firm told DealStreetAsia. 

The layoffs were initially reported by Tech In Asia and confirmed to DealStreetAsia by a company representative.

“The continued uncertainty regarding the depth and duration of this crisis means that while we hope for the best, we must firm up efforts to ensure we are in a strong position to withstand the worst,” a company representative told DealStreetAsia via email. “We’ve been forced to make tough choices and painful decisions that we have never made before or in better circumstances would never choose to – including force reductions, salary cuts, and furloughs.” 

Most of the job cuts have been for offline sales in the Philippines and Indonesia, the representative said, noting the company currently has around 1,600 employees. 

The company said its founders would take no pay for the rest of the year, and the entire senior management team would take salary cuts of 30 percent to 50 percent.

New design for 5in5  9

Recommend to a friend

Next on your reading list