SoftBank leads $500m funding in Chinese ride-hailer Didi

HONG KONG/TOKYO China’s largest ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing has raised $500 million for its autonomous driving subsidiary in a funding round led by SoftBank.

The investment, the largest single funding round in China’s autonomous driving sector, marks Didi’s growing ambition in developing its own self-driving fleets as competition heats up and more companies begin launching robotaxi services to the public.

Didi said on Friday that the new funds will be used for research on autonomous driving technology and fleet testing, as well as industry cooperation with an aim to achieving mass production.

The Chinese ride-hailing giant entered the autonomous driving

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Thailand leads ASEAN in 5G rollout due to pandemic

BANGKOK — The novel coronavirus pandemic has prompted Thailand’s major telecom operators to rev up deployment of fifth-generation technologies, making it the first country in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations to have commercial 5G services.

Thailand’s top two mobile operators Advanced Info Service and True Corp. are racing to deploy 5G networks at hospitals to lend support to doctors and medical personnel fighting the coronavirus.

AIS on May 11 revealed that the company had set aside up to $1.2 billion for investment in 5G network expansion, aiming to cover around 13% of the total Thai population by the

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South Korea’s Smilegate leads funding round for Vietnam’s Sapo

HANOI — Vietnam-based sales and management platform Sapo Technology has closed a Series A funding round led by South Korean investor Smilegate Investment, according to a Sapo executive.

Vietnam’s homegrown venture capital Teko Ventures, which already has a stake in the startup, also participated in the latest round, said Sapo CEO Tran Trong Tuyen. He did not reveal the dollar amount but said it was seven figures.

Established in 2008, Sapo — formerly known as DKT Technology — has over 67,000 customers for its multichannel e-commerce management tool. The tool merges the functions of its e-commerce website tool Bizweb and

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Hostile takeover leads to new chief at Japan road builder

TOKYO — Construction company Maeda Corp. will install one of its own as the head of new subsidiary Maeda Road Construction, the target of a rare Japanese hostile bid in March.

Yasuhiko Imaizumi, now an advisor, will become president, replacing Ryozo Imaeda, Maeda Road said Thursday. 

Imaizumi was a longtime veteran of Maeda Corp. and led its building division. The appointment shows the construction company moving to unify its group leadership after a takeover that it said would help achieve a goal of winning more public infrastructure management contracts. 

Yasuhiko Imaizumi (Photo courtesy of Maeda)

Maeda Road’s vacant chairman post

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