China has confirmed that it has detained two Canadian men in what appears to be retaliation for the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer.

The US Senate has passed a resolution stating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Theresa May’s hopes of getting EU leaders to help her push her Brexit deal through parliament have been dealt a severe blow as she prepares to return home and face her party.

The UK’s big four auditors will next week face an unprecedented move to limit their market share and allow smaller rivals to gatecrash their self-confessed oligopoly as regulators shake up a sector rattled by a string of corporate collapses.

Mike Ashley has been rebuffed by Debenhams after he offered a £40m loan to bail out the struggling department store amid speculation it had “zero chance of survival”.

 

Brexit uncertainty has pushed a key measure of the housing market to a six-year low, according to surveyors.

Shares in Superdry have plunged by more than a third after it issued its second profit warning in less than two months – blaming mild weather for a potential £22m hit to its bottom line.

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Alibaba and Tencent in fierce battle to win the Southeast Asian market

The two Chinese tech behemoths have been locked in a fierce battle to dominate the consumer internet business including bike-sharing, ride-hailing, and food delivery

While they always have been intensely competitive in their home country, over the last several years, the battle for supremacy has extended beyond China and has moved into Southeast Asia overall.

Both conglomerates have invested huge sums of money, as well as the prestige of their brand names, in multiple startups. Increasingly though, their investments are starting to present a dilemma of sorts for companies seeking new investors – as they are left with no option but to choose one or the other.

In Southeast Asia, Alibaba has focused on e-commerce acquisitions, while Tencent is spread across games, ride-hailing, bike-sharing, and e-commerce. Both companies are expected to go head to head in more investment areas, according to marketwatchers – as they both expect to tap into businesses using mobile payments.

Since both the tech giants are not known to co-invest with each other, this could put fundraising startups in a tight spot. The rivalry between the two companies might mean that to take money from one, might permanently severe ties with the other.

Ms Grace Sai, who runs co-working space ‘Found.’ in Singapore said: “From the talks that are going on within our (start-up) community … I think (company) founders are starting to strategise around picking their camps – are they picking the Alibaba camp or are they picking the Tencent camp?”

In last year August, Alibaba had beat Tencent to take a minority stake in online retailer Tokopedia, also known as Indonesia’s Taobao. In May 2017, Tencent led a $1.2bn funding round for Indonesia-based ride-hailing firm Go-Jek. In both cases, Alibaba and Tencent both were reportedly involved in initial talks.

As Chinese tech funding flows into Southeast Asia, the region’s largest unicorns – startups valued at $1 bn or more – have raised eye-popping levels of investment this year. Marketwatchers have stated that Chinese tech giants and private equity investors are particularly drawn to Southeast Asia. It is seen as a market with few competitors of significant scale, and comparatively lower regulatory barriers than the US and Europe.

Ms Sai noted that as a region, Southeast Asia boasts favourable demographics, with 640mn people, a combined economy the size of the UK, and 340mn Internet users.

Alibaba and Tencent are the key players in China by far, dwarfing Baidu with revenues exceeding US$30bn each.

-GBO Correspondent.

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