Year of the Dragon signifies high spending
Celebrations for the Chinese New Year are underway in the southern hemisphere to usher in 2012’s animal zodiac: the Dragon.
A representative of power, intelligence and wealth, the Dragon – and its Chinese element, water – are considered telling symbols of what’s to come this year. According to the International Business Times, the world should prepare for another stormy year: “Expect to see a lot of flooding in areas like Thailand and Southeast China. Indonesia, Pakistan, India and places in China like Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou are particularly disaster-prone. They are likely to experience frequent earthquakes,” Hong Kong astrologer Alion Yeo told the IB Times.
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Fortunately, not all omens for the year are negative: Astrologer Peter So told the IB Times that “recovery for the US economy is possible in 2013” and several astrologers forecast a rewarding investment in Russia or China this year.
Retailers across Australasia are also hopeful for a ‘rewarding investment’ in the holiday festivities: The Australian described consumer spending during the 15-day celebration as being similar to Christmas in the west. With high numbers of Chinese tourists making their way over to Australia – and spending $43.6 billion as of 30 June 2011 – their tourism dollars would provide a much-needed economic boost to the retail sector, particularly in the luxury goods department.
“Australians are friendly people. Australia is the first choice for Chinese,” tour guide Ling Zhao told The Australian.
China’s population is also expected to boom this year, as “people born under [the Dragon’s] influence are thought to have been destined for wealth,” according to The Australian. In 2000, the last Year of the Dragon, the population rose by five per cent, and the same is expected to happen this year, according to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.