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Tencent tried to buy Spotify earlier this year | TechCrunch
Spotify has long been linked with going public in the U.S. — it is speculated to be preparing for an IPO-less listing next year — but it has emerged that the company rebuffed the opportunity to sell to a major tech name earlier this year: Tencent, the Chinese internet giant valued at $380 billion.

Tencent is said to have approached Spotify with a view to acquiring the company to extend its burgeoning music business outside of China and Asia, a source with knowledge of discussions told TechCrunch.
spotify  deals  apac  tencent  fail 
2 days ago by dancall
WeChat is building an AR platform
China’s most popular messaging app WeChat is quietly developing its own framework for augmented reality (AR).
Made with smartphones in mind – not HoloLens-esque headsets – it’s a big step in WeChat’s plans to bring AR into its ever-expanding world of payments, entertainment, shopping, transportation, and other services.
apac  wechat  augmented-reality 
2 days ago by dancall
Baidu sets up $1.5b fund as it races toward autonomous cars
Chinese tech giant Baidu has set up a US$1.5 billion fund to invest in autonomous driving technology created by startups, it said today.
The aim is to invest in over 100 projects as Baidu seeks to bolster the self-driving car tech it started working on in 2014.
Baidu only today revealed the size and scope of its Apollo Fund – named after its automotive project – but the war chest seems to have been active for quite a while, as seen in the US$150 million that Ford and Baidu invested into LIDAR maker Velodyne in mid-2016 to develop more affordable sensors.
baidu  automotive  robots  apac 
2 days ago by dancall
Grab partners with Here Maps to improve location services
Southeast Asian ride-hailing unicorn Grab has struck a deal with Here Technologies, maker of Here Maps. The company says this will improve accuracy of fare estimations, estimated time of arrival for rides, and routing of drivers to passenger pick-ups and their destinations.

The map-maker’s location services for Grab include Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. It will provide features like places of interest and real-time traffic data, sourced by connected vehicles and devices.
apac  maps  taxi  new-companies  partnerships 
2 days ago by dancall
Kids in China Are Less Anxious, More Careful With Their Money, and Have More IRL Friends : Viacom Global Insights
They’re less likely to have siblings and more likely to have parents who consider them best friends. Owing to China’s one-child policy, which the country has recently begun to phase out, just 22% of Chinese kids aged 6 to 11 have siblings – much lower than the global average of 64%. Chinese parents are close with their kids and significantly more likely than their global peers to see their kids as best friends (87% of Chinese parents of kids aged 6 to 11 vs. 74% of global parents). And in China, dads are involved. Over 9 out of 10 parents expect fathers to participate as much in childrearing as mothers.
kids  apac 
2 days ago by dancall
Why 500 Million People in China Are Talking to This AI - MIT Technology Review
When Gang Xu, a 46-year-old Beijing resident, needs to communicate with his Canadian tenant about rent payments or electricity bills, he opens an app called iFlytek Input in his smartphone and taps an icon that looks like a microphone, and then begins talking. The software turns his Chinese verbal messages into English text messages, and sends them to the Canadian tenant. It also translates the tenant’s English text messages into Chinese ones, creating a seamless cycle of bilingual conversation.

In China, over 500 million people use iFlytek Input to overcome obstacles in communication such as the one Xu faces. Some also use it to send text messages through voice commands while driving, or to communicate with a speaker of another Chinese dialect. The app was developed by iFlytek, a Chinese AI company that applies deep learning in a range of fields such as speech recognition, natural-language processing, machine translation, and data mining (see “50 Smartest Companies 2017”).
voice  apac  new-companies  ai 
8 days ago by dancall
Silicone Valley: Chinese startup tests out sex doll sharing
I don’t mind sharing a bicycle. I’m happy to share an umbrella. But there’s no way on this sweet Earth you’ll persuade me to use a sex doll sharing service.
uber  airbnb  fail  apac 
9 days ago by dancall
Weibo users given one-week warning to provide real names | TechCrunch
The 340 million users of Sina Weibo, China’s popular microblogging service, have been given one week to link their accounts to a real name. The crackdown is being conducted in order to comply with new government rules restricting anonymous online conversation.

There have actually been similar rules since 2011, but the company never really enforced them, since, as has been demonstrated over and over, enforcing a real-name requirement is easier said than done. Many users would rather quit than submit to having their online communications, previously anonymous or pseudonymous, attached to their real identity.
apac  identity  legal 
10 days ago by dancall
How Chinese platform JD.com is attracting luxury brands to its $10 billion fashion business | Glossy
Xia Ding, the president of JD.com’s $10 billion fashion business, is feeling the pressure. With a team of 1,000 people under her leadership, Ding was brought on in February of this year to lead the charge of recruiting more Western luxury fashion brands to the Chinese e-commerce platform, which reports 240 million monthly active users and a growth rate of 46 percent year over year. In 2016, revenues reached a total of $37.5 billion. Its fashion business, according to Ding, is the fastest growing category for the company.
“We’re working on promoting ourselves as a fashion destination. We’re getting more reception,” she said. “Consumers in China are shopping online — they got accustomed to making big purchases online much faster than the rest of the world — and luxury brands need to start thinking more about how to take advantage.”
apac  luxury  ecommerce  retail  trends 
10 days ago by dancall
Alibaba Partners With New York Fashion Week: The Shows
Alibaba-owned online marketplace Tmall has announced an official partnership with New York Fashion Week: The Shows, where it will help U.S. brands and designers from NYFW break into the burgeoning fashion market in China.

As the highlight of the partnership, Alibaba has selected two U.S. brands from NYFW, Opening Ceremony and Robert Geller, to be featured in Tmall’s 2017 second annual “See Now, Buy Now” fashion show in October—a major event held in the run-up to the 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. The exposure will put the brands in full view of Alibaba’s more than 500 million users.
apac  luxury  ecommerce  trends  future 
10 days ago by dancall
Alibaba at 18: Focus Can’t Be Just on Bottom Line | Alizila.com
Ma emphasized that Alibaba, now about the same size as the world’s 21st-largest economy, intends to pursue growth and his ambition of being equal in size to the world’s fifth-largest economy within the next two decades. But more than merely chasing dollars and cents, Alibaba will use its technological capabilities and the skills of its 54,000-plus employees to help overcome challenges that arise in the future.

“Eighteen years ago, we saw opportunities. Now, we see challenges,” Ma said. “Religion, politics, disruption, diseases and inequality. Technology changes are going to lead many people to lose their jobs…We are technologically capable and have a very good support from a technological base. We must think about issues facing China and our world and what we should do.”
alibaba  ecommerce  apac  history  stats 
10 days ago by dancall
China shutting down cryptocurrency exchanges
Chinese media outlet Caixin – which was one of the first outlets to report China’s recent ICO ban – reported late on Friday that government authorities in China have decided to shut down all cryptocurrency exchanges that exchange digital currencies for RMB. The decision, which would affect OKCoin, Huobi, and every other major Chinese exchange, was passed to Caixin by a high-level source working on a government internet finance oversight group.

To be clear, the report does not suggest that individual ownership or exchange of digital currencies will be banned. However, with RMB-to-cryptocurrency exchanges all closed, it would be difficult for most Chinese users to acquire or exchange digital currencies like Bitcoin or Ether. As a result of the report, virtually every cryptocurrency has dropped in value as of this writing.
apac  currencies  bitcoin  legal  fail 
10 days ago by dancall
BI Intelligence | Alibaba's tech-infused grocery stores — Amazon's messaging app ambitions — Grab raising $2 billion
The Hema mobile app is central to the shopping experience at its stores — scanning product barcodes with the app allows shoppers to get additional product information and recommendations for similar products. Customers can pay with the app through an integration with Alibaba’s AliPay mobile wallet.
Customers can also use the app to make ship-from-store orders, which are then picked and packed by the store's staff. Each store location delivers within a three-mile radius, and orders are delivered within 30 minutes.
Shopper and purchase data collected through Hema’s app is fed to machine learning algorithms to personalize product pages and recommendations. This has enabled Alibaba to curate its fresh food offerings based on the shopping preferences of customers located near each individual store. Additionally, machine learning algorithms help plot the delivery route for each ship-from-store order.
Alibaba says Hema stores’ sales per unit area — a common measure of store success — is three-to-five times higher than at traditional supermarkets, and the Hema app boasts an impressive 35% conversion rate.
alibaba  retail  ecommerce  o2o  apac 
13 days ago by dancall
Alibaba to open its first brick-and-mortar mall in China, local report says - MarketWatch
Alibaba, the operator of China’s largest online sales platform, is reportedly building its own mall as it seeks to enrich the real-world shopping experience with technology and convenience.
The five-story shopping center — which the company is calling “More Mall” — is located at Alibaba’s headquarters in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.
The mall was built on a 40,000-square-meter plot of land and is scheduled to open in April, according to linkshop.com. Currently, construction crews are finishing up work on the building’s interior.

This year marked the start of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s BABA, +1.57%   “new retail” era — a phrase the firm has seeded in its announcements. In essence it is a strategy to blend online, offline, logistics and data units across a single value chain, Alibaba founder Jack Ma said in February.
alibaba  apac  retail  ecommerce  o2o 
13 days ago by dancall
Tmall Introduces ‘Michelin Guide for Wine’ for 9.9 Festival | Alizila.com
As China’s taste for global wine and spirits grows, global wineries have turned to Alibaba to uncork valuable consumer insights that will shape their marketing strategies for selling into the world’s second-largest economy.

For Italian winemaker Allegrini, that meant leveraging a report on Chinese wine trends published last December by B2C shopping site Tmall to find three wines that may be suitable for the market. All three were chosen to match a notable preference among China’s wine lovers for the slight sweetness in wine made with dried grapes.
alcohol  apac  ecommerce 
16 days ago by dancall
As Bike-Sharing Brings Out Bad Manners, China Asks, What’s Wrong With Us? - The New York Times
There are now more than 16 million shared bicycles on the road in China’s traffic-clogged cities, thanks to a fierce battle for market share among 70-plus companies backed by a total of more than $1 billion in financing. These start-ups have reshaped the urban landscape, putting bikes equipped with GPS and digital locks on almost every street corner in a way that Silicon Valley can only dream of.
But their popularity has been accompanied by a wave of misbehavior. Because the start-ups do not use fixed docking stations, riders abandon bicycles haphazardly along streets and public squares, snarling traffic and cluttering sidewalks. Thieves have taken them by the tens of thousands, for personal use or selling them for parts. Angry and mischievous vandals hang them in trees, bury them in construction sites and throw them into lakes and rivers.
Such problems have raised questions about the sustainability of China’s bike-share boom. But the debacle has also led many Chinese to look for deeper explanations and ask if bike-sharing has revealed essential flaws in the national character, prompting a far-reaching debate about social decay and the decline of decorum and morality in the country.
bikes  apac  trends  fail 
19 days ago by dancall
Isobar's Chevrolet V-Showroom - YouTube
V-Showroom is a first-of-its-kind large-scale Mixed-Reality dealership for General Motors. It provides an augmented dealership experience for buyers, enabling them to virtually experience a car showroom anytime and anywhere.
automotive  apac  agencies  vr  augmented-reality  retail 
20 days ago by dancall
Above Avalon: Apple in China
Wired's Jeremy Hsu took a slightly different angle, saying Apple was "a victim of its own failure of imagination." The company's failure to adapt services such as Apple Music and Apple Pay to local culture has contributed to fading consumer interest in Apple hardware. Hsu argued Apple Music should have a free tier while Apple Pay's reliance on near-field communication technology isn't appealing in China.
While the preceding arguments contain solid points, they ultimately end up being dubious for explaining iPhone sales weakness. Both arguments position weak Apple services adoption, either due to a strengthening WeChat or Apple's own doing, as a sign of shifting customer perceptions facing Apple in China. Poor Apple services adoption is then said to lead to less brand loyalty and greater odds of switching away from iPhone. Such a claim ends up giving way too much credit to the influence Apple services play. It's as if Apple is a services company that just happens to sell hardware. This isn't the case. There is something more at play in China regarding weaker iPhone sales besides greater WeChat competition or lackluster Apple services. 
apple  apac  trends  wechat  mobile 
23 days ago by dancall
Alipay Launches ‘Smile to Pay’ for Commercial Use in China | Alizila.com
Alipay has launched its new facial-recognition payments technology for commercial use, Ant Financial Services Group said Friday.
“Smile to Pay,” the first service of its type, debuted at a KFC’s new, healthy-food concept restaurant, called KPRO, in Hangzhou. With it, Alipay users can authenticate their payments through a combination of facial scanning and inputting their mobile phone numbers. That means they won’t need to break out their wallets—or even smartphones—anymore.
identity  payment  food  apac  funny  recognition 
23 days ago by dancall

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