Bytedance reached by authorities for potential listing on Shanghai’s new tech board – SCMPWhat happened: Media giant Bytedance has reportedly been contacted by authorities for a potential IPO on the Technology Innovation Board in Shanghai, South China Morning Post reported, quoting people familiar with the matter.The people also said Bytedance is not as eager to go public as it was at the end of 2018, saying that the company doesn’t want to draw greater public scrutiny and is considering other means of raising capital.Why it’s important: Before the Shanghai tech board opportunity came up, Bytedance was considering going public in either New York or Hong Kong, according to SCMP.The recently added option of going public on Shanghai’s tech board could prove to be both an opportunity and a threat to the owner of Jinri Toutiao and Douyin, also known as TikTok.While the board promises looser trading limits than others in China, going public on it could place Bytedance under further scrutiny from both the Chinese public and the Chinese government.
JD.com’s drones take flight to Japan in partnership with Rakuten – TechCrunchWhat happened: Chinese online retailer JD.com has announced a partnership with Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, which will deploy the Chinese e-commerce giant’s drone delivery and unmanned vehicle service in Japan.Rakuten has over 20 years of experience with commerce and IT in Japan and launched a drone delivery service in 2016.JD.com started trialing drone flights in the same year.It is currently operating or testing drones for delivery in Beijing, as well as the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Jiangsu.Why it’s important: JD.com began developing its drone program in 2015, in its JDX innovation lab.
Think about the last time you actually stood by the side of the road to flag a taxi.Chances are, you’ve completely ported over to using mobile apps that summon a vehicle to bring you from point A to point B.Frank Koo, head of LinkedIn Talent Solutions in Asia, explains that the core value of services haven’t changed.“Competitive advantages have shifted from brick-and-mortar to digital outfits,” says Koo.“Such phenomenon has created a need for companies to develop strategies to future-proof their business through transforming themselves digitally.”A key transformation caused by this, he adds, is in the kind of talent that companies hire.
Beijing court records published online yesterday show that last November, rental bike company Ofo owed two suppliers almost RMB 150 million (around $22 million) after defaulting on payments.The former investor favorite has been struggling to pay off its debts, and the recently unveiled rulings hint at the magnitude of what it owes.Both cases—one leveled by Tianjin’s Fulande Bicycle Group and the other by Shanghai-based Phoenix Bicycle—were accepted by courts in June 2018, which ruled on the cases on Nov. 13 of the same year.The courts’ decisions were publicized online on Wednesday, instructing Ofo to repay its creditors.Ofo’s parent company, Dongxia Datong Management and Consulting, was ordered to deliver late payments, as well as a fine for breach of contract, to bike parts supplier Fulande within 10 days.The repayments total more than RMB 70 million, and the fine almost RMB 8 million.
国家级人工智能试验区落户北京 – Beijing Evening NewsWhat happened: The government of Beijing on Wednesday launched China’s first artificial intelligence (AI) pilot zone.City authorities vowed to increase their efforts in the fundamental research of leading technologies, and create an open platform to boost AI-powered applications.Beijing will explore AI-related issues including policy making, ethical standards, as well as data sharing, among others.Why it’s important: The Chinese government is pushing forward with its ambitious plan to become the world AI leader in the next 10 years.The southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu aims to boost AI development by offering subsidies of up to RMB 3 million (around $430,000) to resident companies.
Chinese short video app Kuaishou has launched a video game live-streaming app for Android, upping its stakes in China’s highly competitive live-streaming market.The move is the latest in Kuaishou’s efforts to diversify its services.The company has launched five apps in less than a year, including mobile game platform Kuaishou Minigames, PC live-streaming platform Kuaishou Live-streaming, and community app Bengdi.It also acquired Chinese video sharing website AcFun in June last year.Kuaishou’s new app, dubbed Dianmiao, hosts game livestreams, videos, forums, and downloads.The live-streaming feature of the app doesn’t differ much from competing services such as Douyu TV and Huya.
South Korea-based crowdfunding brokerage platform Wadiz will reportedly create a private equity fund to directly invest in startups.Korea Growth Investment, an independent fund-of-funds management company, is planning to inject around 5.5 billion won (US$4.8 million) into the new fund.The total investments committed to the fund has yet to be determined, with more details to be announced mid-2019.Founded in 2012, Wadiz brokered 6,800 crowdfunding rounds with an accumulated volume of 117 billion won (US$104 million).Currency converted from Korean won.Rate: US$1 = KRW 1,124.95
In recent months, authorities have ramped up regulatory oversight of the world’s largest P2P lending industry.P2P lending, or online lending, is a popular fintech application under which intermediaries gather funds from retail investors and loan the money to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individual borrowers.Yingcan Group, a Shanghai-based research firm, estimates that half of China’s online P2P platforms disappeared in 2018.There needs to be more consolidation in the industry,” he said.The rise and fall of P2PAbout a decade ago, online P2P lending began flourishing in China.
Smartisan-backed messaging service Liaotianbao, an updated version of the once-popular Bullet Messenger, has fallen victim to a major software bug, erroneously awarding users millions of RMB in virtual coins.On Tuesday, users began posting on social media about how they were able to collect large amounts of virtual coins, which can be exchanged for cash, in an in-app game dubbed “Money Tree.” The first report came from a user on microblogging platform Weibo, saying they were awarded more than 1.6 billion coins—worth nearly RMB 1 million (around $150,000)—after playing the game once.The user urged Kuairu Technologies, Liantianbao’s developer, as well as its struggling backer Luo Yonghao, founder of smartphone maker Smartisan, to “cope with the setbacks and bring better products to users.”Liaotianbao responded (in Chinese) later that day, saying the gaming feature “Money Tree” had been temporarily removed and that it would recover all the virtual funds that had been given out in error.It updated the app on Wednesday and relaunched the feature after resolving the issue.Kuairu Technology attempted to reinvent its Bullet Messenger app by launching Liaotianbao, roughly meaning a good tool for chatting in Beijing on Jan.15.
China’s Meituan-Dianping and Southeast Asia’s Grab have been rated as the planet’s two most innovative companies by Fast Company.The US-based magazine hailed the two sizable internet firms for beating their archival tech titans – Alibaba and Uber, respectively – and for building on top of their original services with an array of digital offerings.“Both Meituan and Grab are what’s known as transactional super apps, amalgamations of lifestyle services that connect hundreds of millions of customers to local businesses,” wrote Fast Company.“They may not be well known in the US, but Meituan and Grab are changing the lives of hundreds of millions of consumers and millions of merchants with highly complex operations disguised as simple transactions – elegant tech to enable real-world experiences.”Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling this morning said the firm is “humbled” to receive the accolade “alongside an impressive cohort of global companies.” She added, “I am proud of the work our teams are doing to build a more digitally and financially inclusive Southeast Asia.”Amazon and Google were the top two in Fast Company‘s 2017 list.
Ant Financial’s payment service Alipay will start charging a fee on credit card repayments next month, a move that comes amid rising operational costs and tightening regulation.From March 26, the Chinese payment giant will start charging 0.1% on monthly repayments in excess of RMB 2,000 (around $300) to “ensure the sustainable development of its credit card repayment service,” an Alipay spokesperson said in a statement shared with TechNode.The fee will not be applied to credit card bills below the monthly threshold, while users that exceed it will be able to use their membership points to increase the quota without incurring fees.Alipay is not the only payment service that has been forced to start digging into their customers’ pockets.In August, rival WeChat Pay expanded its credit card bill pay fee policy from charging users who spend more than RMB 5,000 per month to also include all credit card repayments.The government’s tightening regulatory control over the payment industry, which is aimed at reducing financial risks, has had a significant impact on platforms’ revenue streams.
PC maker Lenovo returns to profit in third-quarter on strong performance across business groups – ReutersWhat happened: Chinese PC maker Lenovo on Thursday reported a profit of $233 million in the last three months of 2018, compared to a loss of $289 million in the same period a year earlier.The company’s revenue rose 8.5% to more than $14 billion, the highest in four years.Its mobile phone business turned to profit for the first time since it purchased Motorola in 2014.Why it’s important: Lenovo’s net profit owes much to its Intelligent Devices Group, also known as IDG, which operates the firm’s PC, smart devices, and mobile phone businesses.Its PC sales witnessed year-on-year growth of 16%, with a global market share of almost 25%.
Nike’s Adapt BB self-lacing sneakers have suffered a stumbling start after an Android firmware update appeared to brick them.The buggy update was released just days after the shoe’s launch last week and appears to be preventing the footwear from pairing with Nike’s app, which controls the shoe’s tightening mechanism.It’s really not what you want to happen with a pair of $350 sneakers.The tech-laden shoe incorporates a power-lacing system called FitAdapt that can be controlled either by the app (when it’s working properly) or manually using buttons on the shoe.It’s not yet clear if the buttons are also out of action for owners whose smartphone is failing to pair with the shoe.No such issues have been reported by iPhone users with the Adapt BB shoes, but commenters on the Play Store indicate that some Android users are experiencing serious difficulties.
The 91st Academy Awards won’t be given out until Sunday night, but if social media popularity determined the winners, Black Panther would be a shoo-in for Best Picture.Twitter shared data on nominees that have been mentioned in the most tweets since nominations were announced Jan. 23.The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will livestream Oscars All Access: Red Carpet Live on Twitter Sunday from 6:30 p.m.
The relentless assault on the bezel continues with the Samsung Galaxy S10 achieving a near edge-to-edge display.It’s a stunning look, but also a fragile design that could be scuffed, scratched, or cracked quite easily in the event of a bump or a fall.Luckily, there are plenty of Samsung Galaxy S10 cases and covers to provide protection and a touch of style.Here are the first wave of S10 cases to catch our eye, but stay tuned, as we’ll add more worthy contenders for your affections as they emerge.The stylish black stripes that shine through this translucent case aren’t just for show, they also disperse shock, combining with the reinforced corners to cushion your Galaxy S10 completely from falls of up to 11 feet.Nodus Access Case III ($52)
What happened: Ciaran Martin, Director General of Cybersecurity for Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, defended Huawei’s bid to develop 5G networks.In a speech in Brussels on Wednesday, he confirmed an anonymous report published in the Financial Times earlier this week, saying that UK authorities have been mitigating potential threats to networks from Huawei for 15 years and that their regime is “arguably the toughest” in the world.He added that this is a question of setting a national standard, and not indicative of hostile activity from China.Why it’s important: The US is trying to push Huawei out of the race for 5G, claiming that its links to Beijing pose national security risks.Some governments are convinced, others remain doubtful.New Zealand is carrying out an independent assessment, whereas German authorities released a preliminary ruling in favor of Huawei on Tuesday.
After revelations that Google failed to let consumers know of a microphone in its Nest security devices, the longtime privacy advocacy group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take action.On Wednesday, EPIC sent a letter to the FTC, alerting the commission of the potential consumer risk and requesting that Google divest of its Nest hardware products.EPIC has called for federal investigations into Google in the past, like 2010 when it urged the FTC to look into the search giant's collection of Wi-Fi data for its Street View project.After revelations that Google failed to let consumers know of a microphone in its Nest security devices, a longtime privacy advocacy group is calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take action.Google says the microphone on Nest devices is turned off by default and that any mic present in a Nest device only turns on if users enable the voice-activated Google Assistant.Read more: Sen. Warner blasts Google for hidden Nest microphone: Federal agencies and Congress 'must have hearings' to expose 'the dark underbelly of the digital economy'
Twitter needs help making conversations on its platform easier to follow, and it is turning to its users.CEO Jack Dorsey conducted an interview on Twitter with Recode editor at large Kara Swisher last week, and the main takeaway—from Twitter users trying to follow along, and even from the participants themselves—was that the conversation was almost impossible to follow.Twitter Support tweeted Wednesday about twittr, a new prototype application, inviting users to test it and writing, “We want it to be easier to read, understand and join conversations—and we’d love to know what you think.”Want to help us build some new Twitter features?We want it to be easier to read, understand, and join conversations — and we’d love to know what you think.Sign up to be one of the first to try out our new prototype app, twttr.
Weak IT security may end in disaster at sea... one dayThis is according to folks this week at security house Pen Test Partners, who found that in some cases, connected maritime devices dating back to the early 1990s are being left open to the public internet for miscreants to play with.Many devices also have hardcoded and easily discoverable passwords.This may all seem like some kind of fantasy based on the plot of the hit 1990s movie Hackers, in which heroes Acid Burn and Zero Cool and their cyber-pals race to stop malware sinking a bunch of oil tankers.However, UK-based Pen Test Partners (PTP) have dug up legit vulnerabilities before, so forgive us if we give them the benefit of the doubt here."If one was suitably motivated, perhaps by a nation state or a crime syndicate, one could bring about the sinking of a ship," explained PTP consultant Ken Munro.
Co-Founder Exits China’s Biggest E-Book Retailer– Yicai GlobalWhat happened: Li Guoqing, co-founder of Chinese online bookseller Dangdang, announced in an open letter that he has left the company, which he founded with his wife Peggy Yu in 1999.After Li’s departure, Yu will serve as CEO of the company going forward.Li now plans to explore the knowledge-sharing sector by setting up a book club.Why it’s important: Li Guoqing is a prominent figure in China’s internet industry as the co-founder of Dangdang, a prominent e-book retailer that’s often likened to Amazon.There are early signs showing that Li has been taking a back seat in the company’s operations.