Pinduoduo share prices slid 8.5% to $20.78 on Monday after the Chinese social e-commerce platform reported surging losses for the first quarter of the year on significantly higher promotional expenses, while user engagement efforts gained traction.The company recorded total revenue for the quarter of RMB 4.6 billion (around $677.3 million), an increase of 228% from RMB 1.4 billion in the same quarter of 2018, driven by growth in online marketing revenues earned from the platform’s merchants.Annual spending per active user surged 87% compared with Q1 2018, and monthly active users (MAU) jumped 74% year on year to 289.7 million, according to the statement.However, heavy spending weighed, particularly sales and marketing expenses, which quadrupled from the same period a year earlier to RMB 4.9 billion (around $728.5 million) on promotional activities driven by on- and offline advertisements and promotions, according to the company.Pinduoduo sponsored the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, China’s biggest annual TV event boasting 1.2 billion viewers in 2019, and a series of online promotions leading up to the TV event.The company booked net losses of RMB 1.88 billion, more than six times the RMB 281.5 losses in Q1 2018.
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Content aggregator Qutoutiao doubled its net losses in the quarter ended March 31 despite strong revenue growth as the company pours money into aggressively growing its user base.Share prices for the Nasdaq-listed company plunged more than 8% on Monday by market close.Revenues in the first quarter skyrocketed 373% to RMB 1,118.8 million ($166.7 million) compared with the same period last year, driven by ad revenues from a significantly larger user base.However, despite revenues landing on the high end of analyst estimates, net losses more than doubled to RMB 688.2 million from RMB 302.6 million seen in the same period a year earlier.Average combined monthly active users (MAUs) increased nearly four-fold to 111.4 million for its two platforms, the Qutoutiao mobile app and its literature app Midu.The company reported that daily time spent on its core content aggregator app increased in the first quarter to 62.1 minutes.
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When Quek Siu Rui chose to attend business school at the National University of Singapore, he imagined a career as a consultant or banker – not as the leader of a multimillion-dollar startup that would redefine the region’s classifieds industry.Quek is the CEO of mobile classifieds firm Carousell, a company he cofounded with two friends seven years ago that has gone on to completely change the way people buy and sell secondhand goods across Southeast Asia.Although this approach might sound straightforward today, when the company was first founded the notion of using a smartphone app to post items for sale online was virtually unheard of.They not only won the hackathon – Quek and his cofounders also drew inspiration from the support they received from other participants during the event.“That gave us the confidence to focus on Carousell full-time.”The app has proven to be a big hit, launching at a time when smartphones have become a leading means for people to communicate and shop across Singapore and the surrounding region.
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DHS warns of ‘strong concerns’ that Chinese-made drones are stealing data – CNNWhat happened: The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned in an alert issued Monday that the US government has “strong concerns” about certain Chinese-made aircraft “that takes American data into the territory of an authoritarian state that permits its intelligence services to have unfettered access to that data.” Users were cautioned when purchasing drones from China to take extra steps to protect data, like turning off the device’s internet connection, while organizations involved in national security and critical functions are told to be “especially vigilant as they may be at greater risk of espionage.”Why it’s important: While no specific drone manufacturer was named, nearly 80% of drones in the US and Canada are made by Shenzhen-based DJI, the world’s largest commercial drone maker, according to the CNN report citing a study from Skylogic Research.The warning comes after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week effectively banning the sale and use of Huawei telecom equipment.DJI drones, now widely used in US infrastructure and government departments, have been banned from the US Army since 2017 amid allegations that the company collected and shared sensitive US data with the Chinese government.
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The Nintendo Switch may be the darling of the console gaming market but when it comes to raw power, the Xbox One and PS4 are still the ones to beat.Especially the PS4 Pro, which unlike its Microsoft rival, is able to support VR experiences.the PS5, which has now been leaked to be powerful enough to provide an experience “without disconnections”, a.k.a.Sony and Microsoft used to be quite persistent in saying that they didn’t have a next-gen console planned yet.Last month, however, details of what is expected to be called the PlayStation 5 came out of the blue, courtesy of AMD.Since then, the Internet has been filled with rumors and leaks about the console that could launch within 12 months’ time.
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Honestbee has been a hot topic not just within the tech community, but also among consumers.Let’s give credit where credit’s due: the company has built a successful brand that people care about.We’ve been covering Honestbee since 2014, and I daresay that if you want a real understanding of what it went through, Tech in Asia is your go-to source.My most recent piece, Honestbee: The inside story of what went wrong and what’s next, is the deepest dive yet into the history of the startup and what went wrong over the years.It also contains an exclusive interview with one of the company’s co-founders.You can follow our comprehensive coverage of Honestbee here.
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Ingka Investments, the investment arm of European holding company Ingka Group, has made a strategic investment in home interior and renovation platform Livspace.Ingka Group is also a strategic partner in the Ikea franchise system, representing roughly 90% of the furniture retail company’s retail sales through 367 stores in 30 markets including India, according to a statement.The Singapore-based but India-focused Livspace helps customers select and buy furniture and other decor from vendors through its platform.It also connects users to its curated community of interior designers, furniture makers, and home renovation experts.The head of Ingka Investments, Krister Mattsson, said that the investment “aligns closely with the digital direction of Ingka Group,” as well as its Ikea Retail business.Livspace currently serves nine metro areas in India: Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Mumbai, Thane, and Pune.
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As consumers crave more real-life experiences, brands are looking for ways to leave lasting impressions beyond a clever spot or a “buy now” button.Meanwhile, tech companies have been opening pop-ups to promote hardware like the Google Home or Facebook Portal.Metrics for how they perform and whether they’re worth the cost are often still a bit of a mystery.“Experiential companies are going to need to adapt or go away,” said Mat Micheli, co-founder of Viral Nation, a Toronto-based influencer marketing agency.“What I’m noticing is that brands are becoming more conscious of what they’re getting, what they’re receiving and whether they can prove some sort of ROI.”BYOM (build your own measurements)
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Co-working and co-living startup Outpost has raised US$1.3 million in a seed round that saw participation from EverHaus, Strypes Holdings, and Clarenberg Ventures.According to Outpost, the round will fund the expansion of its destination co-working, co-living, and travel services in Asia Pacific.Currently, it operates in Ubud and Canggu in Bali, Indonesia and in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with a plan to expand to a fourth location soon.Outpost transforms underperforming hotel properties in the region into communal work and living spaces to fit the needs of location-independent workers.“Being genuinely connected with the local communities we operate within is important to us in order to be both sustainable and profitable in the market,” Outpost co-founder David Abraham said.
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Australia-based freelance marketplace Cavalry Freelancing has raised a six-figure in a fully subscribed seed round.The funding saw participation from McCann Australia’s ex-CEO and chairman Ben Lilley, MullenLowe Profero’s former co-founding partner and global CEO Wayne Arnold, and Ironbridge Capital’s founding partner Paul Evans.Through its platform, Cavalry enables companies to connect to available freelancers with its network capabilities.Meanwhile, freelancers can also search for companies looking for people with their specific skill set.Cavalry said the seed round will serve as a precursor to its planned series A capital raise in 2020.The startup plans to use the fresh funds to support product development and to extend its services to small and medium-sized businesses.
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China set to introduce gene-editing regulation following CRISPR-baby furore – NatureWhat happened: The most recent draft of China’s updated civil code includes new regulations protecting human genes in adults or embryos from experimentation that could “endanger human health or violate ethical norms.” The new law lists a person’s genes in a section of protected personality rights, and according to lawyers who spoke to Nature, anyone experimenting with human genes will be responsible for what happens to their subjects.Why it’s important: China’s health ministry drafted regulations in March outlining punishments for scientists who violate existing gene-editing rules, but this update to the civil code goes a step further by enshrining the protection of one’s genes as a fundamental right.While the civil code has been undergoing revisions since 2002, additions regarding genes and gene editing come at a time when countries around the world are grappling with how to ethically manage technologies like CRISPR, especially in response to biophysicist He Jiankui’s now-infamous experiment genetically modifying viable human embryos.
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This article is from two episodes of Matrix Moments by Matrix Partners India, a podcast featuring candid conversations on what it really takes to survive the startup world.For the full interviews, go here and here.But it’s also one of the biggest issues founders or CEOs face when building their organization.There are almost always surprises down the road, and that leads to frustration, loss of time, and loss of productivity.The interview process generally reveals what are most commonly known as “extrinsics”: the person’s background, experience, education, projects, and challenges faced in the past.Moreover, one can fake a four- or six-hour interview, but it’s hard to fake the day-to-day output.
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Monday was a great day for fans of talking dog movies, race car movies and Amanda Seyfried because the trailer for the film adaptation of Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain hit the internet like a ton of bricks.Now for those who are unfamiliar with the source material, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a story told from a dog's perspective.This dog -- named Enzo, because of course he is and narrated by Kevin Costner, because duh -- believes in a Mongolian legend that says that a prepared dog will come back as a human.Enzo's human is a handsome guy (played by Milo Ventimiglia) who works at a BMW dealer and races cars on weekends, and thus Enzo makes cars and specifically racing them his pup-ticular area of expertise.At some point, Amanda Seyfried shows up, life happens, and there are kids and sadness and ol' Enzo is there to witness it all.There is no doubt that this film's trailer brought tears to the eyes of gearheads and amateur dog raters all over the world, so maybe get a tissue ready and give it a watch.
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Thanks to its terrific camera and mid-range price point, Google's new Pixel 3a and 3a XL smartphones have been fairly well-received by the public, however, that hasn't been the case for all users.According to numerous reports on Reddit, some users have started to experience random shutdowns from both the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, with a hard reboot (sometimes requiring the user to hold the power button for up to 30 seconds) being the only way to bring the phone back, as reported by Android Police."I had 3 shutdowns yesterday, including over night, causing me to miss my wake alarm," said one Redditor, who also tried using the phone "in 'Safe Mode' to eliminate any chance of a third party app causing it."In this instance, the issue continued, which led the user to believe the problem is hardware related.However, another Reddit poster with the same problem noted that the issue only seems to occur when their device is connected to Wi-Fi, and that "Leaving the phone with wifi off seems to prevent the crashing all together."Another user who reported the issue to Google says they were advised to do a factory reset of the phone, which has so far proven an effective solution.
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Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi on Monday said its first-quarter revenue rose 27% from a year earlier to RMB 43.8 billion (around $6.3 billion), driven by steady growth in overseas sales, and exceeding analyst expectations by a solid margin.Xiaomi’s adjusted net profit for the first quarter increased 22.4% year over year to RMB 2.1 billion.Xiaomi’s results show that the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker by sales volume is weathering a shrinking smartphone market in China, the world’s biggest.It is increasing focus on markets such as India and Europe.Markets outside China brought in 38.0% of its total revenue in the first quarter, representing a 34.7% year-on-year increase, according to the company.A report from research firm Counterpoint showed that Chinese smartphone market sales volume declined 7% year-on-year in the first quarter.
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Whether your phone contract has just expired or has long been in need of changing, now's a good opportunity to snag an excellent new plan from Optus.The telco is offering a stellar 20% discount on several of its plans, although you'll have to be quick as the offer ends at midnight tonight (May 21, 2019).The discount is being applied to a choice SIM-only plan that offers up 80GB of data, as well as a number of flagship handsets on 24-month contracts, including the iPhone XS, Samsung Galaxy S10+, Google Pixel 3 XL, and more.Below, we've hand-picked the cream of the crop in this flash sale to save you having to wade through all the options, and each one comes with a nice little bonus, such as a pair of wireless Beats headphones or a Samsung tablet.If you've already got yourself a handset or are happy to buy one outright, this SIM-only plan is possibly the best best value one we've ever seen.A huge 80GB of data for only $40 per month over a 12-month contract is impressive as it is, but the addition of 4GB roaming data and unlimited international talk and text to select countries is the icing on the cake.
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Once seen as a clunky kitchen gadget, the Instant Pot has now become an indispensable item for many.The multi-functional programmable Instant Pot pressure cookers can steam, saute, slow-cook, warm, and more — making meal preparation easier and more intuitive than ever.The Instant Pot Lux may lack some of the fancier features of models like the Duo or the Ultra, but this baseline model still packs a powerful, pressure-cooked punch.12 built-in microprocessor-powered smart program include saute, steam, pressure cook, slow cook, and keep warm, in addition to food-specific settings for eggs, cake, soups, and more.The same microprocessor lets the Instant Pot adjust heating intensity and during, based on pressure and volume.The 6-Quart, Instant Pot Lux includes three temperature settings and one-touch controls, effectively taking the place of six traditional kitchen items.In addition to its high-pressure cooking techniques reducing meal preparation time by up to 70%, the Instant Pot Lux’s pressure-based system has recently been proven by science to be an effective form of sterilization.
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We're diving into all the questions the series never answered here, so take note: You're entering Spoiler Town.Of course, if you're over asking questions and would rather get answers, you can read our full recap of the final episode which goes deep on the fate of the Iron Throne or head to our look at where every character finished up now the show is finally over.Why can't he just warg into Drogon and then dive as far down in the ocean as possible and leave him there?There's a few burning questions from the final episode that relate to the Dothraki, the horse-bound warriors that eat hearts, and seemed totally obliterated by the Battle of Winterfell.Remarkably, they still have a significant force and are complicit in Dany's torching of King's Landing.Jon better have thanked the Lord of Light for that save because the Dothraki just leaving him to rot in a cell is decidedly not Dothraki.
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Temporary General License buys time for Chinese tech giant, customers, suppliersThe US government on Monday gave Huawei permission to obtain technology from American organizations so that the Chinese giant can continue to maintain existing deployments of its products around the world, and push US-sourced software updates to people's phones.Last week, Uncle Sam banned Huawei and dozens of its affiliates from sourcing American components and code for its equipment, effectively cutting the Middle Kingdom manufacturer off from US-designed chips, software, and other components.By placing Huawei on a so-called Entity List, the US government required American organizations to get export licenses before doing any further business with the Chinese corporation, thus bringing chunks of the equipment maker's supply chain to a sudden shuddering halt.That meant Huawei phones already out in people's hands, or base stations and other networking kit deployed in the field globally, would be cut off from software updates and repairs and other parts that originated from America – such as Android operating system and app updates, or electronics.The ramifications were potentially huge: crucial telecommunications equipment out in the wild couldn't be easily repaired, security patches couldn't be issued, and so on.
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When Google revealed version 2 of its Material Design language, one of the most immediate reactions of users was that it was too white and bright.Never mind how it threatened to sear images onto people’s retinas, it seemed almost antithetical to the whole “dark mode” movement that’s trying to save batteries and eyes.since then, Google has started updating at least its mobile apps to offer dark themes and the two latest to get that option are Google Calendar and Google Keep.Dark mode isn’t just about looking pretty, though it does look striking, depending on your preferences.The light on dark theme has two-fold benefits.One is the reduction of strain on the eyes, especially in low-light environments, like at night.
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