Author: Jon Russell

Razer makes virtual currency push with $20M investment in Asian payment firm

TECHCRUNCH Razer has invested close to $20 million into Malaysia-based online payment firm MOL Global as part of a push to establish its virtual currency for gamers in Asia. The deal sees Razer subsidiary ZV-Midas buy equity from existing backers MOL Investment and Hotel Resort Enterprise in a deal that values the MOL Global business at around the $100 million mark. Gaming company Razer, which made its name selling high-end peripherals and gaming laptops, introduced its ‘zVault’ digital wallet and ‘zGold’ rewards program for its gamers back in March. The strategy seems like a long-term effort to keeps gamers’ money inside...

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China clamps down on live-streaming services

TECHCRUNCH The Chinese government has cracked down on three of the country’s top live-streaming services over their apparent broadcast of unsuitable political content. Weibo, the Nasdaq-listed microblogging site, disclosed that it had received a notice from The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (‘SAPPRFT’) asking it to remove illegal content and user accounts. “The SAPPRFT had recently requested the local competent authorities to take measures to suspend several companies’ video and audio services due to their lacking of an internet audio/video program transmission license and posting of certain commentary programs with...

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Tantan, China’s top dating app, raises $70M for monetization and overseas expansion push

TECHCRUNCH Chinese startup Tantan, which is probably most comparable to Tinder, has raised $70 million in new capital as it looks to monetize its business for the first time and explore overseas expansion options. Three-year-old Tantan claims 60 million ‘validated’ users — i.e. not fake accounts — of which six million are active on a daily basis. Of those active users, 75 percent are second-day return active. Impressively, it claims a 6:4 male/female ratio which is far higher than most dating apps thanks to a marketing focus on female users. The funding — the startup’s Series D — was...

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Facebook is testing a feature to prevent profile pictures being abused by other users

TECHCRUNCH Facebook is introducing a new feature to give users peace of mind around how their profile photo can be used and accessed by others. The social network today announced a pilot program in India that is designed to protect users who are concerned about other people gaining access to their profile image. The new ‘photo guard’ feature has a range of safety measures that include: Preventing other users from downloading a person’s profile pic, or sharing it with others Preventing other users from tagging other people in a person’s profile pic Preventing other users from taking screenshots of...

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China’s Mobike plans move into services and aggressive international expansion

TECHCRUNCH Mobike, the Chinese bike-sharing company that raised $600 million last week, has lifted the lid on its plans to expand beyond rides and move into services. The Beijing-based company announced last week that it plans to expand to reach 200 cities before the end of the year, many of which are expected to be outside of China. But, as if that ambitious target wasn’t enough, the company is also working to introduce a range of services to take it beyond transportation, CTO Joe Xia told the audience at the TechCrunch China event in Shenzhen this week. Services, such...

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Hike beats WhatsApp to launching messenger app payments in India

TECHCRUNCH India-focused mobile messaging service Hike took in funding from Tencent last year, and today it took a major step to emulating the Chinese firm’s WeChat app with the introduction of mobile payments. The launch of Hike Pay not only shows an ambition to build a messaging platform, it also means Hike has beaten WhatsApp, the chat app that dominates India, to the punch. Facebook-owned WhatsApp is typically coy about future updates and services, but co-founder Brian Acton has spoken publicly of plans to launch digital payments in India, which is its largest market with over 200 million active...

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Despite challenges, startups see a bright future for tech companies in Hong Kong

TECHCRUNCH Hong Kong is one of the world’s premier financial hubs, but can it be a destination for tech startups? That was the question put to a panel of experts at the TechCrunch China event in Shenzhen today. The answer, largely, was yes but it may need a little time. “Hong Kong is becoming a global innovation center, but it needs companies to look up to,” Blake Larsen, head of international at logistics on-demand startup Lalamove, told an audience at the event. Larsen, whose company has raised more than $60 million from investors, argued that all signs point to...

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See you in Shenzhen next week for our next TechCrunch China event!

TECHCRUNCH See you in Shenzhen next week for our inaugural TechCrunch China event in the world’s hardware innovation capital. The show runs June 19-20, and we’ll be interviewing and talking to top level executives from a range of tech companies that include: You can see the full agenda here. Beyond the on-stage activity, the event will include a mix of promising startups exhibiting on the show floor. The thousands of attendees will include top-tier VCs, representatives from tech companies large and small, and journalists and other representatives of the media. And there’s more, with three additional side events planned...

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