Author: Catherine Shu

AT&T and Verizon join advertising boycott against Google over offensive YouTube videos

AT&T and Verizon are the latest companies to pull advertising from Google’s display network amid concerns that company does not do enough to prevent ads from appearing on YouTube videos promoting terrorism and hate speech. The two telecommunication conglomerates issued statements on Wednesday that they will stop advertising on YouTube and Google’s display network until they are reassured that their ads won’t play ahead of videos with objectionable content. The problem was highlighted last week when The Times published an article demonstrating how often Google’s programmatic advertising tools fail to prevent ads from appearing in front of videos by...

Read More

The News Lens raises Series B to challenge Asia’s traditional media companies

The News Lens, an online journalism startup that aims to be the voice of reason in Asia’s raucous media landscape, will focus on creating more original video content after landing a Series B round. The startup hasn’t disclosed the exact amount, but says it is in the range of $2 million to $3 million. Founded in 2013 as an antidote to the country’s scandal-obsessed tabloids, The News Lens has since grown to include separate editions for Hong Kong and international readers. Its Series B was led by Wiskey Capital and includes returning investor North Base Media, a fund created by former...

Read More

Alibaba invests in WayRay, a maker of augmented-reality dashboards for smart cars

After launching its first car last year, Alibaba is digging deeper into the automobile industry. The Chinese Internet and e-commerce behemoth is the lead investor in smart car tech developer WayRay’s $18 million Series B round, the startup announced. Founded in 2012, WayRay makes holographic navigation systems. According to its funding announcement, WayRay has already spent $10 million of its own capital, as well as previous venture funding, on the technology that underpins Navion, an augmented-reality dashboard that overlays directions and other information onto a driver’s view of the road. The company plans to launch a consumer version of Navion in 2017. In a prepared statement, Alibaba Group’s senior investment director, Ethan Xie, said, “We believe there is huge potential in the development of leading-edge technology like augmented reality and its application to various industries, like WayRay’s AR navigation system in the auto sector. The potential of augmented reality makes it an exciting and promising area.” Alibaba made its debut in the car industry last summer, when the RX5, a smart car it developed with SAIC (one of China’s “big four” state-owned auto manufacturers—opened for pre-orders. The RX5 uses Alibaba’s Yun operating system and the company hopes to make the vehicle part of an Internet-of-Things ecosystem that will include its other smart hardware and Internet services like Alipay. But Alibaba’s smart cars are already up against rivals from other big...

Read More

Didi Chuxing completes $7.3B financing round that includes Apple’s $1B investment – TechCrunch

Didi Chuxing, the largest ride-hailing app in China, confirmed today that it has closed a $7.3 billion financing round that includes its recent investments from Apple and China Life. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, whose sources say Didi Chuxing’s valuation is now pegged at more than $25 billion [the story has been updated to say $28 billion]. The company declined to comment on its reported valuation. The round includes $4.5 billion in equity from Apple, China Life, Ant Financial, as well as returning investors Tencent, Alibaba, China Merchants Bank, and SoftBank. The remaining capital consists of $2.5 billion in debt financing from China Merchants Bank and a $300 million long-term debt investment from China Life, the country’s largest insurance company. Didi Chuxing announced investments of $1 billion from Apple and $600 million from China Life a few weeks ago. Apple’s contribution came as a surprise when it was revealed at the end of May and drew attention to Didi Chuxing’s dominance in China over Uber—but then Uber stole some of Didi Chuxing’s thunder by disclosing a whopping $3.5 billion investment—its largest so far—from the Saudi Arabian government’s main investment fund. The competing funding news spotlights how gigantic Uber and Didi Chuxing’s war chests have become. Didi Chuxing said its latest financing round brings the total capital it has raised to $10.5 billion, which it claimed in a...

Read More

Right Now in Politics and Business