Author: Jon Russell

Facebook removes hundreds of accounts linked to fake news group in Indonesia

Facebook said it has removed hundreds of Facebook and Instagram counts with links to an organization that peddled fake news. The world’s fourth largest country with a population of over 260 million, Indonesia is in election year alongside Southeast Asia neighbors Thailand and the Philippines. Facebook said this week it has set up an ‘election integrity’ team in Singapore, its APAC HQ, as it tries to prevent its social network being misused in the lead-up to voting as happened in the U.S. This Indonesia bust is the first move announced since that task force was put in place, and it...

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Go-Jek confirms first close of $2B Series F round at $9.5B valuation

Go-Jek, the Indonesia-based ride-hailing company that is challenging Grab in Southeast Asia, has announced the first close of its Series F round, as TechCrunch reported last week. The company isn’t revealing numbers but sources previously told us it has closed around $920 million. Go-Jek is planning to raise $2 billion for the round, as reported last year. Go-Jek said that the first close is led by existing backers Google, JD.com, and Tencent, with participation from Mitsubishi Corporation and Provident Capital. It didn’t provide a valuation but sources told us that week that it is around $9.5 billion. The company said...

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Binance now lets users buy crypto with a credit card

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange based on trading volume, will now let you spend money you don’t have after it added support for credit cards from Visa and Mastercard. Credit card usage in crypto is controversial. Aside from the risk — ask anyone who bought crypto last year… — top exchanges have gone back and forth on support. Coinbase, for example, stopped allowing credit card purchases a year ago but, when it still allowed them, customers were found to have incurred additional charges. With many crypto owners getting “rekt” by a slump that has seen the market crash by around 90 percent, with some tokens now effectively worthless, the winds of change in the bear market are interesting to observe. Coinbase is abandoning its conservative approach to the coins that it lists, while Binance — which operates on the opposite scale with support for a glut of tokens — has moved from being crypto-only to offer fiat currency options to customers. Support for credit cards is a major part of that and it brings Coinbase and Binance into direct competition for the first time. The company, which is officially based in Malta, has opened fiat currency trading outposts in Uganda and Jersey, and it has plans to add similar ramps in Liechtenstein, Singapore and other places. CEO Changpeng Zhao told TechCrunch last year that Binance plans to grow to 10 fiat exchanges in 2019, with...

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Poor smartphones sales drag LG to first quarterly loss in 2 years

We’ve written extensively about LG’s struggling mobile business, which has suffered at the hands of aggressive Chinese Android makers, and now that unit has dragged its parent company into posting its first quarterly loss for two years. The Korean electronics giant is generally in good health — it posted a $2.4 billion profit for 2018 — but its smartphone business’s failings saw it post a loss in Q4 2018, its first quarterly negative since Q4 2016. Overall, the company posted a KRW 75.7 billion ($67.1 million) operating loss as revenue slid seven percent year-on-year to KRW 15.77 trillion ($13.99 billion)....

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Nintendo posts $958M profit but cuts Switch target despite strong Christmas sales

Nintendo has cut its ambitious annual Switch sales forecast despite enjoying a strong Christmas Q3 quarter. The Japanese games giant recorded a 104.21 billion JPY ($958 million) net profit on revenue of 608.39 billion JPY ($5.59 billion) between October and December 2018. Revenue was up 26 percent year-on-year, which is an impressive feature given that quarter was a successful one for Nintendo, yielding its biggest operating profit in a Q3 for eight years. The Nintendo Switch is now closing down on lifetime sales of the N64. Nintendo shifted a record 9.41 million consoles during the three-month period, up 30 percent annually, to...

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Nintendo’s Mario Kart mobile game won’t launch until the summer

It’s been a long year for Nintendo fans waiting on Mario Kart to come to mobile and, unfortunately, more patience is required after the game’s launch was moved back to this summer. Nintendo announced plans to bring the much-loved franchise to smartphones one year ago. It was originally slated to launch by the end of March 2019, but the Japanese games giant said today it is pushing that date back to summer 2019. The key passage sits within Nintendo’s latest earnings report, released today, which explains that additional time is needed “to improve [the] quality of the application and expand the content offerings after launch.” It’s frustrating but, as The Verge points out, you can refer to a famous Nintendo phrase if you are seeking comfort. Shigeru Miyamoto, who created the Mario and Zelda franchises, once remarked that “a delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” There’s plenty riding on the title — excuse the pun. Super Mario Run, the company’s first major game for the iPhone, showed its most popular IP has the potential to be a success on mobile, even though Mario required a $9.99 payment to go beyond the limited demo version. Mario Kart is the most successful Switch title to date, so it figures that it can be a huge smash on mobile if delivered in the right...

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Grab raises $200M from Thailand-based retail conglomerate Central Group

Grab’s fundraising push continues unabated after the Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm announced that it has raised $200 million from Central Group, a retail conglomerate based in Thailand. Central’s business covers restaurants, hotels and more than 30 malls in Thailand, while it has operations in markets that include Vietnam and Indonesia. Its public-listed holding companies alone are worth more than $15 billion. Singapore-based Grab confirmed that this deal is not part of its ongoing Series H fundraising, but is instead an investment into its Thailand-based business. Rumors of the deal were first reported by Reuters last year. Following this investment, Central said it will...

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Your smartphone may soon pack 1TB in storage thanks to Samsung’s new memory chip

Sick of filling the limited space on your phone with apps, photos and videos? Sometime in the near future, your smartphone could ship with more than one-terabyte (1TB) of internal storage and run 10 times faster than a standard memory card. Samsung is best known for making smartphones but the company’s memory division — one of its most profitable units — just announced that it has begun mass-producing a 1TB flash storage chip for phones. There’s no word on when they’ll be inside smartphones but Samsung said it plans to increase production during the first half of this year. “Smartphone enthusiasts will soon be able to enjoy storage capacity comparable to a premium notebook PC, without having to pair their phones with additional memory cards,” Samsung said. That 1TB capacity is double the previous highest that the Korean firm has produced. Its newest chip gave the Galaxy Note 9 a 512GB model which passes the terabyte milestone when a 512GB SD card is added. This new breakthrough promises to offer that without the help of a card, but the company also boasted of improved performance. Samsung said its new tech reaches speeds of up to 1,000 megabytes per second (MB/s) — that would transfer a 5GB-sized full HD video in just five seconds to transfer, as opposed to nearly one minute with conventional microSD cards. Increased memory will also enable better quality high-resolution video...

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