Category: Tencent

May 29, 2019 Off

Eyeing an entry into China, Roblox enters strategic partnership with Tencent

By Jill T Frey

Kids gaming platform Roblox has its sights set on China with today’s news that it has entered into a strategic relationship with Chinese tech giant, Tencent. The companies announced a strategic partnership that will initially focus on education — specifically, coding fundamentals, game design, digital citizenship, and entrepreneurial skills.

The joint venture — still unnamed — will be based in Shenzhen, Roblox says. And its eventual goal is to bring Roblox to China. This is something Roblox has been steadily working towards ahead of today, most recently by adding support for Chinese languages and making its coding curriculum available for free in Chinese.

The first initiative from the new JV will be a scholarship fund that sponsors 15 young developers, who will fly to the U.S. to attend a week-long creator camp at Stanford University. The camp, taught by iD Tech, will teach the students game design, including how to … Read the rest

May 27, 2019 Off

TikTok parent Bytedance is reportedly working on its own smartphone

By Jill T Frey

It’s been a busy couple of months for Bytedance, one of the world’s most valuable startups and the operator of globally popular video app TikTok. The Beijing-based company has continued to grow its list of apps to include the likes of work collaboration tool Lark, an instant messenger called Feiliao as well as a music streaming app, and now it appears to be taking a bold step into the hardware realm.

Bytedance is planning to develop its own smartphone, the Financial Times reported (paywalled) citing two sources. A spokesperson from Bytedance declined to comment on the matter, but the rumor is hardly a surprise as smartphone pre-installs have long been a popular way for Chinese internet companies to ramp up user sizes.

There’s also urgency from Bytedance to carve out more user acquisition channels. After a few years of frantic growth, Bytedance failed to hit its revenue target for Read the rest

May 24, 2019 Off

Lime’s founding CEO steps down as his co-founder takes control

By Jill T Frey

In an all-hands meeting this afternoon, the scooter and bike-sharing phenom Lime announced co-founder and chief executive officer Toby Sun would transition out of the C-suite to focus on company culture and R&D. Brad Bao, a Lime co-founder and longtime Tencent executive, will assume chief responsibilities, Lime confirmed to TechCrunch.

“Lime has experienced unprecedented growth in the global marketplace under the joint leadership of our co-founders Brad Bao and Toby Sun,” the company said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “Fortunately, Lime’s structure allows for our executive leadership to be multipurpose and we are making a few changes to our team today to seize the opportunity ahead of us.”

Sun and Bao launched Lime together in late 2016. The San Francisco-based company had near-immediate success, attracting hundreds of millions in venture capital funding and reaching a valuation of more than $1 billion in only a year and a half. Today, … Read the rest

May 23, 2019 Off

Tencent’s latest education push is a nod to new collaborative structure

By Jill T Frey

When Tencent announced it had formed a new education brand this week, the internet giant wasn’t just flexing its muscles to conquer China’s booming online education sector. The new initiative is also an early result of Tencent’s long plan to foster more internal collaboration at a time when its core businesses, the lucrative video gaming segment and the billion-user WeChat, are under attack.

Called “Tencent Education,” the new brand consists of 20 products across all six of the firm’s business groups, announced executive senior vice president Dowson Tong at the company’s annual ecosystem summit on Wednesday. According to Tong, Tencent has over the years served some 15,000 schools and 70,000 educational institutes, giving it a reach of more than 300 million users in the sector.

What this means is when it comes to making education products, there will be more teamwork among Tencent divisions, from the one overseeing WeChat to … Read the rest

May 22, 2019 Off

A young entrepreneur is building the Amazon of Bangladesh

By Jill T Frey

At just 26, Waiz Rahim is supposed to be involved in the family business, having returned home in 2016 with an engineering degree from the University of Southern California. Instead, the young entrepreneur is plotting to build the Amazon of Bangladesh.

Deligram, Rahim’s vision of what e-commerce looks like in Bangladesh, a country of nearly 180 million, is making progress, having taken inspiration from a range of established tech giants worldwide, including Amazon, Alibaba and Go-Jek in Indonesia.

It’s a far cry from the family business. That’s Rahimafrooz, a 65-year-old conglomerate that is one of the largest companies in Bangladesh. It started out focused on battery manufacturing, but over the years its businesses have branched out to span power and energy and automotive products while it operates a retail superstore called Agora.

During his time at school in the U.S., Rahim worked for the company as a tech … Read the rest

May 20, 2019 Off

TikTok owner ByteDance’s long-awaited chat app is here

By Jill T Frey

In WeChat -dominated China, there’s no shortage of challengers out there claiming to create an alternative social experience. The latest creation comes from ByteDance, the world’s most valuable startup and the operator behind TikTok, the video app that has consistently topped the iOS App Store over the last few quarters.

The new offer is called Feiliao (飞聊), or Flipchat in English, a hybrid of an instant messenger plus interest-based forums, and it’s currently available for both iOS and Android. It arrived only four months after Bytedance unveiled its video-focused chatting app Duoshan at a buzzy press event.

Screenshots of Feiliao / Image source: Feiliao

Some are already calling Feiliao a WeChat challenger, but a closer look shows it’s targeting a more niche need. WeChat, in its own right, is the go-to place for daily communication in addition to facilitating payments, car-hailing, food delivery and other forms of convenience.

Feiliao, … Read the rest

May 15, 2019 Off

Tencent’s mixed bag for Q1: record profit despite weakest revenue growth yet

By Jill T Frey

Tencent, Asia’s largest tech firm, had a horrific 2018 on account of a country-wide freeze on new game monetization in China, but there’s evidence it has turned the corner.

The company’s new mobile gaming hit Game for Peace has yet to kickstart the company’s recovery from a few weakening quarters, but its booming financial technology division has helped to neutralize the brunt to some degree.

The Chinese social media and gaming titan ended the first quarter of 2019 with its slowest revenue growth since going public to $12.69 billion, a 16 percent increase year-over-year. On the other side, net profit came in at a record $4 billion, beating analyst estimates in the process.

Though most famous for WeChat, video games have fuelled Tencent’s earnings and stock prices for many years. The lucrative segment took a hit during a prolonged licensing freeze last year that prevented Tencent from monetizing a few … Read the rest

May 11, 2019 Off

India’s most popular services are becoming super apps

By Jill T Frey

Truecaller, an app that helps users screen strangers and robocallers, will soon allow users in India, its largest market, to borrow up to a few hundred dollars.

The crediting option will be the fourth feature the nine-year-old app adds to its service in the last two years. So far it has added to the service the ability to text, record phone calls and mobile payment features, some of which are only available to users in India. Of the 140 million daily active users of Truecaller, 100 million live in India.

The story of the ever-growing ambition of Truecaller illustrates an interesting phase in India’s internet market that is seeing a number of companies mold their single-functioning app into multi-functioning so-called super apps.

Inspired by China

This may sound familiar. Truecaller and others are trying to replicate Tencent’s playbook. The Chinese tech giant’s WeChat, an app that began life as … Read the rest

April 26, 2019 Off

China’s Ctrip now owns half of India’s MakeMyTrip following share swap with Naspers

By Jill T Frey

China’s Ctrip, the world’s second largest online travel company, is doubling down on India after it announced a deal to increase its ownership of travel company MakeMyTrip to nearly half.

Ctrip will boost its ownership of MakeMyTrip, which is listed on the Nasdaq as Ctrip, to 49 percent through an exchange deal that sees Naspers, the South African internet giant and early backer of Tencent, swap its shares for 5.6 percent of Ctrip. Ctrip said the investment leaves it with four percent of MakeMyTrip’s voting power.

On paper, each stake is worth around $1.3 billion. MakeMyTrip has a current market cap of $2.69 billion while Ctrip’s current share price gives it an overall valuation of $23.5 billion. In the industry, only Booking Holdings is valued higher with a current market cap of $84 billion.

There’s a long history between the three companies. Ctrip and Naspers invested $330 million into MakeMyTrip … Read the rest

April 23, 2019 Off

India’s Mfine raises $17.2M for its digital healthcare service

By Jill T Frey

Mfine, an India-based startup aiming to broaden access to doctors and healthcare by using the internet, has pulled in a $17.2 million Series B funding round for growth.

The company is led by four co-founders from Myntra, the fashion commerce startup acquired by Flipkart in 2014. They include CEO Prasad Kompalli and Ashutosh Lawania who started the business in 2017 and were later joined by Ajit Narayanan and Arjun Choudhary, Myntra’s former CTO and head of growth, respectively.

The round is led by Japan’s SBI Investment with participation from sibling fund SBI Ven Capital and another Japanese investor, Beenext. Existing Mfine backers Stellaris Venture Partners and Prime Venture Partners also returned to follow-on. Mfine has now raised nearly $23 million to date.

“In India, at a macro-level, good doctors are far and few and distributed very unevenly,” Kompalli said in an interview with TechCrunch. “We asked ‘Can we build … Read the rest