The need-to-know takeaways from VidCon 2019


This post is by Eric Peckham from TechCrunch


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VidCon, the annual summit in Anaheim, CA for social media stars and their fans to meet each other drew over 75,000 attendees over last week and this past weekend. A small subset of those where entertainment and tech executives convening to share best practices and strike deals.

Of the wide range of topics discussed in the industry-only sessions and casual conversation, five trends stuck out to me as takeaways for Extra Crunch members: the prominence of TikTok, the strong presence of Chinese tech companies in general, the contemplation of deep fakes, curiosity around virtual influencers, and the widespread interest in developing consumer product startups around top content creators.

Newer platforms take center stage

GettyImages 1161447217

Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images

TikTok, the Chinese social video app (owned by Bytedance) that exploded onto the US market this past year, was the biggest conversation topic. Executives and talent managers were curious to see where

Continue reading “The need-to-know takeaways from VidCon 2019”

The need-to-know takeaways from VidCon 2019


This post is by Eric Peckham from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




VidCon, the annual summit in Anaheim, CA for social media stars and their fans to meet each other drew over 75,000 attendees over last week and this past weekend. A small subset of those where entertainment and tech executives convening to share best practices and strike deals.

Of the wide range of topics discussed in the industry-only sessions and casual conversation, five trends stuck out to me as takeaways for Extra Crunch members: the prominence of TikTok, the strong presence of Chinese tech companies in general, the contemplation of deep fakes, curiosity around virtual influencers, and the widespread interest in developing consumer product startups around top content creators.

Newer platforms take center stage

GettyImages 1161447217

Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images

TikTok, the Chinese social video app (owned by Bytedance) that exploded onto the US market this past year, was the biggest conversation topic. Executives and talent managers were curious to see where

Continue reading “The need-to-know takeaways from VidCon 2019”

TikTok is being investigated in the U.K. for how it handles children’s data and safety


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


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TikTok is being investigated in the U.K. for how it handles the safety and personal data of underage users. According to the Guardian, information commissioner Elizabeth Denham told a parliamentary committee that the probe started in February, after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission levied a $5.7 million fine against TikTok for breaking children’s privacy law.

Denham told the Guardian that the commission is examining how TikTok collects private data and concerns about the open messaging system, which may allow adult users to contact children. “We are looking at the transparency tools for children. We’re looking at the messaging system, which is completely open, we’re looking at the kind of videos that are collected and shared by children online. We do have an active investigation into TikTok right now, so watch this space,” she said.

The investigation will also examine if the popular app, owned by ByteDance,

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Report: Chinese spend nearly 5 hours on entertainment apps daily


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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Like the rest of the world, China is getting more glued to smartphones that can perform an endless list of tasks, from talking to workmates, shopping for groceries, all the way to getting a dose of dopamine through games. Chinese internet users now spend an average of 4.7 hours on their handsets a day just for entertainment purposes, according to new data (in Chinese) collected by research firm QuestMobile.

The number is up from the 4.1-hour average from a year ago. By ‘entertainment’, QuestMobile is counting services like e-reading, music streaming, online karaoke, video streaming, mobile gaming, live streaming, and of course, short videos that are taking the world by storm. The total screen time could be much higher given the country now prefers taking QR code payments instead of cash, not to mention eyeball time contributed by children using smartphones to do their homework and housewives

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China says apps should get user consent before tracking


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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Chinese regulators might follow the European Union’s lead to make life harder for internet companies such as TikTok that closely track behavior of their users in a move that could significantly hurt their revenue.

Last week, Beijing proposed a new set of measures to enforce data security for individuals and the nation overall. According to Article 23 of the draft (see translation from China Law Translate), companies that are “using user data and algorithms to deliver news information or commercial advertisements shall conspicuously label them with the words ‘targeted’ and provide users with functionality to stop receiving information from targeted delivery.”

This is good news for users in China, who could potentially take more control over what they are shown and what tech companies collect about them.

On the flip side of the coin, stepped up data protection will “definitely have an impact” on companies that rely heavily on

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Alibaba pumps $100 million into Vmate to grow its video app in India


This post is by Manish Singh from TechCrunch


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Chinese tech giant Alibaba is doubling down on India’s burgeoning video market, looking to fight back local rival ByteDance, Google, and Disney to gain its foothold in the nation. The company said today that it is pumping $100 million into Vmate, a three-year-old social video app owned by subsidiary UC Web.

Vmate was launched as a video streaming and short video sharing app in 2016. But in the years since, it has added features such as video downloads and 3-dimensional face emojis to expand its use cases. It has amassed 30 million users globally, and will use the capital to scale its business in India, the company told TechCrunch. Alibaba Group did not respond to TechCrunch’s questions about its ownership of the app.

The move comes as Alibaba revives its attempts to take on the growing social video apps market, something it has missed out completely in China. Vmate could

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TikTok parent Bytedance is reportedly working on its own smartphone


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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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

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Indian PM Narendra Modi’s reelection spells more frustration for US tech giants


This post is by Manish Singh from TechCrunch


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Amazon and Walmart’s problems in India look set to continue after Narendra Modi, the biggest force to embrace the country’s politics in decades, led his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to a historic landslide re-election on Thursday, reaffirming his popularity in the eyes of the world’s largest democracy.

The re-election, which gives Modi’s government another five years in power, will in many ways chart the path of India’s burgeoning startup ecosystem, as well as the local play of Silicon Valley companies that have grown increasingly wary of recent policy changes.

At stake is also the future of India’s internet, the second largest in the world. With more than 550 million internet users, the nation has emerged as one of the last great growth markets for Silicon Valley companies. Google, Facebook, and Amazon count India as one of their largest and fastest growing markets. And until late 2016, they enjoyed great

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


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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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,

?

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Tencent promises its technology will ‘do good’


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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Tencent, one of Asia’s most valuable companies with a current market cap of around $460 billion, has introduced a new motto after co-founder and CEO Pony Ma said this week he wanted ‘tech for good’ to be part of the company’s vision and mission in the future.

The company has not yet officialized the new corporate philosophy and it’s unclear how the “don’t be evil”-like slogan will manifest in Tencent’s business strategy. Nor do we know if it will replace the old mission, which is still emblazoned on its website:

Tencent’s mission is to “improve the quality of life through internet value-added services”. Guided by its “user oriented” business philosophy, Tencent achieves its mission via the delivery of integrated internet solutions to over 1 billion netizens.

Episodes of recent events can probably provide some hints to what the new slogan might entail. The old mission, which focuses on the

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Indian court lifts ban on TikTok in India


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An Indian state court has reversed its ban on TikTok, allowing the short video app to return to both Apple and Google’s app stores, according to a report this morning from Reuters. Earlier this month, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had ordered TikTok be removed from app stores, after a High Court in Madras determined the app was encouraging pornography and other illicit content.

Though the removal only affected new users who were looking to download TikTok’s app to their devices for the first time — not those who already had it installed — the ban was a major blow to TikTok’s Chinese owner Bytedance. The company said in a court filing the ban was resulting in a $500,000 daily loss, and was putting more than 250 jobs at risk.

India had become a large and growing market for TikTok, with nearly 300 million users in the

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TikTok downloads banned on iOS and Android in India over porn and other illegal content


This post is by Ingrid Lunden from TechCrunch


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TikTok, the user-generated video sharing app from Chinese publisher Bytedance that has been a global runaway success, has stumbled hard in one of the world’s biggest mobile markets, India, over illicit content in its app.

Today, the country’s main digital communications regulator, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, ordered both Apple and Google to remove the app from its app stores, per a request from High Court in Madras after the latter investigated and determined that the app — which has hundreds of millions of users, including minors — was encouraging pornography and other illicit content.

This is the second time in two months that TikTok’s content has been dinged by regulators, after the app was fined $5.7 million by the FTC in the US over violating child protection policies.

The order in India does not impact the 120 million users in the country who already have the

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Backer of Musical.ly, Grindr and Opera to invest $50M in self-driving startup Pony.ai


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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A games publisher in China is following the path of its larger peer Tencent to back a wide spectrum of startups for financial gains. Beijing Kunlun Wanwei, or Kunlun, announced in a filing this week that it plans to inject $50 million into autonomous driving startup Pony.ai in exchange for a 3 percent stake.

Pony.ai confirmed the investment with TechCrunch in an email response, adding that the money contributes to its pre-B round of financing. The startup last pocketed $102 million that valued it at nearly $1 billion. It’s raised $214 million in total fundings to date according to data from CrunchBase.

Shanghai-listed Kunlun has its bets on one of China’s most aggressive smart driving companies. Pony.ai, co-founded by James Peng, formerly a leader in Baidu’s self-driving division, was only second to Baidu in total autonomous miles driven in Beijing last year (although by a large margin).

Continue reading “Backer of Musical.ly, Grindr and Opera to invest $50M in self-driving startup Pony.ai”

China’s Source Code Capital raises $570M as it builds a powerful investor network


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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Source Code Capital, the venture capital firm that’s backed some of China’s most prominent tech unicorns and boasts a network of high-profile investors and founders, announced Monday it has closed a new $570 million fund as it continues to hunt down early to mid-stage companies.

The latest close catapults Source Code’s capital under management to $1.5 billion and 3.5 billion yuan divided between six funds. Investors in the new fund, according to the company, span major pensions, sovereign wealth funds, college endowments, charities, private equity firms, among other institutions.

Source Code was founded in 2014 by Cao Yi, who studied computer science at China’s prestigious Tsinghua University and later became vice president at Sequoia Capital China, stints that might have helped him spot high-potential startups early on. To date, Source Code has backed close to 150 startups, including up-and-comers Bytedance, the TikTok parent that’s now the world’s most valuable

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TikTok’s next ambitious goal is to discover future music stars


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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TikTok needs a lot of music. A lot. The short-form video service began life as a lip-synching app in China, where it’s called Douyin, and although other categories of content, like skits and life hacks, later took off, music remains a key element to the app as its users in the hundreds of millions grow accustomed to soundtracking their video clips.

And TikTok, a Vine-like app that has amassed about 1 billion downloads around the world, is getting serious about securing good music for its content creators. The app just launched an initiative to scout music talents in Japan and South Korea after a similar program kicked off in China, where its parent, the world’s most valuable startup Bytedance, is based.

Called Spotlight, the audition will take place digitally via TikTok. Artists submit their work to the app, and winners will eventually get introduced to the company’s 21

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TikTok quietly picked up the assets of GeoGif, which created animated, location-specific overlays for video


This post is by Ingrid Lunden from TechCrunch


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Video sharing app TikTok passed 1 billion downloads last month, and its parent company ByteDance is ramping up its efforts to monetize those users with ads, while also continuing to add more features to the app to keep people engaged. In a move that could help both of those efforts, ByteDance has made a small acquisition, picking up the assets of a defunct startup called GeoGif, which developed location-specific, animated stickers and overlays for videos, suggested to users when they capture video or images in specific places.

It seems that the location-based, animated element of what GeoGif built is the key part of what might be coming soon to TikTok, since the app already had a range of visual and audio filters and stickers to alter appearances and your voice, or just to embellish and further personalize your video.

Here’s the general gist of what GeoGif can do for

Continue reading “TikTok quietly picked up the assets of GeoGif, which created animated, location-specific overlays for video”

TikTok parent Bytedance is getting serious about games


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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A turbulent 2018 for China’s gaming market hasn’t held back newcomers. Bytedance, the world’s most valuable startup behind a collection of rising new media apps including TikTok and Jinri Toutiao, is making a further push into video games after it took control of a mobile game developer through a roundabout deal.

According to a business registration filing, Shanghai Mokun has become wholly owned by Beijing Zhaoxi Guangnian, a second-tier subsidiary of Bytedance. Mokun is a mobile game developer previously owned by 37 Interactive Entertainment, a publicly listed games publisher that earmarked $791 million in revenue last year, which makes the Shanghai-based company about one-sixth the size of Activision Blizzard.

Zhang Lidong, a veteran journalist-turned senior vice president at Bytedance, has taken the helm as Mokun’s legal representative.

The price of the deal is undisclosed. A spokesperson from Bytedance declines to comment on the transaction. TechCrunch has reached out to

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This YC-backed startup preps Chinese students for US data jobs


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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In recent years, data analysts have gone from optional to a career that holds great promise, but demand for quantitative skills applied in business decisions has raced ahead of supply as college curriculum often lags behind the fast-changing workplace.

CareerTu, a New York-based startup launched by a former marketing manager at Amazon, aims to close that talent gap. Think of it as Codecademy for digital marketing, data analytics, product design and a whole lot of other jobs that ask one to spot patterns from a sea of data that can potentially boost business efficiency. The six-year-old profitable business runs a flourishing community of 160,000 users and 500 recruiting patners including Amazon, Google and Alibaba, an achievement that has secured the startup a spot at Y Combinator’s latest batch plus a $150,000 check from the Mountain View-based accelerator.

In a way, CareerTu is helping fledgling tech startups on a tight

CareerTu
careertu

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TikTok spotted testing native video ads


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TikTok is testing a new ad product: a sponsored video ad that directs users to the advertiser’s website. The test was spotted in the U.S. TikTok app, where a video labeled “Sponsored” from the bike retailer Specialized is showing up in the main feed, along with a blue “Lean More” button that directs users to tap to get more information.

Presumably, this button could be customized to send users to the advertiser’s website or any other web address, but for the time being it only opened the Specialized Bikes (@specializedbikes) profile page within the TikTok app.

However, the profile page itself also sported a few new features, including what appeared to be a tweaked version of the verified account badge.

Below the @specializedbikes username was “Specialized Bikes Page” and a blue checkmark (see below). On other social networks, checkmarks like this usually indicate a user whose account has gone

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No, Tencent isn’t about to burn Reddit down


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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Ahoy, it’s doom and gloom for Reddit after the company welcomed investment from Chinese censorship overlord Tencent.

Well, not quite.

The reality is, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. In recruiting the company behind one of the internet’s largest and vibrant social networks — chat app WeChat — and countless blockbuster games, Reddit has pulled off a major coup and banked a huge amount of cash, both of which can help it grow to the next level.

But, right now, reports in the U.S. are suggesting otherwise. You might have seen a range of negative stories surface in the past week following Reddit’s latest round of investment — first reported by TechCrunch — which is led by Tencent and values the company at $3 billion.

Triggered by a Gizmodo story last week, fear is being stoked that a deal with the “Chinese censorship powerhouse” could lead Reddit awry and bankrupt

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