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HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s biggest social network and gaming firm Tencent Holdings, which last week reported forecast-beating quarterly results, is close to making Malaysia the first foreign country to roll out its WeChat ecosystem, an executive told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: Tencent’s booth is pictured at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) 2017 in Beijing, China April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
If you’re using a messaging app in China, chances are it’s owned by Tencent – a leading provider of web-based services in China that owns WeChat, as well as a whole host of social media platforms, entertainment subsidiaries and payment services. With an increasing amount of global brand awareness, the time had come for Tencent to expand its corporate typographic voice in line with its ambitions. The company approached Monotype to design a bespoke typeface, based on its existing logo, that could convey its vision of “innovation, responsibility and enablement”.

Tencent has made a “breakthrough” in gaining an e-payment license in Malaysia for local transactions, and plans a launch early next year, senior vice president S.Y. Lau said in an interview.

The move pits Shenzhen-based Tencent against rival Alibaba Group as they scramble for new growth opportunities outside China. Tencent this week became the first Asian firm to enter the club of companies worth more than $500 billion, and on Tuesday surpassed Facebook in market value.

“Malaysia is actually quite large in the sense that we have 20 million WeChat users, huge potential, and the market is quite warm towards internet products from China,” Lau said.

Southeast Asia, home to more than 600 million people and some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, has been a key battleground for China’s tech titans fighting for deals. Ethnic Chinese make up more than a fifth of Malaysia’s population.

WeChat Pay and Alibaba’s Alipay, which dominate China’s digital payment market, have sought to expand their global footprint, although that push has so far been limited to payment services for Chinese outbound tourists. They can scan-and-pay for purchases in 34 countries or regions via Alipay and 13 via WeChat Pay, according to the companies.

Alipay’s parent company Ant Financial has joint ventures in seven markets for local digital payments services, which operate independently under the partnerships’ brand names.

Alibaba is looking to build a global payment system, while Tencent is more interested in generating traffic for WeChat – two different strategies, some bankers and investors say.

WeChat has more users, but Alipay’s aggregate transaction volume is higher, according to JP Morgan’s John Hall, though other investors note that WeChat Pay can also process large transactions if it’s used on e-commerce platforms.

GLOBAL EXPANSION

One challenge for Tencent, say analysts, is that its success in China cannot be easily exported to other markets.

Tencent is “not in a hurry” to speed up its overseas expansion or increase the monetization rate of its digital assets, Lau said.

“We walk our own path at our own pace … and, to be honest, there is really quite a lot to do in China,” he said.

WeChat, which has ballooned from a messaging app to an all-in-one platform with 980 million monthly active users, could be the “killer product” to spearhead expansion abroad, Lau said, as its embedded payment function draws more services.

WeChat, with an open platform of mini-programs, was a key revenue contributor for Tencent in the third quarter. Social and other advertising revenue rose 63 percent, while payment and cloud helped “other business” post a 143 percent jump

“Honour of Kings”, Tencent’s top-grossing battle game that led an 84 percent increase in quarterly smartphone gaming revenue, also owes its success to the network help of WeChat, and is expected to find it tougher to crack Western markets, analysts say.

Tencent this month delayed the launch of the game’s U.S. edition, “Arena of Valor”, to next year to “further polish additional gameplay and social features”.

After games and social media, most of Tencent’s other businesses are in digital content, including Spotify equivalent Tencent Music and YouTube equivalent Tencent Video, which also makes its own dramas.

CULTURE CHALLENGE

Lau said the ultimate aim was to export culture from China to the rest of the world, rather than the other way round, which he acknowledged was challenging.

“What we’re aiming to create is ‘super IPs’ (intellectual property) that leverage our different businesses from upstream to downstream,” Lau said, citing Disneyland and the James Bond movies as successful practices in the West.

A big business for Tencent’s recently listed publishing arm, China Literature, is to sell its popular novels and have them turned into dramas and video games by Tencent’s other business lines.

Tencent this month announced a plan involving 10 billion yuan ($1.51 billion) of investment to boost its creative content ecosystem, though it gave no time frame for the investment.

Company president Martin Lau – no relation to S.Y. – said on an earnings call last week that Tencent would keep investing in digital content, especially online video, to draw more time from more paying customers.

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Overseas acquisitions will remain a key way of enhancing Tencent’s global access and competitiveness, S.Y. Lau said.

Independent technology analyst Richard Windsor said Tencent’s 2016 acquisition of Supercell gave it a strong position in gaming, while the move to buy a stake in social media firm Snapchat is another piece in the jigsaw.

“It increasingly looks as if Tencent is embarking on a circumnavigation of the digital life pie in order to build an ecosystem to challenge the Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook dominance of consumer digital services,” he said, noting it’s at a “super early stage” in that process.

Tencent will likely seek more overseas acquisitions, Windsor added, which, beyond being expensive, could challenge Tencent in integrating all its digital assets at home and abroad.

Tencent has struggled to monetize its dominance over the Chinese digital life, he said, adding that’s why he sees more upside in Tencent’s market valuation, and prefers it to Alibaba.

Henry Sapiecha

DAVID KARP’S TUMBLR SELLS TO YAHOO FOR $1.1B

Five years ago, tech prodigy David Karp was determined that the business he founded in his mother’s small New York apartment would not be absorbed by a multinational firm.

“We would really rather not be gobbled up by a big media company,” then 21-year-old Karp, the creator of the blogging platform Tumblr, said in an interview with the New York Observer.

I’m always so surprised when people fill their homes up with stuff 

But what if someone was throwing $US1.1 billion cash at you?

Tumblr CEO David Karp.

Tumblr CEO David Karp.

Karp, 26, now looks set to become the latest tech billionaire with reports that Yahoo’s board has approved a deal to purchase Tumblr for

$US1.1 billion in cash.

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It’s a mind-boggling amount of money for anyone, let alone a once socially awkward teenager who dropped out of high school at the age of 15.

Remarkably it was Karp’s mother, teacher Barbara Ackerman, who suggested her son drop out of high school at the age of 15 so he could be home-schooled and continue an internship at an animation production company, Frederator Studios.

Yahoo! are expected to pay $US1.1 billion for Tumblr.

Yahoo is expected to pay $US1.1 billion for Tumblr. Photo: AFP

Karp’s mother recognised that, while her son was not particularly engaged with his classes or his fellow students, he seemed to thrive at the internship where he could talk easily with the company’s coders and engineers.

It was a passion he had developed early, teaching himself how to code HTML at the age of 11.

Karp’s mother told the New York Times that she could feel the sense of relief through her hand on her son’s shoulder when she floated the idea to him.

Soon his career was taking off.

When an entrepreneur named John Maloney sought technical help with his start-up, UrbanBaby.com, a Frederator employee recommended Karp.

The project had to be done in a couple of days, but Karp did it in four hours. At the age of 16, Karp was made UrbanBaby’s head of product, and he was given some equity in the company.

The following year Karp moved to Tokyo, where he lived for five months on his own.

It was there that he cooled on the idea of making robots, and instead decided to become an entrepreneur.

He told The Guardian that initially he would lie about his age when dealing with clients.

“I was so silly – I tried to be very formal and put on a deep voice to clients over the phone so I didn’t have to meet them and give away how young I was,” he said.

“I lied about my age. I lied about the size of my team. I lied about my experience. I was so terribly embarrassed about it for so long. I should have just owned up.”

When he moved back to New York, Karp set up his own software consultancy company, Davidville.

But he soon became fascinated by a new short-form of blogging called a “tumblelog”.

Karp told the New York Observer that he “kept waiting” for one of the established blog platform players to set up a platform for tumblelogging and, when that didn’t happen, he did it himself.

Karp founded Tumblr in 2007 at age 21 from the bedroom of his mother’s apartment in New York.

Sometimes described as Twitter meets YouTube and WordPress, Tumblr lets its users curate pictures, videos and text in one place online. The site gained 75,000 users in the first fortnight.

Tumblr now says it has more than 108 million blogs, 50 billion postings in 12 languages and 175 employees.

The website ranking site Alexa lists Tumblr as number 32 in terms of global popularity, and this year Karp made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the media category.

But despite his success, Karp prefers not to live an opulent life.

He currently lives with his girlfriend Rachel Eakley, a chef and psychology graduate student, in a sparse apartment in Brooklyn.

“I don’t have any books. I don’t have many clothes,” Karp told Forbes. “I’m always so surprised when people fill their homes up with stuff.”

The deal, if confirmed, would be the largest for Yahoo since Marissa Mayer took over as chief executive last year and could help the struggling internet pioneer regain traction with younger internet users.

Neither Yahoo nor Tumblr has commented on the report.

But Mayer has scheduled a news conference in New York on Monday at which the company said it will unveil “something special”.
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Henry Sapiecha

 

YAHOO BUYS TUMBLR FOR $1.1BILLION

The board of Yahoo! has agreed to a deal to purchase the popular blogging platform Tumblr for $US1.1 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

Yahoo! did not immediately return AFP’s calls for confirmation, but CEO Marissa Mayer has scheduled a news conference in New York on Monday at which the company said it will unveil “something special.”

Reports last week said Yahoo! is eyeing the move to attract more users from the key 18- to 24-year-old age bracket, and that the Internet pioneer sees the fast-growing Tumblr as one of the “coolest” sites with young internet users

Yahoo! has been looking at a range of acquisitions since Mayer took over as chief executive last year and vowed to revive the company, which has faded in the face of competition from Google.

Founded in 2007 and headquartered in New York, Tumblr says it has more than 107 million blogs, 50 billion postings in 12 languages and 175 employees. The website ranking site Alexa lists Tumblr as number 32 in terms of global popularity.

If the acquisition takes place, it would be the biggest for Yahoo! under Mayer and come in the wake of other pricey deals for startups, such as Facebook’s acquisition of the photo app Instagram for stock worth $US1 billion at the time

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Henry Sapiecha

 

 

“While we are shutting down wearehunted.com, we will continue to create services that will delight you, as part of the Twitter team,” the company said in a statement.

We Are Hunted founders Richard Slatter, Stephen Phillips and Michael Doherty

“There’s no question that Twitter and music go well together.

“Artists turn to Twitter first to connect with fans, and people share and discover new songs and albums every day. We can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on at Twitter.”

We Are Hunted was founded in 2007 by Stephen Phillips, Richard Slatter, Michael Doherty and Nick Crocker and recently relocated to San Francisco.

None of the trio immediately expanded on what the deal would mean for Twitter.

But it has increased rumours of a new Twitter app, potentially allowing users to discover popular new artists, listen to or even buy music.

US radio identity and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest recently revealed he’d been using a yet-to-be-released Twitter music app.

“Playing with Twitter’s new music app (yes it’s real!) … there’s a serious dance party happening at idol right now,” he tweeted. “Shows what artists are trending, also has up-and-coming artists.”

Seacrest’s comments were retweeted by Twitter, all but confirming their veracity.

It comes as the major social networks all look to expand their services, offering users a wider, richer experience than merely connecting with friends.

Twitter has bought a number of other tech start-ups over the past year, including the video tool Vine, which allows users to shoot and post short clips.

Facebook has also been expanding its range of applications, including the photo site Instagram and the new Graph Search which allows users to search the Facebook site more thoroughly.

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Henry Sapiecha

NEW TECH SUMMLY & THE YAHOO BUYOUT TO A 17YEAR OLD

Cloud 9 for the young Nick D’Aloisio techie

At just 17, former Perth and Melbourne resident Nick D’Aloisio is now one of the world’s youngest self-made multimillionaires, after tech giant Yahoo acquired his firm for a reported $28.7 million.

His technology Summly aims to change the way we read emails, news articles or any other text on our computers and smartphones by using algorithms to summarise text in under 400 characters.


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I like shoes, I will buy a new pair of Nike trainers and I’ll probably get a new computer but at the moment I just want to save and bank it. I don’t have many living expenses.

Summly founder Nick D’Aloisio.

Yahoo did not disclose the terms of the deal, but The Wall Street Journal‘s AllThingsD blog said Yahoo would pay $US30 million ($28.7 million), mostly in cash, with 10 per cent in stock.

Nick D'Aloisio.
Summly founder Nick D’Aloisio, 17.

Before the Yahoo deal, D’Aloisio received a collective $US1.5 million in investment funds from people including celebrities Ashton Kutcher and Stephen Fry and billionaire Li Ka-shing.

Speaking from his family home in London, where he has lived since leaving Australia when he was seven, D’Aloisio said he was excited about the deal with Yahoo, believing it would help assist in developing the Summly technology further and integrating it with Yahoo’s offerings.

His technology summarises text using algorithmic technologies, allowing for simplified dot point summaries of anything on the web such as search results. It has many uses and could even be used to summarise emails, social networking posts and product descriptions.

The Summly app.
The Summly app.

The deal with Yahoo will see his company’s iPhone app Summly shut down. D’Aloisio said the app had been downloaded almost 1 million times in the past five months and generated about 90 million summaries.

While active it received Apple’s Best Apps of 2012 award for Intuitive Touch and had a contract to display content from News Corp publications.
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The purchase has led some in the media to question why Yahoo would want to acquire the technology. Technology news website Wired suggested it was so that Yahoo could be cool again.

The Summly app summarised news in under 400 words.
The Summly app summarised online news articles in under 400 characters.

“There’s no logical explanation for Yahoo’s reported $US30 million acquisition of Summly,” wrote Wired‘s Ryan Tate. “The team and technology are unexceptional and the app itself will be shut down. What Yahoo really gets for its big cheque is momentum and buzz. In other words, Yahoo bought Summly to appear cool again.”

D’Aloisio said it was “technically true” that he was now a millionaire after sealing the Yahoo deal, but added that he had no immediate plans to do anything with the money.

“Obviously the money is going to be in a fund and I’ll work with my parents to save it,’ he said. “I’m just focused now on working for Yahoo and kind of taking everything to the next level.

“I like shoes, I will buy a new pair of Nike trainers and I’ll probably get a new computer but at the moment I just want to save and bank it. I don’t have many living expenses,” he told the London Evening Standard.

D’Aloisio told Fairfax Media last year that he began his journey with computers when he was eight, using Apple’s movie making software iMovie before progressing to the more professional video software Final Cut Pro.

“I basically begged my parents for six months to get [an Apple] computer,” he said of his father, an investment banker, and his mother, a lawyer. “And when I finally got it, instead of using it for just watching videos or browsing the web, I kind of had an interest to create things.”

A lot of D’Aloisio’s coverage in the media has been positive, with some describing him as “telegenic” and a “wunderkind“. But the coverage wasn’t always so glowing.



In 2011 an app writer for technology website Gizmodo, Casey Chan, published D’Aloisio’s Trimit app (now Summly) as “worst app of the week” after D’Aloisio bombarded his office with emails.

“Over the course of a few days, D’Aloisio … barraged me with over a hundred emails about Trimit,” Chan said in a post entitled “How I made a 15-year-old app developer cry“.

“I saw him go from calm to excited to a nervous wreck …” (In comparison, Fairfax was sent six emails chasing up when last year’s article would be published.)

Asked for a response last year to the Gizmodo post, D’Aloisio said his actions occurred at a “very early stage of development”. “Obviously I’m still learning and really excited about everything that’s happened with Summly,” he said. “Dealing with the current media attention is something I’m unexpectedly going to have to get used to.”

In a statement, Yahoo said it was excited to share that it was acquiring Summly and that D’Aloisio and a team would join the technology giant “in the coming weeks”.

I-Tech - Computer Hardware and Software Australia

D’Aloisio will be based at Yahoo’s central London office.

“At the age of 15, Nick D’Aloisio created the Summly app at his home in London,” Yahoo said in its statement. “It started with an insight — that we live in a world of constant information and need new ways to simplify how we find the stories that are important to us, at a glance.”

Yahoo said most articles and web pages were formatted for browsing with mouse clicks and that “the ability to skim them on a phone or a tablet can be a real challenge — we want easier ways to identify what’s important to us”.

Former Google executive Marissa Mayer took over at Yahoo in July 2012 as part of efforts by the struggling internet search pioneer to reinvent itself.

D’Aloisio said he was excited to be working with Mayer.

“The thing that’s really exciting me about Yahoo is the fact that Marissa Mayer is now their CEO, who is a product person,” he said.

With AFP
CardioTech

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha