Node Worthy 03: Food delivery and biometric payments

This week we talk about the food delivery industry and how its another proxy battle between Alibaba and Tencent as well as paying with your face. Download this episode Links Timmy Shen: The strategies, tactics, and challenges for China's food delivery industry BingoBox unveils new AI tech for its unmanned stores Masha Borak: Forget QR codes, China's next favorite…

Forget QR codes, China’s next favorite payment method is your face

The launch of Apple’s new iPhone X equipped with tech that turns your face into a poop emoji seems to have left China’s consumers less than impressed. This shouldn’t surprise us—authentication through facial recognition and other biometric features has been gaining traction in China for quite some time. From fighting toilet paper thieves with dispensers equipped with facial recognition to…

China online retail sees rapid growth in the first half of 2017

In June 2017, the total retail sales of consumer goods in China reached RMB 3.9 trillion ($440 billion), up by 11.0% year-on-year, China Internet Watch is reporting. That is approximately the same amount Greece was loaned over a five year period for its bailout ($440 billion), meaning the amount of money Chinese consumer spent on consumer goods for one month equals what Greece spent in five…

Alibaba experiments with behavior modification

Keep this chicken fed by using the Alibaba ecosystem. (Image credit: Trivium/Kendra Schaefer) Four years ago, in a move designed to explore the viability of new offline sales models, Alibaba ran a little experiment. Two of its financial service offerings, Alipay digital wallet and its onboard credit scoring platform Sesame Credit, cooperated in the launch of two unmanned supermarkets. The…

Why JD is tripping up in new retail race

Entrance to a JD unmanned convenience store. (Image credit: Michael Norris) JD, China’s largest retailer and second largest e-commerce company, had a tough 2018. Its stock plunged about 50% on concerns about slow economic growth, rising competition, shrinking profits, and a rape allegation against founder and CEO Richard Liu. Adding insult to injury, Pinduoduo, an e-commerce upstart focused on…

Pony Ma: Tencent is building networks to connect people, things, and intelligent devices

At today's Tencent 2018 “Cloud + Future” Summit in Guangzhou, CEO Pony Ma introduced his new vision for the Tencent Cloud platform, dubbed the “three-net” concept (三张网), local media is reporting. The essence of the concept is to build up the "three nets"—IoP (Internet of People), IoT (Internet of Things), and IoI (Internet of Intelligence)—within the Tencent ecosystem. Pony Ma at Tencent 2018…

WeChat mini programs 1 year on: Key figures and trends

January 9th was WeChat mini program system's first birthday. Throughout its first year, some startups picked it up and developed their own mini programs. There is now an ecosystem of mini programs. The advantage the small, light programs have is that WeChat users don't need to download anything, they just start the mini app from within WeChat, saving time and memory space on the phone. At the…

4 take aways from 34 new Chinese unicorns in 2017: IT Juzi report

A "unicorn" refers to those companies less than 10 years old and valued at $1 billion or more. There were 34 Chinese new unicorn companies in 2017 that match these conditions, according to a new report released by Chinese startup database IT Juzi (IT桔子). In the first half of 2017, rental economy startups gained prominence with bike rentals, power bank rentals, and got pretty silly with…

We tried Starbucks Roastery’s AR game, and this is what we think

The practice of drinking tea has a long history in China, having originated there during the Tang Dynasty. But in 2017, the practice of drinking coffee could be adding a new chapter to its history in China. For those living in Shanghai, last week's WeChat Moments were filled with Shanghai locals posting pictures and selfies in the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery, which opened its doors on…

TechCrunch Shanghai 2017 | The Cheat Sheet (and some free tickets)

This year, TechCrunch Shanghai will be held from the 25th -28th November 2017, at Mixc Shanghai. Registration is by the office building on 1799  Wuzhong Road, near Zhitung Road Station, 3rd exit. To date, the TechCrunch summit has been held in China 7 times. Between 2013 and the first half of 2017, more than 50,000 people have attended these events. Past guests include Google's global CEO…