• Bloomberg

    Six Hours Will Decide India’s Next Digital Winners

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Time will be the next frontier in India’s digital battlefield; dollars will follow the hours consumers spend online.India has left a void in their day by banning 59 Chinese apps after a border dispute with its northern neighbor led to violent clashes. The video-sharing platform TikTok, which became a craze in towns and villages as a medium of expression, is gone. So are its smaller cousins, like Bigo Live and Likee.What can fill the gap? Thanks to the world’s cheapest data charges of 9 cents per gigabyte, Indian smartphone users are guzzling content for six hours plus. For local startups like Glance, which offers games, news and video on the mobile lock-screen, the ban on Chinese competition is a chance to add to its tally of 100 million daily active users. The country’s youth bulge also makes it a perfect occasion for homegrown education technology unicorns like Byju to scale up.But the ultimate prize may go to super-apps that meld content and commerce in the 16 Indian languages besides English that boast anywhere between 5 million to half a billion speakers. To not have to download multiple apps to do different things will save phone memory, an important consideration for those who access the internet on low-end devices. Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat, which offers everything from messaging to gaming and financial services, provides a successful template. Chinese users are also online for six hours a day, mostly to browse content, particularly social media. Although only 4% of their time is spent on e-commerce, it’s enough to drive $1.5 trillion in annual online sales. The smaller Indian market, with online sales of $40 billion, will want to copy the playbook.  The most obvious super-app candidate is billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms Ltd., a four-year-old startup with an equity value of $65 billion, including more than $15 billion recently raised from investors including Facebook Inc., KKR & Co. and Silver Lake Partners. Before Jio eventually seeks a listing on Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange, Ambani would probably want it ready as a carriage-content-and-commerce powerhouse for half-a-billion people.Jio’s 4G telecom service already has roughly 400 million subscribers, though they currently don’t even pay $2 a month. The trick to a $100 billion-plus initial public offering would lie in using the partnership with Facebook to introduce features such as the WeChat mini-program via the popular WhatsApp messaging service. It lets users book hotels, order taxis, explore augmented reality to try on a new L’Oreal beauty product, or test-drive a Tesla — without leaving WeChat. When it comes to building product awareness and interest, these embedded mini-apps in China are now a fourth as effective as regular online stores run by JD.com Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., according to McKinsey & Co. They will offer brands in India a chance to sell more — and more profitably — even in remote towns. The consulting firm found that younger consumers in smaller Chinese cities give more weight to advice from social-media influencers and referrals by friends than their counterparts in larger metropolitan areas. This will probably hold true for India as well. As for the actual commerce, JioMart, Ambani’s new e-commerce platform, would take orders and — if the regulator permits it — accept payments via WhatsApp. Staples could be delivered by traditional neighborhood stores, with Jio helping connect them to buyers. For discretionary products, Ambani may use his Reliance Retail Ltd., already the country’s largest bricks-and-mortar retailer. It won’t be too hard to grease the wheels of super-app commerce with credit. Local lenders will be desperate for a new source of balance-sheet expansion after absorbing inevitable losses from the pandemic and lockdown. Still, the road to satisfied digital customers will be long and bumpy because of India’s creaky infrastructure. Keeping users hooked with novel content will therefore be crucial. Facebook is building a new version of Quest virtual reality headsets; the Silicon Valley firm is also acquiring studios that make VR games. Jio, which wants its set-top box to support online gaming, could find opportunities for collaboration.However, the main entertainment fare will still be cricket and Bollywood. Last year, Ambani promised Jio First Day First Show — movies streamed to broadband customers on the day of their theater release. With Covid-19 shutting down cinemas, producers in India need digital alternatives; audiences need their fix.  Although Ambani appears to be ahead, his won’t be India’s only super-app. Amazon.com Inc. has pledged to invest $5.5 billion in the country, while Walmart Inc. has plowed in $16 billion to acquire local e-commerce leader Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Potentially, they — or Alphabet Inc.’s Google — could seek telecom and digital media partners.Western tech firms were broadly shut out of China’s digital revolution. In India, they’ll join the fray, hoping for insights that will come in handy in other emerging markets. But India will still prefer local control over the super-apps. Six hours a day of 1.3 billion people — and all the data that flows from it — is a coveted resource, something politicians won’t want slipping out of their sphere of influence. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Business Wire

    Baidu’s MediaGo Ad Platform Now Offering Native Placements on MSN

    Baidu, Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU) today announced that it is providing advertisers direct access to Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) MSN native desktop inventory via Baidu’s MediaGo ad platform. The agreement enables advertisers around the world to reach consumers in the United States through premium placements on multiple MSN properties.

  • Traveloka Nears Fundraising at Lower Valuation
    Bloomberg

    Traveloka Nears Fundraising at Lower Valuation

    (Bloomberg) -- Traveloka, Southeast Asia’s biggest online travel startup, is close to raising fresh funds at a private-market valuation of about $2.75 billion -- roughly 17% less than its most recent fundraising, according to people familiar with the matter.The Jakarta-based firm is in advanced negotiations with new strategic investors such as Siam Commercial Bank Pcl and Richard Li’s FWD Group Ltd., as well as existing backers GIC Pte. and East Ventures to secure about $250 million, the people said, asking not to be named because the discussions are private. The primary fundraising will be at a $2.75 billion valuation, while a secondary sale will be at $2.4 billion, one of the people said. Traveloka counts online travel site Expedia Group Inc. and JD.com Inc. among its existing backers.Terms of the fundraising could still change, they said. A Traveloka representative declined to comment.Traveloka, which has had its business hammered by the coronavirus fallout, is one of the first unicorns in Southeast Asia to experience a down-round -- raising funds at a lower valuation than the previous funding round. It reflects the sharp drop in business after lockdown orders halted flights and travel. Since the outbreak, the company has cut an unspecified number of positions, including about 80 jobs in Singapore in April.The travel industry is witnessing a sharp decline in business since the spread of the coronavirus. Expedia saw its total gross booking fall 39% in the first quarter, while its share price has dropped 21% this year. Vacation-rental startup Airbnb Inc. cut 25% of its workforce and raised an additional $2 billion in debt to help weather the downturn.Despite the slump, some Traveloka investors are betting on the travel industry’s eventual recovery, led by a rebound in tourism within countries, and a series of cost-cutting measures at the company, one of the people said. In Vietnam -- a model case in containing the pandemic with fewer than 400 cases and no deaths -- domestic travel has restarted.With a population of 570 million and growing middle class, Southeast Asia’s six largest economies are expected to see their online travel market more than double from $34 billion in 2019 to $78 billion in 2025, according to the most recent report by Google, Temasek and Bain released in October.Read more: Southeast Asia’s No. 1 Travel App Jumps on Fintech BandwagonSince its inception in 2012, Traveloka’s valuation climbed to $3.3 billion, according to the people. It has expanded across Southeast Asia, making it easier for consumers to book flights and hotels across countries. Like other startups in the region, Traveloka followed a popular playbook of providing multiple products and extending into financial services to complement its travel, accommodation and lifestyle offerings.Traveloka Chief Executive Officer Ferry Unardi said in an interview at the New Economy Forum in Beijing in November that the company is considering an initial public offering in Indonesia and in the U.S. in two to three years.Traveloka Looking to Grow Into Lifestyle, Financial Services: CEO (Video)(Adds forecast of Southeast Asia’s digital market in the seventh paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Video Game Stocks To Buy And Watch, Including Esports Stocks
    Investor's Business Daily

    Video Game Stocks To Buy And Watch, Including Esports Stocks

    Video games have become a huge business. That’s raised interest in video game stocks, including those that are considered esports stocks. Top names include Activision, EA and Take-Two.

  • "New Infrastructure" Plan Will Facilitate the Arrival of an Intelligent Economy and Society, Says Robin Li at WAIC
    PR Newswire

    "New Infrastructure" Plan Will Facilitate the Arrival of an Intelligent Economy and Society, Says Robin Li at WAIC

    Robin Li, the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU), today set out his elaborate vision for the future of AI during a keynote speech at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC). Li said that new infrastructure will accelerate the intelligent transformation of various industries, with Baidu playing a key role in this process through its open-source AI platforms that can empower other organizations to adopt AI applications. Li also believes that the development of AI is only in the middle stage of a three-stage historical trajectory, but that AI has already demonstrated its potential to transform economies and societies.

  • Hedge Funds Aren’t Crazy About Weibo Corp (WB) Anymore
    Insider Monkey

    Hedge Funds Aren’t Crazy About Weibo Corp (WB) Anymore

    The latest 13F reporting period has come and gone, and Insider Monkey is again at the forefront when it comes to making use of this gold mine of data. We at Insider Monkey have plowed through 821 13F filings that hedge funds and well-known value investors are required to file by the SEC. The 13F […]

  • Competition Stirs Up in Video Game Space With Tencent's Efforts
    Zacks

    Competition Stirs Up in Video Game Space With Tencent's Efforts

    Tencent's (TCEHY) aggressive steps, including the launch of its new studio, are expected to boost its competitive position against Google, NVIDIA, Amazon, NetEase and Microsoft in gaming space.

  • Were Hedge Funds Right About Ditching Baidu, Inc. (BIDU)?
    Insider Monkey

    Were Hedge Funds Right About Ditching Baidu, Inc. (BIDU)?

    The latest 13F reporting period has come and gone, and Insider Monkey is again at the forefront when it comes to making use of this gold mine of data. We at Insider Monkey have plowed through 821 13F filings that hedge funds and well-known value investors are required to file by the SEC. The 13F […]

  • SINA’s Go-Private Offer Raises Red Flags for Chinese Stocks
    Motley Fool

    SINA’s Go-Private Offer Raises Red Flags for Chinese Stocks

    SINA's (NASDAQ: SINA) stock surged 10% on July 6 after the Chinese tech company received a go-private offer from New Wave MMXV, a British Virgin Islands-based company controlled by SINA's own CEO Charles Chao. New Wave already held a 55.5% voting stake in SINA after a share subscription agreement in late 2017. New Wave wants to acquire the remaining shares of SINA for $41 per share in a $2.7 billion deal.

  • 500.com Limited Receives Notification from NYSE Regarding Delayed Filing of 2019 Annual Report
    PR Newswire

    500.com Limited Receives Notification from NYSE Regarding Delayed Filing of 2019 Annual Report

    500.com Limited (NYSE: WBAI) ("500.com," "the Company," "we," "us," "our company," or "our"), an online sports lottery service provider in China, today reports that as of July 1, 2020, it is delinquent in filing its annual report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 (the "2019 Annual Report") with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). The Company previously filed a Form 12b-25 with the SEC on June 15, 2020 for late filing of the 2019 Annual Report, pursuant to which the 2019 Annual Report was due to be filed by June 30, 2020. The Company expects to file the 2019 Annual Report (i) upon completion of the previously announced internal investigation being conducted but the Special Investigation Committee (the "SIC") of the Company's Board of Directors, with the assistance of King & Wood Mallesons as legal advisor to the SIC, (ii) once the Company's financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 are finalized, and (iii) both the Company and Friedman LLP, the Company's independent registered public accounting firm, have completed their assessment of the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2019.

  • Bull Market is Back for Red Dragon: 3 Solid Buys
    Zacks

    Bull Market is Back for Red Dragon: 3 Solid Buys

    The rally comes after a major state-owned financial newspaper said that China requires a bull market to build strength, reviving memories of the bull run of 2015.

  • South China Morning Post

    Chinese social media magnate to privatise dominant microblog operator Sina, as US-China tension reaches tipping point

    Sina Corporation, the operator of social media platform Weibo, said late Monday that a company controlled by its chairman offered to take it private, making it the latest US-listed Chinese firm to consider a privatisation offer as rising tensions between the world's two biggest economies have some companies rethinking their American listings.The Beijing-headquartered company said the offer was in the form of a "preliminary non-binding" proposal letter dated Monday from New Wave MMXV Limited, a company controlled by Charles Chao, Sina's chairman and chief executive.New Wave offered to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Sina for US$41 a share, representing a 20 per cent premium to the company's average 30-day closing price and valuing the company at about US$2.7 billion.Shares of Sina rose 10.6 per cent to close Monday at US$40.54 on Nasdaq."We believe that the acquisition will provide superior value to the company's shareholders," New Wave said in the letter. "In considering the proposed acquisition, you should be aware that we are interested only in acquiring the outstanding ordinary shares that the buyer does not already own, and that we do not intend to sell our stake in the company to any third party."According to the company's annual report filed April 29, Chao owns 13.5 per cent of the company's outstanding shares and New Wave controls 58 per cent of its voting power.Sina went public in 2000 as one of the first of Chinese online companies to list in the US. Weibo separately listed in the US in 2014.The proposal came as relations between Washington and Beijing are increasingly strained, with tensions high over a new national security law tailored for Hong Kong and the US Senate passing legislation that could force Chinese companies to delist from American bourses if they do not submit their audits for review by a US oversight board.The more hostile environment has caused a number of Chinese companies to consider secondary listings closer to home in Hong Kong or to pursue so-called take-private deals.New economy companies JD.com and NetEase raised more than US$6 billion combined with secondary listings in Hong Kong in June, following a US$12.9 billion secondary listing last year by Alibaba Group Holding, the parent company of the South China Morning Post.58.com, a Chinese online classified advertisement site, agreed in June to be taken private by a consortium of investors led by Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic. The deal valued the company at US$8.7 billion.This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

  • Google Couldn’t Help This Chinese Games Startup Beat Tencent
    Bloomberg

    Google Couldn’t Help This Chinese Games Startup Beat Tencent

    (Bloomberg) -- Once high-flying Chinese game-streaming platform Chushou TV has shuttered, becoming the latest casualty in a market increasingly dominated by Tencent Holdings Ltd.The mobile-focused streaming network’s demise on July 2 comes just two years after it received $120 million in investment from backers including Alphabet Inc.’s Google. The company, whose name translates as “tentacle,” has asked streamers who play exclusively on the platform to switch to Tencent-backed video-sharing app Kuaishou, according to an in-app notice viewed by Bloomberg News. Chushou and Google representatives didn’t respond to requests for comment sent via email.Chushou’s downfall further underscores Tencent’s supremacy in China’s game-streaming market, which iResearch estimates will generate 23.6 billion yuan ($3.4 billion) in revenue by the end of this year. Now, Tencent effectively controls the two largest platforms -- Huya Inc. and DouYu International Holdings Ltd. -- and has its own esports site eGame. In addition, the social media behemoth has stakes in fast-growing video services Kuaishou and Bilibili Inc., both of which are vying for more gaming content. Chushou said in 2018 it had 8 million unique streamers and 90 million registered users on its platform.Read more: The Billion-Dollar Race to Become China’s Amazon TwitchChina’s streaming companies live and die on fans splurging on virtual gifts to tip performers, leading to bidding wars over the top professional gamers and putting an enormous strain on smaller platforms. Last year, No. 3 player Panda TV also succumbed to competitive forces and shut down its service. Tencent, whose WeChat messaging service is the social media starting point for more than a billion people, can market its services broadly and has forged close ties with influencers, advertisers and content providers across the country.Chushou streamers complained recently online that they’ve not received their cut of virtual-gifting revenue for months and at least one influencer agency is suing Chushou for breach of contract. Last month, Shanghai Xiaren Internet Technology Ltd. secured a court order to freeze 5 million-yuan worth of assets owned by Chushou operator Hangzhou Kaixun Technology Ltd., according to court documents viewed by Bloomberg News. Other investors in Hangzhou-based Chushou include Qiming Venture Partners, GGV Capital, Shunwei Capital and Baidu Inc.’s Netflix-style iQiyi service.Tencent dominates at home but its streaming and social media efforts haven’t progressed far abroad -- something it may be looking to address. The WeChat operator has been quietly testing a mobile-focused streaming network in the U.S. since at least March. Called Trovo Live, the new service closely resembles Twitch in its appearance and functionality, and sports Tencent’s own portfolio of popular games including Fortnite and PUBG Mobile.(Updates with details on Tencent’s business in the fourth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Sina Gets $41-a-Share Buyout Proposal From CEO’s Company

    (Bloomberg) -- Sina Corp., a Chinese social media company, has received a take-private proposal for $41 a share from an entity led by its chairman.The company said in a statement Monday that New Wave MMXV Ltd., the anglicized name of Sina, submitted a preliminary non-binding proposal letter dated Monday for a “going private” transaction. New Wave is controlled by Charles Chao, chairman and chief executive officer of Sina, according to the statement.At $41, the U.S.-listed company would be valued at about $2.7 billion, an 11.8% premium on its last closing price on Thursday.Sina operates Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter. The firm was among the first wave of Chinese internet companies to seek listings internationally at the beginning of the century. It went public on the Nasdaq in 2000, with its shares rising 174% since then. The S&P 500 Index rose 116% during the same period.With the encouragement of China’s government and to be closer to their customers, some U.S.-listed Chinese companies have reversed course and sought homecomings via Hong Kong listings in the past year. That includes Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., JD.com Inc. and NetEase Inc.Chao controls 13.5% of Sina’s ordinary shares, according to a filing. Sina said in its statement that New Wave and its beneficiaries control 58% of the voting power in the company. The acquisition, to be financed by a combination of debt and equity, will be evaluated by a special committee set up by Sina’s board, according to the statementAn investor group backed by private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic offered in June to take private 58.com Inc., a Chinese online bulletin board akin to Craigslist, in a deal valuing the company at about $8.7 billion.Sina shares jumped as much as 10.8% on Monday after the announcement disclosing the offer. They closed at $40.54 in New York.(Updates with closing share price in eighth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Stock Markets Finish Sharply Higher for a Surprising Reason: China
    Motley Fool

    Stock Markets Finish Sharply Higher for a Surprising Reason: China

    The U.S. stock market came out of the holiday weekend with just as much upward momentum as it had last week. All three major market benchmarks gained ground, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI), S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC), and Nasdaq Composite picking up 1.5% to more than 2% on the day. Today, however, some news from China caused more bullish sentiment to appear across the globe, and even Wall Street benefited from some of the optimism that market participants felt as a result.

  • Is Weibo Going Private in Response to Proposed Senate Rules?
    Motley Fool

    Is Weibo Going Private in Response to Proposed Senate Rules?

    The parent company of China's Twitter got a buyout offer from its CEO. This is the latest development in a wave of Chinese companies going private.

  • Barrons.com

    CEO of China’s Sina Offers to Take Company Private. A Deal Could Be Positive for Weibo.

    (SINA) said on Monday that its chairman and chief executive, Charles Chao, had offered to take the company private for $41-a-share in cash. Sina (SINA), a China based news outlet that also owns a controlling stake in the social media service (WB) (WB), says its board has formed a special committee to review the offer, and that no decision has been made on whether to accept the bid. The offer comes from New Wave MMXV, a British Virgin Islands-based company that Chao controls.