Tag Archives: Wechat

Wechat latest Business & Financial news from Doug Young, the Expert on Chinese High Tech Market, (former Journalist at Reuters)

IPOs: iQiyi Eyes 2017 Listing, Renren Finally Retires

Bottom line: iQiyi won’t make an IPO next year even though Baidu would like to get the company off its books, while Renren’s privatization marks one of the last buyouts for a US-listed Chinese firm from a wave dating back to last year.

iQiyi reportedly eyes 2017 IPO

The year 2016 is winding down as an unmemorable one for Chinese IPOs, thanks to a rocky start that cast a chill over the entire space. That said, the new year could be a bit more lively, amid signs that China’s securities regulator is opening the gates a bit wider to new offerings. That signal could bode well for offshore listings as well, with word that loss-making online video site iQiyi, controlled by online search leader Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU), is contemplating such an offering next year. Read Full Post…

FINANCE: WeChat Sips with Starbucks; Alipay in Europe, Australia

Bottom line: Starbucks’ selection of WeChat before Alipay for in-store electronic payments is a symbolic victory for the former, while Alipay’s aggressive global expansion could eventually help it to overtake UnionPay outside China.

WeChat ties with Starbucks

China’s two leading mobile payments services are both in the headlines, led by word of a major new tie-up between Tencent’s (HKEx: 700) WeChat and coffee lifestyle titan Starbucks (NYSE: SBUX). I have to admit that my interest in this particular tie-up is somewhat personal, as I’m a big fan of both of these companies and have been waiting a long time for such a partnership.

But equally significant is the fact that Starbucks chose WeChat before archrival Alipay. That same Alipay is in a couple of its own headlines, both showing how it’s trying to expand abroad to compete with China’s other major electronic payments system, the state-owned UnionPay. One of those headlines has Alipay in a new tie-up in Australia, while the other has it announcing partnerships with four major financial companies to expand its footprint in Europe. Read Full Post…

IPOs: Meitu Marches Towards HK Listing, Draws Value Skeptics

Bottom line: Meituan should be able to eventually monetize the vast audience for its selfie app, but may have to settle for a valuation below the $5 billion it wants for its IPO due to shorter-term investor skepticism. 

Meituan banks on beauty for $750 mln IPO

Plans for a Hong Kong listing by selfie app Meitu are steaming ahead, but are also drawing some differing opinions from different sides of the East-West border. It seems Chinese fans of the app that lets users enhance photos of themselves to show their best face have quite a high opinion of this local beauty, believing it could be worth up to $5 billion. But westerners are a tad more skeptical, noting that Meitu now derives most of its money from smartphone sales rather than from anything directly related to the app. Read Full Post…

FINANCE: Xiaomi, Huawei Try E-Payments; UnionPay Thrives in US

Bottom line: UnionPay’s announcement that its cards are usable at nearly all US ATMs shows it is targeting local US customers, while stiff competition will limit the success of new Xiaomi and Huawei e-payment services.

UnionPay makes big gains in US

It’s been a busy week for Chinese companies in the electronic payments headlines, with 3 major names making big moves in the space. Leading the pack is industry stalwart UnionPay, China’s equivalent of MasterCard (NYSE: MA) and Visa (NYSE: V), which is saying its own credit cards are now accepted by an impressive 80 percent of US merchants. The other headlines are coming from smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi, which have announced roll-outs for China-based electronic payment services that will compete with other similar products from Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Samsung (Seoul: 005930). Read Full Post…

China News Digest: August 18, 2016

The following press releases and news reports about China companies were carried on August 18. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
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  • Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU), Ford (NYSE: F) Invest $150 Mln in Radar Tech Firm Velodyne (Chinese article)
  • Tencent (HKEx: 700) Announces Q2 Results (HKEx announcement)
  • Smartisan Chief Denies Rumors of Company Sale to LeEco (Shenzhen: 300104) (Chinese article)
  • WeChat Wallet, Alipay Enter Japanese Shopping Malls (Chinese article)
  • Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) Announces Environmental Progress in China (Businesswire)
  • Latest calendar for Q2 earnings reports (Earnings calendar)

INTERNET: Sina Jumps on Weibo, JD Inches Towards Profits

Bottom line: Sina’s latest financials show it could be benefiting from recent woes at Baidu, while JD.com’s results show its growth is slowing as it moves towards its important goal of becoming profitable.

Sina jumps on strong profit growth

Two of China’s top Internet companies have just reported their latest quarterly earnings, with web stalwart Sina (Nasdaq: SINA) wowing Wall Street with new numbers that show its Twitter-like Weibo (Nasdaq: WB) service may finally be gaining some traction. Meantime, investors were less impressed by e-commerce giant JD.com (Nasdsaq: JD), which continued to post strong revenue growth but remained squarely in the loss column. JD tried to comfort investors by saying its operations are now quite profitable on a non-GAAP basis, but that didn’t seem to change sentiment too much. Read Full Post…

Shanghai Street View: Grouped Out

Groups explode on WeChat
Groups explode on WeChat

This week’s Street View takes us to Shanghai’s cyber realm, where I feel compelled to write about a recent trend that has seen an explosion in chat groups on the hugely popular WeChat mobile messaging platform. I write occasionally about cyberspace in this column, usually focusing on apps that make life easier for Shanghai residents for things like hailing taxis and locating nearby public toilets.

But the chat group phenomenon is slightly different, as it doesn’t have any real-world applications and is solely designed to facilitate better communication among groups of friends, acquaintances, colleagues, family members, or simply people with a common interest. Such groups really are quite useful in some cases, for example by helping people to plan an outing or for students to pass on messages about their latest class assignments. Read Full Post…

INTERNET: Facebook Inches Closer to China with Tencent Poach

Bottom line: Facebook’s new hire of a top WeChat executive could be the latest signal that it expects to get permission to launch a China-based service soon, possibly by the end of this year.

WeChat exec defects to Facebook

Following several months of relative silence, social networking (SNS) giant Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) is back in the China headlines, with word of a major executive poach from China’s leading SNS company. This particular headline is filled with mixed signals. On the one hand, the hire of a former top executive from WeChat looks like a significant move closer to China, since the hugely popular Chinese SNS operator would be Facebook’s main rival if it’s ever allowed into China. But on the other hand, the executive is a foreigner from WeChat’s international division, which has been a poor performer in the service’s weak attempts to go global. Read Full Post…

INTERNET: Car Inc Drives Onto OTC, Yidao Spars with WeChat

Bottom line: Car Inc’s hired car services unit’s $5.5 billion valuation on China’s New Third Board is hugely overinflated, while Yidao’s new clash with Tencent shows the regulator needs to become more active in oversight of WeChat.

Two of China’s second-tier hired car services providers are in the headlines heading into the weekend, as these smaller companies fight an uphill drive to attract attention away from industry giants Didi Chuxing and Uber. The larger of the 2 stories has the hired car services unit of car rental leader Car Inc (HKEx: 699) receiving approval for a listing on China’s over-the-counter (OTC) New Third Board, valuing the company at a hefty 37 billion yuan ($5.5 billion). The second story has Yidao getting in a tussle that has seen promotion of its services blocked on Tencent’s (HKEx: 700) wildly popular WeChat platform . Read Full Post…

TELECOMS: Telcos Fight Enterprise Voice Rivals, Regulator Resists

Bottom line: The MIIT should be commended for resisting pressure by China’s 3 telcos to ban free private voice services for enterprise customers, but should move quickly to show it will license such service providers like DingTalk and WeChat.

DingTalk halts free enterprise voice service

The ongoing battle between China’s big 3 state-run telecoms carriers and an emerging field of private sector challengers was in the headlines last week, when rumors emerged that the regulator was set to stop private firms from offering free voice services for business customers. The move looked set to potentially shut down popular services provided by Internet giants Tencent (HKEx: 700), Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) and others, before the regulator clarified that licenses were needed for companies to provide such voice services. (Chinese article) Read Full Post…

FINANCE: Tencent Payments Take Off, Alipay Steps Up Asia Drive

Bottom line: Tencent’s new disclosure that it processes more than 500 million daily mobile financial transactions highlights its rapid growth in the space, pushing market leader Alipay to accelerate its own expansion into Asia.

WeChat wallet creeps up on Alipay
WeChat wallet creeps up on Alipay

It’s rare to see Internet giant Tencent’s (HKEx: 700) tech-savvy but reclusive chief Pony Ma do interviews or make public appearances, so when he does it’s always reason to take notice. In this case Ma has disclosed new figures that show just how rapidly Tencent is moving into the mobile financial transactions business, rapidly encroaching on an area previously dominated by Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) affiliate Alipay. A separate headline also reflects to some extent the pressure that Alipay is feeling, with reports that its parent Ant Financial is accelerating its recent move into several major Asian markets. Read Full Post…