China Tech Newsletter – Sept. 27th, 2016

wechatmaidan

WeChat launches Maidan, a new payment solution for small businesses who were not previously able to integrate the former’s mobile payment capability through the official API.

Now any business only needs to register online to get a QR code for customers to scan and make payments.


Drone maker DJI releases Snail, a drone racing optimized propulsion system.


Toutiao, a leading news and content reader app, has added a shopping channel by partnering with online retailer JD.com. Users will be able to make purchases without leaving the Toutiao app.

Toutiao claims to have had more than 130 million monthly active users.


Guazi, the used car marketplace backed by 58.com, has received a new investment from two new investors, Matrix Partners China and Blue Run Ventures, that brought the total amount of its Series A funding to US$250 million. (via Sina Tech)


Zuoyebang, the K-12 education app backed by search giant Baidu, has completed a US$60 million Series B round of financing led by GGV Capital and Xianghe Capital (not official translation), with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital and Legend Capital. (via Jiemodui)

China Tech Newsletter – Sept. 26th, 2016

Meituan-Dianping, the leading local services marketplace, has acquired Qian Dai Bao, a third-party payment service provider. Established in 2008, Qian Dai Bao was one of the first to obtain an official third-party payment license.

Meituan app currently accepts WeChat Payment, the mobile payment service of Tencent, Alipay, the online payment service of Alibaba’s finance arm, and credit and debit cards.


Xiaomi’s equity crowdfunding platform Micfunding launches today.

The company launched mobile payment service Mi Pay last month.


Weibo launches a multi-channel network (MCN) for video content creators.


Transportation network company Didi Chuxing announces investment in ofo, a bicycle-sharing platform.

Founded in 2014, ofo claims to have had over 1.5 million users from 20 cities and more than 500,000 daily rides.


Alipay, the online payment service of Alibaba’s finance arm, launches “Future Airport” program that will enable Chinese users to make payments at international airports. Ten international airports have joined the program.

Xiaomi Mi Pay & Mi Cleaning Robot

Xiaomi launches mobile payment service Mi Pay.


The latest addition to Xiaomi’s non-smartphone hardware product family, or MIJIA (aka. Mi Ecosystem), is an iRobot Roomba-like cleaning robot.

Since 2013, Xiaomi had invested in some 55 smart hardware startups as of March this year.

A total of 37 products from these MIJIA companies had been released as of August.

MIJIA app, the central app for controlling all Xiaomi smart home devices, had registered a total of 40 million devices and more than 5 million daily active users, according to Xiaomi.

WeChat Reached 806M MAU in Q216

Source: Tencent
Source: Tencent

WeChat (Weixin in Chinese) saw 34% year-over-year growth in monthly active users to reach 806 million in the second quarter.

Weixin Enterprise Accounts, the version for enterprise launched in April, has registered 20 million customers.

eLoyalty Cards, a new loyalty program for merchants launched in June, has signed up more than two dozen businesses, including multinational consumer goods company Unilever, personal care product chain Watsons, Swedish furniture chain IKEA, hotel chain Days Group (or 7 Days Inn) and Air China.

ARPU range for WeChat and Mobile QQ games was RMB155 – 165.

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Tencent, WeChat’s parent company, reports 52% top-line growth in Q2. Operating margin decreased from 43% to 40% year-over-year.

Value-added subscriptions, including monthly paid packages for gaming, music and video, increased 25% year-over-year. The subscription growth and increased virtual item sales contributed to the social networking revenue growth which is 57%.

The recent merger with China Music Corporation, which owns two major music streaming services (Kugou and Kuwo), has made Tencent’s QQ Music the biggest digital music provider in China. Chinese online music services provide free streaming and make revenues through paid subscriptions, paid downloads, and advertising.

Performance-based advertising, which is powered by Tencent’s self-service ad system, grew 80% year-over-year in revenue, mainly driven by Weixin(WeChat) Moments, Tencent News app, and Weixin(WeChat) Official Accounts. WeChat Moments integrated the self-service ad system in the first quarter this year.

Overall growth in online advertising revenue is 60%. Online advertising margin decreased year-over-year due to content cost increase.

Mobile advertising accounts for 80% of the total advertising revenue, the same as last quarter.

In May NOW, a live video streaming service, was launched. The company had developed several similar services previously but few got much traction.

China Tech Newsletter – May 16th-18th, 2016

WeChat (aka. Weixin) monthly active users increased 39% year-over-year to 762 million in Q1 2016. “User metrics growth benefited from the popularity of red envelope activities during the Lunar New Year holidays in early 2016 and increased original content published on Official Accounts. ”

Mobile QQ app and Mobile Qzone app reached 658 million and 588 million monthly active users, respectively.

Tencent reported 43% year-over-year growth in total revenue. Approximately 80% of Tencent’s total advertising revenues was generated through mobile during the quarter.

Performance-based advertising, in-stream and in-article ads on Tencent’s social and news services, saw 90% year-over-year increase in revenue, “primarily driven by growth in advertising revenues from Mobile Qzone, Tencent News, Weixin Moments and Weixin Official Accounts”. The company has recently “introduced self-service advertising tools to monetize Weixin Moments traffic generated in low-tier cities”.

Paid offerings for social networks, including Membership subscription, digital content subscription and virtual items, saw 48% year-over-year increase in revenue.


Location-based social app Momo reports 93% year-over-year growth in revenue in Q1 2016. Monthly active users were 72.3 million.

Live video broadcasting, launched in the third quarter of 2015, generated US$15.6 million in revenue, primarily from virtual gift sales. The company claimed that monthly active users of the live streaming service reached 30 million in April 2016.

Mobile advertising, mobile games and membership subscription increased 104%, 21% and 14% year-over-year, respectively.


The online ticketing service of Alibaba Pictures rebrands as Tao Piaopiao and raised US$260 million in outside funding. Investors include Sina, Alibaba’s finance arm Ant Financial and a group of Chinese film production companies.

Daily ticket sales have reached 3 million, according to Alibaba.


Zhihu.com, the leading Quora-like Q&A site in China, has launched Zhihu Live, where users pay for access to private Q&A sessions organized by verified experts.

Currently the site generates revenues through native advertising and an e-book initiative similar to the “Best of Quora”.

Launched in early 2011, Zhihu.com has 13 million daily active users. (via Yicai)


Onlien English learning site 51Talk has filed for U.S. IPO.

China Tech Newsletter – May 12th, 2016

Weibo reports first quarter 2016 earnings results.

The advertising revenue from SMEs increased 147% year-over-year, accounting for 52% of the total ad revenue. SME advertisers more than doubled on a year-over-year basis to nearly 832,000.

weiboq116revenue

Daily video views grew 64% quarter-over-quarter and 489% year-over-year to 470 million. Weibo recently enabled video autoplay while on WiFi and launched a live video streaming feature. Currently news media and enterprises are allowed to live stream videos and the company plans to open the new feature to celebrities and verified accounts shortly.

Weibo claims 261 million in monthly active users and 120 million daily active users. 85% of monthly active users accessed the service through mobile.

Source: Weibo Inc.
Source: Weibo Inc.

Online marketplace lender Yirendai reports its first quarterly earnings since IPO.


NetEase reports 116% year-over-year increase in revenue in the first quarter of 2016. Gaming revenue grew 104.5% year-over-year.

The company was offering more than 90 mobile games in the first quarter.


China Music Corp., a Tencent-backed digital music company, plans U.S. IPO — The Wall Street Journal


Sina reports first quarter results.


Xunlei posts first quarter results.

China Tech Newsletter – May 10th, 2016

image credit: Xiaomi
image credit: Xiaomi

Mi Max is Xiaomi’s new handset running MIUI 8, a new version of the custom Android system pre-loaded in all Xiaomi mobile devices and free for download.

Xiaomi claims that MIUI has had more than 200 million users around the world.

The three Mi Max models will retail at RMB1499 (US$230), RMB1699 and RMB1999 (US$300), respectively.


UC Web, the mobile browser and search division of Alibaba Group, announces to launch a mobile content publishing platform similar to WeChat’s official account system. Alibaba said they’d help content creators to monetize “through big data, advertising and e-commerce” .

Apart from Tencent’s WeChat, Baidu, Toutiao (news aggregation app) and Weibo also have similar content publishing platforms. WeChat allow content creators to receive tips or join their display ad program. Baidu shares advertising revenues with content contributors.