Tech

Tech

How an anime site transformed itself into the YouTube of China
What was once a niche platform targetting fans of anime and comics has transformed itself into one of the Chinese tech industry’s biggest success stories.  Named Bilibili, an army of dedicated users known as “uploaders” has transformed the company from a prototype site built in three days by a recent college graduate to the “YouTube of China.” Originally called MikuFans, and later renamed to Bilibili, the company has leveraged a unique combination of original features and an avid fan base to make it the go-to platform for many content creators. This has made the company a big success, both with its users and with Wall Street. Since going public on the Nasdaq in early 2018, Bilibili’s share
Chinese work culture tries to find its Zen
China’s grueling 72-hour work week has become a defining feature of its rise into a modern tech powerhouse. But now, young entrepreneurs are hoping an older tradition can provide a guiding light. Known as “Buddhist entrepreneurs,” they are thumbing their noses at China’s controversial “996” work culture – which stands for working 9am to 9pm six days a week. Among those embracing the philosophy are Su Hua, the CEO of TikTok-like short video app Kuaishou, and Chen Rui, the chairman of one of China’s most popular video platforms Bilibili. They espouse a more chilled-out approach when it comes to work, choosing when, where and how many hours they work. But many entrepreneurs and investors are s
Chinese companies can create the next Clubhouse, just not in China
The surging popularity of Clubhouse has many people asking if it will take the mantle as the next up-and-coming startup, and Chinese companies see an opportunity to take advantage of the business model.  Just not in China.  Macro Lai Jinnan, the founder and CEO of Lizhi, a Chinese podcasting app, said in an interview with the  South China Morning Post that Clubhouse-like apps are unlikely to succeed in China because of the country’s strict content regulations, but he believes Chinese companies are still well-positioned to capitalize the new social audio app craze in other countries. “It will be very difficult to create a Clubhouse-like app in China. The form of Clubhouse will most likely be
The Mandalorian is inspiring China to use more virtual production sets
The Covid-19 pandemic brought a halt to much of the film industry, but it also led to a notable creative breakthrough: virtual production sets.  With travel restrictions in full force globally, production teams have developed new ways to produce stunning visual effects virtually, meaning there is no need for on-location filming.  “LED-based virtual production is definitely the future [of filmmaking],” said Guo Fu, co-founder of Beijing-based visual effects company Revo Times, which produced high-grossing Chinese films including Crazy Alien and Assassin in Red. Interest in the innovative visual effects approach has surged around the world following the success of the new Star Wars franchise T
Sun sets as Clubhouse blocked in China
Clubhouse, the US audio-chat app that had briefly provided a forum for mainland Chinese residents to speak openly about sensitive topics, became inaccessible in the country on Monday evening.  The app had proliferated quickly in China, and it garnered international attention for its online discussions of issues such as the Hong Kong protests, Xinjiang re-education camps and relations with Taiwan.  Users in China said they are unable to connect to the servers of Clubhouse and can only access the service through a virtual private network.  Users have also reported that they cannot receive verification codes via mainland China mobile phone numbers, which is currently the only way to onboard th
Clubhouse in China is a party that knows the cops are coming
UPDATE: Multiple media outlets are reporting that Clubhouse went offline in China on the evening of February 8.  Clubhouse, the hottest new social media app from Silicon Valley, is the talk of the town in mainland China because it has emerged as a rare space to discuss sensitive topics freely.  On China’s largest e-commerce platform, Taobao, a search using the keywords “clubhouse invitation” in Chinese generated more than two dozen results. An online shop in Shanghai, boldly calling itself “clubhouse invitation code,” has sold more than 200 invitations in the last month, with codes priced up to US$50. For users in mainland China, the app, which doesn’t support text or video, has offered a fr
Nobody really knows who owns data in China
Data is the new oil, or at least that is what technologists will have you believe. And much like battles over natural resources, there is a virulent debate about who owns the information.  Two of China’s largest tech companies – TikTok owner ByteDance and Tencent –  are locked in a legal fight about who owns the data created by their users. On Monday, the case was accepted by a court in Beijing, a move that experts said could become a “landmark” case as authorities ramp up antitrust efforts. Bytedance is accusing Tencent of blocking links to Douyin, its Chinese-version of TikTok, on WeChat and QQ, saying they are owners of the data their users create.  Tencent has vowed to countersue, accus
Li Ziqi is the queen of China influencers
She grew famous for portraying an idyllic rural lifestyle in China, she courted controversy by cooking “kimchi,” and now she has been crowned the undisputed queen of Chinese-language YouTube.  Li Ziqi has set a record for “Most subscribers for a Chinese- language channel on YouTube,” Guinness World Records announced on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service on Tuesday night. Li had 14.2 million followers on YouTube as of early February. She launched her YouTube channel in 2017, with a video on making a dress out of grape skins.  “The poetic and idyllic lifestyle and the exquisite traditional Chinese culture shown in Li’s videos have attracted fans from all over the world, with many YouTubers co
‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ become targets for Chinese gaming
Chinese gaming companies such as Tencent Holdings and NetEase are snapping up fictional worlds like Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter in their quest for domination of the global mobile gaming market. By investing heavily in foreign movie studios that create the globally popular fantasy worlds for viewers, Chinese gaming giants are increasing their share of a video games market that’s worth US$175 billion globally, according to industry research firm Newzoo. “While Japan and the US had long dominated the gaming sector since the early arcade and console days during the 1970s, Chinese companies are currently leading the way in 2020 via the mobile wave,” said Owen Soh, founder
Chinese city lockdown exposed reliance on food delivery apps
In January, a northern Chinese city lockdown created a temporary humanitarian crisis when 300,000 residents suddenly could not access food and medical supplies.  The outpouring of criticism also had a complaint unique to modern times: the suspension of delivery and e-commerce services like Meituan and Ele.me caused major problems in Tonghua, a rust-belt town near North Korea.  While Tonghua is not well-known for being a tech-driven metropolis, the adverse reaction to the sudden withdrawal of convenient internet services shows just how essential they have become to everyday life in China. “Where are those food delivery and online grocery apps when you need them most?” said Kevin Li, a 32-yea