Tag Archives: china

Pudong Free trade zone: Ultimate Honeypot?

It's a Trap Star Wars meme from knowyourmeme.comThe SCMP broke the news recently that the proposed new Free Trade Zone in Pudong, Shanghai, would feature unfettered access to the internet. The whole FTZ proposal is — on the surface at least — meant to attract more international business, which will help shift the Chinese economy toward a healthier mix industries.

Allow me to be a crushing cynic: An international business zone that is Great Firewall free? Sounds amazing! All those international businesses in one convenient location! Facebook may be available but they’ve also created an epic industrial espionage honeypot.

China-axlr8r: prepping companies for Demo day

It’s been a great Saturday here in Dalian with the Chinaccelerator team. This morning we watched every team practice their pitch.


I’ve spent this afternoon with all the startups, helping them polish their presentations.

I’ll share some more thoughts about the startups after the demo day on Wednesday, but all of these teams are bright, sharp, dedicated and driven and I’m honored to take part.

China-Axlr8r mentoring: crazy weekend coming

This weekend I’m headed up to Dalian, China to work with the 2013 crop of startups at Chinaccelerator. I’m not a startup fundraising expert, but I do live in PowerPoint so I hope to help the teams home their pitches as they warm up for the Chinaccelerator demo day next week in Beijing.

This is more or less my first experience as a “mentor” in this sort of scenario — though friends have listened to me bloviate plenty about startups and some Techyizu community members have derived advice from things I’ve said — and I’m quite excited to experience the energy, zeal and dedication from these teams.

Ill post some photos and thoughts during or after the weekend.

WeChat’s humble beginnings

The return of a blog is not an auspicious moment, but it’s worse to apologize for it.  Yet, after literally years of half written missives sitting in Evernote, I’m trying again — shorter form stuff that’s just too long for 5 tweets, but short enough not to be annoying or Wrong.

WeChat has enjoyed absolutely explosive growth and has begun an international push the likes of which we don’t’ often see from Chinese companies. On my last trip through India, I saw WeChat’s TV ad with Lionel Messi eleventy billion times. It’s now one of the most frequently used apps worldwide.

Statista and Global Web Index graph of most used iPhone apps globally[Source]

All of this is interesting, but I wanted to reflect on how very Asian WeChat’s core offering is, and what that may say about the future of the global mobile experience:

I first installed Weixin not long after it launched. The feature set was thin, focusing on asynchronous voice chat, which was a unique solution to two issues facing the average Chinese smartphone mobile user:

  • Voice calls are crazy expensive (if you consider PPP and compare it to data rates)
  • Data services is spotty / slow, most users are on 2G, and 3G is really 3G in name-only.

WeChat’s asynchronous voice eliminates reliability issues for data-connection drive voice communications, for a fraction of the cost of the equivalent voice call.1 From my perspective, I grew up with Answering machines and Voicemail, so I hated (and continue to rarely use) the Voice Chat feature. I don’t get it. Also, I was clearly not the target user.

While WeChat has expanded past this Asynchronous voice feature, it’s dominance in China has been so amazing that every other IP messaging service has added a version of asynchronous Voice Chat: WhatsApp, the very most western of IP messaging services, is the final adopter to launch voice chat this month

I look at this two ways:
* If your app solves a pressing problem for an Asian market, you’ve got a shot at tons of users (forgetting that revenue problem for a moment)
* “western” apps are looking to Asia to grow their businesses, and adopting features that may not be in demand within their core user base.

I could go on and make a deeper point, but let’s keep the first post in 2 years a bit light, eh?


1 It also wasn’t really their idea, Bubbly[http;//bubblemotion.com] launched earlier with a similar voice-chat offering, but was mysteriously was blocked in China not long before WeChat’s launch.

2011 Shanghai Air Quality Report Card, Part 2

In Part One, I put up graphs of the last 11 years of API readings for Shanghai, China.  The graphs were big, crowded, whacky and JPGs, so it is hard for readers to see anything really tangible.  So with the power of statistics, let us see how we can make these more useful, shall we?

Reminder: I make no claims of any sort about the accuracy of the source data, which was gathered from the Shanghai Environmental Education Center.  The site and the ministry do not go into detail about their methods, testing sites, or any other pertinent details, which ruins the fun. (click to biggify, as usual)

Year on Year 30day avg PM10Year on Year 30day avg PM10 for Shanghai China, 2000-2011

This is a year on year graph of the 30 day running average.  That’s a mouthful, but it’s relatively simple, each data point is an average of the 29 previous days and itself.  This helps smooth things out without decimating the real shifts in Air Quality, good or bad. Click through for SO2 and NO2, and more fun graphs!
Continue reading 2011 Shanghai Air Quality Report Card, Part 2