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Tag Archives: china

Siri cofounder Tom Gruber and Apple’s head of search Vipul Ved Prakash have left the company after John Giannandrea was named as the leader of the…

The Information : Siri cofounder Tom Gruber and Apple's head of search Vipul Ved Prakash have left the company after John Giannandrea was named as the leader of the Siri Group   —  Tom Gruber, one of the original Siri cofounders, has left Apple, where he was recently the head of Siri's Advanced Development group …

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Worried about a slowdown? It already happened in 2016, says one new venture study

In today’s market, it’s hard to make sense of what’s what. Deals have grown incestuous for the first time, with outfits like GV investing alongside Uber last week — just months after its parent company, Alphabet, was at Uber’s throat . A $10 million-plus round of seed funding is no longer a joke . Venture firms continue to raise record-breaking amounts of money, despite what feels like creeping uncertainty about how much longer this go-go market can continue. Unsurprisingly, there’s been some talk lately about deal flow and the possibility that some of the most well-regarded early-stage investors in the industry have quietly applied the brakes . Yet new analysis out of Wing , the 7.5-year-old, Silicon Valley venture firm co-founded by veteran VCs Peter Wagner and Gaurav Garg, draws a conclusion that might surprise nervous industry watchers. After tracking the investment activity of what Wing considers to be the 21 leading venture firms, it discovered that a pullback already happened . . . in 2016. In fact, Wagner, who oversaw the analysis, tells us there’s been so sign of a slowdown since then. We caught up with Wagner last week to learn more about Wing’s findings — and what might be causing some confusion in the industry right now. TC: First, why do this kind of study right now?

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Mark Zuckerberg clarifies his comments about Holocaust deniers on Facebook: "I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny…

Kara Swisher / Recode : Mark Zuckerberg clarifies his comments about Holocaust deniers on Facebook: “I absolutely didn't intend to defend the intent of people who deny that”   —  The Facebook founder has attracted controversy for how the social network deals with content that is offensive to many, such as Holocaust deniers

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eBay reports Q2 revenues of $2.6B, up 9% YoY, vs. $2.66B est., with non-GAAP net income of $533M, up 7% YoY, and gross merchandise volume of $23.6B…

Natalie Gagliordi / ZDNet : eBay reports Q2 revenues of $2.6B, up 9% YoY, vs. $2.66B est., with non-GAAP net income of $533M, up 7% YoY, and gross merchandise volume of $23.6B   —  eBay said gross merchandise volume came in at $23.6 billion.  —  eBay delivered in-line second quarter financial results Wednesday.

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Apple’s iCloud user data in China is now handled by a state-owned mobile operator

If you’re an Apple customer living in China who didn’t already opt out of having your iCloud data stored locally, here’s a good reason to do so now. That information, the data belonging to China-based iCloud users which includes emails and text messages, is now being stored by a division of China Telecom, the state-owned telco. The operator’s Tianyi cloud storage business unit has taken the reins for iCloud China, according to a WeChat post from China Telecom . Apple separately confirmed the change to TechCrunch. Apple’s transition of the data from its own U.S.-based servers to local servers on Chinese soil has raised significant concern among observers who worry that the change will grant the Chinese government easier access to sensitive information. Before a switch announced earlier this year , all encryption keys for Chinese users were stored in the U.S. which meant authorities needed to go through the U.S. legal system to request access to information. Now the situation is based on Chinese courts and a gatekeeper that’s owned by the government. Apple itself has said  it was compelled to make the move in order to comply with Chinese authorities, and that hardly eases the mind. It’s ironic that the U.S. government has pursued Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE on account of national security and suspected links to Chinese authorities, and yet one of America’s largest corporates is entrusting user data to a state-owned company in China.

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Google launches its first WeChat mini program as its China experiments continue

Google is continuing to test new strategies in China after the U.S. search giant released its first mini program for WeChat, the country’s hugely popular messaging app. WeChat is used by hundreds of millions of Chinese people daily for services that stretch beyond chat to include mobile payments, bill paying, food delivery and more. Tencent, the company that operates WeChat, added mini programs last year and they effectively operate like apps that are attached to the service. That means that users bypass Google Play or Apple’s App Store and install them from WeChat. Earlier this year, Tencent added support for games — “mini games” — and the Chinese firm recently said that over one million mini programs have been created to date. Engagement is high, with some 500 million WeChat users interacting with at least one each month. WeChat has become the key distribution channel in China and that’s why Google is embracing it with its first mini program — 猜画小歌, a game that roughly translates to ‘Guess My Sketch.’ There’s no English announcement but the details can be found in this post on Google’s Chinese blog , which includes the QR code to scan to get the game. The app is a take on games like Zynga’s Draw Something, which puts players into teams to guess what the other is drawing. Google, however, is adding a twist. Each player teams up with an AI and then battles against their friends and their AIs. You can find an English version of the game online here . Google’s first WeChat mini program is a sketching game that uses AI The main news here isn’t the game, of course, but that Google is embracing mini programs, which have been christened as a threat to the Google Play Store itself.

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Connie Chan breaks the mold at Andreessen Horowitz, becoming the first general partner to be promoted from within

Investor Connie Chan has made such an impact on her colleagues at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) since joining the firm in 2011 that today, they’re announcing Chan’s appointment to general partner. It’s a big deal for the Sand Hill Road venture firm for numerous reasons. First, Chan becomes just the second woman in the firm’s nine-year history to be appointed to the role of general partner. As readers may recall, a16z announced the first female general partner in its history late last month , bringing aboard former federal prosecutor Katie Haun to help lead its new cryptocurrency fund. According to Jeff Jordan — himself an a16z general partner and the former CEO of OpenTable — the nine-year-old firm has also never before promoted someone from within to the post of general partner, instead pulling in people like Jordan himself with senior operating experience. (Jordan also distantly held posts as the president of PayPal, the CFO of Hollywood Entertainment, and the CEO of Reel.com.) The “policy was not to promote internally,” says Jordan. Yet such thinking has changed recently as 16z has grown and the operating functions that it uses to support its portfolio companies have matured. Indeed, when it came to Chan, a Stanford alum who logged four years with the private equity firm Elevation Partners and another two years in product management roles at HP and Palm, a lack of direct experience in scaling a business was eventually outweighed by her ability to identify and support talented founders, Jordan says. He credits Chan, for example, with the firm’s initial investment in the digital scrapbook site Pinterest. “It wasn’t a contentious discussion, but Connie really pounding the table is what led to our investment in the company,” he says. Pinterest was most recently valued at more than $12 billion . When a16z led a $27 million round in the company back in 2011, it was reportedly valued at $200 million . Chan also brings to the table two other things desperately needed at Andreessen Horowitz: an understanding of China’s market and key contacts there. From her earliest days with the firm, Chan has spearheaded its Asia network, helping the firm’s portfolio companies navigate regional opportunities through quarterly visits to the country, as well as gaining a “one- to four-year advantage in understanding consumer mobile” trends in the U.S., which often start first in China, she notes. Consider that Chan pushed a16z to invest in the electric bike and scooter company  Lime last year after studying the unit economics of Lime’s China-based predecessors Ofo and Mobike

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