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Tag Archives: korea

Gaming in Asia may be crypto’s killer decentralized app

As money and talent flows into the crypto and blockchain worlds, a persistent question keeps coming up: what is going to be the “killer app” that drives adoption for these nascent technologies? The answer may well be quite simple: gaming in Asia. That’s the theory for  Cryptokitties , the notable purveyor of cute cats. The company has started expanding into China, Japan, and Korea as it attempts to capture a large market of gamer and crypto enthusiasts there, and it is building on the playbook pioneered by Uber when it launched in China in 2014. Back in March, Andreessen and Union Square Ventures led a $12 million Series A round into Cryptokitties . A portion of that money went into Cryptokitties’ ambitions to expand into Asia. In fact, Cryptokitties’ largest user markets have been, and still are, the U.S. and China, followed by Russia. For those unfamiliar with Cryptokitties, it’s often been alluded to as a digital version of Beanie Babies. Cryptokitties are virtual collectibles in the form of cute cats that can be bought, sold, collected and traded with cryptocurrency, with all the transactions listed on the blockchain.

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LCD iPhones Will Continue Being Part of Apple’s Lineup Until 2020 – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo LCD iPhones Will Continue Being Part of Apple's Lineup Until 2020 Ubergizmo For the longest time ever, Apple has been using LCDs for its iPhones until 2017 where they finally introduced the use of OLED in the iPhone X. It is widely expected that Apple will eventually make the full transition to OLED, but for those who prefer ... iOS 12 beta 5 further hints at dual-SIM support coming to future iPhone models 9to5Mac iPhone 9/X (6.1-inch) Live Image « SLASHLEAKS Slashleaks all 150 news articles »

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LG V35 ThinQ Signature Edition Unveiled In Korea – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo LG V35 ThinQ Signature Edition Unveiled In Korea Ubergizmo A couple of months ago, LG unveiled their latest handset in the form of the LG V35 ThinQ. It was a very standard high-end smartphone where it came with the kind of hardware you might expect from a high-end flagship handset, but other than that it doesn ... and more »

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WeWork China raises $500M to triple the number of cities it covers

WeWork’s China business is getting a fresh injection of capital after it raised $500 million . The company entered China two years ago and today it covers Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu with nearly 40 locations. It claims 20,000 members, and it is also active in Hong Kong, which technically falls under ‘Greater China.’ The new capital comes from Trustbridge Partners, Singapore’s Temasek, SoftBank, SoftBank’s Vision Fund and Hony Capital. WeWork said it’ll be used for expansion into six new cities: those are Shenzhen, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Nanjing, and Wuhan. This new raise is a Series B, WeWork China previously scored a $500 million Series A last year , which was also when the Chinese entity was founded. The company has been pretty busy over that 12-month period, most notably it scooped up its largest rival, Naked Hub, in an acquisition deal that is worth a reported $400 million  and massively grew its reach. Naked Hub builds on WeWork’s presence in Greater China by adding 24 office locations and a further 10,000 members. That’s why WeWork China’s figures are so impressive for just two years of operations. Now, this new capital will put WeWork’s own DNA into that network through this planned expansion spree. “This investment will help WeWork fuel our mission to support creators, small businesses, and large companies across China,” WeWork CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann said in a statement.

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LG’s iPhone OLED Panels Might Only Be Used For Repairs – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo LG's iPhone OLED Panels Might Only Be Used For Repairs Ubergizmo In a bid to reduce their reliance on Samsung, Apple is said to have invested into LG to help them get their OLED production up and running. In fact one of the rumors of the 2018 iPhone is that LG could be the OLED supplier for at least one of the ... Samsung Display's 'Unbreakable Panel' Certified by Underwriters Laboratories Samsung Newsroom US all 226 news articles »

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Korean hotel firm Yanolja moves into Southeast Asia with $15M investment in Zen Rooms

Zen Rooms , the budget hotel network startup founded by Rocket Internet, had faced the deadpool earlier this year  after a prospective funding deal collapsed, but now the business appears to have found a home. Korea’s  Yanolja , a popular motel brand that has branched out into app-based hotel bookings , has made a strategic investment that could see it fully acquire the business. Ten-year-old Yanolja is initially paying $15 million for an undisclosed “strategic non-controlling stake,” but it will retain the rights to buy 100 percent of the Zen Rooms business. Zen Rooms clarified that the acquisition is an option and not based on performance or financial metrics. Founded by a former hotel worker, Lee Su-jin, Yanolja is best known for its lovel hotels although it is trying to clean up the general image of short-stay hotels by promoting them as destinations for business travelers, tourists and families, as noted by a Bloomberg profile story . The company has also grown its own app-based booking service which among the most used in its homeland with 20,000 rooms. The company is reportedly planning an IPO, so expansion is on its mind. For those reasons, Zen Rooms fits that new focus. The company borrowed the budget hotel model, first pioneered by SoftBank-backed Oyo in India, and brought it to Southeast Asia when it launched three years ago . The concept is simple, Zen Rooms guarantees minimum standards at all hotels including free WiFi, fresh towels and bedding, hot showers, etc all of which is controlled via a mobile app. Those standards are normal to most hotel stayers, but when traveling in the East, standards can vary wildly especially at budget hotels, which Zen Rooms is focused on. For hotels, Zen Rooms manages the brand — and sometimes more — and it allows helps them tap the internet to find customers and bookings. Today, Zen Rooms is active in six cities in Southeast Asia — it had previously also run operations in Brazil, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka — across which it claims to operate 1,000 hotel franchisees with an inventory of more than 7,000 rooms.

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Samsung Galaxy S Lineup Could Be Merged With Note Series – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Samsung Galaxy S Lineup Could Be Merged With Note Series Ubergizmo Samsung typically releases two flagship phones a year. One in the early part of the year in the form of the Galaxy S series, and another in the later part of the year in the form of the Galaxy Note series. While it might seem counterintuitive to ... and more »

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EBay paid $573M to buy Japanese e-commerce platform Qoo10, filing reveals

EBay is a very distant second behind Amazon when it comes to e-commerce sales in the U.S., but abroad — and in particular in Asia — it is willing to invest to grow its footprint in a targeted way. In February, eBay paid a total of $573 million to acquire Qoo10, a Japanese sales platform, according to the company’s quarterly earnings filing . In more detail, the deal consisted of $306 million in cash and the relinquishment of about $266 million in shares in Giosis, a pan-Asian e-commerce marketplace business originally founded as a joint venture with Korea’s Gmarket. Qoo10, which claims two million shoppers, was originally part of Giosis. The acquisition is similar to a deal eBay did in Korea in 2001 when it purchased Internet Auction Co and linked the Korean service up to its global network of buyers and sellers. That integration has been successful, and today South Korea is eBay’s fourth largest market based on revenue behind only the U.S., Germany and UK, respectively. Although the acquisition of Qoo10 was first announced in February , the actual price was not disclosed until the company’s earnings report dropped on Thursday. “We believe the acquisition will allow us to offer Japanese consumers more inventory and grow our international presence,” eBay explained in the filing. The deal underscores how eBay is at the same time pulling back from general plays while doubling down on more targeted opportunities. Earlier this year, the company gave up its stake in Flipkart as part of its acquisition by Walmart, but at the same time committed to investing in a new, standalone eBay operation in India , using some of the $1.1 billion in proceeds it made from selling its Flipkart stake to Walmart. EBay had an unsuccessful effort in China which  ended in 2006  and it hasn’t returned to the country. According to its latest financial results, the company’s U.S.-based business accounted for $1.1 billion out the company’s total quarterly sales of $2.6 billion. That North American revenue was up five percent year-on-year, but eBay’s revenue from other international locations grew by more over the same period to give the company’s total sales a nine percent annual increase. That didn’t impress investors, however, and the company’s share price dropped by 10 percent to close Thursday at $34.11. EBay doesn’t break out revenue for Japan — where Qoo10 operates — but revenue from Korean rose by 13 percent to $304 million in the most recent quarter. Sales for ‘rest of the world’ were up nine percent to $505 million

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Golden Equator Capital and Korea Investment Partners announce $88M Southeast Asia fund

There’s more money flowing into Southeast Asia’s tech startup scene after Singapore’s  Golden Equator Capital and Seoul-based Korea Investment Partners announced plans for a collaborative $88 million (SG$120 million) fund for the region. The two investment firms will act as joint partners for the vehicle, which is expected to hit a first close before September and a final close by the end of 2018. Already, they claim to have 65 percent of the target capital committed by LPs. The firms are aiming for the Series A and B spaces with a typical check size of between $1.5 million and $3.7 million for what will be known as the GEC-KIP Fund. It isn’t exactly clear what focus the fund will adopt for investments. Southeast Asia often falls off the radar for investment in Asia, with the far larger countries of China and India typically getting the attention, but rising internet access among the region’s cumulative population of over 600 million signals growth potential. A recent report co-authored by Google forecasts Southeast Asia’s ‘internet economy’ reaching more than $200 billion by 2025, up from just $30 billion in 2015. A few unicorns, including ride-sharing companies Grab and Go-Jek, have also helped put it on the map for investors. Speaking of investors, Golden Equator Capital is part of Golden Equator , a Singapore-based group of businesses that includes financial services, consulting, an incubator and, of course, investment funds. The firm has existing ties with Korea — via a Korea-focused health tech incubator launched last year — and its advisory team includes Taizo Son , founder of Japanese VC firm Mistletoe and brother of SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son.

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Penrose Studios nabs $10M as the startup continues to create some of VR’s most beautiful stories

It’s been an interesting past few years for the virtual reality industry and while there is still plenty for insiders to pin their hopes on in 2018, it’s no secret that things have been progressing a bit slower than more bullish parties would have hoped for. Yet for all of what potential still remains unfulfilled, it seems fair to say that storytellers are still just as entranced (and occasionally bewildered) by the power of the fully immersive medium. Penrose Studios has been one of the more shining stars in the narrative-based VR content space. Their work has drawn easy comparisons to Pixar’s and their efforts have seemed to influence other studios in the space as well. The VR studio announced today that they have closed a $10 million round of Series A funding led by TransLink Capital. Also participating in the round were Marc Benioff, Will.i.am, Korea Telecom and Co-Made with returning investment from Sway Ventures, 8VC and Suffolk Equity. Pixar-esque Penrose Studios raises $8.5M, VR’s biggest seed round While some competing venture-backed virtual reality content studios may be focusing their efforts on creating streamlined processes to build fast and cheap stories, Penrose appears to be more squarely focused on reaching its creative visions first and foremost. The company’s latest major project, Arden’s Wake, is one of the more captivating VR short films I’ve seen to date. The ambitious half-hour animated feature pairs a tightly scoped storyline with a highly polished design that is whimsical and delightful in a way few other studios have managed to figure out. The startup began development of Arden’s Wake 18 months ago, sharing the finished product, which features voice acting from Alicia Vikander, at the most recent Tribeca Film Festival. The film certainly seems like an expensive endeavor, and while CEO Eugene Chung didn’t talk numbers, he also didn’t confirm whether the startup would be charging users to download the film and view on home VR devices. The company’s previous releases, “Allumette” and “The Rose and I,” are currently offered as free downloads on major VR platforms. Overall headset numbers are still fairly low however, and for venture-backed startups in this space I would imagine that there’s a strong desire to wait until there’s a more sizable audience size before cutting access off to the potential new fans who wouldn’t pay to download anyway. While the unit economics of making money from individual downloads of narrative-based titles is still a bit of a Wild West in the VR world, it’s a critical issue that can probably only be punted for so long. Chung, who previously worked on narrative storytelling at Oculus, seems optimistic about virtual reality hardware’s near-term prospects and the rise of so-called standalone headsets which integrate the compute power, display and battery into a singular device that is untethered and more powerful than past phone-based options. The next of four new projects that Penrose is currently developing is being built with these standalone devices as their central focus though Chung tells me the startup is also starting to look more seriously about what there is to be done with phone-based augmented reality systems based on the ARKit and ARCore platforms and what does and does not make sense to bring to them in the future

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Korean crypto exchange Bithumb says it lost over $30M following a hack

Just weeks after Korean crypto exchange Coinrail lost $40 million through an alleged hack , another in the crypto-mad country — Bithumb — has claimed hackers made off with over $30 million in cryptocurrency. Coinrail may be one of Korea’s smaller exchanges, but Bithumb is far larger. The exchange is one of the world’s top ten ranked based on trading of Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash, and top for newly-launched EOS, according to data from Coinmarketcap.com . In a now-deleted tweet, Bithumb said today that 35 billion won of tokens — around $31 million — were snatched. It didn’t provide details of the attack, but it did say it will cover any losses for its users . The company has temporarily frozen deposits and trading while it is in the process of “changing our wallet system” following the incident. Days prior to the hack, Bithumb said on Twitter that it was “transferring all of asset to the cold wallet to build up the security system and upgrade” its database. It isn’t clear whether that move was triggered by the attack — in which case it happened days ago — or whether it might have been a factor that enabled it. Notice for the restart of service We are transferring all of asset to the cold wallet to build up the security system and upgrade DB. Starting from 15:00 pm(KST), we will restart our services and notice again as soon as possible. Appreciate for your support. — Bithumb (@BithumbOfficial) June 16, 2018 A tweet sent days before Bithumb said it had been hacked There’s often uncertainty around alleged hacks, with some in the crypto community claiming an inside job for most incidents. In this case, reports from earlier this month that Bithumb was hit by a 30 billion won tax bill from the Korean government will certainly raise suspicions. Without an independent audit or third-party report into the incident, however, it is hard to know exactly what happened. That said, one strong takeaway, once again, is that people who buy crypto should store their tokens in their own private wallet (ideally with a hardware key for access) not on an exchange where they could be pinched by an attacker

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Toss, Korea’s top payment app, raises $40M from Sequoia China and Singapore’s GIC

The largest payment app in South Korea, Toss , has pulled in $40 million in fresh investment from Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and Sequoia China. The deal for Viva Republica, Toss’s parent company, comes just over a year after it raised $48 million from payment giant PayPal  and others. There’s no valuation for this newest round, but we do know that it is a ‘bridge’ intended to bring new investors in and help accelerate the business for a large raise further down the line. (It is also the first Korean investment for both GIC and Sequoia China.) Not that the business seems to need much more impetus for acceleration, growth is already strong. Viva Republica says that Toss’s registered user base has doubled over the past year to each eight million consumers, while it claims the app is processing $10 billion in transaction volume per month. The company forecasts that its annual transaction run rate will surpass $18 billion. Back in 2016 when we reported on the PayPal -backed round, founder and CEO SG Lee — a dentist until he saw the potential for a mobile payment service — told us that Toss had begun to introduce additional services beyond peer-to-peer payments. That’s included consumer financing products, like loans, micro-insurance and cross-border payments. Toss doesn’t have Korea to itself, its main rival is Kakao, the country’s most popular messaging app. In recent times Kakao, a $7 billion company, had opened business units in a range of industries including ride-hailing, content and payment.

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Showcase your country or state’s startups at Startup Alley

Disrupt SF is just a few months away (September 5-7 at Moscone Center West) and we’re looking for delegations of international startup groups, government innovation centers, incubators and accelerators to organize a country, state or regional pavilion in Startup Alley . Are you ready to step on a world stage, show off your emerging companies and be recognized as a leader in tech innovation? Startup Alley is prime real estate, where hundreds of founders from everywhere in the world — and investors looking to fund them — gather to meet, connect and network. And maybe even produce a unicorn or two. If you want to exhibit in Startup Alley as part of a country, state or region, your delegation startups must meet one requirement only: they must be Pre-Series A startups. If so, shoot our Startup Alley manager, Priya, an email at priya@techcrunch.com . Tell us about your delegation and where you’re from, and we’ll provide more information about the application process. Regions that have participated in previous TechCrunch events include St. Louis, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Caribbean, Catalonia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Lithuania, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uruguay. We believe that innovation and great ideas know no geographical boundaries, and we strive to increase the diversity within our regional pavilions at every Disrupt . Organize a minimum of eight (8) startups in your region and you’ll receive a discount off each Startup Alley company’s exhibitor package — and you’ll get organizer passes to the event. Plus, if you book your pavilion before July 25, your startups will receive one additional Founder ticket to attend Disrupt SF. Email startupalley@techcrunch.com for more pricing information

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