Friday, November 4, 2016
Remember that episode of Black Mirror that kicked off season 3 – the bit where the main character, Lacie Pound, can’t get a standby seat for a replacement flight because her social credit score is just below 4.2?
That’s the beginning of a series of unfortunate events (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it) as Lacie tries desperately to get to her friend’s wedding to schmooze with the high-ranking folks in attendance who can raise her score to the hallowed heights of 4.5.
It turns out that 4.9 million people in China are now in a similar situation after the nation’s controversial Social Credit System barred them from flights as punishment for very poor credit from outstanding debts. In addition, 1.65 million cannot take trains – ticket purchases require identification – due to their credit defaults, the China News Service reported today.
In a related development, China’s top online shopping company, Alibaba, has “restricted 511,000 discredited consumers’ overdrawing behavior” on the company’s online loans service, says the news agency.
“It’s incredibly sinister,” said Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker last month in reference to the Chinese scoring system, which was first outlined in detail last year.
“Am I right in thinking that your ranking is affected by your friends, so if you hang with the wrong crowd, your social ranking will go down? Wow. It’s completely mental.”
In reality, China’s system is not as transparent – and possibly even more sinister – than the one in Black Mirror, giving corporations control over people’s freedom of movement. It might even monitor one’s social media for dissenting opinions. The system will eventually cover “administrative affairs, commercial activities, social behaviors, and the judicial system,” said state news agency Xinhua.
This post China’s ‘citizen scores’ system gets people barred from flights – just like Black Mirror appeared first on Tech in Asia.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Facebook updated the experience of sharing 360-degree photos with other users. Specifically, users can now change the initial view on their 360 photos on iOS, Android and Chrome on desktop.
With this update, when a user uploads a 360 photo on mobile, they can now drag their finger to set the initial view for the photo. This will be the view that other users will see before they access the full 360 photo. On desktop, users can click the edit button and move the mouse to set the initial view.
In addition, in a post on the Facebook 360 Community group page, Caitlin Ramrakha, product marketing manager at Facebook, previewed two additional changes coming to 360 photos on Facebook:
Secondly, we’ve also heard many of you ask for album support, and we’ll be rolling out the ability to post 360 photos to albums in the coming weeks. Alongside this update, we’ll also roll out the ability to add 360 photos to multimedia posts—i.e., when you want to post a combination of 360 photos, regular photos, 360 videos and regular videos at once.
Readers: Do you share 360 photos on Facebook?
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
UPDATE 9/13: Updated to clarify how Alipay’s $3,000 exception works.
Well, it couldn’t last forever.
Almost exactly a year after Tencent made a similar move with WeChat Pay, Alibaba’s Alipay has announced that beginning in October, the service will charge a 0.1 percent fee for transfers from Alipay to personal bank accounts.
Alipay is used as a mobile wallet app by hundreds of millions of people in China.
The new fee won’t apply to all transfers – there’s an exception for transfers whose “accumulated sum” is under US$3,000, but once users exceed that number, all future transfers to an account will be subject to the fees. That’s a bit different from Tencent’s WeChat Pay, which levies a fee on bank transfers that exceed US$3,000 per month. However, Alipay users can raise the US$3,000 lifetime quota by earning points for using Alipay services (like paying for things offline).
The new fees go live on October 12, so users who don’t want to fall victim do have some time to get money out of their Alipay accounts at no cost. (It’s also worth pointing out that the withdrawal fees won’t apply to Taobao merchants or to withdrawals from Yu’ebao money market accounts).
People not happy
People were pretty upset about the new WeChat fees last year, and the response to this year’s new Alipay fees has been similar. A Sina Tech article on the change, for example, has attracted thousands of comments, and the most popular comments are all negative or deeply cynical.
Millions of people are already in the habit of using Alipay.
“I don’t understand,” wrote a Zhejiang commenter who’s received nearly 2,000 upvotes, “so many people put so much of their money into Alipay, even though investing it could make more money, basically lending it interest-free to Alibaba. Then Alipay turns around and wants to charge fees!”
Alipay’s explanation for the added fees is that its own operational costs have gone up, but users don’t all buy it. A more popular explanation (via a Guangdong commenter with 1,200 upvotes): “This is called fattening the pig and then slaughtering it.” Another very popular comment chose the exact same metaphor; the implication is that Alipay got users to deposit lots of money by being fee-free, and now intends to cash in on that by charging this fee on users who want to take the money back out.
Some users have decided to take a stand: “If it’s like this, then I won’t use Alipay anymore,” wrote a Shandong commenter who has 1,800 upvotes.
Other users aren’t worried. “You fools! I don’t have US$3,000,” wrote a Fujian commenter, “so I’ve got time to write this comment and don’t need to rush off to transfer funds.”
Despite all the user anger, the ultimate fallout is likely to be minimal. A 0.1 percent fee is quite small, and millions of people are already in the habit of using Alipay. And with Alipay’s chief competitor WeChat already levying a very similar fee, there’s no obvious alternative for disgruntled Alipay users to turn to anyway.
This post Users pissed as Alipay starts charging for money transfers (UPDATED) appeared first on Tech in Asia.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
Les drones, les monowheels et autres hoverboards font l'objet d'une offre performante, rapidement renouvellée et très concurrentielle.
Comme l'explique longuement Wired dans la vidéo ci dessous, Shenzhen est devenu un pôle unique au monde pour l'innovation et le hardware. Il propose un modèle original qui challenge nos convictions sur l'importance de la propriété intellectuelle et sur la force de l'open source.
Tencent propose essentiellement une application WeChat, sorte de réseau social qui intègre des fonctions de paiement et tout un écosystème marchand très utilisé en Chine. Elle propose aussi des services de mobilité dont le plus connu est Didi. Elle vient d'entrer (septembre 2016) dans les 10 premières capitalisations mondiales. Evidemment, cela est difficile à comprendre pour nous. La version "occidentale" de WeChat se limite principalement et pour le moment à une sorte de Messenger mais des démonstrations des fonctions plus avancées sont accessibles en anglais sur Youtube et montrent bien l'avance de WeChat sur FaceBook. A titre d'exemple voici un petit tour dans le futur :
Autre exemple proche des thèmes de ce blog, Baidu, qui comme Google propose, notamment, un service de cartographie, offre une fonction permettant de se faire une idée de la densité de la foule :
La Chine : des perspectives différentes sur l'innovation
La startup Mobike déploie, depuis mai 2016, 10 000 vélos en libre service sans station à Shanghai et souhaite s'étendre dans d'autres métropoles chinoises.
LeEco, sorte de "chaîne Youtube" à la chinoise, veut devenir un constructeur d'automobiles électriques...
A Shanghai comme à Paris, le développement des VTC pose de nombreux problèmes aux taxis traditionnels comme aux gestionnaires d'infrastructure : gares et aéroports... Là bas aussi le régulateur doit intervenir...
- Technode est un blog affilié à Techcrunch qui suit l'actualité des start up chinoises,
- China Start Up Pulse est le podcast du précédent,
- Chublic Opinion : quelques sujets de sociétés et d'actualité en Chine, vus par un chinois qui écrit en anglais.
- China file : est un vaste ensemble d'article sur la Chine avec notamment le podcast Sinica produit par Kaiser Kuo ex star du rock chinois, ex directeur de la communication internationale de Baidu....
- Fredinchina l'émission sur BFM de Frédéric Raillard, fondateur de l'agence Fred&Farid installé par choix à Shanghai depuis quelques années.
- A compléter !
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Sunday, July 31, 2016
Thursday, July 21, 2016
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Saturday, July 9, 2016
Earlier this summer we published an interview with local craft beer entrepreneur Hugo wherein Hugo said: “there will be more craft beer and people will take beer more seriously.” Less than two months later, Beijing brewery JingA (京A) is coming to Chengdu. This Saturday, June 9th Hugo is hosting the welcome party, featuring music by Chengdu Living contributor Dan.
In the run-up to the inauguration event at Hugo’s, we spoke with JingA founders Alex and Kris.
Chengdu Living: What is your background and what led to you coming to China? How did you get started brewing beer?
Kris and I have both lived in Beijing for over a decade, and fell in love with the city’s gritty charm and non-stop energy. Jing-A began as a homebrewing project that took off while we were still working corporate day-jobs. Our first set-up was classic homebrewing – big kitchen pots and plastic buckets with lids and airlocks, and we shared those first beers just with our friends. Brewing was a creative outlet for us, and it gave us something that everyone loves. We gradually increased the scale of our homebrew batches until we were borrowing space in commercial kitchens, and eventually we decided to get serious, investing in a small but full-featured commercial brewery, which we still use today. Once we finished building that in early 2013 we were able to transition to brewing full-time and we haven’t looked back since!
What characterizes Jing A, and the beer which you produce?
We brew dozens of different beers. Some of them are Jing-A’s renditions of our favorite classic beer styles. With the Flying Fist IPA, for example, our goal is to make an American-style IPA that’s as good – if not better – than the many other versions of that style that you can find, including those brewed in the US.
Many of our other beers make creative use of seasonal and local Chinese ingredients. We’ll start with a spice, fruit, or sometimes ingredients as unusual as baijiu qu (a unique kind of brewing yeast/bacteria from baijiu production) or a popular street snack like bingtanghulu (sugar-coated hawthorn fruit), and decide we need to make a beer that showcases that ingredient’s potential in beer. This is a great way to make our beers represent the best flavors that Beijing can offer and connect with our local drinkers. We try to source ingredients from nearby farms that grow their produce with pride and care, like the export-quality chestnuts in our Toasted Chestnut Brown Ale or the award-winning “L-600” variety of watermelons we use in brewing our Beijing Bikini Watermelon Wheat.
People often underestimate how long it takes to brew beer. Perhaps they think it’s like cooking food… you go into the brewery for a few hours, and at the end of the day you’ve got a finished beer. In reality every brew takes a full day (including lots of cleaning up afterwards), and the process doesn’t end there. It takes the beer several weeks of fermentation and cold conditioning in order to reach its optimal, clean and crisp flavor. We take care of the beer all throughout that period, taking samples, adjusting the temperature and carbonation, and in the case of our hoppy beers, opening up the top of the fermentation tank to add additional hops, a process known as “dry hopping”, which allows us to get more aroma and flavor compounds from our specialty hops (imported from the US, New Zealand, and Europe) without increasing the beer’s bitterness much.
In 2014 you opened your taproom in Beijing. Visiting the taproom says a lot, but for those who haven’t been, how would you describe it?
Our Taproom is the best place to try Jing-A beer, with around 16 varieties on tap at any given time, including many small-batch beers that can only be found there.
We’re located inside the 1949 compound in Sanlitun, which puts us right in the thick of Beijing’s main restaurant and bar area, but we’re surrounded by a beautiful green courtyard that acts a buffer between our Taproom and the busy urban center surrounding it.
Inside our Taproom we’ve focused on the social aspect of drinking beer by dedicating much of the floorspace to communal seating, such as our large U shaped bar and the long high table that runs through the middle of the Taproom. Our food menu also reflect this, as we offer many shared plates like burger sliders, chicken wings, salads, charcuterie & cheese boards, and other appetizers.
Every month we hold several events at our Taproom, whether it’s launch parties for new beers, kitchen takeovers by chefs from other popular restaurants, or activities like our “Beer Mile”, in which beer fans race laps around our Taproom while drinking beer at several checkpoints. We also welcome the city’s community groups to hold events with us. We’re very grateful for the warm reception we’ve gotten from Beijingers since opening 2 years ago!
We are on the eve of launching JingA in Chengdu. How did that come about?
Chengdu has always been famous for great cuisine, and there’s a lot of overlap between foodies and people who love craft beer. As a brewery, we’ve managed to reach a level of production that allows us to brew enough beer to satisfy demand in Beijing while also offering our beer to a few more cities, such as Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenzhen, and now Chengdu.
This coincided with a couple friends of ours from Beijing, Pernille and Ella, moving to Chengdu to work on their startup GreenFood. Lucky for us, they were eager to help us by acting as our brand ambassadors! They connected us with Hugo (of Hugo’s Brewpub) to be our partner for logistics and distribution, and are will be doing everything they can to get more Jing-A beer available around Chengdu… so here we are today!
What are you aspirations for the Chengdu market, and how is it different from Beijing?
Chengdu is bound to be a center for good craft beer in China. Geezer at Chengdu Harvest is just one example of a local brewer that’s thriving there. We’re proud to say that this past month we worked together with him on a new collaboration beer, which we’re calling the Buck Wild Summer Lager, because it features buckwheat tea from Chengdu. Look for it at our launch party this weekend!
Our brand will always be deeply rooted in Beijing, but no matter where you are, the craft beer community is always passionate about quality, creativity, and variety. Good craft breweries produce unique and distinctive beers, and that’s why craft beer bars often have dozens of different taps! We can’t wait to share the fruits of our labor with the craft beer drinkers here in Chengdu, and we hope they’ll love our brews.
What are the most notable achievements or milestones that come to mind for JingA in recent years?
There were a few.
Moment one: ramping up production & getting licensing for distribution
There was a period in which our most popular beers, like the Flying Fist IPA and Mandarin Wheat, were selling so quickly that we were struggling to keep up with demand. Thankfully over the past year we’ve worked with a local partner to allow us to ramp up production, as well as get the right licensing to legally distribute those beers wherever we like. This has opened up new doors both on the sales side of our business, but also on the brewing and “creative” side as well. Taking that pressure off of our smaller original brewery allows us to use that system to brew a greater variety of small batch beers, whether they’re collaborations with visiting brewers, seasonal beers that we brew specifically in winter or summer months, or experiments testing out new ingredients and beer styles.
Moment two – joining the international craft beer community
Back in Spring 2015 we traveled to Europe for our first international collaboration brews, with Bierfabrik in Berlin and Nøgne Ø in Grimstad, Norway. This was not too long after we had won our first international beer awards at the Asia Beer Cup in Tokyo (for Flying Fist IPA). This was a period where we really began to feel that our work in the brewery was beginning to be appreciated not just locally, but in the international craft beer scene as well.
We’re always working to help Chinese craft beer be recognized as an important and rapidly growing part of the global craft beer movement, and this year we’ll participate in a number of beer festivals and events in other countries, whether it’s nearby in Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Japan, or all they way over in the US. At these events people are always curious when they see a craft beer from China, especially the ones that we brew featuring local Chinese ingredients. When they taste the beers, the reactions we get are usually very positive, if somewhat surprised, and these people leave with a new appreciation for Chinese craft brewing.
Craft beer was new to Japan not too long ago, but now they have a thriving scene, with nine different Japanese breweries picking up medals at this year’s World Beer Cup (think of it as the olympics of craft beer). We don’t see any reason why China can’t follow a similar trajectory.
Where can people in Chengdu get JingA? If they come to Beijing, where should they find you? Do you have any online presence which people should check out?
In Chengdu Hugo’s Brewpub acts like a “home base” for Jing-A, where you’ll always be able to find a couple of our brews, and even some specialty or small batch brews on occasion. By September there should be more places with our beer on tap, and Pernille and Ella will have the best knowledge of where it’ll be available.
In Beijing our beer is available at over 30 locations around town, so any visitor to Beijing has a good chance to come across our beer at one of the many restaurants and bars around town that stock it, but for the hardcore beer fans who want to sample as many of our beers as possible the must-visit spot would be the Jing-A Taproom in 1949. It’s also the best place to pick up Jing-A merchandise like T-shirts or growlers (if you’re looking to get beer to go).
We’re quite active on social media, and anyone interested in following our story and learning about new beers, tap locations, events, and promotions should follow us on WeChat (jingabeer), or our official accounts on Facebook (Jing-A Brewing Co.) and Instagram (@jingabrewing). Out website (jingabrewing.com) also has our blog, for those looking to read through the story of Jing-A, as well as a list of every beer we’ve ever made and all of our tap locations around China.
Uber has inspired so many on-demand services that the phrase ‘the Uber of _____’ has become more than a little tired.
This time, however, we’ve come across a service that is not only Uber-like in spirit and interface, but also in its team makeup.
Founded by Davis Wang, a former executive of UberChina, Mobike is an on-demand bicycle rental service. Like Uber, Mobike’s app features a simple interface that tracks your location and shows available bicycles nearby. Users can book a bike 15 minutes before using it, and use an in-app navigation service to find it.
Riders scan a QR code to unlock the bikes, which are provided by the company, and the journey ends when the user re-locks their ride.
Public bicycle rental is nothing new in China. The government has tested similar projects in several cities to ease transpiration pressures in big cities. But for most of the current bike rental services in the country, riders have to to lock their bike to a special kiosk or bike station along their trip.
Mobike allows riders to lock the bike to any standard bike rack, so they can always park close to their destination. The bike’s return is recorded by GPS data. Once checked back in, the bike is immediately available to another customer.
The app also helps users track health metrics, such as distance traveled and calories burned. First-time users have to pay an refundable deposit of 299 RMB ($44.7 USD) and the services is charged at a flat rate of 1 yuan per 30 minutes no matter where you are.
The services is now operating in Shanghai with over 10,000 bikes in the city, according to Davis Wang.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
WeChat users in 12 countries including the United States, Hong Kong, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Italy, Thailand and India can now use WeChat Out to make calls to mobile phones and landlines in over 200 countries for nominal rates. WeChat Out is the latest milestone offering of the world’s fastest growing social app with 762 million monthly active users around the world.
New WeChat Out users will receive more than an hour* of free calling credit. And all users can earn even more rewards by participating in our “Invite Friends, Get Free Calls” campaign.
One Click to a Free Call
“Invite Friends, Get Free Calls” is simple – the more you give, the more you get.
1. After upgrading your app version, enter the event screen and tap “Invite Friends, Get Free Calls”
2. Share WeChat Out gift cards with friends
3. Once your friends redeem their gift card and make a call, you’ll receive one too for the same amount you gave. View all your gift cards under My Coupons.
New and existing users can also enjoy top-up rewards. The more you top up, the greater the rewards you earn. You may even get a 50% off reward when purchasing credit to talk to friends and family abroad.
Start Calling Now with Low Fares!
2. Make your first free call by selecting an existing contact or dialing a new number on the keypad
To learn more about WeChat Out and receive the latest promotion offers, search “WeChatOut” in WeChat to follow us and be sure to upgrade your version to make your first call today.
*Exact duration dependent on location rates