Firefox OS Smart Watch Coming This June


Ever looked at your watch and thought “Hmmm, could do with a some Firefox goodness?’ If so you’re in luck.

Chinese hardware company Shanda are creating a smart-watch powered by Firefox OS.

Part of the lure, the company say, is in the operating systems’ support for HTML5 technologies – opening the device up to traditional web-developers.

Further details are scant right now, but the device is expected to arrive in stores around June 2013 – around the same time that Apple will be unveiling their heavily-rumoured Smart Watch.

Alongside the Firefox OS model, the Bambook Smart Watch is also available in an Android flavour. Both are expected to retail for somewhere above $100.

Also in the pipeline is an e-ink version, which to my mind makes more sense: not only will it improve battery life but you’ll be able to see the thing in daylight…

Pinterest: Episode II - Attack of the Chinese Clones (including the one with the Disney-looking logo).

‘Talent borrows, genius steals.’
Oscar Wilde.

The gentle art of copying.
It all began seven years ago with Yupoo, the weird-named Flickr clone founded in China; since then, the idea of clone evolved, following the latest trends in the fields of social networks, platforms and technology. Now, after the huge success of Pinterest, the same guys behind Flickr’s evil twin created Huaban, and many other copycats appeared overnight.

VentureBeat’s Jason Lim argues that ‘Cloning or copycatting ideas, companies, and products is nothing new in China. Westerners, especially Americans, loathe cloning; it hurts their pride and is an insult to their creativity and hard work. The Chinese, however, love it. It comes as second nature and presents a grand opportunity to seize a massive market potential.’
More on the subject: ‘People outside of China often wonder why the Chinese love to copy things. The answer is that it’s the way they’re taught to learn. Follow the teacher, recite books, and don’t challenge authority. This mentality sticks with people as they mature.’
Peng Ong, Partner at GSR Ventures, once said that ‘Copying is a form of innovation. The best companies never just copy; they copy and then localize. It’s like jazz, you have a basic rhythm and structure and you move around that. Is jazz copying? I don’t think there is any original idea. Google is a copy.’

Very interesting comparison, although it is sometimes difficult to see how a dodgy-looking, plastic-feeling rip-off can have anything in common with Art Tatum, Max Roach and Miles Davis.

The Pinterest model.
Technode asks a smart question: how many Pinterests do we need? ‘Pinterest, the young Silicon Valley based startup has 3.2 million UV per month with growth rate over 100%, has recently closed a $27 million round of fund which might values it up to $200 million.’ Being the photo-sharing site so hot, it’s not hard to understand why Chinese entrepreneurs are so “pinterested” in ripping it off. According to the statistics, the number of the Chinese clones is somewhere between 14 and 30. In another chapter we will analyse serious reasons why the model can be easily copied and exported to different markets, here we will just concentrate on the recreational side of things.

The attack of the clones.
Here is a list of the most interesting replicas.
•    Zhimei
•    Duitang
•    Mishang
•    IDsoo
•    Topit
•    Budoou
•    Xinxian
•    Ejingxi

And here is a shortlist of the best evil twins:

  • The most successful one - As Business Insider put it : ‘Out of all the Chinese Pinterests we mentioned earlier, Huaban (花瓣, or petals) is decidedly the one that stands out from the crowd to receive US$ more than one million in Series A round of funding from KPCB, less than ten days after the website went online.’ ‘With exact the same idea, features and even web design and layout, Huaban lets users “collect” (just like “Pin” with Pinterest) pictures by uploading local files or grabbing one from existing webpage. You can “recollect” (like Repin) whatever attractive to you and save them onto your “Huaban” (like board) and “Like” pictures “collected” by other users. Moreover, you can create boards under different categories to organize all the pictures you collected.’ The result is impressive: a carbon copy of the original, completed with cats and brides, although motivational posters about how cupcakes and tea are going to save the world, are nowhere to be found.

  • The twin with the best name - Pinfun has the best name, and it looks pretty much like the original. Well cloned!

  • The double clone - Very similar to Pinterest when it comes to shape and aesthetics, Markpic took the concept of “rip-off” to the next level, using a Disney-looking font for the logo. The Frankenstein of Chinese social media looks quite scary, frankly.

London Web Agency Appnova – keep following us on Twitter @appnova and “like” us on Facebook for useful news and tasteful digressions about geeky stuff.

Making Of

We’ve been busy during the week-end, with a great shout out from Makezine and Technode. Thanks for supporting us! The application reviews have already started, since as you can imagine we will go through some logistics fun (visas, apartments, who keeps the dog, etc…), therefore please apply as soon as possible!

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International payments services are flocking to China

Image Credit: Shutterstock

More than a few international payments services recently said China had become one of their biggest markets, as an increasing number of Chinese Internet/mobile companies are actively expanding overseas. They find, unsurprisingly, their Chinese customers are mainly gaming companies, for in China, gaming is one of the top revenue-generating online businesses, and one of the first to enter overseas markets.

While Google Play and Apple’s App Store make distributing software applications outside mainland China so much easier than before, prevailing online payments services vary among different countries or regions. Most Internet/mobile companies, including the Chinese ones, have to work with third-party payments companies that keep integrating different types of payments methods and services around the world.

OKPAY, an Europe-based payments company, finds 20 percent of its customers are from China. The service got traction in China after it began supporting Bitcoin transactions on some Chinese exchanges. To better serve Chinese customers, OKPAY has launched the Chinese version of its services and hired Chinese customer service representatives. Currently OKPAY’s customers in China are mostly individuals. The company hopes to power Chinese online retailers who export goods to markets where OKPAY has a strong presence.

OKPAY doesn’t have an office in China yet. Fortumo, an Estonian payments company focused on carrier billing, set up its office in China last year. It offers a package of offerings tailored for Chinese mobile developers, from language translation service to app/content distribution in different markets.

Paymentwall, which has integrated more than 120 payments options, is preparing to open an office in Beijing, China. Chinese payments services, including Alibaba’s Alipay, have been integrated into its all-in-one solution. As the company primarily serves digital content or service providers, its Chinese customers are most gaming companies. To their surprise, the Chinese gaming companies least likely to enter overseas markets began to work with them. Like OKPAY, Paymentwall is considering expanding its customer base in China to include physical good retailers.

This story originally appeared on TechNode.

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#TechNode оргнизует семинар (Beijing Meetup) на тему создания и маркетинга в публичном аккаунте #WeChat. Подробности на сайте:

WeChat has released a series of APIs and services to encourage all types of businesses and organizations to use the WeChat public account system or develop custom features for their accounts. Some capabilities enabled such as mobile payments, have made WeChat way more powerful than a chatting service.

Cooliris CEO Soujanya Bhumkar to speak at the inaugural TechCrunch Shanghai

Our CEO Soujanya Bhumkar will be speaking at TechCrunch’s inaugural “The Red Web” event in Shanghai today, November 19. Soujanya will participate in a roundtable forum aimed at helping Chinese companies build up their brand in the international market.

Cooliris has a unique experience in growing our brand internationally, with over a third of our app users located in Asia. Soujanya will be sharing his insight about what it takes to grow overseas, and will be joined by other panelists from Strikingly, World Startup Report, and Dolphin Browser.

In August, TechCrunch collaborated with TechNode, a popular Chinese high tech blog, to launch their China edition. In this week’s “The Red Web” event, TechCrunch is bringing together investors, leading entrepreneurs, and other professionals in the region.

November has been a really exciting month for us so far. Soujanya served as one of the keynote speakers at MobCon in Minneapolis and has partaken in SYNC 2013. And just last week, we had the honor of hosting a vigorous discussion panel about trends in the mobile tech industry with the Chicago Booth School of Business at our HQ in Palo Alto.

If you are attending TechCrunch Shanghai come by the panel on November 19, 2013 at 4:40PM (Beijing Time) for a first hand experience. TechCrunch Shanghai ( runs November 19-20 at SIFC, #2866 Yangshupu Rd, Yangpu District. 

For all those who will not be attending you can watch him live here

[Google Reader] China Merchants Bank Tries Deeper Integration with WeChat

Tencent said earlier last week that they wanted the official accounts platform at WeChat to become more than just a marketing tool but a channel to help more companies to better reveal their values (in Chinese). What does that mean? Here’s one of the case studies the company showed on its platform page we thought you might be interested in.

Back in late 2012 China Merchants Bank (CMB)  started the talk with Wechat team on deeper integration. “The partnership was quite in depth, we even transfer our data through DNN, not just via Internet, ” said the CMB credit cards staff. Since this partnership involves financial services, WeChat even had some customized APIs made.

The service “CMB Credit Cards Center”was finally launched in March this year, in which each card holder’s information is binded to his or her WeChat account. The menus at the bottom of the account interface allow users to check their bills, credits, limits or records. This new service, obviously, also replaces the functions of SMSs to inform card holders of different payment records or information related. Before most banks including CMB would send SMSs to card holders as a reminder after each payment, and now all these things can be realized over the official accounts, which saves the bank lots of money. Surely this is not the point but “to provide more service to card holders” is the ultimate goal according to CMB.

Currently two more features have been in trial, one is the voice-text service, which recognizes users’ voice and automatically executed the task like checking the credits, etc. The other one accordingly is an LBS-focused service which helps users better find the real-time discount information of the merchants closest to them.

Related posts:

  1. Weixin Got Updated: Named WeChat, Added Facebook Connect, 7 Languages and Path-like Feature
  2. China Mobile to Revamp Fetion to Fight Back against WeChat
  3. The Leaked New Features with WeChat 5.0 Look Good

by Charlie Sheng on June 18, 2013 at 10:28PM via TechNode
Media meets communication: Cooliris CTO speaks at ChinaBang 2013

Cooliris CTO Austin Shoemaker was in Beijing last week to speak at ChinaBang 2013, an annual conference on the start-up ecosystem in China.

To an international audience composed of engineers, business managers, and journalists, Austin spoke about the need to further bridge the gap between media centric apps and broadcast apps, where you take photos, stylize them and broadcast them to a vast audience.

Today, the need is answered only in part by chat applications, where media can be shared in a private sphere. But the limitation with chat apps is that they are linear, allowing you to only share one thing at a time.

Austin described how the new Cooliris app provides a solution to fill this divide, where you can share media in smaller groups and in a private context. He explained how Coolris combines media and communication into a unified experience across both private groups and public social networks.

In his words, “We add a personal layer to social media networks”. Cooliris aggregates all your media into one library, organizes it by context, and helps you share it with your specific audience.

ChinaBang is organized by Technode, one of the biggest names in tech media in China.

Media meets Communication - Cooliris CTO speaks at China Bang 2013 from CoolirisSlides
[Google Reader] Qihoo Gets into Hardware Business Too: A Plug-and-play Wireless Router Sold for $3

Qihoo just announced a small gadget: a USB-shaped Wi-Fi wireless router. Plugging it into your laptop or any device that connects to the Internet, all your smart devices can access the network.

The price is RMB 19.9 (about $3), much cheaper than most wireless routers in the market. It’s open for pre order.

Qihoo said that they came up with the idea when they found it troublesome for 360 Mobile Assistant users to use data transfer cable to transfer content between PC and phones. The hardware is said to be tied with 360 Mobile Assistant, a mobile app manager.

Related posts:

  1. Qihoo filed for IPO in the U.S., raising US$200 million
  2. Qihoo to Monetize Search Business Next Month
  3. HAXLR8R Is the Accelerator Program for Hardware Startups

by Chelsea Dong on June 18, 2013 at 05:16PM via TechNode
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Alipay Wallet has 190M annual active users, processing over 50% of Alipay’s daily transactions

Image Credit: Andy Mitchell

Alipay Wallet, the mobile app operated by Alibaba’s finance arm, announced today it has had 190 million annual active users.

The number of daily transactions through mobile has reached 45 million, over 50% of the total through Alipay (The Alipay online payment solution doesn’t only support Alibaba’s own marketplaces such as Taobao and Tmall, but also third-party businesses).

A little less than one year ago, Alipay Wallet had 100 million users and was processing one third of Alipay’s transactions. As of the end of 2013, Alipay had a total of 300 million users.

The mobile version of the Alipay online payment service was rebranded Alipay Wallet, a mobile app not only for mobile payments but also for users’ daily lives, at the end of 2012. From then on the app began to add functions and features such as e-loyalty programs, e-ticketing, scanning-to-compare prices, credit card management, bookkeeping, and real-time information on stocks, among others.

It also has been expanding the payment service from online physical or virtual goods sales to the offline world and service sector. Alipay Wallet now supports payments for taxi fares and public transportation; it’s available at vending machines, convenience stores, department stores, pharmacies, hospitals, parking lots, etc.

When it comes to technologies, Alipay Wallet supports payments through QR Code, acoustic, and fingerprint. And the company is working on other methods.

Alipay Wallet has become a competitor to Tencent’s WeChat in terms of mobile commerce and mobile content. One year ago Alipay Wallet added a layer for third-party businesses, which is similar to WeChat’s public account platform. Services like DDMap, an e-coupon service Alibaba has a stake in, and iReader, a mobile reading service, have been available on Alipay Wallet.

More than 60 APIs were released one month ago that enable third-party developers to create more applications on top of Alipay Wallet. Xinxiwang Shuangfeng, a provider of dairy products, has integrated into Alipay Wallet and is now selling bottled milk on it.

Alipay Wallet began expanding to markets outside mainland China earlier this year.

This story originally appeared on TechNode. is a B2B e-commerce company. Alibaba’s primary business is to serve as a directory of Chinese manufacturers connecting them to other companies around the world looking for suppliers. According to iResearch, it was the lar… read more »

[Google Reader] Now Chinese Users Can Pay for McDonald’s Purchases within WeChat

Chinese users now can pay for purchases at McDonald’s directly within WeChat. Any user that follows the official WeChat account of McDonald’s China now can find an e-coupon for an afternoon tea deal. You can make payments with Tenpay or other online payments services offered by Chinese banks without leaving WeChat. Then you’ll receive a WeChat message with a QR code for redemption at a McDonald’s store.

Clicking on the green button, you’ll be led to a page to pay with Tenpay or other online banks.

Meifuhui, an online cosmetic retailer founded by a former Tencent’s exec, was one of the earliest that supported Tenpay within WeChat. It is reported that a few more merchants have had the WeChat payments capability (in Chinese).

Tenpay once said they’d support payments within WeChat by the end of last year. We don’t know what took it so much longer. But still, Tenpay isn’t the prevailing online payments method with Chinese — Alipay is. Also it’s not very likely users would like to make payments with banks on mobile as it takes several more steps and security must be a concern with consumers. Yixun, the online retailer Tencent acquired, started supporting Alipay from November 2012. So it’s not impossible WeChat would introduce Alipay later.

Related posts:

  1. Chinese Telcos Want to Charge WeChat Users, or Tencent Altogether?
  2. The Leaked New Features with WeChat 5.0 Look Good
  3. Weixin Got Updated: Named WeChat, Added Facebook Connect, 7 Languages and Path-like Feature

by Tracey Xiang on June 18, 2013 at 03:38PM via TechNode
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Korean entrepreneur Changseong Ho shares the lessons from failure he’s applying to his new ventures

Drawing on past entrepreneurial experiences, failed or successful, and applying them to new startups is probably one of the key reasons why serial entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed than first-time entrepreneurs.

Changseong Ho, co-founder of crowdsouced subtitling platform Viki, has proved this, as both of the two pillar concepts of his current endeavor Vingle, global vision and interest-based groups, derived from his previous entrepreneurial efforts. This week, Ho shared with TechNode his entrepreneurial experiences, as well as his vision for Vingle, an interest-oriented service, and his micro-VC, TheVentures.

In 2000, Ho and his wife Jiwon Moon founded their first startup Web-C Intermedia, a fashion simulator. The company ended in total failure in the Korean market, mainly due to bad market timing and small market size, said Ho, as he reflected on the memory. To their utmost surprise when studying in the U.S., several U.S. companies working on exactly the same thing as Web-C Intermedia are very successful there. The failure of their first startup drove Ho to adopt a global vision and expand focuses beyond Korean market.

With previous lessons in mind, Ho and Jiwon started crowdsourced subtitling platform Viki in 2007 with an international team. As a volunteer-powered community, Viki offers real-time subtitling of global TV shows, movies and other premium content. The site claims to now have 22 million users, translating contents into more than 160 languages. Viki was acquired by Japanese e-commerce giant Rukuten for a reported $200 million last year.

Motivated by the devotion and passions of avid fans, Ho launched his third startup Vingle in 2011, aiming to expand the passionate community power to all kinds of interests ranging from fashion, entertainment, art, pop culture, and so on. Moreover, it is not limited only to video this time, said Ho.

“Vingle has text, picture and video-oriented contents. But content type doesn’t matter. We provide a space and community where people with similar interests can share and interact. That’s the point,” he said.

Like Viki, Jiwon and Ho co-founded Vingle with an international team. Currently, the site has 2.8 million monthly active users, mainly from Korea, the U.S. and some other English-speaking countries. In June, it had 100 million page views. The page views and users on mobile keep increasing, with Vingle currently having 1.4 million app downloads, Ho added.

Founded in 2011, Ho believed Vingle has passed the threshold of amassing its initial user community, and the business is starting to take off after reaching a critical mass in Korea. More and more popular bloggers and content contributors use Vingle as their blogging platform or tools to promote their blogs, according to Ho. The company is now building Japanese and Chinese teams, looking to explore cross-border opportunities.

“Most social networking services connects people to people, therefore, the social graph is formed around regional, social, school networks. But Vingle connects like-minded people through interests.”

In addition to some seed funding from Viki, Vingle has raised a Series A from Korean venture capital K Cube Ventures, and is planning to raise Series B next year.

Though Vingle has tried some e-commerce related business models, the company’s revenue will eventually be based on advertisements by connecting shoppers to the sellers, since it won’t be handling the inventories directly, said Ho.

With the goal of sharing experiences on building an international team and operations, Ho also set up micro-VC TheVentures to help entrepreneurs who are looking for cross-border opportunities. There are no regional or industry sector restrictions for portfolio companies.

TheVentures has invested in 10 companies since its establishment six months ago. The investment amounts range between $100,000 and $150,000.

Adopting an aggressive investment strategy, Ho tends to get involved in the development of startups that share the same visions with him, and helps these projects grow by adding new values. As an entrepreneur himself, Ho said he believes his team has better execution powers. The young venture capital company hires specialists in technology, marketing, etc. to fill the gaps where there are some missed components in their portfolio companies.

This story originally appeared on TechNode.

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Hardware accelerator Haxlr8r: These are the kind of projects we do not accept

Above: Benjamin Joffe at the 2014 TechCrunch China/TechNode Conference.

Image Credit: TechNode

Benjamin Joffe, General Partner at hardware accelerator HAXLR8R, took the stage of 2014 TechCrunch China/TechNode event this week, saying there’re a dozen of categories of hardware projects they don’t accept.

Based in Shenzhen, China, HAXLR8R is an accelerator for hardware device makers, offering seed fund, office space and mentorship. Since the first batch in 2012, some 50 projects have graduated from the program, with about 30 from the U.S., 10 from Europe and 10 from Asia (8 from China).

HAXLR8R has offices in both Shenzhen, the long-time manufacturing center in China, and San Francisco. The team include about 50 experts and mentors, and a marketing team of ten. The experts and mentors with HAXLR8R would help startups improve their products.

Now Shenzhen has become a must place for makers to visit or live in, for there are all kinds of low-cost electronics parts, factories, and experienced experts who can tell you whether your hardware design is feasible at all. HAXLR8R Launch Day, however, is hosted in San Francisco in order to draw attention from the Western media and audiences.

Like most hardware startups, products with HAXLR8R launch on Kickstarter for early funding and adopters.

The projects HAXLR8R doesn’t accept, according to Joffe, include,

  • EASYware which is too easy to make or copy; for instance, a bunch of copies of Pressy emerged in China before the latter shipped its own product.
  • SAMEware which doesn’t differentiate enough; for instance, smart watches or activity tracking gadgets.
  • FUNware which is interesting, but there’s no business.
  • NICHEware for which there’s a very small market.
  • Other types of hardware projects HAXLR8R doesn’t want to support, by their definition, are FUTUREware, ARTware, VAPORware, LOCALware, SOLUTIONware, LAMEware, LATEware, BOREware and FAILware.

HAXLR8R was founded by Sean O’Sullivan and Cyril Ebersweiler who previously founded China Accelerator, a seed funding program, in 2009. China Accelerator, based in Shanghai now, is focused on software projects.

This story originally appeared on TechNode.

We’re studying digital marketing compensation: how much companies pay CMOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing, and more, with ChiefDigitalOfficer. Help us out by filling out the survey, and we’ll share the results with you.