Issue 2 | September 11, 2017

A Big Deal
China’s central bank issued a “death sentence” for ICO (initial coin offering), banning new projects raising money through crypto-currencies. Many Chinese news outlets have described the country’s ICO market as a bubbly sector characterized by widespread fraud, with thousands playing a money game that has gone out of control. There were 65 ICOs in China in the first half of 2017, with over 100,000 investors participating, raising close to $400 million.

A Number
94% – the percentage of students at Fudan Univeristy who regularly watch videos on, according to the company’s chairman Chen Rui.
The site, which differentiates itself by featuring entertaining “弹幕” (Dan Mu, live commentary by users that pops up on a video when you’re watching), is extremely popular among young people and animation fans in China. Over 90% of Bilibili users are under 25 years old. Nicknamed “B站” (B site), the Tencent-backed website competes with the Alibaba-backed (nicknamed “A站”, A site).

A Picture

Jack Ma at Alibaba annual galas
Princess, punk rocker, pop star – this is how Jack Ma dresses up for Alibaba’s annual employee parties. This year, he danced as Michael Jackson in front of 40,000 employees at the 18th rendition of the annual tradition, which took place at one of the largest sports stadiums in southern China. Please be sure to watch a newly released 2-minute video on Alibaba’s past annual parties that went viral in China this week by clicking on the picture above or here (it’s mostly in English).

A Quote

Under Pony Ma, Tencent implemented the “Law of 10/100/1000”: every product manager must conduct 10 user surveys, read 100 user blogs, and collect 1000 user feedback messages per month.
 – Wu Xiaobo, Tencent 1998-2016: Survivor, Challenger and Leader 
A Buzzword
刷脸 Shuā Liǎn (face scanning)
Imagine a world where you don’t even need your phone to pay a bill. Alipay and recently rolled out “Shua Lian” (face scanning) services, where users can pay simply by looking into a camera. The facial recognition technology will identify you in 1-2 seconds, and money will be deducted from your account. The technology can identify your face correctly even if you wear a wig, heavy makeup, or have other people in the background. In addition, at least three universities in Beijing have incorporated Shua Lian into the campus registration system. Students merely need to show their face to enter a  dorm building, for example.
Face scanning Alipay
A Commentary
Why are offline retailers struggling in the U.S. and in China, but thriving in Japan? What is “New Retail” (新零售)? We shed light on the new buzzword here.
– Zara Zhang & Hans Tung at GGV Capital