TOKYO (Reuters) – Mt. Gox, once the world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan on Friday, saying it may have lost nearly half a billion dollars worth of the virtual coins due to hacking into its faulty computer system. The collapse caps a tumultuous few weeks in which the company has remained virtually silent after halting trades of the crypto-currency, shaking the nascent but burgeoning bitcoin community.
US-based video streaming service Hulu launched in Japan back in 2011, bringing hot movies and TV shows from the US, Japan, and beyond to subscribers at Hulu.jp. But Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins says in a corporate blog post that the startup is now selling the Japanese business to Nippon TV (TYO:9404). Once the business transaction wraps up, the Hulu Japan brand and site will remain alive, licensed to Nippon TV. Hopkins doesn’t disclose any financial details in his post (as spotted by Gigaom).
BT on Wednesday announced the launch of its Cloud Compute service in India to help customers reap the benefits of cloud computing and meet regulatory demands. BT Cloud Compute helps CIOs build powerful ‘pay as you go’ cloud solutions with high levels of quality, security and service delivered from BT. The service is available in 17 countries across four continents, including Hong Kong, China and Singapore in Asia.
Toshiba Corporation (Tokyo: 6502), a world leader and innovator in pioneering high technology, and NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com), a data, cloud and international communications leader within the NTT (NYSE: NTT) Group, announced on February 27 a multifaceted alliance under which Toshiba’s data-center and cloud-computing services will be provided to global customers by NTT Com’s Enterprise Cloud, a self-manageable, full-layer virtual private cloud, and data centers. Services will be provided in North America and Asia from April, and then expanded to Europe thereafter.
TOKYO (Reuters) – Line Corp, a Japan-based mobile messaging service operator, has not received an offer for a stake purchase from SoftBank Corp, the company’s chief operating officer said on Wednesday. Shares in SoftBank and in Line’s South Korean parent company, Naver Corp, surged on Tuesday after a Bloomberg News report that SoftBank and Line had held talks on a stake sale. Line and Naver both denied that talks had taken place.
Asian telecom operators Chunghwa Telecom (Taiwan), HKT (Hong Kong), KDDI (Japan), and SK Planet (South Korea) are jointly announcing the formation of the Asia NFC Alliance, with the support of the GSMA, today at MWC 2014. The Alliance aims to extend existing NFC services beyond national borders to further accelerate the adoption of convenient and compatible NFC services worldwide.
Almost a year ago, Microsoft announced its plans to expand Windows Azure to Asia, with data centers in China, Japan and Australia. Today, the company announced that its two regions in Japan (Japan East and Japan West) have now hit general availability, and Azure users in Japan will now be able to store their data locally. As Satya Nadella noted a year ago (when he was still the president of Microsoft’s server and tools business), the company decided to invest “hundreds of millions of dollars” into this expansion in Asia because it believes there is a huge market opportunity for cloud computing in the region.
As sales of smartphones and tablets continue to outpace PC shipments, demand for consistent experiences across devices is accelerating the adoption of cloud services in both the enterprise and the consumer market. The blurring line between the two segments underscores a fundamental shift in user expectations that SK Telecom, South Korea’s largest wireless operator and one of the biggest in Asia, sees as an unmissable growth opportunity.
Right in the thick of chat app madness, Japan’s Line messenger has announced it will roll out a new feature to further boost its already-rich user experience. Engadget reports that the company will soon introduce a voice call service that lets users reach out to landline and cellphone users through the app. Set to be launched in the US, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Thailand and the Philippines (Taiwan will have to wait), the feature will be priced at JPY 6.5 (about USD $0.06) for a 30-day plan; or alternatively, at JPY 14 (about USD $0.13) per minute to cellphones and JPY 3 (about $0.03) to landlines if users opt for a pay-as-you-go plan.
Bitcoin is a manifestation of an innovative new technology called crypto-currency. At its heart, it is a cloud-based peer-to-peer ledger system that allows you to put a timestamp on transactions. This can be used for the transmission of value, allowing for the instant transfer of money to anyone, anywhere in the world. It can also be used for entering into contracts or even proving copyright ownership of content, all without a central authority. Think of the innovations that have occurred on top of the basic internet protocol over the past 20 years, and you start to imagine the same thing happening with the crypto-currency protocol.
The GSMA and Facebook, through its Internet.org partnership, today announced a joint initiative designed to connect the billions of men and women globally that currently have no access to Internet-based communications services. The joint initiative will focus on reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) of mobile, given that mobile will be the enabling technology for the vast majority of people in developing markets.
At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stated that the number of people in the Philippines using mobile web connections has doubled since Facebook’s partnership with local telco Globe Telecom started. Last October, Globe started giving subscribers free access to Facebook through their mobile phones. This was a partnership the telco and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) inked as part of Zuckerberg’s Internet.org initiative to get more people connected to the Internet.
Yesterday, Nokia (HEL:NOK1V; NYSE:NOK) outed its three colorful, cute, and budget-minded Android phones, the X, X+, and XL. Priced from $122 to $150, they’re clearly aimed at developing nations where Nokia Asha isn’t good enough and where Windows Phone isn’t growing fast enough – though that’s not the explanation given by Microsoft-owned Nokia, of course. But can the Nokia X, X+, and XL appeal in major Asian markets that have been dumping Nokia phones in the past few years in favor of Android smartphones – in nations like China, India, and Indonesia?
The iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display finally hit the shelves – officially, we mean – in Indonesia today through Apple premium reseller iBox Indonesia. But as usual in Indonesia, the prices are much higher than in neighboring countries such as Singapore and Malaysia. Indonesia’ iPad Air is more expensive than in Singapore by US$120 to $150. Singapore’s iPad Mini with Retina Display is cheaper by US$100 to $130.
The messaging app landgrab is on. Less than a week after Facebook bought out WhatsApp, and shortly after Rakuten acquired Viber, a report in Bloomberg suggests that Softbank (TYO:9984) is seeking a stake in Line. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the report says that Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s founder, has held talks with Line about a purchase. The overtures from Japan’s third biggest telco have even caused Line and its parent company, Naver (KRX:035420) to slow its preparations for a spin-off IPO for the messaging app.
Chinese media outlets recently published a speech given by Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei in which he addressed Huawei’s enterprise business. This speech was not only represents the first public enterprise business overview since Huawei entered the market three years ago, but it also details the firm’s enterprise business development strategy for 2014. First note that Huawei recorded US$2.5 billion in enterprise revenue in 2013, representing year-on-year growth of 33% — which did not meet the company’s expectations.
Online retailer Jingdong (a.k.a. JD.com) will be the exclusive seller of the Nokia X series in China, the Finnish company’s first Android phone unveiled at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona today. Many saw the Microsoft-owned Nokia’s decision to make an Android phone as a white flag signaling the defeat of Windows Phone, but Microsoft is still pushing its own OS in China and India by partnering with local phone-makers. Nokia (NYSE:NOK) noted other key markets include Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Russia.
Global Online Gaming Market 2014, reports that trends show that gamers are moving away from consoles and pre-installed PC games toward online and mobile games. The online gaming market is forecasted to grow by a high one-digit percentage point annually in the years leading up to 2017. By then, online gaming spending is expected to almost reach the level of console spending. At the same time, mobile games are predicted to be the fastest growing segment of the video games market.