Twitter CEO Dick Costolo visited Indonesia yesterday, officially inaugurating Twitter’s new office in Jakarta. At a Q&A session which also featured Rick Mulia, Twitter’s head of the Indonesia office, and representatives from two of Twitter’s partner programs in Indonesia, Costolo explained the firm’s reasons for turning its attention towards Indonesia.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo visits Indonesia tomorrow for the first time. The purpose of his visit is to inaugurate Twitter’s representative office in Indonesia, which is headed up by Rick Mulia. Costolo will likely also meet with Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo and minister of communications and information technology, Rudiantara. Costolo’s visit comes during a time of mixed messages from Indonesia, as the nation struggles to find a clear position on how it wants to treat massive online content networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google, and YouTube.
Japan’s news app war continues and Gunosy has won the latest round. In a filing approved by the Tokyo Stock Exchange today, Gunosy confirms that it will IPO on April 28. The startup is looking to raise JPY 5.32 billion (US$44.5 million) and expects an initial market cap of JPY 31.4 billion (US$263 million). Both figures are subject to change as the number of shares to be issued might be adjusted.
Daum Kakao, the public-listed firm responsible for one of Korea’s largest web portal in Daum and chat app KakaoTalk, has acquired 100 percent of K Cube Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm that backs primarily Korean companies along with a few Asia-Pacific ones. Daum Kakao will add another US$15 million into K Cube’s kitty to launch a new early stage fund, and in the process, K Cube will become the acquirer’s corporate investment arm.
Messaging app WeChat now has 500 million monthly active users (MAUs), parent company Tencent revealed today. The new figure for Q4 2014 is up from 468 million in Q3 last year, and up from 355 million at the end of 2013. WeChat’s growth in active user numbers slowed down dramatically in the first three quarters of 2014, but it stabilized at 6.8 percent growth from Q3 to Q4 – the same rate as from Q2 to Q3.
Last Thursday and Friday were important days for Indonesia’s tech scene. Macquarie Indonesia, the local branch of the global investment banking and financial services giant, held an invite-only conference for high-profile professionals in the telecoms and ecommerce spaces. No other press were allowed inside the venue at the Ritz Carlton, and the list of speakers included some interesting names, including Indonesia’s tech minister Rudiantara, CEOs from the top three telcos, and a slew of investors, VCs, and startup founders, among others.
Australian law enforcement and government agencies are asking for increasingly more data on Facebook users, the latest figures from the social media giant show. In the six months from July to December last year, Australian government agencies requested 36 percent more data on Facebook user accounts than in the previous six month period. Facebook’s latest twice-yearly government requests report reveals it received 829 requests for user data on 933 accounts from Australia. It handed over the data on 69 percent of requests.
NEW DELHI: Facebook Inc recorded a slight increase in government requests for account data in the second half of 2014, according to its Global Government Requests Report, which includes information about content removal. Requests for account data increased to 35,051 in the second half of 2014 from 34,946 in the first half, with requests from countries such as India rising and those from others including United States and Germany falling, the report by the world’s largest internet social network showed.
More than 100,000 people have been fooled by a fake Qantas Facebook page offering free first-class flights. The like-farming scam promises free first class flights in return for liking and sharing an image of what purports to be a complimentary invitation to the airline’s first class lounge. The post claims the reward is a celebration of the airline’s achievement in seating more than three million passengers since the start of January this year.
WeChat, the most popular messaging app and social network in China with 468 million monthly active users, yesterday set in stone 10 rules for users posting to the app’s news feed, called Moments in English (h/t to 36kr for spotting). An article from the WeChat Security Center says the service will “resolutely crack down on all kinds of illegal content and behavior.
In the pre-Masterchef and foodgramming generation of restaurant regulars, a bad experience could be solved, before the night was over, just by screaming at the manager and peace was achievable with a complimentary dessert or a 20% discount. Whether this hassled consumer returned or not, the restaurant went ahead with business as usual. But in 2015, no issue, whether a minor one like the ambience or a serious one like the denial of entry, stays within the walls of the restaurant.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plans to invest $200 million in Snapchat at $15 billion valuation, sources tell Bloomberg. This funding would be in addition to, not part of, the $500 million funding round Snapchat was reportedly in talks about last month, sources tell Bloomberg’s Serena Saitto. That round had Snapchat valued at $19 billion, instead of $15 billion. This isn’t the first time Alibaba’s name has come up in funding talks. Saitto reported that the two companies were in discussions about a round at a $10 billion valuation back in July.
Malaysia has urged its civil servants to use social media to help people understand government policies, especially new ones. “It is important to use all available communication, especially Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to create better understanding of the government transformation agenda, especially the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax in April,” said Datuk Ibrahim Abdul Rahman, Director General, Department of Information.
Hong Kong’s geographic proximity to mainland China belies the gulf in business practices, Internet laws, and access that Twitter will find between the refined transparency of Hong Kong and the nuances and perils of the mainland Chinese Internet sector. Twitter announced plans this week to open an office in Hong Kong. Though the company says it has no intention to enter China, the move to Hong Kong is meant to give the company easier access to advertisers.
Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social network, continues to grow – albeit slowly. Weibo ended 2014 with 175.7 million monthly active users (MAUs), which is up 36 percent year-on-year, and up 5.2 percent from Q3 to Q4. Although many have talked about WeChat making Weibo irrelevant, it seems that Weibo is standing its ground against the hugely popular messaging app (WeChat is close to 500 million MAUs) despite a number of areas of overlap between the two social networks.
Over the past week, China has been going gaga over pollution. No, the skies aren’t any grayer than usual; the reason is Under the Dome, a documentary about pollution from popular CCTV journalist Chai Jing that hit the web and went viral. The film burned its way through WeChat and Weibo, racking up tens of millions of views in just 24 hours. Now, around a week later, it has already been watched more than 100 million times.
It’s official: Twitter has arrived in Jakarta and opened an office space in the 15th floor of the One Pacific Place office building, SCBD, Jakarta. In November 2014 at our Tech in Asia Jakarta 2014 conference, Rick Mulia, head of business development for Twitter in Indonesia, announced that Twitter would open a local office by early 2015. It seems today he’s made good on that promise. Unsurprisingly, the news first broke via Twitter when the official account of Twitter Indonesia, @TwitterID, sent out its first tweet to the world, Indonesia-style.
Jakarta has just become the first Southeast Asian city to join the global Social Media Week (SMW) network. The conference with international and local speakers is taking place this week at Pacific Place Mall and other satellite venues in the Indonesian capital, and showcases the use and importance of social media for corporations, small and medium-sized businesses, media, and government.
In case you missed it while you were filling your belly with dumplings and your sky with fireworks over the holiday period, China’s tech companies weren’t the only ones getting into the Spring Festival spirit. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who got some attention for speaking Mandarin at a public forum last year, put his language skills on the line again to wish Mandarin speakers of the world a happy Chinese new year. Here’s the video: