Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg makes first public appearance speaking in Mandarin

BEIJING: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg impressed during a 30-minute Q&A session at Tsinghua University on Wednesday (Oct 22) when he addressed the crowd and fielded questions in Mandarin. According to a post on his Facebook page, topics discussed during the session included “connecting the world, Internet.org, innovation and the early days of Facebook”.


Line reaches 30 million users in India, up from 10 million a year ago

Messaging app Line now has 30 million registered users in India, according to the Japan-based company that runs the popular service. That’s up from 10 million Indian users this time last year. The app first rolled out in the country, backed by an expensive TV ad campaign, in June 2013. Line has over 600 million registered users around the world, of whom 170 million are monthly active users.


This company gets 70,000 pretty Japanese girls to tell you the time every minute, every day

If you go to Bijin Tokei  (“the beautiful woman clock”), you will see a carefully selected young Japanese woman holding up a sign that tells the current time. Every minute, the page will refresh – sometimes with a new girl, sometimes with the previous one in a new position. This repeats without stop every minute of everyday, drawing on a roster of 70,000 beautiful Japanese women.


Facebook’s new sticker feature unpopular with Vietnamese netizens

Stickers had previously been available within Facebook’s Messages and Messenger app, but not outside messages. But now, they can be used in Comments as well. “The new feature will not bring anything good, and it will create more spam,” Hoang Anh said, an office worker who reportedly spends 2.5 hours in the evening on Facebook. “It seems that Facebook is trying to create a new communication style, the Doraemon-like style, childish and odd with spam messages,” she said.


Telcos and ecommerce firms dominate social media engagement in Indonesia

Local telco Telkomsel  boasted the top Twitter engagement in Indonesia last month, according to a pair of reports  from social media analytics firm Sotrender . Poland-based Sotrender aims to help businesses understand their social media impacts and make strategy decisions based on real-time data and reports. Its latest frontier is Indonesia. The reports include data on Facebook pages and Twitter profiles across nine categories: automotive, banking, beverages, cosmetics, ecommerce, fashion, food, technology, and telecommunications.


LINE Corp. takes messaging app in new directions before public listing

Free messaging app provider LINE Corp. said it plans to enter new businesses such as music distribution and online bill payment services. The company also disclosed for the first time its monthly number of smartphone messaging service users, putting the figure at 170 million worldwide. LINE was expected to list its stock in Japan or abroad this year, but has put off the plans at least until next year.


IFTTT adds support for Weibo, which makes it a little easier for Chinese to scale the Great Firewall

IFTTT , the useful service that lets you connect your web accounts and automate cross-posting, has just added support for China’s Sina Weibo, the US startup said today . This allows Weibo users to connect the popular social network to an array of stuff, such as automatically sharing cool articles from Pocket to Weibo, or posting a daily weather update to your Weibo. But it also makes it a little easier for Chinese to scale the Great Firewall and post to blocked websites. That might not be IFTTT’s intention, but that’s likely how it’ll be used by at least some people.


As it searches for a path out of Japan, Line bets on manga

Though only three years old, Line is facing the same question that many tech titans in Japan face. How can it expand into English-speaking countries? The company’s messaging app is rampantly popular around the world, with nearly 500 million registered users. However, take a closer look under the hood and find that the app has had limited success with speakers of the global lingua franca. The US, where it claims to have 10 million registered users, ranks last on the company’s list of top 10 markets. Indonesia (second) and India (fourth) also rank but users in those countries are not necessarily speaking English.


How LinkedIn has found a way to do business in China

HONG KONG: For American technology companies from Microsoft to Facebook to Google, China is a difficult, even impossible, place to operate.  But one company, the social network LinkedIn, has found a way to do business — by being willing to compromise on the free expression that is the backbone of life on the Western Internet.  LinkedIn’s experience provides a blueprint, and perhaps a cautionary lesson, for Silicon Valley as it tries to crack the vast Chinese market.


Hong Kong protesters go for FireChat to stay in touch

HONG KONG, Oct 6 — Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrators finding it difficult to communicate over congested mobile-phone networks are downloading the application FireChat about 100,000 times a day in an effort to stay connected. Open Garden Inc’s FireChat, which gained popularity during protests this year in Iraq and Taiwan, allows users to send messages using Bluetooth or peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, which is optimal for places where cellular networks are congested.


WeChat is censoring photos from Hong Kong’s Occupy Central protests

As Hong Kong’s Occupy Central protests continue to gather momentum and attention, Hong Kong’s denizens are sharing photos of the moment on social media. But apparently , photos of the protests posted to WeChat by Hong Kong-based users are being censored, and are not visible for WeChat users in mainland China.  For example, Hong Kong-based blogger Cam MacMurchy shared the screenshots below with Tech in Asia. On the left is an image from Hong Kong he posted to WeChat on September 30th.


Code4HK: A visual guide to Hong Kong’s online hub for the Umbrella Revolution

Many observers of the ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong have noted how the protests remain extremely well-organized  despite lacking centralized leadership. Supplies are well-distributed, rest areas are abundant, and protestors have even coordinated recycling initiatives. The movement’s efficient logistics are in no small part due to its leaders’ use of internet-enabled technology. But protestors are going beyond Facebook groups, WhatsApp conversations, and Twitter feeds in their efforts.


Daum and Kakao merge, massive valuation puts them head-to-head with Naver-Line

Two of Korea’s strongest players in the mobile space, Daum and Kakao, have completed a merger today, following an initial announcement back in May. According to Yonhap News Agency , the new entity is valued at close to a massive sum of 10 trillion won (US$9.45 billion). Despite Kakao’s market value nearly quadrupling Daum’s, the latter will be taking over former. The report adds that Kakao will be getting a backdoor listing through the merger on KOSDAQ, instead of going public the following year as they initially planned.


Hong Kong’s #OccupyCentral protests generate over 1.3 million tweets

Protests in Hong Kong intensified on Sunday as young people flooded the streets to demand democracy reform, free from the shackles of mainland China. According to Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), those protests have so far generated over 1.3 million tweets  from participants, eyewitnesses, and supporters from around the globe. As seen in the interactive chart  created by Twitter’s number-crunchers (embedded below), things reached a peak around 11:30 PM local time on Sunday as Hong Kong police responded with tear gas to the peaceful crowd of tens of thousands of protestors at several points across the city. That peaked at a flow of 735 tweets per minute related to the Hong Kong protests.


HK protests’ ‘Umbrella Revolution’ tag escapes China’s censors — so far

BEIJING: China’s censors, who have barred most online discussion of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, have so far not blocked searches for the movement’s “Umbrella Revolution” nickname, although it may not survive much longer.  Chinese Internet users were still able to post under the hashtag “Umbrella Revolution” in Chinese and English on Sina Weibo, China’s popular Twitter-like microblogging service, on Monday and Tuesday.


Facebook adds stickers to comments, but only if the post originated in Japan

If you’re a Facebook user in Japan, you may have noticed a new feature flooding your Newsfeeds: Pusheen, Meep, and the rest of the Facebook sticker gang are now making an appearance in the comments section of posts. The feature appears to be specific to Japan at present, but members of the Tech in Asia staff report being able to comment with stickers on posts made by users who are located in Japan. If you see the smiley face on the right-hand side of the text box, you can comment with a sticker.


From ‘MOM’ to ‘Make In India’, non-human handles score big in Twitter

NEW DELHI: When Sputnik 1 blasted off into space in 1957, boldly going where no manmade device had gone before, it beeped. That beep, which could be heard on short-wave radio receivers as it orbited around the earth, sparked a space race that led to the giant leap for mankind and so on. When India’s Mars Orbiter slotted smoothly into its orbit around the red planet on September 24, it tweeted.


Usage of social media up, dating apps down during Singapore Grand Prix: Study

SINGAPORE: During the recently-concluded Formula 1 (F1) Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, social media usage climbed while dating apps saw less activity, according to a study by BlisMedia. The big data company said in a press release on Tuesday (Sep 23) that the use of YouTube, for instance, climbed by 211 per cent while Facebook usage rose by 52 per cent. Generally, social media usage increased 191 per cent during the F1 weekend, it stated. By contrast, dating apps such as Tinder and OKCupid saw a decrease in activity among users by 40 per cent during the same weekend, the company noted.


Infosys’ new CEO Vishal Sikka allows staff to use Twitter, Facebook to retain talent

MUMBAI: InfosysBSE 1.27 % Ltd’s new CEO has come up with a novel approach to reviving the financial fortunes of country’s trailblazing outsourcing firm: use Facebook at work, tweet, but get the job done. Infosys has long been run as a conservative company known for keeping strict tabs on work hours and sometimes fining employees for not wearing ties on specific days. Such cheerless self-regard could not have come at a more challenging time, analysts say.


MyChat: a chat app to conquer Myanmar?

Myanmar is a country that is still off the map for most investors and startups. It’s considered to be years behind Cambodia, which is in turn, years behind Vietnam, which is behind Thailand. And everyone is behind Indonesia in interest level. The numbers in Myanmar reveal the reason. In a population of 60 million people, below five million  are online.