Bitcoin takes a beating in China as Tencent’s epayments service and two major banks pull the plug

Bitcoin in China has suffered another blow today as three major institutions have effectively banned transactions involving the virtual currency through their services. China Construction Bank and Bank of China, two of the country’s “big four” banks, along with Tencent’s Tenpay, a well-known online payment system, have each issued public statements announcing they will prohibit its account holders from engaging in Bitcoin-related activity (hat-tip The Next Web).

Acer jumps on the smart bandwagon

The Liquid Leap provides the wearer with text message and call notifications and, when it isn’t relaying information from a smartphone, can track fitness too.  One of a host of new products revealed at a special launch event in New York on Tuesday, the band is just 17mm thick so should be comfortable to wear all day and is meant to keep things simple, or so says Acer.

Microsoft to sell Xbox One in China in September

SHANGHAI: Microsoft will later this year start offering its Xbox One game console with a local partner in China, where such devices were banned for more than a decade. “Today marks a monumental day for Xbox, as together with our partner BesTV New Media Co., we announced we will bring Xbox One to China in September of this year,” Microsoft vice president Yusuf Mehdi wrote in a blog post. “Launching Xbox One in China is a significant milestone for us and for the industry.”

Digitimes Research: Global tablet shipments to rise in 2Q14

There will be 61.42 million tablets shipped globally in the second quarter of 2014, increasing 4.9% on quarter and 30.9% on year, according to Digitimes Research. The shipments will consist of 13.5 million iPads, 24.62 million non-Apple tablets and 23.3 million white-box units, Digitimes Research indicated. Apple will be the largest vendor accounting for 22% of second-quarter shipments, followed by Samsung Electronics with 20%, Asustek Computer 6.3%, Lenovo 6.1% and Acer 1.7%.

MediaTek to begin rolling out solutions for wearable devices, IoT applications in 3Q14

MediaTek plans to begin volume production of its Aster solutions for wearable device and IoT (Internet of Things) applications in the third quarter of 2014, according to industry sources. Aster will come as a platform solution that includes chips, software, firmware and reference designs, and therefore will be very competitive in the market, the sources noted.

Foxconn invests $2.2 million into microblogging company Mig33

It’s a curious piece of news: Foxconn, a hardware manufacturer that employs legions of workers to make smartphones for Apple and Samsung, has invested US$2.2 million into Project Goth, the Singapore-based parent company behind microblogging app mig33. Foxconn will receive existing equity in mig33 and get the rights to new shares, which will be available once mig33′s completes its listing on the Australian Securities Exchange.

RCom, Tata Teleservices and Aircel ink agreement on 3G roaming

NEW DELHI, INDIA: In a tripartite agreement aimed to provide 3G roaming services to each others customers, telecom operator Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and Aircel have inked a deal that allows them to use each others network across country. RCom and Aircel have permits for 3G services in 13 out of 22 service areas while Tata Teleservices has permit in 9 circles.

Indian public cloud services market to reach $557 million in 2014

BANGALORE, INDIA: The public cloud services market in India is on pace to grow 32.2 percent in 2014 to total $556.8 million, an increase from 2013 revenue of $421 million, according to Gartner, Inc. Spending on software as a service (SaaS) will total $220 million in 2014, growing 33.2 percent from last year. SaaS is the largest overall cloud market segment, followed by infrastructure as a service (IaaS), totaling $78 million and business process as a service (BPaaS), totaling $75 million.

UC Browser woos Indonesia, sees market share double to 11%

Indonesia’s mobile phone users are growing in number rapidly each year, so it’s no wonder that many firms are vying to woo them in some way. One of these is China-based UC Browser. The team now claims it’s Indonesia’s third most popular mobile web browser, behind Opera and Android’s default browser. That’s why Indonesia is one of its main markets.

China’s top search engine clamps down on P2P lending sites after spate of money-stealing frauds

Search giant Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) recently removed links to over 800 Chinese peer-to-peer lending websites from its search results, according to China’s New Business Daily (hat-tip to TechNode). The new blacklist comes after a string fraudulent sites went dark and high-tailed it with lenders’ money, including one just last week. Over 100 such sites have absconded or went bust in recent years, with an estimated US$110 million lost in under half a year.

Guanxi 2.0: how WeChat groups are changing the game in China’s tech and startup scene

In western countries, separating work from play is seen as a healthy practice. We’ve built our web tools around this premise. You don’t hunt for jobs on Facebook. You have a work email and a personal email. Very few of your LinkedIn references are also contacts in WhatsApp. But in China, all online communication converges at WeChat. The four-year-old chat app now functions as text messenger, Facebook, Reddit, Skype, IRC chatroom, Meetup, and Instagram – all rolled into one.

MediaTek to launch 64-bit quad- and 8-core smartphone solutions in 3Q14

MediaTek plans to launch two 64-bit smartphones solutions, the quad-core MT6732 and 8-core MT6752, in the third quarter of 2014, which is one quarter earlier than its original schedule, according to industry sources. The release of MediaTek MT6732 and MT6752 chips will further intensify the competition in the 64-bit segment, which currently accommodates a number of leading players including Qualcomm, Nvidia, Intel, Broadcom and Marvell Technology, the sources indicated.

Huawei Selects SOASTA to Provide Automated Continuous Test Integration and Cloud Performance Testing for Its Chinese and Global Customers

SOASTA® Inc., a leader in cloud and mobile testing, today announced that Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, has selected SOASTA to provide continuous integration and robust functional test automation for its business and consumer offerings. Huawei will utilize SOASTA TouchTest and CloudTest for internal testing of Huawei’s apps, ensuring peak performance and user experiences for its PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) ecosystem.

This startup is bringing SMS Bitcoin wallets to Singapore and beyond

Bitcoin is one of those things that will always be shrouded in some sort of mystery. Even the matter of who founded Bitcoin is till this date unconfirmed. The authorities have always feared the unknown, with governments and major banks opposing and seeking to regulate Bitcoin. But enthusiasts seem to remain unfazed. Case in point: Singapore Bitcoin payments system startup CoinPip has just brought US-based 37coins’ SMS bitcoin wallets to Singapore. The Bitcoin point-of-sales company hopes to then expand throughout Asia thereafter, starting with Hong Kong and Indonesia in the next month or so.

Samsung launches VN traffic map

VietNamNet Bridge – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has launched the mobile application “VOV ban do giao thong (VOV traffic map)” with the Radio Voice of Viet Nam’s (VOV’s) Traffic Channel to reduce traffic jams.  The application will provide real-time traffic information and display points of traffic congestion in the routes of users throughout the country. It will also suggest route choices for users to avoid traffic jams. Drivers will be able to access traffic camera systems to see the current traffic conditions, so they can make an informed decision about the traffic route that will be most suitable for them.

Sanjay Deshmukh pole vaults to VMware

NEW DELHI, INDIA: VMware, Inc., the global leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure, today announced Sanjay Deshmukh will join the company as head of End User Computing Business, Asia Pacific Japan. He will join VMware from Citrix Systems India, where he was area vice president, Indian Subcontinent for more than four years. The IT veteran will be responsible for VMware’s end-user computing (EUC) business throughout markets in the company’s Asia Pacific Japan (APJ) region.

Alibaba to invest US$1.2 bil. in video company

BEIJING–E-commerce giant Alibaba Group is expanding its online entertainment presence by investing US$1.2 billion with a partner in video website Youku Tudou. Alibaba will gain a 16.5-percent stake in the company and its partner Yunfeng Capital will get 2 percent, Youku Tudou Inc. said Monday. China’s major Internet companies have invested billions of dollars over the past year to expand beyond their core businesses by creating or acquiring entertainment, consumer finance and other services.

LG Electronics rolls out mid-tier smartphone to extend Taiwan portfolio

TAIPEI — LG Electronics Inc., the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker, launched a downsized version of its G2 flagship model on Monday to extend its product portfolio in Taiwan to mid-tier 4G LTE smartphones. The G2 mini runs a 4.7-inch q-HD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2GHz quad-core processor, an 8-megapixel main camera and the “Knock Code” feature that allows owners to power on and unlock their phones in one step by tapping their screens.

Vietnam’s Dropbox is back from the dead with new investment, partners with telco Viettel

In October last year, Tech In Asia reported that Kleii, Vietnam’s equivalent of Dropbox, was in a coma. The service accumulated more than one million users, but its business model was bleeding money. Nguyen Tuan Son, the CEO of Kleii, told us in October that he was re-evaluating the service and working on new ways to release it. Now that day has come. Today, Kleii’s blog announces three major steps on its path back to being a consumer and business cloud platform.

Alibaba and UCWeb team up to make another Chinese search engine, this time on mobile

Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba and mobile developer UCWeb today announced their latest joint venture: mobile content search. The two companies have created a mobile search engine for apps, shopping, and ebooks, in addition to the more traditional search model. The development of Shen Ma actually began in July of last year. Sina Tech reports Alibaba owns 30 percent of the new search engine and UCWeb owns 70 percent. Last October, Alibaba invested US$50 million in US-based app search engine Quixey, showing company’s growing interest in mobile search.

China Telecom loses subscribers in 4G race

China Telecom saw a drop in the number of mobile subscribers in the first quarter as competition intensified after Beijing gave approval for the three major telecommunications operators to launch 4G services in December. China Telecom, the mainland’s largest fixed-line network operator and third-largest mobile services operator by subscribers, said first-quarter net profit rose 17.9 per cent from a year earlier to 5.5 billion yuan (HK$6.8 billion) while revenue grew 6.9 per cent to 83.2 billion yuan.

Acer sets internal targets of 10 million smartphones and tablets for 2014

Acer has set an internal goal of shipping 10 million smartphones and 10 million tablets in 2014, increasing from the 1.5 million and five million shipped in 2013, according to Acer’s Taiwan-based supply chain makers. Acer regained normal business operations in the first quarter of 2014, weathering the negative impact of personnel reshuffles in the second half of 2013, company CEO Jason Chen said. Shipments will start to rise beginning the second quarter, Chen indicated.

Research and Markets: Global M2M Services Market 2014-2018

Research and Markets  has announced the addition of the “Global M2M Services Market 2014-2018: AT&T Inc., China Mobile Ltd., Verizon Communications Inc & Vodafone Group Dominate the Market” report to their offering.  The Global M2M Services market to grow at a CAGR of 21% to 2018. One of the main drivers in this market is the increased adoption of M2M services by individual users and enterprises. Nowadays, people across the globe are increasingly using mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and PDAs for personal and official purposes.

Three Vietnamese teams nominated for NASA hackathon competition

Chaos of Liti’s, Fablab Saigon and Newway will be the three Vietnamese teams to compete with over 200 international rivals in the Space Apps Challenge hackathon competition to be organized by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) later this year. They are entering a global judging process whose results will be announced in May, said the organizing board of Space Apps Challenge, an incubator innovation program under NASA.

Keynote Speakers Announced for LinuxCon and CloudOpen Japan

TOKYO, JAPAN — The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced the keynote speakers for Japan’s premier Linux and open source events, LinuxCon and CloudOpen. LinuxCon Japan and CloudOpen Japan take place May 20-22, 2014 at the Chinzan-so Hotel & Conference Center in Tokyo, Japan. LinuxCon Japan is Asia’s premier Linux conference, bringing together a unique blend of core developers, administrators, users, community managers and industry experts.

Kaohsiung — Gateway to Asia Opening Up to the World

KAOHSIUNG, TAIWAN — After its 2010 merger with Kaohsiung County, the port city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan now boasts a massive stretch of hinterland blessed with abundant natural resources. But there’s more. Home to both an airport and seaport, Kaohsiung pledges to make a new gateway for Asia. By balancing urban and rural development and enhancing international competitiveness, the Kaohsiung City Government vows to turn the city into Taiwan’s new economic showcase.

Acer’s first wearable said to be unveiled in the middle of 2014

TAIPEI — Acer Inc.’s first wearable computing device could take the form of a fitness band that is expected to be unveiled in the middle of this year, a source with direct knowledge to the matter said.  The smartband will be equipped with a small screen to pair with other handsets like a smartphone or a tablet, the source told CNA on condition of anonymity because the information was not public yet.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini to Boast Water-Resistant Body: Report

Samsung’s upcoming flagship compact variant Galaxy S5 Mini reportedly features water-resistant body. The news was accidently revealed by the Samsung New Zealand. The company’s official product support website detailing the warranty information of the Samsung’s water-proof devices had named the yet-to-be released Galaxy S5 Mini along with Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S4 Active.

The Big Bang Theory and 3 other US TV shows banned from China’s video sites

China’s ongoing cleanup of objectionable content on the web has claimed a bunch of new – and perhaps surprising – casualties. China’s media regulator has ordered the country’s video streaming sites to remove four American TV series: The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, The Practice, and NCIS. The sites affected – including Youku (NYSE:YOKU) and Sohu’s (NASDAQ:SOHU) video portal, which pay to license the shows from US broadcasters – have not been given a reason for these bans, according to the Associated Press.

Hon Hai sells some of its patents to Google

TAIPEI — Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the world’s largest contract electronics maker, said Friday that it has sold “a number of communications technology patents” to U.S. high-tech giant Google Inc.  In a statement, Hon Hai said the sale was part of its strategy to maximize the value of its intellectual property portfolio.  The intangible assets were sold through U.S.-based MiiCs & Partners, which specializes in assisting clients to design, develop and manage intellectual property programs and portfolios and package them for sale or license.  Hon Hai did not disclose the financial terms or other details about the transaction.