Alipay Wallet follows WeChat with launch of city service payments

China’s tech giants are working hard to make sure that consumers use their phones to pay for things. Today Alipay Wallet, the Alibaba-affiliated mobile wallet, announced it now enables Chinese users to fulfill municipal fees in 12 cities.

Clicking on a new “City Services” tab inside Alipay Wallet draws up a menu with options to book hospital appointments, pay for parking tickets, settle gas and water bills, and even buy gasoline. Users can also look up information regarding traffic and public transportation, and manage other minor bureaucratic tasks.

alipay city services screen

Ant Financial, the Alibaba-affiliate that owns Alipay, says that it plans to roll out City Services to 50 cities by year’s end.

The new Alipay Wallet features closely follow ones that WeChat introduced last January. The popular chat app rolled out an almost-identical feature set, which the talented team at Grata illustrated in this post.

Alibaba and Tencent aren’t making any money off of these services. But they’re earning something even more precious – user attention. By increasing the amount of time consumers spend in their apps, companies can hopefully increase their chances of steering consumers to the services that actually do help bring in revenues. In the …read more


How Advertising Constraints Sent The Condom Digital in China: Durex

Durex is partnering with Beijing-based incubator TechHive this Friday to launch one of the most left field startup challenges we’ve come across in China so far; sexual wellbeing. The challenge is an open invite to any startup that fits the theme, and will be held over an intensive 54 hour weekend.

The incubator is the latest in a diverse series of brand outreach activities by UK-based Durex. In the past year parent company Reckitt Benckiser Group (RBG) has worked with content partners in China to produce over 3000 pieces of individual content, but according to their Beijing office virtually none of that is direct advertising.

So what do Weibo-supported, love toy hitchhikers, personalized condom boxes and sex-themed startups have in common? They are all part of Durex’s embrace of the digital community in a bid to share their brand with a country that prohibits ‘obscene’ advertising.

“For Durex, this is the one market where we can’t really advertise,” Aditya Sehgal, Regional Director for North Asia at Reckitt Benckiser, told Technode. “Our hands are tied, we are constrained in ways that we are not constrained in other markets. We’ve had to be creative.”

China is the fastest growing consumer …read more


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Star Wars Battlefront Dev Addresses DLC Concerns

Star Wars Battlefront’s producer has reassured fans content will not be held back from the initial release of EA’s upcoming shooter to be sold later as DLC.

Taking to Reddit, Jesper Nielsen stressed the team is committed to releasing a game that expands on the strengths of past titles when it comes to core gameplay, and there’ll be plenty of content available at launch.

“I cannot stress this enough; there will be more than 8 maps!” he wrote. “Also, the amount of content in the game has absolutely zero to do with DLC. I can say that with all honesty.

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14 new Asian smartphone makers hoping to crush Samsung and Apple

Samsung was still the world’s top smartphone brand in 2014 – though only by a small margin. The Korean tech giant is under assault from Apple’s popular iPhone 6 at the top end of the market and from a veritable militia of new phone makers across Asia at the low-end to mid-range. The latest Samsung Galaxy S6 is putting up a strong fight with its more premium design, but 2015 could still be the year that Samsung’s statue is toppled.

The simple fact is that Samsung is in a precarious position. IDC estimates that about 1.5 billion smartphones will be shipped globally in 2015 – up from 1.3 billion last year. Many of those will go to markets like China and India where homegrown brands – Xiaomi and Micromax, respectively – have recently surpassed Samsung in terms of sales. Even in nations where Samsung still reigns, like Indonesia and Thailand, there are numerous new brands that look like a real threat to the current smartphone king. Those newer phone makers are aiming to get consumers hooked on their own keenly-priced but strongly-specced devices – ones that sell for about half the price of a comparable Samsung …read more


14 new Asian smartphone makers hoping to crush Samsung and Apple

Samsung was still the world’s top smartphone brand in 2014 – though only by a small margin. The Korean tech giant is under assault from Apple’s popular iPhone 6 at the top end of the market and from a veritable militia of new phone makers across Asia at the low-end to mid-range. The latest Samsung Galaxy S6 is putting up a strong fight with its more premium design, but 2015 could still be the year that Samsung’s statue is toppled.

The simple fact is that Samsung is in a precarious position. IDC estimates that about 1.5 billion smartphones will be shipped globally in 2015 – up from 1.3 billion last year. Many of those will go to markets like China and India where homegrown brands – Xiaomi and Micromax, respectively – have recently surpassed Samsung in terms of sales. Even in nations where Samsung still reigns, like Indonesia and Thailand, there are numerous new brands that look like a real threat to the current smartphone king. Those newer phone makers are aiming to get consumers hooked on their own keenly-priced but strongly-specced devices – ones that sell for about half the price of a comparable Samsung …read more


ClickMechanic, The U.K. On-Demand Car Mechanic Startup, Scores Seed Funding

ClickMechanic, the U.K. startup aiming to be something like an ‘Uber for car mechanics’ by offering a marketplace that lets you easily and transparently book a mobile mechanic, has scored a modest seed round. The London-based company, founded by Andrew Jervis and Felix Kenton, has raised £320,000 from angel investors led by former Just Eat CEO Klaus Nyengaard. This adds to… Read More …read more


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Infamous Quests crowdfunding Order of the Thorne & Roehm To Ruin

Following the success of adventure-RPG hybrid Quest for Infamy, aptly named dev studio Infamous Quests has decided that we need more expertly crafted games in the fine tradition of Quest of Glory and, truth be said, we do. Hence Order of the Thorne & Roehm To Ruin were born and a Kickstarter campaign to fund them was organized.

The campaign has happily already reached its humble funding goal and, with 11 days left, is aiming to hit its $35,000 stretch target that will lead to yet another game: Order of the Thorne II – Fortress of Fire. As for the games themselves, Fortress of Fire will be all about squiring to a knight and exploring the titular castle, The Order of the Thorne 1 will cast you as a bard complete with Loom-like mechanics and Roehm to Ruin will be a prequel to Quest for Infamy.

All games will be released for Windows, Mac and Linux and a pledge of $15 will get you both Order of the Thorne and Roehm To Ruin. Higher pledges are, of course, accompanied by more exotic rewards.

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InvestHK’s 2014 Survey Shows Hong Kong Startups Increased by 30% Year on Year

Since last month, TechNode covered two posts about Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem. Former Cyberport interview post talked about Hong Kong government’s support to local startups and opportunities to drag more foreign startups in the area. The latter post was about the VC Panel from Fresco Capital and Archangels Access, how they work in Hong Kong’s startup scene, and why should people should take notice. In this post, Director-General at InvestHK, Simon Galpin provided the quantitative figures on Hong Kong’s startup ecosystem to help you get a holistic view along with former two posts.

How is startup ecosystem in Hong Kong?

According to a survey conducted by Invest Hong Kong in October 2014 of 37 co-work spaces and incubators in the city, there were 1,065 startup companies operating in these premises, a 30% increase over 2013. These co-working spaces typically provide a more cost-effective and collaborative environment in which startups can base themselves.

Hong Kong’s advantages as a city from which to scale globally and its edge in quick prototyping have led to growth in businesses and applications in several new subsectors like Financial Technology (FinTech), Smart City, e-commerce as well as the Internet of Things (IoT). In the survey …read more


Teamchat Aggregates 1000+ Responses Into One Message Stream

Which enterprise messaging app does your company use? The TechNode team uses WeChat to communicate over articles and events. We tag @ to call out a certain member to ask for something. However using group chats you can often get lost in a stream of answers.

Silicon Valley’s Slack is also an efficient enterprise messaging tool where you have a small team working together. However, as the business grows and team members increase over hundreds to even thousands, these services makes it hard for a manager to communicate with large teams.

Teamchat solves this problem by offering a smart messaging to support a large team of people. It supports groups of an unlimited size and attempts to keep it clutterfree with its Patent-Pending technology called Chatlet. By using smart message templates, a manager can easily request and receive an individual sales performance figure, company survey, opinion or feedback. When recipients submit responses, the service displays only a single smart message with aggregated responses to the manager.

“Large team communication is an issue not only for enterprises, it also includes political parties, schools, religious parties, and so much more. Even when a manager asks in a poll to 100,000 employees, …read more


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Latest GTA V Patch Fixes Rockstar Editor Issues

Rockstar Games has released a list of fixes that are live in the latest 335.1 patch.

The full list is on the Rockstar Games website, with the majority of the items covering tweaks and improvements.

The Rockstar Editor has had some smoothing out, with a handful of fixes, while Steam compatibility has been improved. While installation of Windows Media Player was a requirement prior to the 335.1 patch, this has been replaced with the requisite installation of Windows Media Foundation.

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