South Korea’s new president has put technological innovation at the heart of her drive for a “creative economy”, and she is picking the brains of some of Silicon Valley’s leading names for inspiration.
On Tuesday it was the turn of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to visit Park Geun-hye at her official residence, after visits in April by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Google’s Larry Page. Continue reading »
Small can be beautiful. That at least is the view of Yang Donghao, chief financial officer of Vipshop, a US-listed Chinese online discount retailer.
In a country where e-commerce is dominated by Alibaba’s Taobao online marketplace (through which small merchants can hawk their wares directly to buyers), Vipshop has found success by tapping into the hunger among those living in China’s smaller cities for branded fashion. Continue reading »
The successful NYSE debut of LightInTheBox, a Beijing-based online retailer and the first Chinese company to go public in the US this year, has lifted hopes that the deep gloom surrounding Chinese offerings in America might be over.
Bankers hope that, after two years of accounting scandals and critical reports from short-sellers, Chinese companies are ready to return to the US for capital – and that American investors are ready to receive them. Continue reading »
Five years ago, few Vietnamese owned a smartphone with internet access. Now, wireless networks, 3G services and iPads are in use on every street corner. Vietnam, a country of 90m people, a third of whom use the internet, seems to be a promising land for web start-up businesses. But a web start-up like Coc Coc, whose aim is to beat Google, is rare. Continue reading »
There’s a big test this week for investors eyeing India’s growing internet industry.
Justdial, the Indian local search engine, is coming to market with an initial public offering that follows several other IPOs that haven’t done too well lately. It’s a challenge for the company and for prospective share-buyers. Continue reading »
Africa has the lowest internet penetration rate globally, but some of the world’s tech giants think they may have touched a magic formula for the rollout of broadband on the continent.
The ‘white spaces’ technology being deployed by Microsoft could bring “almost 80 per cent of Kenya’s population online over the next three years,” according to Fernando de Sousa, who heads up the company’s 4Afrika initiative.
Bearing in mind that Kenya’s population has grown to just over 40m, that’s a fairly substantial number. Continue reading »
Shares in Sina Corp, the Nasdaq-listed Chinese online media group, rose nearly 21 per cent during trading on Monday after the company said it had agreed to sell 18 per cent of Weibo, its Twitter-like micro-blogging service, to Alibaba Group for $586m. The two came close to a similar deal five months ago. Now they have tied the knot. Continue reading »
More good news for Istanbul’s ambitions to establish itself as a hub: even the internet is hearkening to its call. Fadi Chehade, chief executive of ICANN, the organisation responsible for running the domain name and IP address systems, announced on Thursday his group was setting up shop in Istanbul.
To be precise, ICANN is splitting its headquarters into three – the old base in Los Angeles, a new outlet in Singapore, and Istanbul itself, as a step towards a more global, and a more seamless operation. Continue reading »
As beyondbrics reported last week, India’s online user base is now the third largest in the world. Yet, shopping websites haven’t taken off quite as fast as other internet services. India’s rotten infrastructure is usually blamed, with its traffic-blocked roads delaying delivery.
But one company has shown that the challenges can be overcome – at a price. Continue reading »
Already the third-largest online user base in the world, India has the potential to double its economic contribution from the internet in the next three years.
India could see a surge in the internet’s role in the economy from 1.6 per cent of the country’s GDP in 2011, to up to 3.3 per cent in 2015, putting it near developed countries on this measure, according to a McKinsey report. Continue reading »
Nobody, it seems, wants to miss out on the African growth story (as many telecoms did in the 1990s). Another rallying cry was issued on Tuesday by ICANN – the body that regulates the naming system for websites – calling for a rapid expansion of domain registrars, and pushing ahead with six new offices on the continent.
“We’re coming to you” – that was the message of ICANN president Fadi Chehadé. And Africa might ask: “What took you so long?” Continue reading »
Google’s dominance of global search is well known, and that includes Africa, where the US search engine has over 90 per cent market share.
Now it can add its browser Chrome to its trophy list – according to data from StatCounter it has just overtaken Firefox as the continent’s most popular means of browsing the web. Continue reading »
Poland’s slowing economy is driving people to their keyboards – not to waste time playing games but to save money by buying over the internet.
Although only about 40 per cent of Poles shop online, the number is growing by about 30 per cent a year, which makes Poland, along with the Czech Republic, the fastest growing e-commerce markets in the EU, according to Ecommerce Europe, an industry lobby group. The continent as a whole saw e-commerce grow by 21 per cent last year to €310bn. Continue reading »
The growth in sub-Saharan Africa’s telecoms industry has created global stars in the likes of M-Pesa and MTN, but its continued success rests upon having the right infrastructure to back them up.
So the acquisition of Altech Group’s east African telecoms assets by Liquid Telecom is worth noting. If it gets the nod from regulators, the deal will give Liquid access to the potentially lucrative Kenyan broadband market and a base to expand into other fast-growing data markets in the region. Continue reading »