Commerce

Richard Waters

Like any widely hyped online phenomenon, Moocs – massive open online courses – are facing a reality-test.

Hardly anyone who starts one of the online courses actually finishes it. But even if the formula is being rethought, the potential impact on education hasn’t diminished. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

China’s mountainous Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has little of the wealth and fast development of the places in China foreigners have already heard of, but on one key measure of economic development, Guangxi is winning — the growth rate of spending online.

Online shopping throughout China is expanding fast – far faster than the US and Europe – but it’s growing particularly fast in China’s poorer regions like Guangxi, where malls are sparser and the number of people getting online for the first time is greater. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The taxi industry’s war on app-enabled chauffeur services such as Uber has broken out into physical combat on the streets of Paris. During a strike by French cab drivers who are protesting against the rise of what are locally called “voitures de tourisme avec chauffeurs”, several drivers and limos who crossed the picket line were attacked, with windows smashed and tires slashed. Read more

A bitcoin start-up has bagged fresh investment from one of Silicon Valley’s best-known venture capital firms.

Coinbase, which provides online bitcoin accounts, said on Thursday that it secured $25m in a round of fundraising that was led by Andressen Horowitz, writes FastFT. Read more

Shares in Hong Kong-traded Chinese electronics giant Haier are soaring, thanks to Alibaba.

FastFT reports that Haier said earlier Monday it had teamed up with Alibaba to develop its logistics business. Read more

The inventor of the 3D printed gun has trained his sights on Bitcoin, fronting a campaign to keep the virtual currency anonymous and beyond the reach of the authorities, writes Jane Wild.

Cody Wilson’s move hits back at efforts by the Bitcoin trade body, businesses and investors who have been working with officials mainly in the US to press for acceptance of virtual currencies and hasten their integration into mainstream financial systems. Read more

Hannah Kuchler

 

Pinterest – the online scrapbook which started to show adverts just this month – has been valued at whopping $3.8bn in its latest round of fundraising.

This more than 50 per cent rise in valuation in only eight months shows investors have faith the site is transforming from the home of Mid-Western wedding planners to a store front for big brand marketers. Read more

The most interesting nugget in Yahoo’s second-quarter earnings presentation is arguably not the web portal company’s own performance; but rather that of Alibaba, the Chinese ecommerce company in which Yahoo holds a 24 per cent stake.

With Alibaba gearing up for its highly anticipated initial public offering, the eye-popping numbers revealed on Tuesday by Yahoo are a must read for any potential investors.

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If you predicted the bubble and bust in the Bitcoin market would kill off the nascent virtual currency, well, the very best you could say is that you’re early, writes Stephen Foley.

In fact, dating site OkCupid is going to start accepting payment in Bitcoin from tomorrow, the biggest brand name so far to join the Bitcoin economy. Since the site is part of Barry Diller’s IAC media empire, this gives the currency a toehold in a major corporation. Read more

Foursquare’s future is veering toward e-commerce, as the company’s social media roots have failed to yield revenues strong enough to excite investors.

What began as a virtual social competition for clocking the most “check-ins” at local restaurants and coffee shops is evolving into a play for a cut of local retail business.

“Twenty per cent of Foursquare check-ins are happening at retail locations, like clothing stores and shoe stores,” said Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s chief executive and co-founder. Read more