China Launches Test of DCEP Digital Currency in Four Cities

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, introduced a digital currency known as DCEP (Digital Currency Electronic Payment), which it said will share some features of bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra. It’s being internally tested in four large cities — Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chengdu and Beijing satellite city Xiong’an — aimed at improving its functionality and, in part, to prepare for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The PBOC started its digital currency research in 2014. Continue reading China Launches Test of DCEP Digital Currency in Four Cities

Yahoo Japan and Line to Merge, Plan For New ‘Super App’

SoftBank Group founder Masayoshi Son has developed a plan to create an Internet company that could rival Big Tech companies Amazon and Google. Son wants to combine Yahoo Japan with Line Corp., a public company that SoftBank and South Korean corporation Naver Corp. plan to take private. The two would then be merged in a joint venture dubbed Z Holdings, scheduled to close by October 2020 given shareholder approval. The combined companies would share engineering resources and data and invest in artificial intelligence. Continue reading Yahoo Japan and Line to Merge, Plan For New ‘Super App’

JPMorgan Intros E-Wallet for Gig Economy, Online Markets

JPMorgan Chase has developed an e-wallet for Airbnb, Amazon, Lyft and the like, to allow them to offer customers virtual bank accounts, car loans and home rental discounts. In doing so, these online marketplaces and gig economy companies will end up spending less on payment processing fees to third parties — including JPMorgan. That might sound counterintuitive, but the catch is that the companies can only avail themselves of the offerings if they let JPMorgan handle all the payment processing and cash exchanges. Continue reading JPMorgan Intros E-Wallet for Gig Economy, Online Markets

WeChat Adds Luxury Brands, Competes With Alibaba, Baidu

China’s most popular messaging app WeChat is drawing in luxury fashion brands. France’s Longchamp and U.K.’s Burberry are selling clothes and purses there, and LVMH brands Givenchy and Dior are conducting flash sales on the app. By hosting upscale retail, WeChat owner Tencent Holdings has put itself in competition with Alibaba Group Holding, China’s dominant e-commerce company, as well as search engine Baidu. All three titans are testing the waters outside their traditional businesses. Continue reading WeChat Adds Luxury Brands, Competes With Alibaba, Baidu

Chinese Company Looks to Buy U.S. Money-Transfer Provider

Ant Financial Services Group, China’s largest online-payments company, has announced an $880 million deal to acquire Dallas-based money-transfer provider MoneyGram International. Ant Financial split off from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in 2011 and is controlled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma. “With the deal, Ant Financial would gain a large footprint and a brand name in the U.S. and expand its global money-transfer business, ultimately bringing it into closer competition with PayPal” and others, reports The Wall Street Journal. However, the deal could be scrutinized by the new presidential administration as global competition is being called into question, despite Donald Trump’s recent discussions with Ma to help create jobs. Continue reading Chinese Company Looks to Buy U.S. Money-Transfer Provider

Alibaba Expands Alipay, Creates Media Entertainment Group

China’s Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holdings, is building a global network of merchants that accept its payment services via the Alipay mobile payments app. Ant Financial just announced a partnership with the online-payments arm of Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, meaning that Chinese tourists can use their familiar payment app there. Alibaba has also launched its new Digital Media and Entertainment Group as the company continues its push into movies, online video, music, gaming and more. Continue reading Alibaba Expands Alipay, Creates Media Entertainment Group

Facebook Unveils Peer-to-Peer Payments on Messenger App

Facebook is adding a new feature that allows its users to send each other money through Facebook messages. Users link their debit cards in order to send their friends money. Unlike PayPal or Venmo, users do not have to “cash out” the funds. The payments transfer directly between debit cards. The new service, which is free to Facebook Messenger users, will roll out in the U.S. in the next few months. It will show up in the Messenger app as a dollar sign, next to the icons for text, photos and thumbs up. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Peer-to-Peer Payments on Messenger App

Chinese E-Commerce Company Alibaba Files IPO in the U.S.

Alibaba, China’s largest and fastest growing e-commerce company, filed for a $1 billion IPO, which could make it one of the most valuable tech companies in the world. The company made $6.5 billion and saw a 57 percent increase in revenue in the last nine months of 2013. Alibaba handles more business than any other e-commerce company, with transactions on its three online sites — Taobao, Tmall and Alibaba.com — totaling $248 billion, which is more than eBay and Amazon combined. Continue reading Chinese E-Commerce Company Alibaba Files IPO in the U.S.

Puzzle & Dragons: First Mobile Game to Top $1 Billion in Sales

Japanese game developer GungHo Online recently released its 2013 financials, revealing sales of $1.5 billion, 91 percent of which came from the game “Puzzle & Dragons.” This marks the first mobile game to officially earn over $1 billion. The company noted that $775 million of these sales were generated through Google Play, and $650 million through the Apple App Store. GungHo also announced that the game generated $155 million in January this year.  Continue reading Puzzle & Dragons: First Mobile Game to Top $1 Billion in Sales