Pingo Space tests new interest-based learning service for China

Almost 600,000 foreign nationals, excluding nationals from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, resided in China in 2010, according to China’s last national census. That is the potential market for one startup in Beijing who wants to increase cross-cultural interaction in China to bridge the gap between expatriates and local Chinese.

Yunkai Weng, founder and CEO of Pingo Space, had a 12-year career with New Oriental Education and Technology Group, a company providing English education services in China. He says he wanted to change the concept of learning a foreign language by ditching books and socializing outside of the classroom.

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How a filmmaker’s soft-sell marketing tactics further her brand

Filmmaker and entrepreneur Siok Siok Tan shared her tips on how startups should market themselves at Lean Startup Beijing’s March Meetup. Tan runs a social video platform in China called Kinetic One. As a visual storyteller, she has handled marketing for herself and her company in a subtle way, a practice that eventually helped her land speaking engagements everywhere including the World Economic Forum. Below are five of her marketing tips.

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Meet this startup aiming to raise mental health awareness

It’s unclear how many psychiatrists, therapists, and psychologists are working in China. There are 125.2 total mental health workers per every 100,000 people in the United States, but the same statistic is not reported for China in the World Health Organization’s 2014 Mental Health Atlas.

Mental health care can be a sensitive subject in China, as an NPR story from last August puts it, the mentally ill are virtually invisible in Chinese society. From a young age on, Chinese are under extreme pressure to study hard, secure decent jobs and complete the “Circle of Life” by starting a family. If one follows this formula, there is not much room for failure, and ailments like anxiety and depression can go unaddressed for fear it will be a sign of weakness.

A Taiwanese startup with no video production skills honed this message clearly in a video they produced at a 48-hour video production marathon, organized by Beijing Tech Hive, in Beijing this March. Their first video was meant to spread awareness about mental health.

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How JingJobs differentiates from other job boards in China

Inncube, the newly-opened co-working space in Beijing’s expatriate-oriented Sanlitun neighborhood, saw job seekers and recruiters interacting at company booths while some candidates practiced their elevator pitches in four-minute speed-networking sessions with potential employers. At the same time, speakers took to a stage to speak about inspiration.

That was the scene at JingJobs and SCHSAsia’s job fair on a busy Saturday afternoon in mid-March. The event used the mantra, “Gen Y not! Job Fair. Be inspired”. It was JingJobs’ second go at organizing a job fair.

March is the beginning of a recruiting season in China because candidates are exploring opportunities after Chinese New Year once they receive their bonuses, said Samantha Kwok, founder of JingJobs.

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Live Interview: WeChat marketing is not just about WeChat

I conducted a one-hour live interview with an expert in front of 50 attendees at Beijing’s co-working space DayDayUp. Below is a write-up of the interview.

Tencent’s 2015 third quarter earnings report said that WeChat has 650 million monthly active users. Many companies in China use WeChat to promote their products and services, but they often hit a wall on how to grow their audience. Thomas Graziani, Co-Founder of a Beijing-based WeChat consulting and development agency WalktheChat, speaks to me to offer more advice on how to use this messaging and social media platform more effectively.

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Women Who Code expands in Beijing and Shanghai

While China recognizes International Women’s Day every March 8 to celebrate women’s achievements in society, the world’s second-largest economy’s rank on the Global Gender Gap Report has dropped for three consecutive years and now sits at 91st in 2015.

A San Francisco-headquartered nonprofit, however, celebrated International Women’s Day in Beijing by training their recently appointed regional directors, who are volunteers, from Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong to carry its vision and mission locally: to inspire women to excel in careers in technology.

The CEO and Board Chair of Women Who Code, Alaina Percival, spoke at the Beijing outpost’s fifth event at Peking University, one of the top two universities in China, on Wednesday. Women Who Code announced the launch of the Beijing and Shanghai arms in January after the Hong Kong one was established a year earlier.

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Happy 2nd Birthday, WeChat Pay!

While WeChat celebrated its fifth birthday on January 22, WeChat Pay is only commemorating its second anniversary on Friday. Tencent completed internal testing and opened up WeChat Pay to verified service accounts such as enterprises and brick-and-mortar stores on March 4, 2014.

Tencent said in the company’s 2015 third quarter results that WeChat has amassed 650 million monthly active users. The platform is the world’s fourth most popular messaging app after WhatsApp, QQ Mobile and Facebook Messenger, according to statistics firm Statista.

Tencent also reported in the same earnings report that over 200 million users have linked their bank cards on WeChat. WeChat Pay is stuck at a distant second of 15.9% in the mobile payment market in China, trailing behind Alibaba’s Alipay, which has 71.5% of the market share, according to internet data research firm Analysys.

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How far has U.S. mobile payment fallen behind China

When Apple chose China to be the first Asian market to expand its mobile payment service Apple Pay to, most China watchers knew the iPhone maker would face stiff competition in the country’s already-crowded mobile payment market.

Mobile payment became popular in China in 2013. Alibaba developed Alipay Wallet independently in November 2013 as the number of people using Alipay on their mobile devices rose to 100 million, according to Sina Tech. Alipay, developed in 2004, originally existed to provide online payment service for Alibaba’s marketplaces: Taobao and Tmall.

Tencent followed suit to launch WeChat Payment in March 2014, providing a mobile payment service for WeChat users. WeChat, with its 650 million monthly active users, is the world’s fourth most popular messaging app after WhatsApp, QQ Mobile, and Facebook Messenger as of January, according to statistics firm Statista.

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8 smartphone hacks for the non-tech savvy

A recent Chinese government report shows that 90% of Chinese access the Internet via mobile devices, which means they probably own a smartphone. It’s also a worldwide trend, with many netizens in emerging markets skipping PCs to access information.

Many consumers are not sure how to quickly troubleshoot their devices.

Steve Castro, a veteran graphic and web designer, based in Long Island, NY, shared with me a few hacks on security and saving data, which can turn you into a savvier consumer.

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Mobile World Congress: Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo debut new smart devices and services

The annual Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona on Monday. But its Sunday press conference has already created some buzz, especially about Chinese tech firms. Here is what we know from MWC 2016.

Huawei launches its first laptop-tablet device

The world’s third-largest smartphone maker, according to research firm IDC, is expanding to the laptop business, aiming at enterprise users. The debut of the MateBook is Huawei’s answer to the trend of thin, lightweight convertible devices, taking cues from Microsoft’s Surface Pro and Apple’s iPad Pro. Running on Windows 10, the device will cost at USD 699 and up.

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