Mon, Nov. 23, 8:37 AM
- The WSJ reports Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) is looking to unload its 7% stake in Meituan-Dianping, the top player in China's fast-growing online-to-offline (O2O) services market. With Meituan-Dianping valued at $15B following the recent merger that created the company, Alibaba's stake is worth an estimated ~$1B.
- The paper adds Alibaba's decision stems from the fact it's building a rival O2O platform; Baidu is doing the same. Alibaba recently took a $300M stake in online classifieds leader 58.com's 58 Home local services unit. It also has a stake in Chinese ride-hailing leader/Uber rival Didi Kuaidi, and (in tandem with Alipay/Ant Financial) has committed nearly $1B to a local services JV called Koubei.
- One source states would-be buyers of Alibaba's stake are seeking a discount due to a ratchet provision (grants investors extra shares if a company's IPO valuation is below the valuation they invested at) Meituan-Dianping is offering for a new funding round.
- Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY), another existing investor, is reportedly looking to invest another $1B in Meituan-Dianping, which combines China's top local deals platform (Meituan) with its #2 deals platform and top restaurant reviews site (Dianping). Altogether, Meituan-Dianping is reportedly interested in raising up to $3B at a ~$20B post-money valuation.
- Update: Probably not unrelated, assuming it's true: Marbridge Consulting (citing China's DoNews) reports Alibaba has held talks to invest $1.5B in leading Meituan-Dianping rival Ele.me for a 30% stake. Tencent and JD.com have previously invested in Ele.me.
Mon, Oct. 19, 12:42 PM
- 17 months after Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY) bought a 15% stake in #2 Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com (JD +1.6%) and transferred its e-commerce assets to JD, the companies are launching joint solutions meant to help merchants using JD's platform to promote their wares on Tencent's massive WeChat (Weixin) and Mobile QQ messaging platforms.
- Tencent/JD promise to "offer businesses advanced online tools to more precisely reach their target customer groups, build brand recognition and increase marketing ROI" via WeChat and Mobile QQ, as well as to leverage Tencent's "massive big-data resources alongside JD.com's leading e-commerce platform and its vast wealth of data about online shopping trends and behavior."
- The move is aimed in part at common rival Alibaba, and comes ahead of China's biggest online shopping day (Singles Day - 11/11). WeChat had 600M monthly active users as of Q2; QQ had 843M, with 627M on "smart devices."
Wed, Oct. 7, 3:33 AM
- Two of China's biggest tech startups are said to have agreed to a merger, creating a $15B company that would be the country’s biggest online-to-offline provider of local services like movie tickets and restaurant bookings.
- The combination of Meituan.com, part-owned by Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), with Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY)-backed Dianping.com may be announced as soon as Thursday - the latest consolidation of Chinese Internet firms this year.
Thu, Sep. 17, 7:52 AM
Mon, Sep. 14, 5:42 PM
- Disney (NYSE:DIS) has a deal making Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY) China's exclusive online distributor of the existing Star Wars films -- bringing legit access to the movies to a crucial movie market for the first time.
- The deal includes the existing films as well as related content, including shorts, deleted scenes, featurettes and other extras.
- It's an extension of a media collaboration that Tencent has with Disney and Fox for video on demand.
- Tencent Video members pay a monthly fee of up to 20 yuan (about $3) to watch the platform. This month, for an extra 2.50 yuan/view, members can watch the Star Wars films, and won't have to pay that from next month. Nonmembers pay 5 yuan/view for the Star Wars films.
- The (legitimate) streaming market is heating up in China, with a number of companies vying to be the "Netflix of China" -- including Netflix, which has been talking with local partners.
- Baidu is pushing into video via its iQiyi unit, and Alibaba has launched its Tmall Box Office service to fanfare along with investing in Hollywood pictures.
Fri, Sep. 4, 1:19 PM
- The Information reports Google (GOOG -1.3%, GOOGL -1.4%) "hopes to get Chinese government approval to distribute a special China version" of Google Play as soon as this fall. The Chinese version of the App Store will comply with Beijing's censorship requirements, and store data locally.
- The site previously reported of plans for a Chinese Play launch last November. Google shut down its Chinese search engine (Google.cn) in 2010 rather than comply with censorship requirements. However, the company still does plenty of business with Chinese advertisers looking to reach overseas buyers, and hosts many apps developed by Chinese firms within international Play stores.
- While Android accounts for well over half of Chinese smartphone sales - Kantar Worldpanel estimates a 79.1% unit share in "Urban China" for the 3 months ending July - Chinese Android users generally rely on app stores from local tech giants Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), Qihoo (NYSE:QIHU), and Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY). Meanwhile, the iPhone maintains a large share among higher-income Chinese users more likely to pay for apps and/or in-app purchases.
- In other Google news, Google is expanding its self-driving car tests from the company's home base of Mountain View to Austin, TX. The company has previously suggested it wants to bring a self-driving car to market by 2020, and that it wants to act as a hardware/software supplier for 3rd-party automakers.
- Google claims its cars have been involved in just 16 minor accidents in over 2M miles of driving, and that none of the accidents were its fault. However, researchers think some of the accidents are a product of Google's cars being too safe, perfectly following the letter of the law in a world where many drivers don't.
Mon, Aug. 24, 9:22 AM
- The Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges nosedived again overnight as fears of an economic slowdown triggered panic selling, and U.S. futures are off sharply premarket. As one would expect, many U.S.-traded Chinese names are seeing big losses.
- Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) -9.8% premarket. SINA -9.7%. Weibo (NASDAQ:WB) -10.5%. Ctrip (NASDAQ:CTRP) -9.4%. Qunar (NASDAQ:QUNR) -15%. SouFun (NYSE:SFUN) -15.4%. NQ Mobile -10.1%. Qihoo (NYSE:QIHU) -14.7%. YY -9.3%. Bitauto (NYSE:BITA) -8.8%. JD.com (NASDAQ:JD) -9.6%. Vipshop (NYSE:VIPS) -15.9%.
- Alibaba (previous) is down 9.8% to $61.48, making new post-IPO lows along the way. Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY) fell a relatively modest 5% overnight in Hong Kong.
- ETFs: CQQQ, KWEB, QQQC, EMQQ
Wed, Aug. 19, 2:58 AM
- Kik Interactive, the Canadian startup behind a popular messaging app, has turned to China's Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY) for a $50M investment that values it at $1B.
- With more than 240M registered users, Kik Messenger aspires to become the Western world’s equivalent of WeChat, a messaging app that has expanded to facilitating commerce in China.
- Kik still has a long road to travel, however, facing stiff competition from the likes of Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook's Messenger.
Wed, Aug. 12, 7:03 PM
- Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY) had Q2 revenue of RMB23.43B (+19% Y/Y), below a consensus of RMB24.12B. Net income of RMB7.31B ($1.15B) is nearly in-line with an RMB7.32B consensus.
- Weighing on sales growth: Online gaming revenue rose 17% Y/Y to RMB12.97B, a slowdown from Q1's 28% growth. In addition, social network revenue rose 18% to RMB5.5B, a slowdown from Q1's 32%. If Tencent had been using gross revenue recognition (doesn't back out partner payments) a year ago, gaming and social growth would've respectively been 11% and 14%.
- On the flip side, online ad revenue rose 97% to RMB4.07B, after growing 131% in Q1 off a smaller base. Video ad growth led brand display ad sales to rise 47% to RMB2.02B; social ad sales led performance-based (cost per click) ad sales to rise 196% to RMB2.06B.
- WeChat/Weixin monthly active users (MAUs) rose by 51M Q/Q to 600M. The QQ messaging/gaming platform saw MAUs rise by 11M Q/Q to 843M (627M on "smart devices"), and the Qzone social networking platform saw MAUs drop by 9M to 659M (574M on "smart devices"). Fee-based value-added subscriptions fell by 4% Y/Y to 84M.
- Boosting earnings: Sales/marketing spend fell 19% Y/Y to RMB1.6B. G&A spend rose 16% to RMB4B. Going forward, Tencent plans to focus its smartphone game development efforts on titles it thinks "can create or re-define important mobile game genres."
- Earnings Release (.pdf)
Wed, Aug. 5, 3:54 AM
- China is setting up cybersecurity police units at major Internet companies, a move aimed at strengthening the government's grip on the world's largest population of Web users.
- The officers will be added to help boost defenses against crimes such as fraud and "spreading of rumors."
- Beijing is also discussing a separate plan to build a national cyber safety net, enabling national and local governments to cut Internet access when needed.
- Related tickers: BABA, BIDU, OTCPK:TCEHY
Mon, Aug. 3, 7:03 PM
- Ctrip (NASDAQ:CTRP) is guiding for 45%-50% Y/Y RMB-based revenue growth. Consensus in dollars is for 43% growth.
- The modest size of Ctrip's Q2 sales beat could be disappointing investors, after a much bigger beat was delivered in May. Hotel (accommodation) revenue rose 47% Y/Y (volume +55%) to $178M, transportation (ticket) revenue 45% to $170M (volume +106%), packaged tour revenue 61% to $53M, and corporate travel revenue 34% to $19M.
- R&D spend rose 66% Y/Y to $128M, sales/marketing 42% to $109M, and G&A 34% to $42M. Gross margin was 71% vs. 70% in Q1 and 72% a year ago.
- Meanwhile, in tandem with its Q2 results, smaller Chinese online travel firm eLong (NASDAQ:LONG) has announced the receipt of an $18/share offer from messaging/gaming giant Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY) to buy all of the eLong shares not currently owned by Tencent, certain members of management, and "major shareholders" controlling at least 70% of all voting rights.
- Tencent owns 15% of eLong. In May, Ctrip spent $400M to take a 37.6% stake in eLong.
- CTRP -1.7% AH to $70.25. LONG +10.1% to $15.65.
- Ctrip: Q2 results, PR. eLong: Q2 results, PR.
Fri, Jul. 10, 1:58 AM
- Six former employees of Tencent's (OTCPK:TCEHY) online video business have been arrested by Chinese authorities in connection with a bribery investigation.
- Among the detained is Patrick Liu Chunning, head of Alibaba's (NYSE:BABA) digital entertainment unit, who was previously a senior executive at Tencent's online video business.
- "This issue is related to his time at Tencent and has nothing to do with Alibaba," an Alibaba spokesman said.
Tue, Jun. 30, 9:04 AM
- Cheetah Mobile (NYSE:CMCM) has amended its alliance with Chinese gaming/messaging giant Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY) to increase the annual cap for payments made by Tencent for promotional services provided by Cheetah (via its apps) to RMB250M ($40.3M) from RMB105M ($16.9M). The alliance was originally formed in late 2013.
- Tencent paid Cheetah RMB64.3M over the first 4 months of the year. Cheetah's rapid growth - its mobile monthly active users reached 443.6M in Q1, +12% Q/Q - has increased its potential value to Tencent as a promotional/distribution platform.
- Cheetah has risen to $29.50 premarket. The company joined other Chinese tech names in selling off hard yesterday.
Sun, Jun. 14, 11:19 AM
- Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) is planning to build China's version of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and HBO (NYSE:TWX) via a new service called Tmall Box Office.
- "We want to create a whole new family entertainment experience," Alibaba's Liu Chunning told reporters in Shanghai.
- TBO will launch in about two months, with content bought from China and other countries, as well as in-house productions.
- Related tickers: Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY), Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), Sohu (NASDAQ:SOHU)
Wed, May 27, 11:09 PM
- As media ratings continue to move into the digital age, Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN) says it's partnering with Tencent Holdings (OTCPK:TCEHY) to launch Digital Ad Ratings, looking to tap a bigger share of a $31B market.
- The move is a push to track unique statistics for an ad across multiple platforms for the first time in China, just as Tencent is pushing to increase mobile ad revenue.
- Nielsen will measure campaigns using surveys of 46,000 Chinese consumers and aggregate data from Tencent's hundreds of millions of users. Tencent's mobile messaging client WeChat boasts 500M monthly active users.
- Nielsen says it worked with publishers and advertisers in developing the system, and it plans to roll it out to other companies in China as well.
- Competitor comScore (NASDAQ:SCOR) says its similar service is already available in China.
Mon, May 18, 3:10 PM
- Bloomberg reports Baidu (BIDU -0.8%) is teaming with top ride-sharing platform Uber and P-E firm Apax Partners to jointly bid for Nokia's (NOK +0.7%) HERE mapping/navigation software unit. Sources state the business could fetch as much as $4B.
- A rival group consisting of Chinese messaging/gaming giant Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY), Chinese mapping firm/Tencent partner NavInfo, and Swedish P-E firm EQT Partners is also reportedly bidding. A group of German automakers (mentioned in past reports) and a trio of P-E firms are reportedly interested as well, and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has offered to buy a minority stake.
- The next round of bids are reportedly due in 2 weeks. Baidu is said to be partnering with Uber to "avoid regulatory scrutiny." The NYT previously reported Uber has bid up to $3B for HERE, which has a dominant position in the in-car automotive market.
- Separately, Baidu has announced a "strategic investment" in content recommendation platform Taboola - readers may be familiar with the "Recommend for you" article boxes Taboola provides at the bottom of articles on partner sites. The WSJ reports Baidu, which plans to bring Taboola's platform to China, invested $20M-$30M.
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