Digerati – Village Politics in China and India

Lots on this week: while Snapdeal.com buys a sponsorship to rename an Indian village,in Southern China plans are being made to replicate an entire Austrian village, without permission. TaoBao splits itself into three separate companies – exactly as Yahoo should, according to Jack Ma; Anonymous attacks Malaysia for freedom of speech oppression – is this a pattern of things to come?

Sina Weibo launches a user data center as a potential revenue source
Sina Weibo is offering their 140 million users tools to track and monitor their own Weibo accounts through data.weibo.com. The site allows users to monitor their own accounts on a weekly basis in five categories: influencer rating, followers, people followed, weekly top weibo, and top trending topics.

Renren to issue social credit card
Renren has just announced its partnership with one of China’s leading commercial banks, China Merchants Bank, to create a co-branded Renren CMB credit card that takes advantage of the social network’s features.
This credit card program takes advantage of social, location, and mobile services, where credit card holders will be able to “check in” from their current locations to receive promotional information from any of the ten thousand Merchants Bank merchant partners who happen to be located within the vicinity.

China: Truth, rumors, and a basket of fruit
China has been awash with rumours and uprisings in recent months. Part of this is due to access to the Internet. Though sites are censored and rumours are eventually erased from the public forum, authorities are still struggling to balance the release of information and public opinion.

Yahoo/Alibaba/Alipay/Jack Ma/Carol Bratz: What happened an what it really means
Yahoo owns a part of Alibaba, which owned Alipay, the online payment business. According to Chinese law, this means it cannot be foreign owned. Yahoo alleges it just recently learned that Alibaba had transferred ownership of Alipay to a fully domestic Chinese entity. Alibaba is saying it did that so as to bring Alipay in line with the laws prohibiting foreign ownership of an online payment company.

Chinese E-Commerce Giant Taobao Splits Itself Up
Taobao, the biggest commerce site in China, is splitting itself up into three sites and entities. Taobao is often referred to as the “eBay of China” but it’s a much broader e-commerce platform and the split reflects that. Now there will be Taobao itself, a consumer-to-consumer marketplace (i.e. like eBay), Taobao Mall, a business-to-consumer marketplace (i.e. businesses open storefront on Taobao Mall to sell to consumers) and eTao, a shopping search engine. Despite the split, still no IPO of Taobao, on the horizon.

Chinese now spend 41% of their online time on social networks
A new report reveals that the Chinese now spend 41% of their time online on social networks, which indicates a major shift in how Chinese netizens are no longer purely consumers of web content, but are now more open to communicate, share, and engage online as well.
(Thanks to Sascha Engel for the link)

Chinese Secretly Copy Austrian UNESCO Town
Residents of the Austrian mountain town of Hallstatt, population 800, are scandalized. A Chinese firm has plans to replicate the village — including its famous lake — in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, Austrian media reported this week.

Other Asia

Ebay, Yahoo, Google, Nokia, and Skype announce Asia Internet Coalition
Ebay, Yahoo, Google, Nokia and Skype have joined forces to launch a new industry association, The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), which aims to promote understanding and resolution of Internet policy issues in the Asia-Pacific region.

Village in India named after a Groupon clone
An Indian Groupon clone has adopted a village called Shiv Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, India, and renamed it to Snapdeal.com Nagar. The one-year-old online group-buying start-up will develop the village’s infrastructure, including installation of water pumps and support of the local school and hospital.

Taiwanese newspaper pre-announces iPad3
Taiwan’s Economic Daily, which correctly predicted some of the specs of the original iPad well ahead of its debut, has stated that Apple has another iPad in the works and intends to launch it before the end of the year. Rumour states that it will have a 7-inch touchscreen with an image resolution five to six times greater than the iPad2.

Malaysia braces for cyber-attacks
Malaysian officials are bracing for hacker attacks on government websites by a group which sabotaged Turkish sites last week to protest against Internet censorship. Internet activists Anonymous warned on a website that they would target Malaysia’s government portal www.Malaysia.gov.my.

Singapore promotes healthy eating with apps
To promote healthy eating, Singapore’s Health Promotion Board recently launched ‘Healthy Chef,’ an iPhone app that provides healthy cooking recipes for Singaporeans. The app provides over 70 recipes created by renowned chefs in Singapore with choices over Chinese, Malay, Indian or Western cuisines. A user can search for recipes based on calorie level and save them within their shopping list for future reference.
(Thanks to June Saowanee for the link)