Social app Trigger wins Tech in Asia Tour Taipei

by Tech in Asia

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On Tuesday, five Taipei startups took the stage at Business Next’s YourSpace to pitch in front of the local startup community.

Investors judging the teams included Kuo-Yi Lim of Monk’s Hill Ventures, Ben Liu of KAMIA, Albert Shyee of Gree Ventures, and angel investor Brian Yang. The winner of the session was selected to receive passes to Tech in Asia Singapore 2014, along with free plane tickets and accommodation.

Which team took home the prize? It was a tough call, but ultimately the judges went with…

Trigger

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Founded by James Shen, Jimi Wen, and Yiting Lin, Trigger is an anonymous social app that connects users with one another through online media that they consume.

Trigger aggregates content from media outlets and sites like Reddit and Hacker News, and then lets people upvote articles and comment anonymously. Users can connect and chat with one another anonymously as well. Ultimately, the startup hopes to carve out a “content-based social graph” which can later be used for ads and analytics. The app launched in Private Beta earlier this month, and after topping the charts on Product Hunt and Beta List, it racked up 4,000 in one week. It also has obtained seed funding from undisclosed investors.

Unsurprisingly, investors’ foremost concerns were about user acquisition. Shen said that Trigger requires new users to invite three friends upon joining, and adds that he’s targeting early-adopter tech types. Kuo-Yi Lim said that Trigger in its current state would not yet warrant an investment. “What I always say to social apps like this is – show me the traction,” he remarked.

Ultimately, judges picked Trigger as the evening’s winner because they considered it a “moonshot bet.”

The runners up included…

Vectr

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Created by Nick Budden and Emery Denuncio, Vectr is a web-based graphics illustrator. According to Budden, most design applications like Photoshop and Pixelmator are difficult to use and not built for the workflows that design teams require. Budden and Denuncio have built Vectr as a Google Docs-esque illustrator that allows for real-time collaboration, feedback, and sharing. The team also hopes to add a marketplace into its app, where Vectr users can buy and sell image templates. The team intends to monetize by charging users US$25 a month for collaboration, and also by taking a commission on marketplace purchases. Budden said Vectr has secured undisclosed seed funding, but hasn’t yet rolled out its beta version.

When asked about customer acquisition, Budden says the team has been working to meet with influential designers, understand their needs, earn their loyalty as users, and use that credibility to drive organic growth. Kuo-Yi Lim asked if Budden could think of a precedent where a marketplace was tied to a design program, implying that Vectr might be aiming for too much too soon.

QSearch

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QSearch, which Tech in Asia profiled earlier this year, crawls Facebook for keyword usage and then provides its users – most likely businesses – with relevant analytics. The company monetizes by charging clients a subscription fee. Roger Do, CEO of Qsearch, claimed that the company has secured deals with about a dozen Taiwanese companies, and is on track to quadruple its revenue in 2015 to US$250,000.

“What’s going to happen when Facebook starts doing this itself,” asked Shyy. Roger Do, CEO replied that the company doesn’t see Facebook providing an analogous service anytime soon, despite reports of the company ramping up its search technology. Judges also asked about language compatibility. Do admitted that while QSearch was strongest in Chinese and English, it was improving in other languages, and offered its services at a discount when analysis wasn’t at its best.

Docceo

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Led by Marc Nagel, Todd Gordon, Elias Ek, and Arthur Kater, Docceo gives hotels a mobile app that guests can use to operate all the smart gadgetry in their rooms. In addition, hotels can give out deals through the app to encourage guests to go to the property’s restaurant or spa, or attend nearby businesses. Hotels benefit by collecting fees from advertising, and can also gather data about the way guests use their facility. Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel currently deploys the app.

Investors were primarily concerned with the scaleability of the Docceo’s business model. Brian Yang and Lim asked how difficult it would be to adapt the technology to different rooms in different hotels. Ek and Gordon said that the technology in the rooms is generally simple and versatile.

SocialLanguage

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SocialLanguage is a mobile app that connects language learners with one another. Users can find a language exchange partner and converse with one another in their native languages. The team also said they would offer coursework, and monetize by charging for these courses.

Investors were confused about the specifics of the pitch, as well as the numbers the team provided. Roger Liu, who pitched on behalf of Social Language, claimed that the app had racked in 400,000 downloads one month after hitting app stores in the US and China, and was poised to pass 10 million users by April.

 

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PS4 launches in China, somehow isn’t (totally) region-locked

by Tech in Asia

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China got its second next-gen game console today with the launch of Sony’s Playstation 4. And although it hit the market with just a paltry six launch titles available, it does appear that Sony has won the moral victory over Microsoft when it comes to region-locking. Sony’s console is – miraculously – not entirely region-locked.

Microsoft’s Xbox One, which launched in China last year, appeared to set the standard for what China’s restrictive government would allow from game consoles. The device is an island: it can’t play foreign Xbox One discs, download foreign Xbox One games, or even connect to the other Xbox One servers. Nor can other Xbox One consoles play Chinese Xbox One discs.

But Sony’s Chinese Playstation 4 is different: it can’t download foreign games or log into foreign PSN accounts, but it can play foreign PS4 game discs, connect to foreign servers, add friends from anywhere on the globe, and download patches for games from overseas. Similarly, the global version of the console will allow players to log in to Chinese PSN accounts, play Chinese PSN games on disc, and download patches from the Chinese PSN servers.

The significance of this should not be understated. In fact, a region-unlocked PS4 is something your humble correspondent genuinely thought was impossible. Allowing the Chinese PS4 console to play overseas game discs means that Sony has essentially circumvented the Ministry of Culture China’s game censorship system. The Chinese PS4 launch lineup of games is pathetic, but that doesn’t matter as much when gamers can easily purchase imported copies of Playstation hits like The Last of Us from Hong Kong or Taiwan and play them on their domestic game consoles.

For a Chinese console gamer, it’s the best of both worlds: access to Sony’s global and uncensored PS4 game library, as well as access to domestic game servers that will allow multiplayer games to proceed relatively lag-free.

To be clear, Chinese console gamers are still a tiny, tiny minority of the country’s gaming masses. But with the relatively unlocked PS4 launch today, Sony has managed to release a device that is – finally – competitive with the imports on offer on China’s gray market.

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What AppWorks’ $50M startup fund means for Taiwan

by Tech in Asia

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Yesterday, Taipei’s AppWorks officially disclosed that it had raised a US$50 million fund from eight Taiwanese conglomerates and one government organization.

Nearly five times larger than AppWork’s 2011 fund, this new pool of capital roughly equals recent funds raised by Singapore’s Monk’s Hill Ventures and Japan’s CyberAgent Ventures. Given that Taiwan generally falls behind those markets in terms of early-stage funding for internet startups, AppWorks is helping to fill a void.

Yet the fund also points to deeper challenges that Taipei-based startups will face in the coming years.

Since its inception in 2010, AppWorks has been an active and sometimes divisive force in Taiwan’s startup community.

Founding partner Jamie Lin began AppWorks after returning to Taiwan from New York City, where completed his MBA and co-founded a startup called Social Sauce. He earned a loyal following of readers through his blog, where he waxed on the importance of Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurship. Recently, Lin published a book called “Entrepreneurship,” where he lays out the models and strategies that make startups successful.

Yet some in Taiwan’s startup community will point out that AppWorks’ track record doesn’t live up to Lin’s media presence. Many teams that pass through AppWorks’ accelerator program don’t seem to last beyond Demo Day. Its early investment portfolio consists primarily of domestic-facing teams, which attracts criticism from Taiwanese founders who feel that the island should build for global markets, not just itself. One Taiwanese entrepreneur once described AppWorks as “educational,” implying it’s more about teaching Startuphood 101 than building companies with judiciousness.

Lin tells Tech in Asia that he doesn’t object to this description.

“AppWorks’ accelerator is not there to serve the fund, but the fund is there to serve the accelerator and the community,” he says. “We are building AppWorks for Taiwan, not for us or for our investors. Benefitting the community is more important than making money, and we believe that by building the community we can actually generate even better returns.”

Within its portfolio and accelerator, AppWorks’ most high-profile companies include EZTable, a table-booking app that that recently raised US$5.5 million, and PubGame, a mid-core game publisher that raised US$5 million in 2013. Both companies have a presence in Southeast Asia. It also invested in the Kuo Brothers, who oversee three ecommerce sites (one of which is just for fish) and are set to IPO on the Taiwan Stock Exchange this year. Lin points to Fandora, an ecommerce site, and Chocolabs, and app studio, as two portfolio companies enjoying strong traction.

Other AppWorks teams have gone on to hit noteworthy benchmarks. Contest promotion platform Bounty Hunter joined 500 Startups, and smart home monitor Sentri joined Microsoft Ventures accelerator. Airsig, which builds tech that lets users control their smartphones with motion gestures, secured US$2 million in funding from Foxconn.

More importantly, AppWorks has helped foster a vibrant startup mini-community in Taiwan. Lin often touts AppWorks as “Asia’s biggest accelerator,” having graduated over 190 teams. That might seem like a vanity metric, but the power of networks is real. AppWorks plays an active role in managing alumni groups, community outreach, and connecting people. Increasingly, founders like JoyRay’s Jerry Chang are leaving Taiwan’s hardware giants to start companies in AppWork’s office space.

“When we first started, if you work at HTC or MediaTek, you would never come out to join a startup. But now that when we have alumni that have AppWorks experience, and when they tell their friends to come join, they’re more inclined,” says Lin.

Is “By Taiwan, For Taiwan” good for Taiwan?

Entrepreneurs in Taiwan often lament that its legacy VC firms don’t understand internet-based business models, and its famous guts-and-hardware firms (MediaTek, Foxconn, HTC, Acer, Asus) are too risk averse to bet on startups. Through its US$50 million fund, AppWorks deserves credit for bringing old Taiwanese money into younger pockets.

“Essentially most of the corporations that invest in our fund are not interested in the financial returns,” says Lin. “Five to six million dollars is a small chunk of change for them, and if even if we return five or 10 times on the fund, that’s not going to move the needle for them. They’re all in this for the strategic value, [which is] the ecosystem that we’re building through our accelerator.”

One obstacle for Taiwan’s startup ecosystem is its isolation from other Asian countries. In some ways, Taiwan resembles homogenous markets like Korea, Japan, and China, which contain large, mature domestic markets and relatively insular networks. But building for Taiwan’s domestic market has its limitations.

Recently, AppWorks has expressed an interest in engaging more with Southeast Asian teams. In Lin’s view, Taiwan’s large consumer market ought to make it an attractive destination for Southeast Asian teams looking to expand. Meanwhile, Lin says that the island can share its expertise in ecommerce, which continues to thrive in Taiwan.

“A lot of ecommerce companies here have models that are quite advanced,” says Lin. “Taiwan’s retail to ecommerce penetration is about 10 to 12 percent. So if you come to Taiwan you can tap into a really mature ecommerce market and try to apply that back into your home market.”

Yet it will take more far more than US$50 million to help bridge Taiwan’s internet talent with the Singaporean and Southeast Asian ecosystems. Already, companies like Rocket Internet and Ardent Capital are emerging as the region’s builders, often in partnership with domestic conglomerates or government funds. Networks built around talent and companies are forming across borders quickly.

Lin admits that Taiwan’s insular networks and government regulations have kept it from forming ties with ASEAN countries. He points to Taiwan’s foreign students as an opportunity for more engagement. Already, more non-Taiwanese are staying in Taiwan after college, thanks to the government’s loosened restrictions on hiring international talent.

“We have around 10,000 foreign students, most of them are from Southeast Asia each year. So I think our internet ecosystem needs to be more attractive in terms of hiring those students and working with Southeast Asian startups.” says Lin.

Joining hands

2015 looks set to be a year in which Taiwan improves its startup infrastructure. The initiatives laid out by the National Development Council’s HeadStart Taiwan program, which was approved back in August, are steadily coming to fruition. VC firms will bring more deal flow to the island, labor regulations will drop, and work will begin on a startup cluster.

Yet like other cities, money and infrastructure seldom resolves systemic issues. Turning Taipei – or Tokyo, or Jakarta, or Timbuktu – into a thriving startup hub will require all hands on deck – governments, educators, businessmen, and parents. AppWorks and others are bringing those hands together.

Editing by Paul Bischoff, top image by AppWorks

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5 GoPro alternatives for all your action camera needs

by Tech in Asia

Now that smartphones have all the ruggedness of the cookie I just dipped in my tea, people are starting to turn towards action video cameras. GoPro helped make this a big trend, and now a host of rival gadget makers are coming out with their own, many of which feature lower prices.

Let’s take a look at five good GoPro alternatives that all cost just under US$150. Most of them are very light, strong, connect to your phone through an app, and support a growing array of accessories for strapping them to your bike, car dashboard, helmet, or cat. Although they’re all rugged, our selection is more likely to be used by a family or a techie than someone who wears a Red Bull cap and says things like, “Whoa, that was gnarly!”

1. YiCamera

Weight: 72g

Video: 1080p HD

Slo-mo: Yes, at 1080p HD

Viewing angle: 155 degrees

Storage: up to 64GB

Price: US$63

5 GoPro alternatives - 2015 list

The newest GoPro rival comes from Chinese phone maker Xiaomi. It’s limited to the China market for the moment, but it may spread to other markets as the company expands.

As with Xiaomi’s smartphones, the Xiaomi YiCamera costs about half the price that you’d expect considering its pretty strong specifications. As with all the five options on this list, it’s competing head-on with the entry-level GoPro Hero, which costs $129.

The Xiaomi YiCamera is lighter than the GoPro Hero and it also beats the big-name brand by doing slow-motion 60 frames per second (fps) at full 1080p HD.

Note that the YiCamera – which is actually made by a Chinese firm called Xiaoyi, but is marketed by Xiaomi and sold as part of its smart gadget line-up – cuts corners by giving you no accessories, not even a protective case. There’s also no video/image stabilization.

Our own review of the YiCamera shows poor video quality and an all-round disappointing performance, which means that a sub-$100 HD action cam is still beyond the realms of possibility. For now. Our full review of the Xiaomi YiCamera is here; and below is our video sample showing it used while riding a bike and then attending a very loud gig:

2. HTC Re

Weight: 66g

Video: 1080p HD

Slo-mo: Yes, at 720p HD

Viewing angle: 146 degrees

Storage: Up to 128GB

Price: US$159

5 GoPro alternatives - 2015 list

Poor old HTC is still struggling to regain its lost momentum in the smartphone race, but its recent roll-out of the HTC Re action camera shows that the Taiwanese company is still tuned in to what youngsters want. It comes in a choice of colors – white, orange, blue, or turquoise.

The HTC Re is the priciest on the list, but the periscope-shaped gizmo makes up for that with its portability. It’s shaped perfectly to be gripped with one hand; you could even use it whilst riding your bike and still be able to hold onto the handlebars with the same hand. Yes, there’s image stabilization.

In the box there’s a free multi-purpose mount as well as a dock.

HTC’s camera also wins out for supporting the most storage (though you only get an 8GB microSD card in the box). This was initially priced at a hefty US$200 upon launch, but the current online price is edging towards US$150, which makes more sense.

Here’s a nifty review of the HTC Re by the Android Authority team:

http://ift.tt/1CrvlA7

3. Polaroid XS100 HD

Weight: 136g

Video: 1080p HD

Slo-mo: Yes, at 720p HD

Viewing angle: 170 degrees

Storage: Up to 32GB

Price: US$129

5 GoPro alternatives - 2015 list

Polaroid is still in business in the digital age, and its sports video cam looks like one of its most convincing new products, replete with image stabilization.

In the box there are a bunch of useful mounts and contraptions, such as for helmets and handlebars.

The cam looks like a flashlight. Because it’s tube-shaped, it comes with auto-rotate so it doesn’t matter which way up you hold it.

Here’s a really nice review from GetOutThereGear featuring sample footage from the XS100i. It seems to fare well, apart from struggling in low light conditions compared to the GoPro it’s tested against:

http://ift.tt/1CrvnIg

4. Sony HDR-AS20/B

Weight: 57g

Video: 1080p HD

Slo-mo: Yes, at 1080p HD

Viewing angle: 170 degrees

Storage: Up to 64GB

Price: US$149

5 GoPro alternatives - 2015 list

Sony’s 4K Action Cam is rather pricey, so let’s focus on Sony’s offering in our price range – the US$150 HDR-AS20. There’s image stabilization, which Sony has inevitably branded in its own way – it’s called Steady Shot.

You get an adhesive mount for free along with a waterproof and ruggedized case (pictured above).

One possible deal-breaker is that Sony’s cheapest sports camera doesn’t have a threaded mount for a standard tripod, so you’ll need to use the case in order to use it with a tripod. It doesn’t add much bulk, but it’s worth remembering that the cam is not much use (except as a handheld) unless you also get that case. The gently rounded base of the case also means that it can’t be set down on a flat surface.

Also note that buyers suggest Sony’s waterproof case is terrible when underwater because the curved frontage distorts the image.

Aside from quibbles about the case, online reviews suggest that this is a strong and affordable alternative to a GoPro.

Here’s a video review of the HDR-AS20/B from a YouTube user; jump ahead to the six-minute mark to see samples from the gadget itself:

http://ift.tt/1CrvlA9

5. SJCam SJ5000

Weight: 74g

Video: 1080p HD

Slo-mo: Yes, at 480p SD

Viewing angle: 170 degrees

Storage: Up to 32GB

Price: US$139

5 GoPro alternatives - 2015 list

If you don’t mind going “FauxPro” with an off-brand gizmo, this one from SJCam (no, not heard of them before either) could be worth a shot. The specs seem strong and the reviews online are mostly positive. Although the price seems high for a company you’ve never heard of, remember that it comes with a bunch of accessories, such as a waterproof housing, handlebar mount, frame mount, tripod adapter, and quite a lot more.

A downside for slo-mo lovers is that the SJCam only does 60fps at a lowly 480p. It’s getting mixed reviews on Amazon, and the GoPro Hero is slightly cheaper, so this is an alternative only in the sense that it’s an option – but it’s hard to see how it’s a good option.

Here are some sample videos from the SJCam SJ5000 courtesy of someone on YouTube:

http://ift.tt/1CrvnIk


While some of these are solid alternatives to a GoPro, online reviews suggest that the entry-level GoPro Hero still sets the gold standard. And now it comes in at a reasonable US$129. Its specs – such as 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60fps – largely match those from Polaroid, Sony, and HTC, and the comments on Amazon show a greater satisfaction rating for the GoPro Hero than for any of the new-comers. There’s still no easy bargain out there in this sector at the moment, so don’t be fooled by low prices or megapixel boasts.

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AppWorks announces $50M fund to invest in Taiwan startups

by Tech in Asia

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AppWorks founding partner Jamie Lin, center, with LPs at a press event in Taipei

AppWorks, the Taiwan based accelerator and venture fund, today announced it has established a US$50 million fund for investing in domestic startups.

Contributors to the fund consist of a number of Taiwanese conglomerates and corporations. The list includes Cathay Life Insurance, Taiwan’s National Development Fund, Phison Electronics, best known as a maker of flash drives; Far Eastern, the island’s third-biggest telco; CID group, a Shanghai-based VC firm best known for investing in Taiwanese semiconductor firms; and China Trust Capital.

The fund had been an open secret for months within Asia’s startup community, but today marks AppWorks’ official public unveiling of the news.

AppWorks’ founding partner Jamie Lin says that the fund will be used to support Taiwanese startups that go through its accelerator program, which has been active since 2010. To date, it has graduated more than 190 teams. Its investment branch, managed by IC Jan, Nice Cheng, Joseph Chan, and Lin, funded 19 portfolio companies through its previous US$11 million fund.

At a press event, Lin emphasized how Taiwan is in the midst of a crisis. Many college graduates are frustrated by a perceived lack of economic development. Lin believes that by fostering Taiwan’s internet industry, Taiwan can prevent itself from falling into economic decay.

Reaching out to Southeast Asia

Lin tells Tech in Asia that AppWorks will run its second fund much like its first. But he hopes to bring more Southeast Asian teams into its network, and also help Taiwanese teams expand into Southeast Asian markets.

“A lot of people haven’t noticed, but Taiwan is still the biggest consumer market if you consider Taiwan part of Southeast Asia. So if you’re a Southeast Asian startup and you’re doing well in your country, Taiwan should be a market that you should think about expanding into.”

The US$50 million dollar fund marks a watershed moment for Taiwan’s startup ecosystem. The island contains abundant engineering talent, a seasoned hardware OEM industry, and plenty of big conglomerates with money to spend. It also is home (in one way or another) to several venture capital firms, like CID Group and WI Harper, which built their legacy by funding manufacturing ventures in mainland China.

But Taiwan’s startup culture doesn’t live up to those aforementioned credentials. Taiwan has lagged behind global-facing markets like Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as large homogenous markets like South Korea and Tokyo, when it comes to dealflow.

There are many reasons that explain this lag – most of which are not unique to Taiwan. But some will point to the lack of early-stage, internet-minded venture capital as one factor inhibiting innovation. AppWorks’ neighborhood fund of US$50 million is, by any measure, a win for Taiwan.

The fund’s announcement has arrived as the Taiwan government continues to make the island more hospitable for internet entrepreneurship. Under the National Development Council’s HeadStart Taiwan project, the government has invested over US$80 million across four private VC firms, including AppWorks, to spur growth among the island’s startups. It is also relaxing restrictions on hiring foreign talent, and is building a 20,000-square-meter startup cluster for housing local and international teams.

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Oddle makes online ordering affordable for smaller restaurants, raises $718k

by Tech in Asia

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Food ordering and delivery used to be something that only big restaurant chains could do, as developing a customized management system can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But that is changing in recent years, as websites like Foodpanda and FoodRunner have given smaller restaurants a chance to capture a slice of the online ordering market at a low initial cost.

But something is missing. Lim Ze Yan, who operates a restaurant himself, claims that these services take a large chunk of revenues from merchants through a transaction fee, and works well only for “short term gains” and reaching out to new customers. It’s not as good for branding and customer retention.

So in March 2014, he launched Singapore-based startup Oddle to address these gaps. Oddle is a subscription service that allows customers to order the restaurant’s food using a highly customizable branded page. The startup also has an order management system for restaurant operators.

“Where there is Foodpanda or their competitors, there will be a need for Oddle […] It has been about two years since Foodpanda started, and it is only logical for restaurants to reduce their customer acquisition cost. I reckon the restaurant owners will realize by now that if they only rely on Foodpanda as their online channel, they will be paying a large chunk of revenue to them,” he says.

No slouch

The startup has done well enough to raise a S$1 million (US$718,000) seed round led by Singapore-based VC East Ventures (see our disclosure below). Just how well? Enough to cut in half the size of the seed round it wanted and aim for a larger series A round instead, says Lim.

The company has in its pocket 350 outlets from 200 merchants. All Oddle customers in Singapore are paying the startup. It also has paying clients in Hong Kong and just started free trials in Vietnam. It has processed S$2 million (US$1.43 million) in transactions in its one year of existence, representing a month-on-month growth of 20 percent.

Oddle’s pricing model is endearing to some restaurant operators. Like Foodpanda, the cost of using Oddle scales as a restaurant’s business grows. But while Foodpanda takes a chunk out of every transaction, Oddle charges a flat fee for every restaurant outlet, with subsequent outlets costing extra. The barrier-to-entry is higher than the transaction model, but operators keep more of their earnings if their online ordering businesses do well.

In addition, Oddle gives you something that Foodpanda doesn’t: a comprehensive order management system that lets restaurants control the look of your ordering page, consolidate phone, email, and ecommerce orders in one place, as well as access sales and customer data. While Oddle does not do actual deliveries for restaurants, it is testing out a feature to help those with no logistical capabilities.

The seed funding will fuel Oddle’s expansion plans. While it started by reaching out to indie brands, it has begun to target bigger operations, snagging restaurant chains like Soup Spoon and Yumcha. It also wants to expand to more countries. Besides Hong Kong and Vietnam, it has Taiwan and Indonesia in its sights.

Disclosure: East Ventures is an investor in Tech in Asia. Gwendolyn Tan, a Tech in Asia stakeholder, participated in Oddle’s seed round. See our ethics page for more information.

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Its Taiwan appeal rejected, Uber will have to register as a normal transportation company

by Tech in Asia

China clamps down on ride apps, Uber's legal status currently unclear

Uber has been having a tough time in Taiwan. It registered as an “information services” business when it first entered the country, but in December of last year Taiwan’s transport ministry declared it illegal on the grounds that it was in reality a transportation company. Before Chinese new year, Uber had applied to re-register as a new “ding-class” transportation company, one that wouldn’t have to pay taxes. But on Friday the transport ministry rejected that appeal and reiterated that Uber needs to register as a regular transportation company.

The ministry reportedly stressed that Uber’s concept of improving service for passengers is good, but that it needs to register as a transportation company, compete fairly with existing taxi and car-rental services, and pay taxes.

While the debate over Uber’s legal status has gone on, the company has continued to operate, racking up fines from Taiwan’s transport ministry. As of this week, Uber itself has racked up NTD 21.25 million (US$670,000) in fines, and its drivers have been ticketed for another NTD 8.2 million (US$260,000). It has paid a small percentage of those fines but also has a pending appeal that the rest of the fines not be enforced.

(Source: Sina Tech)

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