Tencent’s NBA test, TikTok parent deepens education push – TechCrunch

Welcome to TechCrunch’s China roundup, a digest of occasions that occurred at main Chinese tech firms and what they imply to tech founders and executives all over the world.

The speak about U.S.-China relationships over the previous two weeks has centered closely on the NBA controversy, which has put the curiosity of a few of China’s largest tech companies at stake. Last week, Houston Rockets normal supervisor Daryl Morey voiced assist for Hong Kong protests in his since-deleted tweet, angering China’s NBA followers and prompting a raft of native tech firms to sever ties with the league. But some companies appear to be again on observe.

Tencent, which is known for a slew of web merchandise, together with WeChat and its Netflix-like video service, has been NBA’s unique streaming associate since 2009 and lately renewed the deal by means of the 2024-25 season. As many as 490 million followers in China watched NBA programming by means of Tencent in only one season this yr, the pair claims.

The basketball video games are clearly a driver of advert income and subscribers for Tencent amid fierce competitors in China’s video streaming market, however following Morey’s assertion, the corporate swiftly introduced (in Chinese) it will droop parts of its broadcast preparations with the NBA. Popular smartphone model Vivo and Starbucks’s native challenger Luckin additionally promised to pause collaboration with the NBA.

It was a troublesome name for companies having to decide on between financial curiosity and patriotism, and Tencent was tactful in its response, pledging solely to “temporarily” halt the streaming of NBA “preseason games (China).” As public anger subsided over the week, Tencent resumed airing NBA preseason video games on Monday. After all, the content material partnership reportedly value Tencent a heavy sum of $1.5 billion.

Entertainment big turns to education

tiktok edutok

TikTok might be the Chinese Internet service being most carefully watched by the world for the time being. Its parent agency ByteDance, final reportedly valued at $75 billion, has ambitions past brief movies.

This week, extra particulars emerged on the upstart’s education endeavors by means of a WeChat publish by Musical.ly founder Lulu Yang, whose short-video startup was acquired by ByteDance and subsequently merged with TikTok. Yang confirmed he was serving to ByteDance to develop an education machine in collaboration with telephone maker Smartisan’s former {hardware} workforce, which ByteDance has absorbed. The product, which leverages ByteDance’s synthetic intelligence capabilities, will likely be a “robotic learning companion” for K-12 college students to make use of at house.

The information arrived in the identical week that ByteDance’s flagship video app TikTok introduced producing instructional content material for India, the place it’s utilized by 200 million individuals each month. The transfer is designed to assuage native officers who’ve vehemently slammed TikTok for internet hosting illicit content material, as my colleague Manish Singh identified.

Diving into education seems to be a smart transfer for ByteDance to construct relationships with native authorities, which may at occasions discover its entertainment-focused content material problematic. The multi-billion-dollar on-line education trade can also be extremely profitable. ByteDance, with 1.5 billion every day customers throughout TikTok, Douyin (TikTok for China), Toutiao information aggregator and different new media apps, is in a very good place to monetize the large base by touting new providers, whether or not they’re instructional content material or cellular video games.

Also value your time

  • A whole of 53 main video streaming providers in China have launched a “safe mode” for youngsters as of this week, state media reported (in Chinese). During the controls mode, underage customers received’t be capable to seek for content material, ship real-time feedback or personal messages, add or share movies, or reward stay streaming hosts with digital items. It’s a part of China’s nationwide effort to guard younger individuals from consuming dangerous digital content material and web dependancy, which has additionally spawned age checks processes in Tencent video games. 
  • Xiaohongshu, a fast-growing social commerce app in China, is again in Android app shops almost three months after it was banned by the federal government for undisclosed causes. Rumors had it that the service, which was reportedly valued at greater than $2.5 billion final yr, was used to unfold pornography and pretend opinions. It’s hardly the primary tech firm hit by media regulation, and it might in all probability be taught a factor or two from ByteDance, which has aggressively ramped up its content material moderation drive following a sequence of crackdowns by the federal government.
  • Meituan will associate with 1,000 vocational colleges within the nation to coach as many as 100 million employees from the service trade over the following ten years, the Hong Kong-listed firm introduced (in Chinese) this week. Food supply makes up the majority of the on-demand providers big’s enterprise however its footprint spans a variety. The courses it supplies to arrange employees for a digital period may also contact upon skincare, hair styling, manicure, cosmetic surgery, hospitality and parenting, a program highlighting the intensive attain of know-how into Chinese individuals’s each life.
  • Chinese employees grow to be large advocates for the appliance of AI. According to a survey by Oracle and analysis agency Future Workplace, employees in India (60 %) and China (56 %) are essentially the most enthusiastic about AI. Japan, the place the labor drive is shrinking, ranks surprisingly low (25 %), and the U.S. has an equally delicate response (22 %) towards the know-how.

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