Hello and welcome to the China Roundup of TechCrunch, a digest of the latest events that are shaping the Chinese tech landscape and what it means for the rest of the world.
China’s implementation of new gaming rules is unfolding like a game of cat and mouse, with the country’s internet giants and young players constantly trying to beat each other. Following Didi’s app ban, small ride-hailing apps are taking advantage of potential market vacuum.
Tencent and young gamers
The Chinese proverb “where there is policy, there is countermeasure” nicely captures what is happening in the country’s strictly regulatory environment for video games. This month, China enacted the strictest ever rules on game timing among underage users. Players under the age of 18 were shocked, furious to find methods to meet the three-hour-per-week quota.
In just a few days, gaming Behemoth Tencent has worked to eradicate these remedies. The company’s gaming division said in a notice on Weibo this week that it claimed or issued a statement on more than 20 online services selling or trading adult accounts to underage players.
The children were renting the account to play games for two hours for a few dollars without checking the general account. Such services pose a “serious threat to the real-name gaming system and the security of minors,” Tencent said, calling for an end to these practices.
China is primarily targeting games that are considered addictive-induced or “physically and mentally harmful” to minors. But what of “good” games for kids?
When Tencent and Roblox set up a joint venture in China in 2019, there was speculation that the creator-centric gaming platform would step up Tencent to create educational games to inspire creativity or help it better align with Beijing’s call for use. Tech to do more social good. As we wrote earlier:
Roblox’s marketing focus on promoting “creativity” may well go hand in hand with Beijing’s call for tech companies to “do better.” Roblox’s Chinese website suggests that it presents part of its business as a learning and STEM tool and shows that it seeks collaboration with local schools and teachers.
If Roblox can inspire young Chinese to design globally popular games, Chinese authorities could launch it as a way to export Chinese culture and soft power. The gaming industry is well aware that it needs to adapt to Beijing’s interests in order to gain support from above. Indeed, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an organ for non-political sectors such as the business community, said in June that video games are “an effective channel for China’s culture. Exports.”
The case of Roblocks will be interesting to read Beijing’s evolving attitude towards sports for educational and export purposes.
Didi has had many rivals over the years, but no one has been able to threaten her dominance in China’s ride-hailing sex industry. But recently, some of its rivals have been looking at a new opportunity after citing cyber security concerns, banning new downloads of Didi’s app. Cao Cao Mobility seems to be one.
Cao Cao, a premium ride-hailing service under Chinese automaker Gili, has announced a $ 589 million Series B increase this week. Cao Cao ammunition should be given to subsidize drivers and passengers in the round. But amid the government’s anti-competitive sabotage, internet platforms these days are probably less aggressive than Didi in its capital-influenced growth phase around 2015.
The app ban seems to have had a limited effect on Didi so far. The app saw a 13% increase in orders in July, according to the transport ministry. While people who get new phones won’t be able to download Didi, they can still access her mini app running on WeChat, which is ubiquitous in China and has an expanded ecosystem of third-party apps. It is unclear how many active users Didi has lost, but her competitors have no doubt that she will have to give them many incentives to attract huge drivers and customers.
DTC fast fashion
Adventurous capitalists are pouring money into China’s direct-to-consumer brands in the hope that with the benefit of the country’s supply chain and its pool of discerning marketers Wins over Western customers. PetPat, a baby clothing brand, saw a big increase in July Raised 510 million. This month, news came that DTC brand Cider, which makes General Z a fast fashion in China and sells in the US, has won the બી 130 million Series B round with a value of $ 1 billion. This news was first reported by Chinese tech news site 36Kr And we have independently confirmed that.
DST Global led a new round of Cedar, which also involved the startup’s existing A16Z, current investor and Greenox Capital. Investors are clearly encouraged by Shen’s pace around the world – its new download volume in dozens of countries has surpassed that of Amazon and is often compared to the industry’s behemoth Zara. Unlike pure internet payer firms, export-oriented e-commerce has a notoriously long and complex value chain from design, production, marketing and after-sales service to shipment. Sheen’s story may have inspired many followers, but it will not be easily copied.