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Bangkok, Thailand
Asia Writer — TechCrunch

I write about Asia and other bits for @techcrunch, formerly @thenextweb | DM,, or PGP:

Kik Introduces Hashtags To Bring Mini Social Networks To Its Messaging Service — Messaging app Kik is embracing one of the hallmarks of social networks after it introduced hashtags to its service. An update to the iOS and Android apps today turns hashtags into clickable links to chat groups where Kik believes like minded users can congregate to discuss topics, share photos/information and (potentially) meet new people.

Chat App Viber Introduces Games In An Initial 5 Countries, Plans Global Rollout In 2015 — It's been quite a year for Viber, and now the mobile messaging company is seeing out 2014 with arguably its most significant release to date: the launch of a social games platform.

Xiaomi Furthers Its Smart Home Ambition With $200M Investment In Appliance Maker Midea — Xiaomi launched an air purifier last week, and now the Chinese company is putting hard cash behind its smart home push after investing over $200 million in home appliance firm Midea. Xiaomi Inc., one of the Chinese firm's group of technology companies, bought a 1.29 percent share of Midea Group - Midea's Shenzhen-listed parent company - for RMB1.266 billion, that's around $205 million.

China’s Baidu Set To Partner With Uber And Reportedly Invest Up To $600M — Uber may have just raised a fresh $1.2 billion this month, but the company looks set to welcome a new investor, Chinese internet giant Baidu, which is reportedly set to invest as much as $600 million into the U.S. firm.

Qualcomm Invests $40M In Four Chinese Startups And Walden International’s New Fund — Qualcomm this summer announced plans to invest $150 million in Chinese startups, and it has cracked that new fund open to put $40 million into five different organizations in the country, including voice recognition startup Unisound and games development firm Chukong. The other companies on the receiving end of the U.S.

Xiaomi Confirms It Has Suspended Sales In India Due To A Court Ruling — Chinese phone maker Xiaomi has confirmed that it has stopped selling devices in India after a New Delhi high court placed an injunction on its business this week. Xiaomi VP of International Hugo Barra revealed the temporary pause in India, which is triggered by a patent suit bought against the company by Ericsson, via an update on Google+.

Messaging Firm Line Partners With Two Labels To Launch A Music Streaming Business — Messaging app company Line is expanding into music streaming after it announced the launch of Line Music, a new venture backed by recording labels Avex Digital and Sony Music Entertainment. The venture was first revealed in October, at an event where Line also unveiled global plans for its manga service and two new ventures for its games business, and now the business has been established.

YouTube For Android Gets Offline Playback… But In India, Indonesia And Philippines Only — Here's something neat. Google has introduced offline video playback for YouTube mobile users. That's an exciting feature but there's bad news for most TechCrunch readers: it's only available on Android devices in India, Indonesia or the Philippines at this point.

Page365 Grabs $420K To Professionalize Social Commerce In Southeast Asia, Starting In Thailand — Facebook and Twitter both have introduced 'buy' buttons this summer, but social commerce has been around far longer than that. Southeast Asia is one hotspot, and it's there that Softbaked, the company behind Thailand's Page365, has raised a $420,000 seed round.

Microsoft Begins Accepting Bitcoin For Windows, Windows Phone And Xbox Purchases — If you want further proof that Microsoft is going through a transformative phrase, you may be interested to hear that the company has now jumped on the bitcoin wagon. The Redmond-based tech giant is now accepting bitcoins for buying games and other digital content on its Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox platforms, as the folks at Coindesk noticed today.
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Dec 18, 2014

Selling to Line is an interesting deal for MixRadio, wonder if we’ll see more like this in 2015?

Dec 18, 2014

Line just bought MixRadio from Microsoft — so it looks like this will be the Line Music service outside of Japan

Dec 18, 2014

RT @mims: .@lmirani bought 4 smartphones in India for $170 just to show what the next billion will connect with…

Dec 18, 2014

Uber says it isn't shutting down in Bangkok, in case you thought it actually follows government requests ;)

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