Analyse Asia Podcast: Bike sharing in China

It wasn't too long ago that Chinese cities were filled with bikes - not cars. Now, two-wheeled push-bikes are making a comeback via bike-sharing. 

It works like this: you open an app, find a nearby bike, scan a QR code, pay through your phone. Once you're done riding, you park and lock the bike. It targets the "last mile of transportation," that awkward distance between the metro and your final destination. And unlike bike-sharing models of the past, such as Velib in France, there's no need to return the bike to a specific spot. As Professor Chen Lin from CEIBS says, bike-sharing is fit for the "own nothing, reject nothing, and be responsible for nothing" generation. 

In this episode of Analyse Asia, Bernard and I discuss China's latest cash-burning phenomenon (companies are renting bikes for less than a dollar - even free) and the industry's multi-million dollar archrivals, Mobike and Ofo. 

Analyse Asia Podcast: Musical.ly

In the same way that Western firms tend to languish in China (eBay, Google, Groupon...), success stories of overseas Chinese companies are few and far between. Musical.ly is one of them. Founded in 2014 by Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang, the video-based social app went viral - among US teens.

Now, the Shanghai-based startup has added live streaming to its product portfolio (complete with Trump-head virtual gifts), and has expanded into Europe and South America. How did they do it? In this episode of Analyse Asia, Bernard Leong and I discuss Musical.ly's business model, strategy, and more.

Analyse Asia Podcast: Xiaomi Part 1/2

Once touted the 'Steve Jobs of China', Xiaomi founder Lei Jun has not gotten a lot of love from the media lately. Last year, Xiaomi only sold 70 million smartphones, down 30 million from their goal of 100 million. On top of that, instead of pushing out innovative products, the company has been bogged down in a bizarre smorgasbord of devices, from rice cookers to electronic mosquito repellent.

Still, the $45 billion company -  king of shanzhai, master of the flash sale model - has certainly left its mark on China and the world.

Hear me discuss the "X" in BATX with Bernard Leong on the latest episode of Analyse Asia and stay tuned for Part 2!

The Sound Of 黄梅 Season

Shanghai's 黄梅 season is almost here. It's a two-week season defined by continuous bouts of cool, torrential rain that eventually give way to the heavy heat of the summer. My scooter nearly died the last time 黄梅 season came about (my fault for making it wade through calf-deep puddles). 

Anyway, this is just a recording of a normal rainstorm, a precursor to the real deal, which should start in a week or so. I bought my first audio recorder a month ago, a feather-light Sony ICD-UX560F, and have been recording at every chance I get. It's amazing how listening back to interviews - or any kind of sound - can ground you in that moment. Maybe the magic will fade, but for now, I am thrilled. More audio clips to be posted in future Flotsam posts!

Analyse Asia Collaboration: 2-Part Podcast On Tencent

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of working with Analyse Asia's Bernard Leong on a 2-part podcast covering Tencent. Like other Chinese tech giants, Tencent is an empire of different services: gaming, advertising, content, social networking, messaging, ride-hailing, O2O services, payments. On top of that, they're notorious for being mysterious and close-mouthed to the press. Good thing they're a public company!

In these two episodes, I dive into the nuts and bolts of Tencent - their business model, revenue sources, investments, and more. Click here for more information about my podcast with Bernard, including detailed and timestamped notes on what we discussed.