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China's Central Bank Rejects Alibaba, Tencent's Push For Cashless Society

Alibaba and Tencent wanted to kill cash. But their dreams of a cashless society may get crushed first. Concerned about the declining use of China's fiat currency and alarmed by reports of merchants refusing the RMB as payment, the People's Bank of China has taken action to ban, or at least limit the use of the word "cashless" in promotional materials published by digital payment giant Alibaba's Ant Financial.

China Goes Cashless With Consumers Spending $5.5 Trillion Via Mobile Payments, 50 Times More Than Americans

Chinese consumers spent US$5.5 trillion via mobile payment platforms last year, about 50 times more than their American counterparts. By the end of 2016, Tencent alone saw both its active mobile payment accounts and average daily payment transactions exceed 600 million, according to a new report released by Tencent Research Institute, The Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, and research firm Ipsos.

Will Investors Pouring Billions Into Chinese Used-Car O2O Firms Get Run Over?

Investors are again throwing money at China’s online used-car e-commerce market. After a decade of massive new car sales, the Chinese used car market is growing fast and potential profits abound. But with the market highly fragmented and rival online-to-offline players burning cash faster than buyers can drive cars off the lot, one can’t help wondering if this market is about to crash, and which investors will get hurt.

Tencent Invests $23M In British Video Games Developer Frontier

China's Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. has agreed to make a strategic investment worth GBP17.7 million (US$23.2 million) in Frontier Developments plc, a British video games developer listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), a sub-market of the London Stock Exchange.

Tencent Invests $66M In TCL's Smart TV Unit In Exchange For 16.67% Stake

Tencent Holdings Ltd. has agreed to invest RMB450 million (US$66 million) in the smart TV unit of China's biggest television maker, TCL Corp. The deal is Tencent's latest investment in the smart TV sector as the technology giant seeks to replicate its dominance in mobile phones content in a broader distribution channel.

FountainVest, Tencent, CITIC Capital To Reap Billions In Profit From Focus Media Share Sale

A number of investors in Focus Media Information Technology Co., Ltd. are likely to reaped billions of U.S. dollars in profits after they offload their shares in the Chinese outdoor advertising company that was taken private in 2013 and re-listed in China two years later. According to a disclosure filing yesterday, Chinese private equity firm FountainVest Partners, Tencent Holdings Ltd. and CITIC Capital plan to sell their interests in Focus Media totaling around 14% of the company’s outstanding shares. The news prompted shares of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange-traded company to drop as much as 10%. Gio2 Hong Kong Holdings Ltd., a unit controlled by Chinese private equity firm FountainVest Partners, plans to sell up to 591 million shares, or a 6.77% stake of the company and all of its holdings. Power Star Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd., a vehicle controlled by Tencent, CITIC Capital and other investors, plan to sell 648 million shares, or 7.41% of the company and all of its holdings. The units said they plan to sell the shares in the next six months and will adjust its pace based on market conditions. The two shareholders’ interests in the company saw their lock-up restrictions expire in December 2016, …

Tencent Leads $54M Round In US Mobile Music App Developer Smule

Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. has led a US$54 million funding round in Smule, a San Fransisco-based mobile music app developer. Existing investors including Adams Street Partners, American venture capital firm Bessemer Ventures, Franklin Templeton Investments and early-stage venture capital firm Shasta Ventures also participated in the round. The deal values the start-up at US$604 million post-money, according to media reports citing insiders. “Tencent believes that music is universal and Smule is pioneering a new and unique way for people to create and engage with music. Our investment in Smule will expand our exposure to the promising potential of the digital music market,” said Poshu Yeung, Tencent’s vice president of international business. Tencent also operates a Karaoke platform similar to Smule, named WeSing. Smule was founded in 2008 by a Chinese American musician and app designer Ge Wang, and Jeffrey Smith, who also founded Tumbleweed Communications Corp. The company's products include Magic Piano, a popular music creation app, and Sing! Karaoke, a mobile karaoke app. It claims that it has 52 million monthly active users creating over 20 million songs every day. In 2016, Smule recorded revenue of US$101 million, up 54% year-on-year, and its monthly active users increased …