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There’s a New Social Network in Town
A new social network has emerged, and it looks identical to Twitter. But unlike Twitter, Mastodon—an open-source social network—lets users run posts with 500 characters instead of limiting it to 140, and users can make individual posts private, according to The Verge.
A Look at Southeast Asia’s Largest Ecommerce Sites
Southeast Asia’s ecommerce sector is rife with competition. Tech in Asia rounded up a list of the largest ecommerce players in the region, as measured by traffic. The site reported that the largest sites were in Indonesia, where retail ecommerce sales are expected to total $8.21 billion this year but make up just 3.1% of all retail sales, eMarketer estimates.
British Lifestyle Brand to Enter US Market Through NYC
Chain Store Age reports that British lifestyle brand The White Company is making plans to enter the US market this summer, with a flagship store in the Flatiron district of NYC. The brand’s ecommerce site became available in the US in 2014 and reportedly made $21.4 million in operating profits last year. eMarketer predicts that in 2017, US retail sales will reach over $50.015 trillion.
Use of Government-Backed Payment System in India Rises
The Reserve Bank of India reported that the use of digital payments processed through the government-backed Unified Payments Interface (UPI) system continues to climb, even after the effects of the country’s demonetization move have worn off. UPI payments climbed by about 20% between January and March, suggesting that consumers continue to move away from a cash-based economy following the government’s move in late 2016 to stop recognizing two high-denomination cash notes.
Sling Adds Showtime and More Spanish TV
Over-the-top internet TV provider Sling is now offering Showtime and three more Spanish-language TV channels to its subscribers. With the addition of Showtime, Sling is now the first OTT provider to include all four premium channels including Cinemax, HBO and Starz—albeit at an additional cost to viewers. A Q3 2016 survey from TiVo found that only 1.7% of internet users in North America subscribed to Sling.
Bitcoin Bolstered by Bic Camera Buy-in
Japan-based electronics retailer Bic Camera announced that it would start accepting bitcoin payments at its stores on a trial basis, paving the way for the new payment method in the country. The retailer said it was motivated by a belief that the cryptocurrency would become a popular payment method among its customers. The Nikkei Asian Review reports that about 4,500 stores in Japan currently accept bitcoin payments for purchases.
Which? Campaigns Against Slow UK Broadband Speeds
UK consumer advocacy and product reviews group Which? is launching a campaign to encourage the country’s consumers to “help fix bad broadband.” As part of the push, Which? has released a free broadband speed checker tool and provided guidelines for actions such as filing formal complaints with providers and switching to a new service. A recent Which? survey found that 59% of UK households had experienced some kind of problem with a home internet connection in the past year, and nearly a fifth of those had experienced negative financial ramifications because of it.
South Korean Regulators Greenlight Kakaobank
Regulators in South Korea gave final approval to Kakao Corp.’s plan to open an online-only bank in the country called Kakaobank, of course. The new bank could open as early as June, according to Kakao Corp. Financial regulators gave another company, K-Bank, approval to open a new digital bank late last year.
Argos Plans 80 Days of ‘Timely’ TV Ads
UK retailer Argos will launch an 80-day TV and digital video ad campaign on April 7 that will feature unique, time-stamped ads relevant in some way to the day on which they appear for each day of the campaign—a move the company claims will be a “world first.” The series of 10-second spots will highlight the retailer’s Fast-Track Delivery option, which offers four same-day delivery time slots, including evenings, seven days a week, for £3.95.
—Cliff Annicelli, Rahul Chadha, Rebecca Chadwick, Rimma Kats
US paid media ad spending will grow steadily in 2017, on the heels of a strong 2016 boosted by the Rio Olympics and the presidential election. A focus on mobile will fuel growth, pushing total media spend to more than $206 billion this year—a moderate increase of 6.1%.
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