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Uber Stalled in Taiwan
On Wednesday, Uber announced it was pausing its operations in Taiwan effective February 10, citing an “impasse” with the government. In December, the country’s legislature passed a regulation that allowed it to impose fines of up to TWD25 million ($775,060) on ride-sharing services like Uber and their drivers.
Pokémon Go Reached $1 Billion in Six Months
A new report from Sensor Tower, a mobile advertising analytics platform, says that Pokémon Go garnered $1 billion in revenues in the six months since its launch in July 2016. Currently, Pokémon Go earns its developer, Niantic, between $1.5 million and $2.5 million a day. SuperData Research estimates that over $40 billion was spent on mobile games worldwide in 2016.
End in Sight for EU Roaming Charges
Representatives of the European Parliament, the EU Council and the EU Commission this week agreed to a new capped wholesale pricing structure for mobile service operators when their customers use other operators’ networks in the EU. The deal is the final hurdle in a plan ending mobile roaming charges for EU mobile users in EU countries, which is scheduled to take effect in June. Whether operators raise domestic prices to compensate for lower roaming income remains to be seen, however.
WeChat’s Digital Red Envelopes Still a Hit
Technode, citing a state-run media report, wrote that WeChat sent out 14.2 billion digital red envelopes, or hongbao, on Lunar New Year’s Eve this year. This was an increase of 75.7% over last year’s transaction volume on the same day. Hongbao are gifts of cash given to friends and family that are traditionally placed in red paper envelopes.
US Advertisers Spend Big on Local Video
BIA/Kelsey forecasts that US local video ad spending will increase by $5 billion in 2021 to $37.6 billion, up from $32.6 billion in 2016. Digital video and local TV will both benefit, and with programmatic becoming more of the norm for advertisers, a portion of the dollars may be used for linear video platforms.
Grab Sets $700 Million Investment for Indonesia Expansion
Singapore-based ride-hailing service Grab announced on Wednesday that it would invest $700 million in Indonesia over the coming four years, in order to build out its business in the country. Those investments will include $100 million dedicated to funding startups in the market, as well as the expansion of the company’s digital payment service, GrabPay.
Royal Mail Adds Mobile-Based Self-Service Feature
Starting in April, UK consumers will be able to print delivery and return labels from their mobile phones at all 1,200 of Royal Mail Group’s physical locations. Created in response to growing use of mcommerce—and an escalating number of returns for such purchases—Labels to Go aims to be more convenient for customers than printing return labels and postage at home.
Asia-Pacific Now Facebook’s Biggest Region
Facebook released data on Wednesday showing that 396 million of the social network’s users in Q4 2016 were in Asia-Pacific—more than were found in Europe (262 million), North America (180 million) or the rest of the world combined (388 million). Facebook also reported that its average revenue per user climbed above $2 for the first time in Asia-Pacific last quarter.
NHS Triggers Google’s Defenses
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is advising its staff to avoid using Google, following the search engine mistaking the thousands of NHS employees who access Google’s services via the NHS’ IP address as a cyberattack, according to The Telegraph. The NHS and Google are reportedly in discussions to address the issue. In the meantime, NHS staff are being asked to prove they are “not a robot” when trying to perform a Google search or when accessing Gmail.
Indian Music Service Saavn Launches Programmatic Ads
Saavn, a digital music distribution platform in India, announced this week that it had started a programmatic advertising service for audio ads in the country. Saavn partnered with Ominicom Media Group in order to offer programmatic audio ads to advertisers. Saavn reports that it has 20 million unique listeners.
—Cliff Annicelli, Rahul Chadha, Rebecca Chadwick
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