Recommended Reading: March 3, 2017 - eMarketer

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Recommended Reading: March 3, 2017

eMarketer’s scan of the key developments of the day, plus data to make sense of it all

March 3, 2017

Snap Shares Soar

Snap Inc. closed its first day of trading up 44% from its original IPO price, TechCrunch reports. Yesterday, the parent company of popular messaging app Snapchat priced its IPO at $17 a share, valuing the company at roughly $24 billion.

Amazon and Grubhub Support Robot Deliveries in Virginia

A new law in Virginia, which goes into effect July 1, allows robots to deliver goods to consumers, according to Re/code. The law, supported by the likes of and Grubhub, permits robots to roam freely on sidewalks and crosswalks—but they must be remotely controlled by an actual person. Although the new law was supported by ground delivery robotics company Starship Technologies, it sanctions similar companies in the state to operate under the same regulations.

China’s Rental, Ride-Hailing Service UCAR Nabs $1 Billion in Funding

China’s ride-hailing sector might be on the verge of another round of heavy competition. Ride-hailing service UCAR announced that it had secured $1 billion in funding from four investors. The new capital gives UCAR the potential to take on market leader and rival Didi Chuxing, which managed to chase Uber out of China last year. Unlike Didi, which uses freelance drivers with their own cars, UCAR relies on its own vehicle fleet and licensed drivers for both rentals and chauffeured trips.

Facebook Establishes Measurement Council in France

As it has recently in the US and Italy, Facebook on Tuesday announced that it has set up a “measurement council” in France, according to CB News, in which ad industry players participate in assessing the social network’s measurement systems. Participants reportedly include brands such as Danone, LVMH and Voyage-privé.com, alongside several media agencies and others in the advertising space.

Netflix Talks Up European Content Efforts

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said this week at a company-sponsored event in Berlin that the paid streaming video-on-demand giant has more than 90 productions in development in Europe, according to Variety, and has invested more than $1.75 billion in European productions.

Thailand’s Central Group Set to Expand Ecommerce Revenue

Thailand-based retail firm Central Group, one of the country’s largest, set out a plan to increase its share of sales from ecommerce to 15% over a five-year period, up from 1% currently. The company said it plans to invest THB45.53 billion ($1.29 billion) in its online retail expansion efforts. Last year, the company bought Zalora’s Thailand site, which had received backing from Germany’s Rocket Internet.

US SMBs Behind the Times on Mobile Apps

Mobile apps are incredibly common in 2017, but US small- and medium-sized businesses are behind the times, according to a new survey from B2B ratings and review company Clutch. Less than a quarter of SMBs created a mobile app before 2016, and a mere 18% introduced one. However, among the 42% of SMBs with a mobile app, increasing sales is the main drive to put in the effort.

Line Unveils AI Strategy at Mobile World Congress

Line Corp., the parent company of the eponymously named messaging app, unveiled a new group of artificial intelligence tools at this year’s Mobile World Congress event. Among the new services was a voice-activated digital assistant that responds to Japanese and South Korean, similar to those offered by Google and Amazon. Line saw its user base decline for the first time in Q4 2016.

But wait, there's more!

- P&G's Pritchard Blasts Objections to His Digital Demands as 'Head Fakes' (Ad Age)
- Twitter Adds More E-Sports to Live-Streaming Efforts (The Wall Street Journal)
- Amazon Says Employee Error Caused Tuesday's Cloud Outage (Bloomberg)

—Cliff Annicelli, Rahul Chadha, Rebecca Chadwick, Rimma Kats

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