Staff picks: 9 top news stories this week on Tech In Asia


NOTW - Asia tech news this week

Wanna get your fix of top tech news from Asia? Here are our staff picks from the past week.

Saiyai’s pick: Bank of Thailand tells citizens not to use Bitcoin to buy products or services because it’s not a currency

While Singapore got their Bitcoin ATMs and the Philippines’s daily deal sites accept Bitcoin, Thailand says it’s not a currency because there’s no law for it? This won’t be the last excuse that the world invents. I personally think instead of making excuses, Thai authorities should study what’s up with the rest of the world and prepare ourselves for more not-so “traditional” technologies that will eventually come to the country.

Terence’s pick: Mt. Gox finds 200,000 bitcoins down the back of the couch

The Mt. Gox story gets stranger. Initially reported to have lost 850,000 bitcoins, the embattled exchange now says it has found bitcoins in some old wallets. Either this is a sign of gross incompetence or an indication that something fishy is going on.

Paul’s pick: Alibaba issues statement, set to IPO in New York

Alibaba is the world’s most anticipated IPO if only because it kept putting it off for so long. It’s like an annoying date when your significant dinner can’t decided where to go eat. Alibaba hasn’t even set eyes on the menu yet.

Phoebe’s pick: 2 Philippine daily deal sites to accept Bitcoin payments via

There has been a lot of Bitcoin activity in Asia. In the Philippines, it’s just starting to grow and making it available to daily deals sites will be a good start.

Vanessa’s pick: Tencent invests in a mobile commerce site for low-income feature phone owners

It is refreshing to see a change where ecommerce companies are targeting the third and fourth-tier cities and factory towns in China, where internet connectivity is poor. This could be a good lesson for ecommerce companies looking to venture into underdeveloped nations in SEA too.

Enricko pick: Finally, Facebook opens office in Indonesia

Even though Indonesia ranked among Facebook’s top five markets for quite some time, the country has been left behind when it comes to setting up a branch office there. Now that an office has opened its doors, let’s see how Facebook can further grow its influence in Indonesia.

Andre’s and Gwen’s pick: Kiddie’s rejoice, Japan’s Line messenger will launch an app for streaming family movies

Andre: After announcing a feature in which users can create and sell their own virtual stickers, now Line announce a new app where kids can stream family-friendly movies. Although it’s currently unclear if the app will make its way overseas, Line is certainly the first chatting app to tread on video streaming space.

Gwen: Line has already proven its high level of user engagement, and ability to make money from said engagement. Adding this form of media (video) for users to consume opens up a whole new format for businesses to reach, inform and entertainment users.

Josh’s pick: Why did Alibaba invest $215 million in Tango when no one in China uses Tango?

Another Ali investment in a California-based startup. Still no telling what might come of these, but fun to track nonetheless.

Minghao’s pick: A dilemma over Indonesia’s curriculum that “removes” IT studies in schools

Indonesia has the world’s fourth biggest population; just India, China and US are ahead. However, the level of internet literacy is nowhere near those three countries. A revamp of its outdated syllabus and teaching materials will certainly be necessary to help next generation of students learn more about computers and the internet.

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