About Contributor

C. Custer

I'm a guy who writes stuff, mostly about technology and video games in China. I also made a documentary film about child trafficking. You can follow me on Twitter as @ChinaGeeks.
As it says in the article he is Qihoo's ceoand founder. Qihoo is one of China's biggest tech companies.

Commented 9 hours ago on

Zhou Hongyi denies HTC investment rumors, says Qiku phone is coming in August
“Our human resources people go to universities and ask the professors: who are the outsiders, the failures, in your classes? Those are the people we like to hire,” > really? If so, that's kind of cool. But somehow it strikes me as just a PR line.

Commented 21 hours ago on

Indonesia’s nerdiest company joins Yello Mobile and Cloudera in multi-million dollar partnership
This is an interesting idea. I believe there are some services in China already doing this kind of thing, though, so execution is going to be hugely important

Commented 21 hours ago on

Goxip lets you dress like your favorite celeb
Well in terms of markets, a number of Chinese game developers and publishers are looking to expand internationally - look at some of Tencent's acquisitions over the past five years, for example. (Or Netease's new fund supporting global indie devs, which I wrote about last week). But I think what's really interesting will be how VR, when that finally comes as a viable commercial technology in a year or two, will affect this market, and how Chinese gaming companies will approach it. I expect that some Chinese company will do for VR what Xiaomi did for smartphones - make a high-performance VR headset at a pretty affordable price point for the Chinese market - but beyond that, what markets it affects will have a lot to do with what kind of content is out there for it. I have no idea how it's going to play out, but it'll definitely be interesting

Commented 21 hours ago on

China has more mobile gamers than America has people
With all due respect to Masayoshi-san, I think some of these ideas are nuts. Singularity in three years? I suppose it depends on how you define "intelligence," but based on those Google stories from earlier this year we're nowhere near having a machine that's able to pass the Turing test. And 10 billion robots by 2040? Again, I suppose it depends what you consider a "robot" - will nanobots and things like Roombas count? - but this seems unlikely. Among other reasons - the earth arguably can't even support the number of people we have NOW. Increasing that and then doubling it with robots - the production of which will likely be hugely energy-intensive - just doesn't seem viable to me. Where is all that energy going to come from? Where are we going to store them all?

Commented 21 hours ago on

SoftBank CEO: intelligent robots need emotions, compassion
My biggest concern with the idea of online grocery shopping is that when it comes to meat, fruit, and veggies, I want to see the selection and pick which ones I buy based on how they look. Obviously there are lots of groceries you can sell in other categories anyway, but I wonder: how do Honestbee and other online grocers deal with this? Is there a difference in what people would buy at a corner grocery vs. the groceries they're buying online?

Commented 2 days ago on

Food fight: New challengers spice up Singapore’s online grocery war
Very interesting. At first I thought three hours a day was ridiculously high, but then I realized how much I use my own phone, even for stuff like watching TV and movies even though I have an actual television in the house. How are data costs in India, though? Here, to put in this kind of heavy use you'd definitely need home wifi, otherwise the data charges would bankrupt you.

Commented 2 days ago on

150 million Indians are on their smartphones nearly 3 hours a day. Here’s what they’re up to
Sadly this kind of thing isn't an issue for most startups (because they die first) but definitely helpful info for those that make it this far

Commented 2 days ago on

How startups can save their employees from the nasty side of M&As
Yikes, I didn't even realize that was from a year ago! It was linked in a different WSJ piece that was from 2015 so I didn't think to check the date. That said, people definitely are doing this in light of the recent news. As I mentioned on the podcast, that's what led me to do this and write the article on Sunday in the first place: the "China unbans game consoles" news was all over reddit and I saw a bunch of comments like "time to buy Sony stock!" and things like that. That's why I felt I needed to do it on a Sunday rather than wait until Monday - I wanted to make sure our readers weren't rushing out to do that, too!

Commented 2 days ago on

TiA podcast: the truth about game consoles in China (with Iain Garner of Haogamers)
Right, and I'm saying it's not really "revenue share". Teachers get a flat hourly fee of about $10/hour.

Commented 3 days ago on

Cambly, an English-learning app focused on actual conversation, is spreading like wildfire in Asia
There's not really any revenue share model, "teachers" just get a flat fee (about $10/hour). As far as payment...China/Japan/Korea are pretty digital friendly! Those are the only Asian languages it's localized in so far.

Commented 3 days ago on

Cambly, an English-learning app focused on actual conversation, is spreading like wildfire in Asia
Well certainly you need the basics first, but I don't think Cambly is trying to be a one-stop solution to learning from beginner to fluent. Asia has hundreds of millions of people who studied English for years in school, so they have a solid base already, but they lack people that they can actually go out and talk to. That kind of speaking practice is important for taking that final step from "book smart" to "actually fluent" and I think that's who Cambly is trying to serve.

Commented 3 days ago on

Cambly, an English-learning app focused on actual conversation, is spreading like wildfire in Asia
I haven't been able to find anything other than this acquisition; it橘子 for example lists this as the only funding event. Hard to know if that's accurate or just an oversight though. You're not asking because you guys funded it, are you?

Commented 4 days ago on

Ctrip buys train ticket app Suanya for US$16M
To be totally frank, I think microconsoles make no sense. They're too casual to attract hardcore gamers, but too hardcore (in terms of cost, in terms of stuff you need to set up, etc.) for most casual gamers to bother with. Most people, if they're interested in a console at all, prefer to just save up for the "real thing," so to speak. That - I think - is why Ouya sales were so poor.I don't look too kindly on Alibaba's console aspirations either. For example I wrote this last year: https://www.techinasia.com/ali... Since then Alibaba has invested in Ouya, but I think that's a terrible pairing - a microconsole that has already essentially failed teaming up with a company that has zero experience with gaming and zero valuable IP to help make the console more appealing in China. Granted Alibaba does have a ton of money, but I still think it's a very long shot.If a Chinese company is going to produce a successful game console, my guess is it will be Tencent, who already has the IP and the in with gamers to at least TRY to make it work. Even then, I wouldn't bet on success unless they can get some of China's most popular MMOs playing on the console.

Commented 4 days ago on

No, China did not just legalize game consoles
There are local consoles, but none has been able to attract a real audience. For example, you can look back through our archives at my coverage of Eedoo (/tag/eedoo) to see one of the more serious efforts at making a Chinese game console, and how poorly it worked out in the end.I think the only way it could happen is if somebody like Tencent did it, and they were able to port some of the most popular MMOs onto it. There would still be no way to play MOBA games, so China's most popular game by a mile (LoL) is still out, but if you could play games like WoW, Blade & Soul, and CrossFire on a console that might tempt some Chinese players. I don't see that happening anytime soon though.

Commented 4 days ago on

No, China did not just legalize game consoles
Well financially speaking, PCs in internet cafes (and their offline precursors) were the only viable option for the majority of China's youth when gaming was getting started in China. Most people didn't have the money up front for a console. And once they were on PCs, I think they took the same routes a lot of Western gamers did, like:* Warcraft > Starcraft > Warcraft III > Warcraft III DotA mod> LoL or Dota 2* Warcraft > Starcraft > Warcraft III > WoW > one of many other popular MMOs* CrossFire > CrossFire > CrossFire > still CrossFire (how are people STILL playing this?)And since none of those games or game genres work well on consoles, there was never any real impetus to go back for most gamers. Even now that many more could afford them, why bother spending that money if you're still having fun in LoL or WoW or Blade & Soul or one of a billion other popular PC games that aren't available on consoles.It's worth pointing out also that none of these games are games you really can "win." They're either competitive games you play against others (LoL, Dota, CrossFire) or they're MMOs you can progress in for years and years. If you look at the top-selling console games, a lot of them are big "story" single-player experiences, or "fun" multiplayer experiences rather than games tuned for serious, esports-style competitive play. But once you're playing a game like that, that IS competitive or an MMO, a lot, I think you're more likely to keep playing it, because you've invested time in either leveling your character and getting loot (MMOs) or learning the complex systems and strategies of the game (MOBAs) and you don't want to waste that. (Also, because these games are about eternal progression (MMO) or strategy (CrossFire, MOBAs), they don't really get old.)Now, why did they come to like those genres in the first place? Why didn't they get into more single-player story focused games? I'm just speculating but I think one reason is localization (or lack thereof). It's one thing to localize a game like Starcraft in Chinese (or understand it in English). But those long story-driven games with hours and hours of voice-acted NPC dialogue and such? That's way more work, and I think most game devs didn't bother with Chinese. So part of the reason would just be that Starcraft and Warcraft, because they were huge, were available in Chinese (and because of their nature were easier to understand anyway). Whereas something like Monkey Island (which was popular with PC games in the West) or Duke Nukem or whatever wasn't going to be available in Chinese, or comprehensible to anyone who didn't speak good English.So TLDR my feeling is that it started for economic reasons (5 RMB for an hour in 网吧 is cheap, 3000 RMB for console is not), and then has continued just because of the taste China's hardcore gamers subsequently developed in terms of game genres, probably due in part to what was big enough to be available, and what was the easiest for Chinese gamers to understand.

Commented 4 days ago on

No, China did not just legalize game consoles
They say the criteria is just how good the game is. If you've got a great game, they're interested. So they say, anyway.

Commented 1 week ago on

NetEase announces new fund to support global indie game devs
I guess, but that's kind of a straw man, isn't it? Nobody's arguing that hackers are going to cause more road deaths than bad drivers. I suspect that car hacking will cause very few deaths at all, but it has the potential to cause a lot of *other* issues that aren't currently very possible.Moreover, the concerns about hacking aren't just about the hacking of self-driving cars. If hacking is possible for some car models now (and it's only going to get worse) there's going to be a big window where the vast majority of people are driving themselves and self-driving cars aren't the norm but hacking can still happen. So humans can still cause their road deaths, and hackers can ALSO cause additional issues.The problem with that tweet is that it treats it like a zero sum game, and it isn't at all. It's not one or the other. I can be concerned about how hackable cars are becoming AND be concerned about assholes on the road who put my life at risk by not knowing how to drive. Both of those are valid concerns, and while one is a greater risk to my life than the other (statistically), that doesn't invalidate all other concerns.I mean, by that same logic, you could say it's ridiculous for people to worry about road accidents because heart disease is FAR more likely to kill you. Statistics are meaningless to the individual though. The fact that lots of people who aren't me died in road deaths in the pre-Google Car era isn't going to be of any consolation to me if it's MY car that gets hacked.

Commented 1 week ago on

This is why I’m scared of the smart car era
I don't know, I don't buy the "Alibaba is only the platform" argument at all. I think that's just an easy cop-out to avoid responsibility. There are plenty of fakes that are extremely obvious. Sure, I guess, Alibaba could be sued by a vendor for taking them down...but that vendor would lose the court case pretty much immediately, waste a bunch of money on legal fees, and would probably be open to counter-suit from Alibaba for wasting their time. What evidence could a knockoff vendor even bring to indicate their products are licensed? I have a hard time imagining any circumstance where the judge doesn't immediately throw out the suit or rule totally in favor of Alibaba.

Commented 1 week ago on

Criticized for counterfeit sales, Alibaba slams AFAA for not speaking good enough Chinese