Jon Russell

Jon Russell is an Asia-based writer for TechCrunch. Formerly he was an Asia editor for The Next Web.Jon Russell is passionate about the development of the internet, technology, and startups in Asia. He is based in Bangkok, Thailand.

You can email him at jr@techcrunch.com or use his PGP key.

Note: Jon owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.

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  • Didi has a brilliant plan to contain the threat of China’s bike-sharing services

    Didi has a brilliant plan to contain the threat of China’s bike-sharing services

    China’s Didi Chuxing unveiled its bike-sharing platform today and, as expected, it looks like a very aggressive move to protect its position. When Didi first announced its plans to offer rides from Ofo and Bluegogo inside its app, I argued that this was far from a positive gesture since the ultimate goal is control. By introducing its own service inside its own app to its own… Read More

  • Uber rival Grab acquires Indian startup to bulk up its mobile payment platform

    Uber rival Grab acquires Indian startup to bulk up its mobile payment platform

    Grab, Uber’s main rival in Southeast Asia, is continuing to develop its mobile payment strategy after it announced the acquisition of India-based startup iKaaz. The deal — which is undisclosed — will see iKaaz’s engineering team join the Bangalore-based engineering office which Grab opened last year. The firm declined to say how many new recruits are moving over… Read More

  • Hike unbundles its messaging app to reach India’s next wave of smartphone users

    Hike unbundles its messaging app to reach India’s next wave of smartphone users

    How do you compete with the world’s largest chat app in its strongest market? Hike, the Indian messaging app valued at more than $1 billion, is taking a unique approach to battling WhatsApp which involves dismantling its service, layering it on budget Android phones and offering free connectivity. The company, which is backed by the likes of Tencent and Foxconn, today unveiled… Read More

  • Google moves into Shenzhen in latest China expansion

    Google moves into Shenzhen in latest China expansion

    A month after announcing plans to open its first AI lab in China, Google is expanding again through a move into Shenzhen. The U.S. tech giant has opened an office in the Chinese city, which borders Hong Kong and known for being a global hardware hub, according to an internal email obtained by TechCrunch. This isn’t a fully-blown Google campus, instead the company has taken up space within… Read More

  • Ripple turns investor as execs lead $25M round for storage and rental startup Omni

    Ripple turns investor as execs lead $25M round for storage and rental startup Omni

    Earlier this month, I wrote that crypto companies are going to become investors in 2018. I didn’t quite imagine that happening as quickly as mid-January, but here we are. Ripple, the fintech startup behind the controversial XRP token, has its first investment after it backed U.S.-based storage startup Omni through a $25 million round. Omni was founded in 2015 as a storage option for… Read More

  • Bitcoin, Ethereum and almost every other cryptocurrency is plunging

    Bitcoin, Ethereum and almost every other cryptocurrency is plunging

    Look away now if you own bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. This won’t be breaking news to you if you are invested, but today has seen the entire crypto market fall by double-digit percentages. The price of bitcoin slumped by 15 percent to drop below $12,000 for the first time since December 4. Ethereum, meanwhile, fell by over 20 percent to hover above $1,000 and Ripple is down 33… Read More

  • AngelList launches Syndicates in India

    AngelList launches Syndicates in India

    AngelList has expanded its syndicates program to India in the latest overseas move for the US crowdfunding platform. The launch comes some 18 months after we reported that AngelList had hired Utsav Somani to launch the service and develop its business generally in India, where it also offers its hiring product. Syndicates was launched in the US in 2013 with the purpose of giving… Read More

  • Inside Telegram’s ambitious $1.2B ICO to create the next Ethereum

    Inside Telegram’s ambitious $1.2B ICO to create the next Ethereum

    We have even more information about messaging app Telegram’s plans for cashing in on its popularity within the crypto community with the massive ICO for its proposed Telegram Open Network (TON) project (that we first reported), after obtaining the whitepaper and investor prospectuses in full. From the documents, it is clear that Telegram isn’t content with sitting on a platform… Read More

  • Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has left VC firm Fenbushi Capital

    Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has left VC firm Fenbushi Capital

    Vitalik Buterin, the high-profile co-founder of Ethereum, has quietly left China-based investment firm Fenbushi Capital, TechCrunch understands. Fenbushi was founded in 2015 and its $50 million fund was one of the first to actively put capital into blockchain companies through seed investments and participation in ICOs. As one of the most visible funds, it picked up stakes in dozens of firms… Read More

  • Rappler, a new media organization critical of the Philippines government, faces closure

    Rappler, a new media organization critical of the Philippines government, faces closure

    Rappler, a high-profile new media news organization in the Philippines, is facing closure after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked its registration for an alleged breach of the country’s constitution. Rappler was started in 2012 by Filipino journalist Maria Ressa and it is a global case study for media in the 21st century with a digital-first platform and focus… Read More

  • Alibaba blames politics as Taobao retains place on US government naughty list

    Alibaba blames politics as Taobao retains place on US government naughty list

    It hasn’t been a great couple of weeks for Alibaba in the U.S.. First affiliate Ant Financial’s proposed acquisition of MoneyGram collapsed due to objections from the U.S. government, now its Taobao service has the dubious honor of again featuring on the USTR (United States Trade Representative) naughty list. Taobao, Alibaba’s hugely popular marketplace, is among 25… Read More

  • New bill bans US government agencies using contractors with Huawei or ZTE tech

    New bill bans US government agencies using contractors with Huawei or ZTE tech

    There’s more misery ahead for Huawei, which just saw AT&T pull out of a deal to carry its first smartphone, and fellow Chinese tech firm ZTE. The duo are well known for their growing smartphone businesses worldwide, but it is their more established telecom networking and equipment units that are again under fire in Washington. A new bill introduced to Congress proposes a ban… Read More

  • Ripple announces XRP trial with cross-border remittance firm MoneyGram

    Ripple announces XRP trial with cross-border remittance firm MoneyGram

    Well, well, well. Ripple, the company behind the controversial XRP cryptocurrency which has been criticized for obfuscating the nature of its partnerships with financial organizations, has announced a tie-up with global payment network MoneyGram. MoneyGram, which saw a $1.2 billion acquisition from Alibaba’s Ant Financial affiliate collapse following security concerns from the U.S. Read More

  • Grab, Uber’s rival in Southeast Asia, pulls in strategic investment from Hyundai

    Grab, Uber’s rival in Southeast Asia, pulls in strategic investment from Hyundai

    Grab, Uber’s closest rival in Southeast Asia, continues to slowly release information about its newest funding round after it revealed it has netted a strategic investment from Hyundai. To recap, the Singapore-based firm raised a massive $2 billion led by SoftBank and China’s Didi Chuxing last July with plans to extend the round by a further $500 million. Back in August, it… Read More

  • South Korea may or may not ban bitcoin exchanges and that’s the news

    South Korea may or may not ban bitcoin exchanges and that’s the news

    The price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies dropped significantly today off the back of ‘news’ that South Korea’s government might ban trading exchanges. As ever in the world of crypto, the slightest ripple of information can be taken out of context, and that appears to be the case here. Reuters reported comments from Korean Justice Minister Park Sang-ki who said claimed… Read More

  • Apple’s China iCloud data migration sweeps up international user accounts

    Apple’s China iCloud data migration sweeps up international user accounts

    Apple’s plan to migrate China-based iCloud user accounts to a local host on Chinese soil is already running into controversy after the iPhone-maker appeared included accounts registered overseas in the data. China-based users were informed of the upcoming migration yesterday, which Apple said “will allow us improve the speed and reliability of our iCloud services products while… Read More

  • NiYO raises $13.2M to digitize payroll and employee benefits in India

    NiYO raises $13.2M to digitize payroll and employee benefits in India

    Fintech startup NiYO helps salaried employees access company benefits and other financial services, and now it has raised $13.2 million to offer its services to more of the country. Founded in 2015, NiYO partners with companies (employers) and banks to offer employees the opportunity to access their benefits, such as healthcare or food allowances, through a digital platform. That includes a… Read More

  • China’s Kunlun completes full buyout of Grindr

    China’s Kunlun completes full buyout of Grindr

    Nearly two years to the day after its majority investment in Grindr, China-based tech firm Kunlun Group has fully acquired the gay dating app. Grindr is among the, if not the, world’s most popular LBQT dating app with a claimed 3.3 million daily users. Kunlun, which is best known for games but is part of a consortium that acquired Opera’s browser business, bought 60 percent of… Read More

  • Chat app Line is reportedly considering its own cryptocurrency

    Chat app Line is reportedly considering its own cryptocurrency

    Tickets please, the next crypto train is about to depart. Japan-based messaging app Line is said to be the latest public company to consider a move into the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, according to a Bloomberg report. Unlike some of the more obscure and head-scratching moves, which include China’s forgotten social network and an iced tea company, there would be some merit to… Read More

  • Alibaba will consider listing its affiliate companies in Hong Kong

    Alibaba will consider listing its affiliate companies in Hong Kong

    Last year I wrote that Hong Kong is increasingly becoming a destination for tech IPOs, and the country just got a major boost after Alibaba chairman Jack Ma said the company is exploring the possibility of listing one or more of its affiliate businesses on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The Chinese e-commerce giant famously snubbed Hong Kong in favor of a record $25 billion listing on the New… Read More

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