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.

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  • Razer makes virtual currency push with $20M investment in Asian payment firm

    Razer makes virtual currency push with $20M investment in Asian payment firm

    Razer has invested close to $20 million into Malaysia-based online payment firm MOL Global as part of a push to establish its virtual currency for gamers in Asia. The deal sees Razer subsidiary ZV-Midas buy equity from existing backers MOL Investment and Hotel Resort Enterprise in a deal that values the MOL Global business at around the $100 million mark. Gaming company Razer, which made… Read More

  • China clamps down on live-streaming services

    China clamps down on live-streaming services

    The Chinese government has cracked down on three of the country’s top live-streaming services over their apparent broadcast of unsuitable political content. Weibo, the Nasdaq-listed microblogging site, disclosed that it had received a notice from The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (‘SAPPRFT’)… Read More

  • Tantan, China’s top dating app, raises $70M for monetization push and overseas expansion

    Tantan, China’s top dating app, raises $70M for monetization push and overseas expansion

    Chinese startup Tantan, which is probably most comparable to Tinder, has raised $70 million in new capital as it looks to monetize its business for the first time and explore overseas expansion options. Three-year-old Tantan claims 60 million ‘validated’ users — i.e. not fake accounts — of which six million are active on a daily basis. Of those active users, 75 percent… Read More

  • Facebook is testing a feature to prevent profile pictures being abused by other users

    Facebook is testing a feature to prevent profile pictures being abused by other users

    Facebook is introducing a new feature to give users peace of mind around how their profile photo can be used and accessed by others. The social network today announced a pilot program in India that is designed to protect users who are concerned about other people gaining access to their profile image. The new ‘photo guard’ feature has a range of safety measures that… Read More

  • China’s Mobike plans move into services and aggressive international expansion

    China’s Mobike plans move into services and aggressive international expansion

    Mobike, the Chinese bike-sharing company that raised $600 million last week, has lifted the lid on its plans to expand beyond rides and move into services. The company announced last week that it plans to expand to reach 200 cities before the end of the year, many of which are expected to be outside of China. But, as if that ambitious target wasn’t enough, the company is also working… Read More

  • Kik CEO explains why its doing an ICO instead of venture fundraising

    Kik CEO explains why its doing an ICO instead of venture fundraising

    Ted Livingston, CEO of messaging app Kik, spoke on stage at TechCrunch’s event in Shenzhen, China on Tuesday. Moderator Jon Russell asked him about why the company is doing an initial coin offering (ICO), a newly popularized method of fundraising. It’s “a way to raise funding” and “a way to get money into the company,” he said about the ICO, which was… Read More

  • Hike beats WhatsApp to launching messenger app payments in India

    Hike beats WhatsApp to launching messenger app payments in India

    India-focused mobile messaging service Hike landed funding from Tencent last year, and today it took a major step to emulating the Chinese firm’s WeChat app with the introduction of mobile payments. The launch of Hike Wallet not only shows an ambition to build a messaging platform, it also means Hike has beaten WhatsApp, the chat app that dominates India, to the punch. Facebook-owned… Read More

  • Despite challenges, startups see a bright future for tech companies in Hong Kong

    Despite challenges, startups see a bright future for tech companies in Hong Kong

    Hong Kong is one of the world’s premier financial hubs, but can it be a destination for tech startups? That was the question put to a panel of experts at the TechCrunch China event in Shenzhen today. The answer, largely, was yes but it may need a little time. “Hong Kong is becoming a global innovation center, but it needs companies to look up to,” Blake Larson, head of… Read More

  • See you in Shenzhen next week for our next TechCrunch China event!

    See you in Shenzhen next week for our next TechCrunch China event!

    See you in Shenzhen next week for our inaugural TechCrunch China event in the world’s hardware innovation capital. The show runs June 19-20, and we’ll be interviewing and talking to top level executives from a range of tech companies that include: Vice President of the Didi Chuxing Research Institute Dr. Fengmin Gong — Didi opened its U.S.-based research lab earlier this year… Read More

  • Alibaba is in talks to invest in Uber’s Southeast Asia rival Grab

    Alibaba is in talks to invest in Uber’s Southeast Asia rival Grab

    Alibaba could substantially increase its business interests in Southeast Asia with an investment in Uber rival Grab. Bloomberg reports that Alibaba President Jack Ma is considering joining an upcoming $1.4 billion funding round for Grab which will be led by SoftBank, a company with many links to Alibaba. Separately, TechCrunch has confirmed with a source that Alibaba has held meetings with… Read More

  • China’s Mobike raises $600M to expand its bikes on-demand service worldwide

    China’s Mobike raises $600M to expand its bikes on-demand service worldwide

    Mobike, one of two fast-emerging on-demand bike rental services, has landed $600 million in new funding as it seeks to expand its business outside of China. Bike rentals are shaping up to be the first global tech industry that was born in China. The principle is simple: bikes are fitted with GPS trackers which allows them to be picked up from and left anywhere using an app. With companies… Read More

  • India’s MobiKwik is raising new funding at $1B valuation to battle payment rival Paytm

    India’s MobiKwik is raising new funding at $1B valuation to battle payment rival Paytm

    With high-profile investments from Alibaba and SoftBank fueling an impressive growth story since demonetization last year, you could be forgiven for thinking that Paytm has India’s payments market sewn up. But at least one company will agree to differ on that. MobiKwik, the mobile payments startup that is number two to Paytm in India, is quietly confident that it can take advantage of… Read More

  • 500 Startups closes $35M Japan fund with the backing of the Japanese government

    500 Startups closes $35M Japan fund with the backing of the Japanese government

    500 Startups has announced the close of its fund for Japan, more than 18 months after it was first unveiled. The effort is backed by the Japanese government, which has chipped in as an LP via its Cool Japan Fund. (Yes, that really is the name of the fund, which is aiming to use about $1 billion in public money over its lifecycle.) Initially U.S.-based 500 Startups targeted a $30 million close… Read More

  • Man in Pakistan sentenced to death for blasphemous Facebook comments

    Man in Pakistan sentenced to death for blasphemous Facebook comments

    There’s disturbing news from Pakistan, where a man has been handed the death sentence for allegedly making blasphemous comments on Facebook. The Guardian reports that Taimoor Raza was founded guilty of insulting the prophet Muhammad by a court this week. His charge relates to comments made during a debate about Islam with another user on the social network, who subsequently turned out… Read More

  • Grab is assisting police following the alleged rape of a passenger in Malaysia

    Grab is assisting police following the alleged rape of a passenger in Malaysia

    Uber’s business is going through a period of turmoil in the U.S. right now, but Grab — its main rival in Southeast Asia — is under pressure itself after a driver in Malaysia was arrested on suspicion of raping a passenger he drove home via the ride-hailing service. Media in Malaysia, the country where Grab originated, report that police have reprimanded a 30-year-old man for… Read More

  • Snap is developing a second version of Spectacles which may include augmented reality

    Snap is developing a second version of Spectacles which may include augmented reality

    Snap extended the sale of its Spectacles into Europe this month, but already the company is working on a second version of the video-recording glasses which could be quite radical, according to a source with knowledge of the plans. The first set of Spectacles went on sale last year and are priced at $129.99. They allow their owner to take photos and videos which can then be posted to the… Read More

  • Time-tracking startup Timeular raises $1.1M to help you work smarter

    Time-tracking startup Timeular raises $1.1M to help you work smarter

    Timeular, the Austrian startup behind the neat Zei time-tracking device that we wrote about last year, has raised €1 million ($1.1 million) in funding to develop new productivity coaching tools to help you work smarter. The company is best known for the Zei, its eight-sided device that is Bluetooth-enabled and acts as a timer. You simply program each side to a different task and tip it… Read More

  • Japan passes law legalizing Airbnb and other sharing economy rentals

    Japan passes law legalizing Airbnb and other sharing economy rentals

    There’s good news for Airbnb in Japan where the government has approved legislation that legalizes its service, and others like it, in the country. The law, which was passed by Japan’s upper house on Friday, will allow home-owners to let out their property to paying guests for up to 180 days per year. They are subject to registering with local authorities who, in turn, have license… Read More

  • India’s Supr Daily raises $1.5M to expand its milk and grocery delivery service

    India’s Supr Daily raises $1.5M to expand its milk and grocery delivery service

    Milk deliveries may not sound like an industry in need of disruption, but that’s exactly what one startup in India is working to do. Supr Daily — the company in question — graduated the Y Combinator accelerator program this year and now it has raised $1.5 million from a range of investors to expand its service. The Supr Daily service is designed to bring formality and order… Read More

  • Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank launches $30M ‘Beacon’ fund for fintech

    Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank launches $30M ‘Beacon’ fund for fintech

    Roll up, roll up, there’s a new fintech VC fund in Southeast Asia town. Today, Thailand-based Kasikorn Bank announced its inaugural tech fund which is 1 billion THB, just shy of $30 million, in size. Kasikorn, which was founded in 1945 and is one of Thailand’s major banks, is calling the fund Beacon — think lights on top of lighthouses — and it is aimed at giving the… Read More

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