Rita Liao

Rita covers China for TechCrunch, with a special interest in how technology affects people, especially their minds.

Before her previous writing stints with Tech in Asia and TechNode, she managed communications for SOSV’s accelerators in Asia. At one point, she worked for a documentary production company and a mindfulness retreat center — both in New England.

She studied political science and arts at Bowdoin College and is now back in her native Shenzhen, the Silicon Valley of Hardware.

Email: ritaliao@pm.me

Disclosures: None

The Latest from Rita Liao

China’s internet regulator takes aim at forced data collection

China is a step closer to cracking down on unscrupulous data collection by app developers. This week, the country’s cybersecurity watchdog began seeking comment on the range of user information

YC-backed LemonBox raises $2.5M bringing vitamins to Chinese millennials

Like many overseas Chinese, Derek Weng gets shopping requests from his family and friends whenever he returns to China. Some of the most wanted imported products are maternity items, cosmetics and vit

Alibaba and Ethiopian Airlines to launch cold chain exporting China’s COVID vaccines

China has pledged that it would be sharing its COVID-19 vaccines with other countries, especially those with which it has close ties. While the country is not ready to deploy its vaccines internationa

AutoX becomes China’s first to remove safety drivers from robotaxis

Residents of Shenzhen will see truly driverless cars on the road starting Thursday. AutoX, a four-year-old startup backed by Alibaba, MediaTek and Shanghai Motors, is deploying a fleet of 25 unmanned

China’s tech firms rush to deliver solutions for grocery shopping

Nearly all of China’s largest internet firms have established a presence in online grocery. Just this week, news arrived that Alibaba co-led the $196 million C3 funding round of Nice Tuan, the t

Alibaba vies for a piece of China’s booming EV market

There’s no lack of news these days on China’s tech giants teaming up with traditional carmakers. Companies from Alibaba to Huawei are striving to become relevant in the trillion-dollar aut

TikTok’s epic rise and stumble

TikTok’s rise in the West is unprecedented for any Chinese tech company, and so is the amount of attention it has attracted from politicians worldwide. Below is a timeline of how TikTok grew fro

Google-backed Chinese truck-hailing firm Manbang raises $1.7 billion

The Chinese Uber for trucks Manbang announced Tuesday that it has raised $1.7 billion in its latest funding round, two years after it hauled in $1.9 billion from investors including SoftBank Group and

The promise and challenge of Roblox’s future in China

In a much-anticipated move, California-based gaming firm Roblox filed to go public last week. One aspect driving the future growth of the children- and community-focused gaming platform is its China e

How China’s Realme sold 50 million phones in just over 2 years

Starting a new phone brand in 2018 might seem too late in an already crowded market, but Sky Li was convinced that consumers between 18-25 years old were largely underserved — they needed someth

The crowd goes wild for Yiming

This excerpt follows a high-growth period for Douyin, detailing how it gained around 200 million daily active users within a year via a loyal creator community, viral memes, algorithmic recommendation

China’s smartphone giant Oppo ratchets up AR push

Tech companies around the world are still identifying the “next big thing” enabled by 5G connections. Some, such as Oppo, are betting it will be augmented reality. The Chinese smartphone f

Huawei sells budget phone unit Honor to state-backed firms, distribution partners

After weeks of rumors, Huawei confirmed it is selling Honor to a consortium of companies, including government-backed firms, Honor’s distribution partners and suppliers, in a move to save its bu

Baidu to acquire Joyy’s Chinese live-streaming service YY for $3.6B

Baidu said on Monday it is acquiring Joyy’s live-streaming service YY Live in China for $3.6 billion in an all-cash deal as the Chinese internet giant makes a further push to diversify beyond it

Zilliz raises $43 million as investors rush to China’s open-source software

For years, founders and investors in China had little interest in open-source software because it did not seem like the most viable business model. Zilliz‘s latest financing round shows that att

Former WeWork China exec launches a ‘startup studio’ for real estate

The real estate industry has been slow to adopt technology compared to many other sectors. So when Dominic Penaloza left his job at WeWork China as the head of innovation and technology this spring, h

The US government sends mixed messages about TikTok’s future

The fate of TikTok in the United States got even more confusing this week. The U.S. Justice and Commerce Departments sent conflicting messages today about TikTok’s future, which is now up in the

China to ship 3 billion parcels during post-COVID Singles’ Day

China’s e-commerce behemoths Alibaba and JD.com again claimed to have set records during the world’s largest shopping event, Singles’ Day. The figures can often be gamed to paint a r

China proposes antitrust law ahead of Singles’ Day shopping spree

Debates over anti-competitive practices amongst China’s internet firms resurface every year in the lead up to Singles’ Day, a time when online retailers exhaust their resources and deploy

Despite global headwinds, Chinese hardware startups remain to take on the world

Bill Zhang lowered himself into lunges on a squishy mat as he explained to me the benefits of the full-body training suit he was wearing. We were in his small, modest office in Xili, a university area
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