Rita Liao

Rita covers China for TechCrunch, with a special interest in how tech shapes people – especially their minds.

Previously, she wrote for Tech in Asia and TechNode and oversaw communications for SOSV’s Asia accelerators. At one point, she worked at a film productions company in Maine and a mindfulness retreat center in the Berkshires.

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

Disclosures: None

The Latest from Rita Liao

Amazon China to close local marketplace and place more focus on cross-border

Amazon has finally given up the fight with Chinese online shopping giants to capture the domestic market. On Thursday, the Seattle-based e-commerce company announced it will shut down its marketplace

Starbucks challenger Luckin’s fundraising spree continues with $150M investment

Coffee startup Luckin is continuing its fundraising spree as it sets its sights on becoming an alternative to Starbucks in China. The year-and-a-half-old company announced on Thursday that it closed a

Dutch chipmaker NXP makes China push by backing radar company Hawkeye

Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors has come a long way since Qualcomm’s outsized $44 billion offer to acquire it fell through last year. In an announcement released on Tuesday, NXP said it has a

Student sues JD.com’s billionaire CEO Richard Liu for alleged rape

Four months after local prosecutors decided not to press charges, a Chinese student has filed a lawsuit against JD.com founder and chief executive Richard Liu, alleging the billionaire businessman rap

Alibaba will let you find restaurants and order food with voice in a car

Competition in the Chinese internet has for years been about who controls your mobile apps. These days, giants are increasingly turning to offline scenarios, including what’s going on behind the

JD founder cautions logistics business must tighten belt

Alibaba’s arch-foe JD.com has long prided itself on owning and controlling its logistics services: couriers are treated as in-house staff and paid a basic income. But that will end soon as costs

China’s startup ecosystem is hitting back at demanding working hours

In China, the laws limit work to 44 hours a week and require overtime pay for anything above that. But many aren’t following the rules, and a rare online movement puts a spotlight on extended wo

Backer of Musical.ly, Grindr and Opera to invest $50M in self-driving startup Pony.ai

A games publisher in China is following the path of its larger peer Tencent to back a wide spectrum of startups for financial gains. Beijing Kunlun Wanwei, or Kunlun, announced in a filing this week t

China’s largest stock photo provider draws fire over use of black hole image

While the world marvels at the first black hole image ever taken, a Chinese photo-sharing community is setting off a huge public outcry over its use of the landmark photo and a wider debate over copyr

Didi steps up financial drive as it courts car leasing companies

Didi Chuxing is making a further push into the financial arena as it looks to diversify its business amid huge losses. We reported in January that the company, which controls a dominant slice of China

Regulators in China are weighing a ban on Bitcoin mining

Cryptocurrency mining has become the latest target for the Chinese government seeking to phase out industries considered a drag on the country’s economy. The National Development and Reform Comm

China’s Source Code Capital raises $570M as it builds a powerful investor network

Source Code Capital, the venture capital firm that’s backed some of China’s most prominent tech unicorns and boasts a network of high-profile investors and founders, announced Monday it ha

The team behind Baidu’s first smart speaker is now using AI to make films

The HBO sci-fi blockbuster Westworld has been an inspiring look into what humanlike robots can do for us in the meatspace. While current technologies are not quite advanced enough to make Westworld a

TikTok’s next ambitious goal is to discover future music stars

TikTok needs a lot of music. A lot. The short-form video service began life as a lip-synching app in China, where it’s called Douyin, and although other categories of content, like skits and lif

Ruhnn, a Chinese startup that makes influencers, raises $125M in U.S. IPO

Ruhnn, a company that enables influencers to sell through e-commerce and is plotting to change the face of China’s fashion industry, has raised $125 million after it listed on the Nasdaq on Wedn

Search giant Baidu has driven the most autonomous miles in Beijing

While the public is asking, “When are we going to ride in autonomous cars?,” technology companies have been moving apace to test them on designated roads. In China’s capital city Bei

China’s grocery delivery battle heats up with Meituan’s entry

Fast, affordable food delivery service has been life-changing for many working Chinese, but some still prefer to whip up their own meals. These people may not have the time to pick up fresh ingredient

Tencent-backed news app Qutoutiao nabs $171M from Alibaba

The race to give Chinese users their daily dose of news intensifies as Qutoutiao, a rival to TikTok parent ByteDance, net an installment of sizable backing. Alibaba is injecting $171 million in a conv

Alibaba, Tencent and other major names form $1.45B ride-hailing venture

For the last two years, Didi has been the dominant car-hailing force in China, and its success has spawned a handful of competitors initiated by both internet firms and old-school car makers. Just las

Yunji, a startup that enables social commerce via WeChat, files for $200M US IPO

China’s Pinduoduo was all the rage in 2018 as the e-commerce upstart quickly rose to challenge Alibaba and raised $1.63 billion through a Nasdaq listing. Much of its success was attributable to
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