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

Miniso, the Japanese-looking variety store from China, sees shares jump in US IPO

Investors are jumping aboard a value store chain that is bringing Japanese-inspired lifestyle goods to consumers around the world. The company, Miniso, raised $608 million from an initial public offer

Huawei plans to divest budget phone unit Honor: reports

Besieged by U.S. tech sanctions, Huawei may be looking to shake up its smartphone business that has taken a hit after losing core semiconductor parts and software services. The Chinese giant is in tal

South Korea pushes for AI semiconductors as global demand grows

The South Korean government has made no secret of its ambition to be a key player in the global artificial intelligence industry, including making the semiconductors powering AI functionalities. This

China’s digital yuan tests leap forward in Shenzhen

Shenzhen, known for its maker community and manufacturing resources, is taking the lead in trialing China’s digital yuan. Last week, the city issued 10 million yuan worth of digital currency to

Chinese browser Tuber offers a glimpse beyond the Great Firewall — with caveats

China now has a tool that lets users access YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google and other internet services that have otherwise long been banned in the country — selectively. Called Tu

Hong Kong logistics unicorn Lalamove unveils foray into the US

Lalamove, an on-demand logistics service active in China, Southeast Asia and Latin America, has officially entered the U.S. seven years after launch. As the COVID-19 pandemic keeps millions of Americ

News apps in the US and China use algorithms to drive engagement, discovery

Algorithms are reshaping many parts of our lives, including how news gets to us. Around the world, entrepreneurs make use of algorithms to program their ideal news apps, and while they normally agree

Apple removes two RSS feed readers from China App Store

It looks like Apple is scouring its Chinese App Store for any remaining services that may not sit well with Chinese censors. Two RSS reader apps, Reeder and Fiery Feeds, said this week that their iOS

Baidu’s smart voice unit to raise independent round on $2.9B valuation

Baidu, China’s dominant search service and a leader in artificial intelligence research, is further diversifying into the smart voice space as its smart living group is poised to raise an indepe

Russian surveillance tech startup NtechLab nets $13M from sovereign wealth funds

NtechLab, a startup that helps analyze footage captured by Moscow’s 100,000 surveillance cameras, just closed an investment of more than RUB 1 billion ($13 million) to further global expansion.

This new Southeast Asian fund has its eye on Chinese cross-border firms

As U.S.-China relations remain tense, Southeast Asia becomes the darling for investors and tech companies from both sides as they seek overseas expansion. Behemoths like Google, Facebook, Alibaba, Ten

The eSIM maker powering Xiaomi’s IoT devices raises $15M

Connectivity is vital to a future managed and shaped by smart hardware, and Chinese startup Showmac Tech is proposing eSIMs as the infrastructure solution for seamless and stable communication between

WeWork sells majority stake in Chinese entity, seeks localization

Four years after its foray into the Chinese market, followed by rapid and cash-hemorrhaging expansion, WeWork decided to wind down its involvement in the country. WeWork’s Chinese unit has secur

China says it won’t approve TikTok sale, calls it ‘extortion’

The September 20 deadline for a purported TikTok sale has already passed, but the parties involved have yet to settle terms on the deal. ByteDance and TikTok’s bidders Oracle and Walmart present

China’s electric carmaker WM Motor pulls in $1.47 billion Series D

Chinese electric vehicle startup WM Motor just pocketed an outsize investment to fuel growth in a competitive landscape increasingly coveted by foreign rival Tesla. The five-year-old company raised 10

TikTok fact checks: US IPO, Chinese ownership, $5B in taxes

There is no shortage of speculation and reports around TikTok’s future in the U.S. Amid a swirl of rumors, TikTok’s Chinese parent ByteDance issued a statement (in Chinese) on Monday morni

China’s vaping giant Relx gears up for US entry

The backlash against vaping in the United States has not deterred a Chinese challenger from entering the world’s largest vaping market. Relx, one of China’s biggest e-cigarette companies,

TikTok’s Chinese rival Kuaishou becomes a popular online bazaar

In China, short video apps aren’t just for mindless time killing. These services are becoming online bazaars where users can examine products, see how they are grown and made and ask sellers que

Southeast Asia’s East Ventures on female VCs, foreign investment, consolidation

Melisa Irene‘s path to becoming a partner at one of Southeast Asia’s most esteemed venture capital firms is an unconventional one. “I always consider myself to be quite lucky,”

China tops 110 million 5G users in less than a year

More than 110 million users in China have signed up for 5G plans, announced president of the China Academy for Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), a think tank under the telecoms watchd
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