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

Selfie app maker Meitu eyes overseas gaming market with $340 million deal

China’s largest selfie app maker Meitu has been busy working to diversify itself beyond the beauty arena in China. On Wednesday, the Hong Kong-listed company announced in a filing that it has ag

Lenovo leads $10M investment in 6-legged robot maker Vincross

Vincross, the company behind the six-legged robot Hexa, said on Tuesday that it has picked up $10 million in a Series A+ funding round led by Lenovo Capital, the startup fund managed by Lenovo Group.

Amazon is reportedly merging its China import unit with NetEase

You’d be forgiven for not knowing Amazon has operated in China for more than a decade, but perhaps not for much longer. The company is reportedly in talks to merge its China-based import busines

China tells teachers to quit assigning homework through WeChat

China’s education authorities are about to take some burden off parents with school-aged children. A proposal posted last week by the Department of Education in China’s eastern province o

China’s Didi is laying off 15% of its staff

China’s largest ride-hailing firm, Didi, plans to let go 15 percent of its employees, or about 2,000 people this year, sources told TechCrunch. The cut comes as the beleaguered transportation gi

Alibaba takes an 8% stake in Tencent-backed anime streaming site Bilibili

E-commerce giant Alibaba is continuing its push into the world of youth culture after it scooped up an 8 percent stake in anime streaming and game publishing company Bilibili. According to a securitie

China’s Didi reportedly lost a staggering $1.6 billion in 2018

China’s largest car-hailing company is facing relentless pressure from all fronts. Beijing-based Didi Chuxing reportedly lost a staggering 10.9 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in 2018, according to

Alibaba’s Ant Financial buys UK currency exchange giant WorldFirst reportedly for around $700M

Ant Financial, the financial services behemoth affiliated with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has made its first big move into Europe. It’s acquired London-headquartered payments company Worl

China’s Alipay digital wallet is entering 7,000 Walgreens stores

China’s payments heavyweights have been following tourists abroad as their home market gets crowded. Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial affiliate with a valuation of $150 billion, now see

It isn’t just apps. China’s cinemas broke records during Lunar New Year

China celebrated Lunar New Year last week as hundreds of millions of people travelled to their hometowns. While many had longed to see their separated loved ones, others dreaded the weeklong holiday a

Sub-brands are the new weapon in China’s smartphone war

One of China’s top smartphone brands Vivo appears to have joined its fellows Oppo, Huawei and Xiaomi in setting up a new sub-brand as a softening market and heightened competition at home drive

Two former Qualcomm engineers are using AI to fix China’s healthcare problem

Artificial intelligence is widely heralded as something that could disrupt the jobs market across the board — potentially eating into careers as varied as accountants, advertising agents, reporters

Xiaomi-backed electric toothbrush Soocas raises $30 million Series C

China’s Soocas continues to jostle with global toothbrush giants as it raises 200 million yuan ($30 million) in a Series C funding round. The Shenzhen-based oral care manufacturer has secured t

A government propaganda app is going viral in China

Besides binge-watching TikTok videos and battling enemies in the magical land of mobile games, many Chinese people may also pass time during the upcoming Lunar New Year on Xuexi Qiangguo, a news and c

Tencent moves into automotive with $150M joint venture

China’s internet firms are getting pally with giant state-owned automakers as they look to deploy their artificial intelligence and cloud computing services across traditional industries. Ride-h

Alibaba’s growth slows to lowest in 3 years

China’s Alibaba continues to see slowing expansion in the latest quarter, but the e-commerce giant’s effort to spur new growth from new arenas have started to bear fruit. The Hangzhou-base

China continues 5G push despite economic slowdown and Huawei setbacks

China will fast-track the issuance of commercial licenses for 5G as part of a national plan to boost consumer spending, said a notice published this week by the National Development and Reform Commis

Alibaba’s alternative to the app store reaches 230M daily users

WeChat isn’t the only one doubling down on lite apps. Ever since China’s messaging titan introduced “mini programs” two years ago, a handful of its peers, including Alibaba and

WeWork could challenge Starbucks in China with new on-demand service

The rise of Starbucks in China, like that in the west, is closely linked to its function as a “third space” for people to hang out between home and work. In recent years, a bevy of coffee

Meet the little-known Chinese Wi-Fi startup that rubs shoulders with WeChat and Alipay

A service that connects people to Wi-Fi hotspots for free turned out to be one of China’s most popular apps, nestling in the top ranks with Tencent’s WeChat messenger and Alibaba’s d
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