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Month: September 2017

By Me Today: China Tech Firms are Leading Asia’s Mobile Money Race


The story begins:

NEW DELHI—Silicon Valley is home to the world’s most influential consumer-tech firms, but China’s online corporate titans are way ahead in the race to build mobile-payment services in many of the world’s fastest-growing consumer markets.

China’s digital-payments market, by far the world’s largest, is dominated by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and social-media champ Tencent Holdings Ltd. Now these giants have started transferring money, product advice and technical know-how to mobile money startups in other Asian markets, from Indonesia to India.

As people across Asia increasingly move from cash to smartphone apps for buying goods and transferring money between individuals, U.S. firms remain “still very focused on their home market” and trying to increase usage there, said Shiv Putcha, an analyst at research firm IDC in Mumbai.

Click through to read the rest.

By Me Today: Google Wants a Piece of Mobile Payments in India


The story begins:

Alphabet Inc.’s Google is aiming for a piece of India’s booming—but increasingly crowded—mobile-payments business.

The Mountain View, Calif., tech giant on Monday launched its first-ever smartphone app that lets users transfer money to individuals and businesses in the country without the use of a credit or a debit card, a crucial factor since many here lack plastic.

Click through to read the rest.

So, to re-cap the state of play as people leapfrog from cash (over credit cards) to payments via smartphones here:

  • Paytm — which we profiled back in June — is the market leader, with more than 225 million users. There are other popular services here, as well, like Mobikwik.
  • WhatsApp, with 200 million users in India, is exploring a payments feature.
  • Hike, India’s biggest home grown app, added a payments feature a few months ago.

Watch this space.

Story of the Day, Arkansas Pug Tuxedo Edition

The AP reports:

A former administrative assistant to an Arkansas county official has pleaded guilty to fraudulent use of a credit card after prosecutors accused her of using public money to buy personal items, including a tuxedo for her pet pug.

Lest you think all the purchases were frivolous, among them were not just diamond jewelry and “sequined throw pillows” but also pet insurance, the AP says.

So there’s that.

#️⃣ Newley’s Notes 104: Social Media and Harvey, Decade of Hashtags, ConfirmShaming

2017 09 06abstract

Edition 104 my email newsletter, Newley’s Notes, went out on Sunday.

To subscribe, simply enter your email address at this link. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief, and few people unsubscribe.

Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest issue of Newley’s Notes, a newsletter in which I share my Wall Street Journal stories, posts from my blog, and links about tech and life.

📲 5 Cool Tech-ish Reads This Week

1. On social media and Hurricane Harvey. A WSJ story looks at how people are using big platforms like Facebook and Twitter to summon help following the massive flooding.

Meanwhile others are using lesser-known services like Zello, a walkie-talkie like app, and neighborhood-based network Nextdoor, Buzzfeed reports. Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, was quoted in our story as saying:

People have gotten used to this idea that if you are stuck in an airport and you tweet at an airline, sometimes they will find a way to swoop down and save you when the system isn’t working.

2. The Twitter #hashtag turned 10. Over the last decade, hastags have powered everything from social movements (#BlackLivesMatter) to bad punchlines. And of course, the convention is commonly abused (i.e., #blessed). Some 125 million hashtags appear on Twitter daily.

3. Can’t stand Burning Man? Read these stories. It’s time for the annual festival in the Nevada desert popular with hipsters, bohemians, anarchists – and wealthy tech types. LAist provides a list of the “10 Best Burning Man Hate Reads.

4. Apple watchers: Put Tues., Sept. 12 in your calendar. WSJ broke the news, later confirmed by Apple, that the tech behemoth will hold an event that day. They are likely to unveil three new iPhones and a smartwatch, just in time for the holidays. There could also be a new Apple TV.

As ReCode notes, the event is an important one for Apple because it needs to show it can still create innovative new products without Steve Jobs at the helm.

5. For serious travel/tech nerds only: here’s an exhaustive oral history of online travel from the early 1990s through 2005, recounting the rise of companies like, Travelocity,, Orbitz and many more.

💫 1 Silly Thing

1. Term of the week: “confirmshaming.” A new-to-me Tumblr highlights instances in which links visitors must click to opt-out of special offers contain ridiculous text, like “no, I’m ignorant and complicit in hate,” “I don’t read,” or “I don’t want smarter email.”

What’d I miss? Send me links, rants, raves, juicy news scoops and anything else. Thanks for reading, amigos, and please do forward this email to friends or mention it on Facebook or Twitter.

Fist bump 👊 from New Delhi,

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