Wiser! #47: Tencent are the latest to fall foul of China's BigTech Crackdown; consortium of Japanese banks launch a digital currency; the rise of social commerce, plus much more.
In this issue of Wiser!;
- Tencent are the latest to fall foul of China's big tech crackdown
- consortium of Japanese banks reveals plans for a digital currency
- The Lipstick King sells $1.7 billion in 12 hours. Welcome to Social Commerce
- Predictions 2022 is open for pre-order
- NFT is the Collins Word of the Year (even though its an acronym)
- Clubhouse numbers falling off a cliff
- Adidas buys land in the Metaverse (but doesn't know what to do with it)
Plus lots of other stuff...
China's BigTech Crackdown
Tencent are the latest to fall foul of China's Big Tech Crackdown
Back Story: In the latest move in China's crackdown on Big Tech, tech giant Tencent has been suspended from updating its apps or releasing any new ones as part of a so-called “temporary administrative guidance”.
Tencent is, amongst other things, the world's largest video games publisher and has been hit hard by the crackdown on children playing online games. In August, China barred online gamers under the age of 18 from playing on weekdays and limited their play to just three hours most weekends. All gaming companies, including Tencent, were told to clamp down on how minors could play video games and focus less on profits in the process.
The Wisdom: China's ruling party have said "not in our back yard, thank you" as they watch the harms go unchecked in Western online use. The CCP has shown no hesitation in clipping the profits of the big tech giants.
For example, take TikTok (the most addictive of the social media platforms). For kids under the age of 14 on TikTok (called Douyin in China), instead of getting an endless stream of vacuous influencer dancing videos, they get fed science experiments, museum exhibits and patriotism videos. This is because China wants its youth to be educated and aspire to be astronauts and scientists and not chase a career on Love Island.
Time on TikTok for children is also limited to 40 minutes a day and restricted entirely between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. If you're 14 or younger, come 10pm, TikTok is closed to you and, crucially, for all of your friends too. This removes FOMO and allows youngsters to do anything else other than sit on their phones at 1 am in the morning.
The other measure introduced on TikTok is a mandatory 5-second pause every so often to ask the young user if they'd like to get up and do something else. In other words, this is a nudge to go do something else instead of mindlessly scrolling through the short-form videos.
It is this clear emphasis on user welfare and safety over profits that is in stark contrast to the regulatory approach in the US. The recent testimony from Facebook whistleblower Francis Haugen exposed how Facebook have their priorities the other way around. Meanwhile, the world's largest social media network is taking no steps to change its business model but has created a distraction, "look over there, it's the metaverse".
To Read More: and find out how the BigTech Crackdown in China has affected the world's largest gaming platform, read this...
Predictions, Trends and Strategies from the Tech Economy 2022
Want to know what's happening and what's next in the tech economy? Do you want it explained in plain and simple language supported with data, analysis, insights and opinions?
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1) a downloadable eBook packed with insights and information covering all of the hottest topics, businesses and personalities from across the tech economy.
2) an invitation to an exclusive presentation on the 22nd December where Rick Huckstep will give his top 10 predictions for 2022. (Zoom call)
3) three months Premium Membership to the Wiser! Newsletter with unlimited access to all member content behind the paywall.Pre-order Predictions 2022
The launch of Japan's first digital currency
Back Story: A consortium of over 70 Japanese banks has unveiled plans to launch a digital currency.
Called the DCJPY, the consortium will use blockchain technology to "tokenise" banking assets so that they can be moved over the DCJPY network. In other words, it means that instead of moving money around using traditional banking systems (that are relatively slow, inefficient and expensive), banking assets can be moved within a banking network more easily, quicker and cheaper.
The Wisdom: The Bank of Japan is the world's 3rd largest reserve bank and is running a pilot project for a CBDC. However, it is still undecided about a full-scale launch. This is partly because the nation has a higher than average dependency on cash in the retail sector following the 2011 earthquake (widespread disruption to electronic payment systems).
However, the benefits of digital currencies have not escaped the largest banks and businesses in the 3rd largest economy in the world. The DCJPY will create a banking network that will allow businesses to move "tokenised" digital assets and reduce cost and inefficiency in the traditional systems. Whilst complementing a future BoJ CBDC should they decide to go ahead (which they certainly will, as every Central Bank will IMHO).
To Read More: about DCJPY and other news on digital currencies inc Africa's first CBDC in Nigeria together with a list of other sources of Insight and Information, read this...
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The Rise of Social commerce
Back Story: In October, a Chinese internet star known as "Lipstick King" sold $1.7 billion worth of products during a 12-hour Livestream.
Think about it...$1.7 billion worth of make-up. In 12 hours.
Welcome to the world of 'Social Commerce', which is forecast to exceed $36 billion this year in the USA, up 36% from last year...but what is it?
Social media companies are increasingly rolling out features that allow founders to sell products directly off the platform. TikTok and Pinterest have both added features for influencers to promote and sell directly off their posts.
YouTube, the world’s largest video platform, has plans to boost live shopping and social commerce spending in the US. YouTube recently launched Holiday Stream and Shop, a series of Livestreams featuring celebrities and YouTubers selling products. In July, YouTube rolled out a new feature that made video ads more shoppable by adding product images beneath the ads.
Twitter has just announced a partnership with Walmart for live-stream shopping during a broadcast.
But, even though the numbers are big in the US, they're dwarfed by China where social commerce is already a $352 billion sector. Combining social media influencers with live TV shopping channels, social commerce has exploded in China and offers many lessons for retailers in the West.
The Wisdom: First, the context is that social media firms have to find an alternative business model to the ad-based one. The conflict of interest has made it a toxic business model and its days are numbered, IMHO. Enter 'social commerce' stage left.
Here you have the perfect combination of 'attention' and 'influence'. Throw in some tech and merchandise and you have a shopping platform that has an order of magnitude greater reach than QVC.
Facebook is the world's largest social media platform and they earn around $40 per user a year. Sales commissions could provide an alternative source of income to the ads that rely on posts that generate the most engagement.
Did you know? Facebook ran an experiment in 2018 where they divided a bunch of posts into 2 categories. One called "good for the world" and the other called "bad for the world". They then took a sample of about 300,000 people and sent the good stories to half of the sample. And the bad stories to the other half.
Guess what happened? The 150,000 or so who received the "bad" stories spent twice as long on Facebook compared to the users who received the "good" stories. This supports the theory that rage leads to greater levels of engagement than joy.
And guess what feeds the advertising machine....engagement (therefore, posting stuff that enrages generates more revenue than pictures of kittens and puppies).
Snippets of Insight and Information
'NFT' is the Collins' Word of the Year 2021
The 3-letter acronym 'NFT', which is short for non-fungible token has been made Word of the Year by Collins Dictionary. They say that the use of the abbreviation rose by more than 11,000% in 2021. Source: Seattle Times
Do you remember Clubhouse?
Well, it seems that their 15 minutes of fame has run its course. Daily downloads, a key metric for measuring user growth and engagement, are down 90%. And daily user numbers are down 80%. Source: Business Insider
Cambodia is Facebook Messenger's biggest user
Did you know that 50% of Messenger’s total voice traffic comes from one nation? That's Cambodia. It seems that the reason is quite simple. Keyboards weren't designed for Khmer, so Cambodians have just decided to ignore them. Source: Rest of World
Apple sues over NSO spyware
What goes on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone...unless you happen to be the target of a hostile government using the spyware from NSO Group. If Apple were to win it would probably be game over for NSO. Sources: NBC, Wiser!
Sønr InsurTech 100
A good friend to Wiser! is Matt Connolly and he runs a business called Sønr. Every year Sønr publish a list of the leading startups and innovators driving change across insurance. It may sound like a dry subject if you're not in this game, but trust me when I say that there is some seriously cool tech being applied here. Source: Sønr
Is Apple the only one that can seriously take on Tesla?
Tesla is so far in front of everyone else when it comes to autonomous and electric vehicles (EVs), the question is who can take them on. The answer is probably Apple. Apple reportedly wants to debut a fully driverless electric vehicle by 2025. Source: Morning Brew
On the subject of Electric Vehicles, I came across this little gem on Twitter...
MetaFacebook - what do you call them now?
I ran a poll this week, here are the results.
Adidas buys land in the Metaverse
Talking of the Metaverse, Adidas has purchased a portion of land on The Sandbox map. They don't know what to do with it yet though!
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What's with the orange eye in the new logo?
You know how I am always saying "insight and information gives you leverage!" Another way of saying this is "in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king". In other words, you only have to be 1% smarter than the next person to have an advantage. Hence the one-eyed glasses. Geddit?
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