The Long March – Transitioning from a Start-up to a Growth Stage Company with Big Ambition; The Growth Stage Recipe – Ingredients Required to Build a Big Winner

The Long March – Transitioning from a Start-up to a Growth Stage Company with Big Ambition

Glenn Solomon (@glennsolomon) is a Partner with GGV Capital. Some of his recent investments include Pandora, Successfactors, Isilon, Square, Zendesk, Quinstreet and Nimble Storage. This post is part of a series for growth stage entrepreneurs who are thinking big; the full series can be found at www.goinglongblog.com.

Congratulations Ms. Entrepreneur. After years of toiling and challenging insurmountable odds, you’ve finally moved through the gates of start-up hell. You’ve established product/ market fit, you’re 10x better that your competition and you’ve begun to scale customers and revenues. You’ve also assembled a talented and passionate team who is bought into your culture. Take a breath. Take a bow. Now, come to the frightening realization… if you want to build a big company, you’ve got much more work ahead. The moves you make at the growth stage are increasingly important. Different challenges emerge and the bets become bigger, the stakes higher.

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GGV.550.secondpost Read more of this post

A College Dropout Sophia Amoruso Turned Her eBay Page Into The Fastest-Growing Retailer with US$100M Sales

A College Dropout Turned Her eBay Page Into The Fastest-Growing Retailer

Ashley Lutz | Mar. 25, 2013, 10:28 AM | 4,167 | 3

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Sophia Amoruso started selling vintage clothing on her eBay page in 2006.

Seven years later, the 28-year-old runs Nasty Gal, an e-commerce site with $100 million in annual sales.

“‘People say: ‘Nasty Gal? What’s that?'” Amoruso said in an interview with Nicole Perlroth The New York Times. “I tell them, ‘It’s the fastest-growing retailer in the country.'”

Amoruso had considered going to photography school, but didn’t want to go into debt. So instead, she dropped out of community college and started buying vintage clothing at stores like the Salvation Army, selling them at a big profit.

Eventually, she moved Nasty Gal over to its own domain.

Her site caught on quickly because of her constant social media presence, according Perlroth. Amoruso used MySpace, and later Facebook, to engage with customers and market new merchandise.  Read more of this post

CalPERS is weighing taking its massive $255 billion assets under management and moving it to an all-passive portfolio

A Gigantic Pension Fund Is Reportedly Considering A Change That Should Make Investment Managers Freak Out

Julia La Roche | Mar. 25, 2013, 2:13 PM | 7,432 | 13

Investment News reports that California CalPERS, the second biggest U.S. public pension fund, is weighing taking its massive $255 billion assets under management and moving it to an all-passive portfolio. Why would this matter? Well, it would matter a lot for active managers who receive management fees from CalPERS, Josh Brown, who runs the popular financial blog the Reformed Broker, points out on Twitter. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System already has more than half of its investible assets in passive strategies. CalPERS is expected to make the decision in about five months, the report said.

Passive investing: If it’s good enough for CalPERS …

Giant pension plan’s possible full-on switch to index funds speaks volumes

Mar 24, 2013 @ 12:01 am (Updated 2:24 pm) EST

Passive investing has reached a watershed moment. The second-largest pension fund in the United States is considering a move to an all-passive portfolio while at the same time, the largest brokerage firms are falling over themselves to push passively managed exchange-traded funds.

Read more of this post

Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence

Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence [Hardcover]

Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D. (Author), E. Tory Higgins Ph.D. (Author)

Release date: April 18, 2013

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We all want to experience pleasure and avoid pain. But there are really two kinds of pleasure and pain that motivate everything we do. If you are promotion-focused, you want to advance and avoid missed opportunities. If you are prevention-focused, you want to minimize losses and keep things working. And as Tory Higgins has found in his groundbreaking research, if you understand how people focus, you have the power to motivate yourself and everyone around you.

Showing how promotion/prevention focus applies across a wide range of situations from selling products to managing employees to raising children to getting a second date, Halvorson and Higgins show us how to identify focus, how to change focus, and how to use focus exactly the right way to get results. Short, punchy, and prescriptive, Focus will help you see not just what’s going on around you— but what’s underneath. Read more of this post

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

March 25, 2013 3:44 pm

Decide and make your move

By Philip Delves Broughton

Good management is about nothing if not good decision making. Unfortunately, decisiveness has been seen as a character trait like courage: there are those who can pull the trigger – the great executives – and those who can’t – the armies of wafflers who are terrified of being forced to accept the consequences of their actions.

A new wave of social scientists, however, is upending this view by digging into the psychological and social factors that influence our decisions. By developing better processes, they hope to make decision making less like voodoo and more like carpentry.

Chip Heath, a professor at Stanford’s business school, and his brother Dan Heath, a fellow at Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, have already written two excellent books of pop social science: Made to Stick and Switch . Their latest, Decisions: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work digs into the latest findings on decision making.

“Being decisive is itself a choice,” they write. “Decisiveness is a way of behaving, not an inherited trait. It allows us to make brave and confident choices, not because we know we’ll be right but because it’s better to try and fail than to delay and regret.” Read more of this post

When going gets tough, spicy foods become popular; the pain-relieving effects of capsaicin, the substance that makes peppers hot.

2013-03-25 17:40

When going gets tough, spicy foods become popular

By Rachel Lee

A popular belief, backed by a sense of economics, would have it that in an economic slump, women wear shorter skirts and opt for lipsticks of vivid colors. Here is one more myth to be added: when the going gets tough, people prefer spicier food. Take this new maxim with a hint of skepticism because the “fact” is provided by related industries but don’t dismiss it outright, considering the pain-relieving effects of capsaicin, the substance that makes peppers hot. According to Sun At Food, a leading food and dining company, sales of its Sichuan House restaurant’s popular Spicy Chili Beef Hotpot have gone up three–fold from November of last year to the end of January. Another dish, Sichuan Chili Chicken, saw a six-fold increase in sales.

Read more of this post

What Would Steve Do? 10 Lessons from the World’s Most Captivating Presenters

Why America Is Called America

March 25, 2013

Why America Is Called America

By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD

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A plate of the 1507 world map made by the clerics Martin Waldseemüller and Mathias Ringmann

A DECADE AGO, the Library of Congress paid $10 million to acquire the only known original copy of a 1507 world map that has been called “the birth certificate of America.” The large map, a masterpiece of woodblock printing, has been a star attraction at the library ever since and the object of revived scholarly fascination about the earliest cartography of the New World. The research has also rescued from obscurity a little-known Renaissance man, the 16th-century globe maker Johannes Schöner, who was responsible for saving the map for posterity.

We call ourselves Americans today because of the map’s makers, Martin Waldseemüller and Mathias Ringmann, young clerics in the cathedral village of St.-Dié, France. By incorporating early New World discoveries, their map reached beyond the canonical descriptions of Old World geography handed down from Ptolemy in the second century. On a lower stretch of the southern continent, the mapmakers inscribed the name “America” in the mistaken belief that Amerigo Vespucci, not Columbus, deserved credit for first sighting a part of that continent, South America. Read more of this post

Pursuing a passion into a career change may bring the success you dream of. But disaster is also a possibility; “Suffering comes from being attached to the outcomes. If you stop worrying about the outcomes, you will achieve a better outcome.”

March 25, 2013

Following Your Bliss, Right Off the Cliff

By KAI RYSSDAL and MEGAN LARSON

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Michael Dearing with the last pair of shoes from his former shoe business, which he called a “splat-against-the-wall failure.” 

SO you want to be a writer. Or an artist. Or to open a cupcake shop. What you’ll hear, often, is that you should pursue your dream. Follow your passion. Quit your job and live the life you want.

That advice should come with a bright yellow warning sticker: your dream may end in disaster. Read more of this post

Ravi Jaipuria: India’s Pepsi Bottler-Billionaire

Ravi Jaipuria: India’s Bottler-Billionaire

by Naazneen Karmali | Mar 26, 2013

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PepsiCo bottler Ravi Jaipuria’s insatiable thirst for growth earned him a fortune

I like to be near water,” says Ravi Jaipuria, seated in his office on the top floor of a building that bears his initials and is situated in Gurgaon, a bustling township adjacent to Delhi. The ocean is nowhere close so the chairman of the privately held RJ Corp—revenues in excess of $1 billion—has to make do with an artificial waterfall in the terrace adjoining his office.

Water of the flavoured kind has made Jaipuria, 58, a fortune: PepsiCo’s largest franchise bottler in India. He claims to be among the multinational giant’s top three globally—is among India’s new crop of billionaires, with a fortune estimated at $1.4 billion.

Jaipuria gets a chunk of that wealth from bottling unit Varun Beverages, which accounts for over half of RJ Corp’s revenues. Named after his son, who works with him, Varun Beverages has 10 bottling plants in India plus an international footprint that includes Sri Lanka, Nepal, Morocco, Mozambique and Zambia. It claims to have close to a third of Pepsi’s business in India. A PepsiCo India spokesman says that half of its beverage volume is from seven franchise bottlers, of which Varun Beverages is the biggest. Read more of this post

Following your gift: Dietary coffee producer shakes off slum upbringing to rake it in. NatureGift claims a 50% market share in dietary coffee in Thailand

Following your gift

Dietary coffee producer shakes off slum upbringing to rake it in.

Published: 26 Mar 2013 at 00.00

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Life was a slog for Kritsada Jangchaimonta, growing up in a slum for 23 years. But the 3-by-4 metre room he lived in together with seven others in Bangkok failed to discourage him from dreaming of becoming a millionaire one day.

Mr Kritsada claims white bean supplements are the key to losing weight because they offer an energy boost.

With an engineering degree from Chulalongkorn University, he started work at the Metropolitan Electricity Authority before joining a private company. Then in 1976, Mr Kritsada set up a company selling electrical appliances, before experimenting with other products ranging from shrimp feed to hydroponic vegetables.

In 2002, his company NatureGift launched food supplement capsules. But it wasn’t an immediate success so he thought of trying other products such as coffee, soap and toothpaste.

“At that time, I had debts of 20 million baht. While it took 30,000 baht to produce toothpaste, coffee required around 50,000 baht,” recalled the 66-year-old. Read more of this post

Pakistan’s Army of Overseas Workers Keeps Economy From Collapse; Almost 10 million Pakistanis work overseas and the sum they’ve sent home has doubled in the four years through June, to a record $13 billion.

Pakistan’s Army of Overseas Workers Keeps Economy From Collapse

Living in poverty in a mud shack in Pakistan, Mazhar Ali dropped out of school, sold the family’s two buffalo and bought a visa to work in Dubai. The money he sends home is paying for a new house.

“We’re going to build three rooms with bricks and cement, plus a courtyard and a washroom,” said his younger brother Azhar in Larkana, home town of the ruling People’s Party about 300 kilometers north of Karachi. “We will then start marrying one by one, starting with Mazhar sometime this year.”

The family’s change in fortunes reflects a rising trend of rich nations with aging workers tapping poorer ones for labor — total remittances to developing economies will rise 7.9 percent this year, and reach $534 billion by 2015, the World Bank says. For Pakistan, the income offers a source of stability, with the country poised for its first civilian handover of government in May even amid power shortages, bombings and a Taliban insurgency.

“This is our savior for keeping Pakistan out of the oxygen tent,” Farooq Sattar, former Minister for Overseas Pakistanis said in an interview in Karachi last month before his party quit the government alliance. “It has kept us from a complete economic collapse.”

Almost 10 million Pakistanis work overseas and the sum they’ve sent home has doubled in the four years through June, to a record $13 billion. Read more of this post

Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You: Retrain Your Brain to Conquer Fear, Make Better Decisions and Thrive in the 21st Century

Updated March 25, 2013, 7:23 p.m. ET

Healthy Reader

By LAURA LANDRO

Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You: Retrain Your Brain to Conquer Fear, Make Better Decisions and Thrive in the 21st Century

Marc Schoen
Hudson Street Press, $25.95

From primitive times, the survival instinct has enabled mankind to handle major threats to existence. In the modern world, we have become such creatures of comfort that even the slightest annoyance—such as facing a long line at airport security—sends our self-preservation programming into overdrive, resulting in dangerous levels of stress.

‘Discomfort may very well be the most powerful change agent we have in our arsenal for becoming all that we can be.’

Think Differently

Dr. Schoen’s tips for quelling uncomfortable ‘inner survivalist’ feelings

Expand your comfort zone: Drive to a less-familiar location without GPS or a map.

Embrace discomfort: Delay or refrain from use of medications to fall asleep or cope with pain (if medically safe to do so).

Commit to the present: Fully engage with people without responding to texts or emails.

Delay gratification: Sit with hunger before reaching for food; forgo that drink after work sometimes. Read more of this post

Computing Looks to the Eyes; Eyeballs are poised to emerge in coming years as a legitimate tool for controlling everything from handsets to games

Updated March 25, 2013, 11:38 p.m. ET

Computing Looks to the Eyes

Technology That Tracks Eye Movement Could Cut Down on Mouse Use

By SVEN GRUNDBERG

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Touch screens have removed some of the need for clunky hardware extras long associated with personal computing. But the biggest technical challenge to wean computers off the age-old keyboard and mouse may rest on the two sockets in our heads.

Eyes are poised to emerge in coming years as a legitimate pointing tool for computers and mobile devices to accompany other methods of interacting with personal gadgets.

State-of-the-art eye tracking is mostly found in the health-care industry, as aids for disabled people with impaired mobility. Now the race is on to incorporate the technology into mass-market consumer electronics for games and everyday applications. Read more of this post

Science Fiction Comes Alive as Researchers Grow Organs in Lab

March 22, 2013, 10:36 p.m. ET

Science Fiction Comes Alive as Researchers Grow Organs in Lab

By GAUTAM NAIK

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Francisco Fernandez-Aviles with a human heart that is devoid of its cells.

Building a complex human organ in the lab is no longer a dream of science fiction. At London’s Royal Free Hospital, a team of 30 scientists is manufacturing a variety of body parts, including windpipes, noses and ears. WSJ’s Gautam Naik reports. Photo: Gareth Phillips

MADRID—Reaching into a stainless steel tray, Francisco Fernandez-Aviles lifted up a gray, rubbery mass the size of a fat fist.

It was a human cadaver heart that had been bathed in industrial detergents until its original cells had been washed away and all that was left was what scientists call the scaffold.

Next, said Dr. Aviles, “We need to make the heart come alive.”

P1-BK792_BODYPA_G_20130322221602 Read more of this post

Progress Fighting Parkinson’s Drug Side Effects; “I’m basically going to be incapacitated by the drug that’s helping me, and that’s terrifying,”

March 25, 2013, 6:38 p.m. ET

Progress Fighting Parkinson’s Drug Side Effects

By SHIRLEY S. WANG

As they continue to wait for a cure, patients with Parkinson’s disease may soon see more consistent relief from side effects of the drugs that treat it.

One of the most pressing problems facing patients today is that the most effective treatment available wears off over time and may induce often severe involuntary movements. A number of new treatments are being developed to address the wearing-off effect or attenuate the movement side effects, called dyskinesia, that come with the drug, levodopa.

PJ-BN319A_LAB_G_20130325175416 Read more of this post

Mortimer Zuckerman: The Great Recession Has Been Followed by the Grand Illusion; Don’t be fooled by the latest jobs numbers. The unemployment situation in the U.S. is still dire

March 25, 2013, 7:07 p.m. ET

Mortimer Zuckerman: The Great Recession Has Been Followed by the Grand Illusion

Don’t be fooled by the latest jobs numbers. The unemployment situation in the U.S. is still dire.

By MORTIMER ZUCKERMAN

The Great Recession is an apt name for America’s current stagnation, but the present phase might also be called the Grand Illusion—because the happy talk and statistics that go with it, especially regarding jobs, give a rosier picture than the facts justify.

The country isn’t really advancing. By comparison with earlier recessions, it is going backward. Despite the most stimulative fiscal policy in American history and a trillion-dollar expansion to the money supply, the economy over the last three years has been declining. After 2.4% annual growth rates in gross domestic product in 2010 and 2011, the economy slowed to 1.5% growth in 2012. Cumulative growth for the past 12 quarters was just 6.3%, the slowest of all 11 recessions since World War II. Read more of this post

For One Chinese Student, a Tough Job Hunt; Grateful son and “Iron Chicken” Gao Yueqing is set to graduate this June with a degree in accounting, the most practical major he and his father could agree upon. But the younger Mr. Gao, like many Chinese college students, is finding it hard to nail a job

March 25, 2013, 10:33 p.m. ET

For One Chinese Student, a Tough Job Hunt

By BOB DAVIS

SHIJIAONAO, China—Four years ago, Gao Shangming was convinced that his son Yueqing needed to remain in the family’s one-room apartment and help harvest corn rather than go to college. “Our financial situation wasn’t good,” the 50-year-old peasant farmer says.

But Gao Yueqing was determined to escape the dusty north China mountain village of 200 households where nearly all young people either become farmers or migrate to nearby cities to work in restaurants. His father’s relatives talked up young Gao’s case, as did a respected high-school teacher who told the elder Gao how hardworking his son was.

The clincher: “He told me, ‘If I let him get a college degree, he’d make more money,'” the elder Gao recalls.

So the father put in extra hours in nearby coal mines to pay his son’s 10,000 yuan ($1,600) annual tuition and expenses at Shanxi University’s business school in Taiyuan, in the heart of China’s coal country. His grateful son was so frugal that his roommates nicknamed him “Iron Chicken,” because it was as hard to separate him from a yuan as it would be to pluck a feather from an iron fowl.

Gao Yueqing is set to graduate this June with a degree in accounting, the most practical major he and his father could agree upon. But the younger Mr. Gao, like many Chinese college students, is finding it hard to nail a job, especially one that pays decently. Read more of this post

Chinese College Graduates Play It Safe and Lose Out; Chinese college graduates say they want to work for the government or big state-owned firms, which are seen as recession-proof, rather than the private companies that have powered China’s economic climb

March 25, 2013, 10:32 p.m. ET

Chinese College Graduates Play It Safe and Lose Out

By BOB DAVIS

BEIJING—Xie Chaobo figures he has the credentials to land a job at one of China’s big state-owned firms. He is a graduate student at Tsinghua University, one of China’s best. His field of study is environmental engineering, one of China’s priorities. And he is experimenting with new techniques for identifying water pollutants, which should make him a valuable catch. But he has applied to 30 companies so far and scored just four interviews, none of which has led to a job. Although Mr. Xie’s parents are entrepreneurs who have built companies that make glasses, shoes and now water pumps, he has no interest in working at a private startup. Chinese students “have been told since we were children to focus on stability instead of risk,” the 24-year-old engineering student says.

Over the past decade, the number of new graduates from Chinese universities has increased sixfold to more than six million a year, creating an epic glut that is depressing wages, leaving many recent college graduates without jobs and making students fearful about their future. Two-thirds of Chinese graduates say they want to work either in the government or big state-owned firms, which are seen as recession-proof, rather than at the private companies that have powered China’s remarkable economic climb, surveys indicate. Few college students today, according to the surveys, are ready to leave the safe shores of government work and “jump into the sea,” as the Chinese expression goes, to join startups or go into business for themselves, although many of their parents did just that in the 1990s.

Chinese economists worry that waning entrepreneurial zeal could hobble China’s ability to remake its economy and reach the ranks of wealthy nations. “The current education system does not produce people who are innovative,” says Li Hongbin, a Tsinghua University economist who specializes in education and conducted some of the surveys. “That makes it harder for the country to reach its long-term goal of building an innovative society.”

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P1-BK829_CCOLLE_G_20130325183608 Read more of this post

Teenager, who just made US$30mil, tells other teenagers ‘if you have a tech idea just do it’; At 17, App Builder Rockets to Riches From Yahoo Deal

Updated: Tuesday March 26, 2013 MYT 12:35:40 PM

Teenager, who just made US$30mil, tells other teenagers ‘if you have a tech idea just do it’

LONDON: Got a tech idea and want to make a fortune before you’re out of your teens? Just do it, is the advice of the London schoolboy who’s just sold his smartphone news app to Yahoo for a reported US$30 million.

The money is there, just waiting for clever new moves, said 17-year-old Nick D’Aloisio, who can point to a roster of early backers for his Summly app that includes Yoko Ono and Rupert Murdoch.

“If you have a good idea, or you think there’s a gap in the market, just go out and launch it because there are investors across the world right now looking for companies to invest in,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview late on Monday. Read more of this post

Wall Street worries about PayPal’s real-world expansion as it launched a push in 2011 to become a payment option in brick-and-mortar stores. The move increases PayPal’s potential market by a factor of at least 10

Published: Tuesday March 26, 2013 MYT 8:09:00 AM

Wall Street worries about PayPal’s real-world expansion

SAN FRANCISCO: Wall Street is having second thoughts about following PayPal from its online roots into the physical world.

PayPal, a leader online, launched a push in 2011 to become a payment option in brick-and-mortar stores. The move increases PayPal’s potential market by a factor of at least 10, and has been a big driver of the shares of owner eBay Inc, which surged 68 percent in 2012.

But ahead of an investor day meeting at eBay‘s Silicon Valley headquarters on Thursday, some investors and analysts are beginning to worry that the initiative will sacrifice profit margins for growth.

“Profitability of on-site payment will be dramatically lower than it is online,” said Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management, an eBay shareholder who has been bullish on the company for several years. Smead’s Seattle-based firm has trimmed its eBay position twice in the past year. Read more of this post

‘Tall white foreigner from Wales singing songs about communism’ is hit in China

‘Tall white foreigner from Wales singing songs about communism’ is hit in China

A British singer has become an overnight celebrity in China after entering the TV talent show China’s Got Talent.

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Iain Inglis sings communist revolutionary songs while dressed in a Red Army uniform Photo: WALES NEWS

Wales News Service

9:14PM GMT 25 Mar 2013

Iain Inglis, 30, shot to fame after singing traditional communist revolutionary songs while dressed in a Red Army uniform.

The university lecturer made it to the semi-finals of the show and now performs for up to £5,000 a night.

“I’m a tall, white foreigner from Wales singing songs about communism in Chinese,” Mr Inglis, from Cardiff, said. “It was a bit of fun to start off with but the more performances I did, the more I was hooked. For some reason the Chinese people seem to find it quite hilarious.” Read more of this post

Warhol’s Mao Works Censored in China

March 25, 2013, 2:35 PM

Warhol’s Mao Works Censored in China

By Doug Meigs

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Andy Warhol’s ‘Mao’ pieces are some of his best-known works.

Mao Zedong’s face has long graced trinkets and kitsch sold at tourist markets across China. But in the country’s top art museums, his most famous portrayal by a Westerner isn’t welcome.

Sorry, Andy Warhol.

Although the scion of Pop Art passed away in 1987, Warhol is still generating controversy. A vast traveling retrospective of his work, “Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal,” has already made stops in Singapore and Hong Kong as part of a two-year Asia tour, but when it moves to mainland China next month, the artist’s Mao paintings won’t be coming along. Read more of this post

The internet remains the “single root” in China today to kick-start a career as a wordsmith. “There are no authors under the age of 35 who were not discovered on the internet”

Chinese online literature

Voices in the wilderness

Mar 24th 2013, 21:28 by C.S.-M. | BEIJING

FOR THE country that invented paper it is no small irony that China’s most innovative writing happens off the page. A number of authors, stifled by state censorship and a conservative publishing industry, are finding freedom online.

In the late 1990s aspiring literati began to share works online. One of these, Li Jie, started to write internet stories for no other reason than to kill time. Bored with her job serving customers in a bank, she signed up under the pen name Anni Baobei. Her depiction of a damaged, disillusioned youth hit a nerve. Aged just 25, to the horror of her parents, Ms Li gave up a secure income to write full time. The gamble paid off. She made the transition to print and is still one of China’s bestselling authors.

Internet writing has been nothing short of a revolution for Chinese literature. It has allowed myriad voices to be heard. The digital landscape and technology have changed since the first wave of authors began to write; readers in China now access novels through smartphones and tablets rather than desktops. Yet the internet remains the “single root” in China today to kick-start a career as a wordsmith, says Jo Lusby, managing director of Penguin China, a publishing house. “There are no authors under the age of 35 who were not discovered on the internet,” she adds. Read more of this post

YY Growth Fueled by Virtual Teddy Bears Lures Tiger Funds; Ni Linlin has made a career out of convincing men to send her virtual teddy bears, necklaces and blue roses

YY Growth Fueled by Virtual Teddy Bears Lures Tiger Funds: Tech

By Lulu Yilun Chen  Mar 25, 2013

Ni Linlin has made a career out of convincing men to send her virtual teddy bears, necklaces and blue roses.

Using a laptop in her 10-square-meter (110-square-foot) room in Qingdao, China, the 25-year-old entertains as many as 2,000 fans a day as a DJ and singer on YY Inc. (YY), a Chinese entertainment website with nearly half a billion users. She earns five times more than two years ago when she quit her job as an office secretary.

Part American Idol, part online hostess club, the platform allows freelance entertainers to charge fans a fee for playing games with them or earn a revenue cut from virtual gifts sold online. Racy jokes and low-slung tops are allowed, nudity is not. Guangzhou-based YY has surged 50 percent since its November listing on the Nasdaq and counts Temasek Holdings Pte. and Tiger Global Management LLC as investors.

“Very often in second- and third-tier cities and rural areas their only places for entertainment are Internet bars,” said Jenny Lee, a partner atMenlo Park, California-based GGV Capital, which has invested $17 million in the startup. Read more of this post

With Market Share Shrinking, Microsoft Bing’s China Dream is in Serious Danger

With Market Share Shrinking, Bing’s China Dream is in Serious Danger

Mar 26, 2013 at 09:00 AM by C. Custer, in BusinessWeb

Microsoft’s Bing search engine has never been a major player in China. The company itself conceded that last fall when it all but abandoned Chinese language search, opting instead to focus on what it then said was the 5 percent of searches in China that use English rather than Chinese. But six months later, it appears Bing’s strategy hasn’t worked. In an interview with Sina Tech, Microsoft VP Shen Xiangyang said that the company’s shrinking China market share — now barely above half of one percent, according to research firm CNZZ — put it in a seriously tough spot:

If you can’t see users’ search questions and choices, if you don’t have enough data to work with, then there is no way to make improvements [to the search engine]. Read more of this post

Chinese E-commerce Giant 360Buy Employees Abusing Power Over Merchants for Bribes, Free Gifts with the promise of helping them build traffic

360Buy Employees Abusing Power Over Merchants for Bribes, Free Gifts

Mar 26, 2013 at 09:30 AM by C. Custer, in E-commerceWeb

China’s e-commerce market may be gigantic and hugely profitable, but it’s also still a little bit like the wild west, as regulators are still trying to figure out the best way to oversee the industry without smothering its growth. That means that even at respectable sites, things sometimes go awry, and that’s exactly what happened at 360Buy recently according to the IT Times, which has the story of a 360Buy employee who extorted thousands of dollars and valuable goods out of merchants with the promise of helping them build traffic. Read more of this post

Apple pursuit lures 20,000 students into high-interest loans with annual interest rates of up to 47%

Apple pursuit lures 20,000 students into high-interest loans

By Xinhua in Wuhan (China Daily), 2013-03-22

More than 20,000 college students have taken high-interest loans to buy fancy electronic products, mostly Apple devices, in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.

From the start of January 2012 to the end of February 2013, the students applied for loans with a total value of 160 million yuan ($25.7 million) from Home Credit China (HC China), a subsidiary of international investment business PPF Group.

“We have lost touch with about 100 of them, getting no response to calls or letters reminding them about delayed payments,” said Liu Mingwei, Wuhan regional manager of HC China.

With around 1 million students in Wuhan, it means about one in 50 of them is shouldering HC China’s heavy annual interest rates of up to 47.12 percent on a 12-month-term loan. Read more of this post

Chinese officials earned almost US$5 trillion (30 trillion yuan) reselling land, says economist

Chinese officials earned 30 trillion yuan reselling land, says economist

Monday, 25 March, 2013, 2:49pm

News›China

Agence France-Presse in Beijing

Chinese authorities have earned almost US$5 trillion (HK$38.8 trillion) in profit by selling land obtained from farmers to developers over the years, a top economist said according to state media.

As the country undergoes a huge urbanisation process rural land confiscations have led to numerous protests, worrying the ruling Communist Party, which sees corruption and social unrest as threats to its power.

By law, officials may provide compensation worth up to 30 times the value of the land’s output, but in practice they have skimped on payments or foregone them altogether – then sold the land to developers at much higher rates. Read more of this post

Exclusive: ‘Princeling’ firm holds secret stake in giant fund house Cinda, including a private equity fund co-founded by the grandson of China’s former state head Jiang Zemin

Exclusive: ‘Princeling’ firm holds secret stake in giant fund house Cinda

Tuesday, 26 March, 2013, 12:00am

Business›Companies

George Chen george.chen@scmp.com

As jostling starts over the stock market float of Cinda Asset Management, details have come to light of two previously unknown stakeholders

With the giant state-owned fund house Cinda Asset Management planning to go public in Hong Kong this year, two behind-the-scenes investors in the company, including a private equity fund co-founded by the grandson of China’s former state head Jiang Zemin, have been pushed into the spotlight. Read more of this post

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