NewsWrap brings you the latest today in Tech News from China and the world at large. Today we look at China Unicom’s Dual SIM Card, DHGate and Tuanbao’s massive layoffs, and Singapore’s TechVenture 2011.
China Unicom’s Dual SIM Card Feature
China Unicom introduces a new feature in hopes of undercutting China Mobile’s ferocious lead. It’s an ingenious solution really: cut a small square out of the back of your SIM card—with the tool provided—and in the space, place a China Unicom SIM card sticker. This sticker allows users access to both networks, voice on the original network and 3G with the sticker, pretty much giving you two SIM cards in one. Unfortunately, you can’t use both at the same time. This means having to switch back and forth, which depending on how straightforward the process is could be a total pain or a breeze.
It probably won’t do much to help Unicom get ahead. It is more a means of evening the playing field, though maybe calling it a game of catch up is a better way of putting it. Unicom is the official iPhone distributor in China, however many people simply buy unlocked iPhones and run them on GPRS (operated by China Mobile). In either case, it’s a pretty brilliant feature and might help Unicom lure at least some customers away.
B2B Marketplace DHGate Drops Employees as it’s Dropped by Investor
Wholesale trading platform, DHGate.com, is rumored to drop 50% of its employees. A former DHGate staffer leaked the downsizing to the media and also said that DHGate is running out of money.
DHGate raised a total of RMB 300M ($56M) in three rounds from 2006-2010 from KPCB, JAFCO and others. However, a former DHGate executive told a local newspaper that KPCB plans to discontinue its funding with the conclusion that the company was moving too slow in making a profit.
Groupon Clone (TuanBao) Fires 80% of Staff
DHGate isn’t the only group buyer site running into problems. A new round of job cuts caused dozens of people to be let go from sales offices across the country. According to Chinese media, the company had 4,000 employees earlier this year, but that number is now down to 700. Tuanbao, like many companies in the group-buy sector, has been hurt by the insanely tight margins.
Get Ready for TechVenture 2011!
A well-established event, TechVenture has become known for bringing high net worth individual investors, business angels, venture capitalists, private equity, limited partners and sovereign wealth funds all to the same place. The conference will take place at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands on October 13-14 and will host numerous investors from all over the world. A total of 44 speakers will address this year’s theme, “The New Age of Asian Innovation.”