Mai Linh and Vinasun used to be the biggest, the most reliable local cab firms in Vietnam. Photo via Flickr/Prince Roy under Creative Commons license A phone call and a five-to-ten minute wait. A few more phone calls and a cab arrives...if you're lucky. If not, an apology from the call center and you’re late for the airport. That was three years ago, but now for many Vietnamese, the idea of dialing a taxi call center is an alien concept. In the new era of technology, Grab and Uber are beating street taxis with just the click of a button. And it is not just the passengers who have been won over. Easy registration and flexible working hours have drawn over 50,000 cab drivers to work for Uber and Grab in Vietnam, with many leaving traditional taxi firms in search of a better living. Vinasun, Vietnam’s biggest taxi firm in 2014, lost 8,000 drivers this year, almost half of its employees, while rival Mai Linh Taxi also lost 6,000 drivers. A doomsday scenario for traditional … [Read more...] about Nowhere to turn: Can traditional taxis survive the onslaught of ride-hailing apps in Vietnam?
My firms app
Ma Baoli, founder of Blue City, parent company of Chinese gay dating app Blued, poses for pictures at his office reception area in Beijing, January 7, 2015. The free Chinese-language app uses the GPS capability of users' smartphones to identify nearby mem Hua Ruobin started using Blued two years ago to meet other gay men in China, setting up weekend dinners or dates in karaoke bars. The gay dating app has been a godsend for Hua, allowing the university student in the southern city of Guangzhou to privately contact Chinese men seeking same-sex companionship. Homosexuality is not illegal in China, but remains a taboo subject in the world's most populous country. "I found nine (gay friends) through the app," said Hua, 22, who felt he could never talk to his heterosexual friends about being gay. "Now I have a group of friends just like me to whom I can open my mind." Blued is the brainchild of Ma Baoli, 36, a former policeman who quit his job to play Cupid to millions of gay men in … [Read more...] about China dating app helps gay men banish the blues – and AIDS
Facebook has acquired LiveRail - a tech start-up that helps companies place more relevant ads in the videos that appear on their websites and apps. LiveRail also provides a real-time bidding platform for marketers looking to place ads on online videos. The firms did not reveal the financial terms, but some reports indicate that Facebook paid between $400m and $500m (£233m and £291m) to buy the firm. Online video advertising is forecast to grow robustly in the coming years. "More relevant ads will be more interesting and engaging to people watching online video, and more effective for marketers too," Brian Boland, vice president of ads product marketing and atlas at Facebook, said in a blog post. "Publishers will benefit as well, because more relevant ads will help them make the most out of every opportunity they have to show an ad." According to LiveRail, it delivers more than seven billion video ads per month. Growing importance The online and mobile ad sector has been … [Read more...] about Facebook buys video ad technology firm
N.T. usually ignores spam messages that lure him to visit websites with sexual content, but one day he gave in and clicked one of the seductive links, which bore a bitter fruit. "Once, I clicked the link out of curiosity, and was directed to an ad website," T. recalled. His phone account has since been automatically deducted even when he does not use it to text or talk, while his 3G service has been suspended, he said. "After several days of observation, I noticed that my account loses VND15,000 every day," he said. T. is a victim of a new kind of smartphone scam as his handset has been infected by a hidden and malicious app that automatically sends messages without his knowledge. This scam can also include software that can steal personal and important information from smartphone users and transmit it to hackers. In order to get users to click on links to malicious websites from which harmful apps are downloaded and installed, scammers send seductive messages, such as … [Read more...] about Hidden apps rip off smartphone users
New hi-tech solution will have very limited impact on vexing problem of taxi fraud, authorities yet to show real intent, experts say Stories about foreign visitors and locals being ripped off by taxis keep cropping up relentlessly in media reports, making people wonder whether there is really any genuine interest in dealing with the problem, particularly in the major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Now, a hi-tech solution is being touted as a breakthrough, but skeptics abound. Experts and industry insiders say the new solution - a free application for smartphones - will certainly help in the fight against overcharging cabbies and fake taxis, helping passengers identify licensed taxis, the best route and the right fare. However, they also said it can only deal with the symptoms in certain cases and that many other actions are required to tackle the root of the issue, which is among the major problems plaguing Vietnam's tourism industry. Alberto Moreno, general manager of … [Read more...] about Smartphone app for cab users a soft touch