Rita Liao, TechCrunch

Rita Liao



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Past articles by Rita:

China's search engine pioneer unveils open-source large language model to rival OpenAI

In February, Sogou founder Wang Xiaochuan said on Weibo that “China needs its own OpenAI.” The Chinese entrepreneur is now inching closer to his dream as his nascent startup Baichuan Intelligence rolled out its next-generation large language model Baichuan-13B today. Baichuan is being touted as one of China’s most promising LLM developers, thanks to its […] → Read More

Black Sesame, Chinese auto chip challenger to Nvidia, burns $140M a year

Chinese auto chip maker Black Sesame has recently filed to go public in Hong Kong, offering a glimpse into the business prospect and challenges of an industry that’s increasingly important amid an autonomous driving boom and China’s stride towards semiconductor independence. Founded by veterans of Bosch and OmniVision, Black Sesame is seen as one of […] → Read More

China wraps up fintech crackdown with big fines on Tencent, Alibaba

The regulatory crackdown that has shaken up China’s fintech industry since late 2020 appears to be coming to a close with the imposition of hefty fines on the country’s two digital payments giants. Tencent, along with its payments subsidiary Tenpay, has been fined approximately 2.99 billion yuan ($410 million) by the People’s Bank of China […] → Read More

Threads app hits Top 5 on Apple’s China App Store despite ban

The only legitimate way to launch a foreign social app in China is to develop a locally compliant version with strict content filters. → Read More

Mark Zuckerberg’s remarks on China cast shadow over Meta’s VR quest

As Meta sets its sight on introducing its virtual reality headsets to the Chinese market, Mark Zuckerberg’s contentious remarks about Beijing in the past may pose a major obstacle to his China dream. According to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal, Meta is preparing to re-enter China by selling the Oculus Quest VR […] → Read More

Chinese EVs have yet to succeed in Europe. The Middle East could be different

For Chinese electric car manufacturers, Europe has long been a priority destination for international expansion. With its affluence, environmental consciousness, and relatively friendly attitude towards China, the continent has attracted established players like BYD as well as emerging brands like Nio and Xpeng. Despite their ambitious plans, Chinese EV makers yet to achieve the level […] → Read More

Meituan buys founder’s months-old ‘OpenAI for China’ for $280M

Meituan announced that it will be fully acquiring Light Years Beyond for $233.7 million in cash. It's also taking on the startup's $50.66 million debt. → Read More

China's AI firms might further lose chip access in new US ban

The U.S. is weighing additional restrictions on AI chip export to China amid rising concerns over the use of advanced semiconductors for military modernization. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Commerce could prohibit shipments of chips from manufacturers including Nvidia to customers in China as soon as early next month. […] → Read More

Brilliant Labs puts AI in front of your eye with its tiny open source AR lens

To integrate its AR device into people's daily life, Singapore-based Brilliant Labs aims to embed generative AI into its compact wearable. → Read More

BentoML scores $9M funding to expedite AI app development

Chaoyu Yang and his co-founders have built the AI development framework BentoML, which just announced a seed financing round. → Read More

Abu Dhabi pours $738.5M into China’s Tesla challenger Nio

China’s electric vehicle companies are pouring into the Middle East where both investors and consumers have a growing appetite for the country’s Tesla challengers. Shanghai-based Nio announced Tuesday that CYVN Holdings, a smart mobility-focused investment vehicle majority-owned by the Abu Dhabi government, will invest a total of $738.5 million in the Chinese EV maker. Nio, […] → Read More

Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang to pass the torch and focus on cloud

Hours after rumors started circling in China about a possible stepdown of Alibaba’s chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang, the ecommerce behemoth confirmed midday on Tuesday that the executive will hand over the torch. Zhang will be replaced by Joe Tsai, Alibaba’s current executive vice chairman, as chairman, and Eddie Wu, current chairman of Alibaba’s marketplaces […] → Read More

Fisker to enter China's hotly contested EV market with local production plans

Fisker, the electric carmaker founded by the Danish auto designer Henrik Fisker, is gearing up to enter the Chinese market where competition is increasingly cut-throat, following in the footsteps of another brave American player Lucid. Fisker plans to open a delivery center in China this year and commence deliveries of the Fisker Ocean SUV, its […] → Read More

Bill Gates meets with President Xi Jinping in Beijing

Hot on the heels of Elon Musk’s visit to China earlier this month, the country welcomes another American tech billionaire. Bill Gates is meeting President Xi Jinping on Friday in Beijing, China’s state media reported. The goal of the meeting hasn’t been announced publicly, but official media reports will likely follow. A reporter from China’s […] → Read More

BYD is overtaking Tesla, but its EV dream skips the US for now

A Chinese electric vehicle brand that’s rarely spotted in the U.S. is quickly catching up to Tesla’s dominance of the global EV market. BYD, which started in Shenzhen 28 years ago, delivered 547,917 passenger EVs, including hybrids, a category it’s known for, in the first quarter of 2023. The tally surpassed that of Tesla, which […] → Read More

Hong Kong eyes stablecoin regulatory regime by 2024

While the Western world debates how to regulate stablecoins, Hong Kong is forging ahead with a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies pegged to traditional financial assets. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is in the process of seeking comments from the public regarding stablecoins and aims to introduce a regulatory framework by the end of 2024, […] → Read More

Nio said not to join China’s EV price war. Now it’s cutting $4K across all models

Nio, one of China’s homegrown Tesla challengers, has slashed the prices of all its models by 30,000 yuan ($4,200), the NYSE-listed premium electric vehicle upstart announced on Monday. The news came as EV makers enter a price war in the world’s largest auto market, where BYD, the 28-year-old, Shenzhen-based company known for its affordable hybrid […] → Read More

Apple's Vision Pro reignites excitement in China's XR world

Apple’s launch of Vision Pro, what it refers to as its first spatial computer, is generating a lot of buzz in China. The hashtag #Apple Vision Pro 苹果首款头显 (Apple’s first head-mounted display) amassed over 40 million views on Weibo, China’s Twitter equivalent, on the launch day alone. The country’s virtual and augmented reality industry went […] → Read More

VC-backed boba chain Ume wants to pour into mainstream with surprise plushies

A group of teens excitedly picked up their candy-colored bubble tea from Ume in downtown Mountain View. But before they took a sip, they each peeled open the bottom of their paper cups to reveal a cute little plushie inside. “Our tea is not only pretty but also fun,” said Jiachun Li, CEO and co-founder […] → Read More

How SaaS sales platform Minoa meets growing need for remote collaboration

COVID-19 has upended many aspects of busienss, including the way enterprises sell software. As the pandemic kept people at home, SaaS sales teams were forced to adjust their strategies. In the past, they relied mostly on in-person meetings to close deals, but with social distancing measures in place during the pandemic, they turned to the […] → Read More