Category Archives: Internet

Ctrip Swiftly Responds to Temporary Potential Internet Security Risk


International, Ltd.  (“Ctrip” or “the Company”), a leading travel service provider of hotel accommodations, ticketing services, packaged tours, and corporate travel management in China, today issued this press release in response to a recent incident related to Ctrip’s information security.

In the evening of March 22, 2014, a third party website with focus on internet security information exchange, released news that as a result of a temporary testing function performed by Ctrip, certain data files containing customers’ credit card information had been stored on local servers maintained by Ctrip, which may lead to potential exposure of these customers’ information to hackers. Shortly after the news was released, Ctrip conducted a thorough internal check and removed the cause of the potential security concern within two hours. Ctrip also issued public statements in China related to the incident, including providing dedicated telephone lines for any customers who have questions or inquiries to call.

Ctrip has examined all other possible leaks and found that 93 customers’ credit card information might have been downloaded by the above-mentioned website for the purpose of confirming potential risks. Ctrip’s customer service team has proactively reached out to all 93 customers to help them minimize potential risks. To the Company’s knowledge, no customer has suffered financial loss or other damage due to the incident. Ctrip is also making efforts to ensure all customer information will be safeguarded by the Company with high security standards.

For the maximum protection of customer information, Ctrip will invite the security white hat to work together with the Company to improve its information security system. Ctrip has also established the Expedite Security Responding System through the site and set up an RMB5 million security reserve fund to reward people and institutions who can effectively help Ctrip improve the security practice. In addition, Ctrip will engage trusted authorities to perform extensive security audit to reassure high security standards in safeguarding customer information.

Safe Harbor Statement

This announcement contains forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “future,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “estimate,” “is/are likely to,” “confident” or other similar statements. Among other things, quotations from management and the Business Outlook section in this press release, as well as Ctrip’s strategic and operational plans, contain forward-looking statements. Ctrip may also make written or oral forward-looking statements in its periodic reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Forms 20-F and 6-K, etc., in its annual report to shareholders, in press releases and other written materials and in oral statements made by its officers, directors or employees to third parties. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about Ctrip’s beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties. A number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. Potential risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, severe or prolonged downturn in the global or Chinese economy, general declines or disruptions in the travel industry, volatility in the trading price of Ctrip’s ADSs, Ctrip’s reliance on its relationships and contractual arrangements with travel suppliers and strategic alliances, failure to further increase Ctrip’s brand recognition to obtain new business partners and consumers, failure to compete against new and existing competitors, failure to successfully manage current growth and potential future growth, risks associated with any strategic investments or acquisitions, seasonality in the travel industry in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan, failure to successfully develop Ctrip’s corporate travel business, damage to or failure of Ctrip’s infrastructure and technology, loss of services of Ctrip’s key executives, adverse changes in economic and political policies of the PRC government, inflation in China, risks and uncertainties associated with PRC laws and regulations with respect to the ownership structure of Ctrip’s affiliated Chinese entities and the contractual arrangements among Ctrip, its affiliated Chinese entities and their shareholders, and other risks outlined in Ctrip’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 20-F and other filings. All information provided in this press release and in the attachments is as of the date of the issuance, and Ctrip does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, except as required under applicable law.

About International, Ltd. International, Ltd. is a leading travel service provider of hotel accommodations, ticketing services, packaged tours, and corporate travel management in China. Ctrip aggregates hotel and flight information to enable business and leisure travelers to make informed and cost-effective bookings. Ctrip also helps customers book vacation packages and guided tours. In addition, Ctrip corporate travel management services help corporate clients effectively manage their travel requirements. Since its inception in 1999, Ctrip has experienced substantial growth and become one of the best-known travel brands in China.

Tencent and Jingdong close to shareholding deal


China’s leading internet company Tencent, and e-commerce firm, also known as Jingdong, may soon announce a deal in which Tencent holds a stake of about 16% in Jingdong, according to Saturday media reports.

The two sides have basically reached the shareholding deal and may announce it on Monday, Zhengzhou Evening News reported, citing a source close to Tencent.

As well as its 16% stake, Tencent will transfer its e-commerce assets, including, to Jingdong to collaborate in their competition against Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, the newspaper said.

The deal was also confirmed by Caixin, a Chinese financial and business news provider.

Its report on Saturday said the 16% shareholding is still subject to changes before final announcements, citing several sources with knowledge of the deal.

One was quoted by Caixin as saying, “16% is the minimum amount according to present negotiations. The possibility of a shareholding of more than 20% cannot be ruled out.”

When phoned by Xinhua, both Jingdong and Tencent declined to comment on the reports, neither did they deny the deal.

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Alibaba’s New Online Personal Finance Product Hits 2.5 Million Users, $1 Billion Already Deposited


A few weeks ago it was interesting to see China’s e-commerce titan Alibaba move in to disrupt China’s personal finance industry with a new, online-only finance product aimed at the regular Zhou. Giving China’s prudent savers a higher interest rate than most banks’ time deposit offerings (Alibaba’s is currently giving 6.299 percent), the new service has been explosively popular. With no marketing, Alibaba’s Yuebao has today grown to 2.5 million users who have collectively deposited RMB 6.601 billion ($1.07 billion).

In the 18 days since it launched, it has become China’s most popular single personal finance fund.

Basically, Yuebao is a money-market fund that’s pegged to corporate debt and government bonds. When it first quietly rolled out, Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma told Chinese media:

China’s financial industry, especially the banking industry, only serves 20 percent of clients, and I see there are 80 percent of the clients are not covered. Financial services should be about serving the layman, rather than playing inside your own circles and make money yourself.

While Alibaba’s Yuebao hasn’t been fully approved by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, Alibaba is in the process, via its Alipay platform for e-payments, of getting the online fund its regulatory approval. If that’s not done, the fund might be penalized by the CSRC.

In a sign that Alibaba and Alipay is hedging closer to being an online bank, the company’s Alipay Wallet app was updated yesterday to support managing your Yuebao fund.

Baidu announces upcoming launch of Baifa as it moves into personal finance


Baidu announced today that it will officially launch a new finance platform on the 28th.

According to Netease News, Baidu’s new personal investment platform will be called Baifa and will be launched in collaboration with Baidu Finance and China Asset Management. Users can make a minimum investment of RMB 1 (about $0.16) and can see annual interest rates of up to eight percent.

The company said in a statement to Chinese media that Baidu Baifa will use the power of the internet, big data, and advanced data mining tools to understand the financial preferences of its users. Plus, it can help customize users’ financial activities, and help users receive the greatest returns on their investments in a minimal amount of time with a minimal amount of capital.

By establishing Baifa, Baidu follows in the footsteps of Alibaba, a competitor internet giant which, like Baidu, is quickly expanding into a wider range of online services. Since most banks in China offer extremely low interest rates for average customers, personal finance has been one area where large online companies have sought to fill a void. This summer, Alibaba launched Yuebao, a personal finance platform that offers customers interest rates of just over six percent. In the first 18 days, that service gained a whopping 2.5 million registered users.

Why Are Vine Videos Exactly 6 Seconds Long?


Every time I pull out my phone and snap a few shots of our family outings, the Vine icon beckons. And each time I give in to the urge to share those six-second snaps of eye candy, I wonder the same thing…

Why six seconds?

Laura Sydell of NPR’s All Things Considered recently sat down and interviewed Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann as to why Vines have the unique time limit. After all, popular sharing site Instagram offers a full quarter minute to capture that cute cat moment or your kid blowing out the birthday candles.

According to Hofmann, it took a number of days of experimenting with a variety of video lengths, varying from five to ten seconds. Five was too short, while that one extra second “allowed for the aesthetic feel the creators wanted but preserved the quickness they wanted to promise users.”

Hofmann went on to say that six seconds allows “the average person to easily share and make a video on his smartphone.” It’s exactly that simplicity of use and social integration that Vine’s 40 million users have enjoyed since the launch of the service just 7 short months ago.

Why the looping? It has a lot to do with the short video length. While aesthetically pleasing, videos that are only six seconds, according to Hofmann, “end very quickly and that felt anti-climactic.” The looping provides the feel of a longer caputured moment, which can be enjoyed over and over again if it catches your eye.

For me personally, it’s the challenge to try to seamlessly make the video’s end snap back into the beginning that adds another level of fun to using Vine. I often catch myself looking for something in near-perpetual motion to share — like the ocean or a ferris wheel.

It appears the short format works for sharing an idea, and has even caught the eye of the entertainment industry. Technorati Top 100 Overall listed blog Mashable highlighted earlier this year that the world-famous Tribeca Film Festival now has a Vine category, called #6SECFILMS.

What are your thoughts? Does six seconds allow you time to capture a moment, or do you prefer to use Instagram’s fifteen seconds to truly tell the story? Does Vine’s in-line Twitter integration seal the deal, or do you prefer Instagram’s deep Facebook relationship?