Author Archives: Victoria Ho

Kaifu Lee Tracks How Many Of His Weibo Posts Have Been Deleted

Kaifu Lee

Former Google China head, Kaifu Lee, has been tracking how many times his Weibo posts on Tencent and Sina have been censored and deleted, and has helpfully made a graph of the past 8 months.

The outspoken investor has had his tweets deleted most often in the recent weeks because he was discussing the story on the 13,000 dead pigs found in a Shanghai river, as well as a session in the Chinese parliament to appoint its new leadership. The government often gets the country’s two large microblogging services run by Tencent and Sina to wipe out posts that trigger its censorship keywords.

His tweet accompanying the graph:

My weibo deletions (click link).Lowest week was my “3-day silence”, and the highest weeks were the recent 2 weeks…

— Kai-Fu Lee (@kaifulee) March 18, 2013

Kaifu Lee was kicked off Sina and Tencent’s Weibo sites for three days last month for criticizing state-run search engine, Jike. He has about a million Twitter followers—tiny compared with his 30 million Sina Weibo and 24 million Tencent Weibo fans.


Singapore Restaurant Booking Site Chope Raises $2.5M Series B

Chope Logo

Chope has raised $2.5 million (S$3.2 million) in Series B funding. The round was led by local publishing house, Singapore Press Holdings, which now owns about 25% of the startup, valued at $1.4 million (S$1.81 million).

Chope operates a similar service to OpenTable, and allows restaurant bookings through its website and mobile apps. It provides a restaurant booking backend system licensed from a UK provider to its member restaurants, and that links up to its web front end to allow the bookings to be made.

The news was disclosed quietly to the Singapore Stock Exchange over the weekend from Singapore Press Holdings.

The Singaporean startup launched in 2011, and expanded to cover Hong Kong in mid-2012. It has 224 restaurants on its roster, and makes about 10,000 reservations a week, according to Arrif Ziaudeen, its CEO and co-founder. It celebrated its millionth diner served in July last year.

The company also managed to get its app preloaded onto the Samsung Galaxy S3 models sold in Singapore.

The obvious inspiration for Chope’s creation, OpenTable, began operations in San Francisco in 1999, and has about 25,000 restaurants in its database. Like OpenTable, Chope’s service is free to users, and the company charges restaurants a fee to use its reservation booking system, with additional fees per diner coming in through the website. OpenTable has expanded to include other European markets such as France, Germany and the UK in recent years.

Additional questions have been sent to Chope on how much control Singapore Press Holdings will have over its day-to-day operations, now that the publisher owns a decent chunk of it.