Facebook Reportedly Prepares To Enter Greater China

(Bloomberg) — Facebook Inc. is so keen to return to China that it built a tool that would geographically censor information in the country, according to the New York Times.

While that may help the Chinese government get comfortable with Facebook, the company’s re-entry may not happen for years, if at all, given licensing restrictions and other regulations that favor locally owned companies. China, which blocked the world’s largest social network in 2009, has few incentives to allow the social network in.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg visits China frequently, and yet the company is no closer to putting employees in a downtown Beijing office it leased in 2014, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company hasn’t been able to get a license to put workers there, even though they would be selling ads shown outside the country, not running a domestic social network, the person said. The ad sales work is currently done in Hong Kong. The person asked not to be identified discussing private matters.

“We have long said that we are interested in China, and are spending time understanding and learning more about the country,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in an e-mailed statement. “However, we have not made any decision on our approach to China. Our focus right now is on helping Chinese businesses and developers expand to new markets outside China by using our ad platform.” The company declined to comment on the New York Times report or its real estate interests.

Stripe Now Available for Hong Kong Merchants

We received an invitation from the Stripe guys to join the Private Beta version. We recommend this great platform to manage payments through credit cards. Here I copy paste the original message:

Good news: we are up and running in private beta, and we're excited to invite you to take part. All of our standard docs and features apply — learn more here: https://stripe.com/docs

You can get started right away:


As of today, you can accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express transactions in any of our 100+ supported currencies and be paid out in HKD.

We'd love to hear your feedback, either on using Stripe as a whole, or on Hong Kong-specific details. We'd especially like to hear about any glitches so we can fix them as soon as possible — you can reach our Hong Kong team at support+hk@stripe.com, or get help anytime at https://support.stripe.com/.

Let us know if we can help with anything at all as you're getting started with Stripe.


Stripe Helps 440 Global Tech Startups Offshore to Delaware

(Bloomberg) — When global companies think about incorporating offshore, they typically look to places such as Bermuda, Ireland, or the Netherlands. Kenyan entrepreneur Trevor Kimenye decided to go with Delaware.

Kimenye co-founded his digital marketing startup Ongair Inc. in Nairobi two years ago. He said companies around the world use Ongair’s tools to help them communicate with customers through WhatsApp and other messaging apps. Ongair has the look and feel of Silicon Valley software, but whenever it tried to collect payment from companies using its services, there would be an inevitable moment of confusion. “Everyone thought we were from the Valley, and now we’re, like, ‘OK, send this money to a Kenyan bank account,’” Kimenye said. “They were, like: ‘Are you Nigerian princes?’”

Ongair employees hacked together a system of wire-transfer services and web payments tools from PayPal Holdings Inc. to facilitate transactions from around the globe. But Kimenye said he was spending way too much time studying the complexities of foreign-exchange currency markets: “I was becoming a forex guru.” He considered switching to Stripe Inc., but the San Francisco startup, which makes payments tools that are popular with coders in the Valley, doesn’t service Kenya.

So Stripe helped him incorporate in the U.S. through a new program called Atlas. “When we automatically took money for the first time from a credit card, everyone in the office was like, ‘Wow,’” Kimenye said. “We felt it had leveled the playing field for us with other companies in the Valley or in Europe. It was no longer holding us back.”

Stripe has been slowly rolling out Atlas over the last three months, pitching it as a startup in a box. For a $500 fee, an aspiring entrepreneur can get the paperwork needed to incorporate in Delaware, a business account with Silicon Valley Bank, connections to American law and consulting firms, and a Stripe account to accept payments online. So far, Stripe has welcomed 440 startups from 91 countries into Atlas. Stripe said it has received applications from entrepreneurs in just about every country in the world but declined to disclose the number of applicants.

Atlas provides a way for Stripe to make customers come to its home country, instead of having to go to them. Stripe works only with businesses based in 25 countries, mostly developed economies, because establishing operations in a new place can involve coordination with local banks, custom technical work, and language localization. Atlas helps Stripe reach developing markets without having to go through the costly process of opening in each one. While Atlas startups aren’t required to use Stripe to process payments, most likely will. Stripe, a venture-backed startup valued at $5 billion, will take a cut of each transaction—which could grow to become a big revenue stream if the companies take off.

Patrick Collison, chief executive officer and co-founder of Stripe, said Atlas can help his company gain the loyalty of a growing set of global entrepreneurs. Their governments should like Atlas, too, he said. The program serves as an alternative to sucking entrepreneurial talent away from emerging markets. “When you discover it’s extremely difficult to start a business or gain access to Stripe in your home country, for many people the easiest response to that is to leave and move to where it is,” Collison said. Stripe said most Atlas participants plan to stay in their home countries.

Stripe surveyed Atlas companies and found that 42 percent were incorporating as a business for the first time, while 20 percent had previously tried unsuccessfully to incorporate in the U.S. They said Atlas simplifies a complicated procedure that otherwise would involve flying to the U.S. to meet with banks and lawyers.

As the wait list for Atlas grows, Stripe declined to say when it plans to open the floodgates. The company said it’s still refining the application process. Stripe underestimated how many questions startups would have when signing up. Several applicants found a phone number listed in some of Stripe’s automated e-mails, which belonged to a leader on the Atlas project, and sent him a barrage of messages through WhatsApp: Do we need a U.S. business address? How many shares should we issue through our new company? What do the different roles on a board of directors do?

To address common issues, Stripe added suggestions inside the sign-up form and to an ever-growing list of frequently asked questions. The goal is to help a startup fill out the form and submit electronically signed documents over the course of a few days. Eventually, any company should be able to join Atlas as long as it doesn’t violate Stripe’s rules prohibiting activities such as drug paraphernalia, gambling, pornography, and pyramid schemes. “There are enough gatekeepers and sources of requisite permission in the world,” Collison said. “We don’t want to introduce more.”

Atlas startups are also hoping their presence in the U.S. will help them attract venture capital. Most said they plan to seek funding in the next year, according to Stripe’s study. Paulo Tenorio, who started Brazilian marketing company Trakto, is hoping Atlas will make his startup more desirable to American venture capitalists after getting turned away in the past. “I’m going to say, ‘I have the legal presence you need here. I can be here in a day. I can spend months here,’” Tenorio said. “I’m going to try it out.”

Internet Solutions HK becomes CloudFlare partner

This is a guest post written and contributed by CloudFlare.

CloudFlare, a web performance and security company, is excited to announce our partnership with Internet Solutions HK! If you haven’t heard about CloudFlare before, our value proposition is simple: we’ll make any website twice as fast and protect it from a broad range of web threats.

We power more than 400 billion monthly page views – more than Amazon, Wikipedia, Twitter, Zynga, AOL, Apple, Bing, eBay, PayPal and Instagram combined – and over 1.2 billion monthly users regularly pass through our network. We’re really glad Internet Solutions HK has partnered with CloudFlare – said Michael Nelson from CloudFlare.

Faster web performance
CloudFlare is designed to take a great hosting platform like Internet Solutions HK and make it even better.

We run 69 data centers strategically located around the world. When you sign up for CloudFlare, we begin routing your traffic to the nearest data center.

As your traffic passes through the data centers, we intelligently determine what parts of your website are static versus dynamic. The static portions are cached on our servers for a short period of time, typically less than 2 hours before we check to see if they’ve been updated. By automatically moving the static parts of your site closer to your visitors, the overall performance of your site improves significantly.

CloudFlare’s intelligent caching system also means you save bandwidth, which means saving money, and decreases the load on your servers, which means your web application will run faster and more efficiently than ever. On average, CloudFlare customers see a 60% decrease in bandwidth usage, and a 65% in total requests to their servers. The overall effect is that CloudFlare will typically cut the load time for pages on your site by 50% which means higher engagement and happier visitors.

Broad web security
Over the course of 2011, CloudFlare identified a 700% increase in the number of distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) we track on the Internet (see the chart below). As attacks like these increase, CloudFlare is stepping up to protect sites.

CloudFlare’s security protections offer a broad range of protections against attacks such as DDoS, hacking or spam submitted to a blog or comment form. What is powerful about our approach is that the system gets smarter the more sites that are part of the CloudFlare community. We analyze the traffic patterns of hundreds of millions of visitors in real time and adapt the security systems to ensure good traffic gets through and bad traffic is stopped.

In time, our goal is nothing short of making attacks against websites a relic of history. And, given our scale and the billions of different attacks we see and adapt to every year, we’re well on our way to achieving that for sites on the CloudFlare network.

Signing up
Any website can deploy CloudFlare, regardless of your underlying platform. By integrating closely with Internet Solutions HK, we make the process of setting up CloudFlare “1 click easy” through your existing Internet Solutions HK [control panel] dashboard. Just look for the CloudFlare icon, choose the domain you want to enable, and click the orange cloud. That’s it!

We’ve kept the price as low as possible and plans offered through Internet Solutions HK are free. Moreover, we never charge you for bandwidth or storage, therefore saving you tons via reduced bandwidth costs.

For site owners who would like to take advantage of CloudFlare’s advanced offerings, we also offer a ‘Pro’ tier of service for $20/month . The ‘Pro’ tier includes all of the ‘Free’ tier’s offerings, as well as extra features like SSL, full web application firewall and faster analytics.

We’re proud that every day more than a thousand new sites, including some of the largest on the web, join the CloudFlare community. If you’re looking for a faster, safer website, you’ve got a good start with Internet Solutions HK, but the next step is to join the CloudFlare community.

Job Opportunities

SEO Specialist (1)

Internet Solutions HK is looking for a SEO Specialist with 2-3 years of SEO experience. In this role, the specialist will take the lead on technical analysis, keyword research, on-page optimization, competitive analysis, reporting and general deliverable management for assigned accounts.

Tech Support Staff (2)

  • Provide superb technical system and user support by responding to calls, email, and personal requests for technical support.
  • Establish, maintain, and increase client satisfaction through professional, courteous, and caring service.
  • Document, track, and monitor problems to ensure a timely resolution.
  • Offer guidance and help users solve common IT problems. 

Please send your updated CV to: info(a)internetsolutions.hk