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Hello from Shanghai — Day 7 in a quarantine hotel

I’m writing this update from a quarantine hotel in Shanghai. This is Day 7 of the 14-day mandatory quarantine period. Halfway there and so far so good.

Since China tightened up the rules of entry — dual tests 2 days before the flight — about a month ago, prices of direct flights to China have skyrocketed. The uneasiness was coupled with unexpected last-minute flight cancels.

At last, we managed to get on the plane, but it took us 6 hours from landing to getting to our hotel room, with a lot of QR-code checking, COVID testing, and shuttle bus waiting. …


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JPMorgan Global Markets Strategy last Friday published a research note touting Bitcoin as the alternative of gold for the millennials and predicting to potentially double or even triple the price. Ironically, only a few years ago JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon famously called Bitcoin a “fraud”. Why did the major US bank make such a drastic shift in its view on Bitcoin? It was in part triggered by a major movement earlier in the week.

In what is said to be “the biggest news of the year in crypto”, PayPal on Oct 21 announced that it would support the purchasing of cryptocurrencies within its app. Besides, PayPal also plans to allow its users to make payments with merchants using cryptocurrencies while extending it to its Venmo app in 2021. With the news, Bitcoin price jumped to almost $13,200 from below $12,500 at the beginning of the day. …


On Oct 8, card-issuing API platform startup Marqeta announced a financial investment and extended global partnership with MasterCard to “expand into new geographies, open access to new products,” according to a joint press release.

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Who is Marqeta?

Founded in 2010, Marqeta has built out an API-based platform to power card-issuing and other financial services for merchants and brands. Previous investors of Marqeta include Iconiq, Goldman Sachs, Visa, Max Levchin of Affirm, among others.

Marqeta’s customers include Uber, DoorDash, and Instacart, which leverage Marqeta’s API platform to issue cards to their gig-economy workers. Meanwhile, Marqeta has partnered with major financial institutions and Fintech companies such as JPMorgan Chase on virtual commercial card tokenization, Square on Square Card linked with Cash accounts, and Affirm and Klarna on B2B payments. …


Earlier today (Oct 12, 2020), the API-based communications platform giant Twilio formally announced that it would acquire the customer data platform startup Segment for $3.2 billion in all stocks. The market responded quite positively to the news, driving Twilio’s stock price up by 7.7%, bring Twilio’s market cap to a staggering $49 billion.

Founded in 2011, Segment is a San Francisco-based startup with the promise to disrupt traditional CRM with a seamless experience powered by customer data infrastructure. It has raised a total funding of $284 million from Thrive Capital, Sapphire Ventures, Accel & GV, among others. It was recently valued at $1.5 billion, after raising the new round in Apr 2019 to deepen its core data infrastructure platform and, more importantly, to fuel its global expansion. …


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The COVID19 crisis has been playing out globally for over half a year, or almost a year counting its early phase in China. It’s been hurting a lot of sectors, but one particular sector stood to benefit — Fintech.

First of all, the pandemic has significantly accelerated the adoption of contactless payments in the US, as it took banks and Apple years to convince shoppers to switch to contactless cards or use ApplePay while it had already been a trend elsewhere in the world. …


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Hi, there! Welcome to the first preview of Meho (means “very good” in Shanghainese)! We are very excited to introduce this fun and useful new way to understand and communicate with China.

Thanks for joining our private beta test! As this is still beta, we’ll frequently update the app. So please check for updates and install them when available. Stay tuned for release notes for more details on what’s new.

If you run into any bugs or have any feedback, please send them to TheMehoApp@gmail.com. We really appreciate this! …


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Hi folks, some of you know that I am also working on Meho — means “very good” in Shanghainese — a mobile app to help you understand and communicate with China like never before! We provide thoughtfully-designed, approachable & efficient Chinese learning (powered by real-time speech assessment), and curated authentic content to build cultural & business context.

We are launching our private beta release in two weeks on Aug 26, and I have reserved some spots for the Medium community. Please reply to this article or sign up on https://www.wearemeho.com/ if you are interested in joining the beta program — no prior knowledge in Chinese required, as our product is very beginner-friendly. …


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In this episode, Chuhan and I discussed TikTok’s recent hiring of Kevin Mayer from Disney and its global expansion strategy. It led us to talk about the content creation and storytelling of the Chinese entertainment industry, as TikTok is not only a social media platform but also a content creation network.

Enjoy listening via the links below on the Apple podcast and Spotify podcast.


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The economic impact of COVID-19 is still unfolding. Retailers such as J.C.Penny and J.Crew are filing bankruptcy and unemployment claims are rising. Even the tech superstars such as Uber and Airbnb have let go of thousands of talents in the past few days.

With the general income level taking a hit, real estate activities seem to have cooled down a bit. Both sellers and buyers are in the “wait and see” mode to let the effect of the pandemic play out. …


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Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

About 4 years ago I wrote this article to talk about how I broke into Fintech from the investment world. Time flies. Now I’m about to leave Adyen for my next step (more on that later), it’s a good opportunity to look back at my past 5 years at Adyen and reflect on the key lessons learned about how to scale a global Fintech company from $1bn valuation at Series B to a public company of $33bn market cap.

#1 Always focus on things that “move the needle”

One of the most impressive things about Adyen is its capability to focus on the most impactful things. As a startup, there’s always a long list of things you can possibly do and many directions in which your products can possibly evolve. Among them, there will be things that are super cool either technically or emotionally. Sometimes your team members will have strong opinions about some specific features. However, they might not be the most important for scaling your startup. While it’s also great to keep your team motivated to do the cool stuff, you should always assign higher priority to things that “move the needle”. …

About

Charlie Liu

Global Fintech Founder & Investor | ex-Adyen, ex-Franklin Templeton

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