Made In China
Welcome to Freshly Minted, where we examine an overlooked deal or funding announcement in tech from the past week, and tell you what you need to know, and why it matters.
This week’s deal: GGV Capital, a V.C. firm that focuses on tech companies in the U.S. and China, has raised their fifth fund at $620 million.
The Chinese tech world is like a parallel universe — the Chinese have their own social networks, ecommerce platforms, gaming empires and mobile chat clients. But GGV Capital has had a hand in both worlds for over 10 years, and now that the two markets are colliding, they stand poised as a major power broker between the Chinese and American tech worlds.
Why wait in line for a gold iPhone 5S when you can just slap a sticker on your old one? That’s what shrewd customers in China are doing. Online merchants are seeing an uptick in sales of gold handset stickers for several iPhone models, because apparently they just can’t wait for the real version.
Google is reportedly developing a smartwatch and a videogame console in case you were craving either of those. [Wall Street Journal]
The Army is reportedly blocking access to The Guardian and “some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks.” It’s like that whole Snowden thing never even happened! [Verge]
If we’re to believe one of its former execs, Chinese ecommerce site Alibaba is probably worth $100 billion. [Wall Street Journal]
Gokul Rajaram, who was in charge of developing ad units for Facebook, has accepted a new position at Jack Dorsey’s Square. [Business Insider]
Google Reader dies Monday so here’s the latest in mopey “In Memoriam” piece. [Fast Company]
THINGS FALL APART
A few weeks ago, we took note of Yahoo’s failed attempt at unloading some major assets, namely a massive stake in Chinese internet monolith Alibaba, and Yahoo! Japan, both of which were weighing heavy on the company’s books. The result of the failed deal? For one thing, we wondered if the lobbying firm retained in Washington DC by Alibaba—who Yahoo was going to sell their stake of the company back to in the failed deal—wasn’t about to get busy in a bid for control of Yahoo, seeing as how a Chinese telecom giant owning an American Internet company won’t sit pretty on first sight with…a lot of people.
For another, Yahoo’s stock took a hit, reaching a three-month low not a week later.
And now, according to All Things D’s Kara Swisher, we’re about to watch another seismic shift in Yahoo’s operations, in the form of corporate restructuring and layoffs. In fewer words: This is about to get ugly.
Yahoo’s problems just got worse. Just recently, they’ve had to can their CEO, their co-founder left, they shut down a chunk of an important original content initiative. And now, a major, important deal for Yahoo just fell apart.