China’s WeChat plans to resurrect tipping button after agreement with Apple

WeChat, with nearly 1 billion users, is the most popular app in China that integrates messaging, payment, gaming, content publishing. (Reuters)
Updated 15 January 2018
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China’s WeChat plans to resurrect tipping button after agreement with Apple

HONG KONG: China’s largest social media platform WeChat plans to resurrect its “tipping” feature used to send cash to content creators, after removing it from Apple Inc’s iOS devices last year over an app-store rules dispute with the US firm.
Tencent Holdings’ WeChat has reached an understanding with Apple regarding this “feature with Chinese characteristics,” Allen Zhang, the creator and president of WeChat, said at the annual WeChat developers conference in Guangzhou on Monday.
The new tipping button would be tweaked so that payments go to individual authors, instead of the WeChat public account holders, Zhang added, without giving any further details on when exactly the feature would be reintroduced on iOS.
Apple did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment. In September, the US firm had modified its app store rule to exempt personal cash gifts from being counted as in-app purchases, of which Apple takes a 30 percent cut.
WeChat, with nearly 1 billion users, is the most popular app in China that integrates messaging, payment, gaming, content publishing, as well as “mini programs” that look and operate much like apps on iOS and Google’s Android operating systems — but are far less data-intensive.
The launch of “mini-programs” last January was seen by many as a threat to Apple’s and Google’s duopoly over the app-store ecosystem, but Tencent has repeatedly said it was not seeking to compete against Apple or to kill apps.
There are now some 580,000 mini-programs on WeChat with 170 million daily active users, Gerald Hu, a WeChat manager told the conference. More than 1 million developers and 2,300 third-party platforms are currently working on WeChat mini-programs.
According to Zhang, the current adoption of mini-programs is fully in line with expectations. “We have plenty of patience for mini-programs,” Zhang said.
On Monday, WeChat also announced a partnership with French video game developer Ubisoft, whose mobile game publisher Ketchapp will start launching WeChat-based games.
WeChat-based games have already accumulated 310 million users.


India to send manned mission to space by 2022 — Modi

Updated 15 August 2018
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India to send manned mission to space by 2022 — Modi

NEW DELHI: India will send a manned mission into space by 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Wednesday in a speech to the nation.
“India will send into space — a man or a woman — by 2022, before that if possible,” Modi said in a marathon address at the Red Fort in New Delhi for the country’s Independence Day.
The astronaut would be “carrying the national flag,” Modi said.
The conservative prime minister said that India would be only the fourth country — after Russia, the United States and China — to launch its own manned space mission.
Stepping up its rivalry with China, India has invested heavily in its space program in the past decade.
It is aiming to send an unmanned mission to the moon in January 2019, the Indian Space Research Organization announced last week.
The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter will aim to put a craft with a rover onto the moon’s surface to collect data. Design changes to the craft forced the space body to push the launch back from this year.
Chandrayaan-1, launched in 2008, orbited the moon and sent a probe to the surface which made a controlled crash landing.
India also launched an orbiter to Mars in 2013 which is still operational and in 2017 launched a record 104 satellites in one blast-off.