Lego plans video games, social network for Chinese children

Toy maker Lego is partnering with China’s Internet giant Tencent to offer games, video and possibly a social network aimed at children. (AP)
Updated 15 January 2018
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Lego plans video games, social network for Chinese children

LONDON: Toy maker Lego is partnering with China’s Internet firm Tencent to offer games, video and possibly a social network aimed at children.
The privately-owned company based in Copenhagen, Denmark, said Monday that the deal would combine Lego’s ability to create content with Tencent’s distribution reach.
“We’ve seen more and more Chinese children engage with the world digitally, and the partnership will bring them safe and imaginative Lego content,” said Jacob Kragh, general manager of Lego China.
Shenzhen-based Tencent is one of China’s most powerful Internet companies, running the WeChat messaging app as well as online payment platforms and games. Because Chinese authorities have largely shut out Western companies like Google and Facebook, homegrown Internet companies like Tencent have been able to grow rapidly in size.
For Lego, the move is part of a reorganization of its business that it began last year, when it announced it was shedding 1,400 jobs, or 8 percent of its workforce.
Lego has for years moved beyond the traditional plastic bricks it is known for, backing films and digital products.
But its sales hit a peak last year and the company is looking for new ways to reach children in more countries.
China has been one of the bright spots for Lego recently, with annual sales up by double digits, and the partnership with Tencent will seek to reinforce its presence in one of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing markets.


Chechen strongman makes Egypt’s Salah honorary citizen

Updated 23 June 2018
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Chechen strongman makes Egypt’s Salah honorary citizen

  • After his team crashed out of the World Cup, Egypt’s star player Mohamed Salah has won a consolation prize in the form of honorary citizenship of Chechnya
  • Kadyrov, supported by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, rules Chechnya with an iron fist, drawing constant condemnation from human rights groups

MOSCOW: After his team crashed out of the World Cup, Egypt’s star player Mohamed Salah has won a consolation prize in the form of honorary citizenship of Chechnya.
Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov wrote on Telegram that he had presented the Liverpool star with the honorary title while hosting a dinner for the Egypt team, whose World Cup training base is in the Chechen capital Grozny.
“Mohamed Salah is an honorary citizen of Chechnya! That’s right!” Kadyrov wrote late Friday.
“Tonight I signed a decree to grant the high honor to the great footballer who plays for Egypt and Liverpool.”
Kadyrov, supported by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, rules Chechnya with an iron fist, drawing constant condemnation from human rights groups.
He is known as an ardent football fan and in 2013 took to the public address system during a match involving Chechen team Akhmat (formerly Terek) to publicly insult the referee.
Salah has been photographed smiling and clasping hands with Kadyrov during the tournament.
Egypt crashed out of the World Cup after losing to Russia 3-1 on Tuesday, with Salah returning to action for the first time in three weeks following a shoulder injury but unable to save his team. The Egyptians play their final match against Saudi Arabia on Monday.
Kadyrov said that at “a gala dinner that I gave for the Egypt team I presented Mohamed Salah with a copy of my decree and a lapel badge. This is a well-deserved honor!“
The Chechen leader has previously presented French actor Gerard Depardieu with the same honorary title.
He also said that he was confident that Akhmat would play a friendly with the Egyptian national team in Grozny at some future date.
Kadyrov said Salah had praised the “wonderfully warm and good welcome” the team received in Grozny.