Issue 26 | February 26, 2018

A Buzzword: “3 a.m. Sleepless Blockchain WeChat Group”

Despite Beijing’s crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges, interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies in China is at an all-time high. A 500-person WeChat group called “3 a.m. Sleepless Blockchain Group (3点钟无眠区块链群),” whose members include some of China’s most renowned investors and tech executives, has made headlines recently. The group started as a space to discuss blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and is named “3 a.m.” because crypto-enthusiasts stay up all night discussing many topics.

As soon as the existence of this group went public, tens of thousands of 3 a.m. blockchain discussion groups sprung up on WeChat. There is now a 3 a.m. for every geography (from Shanghai to Silicon Valley), every higher institution (from Tsinghua to Harvard), and every industry (from the media to VC), each with close to 500 members, the maximum number a WeChat group can have. Almost anyone who is active in China’s tech industry and has the slightest interest in blockchain is in at least one 3 a.m. WeChat groups.

A Big Deal: Momo Acquires Tantan, “China’s Tinder”
Momo (NASDAQ: MOMO, market cap $7 billion), a location-based social networking app that connects strangers, has acquired Tantan, another social networking app often referred to as “China’s Tinder”, for around $790 million.

Momo, which had 94 million monthly active users as of Q3 2017, has expanded into new areas such as live streaming and games in the past two years. The company’s shares jumped 17.1%, after the announcement on Friday.

Tantan, a dating app with 20 million monthly active users, attracts a younger user base. Around 75% of its 110 million registered users were born after 1990. Momo said the Tantan team will continue to operate the mobile app under the Tantan brand.

A Picture: Tencent Employees Line Up for Red Packets

On the first working day after the Lunar New Year holiday, thousands of Tencent employees showed up to work as early as 3 a.m. to stand in line for one of the company’s annual traditions: the distribution of red packets filled with cash from the company’s executives.
Employees stood in lines that formed the Chinese character “旺 wàng”, which means “prosperous.”
Tencent’s chairman Pony Ma gives out red packets.

The tradition, which started in 1999, gives the company’s leaders a chance to wish thousands of employees a happy new year. Many Chinese tech companies give out special benefits to employees during Lunar New Year.

A Chart: China is Racing Ahead in AI