A mobile and desktop service, Airbnb connects people looking for short stays in houses or rooms with those offering them. Founded in 2008, it now has about 1 million listings in 33,000 cities and has raised more than US$700 million in venture funding — valuing it at about US$10 billion — from investors, including actor Ashton Kutcher (also an Uber investor). It said more than 10 million overnight stays have been booked through it since its start.
A mobile app for “ride-sharing,” this in effect functions as a taxi service, usually undercutting registered cabs (though “surge pricing” at peak times can make it far more expensive). Started in 2009, it has raised US$3.3 billion — most of it this year, including some from Baidu, China’s equivalent of Google. The company has been valued at US$40 billion — more than American Airlines and nearly four times car rental firm Hertz. Internal documents from December last year said Uber had generated gross revenue (taxi fares before deductions) of about US$1 billion for the year, had hundreds of thousands of users (including 70,000 in San Francisco, where it started) and thousands of drivers.
As the name suggests, this service just lets people park — outside your house. People have been doing this for a long time — near airports, and in places like Wimbledon during the tennis tournament — and an Internet version of the process was probably overdue. It claims to have 500,000 members.
This service says that it will find a “loving dog sitter near you.” The company said it has more than 20,000 available sitters across the US.
Based in Copenhagen, this lets members “rent” dresses from a curated selection. In the same city, Chare, started by the Danish Refugee Council, also uses a membership system and offers clothes on the basis that it is good to have something different to wear.
Another neighborhood-based scheme, this Amsterdam start-up lets users borrow almost anything, ranging from power tools to pressure washers. It operates in the UK, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, has raised more than US$2 million in venture funding and claims more than 100,000 active monthly members.
Connecting people who want something done, for a price, with people willing to do it, TaskRabbit aims to be neighborhood-centered. Described as “an eBay for labor,” it has struggled to grow and find enough people on either side of the deal, and in June shifted to a “hire only” model, which has not been warmly welcomed. The next year might decide whether it survives or dies.
For the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China’s “century of humiliation” is the gift that keeps on giving. Beijing returns again and again to the theme of Western imperialism, oppression and exploitation to keep stoking the embers of grievance and resentment against the West, and especially the US. However, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) that in 1949 announced it had “stood up” soon made clear what that would mean for Chinese and the world — and it was not an agenda that would engender pride among ordinary Chinese, or peace of mind in the international community. At home, Mao Zedong (毛澤東) launched
The restructuring of supply chains, particularly in the semiconductor industry, was an essential part of discussions last week between Taiwan and a US delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach. It took precedent over the highly anticipated subject of bilateral trade partnerships, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) founder Morris Chang’s (張忠謀) appearance on Friday at a dinner hosted by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for Krach was a subtle indicator of this. Chang was in photographs posted by Tsai on Facebook after the dinner, but no details about their discussions were disclosed. With
To say that this year has been eventful for China and the rest of the world would be something of an understatement. First, the US-China trade dispute, already simmering for two years, reached a boiling point as Washington tightened the noose around China’s economy. Second, China unleashed the COVID-19 pandemic on the world, wreaking havoc on an unimaginable scale and turning the People’s Republic of China into a common target of international scorn. Faced with a mounting crisis at home, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) rashly decided to ratchet up military tensions with neighboring countries in a misguided attempt to divert the
Toward the end of former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) final term in office, there was much talk about his legacy. Ma himself would likely prefer history books to enshrine his achievements in reducing cross-strait tensions. He might see his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Singapore in 2015 as the high point. However, given his statements in the past few months, he might be remembered more for contributing to the breakup of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). We are still talking about Ma and his legacy because it is inextricably tied to the so-called “1992 consensus” as the bedrock of his