Hong Kong-based Tink Labs to shut down [DealStreetAsia]

Tink Labs, who has a reputation as Hong Kong’s first unicorn, reportedly will shut down this week, as DealStreetAsia learned. The company is said to lay off almost all of its employees privately.

Tink Labs was founded in 2012 and led by Chief Executive Officer Terence Kwok and has been backed by investors such as SoftBank Corp and Foxconn, once valued at US$1.5 billion. It provides free-to-use smartphones in hotel rooms around the world with an allure that the phones can be used by hotel operators to promote their room services or to be taken out by lodgers as a free city guide and mobile device.

Tink Labs reportedly announced internally that it will close on Thursday after a retrenchment in recent weeks. Currently, the startup’s website is forwarded to another hotels and destination operator company, Hi Inc, who has issued a LinkedIn statement that it is a rebrand of Tink Labs.

Tink Labs has not issued a statement about its closure.

Vietnamese messaging app Zalo breaks the country’s social media rule [DealStreetAsia]

Zalo, Vietnam-based messaging app under internet company VNG Corporation, reportedly has broken the country’s social media regulations, DealStreetAsia has shared.

Zalo’s license states that it can only operate as an over-the-top (OTT) service, which forced the country to ask the company to take down its Zalo.vn and Zalo.me domains in order to apply for a new social media license even though the company has over 100 million users in Vietnam and overseas markets.

Controversy emerged because there are reports that questions, whether Zalo’s licensing’s troubles were linked to its parent company VNG being backed by China’s Tencent Holdings. The Ministry of Information and Communication is said to have clarified that there was no participation from Chinese investors in the country’s media space.

Also Read: VNG Corporation to list on Nasdaq, is the first Vietnamese firm to have overseas IPO

Vietnam is the latest country to have applied strict rules when it comes to information sharing on social media to the point where the country encouraged local businesses to develop home-grown social media apps.

Most recently, the local government requested businesses to avoid advertising on YouTube channels and web pages over a fear that it carries ‘toxic information’ that can include everything from anti-government propaganda and fake news to content seen as inciting violence.

Two Asian Facebook app developers involved in click injection ad fraud [TechCrunch]

Facebook has announced that it’s taking to the court two of its app developers over an allegation that they generated revenue using the social media giant’s advertising platform.

The two developers are LionMobi, based in Hong Kong, and JediMobi, based in Singapore, both generated “unearned payouts” from the social media giant’s advertisement system.

“The developers made apps available on the Google Play store to infect their users’ phones with malware that created fake user clicks on Facebook ads that appeared on the users’ phones, giving the impression that the users had clicked on the ads,” said Jessica Romero, director of platform enforcement and litigation.

This action is done by using a technique known as click injection, which relies on apps fraudulently generating ad clicks without the user’s knowledge to artificially inflate the amount of ad revenue. Developers can create junk or easy-to-make apps which get downloaded millions of times, while in the background they’re clicking on invisible ads without the user’s knowledge.

The social media giant said it refunded impacted advertisers, but the apps remain in Google’s app store to date.

Coinbase to face lawsuit over tampered bitcoin cash launch [Bloomberg]

Coinbase Inc. is reportedly facing a negligence lawsuit for allegedly tampering the launch of its digital currency bitcoin cash or BCH.

Coinbase previously enabled orders to be posted in U.S. dollars on its platform for more sophisticated traders in December 2017, which then being suspended after two minutes due to “significant volatility.” Bitcoin cash, which is a spinoff from Bitcoin, suddenly had a surge in the hours before Coinbase announced that it would allow customers to buy the cryptocurrency spinoff. The incident prompted an investigation of potential insider trading.

Also Read: Coinbase raises funding from Singapore’s wealth fund GIC

Bitcoin’s argument that the lawsuit is an arbitrary one is being rejected by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco. The judge also ruled that buyers of bitcoin cash — not sellers — can move forward with the suit.

Image Credit: Tink Labs