WHO Officially Classifies Excessive Gaming As A Mental Health Disorder

There has long been talk about the existence of gaming addiction but now the World Health Organization is seeking to classify it as a mental disorder.

This is not a move that is popular among mental health professionals however, with many wondering whether this is a move that is based more in morality rather than cold, hard scientific fact.

This past Monday the World Health Organization classified “gaming disorder” as a diagnosable condition and in the process giving mental health professionals around the globe a basis not only for diagnosing it, but also treating it.

However, a number of mental health organizations are questioning this stance. “There was a fairly widespread concern that this is a diagnosis that doesn’t really have a very solid research foundation,” said Christopher Ferguson, a psychologist and media researcher at Stetson University, and he is not alone.

The Society for Media Psychology and Technology which is a division of the American Psychological Association, has alerady expressing concern about the WHO’s proposal via its own policy statement earlier this year, saying, “the current research base is not sufficient for this disorder.”

The World Health Organization will be publishing the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases later this month and it will be the first time that “gaming disorder” has been included. When it does, the disorder will be described as “impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.” 

There have unfortunately been a number of deaths worldwide which have been linked to gaming addiction, with the first having been in 2002 when a South Korean man died having played for 86 hours straight.

Source: Redmond Pie

Alibaba opens first national office

Kuala Lumpur: Alibaba Group on Monday opened its first national office here in Bangsar South which will serve as a one-stop solution centre for local businesses to embark on the digital economy.

The office is also Alibaba’s first establishment in the Southeast Asia and outside China.

Alibaba Group Co-founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma said that the office opening signified the company’s continuous endeavour to bolster Malaysia’s small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) technology capability and push them further in the digital world.

“This is Alibaba’s commitment. We want our Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) to start here, and we are committed to digitalising and empowering small businesses and let them to go global,” he said during the office launching here.

Also present at the event were Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Communications and Multimedia Minister, Gobind Singh Deo and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Chief Executive Officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood.

The Alibaba office will also provide a helping hand for businesses to identify cross-border trade opportunities, as well as to support the country’s technology innovation through cloud computing service.

Ma also announced that Alibaba will launch “Malaysia Week”, a special online promotion initiative to attract Chinese consumers for a week from July 6-12.

The campaign will showcase more than 50 local brands with an array of “must see, must eat and must experience” Malaysian products and tourism.

“Malaysia Week is the result of a fruitful discussion between Alibaba Group and Malaysia since the launch of eWTP last year,” he said. – Bernama

Source: Daily Express Online

Xiaomi IPO to make dozens of workers millionaires

Now Xiaomi is the fourth-largest smartphone maker in the world and likely will be valued at more than 200 times that amount. — Bloomberg

Eight years ago, before China’s Xiaomi Corp had sold a single smartphone, 56 of the earliest employees pulled together US$11mil (RM43.74mil) to invest in the startup. Rank-and-file workers dipped into savings and borrowed from parents. One receptionist tapped her dowry.

Today, they’re the Lucky 56. Xiaomi is one of the most successful smartphone makers in the world and it’s prepping a blockbuster initial public offering. Their stake in the company may soon be worth US$1bil (RM3.97bil) to US$3bil (RM11.92bil), depending on the stock sale. That works out to US$36mil (RM143.15mil) each at the midpoint.

The fortuitous decision began with workers like Li Weixing, an ex-Microsoft Corp engineer who was employee No. 12. Back in 2010, staffers were working seven days a week out of a bare-bones Beijing office park to get the unknown mobile phone maker up and running. When word spread that Lei Jun and his co-founders were chipping in their own money for a venture financing round, Li and others wanted to join them.

Li, who helped create Xiaomi’s mobile operating system, had around 500,000 yuan (RM311,843) saved up. “It wasn’t enough to buy a house, so he asked if he could invest in Xiaomi instead,” CEO Lei said in a March interview at Beijing headquarters. “We said, we can’t let only Weixing invest, so we let everyone in.”

Some early Xiaomi employees were already wealthy, including Lei who made his first fortune leading software developer Kingsoft Corp and investing in Chinese startups. But many staffers in those days had to scrape together cash to participate. Li and others preferred investing in an effort they knew rather than the uncertain stock market. Now Li stands to make US$10mil (RM39.76mil) to US$20mil (RM79.53mil), depending on Xiaomi’s IPO value.

It was employee No. 14, a receptionist now working in Xiaomi’s human resources office, who contributed her dowry of around 100,000 yuan (RM62,363) to 200,000 yuan (RM124,727). That stake could be worth between US$1mil (RM3.97mil) and US$8mil (RM31.81mil). Xiaomi declined to make her or other early employees available for interviews. Li declined to comment.

After a first surge of interest, Lei decided to cap rank-and-file investments at about 300,000 yuan (RM187,091) each to limit risk and stop employees from taking out loans to invest. “The interest was overwhelming, but we put a cap on it because we worried, if everyone put in too much money, it would be very bad if the company failed,” said co-founder Li Wanqiang in a March interview.

The group collectively stands to gain as much as US$3bil (RM11.92bil) if Xiaomi floats 15% of the company at a US$100bil (RM397.65bil) valuation when it goes public in Hong Kong later this year, according to calculations based on Xiaomi’s prospectus. A more conservative estimate would yield a US$1.4bil (RM5.56bil) payout for the 56 employees if Xiaomi floats 25% of the company at a US$50bil (RM198.82bil) valuation. (Calculations assume existing shareholders haven’t sold their stakes and the US$11mil (RM43.74mil) from employees was invested during what Xiaomi’s prospectus refers to as Series B-2.) Employees stand to make roughly 200 times their original investment. A greater number of Xiaomi’s workers should be enriched through stock options, which don’t require capital upfront.

Lei and his co-founders put in the heftiest amounts in that round and stand to make far more than the average. Five are poised to become newly-minted billionaires, according to Bloomberg calculations, and Lei’s stake, accumulated over several investment rounds, could be worth US$27bil (RM107.36bil). Investment powerhouses from Qiming Venture Partners to Morningside Group are also expected to reap mega-returns when Xiaomi goes public this year in what may be the biggest IPO since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s 2014 debut.

None of this was obvious in 2010. Back then, Xiaomi was really just an idea in Lei Jun’s head, said Hans Tung, one of his earliest backers. Lei was a local tech celebrity with 1 million follows on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, but it was far from clear he could compete with Apple Inc, Samsung Electronics Co and Huawei Technologies Co. He would host smoke-and-booze-filled meetings at Beijing hotels, showing up with bags of cell phones and gadgets for his friends to try.

But after Lei lured seven co-founders away from cushy jobs at Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc’s Google in a matter of months, Qiming, where Tung worked at the time, and Morningside decided to bet on him. They led fundraising rounds in late 2010 and early 2011 that valued the company at about US$250mil (RM994.12mil). That’s when employees put in their US$11mil (RM43.74mil) too. Now Xiaomi is the fourth-largest smartphone maker in the world and likely will be valued at more than 200 times that amount.

“Lei Jun is the founder. He could afford all the capital. But why did he share with everyone?” said Morningside co-founder Richard Liu. “He has a vision and he can build up that strong belief and people are willing to take the huge risks.”

Silicon Valley is known for its secret millionaires who were early joiners at companies like Facebook Inc. Among the more famous examples is Bonnie Brown, the massage therapist who bargained for stock options to accompany the US$450 (RM1,789) a week she was making at her part-time job at Google. She retired a millionaire after five years at the company.

In China, such riches are virtually unknown. “These employees already had enough risk working for a small, untested startup and it showed this great enthusiasm,” said Tung. “They turned out to be right.” — Bloomberg

Source: The Star Online

Tencent faces worst margins on record

HONG KONG: After the giddy heights of January when its shares hit an all-time high, Tencent Holdings Ltd. has shed $82 billion in value as investors price in the costs of the internet giant’s massive spending spree.

Results on Wednesday are expected to show that rising costs and investments will hurt profitability at Asia’s biggest listed company.

While Tencent has said sacrificing margins in the short-term is necessary to anchor future growth, analysts are concerned that the company isn’t yet able to make enough money from its mobile games to offset a decline in the desktop unit, its most profitable platform.

Shenzhen-based Tencent has been expanding into new businesses such as cloud computing and paying for fresh content, a strategy that contributed to a 72 percent surge in costs in the fourth quarter.

Analysts predict gross margin in the latest period dipped below 47 percent for the first time since 2003, the earliest figures available, according to the average of 11 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

While they remain bullish on the stock, Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG are among brokerages that have lowered their sales or earnings expectations in 2018.

“The short-term weak performance in PC games coupled with larger payment-related subsidies and weaker ad seasonality may affect the company’s margin,” China International Capital Corp. analyst Natalie Yue Wu wrote in a May 8 note.

“We see a period of share price weakness due to game business.”

Shares of Tencent have slipped 14 percent since its high on Jan. 23, declining more than twice as much as Hong Kong’s benchmark index.

Tencent ramped up spending this year as it competes with e-commerce rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. on most fronts, including online entertainment, payments, cloud computing and even retail, Alibaba’s home turf.

Tencent’s retail-related deals this year include its backing of Carrefour SA’s China unit and leading a $5.4 billion investment in Wanda Commercial Properties Co. It’s also been pumping money into its hottest online games, and fending off competitors in the mobile-streaming and content business.

The battle has been a drag on margins at both Chinese companies. For Tencent, a stake sale from a major holder and a decline in the shares of some of its largest investments have put more pressure on the stock.

The options market is implying a daily move of 2.4 percent either way after the results, which would be the biggest earnings-day reaction in more than two years. – Bloomberg

Source: The Star Online

Lazada rolls out e-wallet for quicker payments

Lazada rolls out its own Lazada e-wallet, which allows for more seamless purchasing on the e-commerce site – Lazada

Removing more barriers from impulsive shopping, e-commerce site Lazada now allows users to make one-click payments using its new e-wallet.

The e-wallet can be topped up through several methods, including credit and debit cards, payments via 7-Eleven stores and bank transfers.

The maximum the e-wallet can hold is RM4,999.

To incentivise users to adopt the Lazada e-wallet, the site is offering discounts and rebates, in addition to allowing for one-click payments and speeding up refunds.

For instance, it has introduced Wallet Tuesdays which offers 10% cashback for purchases made in app with a minimum spend of RM100. However, the max discount offered will be RM20.

It is not clear at this time if the Lazada e-wallet would be opened up for payments outside the site.

According to Lazada’s promotion page, users can activate the e-wallet by requesting Lazada to issue a confirmation e-mail as a security measure.

Users would also need to confirm their mobile number so they could receive OTP (One Time Password) messages when using Lazada e-wallet.

Source: The Star Online

Alibaba buys $9.5b food-delivery startup

An Ele.me deliveryman on his electric scooter. Photo credit: Alibaba

Jack Ma just ordered some Chinese takeaway – he’s bought food-delivery startup Ele.me in a multibillion-dollar deal.

Ma’s Alibaba announced this morning that it’s taking “full ownership” of Ele.me – which means “Hungry?” in Chinese – by topping up the stake it had in the startup after earlier investments. The buyout figure isn’t disclosed, but the online shopping giant says Ele.me is now valued at US$9.5 billion, up from the US$5.5 billion it was pegged at last year.

Ele.me’s blue-and-white delivery personnel and their electric scooters are a common sight across China. The service gets 9 to 10 million orders each day, which its riders dash to collect and deliver from around 1.3 million participating stores, including major chains like KFC and Starbucks. Its app claims to have 260 million users.

Food fight

Even before today’s deal, Alibaba and Ele.me have been working closely together, with the startup’s foodie offerings available from within Alibaba’s spin-off Alipay mobile wallet app, which has 450 million users.

China’s booming food-delivery market was worth US$31.9 billion in 2017, up 23 percent from the year before.

Alibaba’s Ele.me is locked in a fierce battle for all that takeout food, with archrival Tencent backing two different apps, Meituan and Dianping. Those three apps dominate the market.

Source: Tech in Asia