Australia Makes Asian Language Learning a Priority
An anonymous reader writes "The Australian government came a step closer to formalising its plans to make Asian language study compulsory for schools this week. It has released a draft curriculum for public consultation which reveals plans to include Indonesian, Korean and french language in the curriculum. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard publicly stated in September 2012 that in response to the "staggering growth" in the region, the government would be instigating 25 key measures to strengthen and exploit links with Asia. The plan includes the requirement that one third of civil servants and company directors have a "deep knowledge," thousands of scholarships for Asian students, and the opportunity for every schoolchild to learn one of four "priority" languages- Chinese, Hindi, Japanese or Indonesian."
MavenSay Enjoying Sudden Popularity In Social Media-Hungry Indonesia
MavenSay, a social recommendation app, just got a surge of unplanned downloads coming from Indonesia, and its founders are moving quickly to include Southeast Asia in its expansion plans, as a result. The company’s Toronto-based co-founder, Jesse Dallal, said the two-month old app got 100,000 downloads over the past fortnight. It has a total of 130,000 downloads so far, and the sudden surge was tracked back to a power user based in Indonesia. They’re not sure which one it is, but the source of traffic points to the country, he said. The way the app works is similar to Pinterest, in that users follow other users’ recommendations. These could cover places they’ve eaten at or music they’re listening to, for example. For its launch, MavenSay roped in what it called “influencers”—featured brands to follow such as Momofuku and Refinery29. The Indonesian user that triggered the downloads isn’t a celebrity that MavenSay had canvassed, but was clearly influential enough over his ...
China's SeedAsia Opens For Business, An Online Equity Crowdfunding Platform For Startups Across Asia
SeedAsia, an equity crowd-funding site based in China, has just launched. The company is offering stakes in selected early-stage startups to the public. “It’s kind of a hybrid between Kickstarter and private investment,” said co-founder Tom Russell. The startups to be listed would have ideally gone through some some sort of incubation program and would have shown promise. They can apply offer between $50,000 and $1.5 million in equity through SeedAsia’s platform. SeedAsia takes a 5 percent cash commission from the startup and another 5 percent of the investor’s equity. It is currently considering charging a management fee next year, said Russell. Potential investors need to apply and be screened, and SeedAsia has set the minimum investment commitment at $2,000 per member. “It costs about $20,000 to $30,000 at minimum to be an angel investor, so this lowers the entry barrier for people,” he said. SeedAsia is the first equity crowd-funding site to launch in the region, although ...
Asian Price Comparison Site Save 22 Gets Angel Round Of “Mid Six Figures”
Singaporean price comparison startup Save 22 just got an investment of “mid six figures” in Singapore dollars, according to co-founder, Guyi Shen. S$500,000 translates to about US$400,000, as a reference. The three-year-old startup indexes prices of goods and displays a price comparison. Its mobile app also allows you to scan a barcode of a product with your phone, and it will display a list of stores that list the same item, organized by price. Its database covers about 500,000 products, and the listings come from both retailers and mobile app users who submit product and pricing data. The company says it has staff on the ground actively indexing prices of popular goods, as well. The funding round was led by Crystal Horse Investments, an angel firm in Singapore. Crystal Horse also invested in Singapore-based Dropmyemail and Hong Kong-based Frenzoo. Other participants in the round are Nuffnang from Malaysia, which operates the largest blog advertising network in Southeast Asia, Strategia ...
Plans to Harness China’s Nu River Threaten a Region
The Chinese government revived plans to build a series of hydropower dams on the upper reaches of the free-flowing Nu River, one of Asia’s wildest waterways.