Facebook’s Tough Choice In China, Airbnb Set To Acquire Chinese Rival, Tel Aviv Ranks 3 Globally As Startup Hub

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cropped Zuck in ChinaFacebook’s reported move to create tools to censor content on its site in China should come as no surprise. But is it paying too high a price for market entry to the world’s largest mobile and Internet market? Granted, other U.S. brands have done the same thing to get into the Chinese market. The most obvious example is Google, which was censoring search results in China for a decade before finally withdrawing from the market in 2010 to direct searches through Hong Kong instead. Read Forbes post: Facebook’s Tough Choice.

Airbnb is taking its China ambitions a step forward with news coming that its expansion there includes acquiring Chinese home sharing site Xiaozhu, its biggest competitor. Such a move would certainly boost Airbnb’s presence in the market, which currently stands at less than 100,000 listings and just 3% of its overall rental properties. Xiaozhu is backed with $150 million by Bertelsmann Asia Investments, Joy Capital Morningside Ventures, Capital Today and Legend Capital. Founded in 2012, Xiaozhu has 10 million active users and more than 100,000 listings in 301 cities across the country.

X tech 1 Xtreme Tech challenge
Silicon Dragon’s handpicked entrepreneur Dian Guan (above), a co-founder of patent search startup Patsnap, competed in the recent Xtreme Tech Challenge competition in Beijing and passed the first round, named as one of five finalists in the female-only entrepreneur contest. A winner will be selected in early January in Beijing.
All five finalists will be invited on a yacht trip in the British Virgin Islands. The winner will get an invite to pitch to Sir Richard Branson and VC honcho Jim Breyer at Branson’s Necker Island in the BVI. We wish Dian good luck!

Sequoia Capital China has led a Series C round in Singapore-based Patsnap, the same intellectual property firm that Dian co-founded and represents in the Xtreme Tech Challenge. Patsnap is a spin-out from the National University of Singapore and has been funded by Vertex and Summit Ventures. See the Silicon Dragon tech chat with Dian Guan at our annual Cyberport event.

ISRAEL
Tel Aviv’s startup ecosystem is ranked 3rd globally behind Silicon Valley and Stockholm by venture investor SparkLabs Global. That puts Tel Aviv ahead of New York City, LA, London, Berlin and Beijing on the list of 10 top startup hubs globally. See full report on Slideshare.

SOUTH KOREA
Seed-stage fund SparkLabs Global is launching an IoT and Smart City accelerator in Songdo, a $35 billion smart city being built in South Korea. The first class welcomes 14 startups from six countries, and each will receive at least $30,000 from the accelerator as well as five months of mentorship, office space and connections to investors.