Amarcast India Tech News Update 21 July 2020: Mass cancellation of Chinese orders, Netflix new India mbile+ plan, Trell raises $10 m
1. Netflix tests new low-cost subscription plan in India: Netflix is testing a new low-cost subscription tier in India as the on-demand video streaming service looks to court more subscribers in Asia’s third-largest economy. The American giant has unveiled a “Mobile+” plan for some new and existing subscribers in India that delivers streaming in high-definition (HD) quality and supports viewing across mobile, tablet, and computer screens (but not TV). The monthly tier is priced at 349 Indian rupees ($4.7). The testing of the new tier, first spotted by AndroidPure, comes months after Netflix introduced a mobile-only plan in India that is priced at 199 Indian rupees ($2.7). The mobile-only plan, as the name suggests, restricts users from accessing the service from their computer screen or TV, and lowers the streaming quality to standard definition (480p.)
2. Government asks 59 Chinese apps to ensure strict compliance to ban order: After banning 59 apps of Chinese origin, the government on Tuesday directed them to ensure strict compliance to its orders, and warned of serious action in case of any violation, according to an official source. The government on June 29 had banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including TikTok, CamScanner and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.
The government source told that the IT Ministry has now written to all these companies, warning that continued availability and operation of these banned apps, directly or indirectly, is not only illegal but also an offence under the Information Technology Act and other applicable Acts, which would attract penal provisions.
. Work-from-home exemption extended for IT & ITeS industry till December 31, 2020: The department of telecom has extended the exemption given to the IT & ITeS industry to work from home till December this year. The exemption was going to expire at the end of July.
“In view of the ongoing concerns due to Covid-19, the department has decided to further extend these relaxations upto Decmeber 31, 2020…”
4. Mass cancellation of Chinese orders by electronics, electrical parts companies: Indian electrical equipment and electronics industry has begun mass cancellation of orders on Chinese companies in the last few days and are scouting for newer destinations for raw material sourcing. Companies are cancelling orders mainly for power distribution and transmission gears and turning to other countries despite higher costs. It also says the country needs to pool its testing facilities across sectors as there are few in power sector. Indian Electrical & Electronics Manufacturers’ Association president R K Chugh said the industry was till now importing raw material, sub-assemblies and in some case finished goods too from China.
5. Budget carrier SpiceJet on Tuesday said it has acqui-hired the team and technology of the Bengaluru-based airline ecommerce technology company Travenues, a wholly-owned subsidiary of online travel platform ixigo. Founded last year, Travenues offers a comprehensive travel-tech optimised airline commerce and ancillary sales platform to air operators that allows for extensive customisation and personalisation.
6. Trell set to raise $10 Mn Series A round led by Samsung and KTBN: Banning of TikTok and other 58 Chinese apps have prompted Trell to pivot from community-based platform to lifestyle centric short video app. The pivot seems to have been working well as it crossed 12 million mark recently and now it’s raising Series A round.
According to three Entrackr sources, KTBN and Samsung Ventures are in an advanced stage to lead the Series A round. “Trell would raise $10 million from the two investors while Sequoia Surge and Fosun will also participate,” said one of the sources on condition of anonymity.
This would be the second round of funding for Trell in the past eight months. It raised $4 million from Sequoia Surge and Fosun RZ Capital. Singapore-based early-stage venture capital Beenext and WEH led a $1.25 million seed round in Trell in 2016.
7. LinkedIn cuts 960 jobs as pandemic puts the brakes on corporate hiring: Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) professional networking site LinkedIn said on Tuesday it would cut about 960 jobs, or 6% of its global workforce, as the coronavirus pandemic is having a sustained impact on demand for its recruitment products. California-based LinkedIn helps employers assess a candidate’s suitability for a role and employees use the platform to find new job. Jobs will be cut across sales and hiring divisions of the group globally. Announcing the plan in a message posted on LinkedIn’s website, Chief Executive Ryan Roslansky said the company would provide at least 10 weeks of severance pay as well as health insurance for a year for U.S. employees, and will hire for newly-created roles from laid-off staff.
8. Spotify today announced the global launch of video podcasts. The new feature at launch will allow users, including both free users and paid subscribers, to watch the video content from a select group of creator podcasts. But unlike on YouTube, where only paid subscribers can listen to YouTube video content in the background while they do other things on their device, Spotify says its users will be able to seamlessly move between the video version and the audio. When multitasking, audio content will continue to play in the background, as you use other apps or even if you lock your phone.
The video podcasts are supported on both the desktop and mobile app — and video will serve as an additional component, not a replacement for the audio. That means you’ll still be able to stream the audio or download the podcast for offline listening, if need be.