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Soccer app OTRO gives behind-the-scenes access to Messi and Beckham

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Soccer stars Lionel Messi and David Beckham shake hands ahead of a UEFA Champions League quarter-final match.

Clive Rose | Getty Images

Soccer stars Lionel Messi and David Beckham shake hands ahead of a UEFA Champions League quarter-final match.

Former England soccer captain David Beckham has joined forces with several other famous names including Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and the world’s most expensive player Neymar Jr to launch a new online content-sharing platform.

OTRO is intended to be a digital fan club fueled by content created by the world’s leading soccer players. Its makers insists fans joining OTRO will be able to enjoy daily exclusive material, including original films and interviews, as well as live Q&As and challenges set by the players giving them the chance to win prizes, including meet and greets.

“Football fans all over the world want a deeper connection with their heroes and this is where OTRO comes in,” said its CEO Jeremy Dale at the official launch this week.

OTRO has been formed in partnership with sports investment firm 23 Capital and it’s reported around $64 million has been put into making the platform a success.

“There’s a lot of access to stars on the pitch, but once the game’s finished there’s very little engagement,” said Jason Traub, co-founder of 23 Capital to the company’s website. “Given the size of the market and the excitement surrounding these players, there’s a world of opportunity to unite them with their fans.”

Other players who’ll be part of the platform include; three-time Champions League winning coach Zinedine Zidane, Luis Suarez and Toni Duggan, who play for Barcelona’s men’s and women’s teams respectively.

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China’s 2019 consumption growth to slow further: commerce ministry

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Consumption growth in China is likely to slow further this year, a commerce ministry official said on Tuesday, adding that slower growth last year was due to “periodic” weak car sales and housing-related spending.

However, retail sales this year would still be growing at a steady, relatively fast pace, Wang Bin, a commerce ministry official told reporters during a briefing.

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iPhone shipments in China fall 19.9 percent: IDC

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Chinese customers in an Apple store on Jan. 3, 2019, in Beijing, one day after Apple preannounced weak quarterly results that it attributed primarily to a sales slowdown in China.

Lintao Zhang | Getty Images

Chinese customers in an Apple store on Jan. 3, 2019, in Beijing, one day after Apple preannounced weak quarterly results that it attributed primarily to a sales slowdown in China.

Apple‘s iPhone shipments fell 19.9 percent during the fourth quarter in China, according to the latest figures from research firm IDC published Monday.

This was reflected in Apple’s earnings release last month, when it said it booked $13 billion in revenue from China during the quarter, down 27 percent from the year-ago quarter. Overall, Apple said iPhone revenue fell 15 percent.

Apple revised its guidance ahead of that report in early January, when it said a weakening economy in China and the strength of the U.S. dollar were to blame for weaker-than-expected iPhone revenue.

Huawei ate up Apple’s shipment losses in China, where its shipments increased 23.3 percent during the same period. Other local phone makers including Oppo and Vivo saw shipment gains of 1.5 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

“In addition to the regular performance upgrades in 2018, there is no major innovation to support users to continue to change their machines at the greatly increased price,” IDC said. “At the same time, under the impact of China’s severe macro environment and domestic brand innovation products, consumers’ increasingly harsh eyes are also the reasons for Apple’s continued decline in the domestic market.”

IDC said the iPhone’s high price specifically “led to the decline of Apple’s domestic market,” while the increased strength of Huawei’s brand and its flagship phone’s “excellent technology'” helped it continue to widen the gap over Apple. The latest iPhones start at $749 for the iPhone XR, and go all the up to $1,449 for the iPhone XS with the maximum storage option.

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US-China trade, Huawei, currencies and oil in focus

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Markets overnight on Wall Street were tepid, as investors considered the possibility of a trade deal being struck between the U.S. and China. Officials from Washington and Beijing will continue talks this week with a focus on intellectual property.

Axios reported on Sunday, citing two administration officials, that U.S. President Donald Trump’s advisors have informally discussed holding a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping next month at the Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Florida. That meeting could take place as soon as mid-March, the report said.

That report comes after Trump said last week that a meeting between him and Xi would not happen before an early March deadline. If a trade deal is not reached before the deadline, additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods will take effect. That deadline could be moved, however, a White House official told CNBC last week.

“I think the most likely scenario is a deal with no more tariffs being imposed going forward,” David Cui, head of China equity strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Tuesday.

“There’s a possibility they keep existing tariffs imposed last year for a while to monitor performance, but I think (it is) highly unlikely there will be more tariffs imposed. It’s also possible to delay the negotiation for a couple of more months to nail down some of the details. I think the least likely scenario is a … complete breakdown of the negotiation,” he added.

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