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Tnooz and TravelDaily China kick off THack China at Alibaba HQ

09/11/2015| 9:54:11 AM| ChinaTravelNews 中文

Tnooz and TravelDaily China kicked off Tnooz's signature THack hackaton series in China, launching the THack China travel tech developer contest at the Alibaba HQ.

ChinaTravelNews, Zeng Xianhao–Tnooz and TravelDaily China  kicked off Tnooz's THack hackathon series in the heart of "China's Silicon Valley" - Hangzhou. THack China, a weekend hackathon contest for Chinese travel technology developers, opened today at Alibaba Group’s headquarters on Wenyi Road.

Besides providing the venue, Alibaba’s Alitrip was also a supporting partner of the event. Sponsors for Thack China included travel industy and IT companies including Amadeus, Meituan, JD.com and Kuaidi No 1 Chauffeur Service.

One the first day of THack China, 95 developers formed 23 teams to begin the hackathon contest at 12 noon. For the next 48 hours the teams will work to develop original travel technology products  and on the third day they will demonstrate their original APIs to be judged by a three judge panel.

Winners of the First Prize will receive a cash award of RMB 10,000 and RMB3,000 in hotel room vouchers, the Second Prize winners will receive RMB5,000 in cash and RMB2,000 in hotel room vouchers. Other awards include the Most Popular API Award, Alitrip Special Award, Yeah Media Innovator Award, and Amadeus Creativity Award.

Three of THack China's winning teams will have the opportunity to attend the TravelDaily Conference held in Shanghai on September 16-17 and demonstrate their original product to an audience of 1,400 top travel industry executives.

Guest speaker, Alibaba legend “Baiqi” Li gives opening address

Before the contest started Alibaba’s legendary tech guru and mastermind behind Alipay and Alitravel - Yangdong “Baiqi” Li - came to fire up the troops and share his thoughts on current mobile and open platform trends.

Alitrip’s senior director Li “Baiqi” Yangdong

Developing the perfect app

“Nowadays if you don’t have an app, you can’t honestly call yourself a startup. Yet with the astronomical costs involved in getting your app onto users’smartphones, I’d suggest you consider if an app is even necessary if you don’t have money to burn,” he said.

“Right now the market is flooded with thousands of Android smartphone models but each maker has a different take on the Android system and the differences are huge. So developing a compatible app will be a painstaking process. The incompatibility of domestic and foreign internet and domain name server will also cause accessibility issues in different geographic areas. This is a major headache for global apps design,” he said. 

Mr. Li regaled the capivated audience of tech geeks with stories from when he led an army of over 800 developers working overtime on apps: “Anyone can make a simple game but producing a reliable service requires a huge amount of time and manpower. There are plenty of independent developers putting out their own apps but not many of them pan out in the long run,” he warned.

Tech changes in the mobile era

Mr. Li also outlined the changing landscape in China's technology industry by contrasting technology in the "PC era" with that of the "mobile era" of today. “Baidu’s share price is taking a dive now and this is indicative of a wider problem – most of us use Baidu much less compared with during the PC era because the entry point for traffic has shifted from search engines to apps in the mobile era. Alipay is a classic example of this radical change. In the PC era, it was merely a payment function but in the mobile era it serves as a portal for traffic and users,” he said.