Charlie Custer is the Founder of, a nonprofit media organization dedicated to reporting on China, and is an Editor at Tech in Asia, where he writes about Internet and mobile technology in China and across Asia. He is also the founder of the blog ChinaGeeks and the Director of Living with Dead Hearts, a documentary film about kidnapped children in China and what happens to their families. Living with Dead Hearts comes out online July 29, 2013.

After graduating from Brown University with a degree in East Asian Studies, Custer taught English in Harbin and then taught Chinese in the U.S. before returning to China again to serve as an Editor and ultimately the Web and Multimedia Director for The World of Chinese magazine. He currently lives in Maine.

Last Updated: September 30, 2015



Is China the Future of Bitcoin, or Its Past?

Andrew Collier, Isaac Mao & more
China often dominates the market for Bitcoin, a virtual currency managed by a decentralized network of computers: at points over the last few years, China may have accounted for more than 75 percent of Bitcoin trading. Energy subsidies there make it...



What Does Uber’s Retreat Say About the Ability of U.S. Internet Innovators to Succeed in China?

Kaiser Kuo, Angela Bao & more
In early August, news broke that Uber would sell its China business to Didi Chuxing, its largest rival on the Mainland. Uber is just the latest in a series of tech companies—including Google, Twitter, and Amazon, among others—that found the Middle...



Carried Off

Charlie Custer
In March 2011, Rose Candis had the worst lunch of her life. Sitting at a restaurant in Shaoguan, a small city in South China, the American mother tried hard not to vomit while her traveling companion translated what the man they were eating with had...

Sinica Podcast


The Wukan Uprising

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
For the last few days, international attention has focused on the small fishing town of Wukan in southern China, where villagers are in open revolt. Simmering tensions caused by corruption and illegal land sales have escalated into an armed uprising...

Sinica Podcast


Train Wrecks

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
After a long and hot July marked by the near-absence of most of our guests, Sinica host Kaiser Kuo is pleased to be back this week leading a discussion of the recent accident on the high-speed Hangzhou-Wenzhou rail line, an accident that has...

Sinica Podcast


Crazed Madmen, Foreign and Domestic

Jeremy Goldkorn, Gady Epstein & more from Sinica Podcast
Despite losing almost a dollar for every dollar of revenue last year, Chinese Facebook clone Renren (人人网) made a spectacular launch on Wall Street last week, raising U.S.$743.4 million in a crazed initial public offering. So it’s no surprise that...

Sinica Podcast


Racism in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Racism isn’t a problem in China. That’s the official story you’ll read in the papers and hear on the streets, at least, and maybe there’s even a kernel of truth to it. Without a legacy of colonial activities abroad, the Chinese people are in many...

Sinica Podcast


China’s Gadflies and the Mine Miracle

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This Week: Kaiser Kuo hosts a discussion all about China’s best-known gadflies: artist-cum-activist Ai Weiwei and writer, auto racer, and blogger Han Han. So join us as we talk about who both of these public figures are and why they have gained so...

Recommended Links


Now that we have some details about the Chinese Xbox One—a price, a release date, game pricing and lineup, etc.—it’s possible to assess Microsoft’s chances of making a bigger dent in the market than gray-market consoles have.


But anyone who has followed domestic protests in China for even a short period of time should be clear on the fact that if it wants to, the government has the means to totally shut these protests down. They may have sent in the tanks back in ’89, but these days there are legions of trained riot police, People’s Armed Police, and other anti-protest...

Topics: Politics, Society
Tech in Asia

Over the weekend, news broke that three Baidu employees were arrested on suspicion of accepting payoffs in return for deleting posts from Baidu’s online forums. A fourth employee was not arrested, but was fired by Baidu. A Baidu spokeswoman told the BBC that the former employees had been paid “tens of thousands” of RMB (i.e. thousands of dollars)...

Topics: Media
Tech in Asia

At the risk of repeating myself, I think it needs to be said: Sina Weibo’s new user contract and credits system is not a big deal. It’s not even really much of a change.

Topics: Society