Posts Tagged ‘China’

trademark… would not be a trademark issue. But there is a small problem to resolve to China. Despite Apple filing for the “iPhone” trademark in China in October 2002, the registration application specified “computer software” and “computer hardware” but it did not cover phones. So here comes Hanwang Technologies in May of 2004 … Yep, they grabed the iPhone name and filed the trademark for handsets. Hoping this can be resolved soon (could already be) and that it won’t cost Apple too many Yuan.

2545_hwrPicture 16Apple and Hanwang can play nice together and they already have. We had previously heard that Apple was working on Chinese handwriting recognition for iPhone 3.0. Last year (May 2008) we learned that Apple bought rights to the technology for a specialized iPhone character recognition application from Hanwang. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but this technology was demoed during the 2009 WWDC Keynote, albeit for Macs. But we’re confident it will be available on the soon to be official iPhone in China.

More on Hanwang and Apple > HERE


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iPhone in China deal FUD 

NOTE: Lead buried at post’s end – Beijing Apple iPhone job posting

iphone-china-unicom-111I’ve been picking up some rather annoying buzz about a story on China’s NBD.com (use Google translate). The NBD.com post states that Apple and China Unicom “are not making progress in negotiations” and iPhone is “now less important in China Unicom’s strategy.”  This story and several other regurgitated articles — Marbridge Consulting, Trading Markets, etc. — are being read by institutions and hedge funds that trade in Apple (AAPL) shares. These institutions are being spoon-fed pure FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt).

My research suggests that the deal is still a “go” and will be announced before end of July. The official launch of iPhone in China will likely be later this summer. wifi-music-store-headerThe only wildcard that could delay launch is Apple’s possible inclusion of China’s WAPI encryption layered over WiFi. There has been no good visibility on Apple’s WAPI plans, so my guess is as good as the flip of a coin – WAPI/WiFi yes or no?  WAPI/WiFi would require a special production run* of iPhone for China.

I believe the current “deal stalled” stories are coming as a result of China Unicom’s recently announced plans to develop UniPlus, their own mobile operating system (an Android recode) and UPhone, a customized Android-based handset. I first wrote about this in April and more recently here > China Unicom and China Mobile unveil operating systems.

China Unicom’s UniPlus/UPhone have been in the works for many months. This move mirrors and matches China Mobile’s Android OPhones and their proprietary OPhone mobile operating system (MOS) which is still under intense development. China Unicom had to respond in kind. In late March, I engaged in a lengthy public debate with Dr. Cheng Dejie, a senior telecom analyst in China, about the carriers’ move to develop their own MOS and proprietary handsets > read Apple’s iPhone in China Negotiations

china-unicom-to-offer-iphone-and-g1-in-chinaThe recent media reports seem to infer that UniPlus/UPhone will leave no shelf-space for iPhone as China’s carriers are now attempting to Appleize** their own wireless platforms. In the case of China Mobile, that may well be true (at least in 2009). In the case of China Unicom? Well, yes, they’re also Appleizing** but they are smart enough to know that “me too” UPhones may not be compelling enough to grab market share away from China Mobile. Hence, they will partner with Apple to offer an official iPhone in China. UPhones and iPhones can exist side-by-side in China Unicom’s Vsens.com inventory. The Chinese consumer will ultimately pick the winners.

iphone-south-koreaNow that I’ve buried the lead, hear it is … Today’s (June 10, 2009) Apple Job Posting – Program Manager, Beijing China. Duties: Responsible for supporting and managing iPhone Training Program across Asia. Responsibilities will include working with all carrier partners that sell iPhone to implement and design training programs. Individual will work with the Apple Sales Teams on planning and training retail channel partner personnel on selling iPhone.

Still believe the iPhone in China deal is in jeopardy? Smart money says it’s coming soon!

2545_hwr* iPhonAsia has long theorized that China would have a special production run of iPhone that might include several pre-loaded apps for China (e.g. Youku vs Youtube). The new model iPhone 3GS unveiled at WWDC already supports (w touch of globe icon) 30 different languages, including both simplified and traditional Chinese. Apple’s iPhone in China will also support Chinese character recognition whereby users draw Chinese characters with predictive capability.               

Read > Apple buys rights to HWPen from Hanwang************


**Appleizing = Carriers attempt to offer cool customized smartphones with a proprietary mobile operating system (MOS) designed to promote their own wireless value added services – WVAS.

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iPhonAsia is in the process of compiling a list of iPhone Developers who have an interest in developing iPhone applications localized for China, Japan and other Pacific Rim regions.

Picture 3The objective is to facilitate your connection with biz/enterprise, VC and other entrepreneurs looking to invest in iPhone app development in Asia.

Once we have compiled the contact/synopsis info for few developers, we will publish a link to this data on a separate iPhonAsia page. We will also leave it open on the web (here) for further updates.  You do not need to be located in Asia to be on this list; however, we ask that you have an interest and aptitude for developing apps localized (language and cultural focus) for Asian markets.

Please enter your data directly > HERE

Here’s a quick summary of data you can share (all fields are optional):

  • Developer / Company Name:
  • Location (City, State/Province, Country):
  • About – Describe your business focus:
  • Apps:
  • Website / Blog Links (URLs):
  • Contact Info:
  • Twitter URL, and any other  social media sites you want to add:

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china-internet-cafeEver wonder how the US compares to China when it comes to Net activities? Wonder no more. Americans like to e-mail, search for “stuff” and shop on the Net … When Chinese go online, they like to send IMs, listen to music, watch videos, read the news, visit/post on social network sites, and play games … lots of games. China is likely to surpass the U.S. to become world’s largest online game market this year > read WSJ. The Chinese also do a surprisingly high volume of blogging and forum posting. 

China has taken notice of amount of time many young Netizens spend online. This has given rise to a “Net addicts” rehab industry.  There are now more than 200 centers across China dedicated to “curing” Internet addiction. No shock therapy for me thank you.

If you’d like more background, Ryan McLaughlin has written a comprehensive article comparing the habits of US v. China Netizens over at > Tech Dynasty / CNET Asia


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The iPhone: maker (and breaker) of new business in China

by Bo Wang, Bokan Technologies

BEIJING – May 21, 2009: With over 18 million iPhones sold in more than 80 countries worldwide, the iPhone has yet to be formally released in mainland China. Despite this, the iPhone is a highly sought after and prized commodity in the Middle Kingdom, with a million iPhones in circulation and thousands more introduced into the domestic market on a weekly basis. 

HONG KONG-LIFESTYLE-ASIA-IT-APPLEApple’s tight control over international distribution channels and corresponding scarcity of the iPhone in markets where it has not been formally released has somewhat ironically been the main driving force behind its popularity in China. This scarcity, combined with the iPhone status symbol appeal in China has resulted in consumers being willing to spend a much larger proportion of their income on purchasing the iPhone. The iPhone has commanded up to 5000RMB, or $730US on the black market in Beijing. Taking GDP per capita into consideration, this would be the equivalent of paying $5700US for an iPhone in the United States.

Zhongguancun Plaza

Zhongguancun Plaza

In Zhongguancun, often referred to as the Silicon Valley of Beijing, the iPhone has spawned countless fledgling businesses and enterprises geared solely towards satisfying the insatiable demand of the urban populace for the iPhone. Local iPhone suppliers have had to be creative and fleet of foot in order to stay afloat with windows of opportunities for channels of supply usually being very short lived.

Since its release in mid 2007, the iPhone has been smuggled into China and Hong Kong through mail order from the United States using US residential addresses, or direct from New Zealand, where for a limited time iPhones were available in unlimited quantities (subject to availability).

HK shopkeeper selling iPhone 3G

HK shop selling iPhone 3G

As these channels have been exploited and supplies have run out or curtailed by Apple, businesses would often collapse only to rise from the ashes upon the discovery of fresh, untapped (and uncontrolled) sources.

Successfully sourcing and “importing” the iPhone into China is however only the first hurdle aspiring business owners hoping to jump on the iPhone bandwagon have had to surpass. iPhones sourced internationally more often than not need to be unlocked in order to be used on the local networks.

iphone_unlocked_2-thumb-1Chinese resourcefulness has really come into its own in this regard with specifically designed SIM card “jackets” that enable the iPhone to be used in China. Far from perfect, these one-stop solutions are often flawed causing the iPhone to freeze or stop functioning as it should. New releases of the iPhone with improved security controls have required further creativity and development on this front.

iphone-china-unicom-11Apple is said to be in negotiations with  China Unicom and China Mobile for distribution deals, with a formal release date anticipated before the end of the year. China Unicom appears to be the leading contender as its WCDMA network would require minimal modification to the iPhone. With less than half the number of subscribers compared to China Mobile, it is unlikely that China Unicom will be able to successfully negotiate a sole distribution arrangement.

Li Yizhong - MIIT VM

Li Yizhong - MIIT VM

Authorities have turned a blind eye to the local iPhone business to date, however it is likely that a formalized agreement between Apple and a large established Chinese company would have significant legal implications for local suppliers choosing to continue in this business.

Regardless of the details of the inevitable distribution deal, the iPhone will be a huge success for Apple in China. The booming black-market trade that has been built up around the iPhone will likely collapse as widespread availability would remove the scarcity factor, forcing local sellers to start looking for opportunities elsewhere. 末端

This  guest post was written by Bo Wang, CEO of Bokan Technologies. Bokan iPhone apps

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Picture 1EXCERPT: In many industrialized economies, gender-based differences are most pronounced in white-collar jobs, creating a “glass ceiling” for women who work in the office. But as China industrializes, gender pay differences are most striking among blue-collar workers. In this video interview, economists Li Bo and Chi Wei from China’s Tsinghua University consider whether China’s female factory workers labor on a “sticky floor.”

Special thank you to Dr. Lei Tang for finding and posting this article and video

Read full article > HERE 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Wal-Mart in China: From 3 stores to 1,000 in 5 Years

chinese_workersWal-Mart China Public Relations Manager Chen Lu acknowledged today that the world’s largest retailer has big plans in China. Wal-Mart currently has 3 stores in China, but that’s just the beginning. Wal-Mart plans to open 1,000 convenience stores under the name of “Hui Xuan” within the next five years, 100 of which will be opened in 2009.

Wal-Mart iPhone kiosk

Wal-Mart iPhone kiosk

It might make sense for Wal-Mart’s Hui Xan to set up mini kiosks to showcase and sell iPhones/iPods. This would follow a similar path to the Apple/Wal-Mart’s US distribution strategy — you can find special Apple iPhone/iPod kiosks in many Wal-Mart stores.

Best Buy and Apple in China partnership

Shanghai Best Buy - Apple store-in-store

Shanghai Best Buy - Apple in-store

Apple has some reseller partners in China, but only one company-owned store in Beijing’s Sanlitun Village. Apple may be looking for more storefronts to showcase and sell iPhone. This storefront expansion has already begun. On April 13, Five Star Appliance, Best Buy’s wholly owned China subsidiary, announced plans to set up “stores-in-store” for Apple products. It’s a fair bet that Apple will offer iPhone for sale at Five Star Appliance stores later this year. Yet it’s likely that Apple will need more storefronts to reach out to a potential 670 million wireless customers in China. A partnership with Wal-Mart China might make good sense.

There were also rumors earlier this year over an Apple distribution plan with Foxconn Group’s (Hon Hai Precision) Cybermart. Those rumors were denied by both Apple and Foxconn.

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