Архив метки: Beijing

Apple’s Chinese iPhone Sales “Mind-Boggling,” Bring China Revenues To $7.9B

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The angry mobs in Beijing weren’t lying. Apple’s iPhone 4 has made a splash in China, bringing the company’s phone sales there up by fivefold from a year ago. The device didn’t debut there until this last quarter, months after it had been released in the U.S.

Revenue in China reached a record $7.9 billion, which is up threefold year-over-year. That brings Apple’s revenues in the country to $12.4 billion for the first half of the fiscal year. That’s nearly what Apple made in all of the last fiscal year when it made $13.3 billion in China.

“It is mind-boggling that we can do this well,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook on the earnings call.

Cook has already said in previous calls that China is the company’s second biggest market in terms of revenue behind the U.S. Now the market’s rising importance means that Asia-Pacific revenue has surpassed European revenue for the first time.

Demand was so insatiable for the iPhone 4 that the company had to shut down sales in retail stores amid the threat of rioting at the Sanlitun shopping center on the east side of Beijing. But Apple still faces some headwinds there. It’s not on the country’s largest carrier China Mobile and the company is embroiled in a trademark dispute over the name ‘iPad’ with Proview, meaning it hasn’t been able to sell the new iPad there.

Cook said in the October earnings call: “For China — the sky’s the limit there. I’ve never seen so many people rise into the middle class who aspire to buy Apple products. It’s quickly become #2 on our list of top revenue countries.”

Here are some charts illustrating Apple’s revenue breakdown by geography from this quarter compared to the same time a year ago. I excluded retail revenues:


Apple’s Chinese iPhone Sales “Mind-Boggling,” Bring China Revenues To $7.9B

Microsoft Set To Launch Windows Phone Tango In China On March 21

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Microsoft has spent the past few months getting their ducks in a row for an official Windows Phone launch in China, and now it seems that the time has finally come. According to press invitations that have begun to make their way around the Chinese tech community, the latest version of Windows Phone (Refresh/Tango/whatever you want to call it) is set to debut in Beijing on March 21.

As far as hardware goes, Chinese customers will have a respectable selection to choose from right out of the gate. The HTC Triumph (better known as the Titan around these parts) has been on pre-order in Beijing for over a week now, and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop revealed earlier this week that the Finnish company would have three Lumia handsets ready to launch in China by March 28.

Elop declined to reveal exactly what those devices will be, but it’s likely that one of them will be a CDMA-friendly variant of the Lumia 610, the budget smartphone Nokia debuted at this year’s Mobile World Congress. A China-spec Lumia 800 and the Lumia 719C are also said to be part of Nokia’s launch lineup, though we’ll have to wait and see if these reports pan out. Really, the 610 (or something like it) could be the big winner here — if it’s priced just right, it may be able to make some inroads in an Android-saturated low-end market.

As significant as this launch is though, it’s the long game that Microsoft really has to worry about. Building momentum in China isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it situation, especially with Android and iOS enjoying such popularity. Microsoft has some of the WP ecosystem in place already — developers can submit apps though the AppHub, for example — but driving sales and garnering buy-in from local developers will take time.

That said though, Microsoft still has other locales to keep their eyes on, especially considering their close working relationship with Nokia. Despite their domestic troubles over the years, Nokia still enjoys tremendous popularity in international markets — India’s mobile market in particular is dominated by Nokia devices, though many of them are either feature phones or Symbian-powered. Still, as Eric Schmidt pointed out at MWC, smartphones will continue to become more accessible as prices drop and infrastructures expand, so there should be plenty of Microsoft and Windows Phone to grow as time rolls on.


Microsoft Set To Launch Windows Phone Tango In China On March 21

Beijing Set To Roll Out Massive Free Public WiFi Network This Month (But There’s A Catch)

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At the end of this month, China’s capital city will begin rolling out free WiFi service in various hotspots across the city. The “My Beijing” wireless network, as it is to be called, is backed by three of the country’s largest telecom companies, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, and will provide 2Mbps broadband WiFi to approximately 60 percent of Beijing through some 90,000 access points that the municipal government plans implement over the next few years, according to China.org.

The WiFi service will be free to use during the three year pilot program, at the end of which the government may change the model and begin charging individual users or businesses for access — although these terms have not yet been finalized.

Of course, as is often the case, there’s a catch. The Chinese government tightly (some would say oppressively) regulates Internet access throughout the mainland. As the Guardian reported in July, the government has been further clamping down on cafes, hotels, and other businesses offering WiFi to its customers, in some cases requiring these businesses to install surveillance software to monitor Web activity. There has even been the threat of fines or termination of their WiFi service for businesses who do not install the software.

While those strict measures had not yet reached Beijing at the time the article was written, by controlling the Beijing’s new WiFi service, the government can now ensure that it is able to impose its own surveillance standards on users. In this case, in order for “My Beijing” users to gain access to the network, they will be required to enter their mobile cell numbers. Obviously, with the implications of this measure, there has been some harsh criticism. Users rightly worry that offering up their mobile number to gain access could put their personal information at risk, and furthermore, that the state would then be able to monitor browsing history, web activity, etc.

Or, on the flip side, that their mobile numbers will not be sufficiently protected, exposing them to potential harm from spammers or from those looking to sell their numbers to advertising companies and so on. If those in control have users’ phone numbers, promotions and ads could easily end up being later forwarded on to the users’ mobile devices, i.e. potential spamming galore.

And, as they should be, with the Chinese government having control over what could be the largest municipal WiFi network in the world, citizens are worried about the level of restrictions and surveillance that could end up being baked into the city’s WiFi access. It would be one thing if a business or group of businesses were controlling this large network, but considering the Chinese government’s track record, Big Brother-level supervision of the network’s traffic wouldn’t exactly be far-fetched.

However, according to a report by China Daily, an employee in the Beijing branch of the China Mobile Communications Corp (one of the telecoms backing the WiFi network) said that the requirement of inputting a mobile number to log on will “help trace those whose online activity might endanger social security”.

A senior official official at the Beijing Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology added that the free WiFi will be put in place to “enhance social wellbeing” and that logging on with a mobile number is simply a way of enabling “identity authentication”.

With coverage planned for 60 percent of Beijing through 480,000 WLAN access points and more than 6,000 hotspots over the next five years, in the big picture this is a laudable move on behalf of the Chinese government to bring free Internet access to a sizable chunk of the near-20 million Beijing residents. It represents the largest initiative in terms of coverage (and number of hotspots) in China to date and will certainly be one of the largest municipal WiFi networks in the world.

On the flip side, it remains to be seen just how tight surveillance and supervision will be for the network. If restrictions remain as stringent as they have been in the past, and security proves to be subpar, the network could end up being a pyrrhic victory for the residents of Beijing.


Beijing Set To Roll Out Massive Free Public WiFi Network This Month (But There’s A Catch)

With Angry Birds Merchandise, Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka Plans To Out Pirate The Pirates

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As proven by the massive success of the Angry Birds plush line, the world has a hungry for real-world Angry Birds wares. No where is that more apparent than Beijing, where the halls of countless toy shops and electronics stores are filled foot to ceiling with sundry Bird-themed goods, from sweatshirts and jeans to candy and balloons. The catch? Rovio didn’t authorize any of it.

Where others may see a problem, Rovio Mobile’s Mighty Eagle (read: CMO) Peter Versterbacka sees opportunity. He roams these aforementioned shops in search of unauthorized goods — but not to complain or throw around legal orders. He’s there to find the best unofficial Angry Birds items… so he can copy them.

Vesterbacka joined our own John Biggs on stage at Disrupt Beijing for a fireside chat, bringing a trio of Angry Birds balloons along. When questioned about the balloons, Peter responded:

“I’m going to take these balloons back and tell our guys to make these.”

This act of out pirating the pirates, it seems, is something of a habit for Peter.

And why shouldn’t he do it? The intellectual property being utilized is, after all, his company’s. If someone’s looking to make a quick buck off of his team’s work and creativity, there’s really no reason the tables shouldn’t be turned.

Click to view slideshow.


With Angry Birds Merchandise, Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka Plans To Out Pirate The Pirates