Samsung still overwhelmingly in control
Apple retook fifth place in the Chinese smartphone market during the first quarter of the year with an 8 percent share, according to Canalys data obtained by IDG News. Previously, during the third and fourth quarters of 2012, Apple had been relegated to sixth place. Samsung remained in control during Q1 2013, managing a 20 percent share. Local firms Yulong, Huawei, and Lenovo completed the top five.
China launch forms part of 200-country Appstore expansion
Amazon has launched its Android Appstore for paid apps in China, ahead of Google and its Play store. The release of the Appstore in the country now means that Amazon is the first of the two main Android app stores to launch in the region and opens the door to Amazon releasing its Kindle Fire tablets in China and other nearby territories.
Attack targeted nuclear weapons workers accessing health information
A US Department of Labor website tailored for nuclear weapons researchers has been compromised, redirecting visitors to a series of alternative websites. If the accessor was using Windows XP and Internet Explorer 8, the culmination of the attack inserted the "Poison Ivy" malware onto the computer, giving access to the user's data by "DeepPanda", a group of hackers believed to be located in China.
Company liable for some third-party violations
Beijing's No. 2 Intermediate People's Court has fined Apple over 730,000 yuan, or about $118,000, for infringing on the copyrights of three Chinese writers, reports say. The judge in the case, Feng Gang, states in his ruling that although the writers' books were uploaded for sale on iTunes by third parties, Apple has the duty of checking whether those books are in line with Chinese law. "The writers involved this time include Mai Jia, whose books are often on bestseller lists across the country," Feng writes. "In this way, Apple has the capability to know the uploaded books on its online store violated the writers' copyright."
Apple notes growth above expectations, 138 percent iPad growth
Amidst generally positive numbers presented by Apple in its quarterly earnings conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer presented some facts about the burgeoning smartphone market in China. When presented a question by an analyst questioning Apple's present and future success in China -- considering that it doesn't yet sell the iPhone on the largest carrier in the country -- Apple claimed to have its "best quarter ever" regionally.
Regional growth rates relatively modest
Following an official announcement of its Q2 results, Apple has also posted a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its performance. Notably, the 19.477 million iPads the company sold was a jump of 65 percent year-over-year. This may however have come at the expense of Mac, which saw units fall 2 percent to 3.952 million. Mac revenue did however rise 7 percent to $5.447 billion, while iPad revenue grew 40 percent to $8.746 billion.
Small portion of what may be needed
Apple has pledged $8 million towards earthquake relief in Ya'an, according to an official statement on its Chinese website. The company has also offered its "deepest condolences" in the wake of the disaster, which hit Ya'an on Saturday. The quake measured 6.6 on the Richter scale, and has killed at least 186 people, injuring over 11,000, according to state media.
Rebranded Ascend G710 adds GSM, CDMA support,
Huawei has unveiled a new smartphone destined for the Chinese market. The A199, said to be a renamed version of the Ascend G710 that leaked late in February by evleaks, appears to bear a remarkable similarity to the leaked G700 in both looks and specification, using a five-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280x720.
Access to apps still limited to Chinese users
A Chinese website, 7659.com, is providing access to pirated iOS apps, reports observe. The site functions as a portal for software called KuaiYong, which is promoted as a supposed bulk licensing authorization tool for distributing free software, and a way of introducing Chinese people to the iTunes system. While KuaiYong dates back to 2012, the website appears to be new, and still requires KuaiYong to actually download the pirated content.
Thought to be tied to revived anti-porn campaign by government
Apple's App Store has been named as one of a collection of app stores and websites that have been investigated for providing pornography in China, says the Wall Street Journal. The list appears in a new article from the state-run Chinese People's Daily. The investigation of the App Store is unusual though, as Apple maintains an anti-pornography policy, and in the West the company has sometimes been criticized as too strict.
Marks end to brief hiring freeze
Asian manufacturer Foxconn has resumed hiring at a plant in Zhengzhou, China in preparation for a new iPhone, a Bloomberg source says. The factory froze hiring in February, but has reportedly been hiring again for the past month to meet extra capacity demanded by Apple. The added workers are expected to build not only a new iPhone but also existing models.
Pushes localization for App Store, iBookstore titles
Apple has sent out a memo to developers this week, urging them to localize Mac and iOS apps as well as titles on the iBookstore, notes AppleInsider. The message is being delivered through iTunes Connect, and points out that both the iOS and Mac App Stores are accessible in 155 countries and 40 languages. "In addition, the App Store editorial team is always looking for great apps that are localized," Apple writes.
Dealing with fallout from state-run smear campaign
According to a Chinese web site, Apple Senior VP for Operations Jeff Williams is currently in China as part of an effort to carry out warranty and training reforms promised by Tim Cook. Reacting to a badly-coordinated propaganda campaign against the company and other foreign presences in China, the Apple CEO issued an open letter reassuring customers that Apple treats Chinese warranty issues largely the same way it does in other countries, but promised more consistency and quality of service.
Company complies with government censorship
Apple has pulled "at least one" app from the Chinese App Store for containing books banned by the Chinese government, the Financial Times reports. Although the name of the app hasn't been identified, it is said to have provided access to 10 books, include three by political activist Wang Lixiong, whose works are mostly illegal in the country. The banned books in the app discuss Tibet, the future collapse of the Chinese government, and a visit by Wang to Xinjiang, followed by his detention by state security.
Localized positioning service expanding, allowing public access
China is promoting its own global positioning satellite system, with a view to making it available to mobile phone manufacturers and related services. By offering the Beidou navigation system to public-interfacing companies, China hopes that it will eventually replace the current GPS service in most devices in the next few years.
Letter from Apple promises little actual change, however
Just a day after Apple promised to "review" its warranty policies and make some minor changes in implementation for the Chinese market, early reaction to the open letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook appears to have neutralized the state-run media attacks on the company. Cook issued a lengthy letter that apologized for any "miscommunication" and lack of transparency that may have appeared "arrogant" but appears to be heavier on a more humble tone than much in the way of actual shifts in the repair policy.
Foxconn spokesperson denies any suicide attempts
There are conflicting accounts over attempted suicides at Foxconn's main manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, China. On Friday, initial reports indicated that two people had jumped off a building; several stories said that in all, three workers climbed to the top of building G14. One source suggests that the people were worried about their jobs. The company has seen lower orders in 2013, prompting it to find ways of shedding workers.
Claims animated movies sold without permission
A government-owned Chinese movie studio is suing Apple, charging that its animated movies are being sold on the App Store without permission, according to the South China Morning Post. Shanghai Animation Film Studio is best known for movies like The Monkey King, and is specifically accusing Apple Inc. and Beijing subsidiary Apple Electronics Products Commerce of violating intellectual property rights through unauthorized download services at the App Store. The two parties are accused of illegally selling over 110 SAFS movies, such as Calabash Brothers and Black Cat Detective. Demanded compensation is 3.3 million yuan, or about $531,000.
Doesn't identify any area where Apple isn't meeting standards
Following a coordinated attack on trumped-up aspects of Apple's warranty policy in the country, China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce has called for tougher supervision of Apple's warranty service in the country, but was unable to specify any area or policy that the iPhone maker needs to change, nor explained what specifically needs to be done. For its part, Apple has repeatedly insisted that its policies meet or exceed Chinese law, and any adjustments to warranties in China are a result of local regulations.
Online poll finds state-run companies, not Apple, most hated
Under continuing attacks by Communist Party-run newspaper The People's Daily and other government-run media outlets, Apple has emerged as a cause celebré among Internet users in China, who have responded to state-organized Apple bashing with strong criticisms of state-run companies and broadcasters. When independent Beijing-based finance and business magazine linked to a People's Daily article and asked readers to comment, they instead overwhelmingly criticized the state and its anti-Apple campaign.
Consultation required prior to purchases from Chinese firms
As part of the funding law signed this week by President Barack Obama, Congress has included a provision for a formal assessment of "cyber-espionage or sabotage" risk when considering buying information technology systems from a company "owned, directed, or subsidized" by China. The requirement mandates consultation with law enforcement and other assessors prior to purchase, during the evaluation process.
Firm claims Xiao voice recognition tech predates Siri
Lawyers for Apple appeared in a Shanghai court earlier today at the start of a lawsuit over the company's Siri voice command system, according to Agence France-Presse. Zhizhen Network Technology alleges that Siri violates a patent on voice recognition, used in the company's Xiao i Robot software, that dates back to 2004. Siri is said to have been first developed in 2007. After buying out Siri's creator, Apple folded the technology into iOS in October 2011.
Part of strange campaign against foreign-owned companies
China's government may be nervous that the population's growing dependence on foreign-made products could undermine its control, and has recently embarked on a state-run media campaign against large western corporations that dominate the commercial landscape in urban China, including recent attacks on Apple. Though a recent social networking "whisper campaign" against the iPhone maker backfired badly, the smear campaign continues in the Communist Party-run People's Daily newspaper.
Recommends civilian targets avoided, hackers legitimate targets
A report compiled by NATO states that Internet-based attacks can be a legitimate form of attack in a war. The Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare, compiled by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) and recently published, applies the rules of war to cyber attacks sponsored by the state.
New subscribers, average user revenue both up
China's third-largest cellular carrier, China Telecom, reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profits on the strength of attracting new subscribers and a lift gained from iPhone sales, which increased average revenue per customer due to better sales of wireless voice and data. Though net income was down from the same quarter a year ago, it beat analyst's estimates, and the company added some eight million users in the last quarter -- boosting its total base to 160.6 million subscribers.
Celebrities bashing iPhone maker accidentally reveal state-run ruse
An attempt by China Central Television (CCTV) to paint Apple and Volkswagen in a bad light through a celebrity-driven Sina Weibo campaign has backfired badly on the state-run media outlet after one of the celebrities posting an "Apple-bashing" post accidentally included an instruction on when to post from the TV station alongside his prepared talking point. This prompted observant citizens to notice that a raft of celebrities had posted similar messages and posted around the same time, prompting ridicule from Weibo users.
Carrier aims squarely at iPhone support
China Mobile has announced plans to spend $6.7 billion in developing its 4G LTE network during 2013, Reuters says. The carrier adds that it expects to have licenses by the end of the year; Reuters indicates that the company is aiming explicitly at supporting the iPhone, which is incompatible with its 3G network. Mobile uses a proprietary 3G standard, TD-SCDMA, which has so far led Apple to favor Mobile's rivals, China Unicom and China Telecom.
Samsung tops Apple, Nokia, Lenovo in China
South Korean manufacturer Samsung sold the most smartphones in China of any manufacturer for 2012, according to a new report out from Strategy Analytics. In taking the top spot, Samsung beat out competitors including Apple, Lenovo, and Nokia, which held the top spot for Chinese smartphone sales in 2011. Yonhap News reports that this marks the first time that Samsung has held the number one position in China.
Workers limited to 60 hours per week, 1M workers tracked
In an update to its Supplier Responsibility pages, Apple on Wednesday now shows that the companies in its supply chain are 99 percent compliant with Apple's guidelines that individual workers -- of which Apple now has more than one million in China and Taiwan -- are limited to no more than 60 hours of work per week. While seemingly a high figure by western standards, factory workers often seek overtime in an attempt to escape the cycle of rural poverty or to support elders in the family. The company reports that the average number of weekly hours is now below 50.
Fiber-to-the-home to reach 35M more households by Q4 2013
The Chinese government hopes to cover more than 70-percent of Internet users in the country with a 4M broadband service by the end of 2013. The announcement from Miao Wei, a minister working for China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is part of an initiative to increase the number of households with fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) options by over 35 million.
Unlocked phones otherwise de facto in city
Hong Kong Telecommunications is turning to the legal system in a complaint with the city's telecoms regulator over Apple iPhone locking, according to the Wall Street Journal. Unlocked phones are commonplace in Hong Kong; in fact, the city was one of the first regions in the world to get unlocked iPhones as an option. The iPhone 5, though, is only compatible with two 4G networks in the area, excluding HKT -- which is owned by Hong Kong's biggest telecoms company, PCCW.
Waste discharge killled fish, hurt farming
A supplier of iPad casings is facing sanctions by the Shanghai government for polluting a local river, the Financial Times reports. Waste discharges by Casetek subsidiary Riteng are said to have regularly turned the river milky white since the Songjiang #3 factory opened two years ago. The fish population in the river has died, while area farmers say they can no longer use the water to grow their crops.
Five prong program hopes to minimize impact and efficacy of theft
As expected, the Obama administration announced its plan to curtail the increasing theft of US trade and military secrets. The response is wide-ranging but a limited response to the growing problem of cyber theft and espionage. While the buildup to the strategy focused on China, the country was not specifically targeted by the guidance. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the plan, saying that indications that economic espionage is on the rise. "Particularly in this time of economic recovery, this work is more important than it ever has been before," Holder said at the White House announcement of the administration's strategy.
Persistent attacks by China linked to People's Army
According to sources familiar with the matter, the White House is getting ready to detail a specific policy in regards to state-sponsored hacking, likely perpetrated by China. Allegedly, President Obama is evaluating trade restrictions, fines, and other unnamed penalties as initial moves the US government would take in response to the near constant attacks linked to the Chinese government by the independent report.
Claims 'no evidence' that hackers stole data
Apple was recently attacked by the same group of hackers that went after Facebook, the company has admitted to Reuters. It claims, however, that only a small number of its workers' Macs were accessed, and that "there was no evidence that any data left Apple." A software tool is slated to be released later today to counteract the malware used in the attacks.
Flurry claims that China will pass US in total devices this month
According to analytics company Flurry, China's populace will have more active smartphones and tablets in use than the US by the end of February. More than 2.4 billion sessions per day across 275,000 application were tracked, which Flurry claims covers more than 90 percent of the world's smart devices. In its population of 1.3 billion people, Flurry estimates that by the end of the month, China will have 246 million devices activated, as compared to 230 million in the US amongst a population of 310 million.
New guidelines require workers be voluntary, limit student assemblers
Addressing its own issues with the Chinese labor force used to manufacture its devices, Hewlett Packard today issued new standards and practices for assembly companies. HP has declared that all workers must be voluntary, free to choose not to work, or quit if displeased. Furthermore, if students are selected for work, the work must be relevant to their studies. Limits on the quantity of student workers has been addressed as well.
Encouraged users to jailbreak, download its own browser
In a move that affects Chinese iOS users worldwide, Apple has removed all iOS apps -- over 20 in total -- made by Chinese search engine and software maker Qihoo over systematic abuse of the iOS eco-system. The apps were removed last week and haven't been restored, suggesting that the company is being punished for new violations. The most likely cause is the company's habit of offering direct file downloads of apps alongside App Store links, providing a path to the apps for jailbroken devices.
Manufacturer responds to internal, external pressure
Asian manufacturer Foxconn will soon allow workers to elect union representatives for the first time, says UK newspaper The Telegraph. Under the arrangement, a chairman and 20 members of the Federation of Labour Unions Committee will be elected every five years. The Financial Times remarks that the current representatives weren't nominated in an open and transparent manner; over half of the committee members are in fact from management, making it easier for Foxconn executives to fight any changes they don't like.
Android still dominant, but without Google apps
A new study from Strategy Analytics says that Android continues to be the dominant platform for smartphones in China, with 86 percent of the market. However, Apple's share has risen from 7.5 percent a year ago to 12 percent at the end of 2012, and the December release of the iPhone 5 is expected to take further market share from Android in this quarter. Remarkably, only two percent of smartphones sold in China -- including "local" brands sold exclusively in China -- are anything other than Android or Apple devices.
Conflicts with multiple reports
The facility Apple is establishing in Shanghai is actually a supply chain management center, not for research and development, a source tells Tencent. Apple is allegedly hiring supply chain management experts for the project. Tencent moreover claims that Apple China's marketing department has denied the Shanghai facility being for R&D, and stated that CEO Tim Cook didn't promise an R&D complex while he was in the country earlier this month.
Discussions could see console ban lifted in near future.
The Chinese government may reverse its ban on video game consoles in the future. Ministerial figures are reportedly discussing lifting the ban, put in place in the year 2000 in order to protect the physical and mental development of younger members of the population, which could open up the Chinese market for gaming products from Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, and others.
No word on Beijing rumors
Apple is opening a research and development center in Shanghai this summer, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce has announced. The company is said to have secured three buildings in Pudong, the city's main finance and commerce district, of which one will be devoted to procurement management and R&D. Apple itself has yet to make an announcement, but the company rarely talks about its infrastructure projects.
Company rearranges presentation of figures
Apple has posted a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its first-quarter results, meant to accompany the main results announcement. Notably the company has chosen to reorganize the way some figures are presented. A "greater China" segment has been split off from the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, for instance, to account for the important of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Chinese revenue is up 67 percent year-over-year to $6.83 billion.
Expects 80-percent of 2013 TD-SCDMA sales to be smartphones
China Mobile has sold over 60 million TD-SCDMA-based mobile devices during 2012, the company revealed today. Wang Hengjiang, deputy general manager of products for China Mobile, made the claim at Qualcomm's QRD Summit in Shenzen, including that at least seven million of that total came from sales in December alone.
Event set for January 25
Apple has formally announced this year's Lunar New Year sale throughout much of southeast Asia. The event, also known as "Red Friday," is scheduled for January 25, and will include discounts on Macs, iPads, iPods, and accessories, as well as free shipping. An official gift guide has been published to go with the event, but as usual Apple hasn't revealed what the exact discounts will be. Those should only be published on the 25th itself.
Beijing rumor wrong, source suggests
Apple will announce the opening of a Chinese research and development center this summer, but it will be based in Pudong, Shanghai, a source tells CNET China. Pictures supplied by the source identify a target complex as three six-story buildings, making for a combined floor space of 10,000 square meters, or about 107,639 square feet. Apple allegedly started planning the R&D center about six to seven years ago; once the company moves in rent is expected to hit 50 million yuan per year, or roughly $8.04 million.
May be way of coping with high cost products in China
The Chinese version of the online Apple store has added the ability to pay for products in installments, reports note. An order must cost between 300 yuan ($48) and 30,000 yuan ($4,800), and buyers must have a China Merchants Bank credit card. Through January 23rd, three- to 12-month installment purchases are interest-free. An 18-month payment carries 6.5 percent interest, while going up to 24 months raises the interest rate to 8.5 percent.
Shares physical design aspects with Grand S LTE
ZTE will be releasing a five-inch budget-ranged smartphone in China, according to a database operated by Chinese regulator TENAA. The V987 has a similar appearance to the recently-revealed Grand S LTE, though its internal specifications have been reduced in search of a cheaper price, while its physical design appears to be much thicker than the Grand S.
Jack Ma steps down, says younger people have 'more brilliant dreams'
Jack Ma, chief executive officer of Chinese e-retail giant Alibaba, has announced that he will step aside from his current role with the company. Ma, under whose tenure Alibaba has become the second largest online company in China, says he will assume the role of executive chairman. Ma also says that most of Alibaba's leaders "born in the 1960s" will also be handing off their leadership responsibilities to younger Alibaba executives.