Approval from Chinese Ministry of Commerce brings purchase closer to completion
The acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services arm by Microsoft has been given the green light by Chinese authorities, both companies have revealed. The approval by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) brings the $7.2 billion purchase one step closer to completion, and brings the total number of markets approving the deal to 16.
Vendors looking forward to big-screen iPhones
Carriers and other vendors in China are seeing relatively weak demand for the iPhone 5s, suggests Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White. White is currently touring the country and speaking with various parties. Instead demand is said to be rising for various local smartphone brands, like Xiaomi. Vendors are, however, said to be expressing "great enthusiasm around the potential for Apple to introduce a larger iPhone form factor in China this year with the iPhone 6."
First time iPad buyers will have access to China's limited LTE network
Apple has revealed that China Mobile and its other Chinese telecom partners -- along with its own stores and resellers -- are carrying a special model of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display that is specific to the Chinese market, and compatible with the country's proprietary TD-SCDMA wireless standard, meaning new iPad buyers can now use the tablets on China's limited TD-LTE cellular network, which is mostly limited to the biggest cities. The Chinese iPads are separate models from the ones sold outside China.
Lawsuit sought financial renumeration, not change in business strategy
District Judge Jesse Furman of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York has ruled in Chinese search engine giant Baidu's favor, shutting down an Internet censorship lawsuit. Furman called the blocking of pro-democracy websites "editorial control" by Baidu, and noted that nothing was preventing US users from using different search engines, such as Google or Bing.
Expansion may be hampered by limited 4G network
China Mobile added some 1 million new iPhone customers during the month of February, according to the company's annual earnings statement. Despite being the world's largest wireless carrier, it only formally launched iPhone sales in mid-January, well after rivals China Unicom and China Telecom. "We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities," comments China Mobile chairman Xi Gouhua.
Android-based Nokia smartphone sees high sales before release
Nokia's first attempt at an Android-based smartphone may be a success in one country before it's even been released, according to the company's social media accounts. The Nokia X, first shown at Mobile World Congress last month, has apparently received more than 1 million pre-orders in China alone, after being made available to customers just four days ago.
Segment constitutes more than a quarter of entire smartphone base
A study in China by app and mobile advertising analytics firm Umeng shows that Apple's consistent smartphone strategy of leaving the low end of markets to others (what CEO Tim Cook calls "junk devices") and targeting affluent users as influencers has again resulted in high profitability and potentially surprising share in the face of a flood of competitors. Despite having only recently emerged to a full national presence on all the top carriers in China, Apple is said to already account for 80 percent of the $500-or-more segment of the Chinese smartphone market.
HTC allegedly among poaching targets
Apple has been hiring "hundreds" of new engineers and supply chain managers in China and Taiwan, according to sources for the Wall Street Journal. In particular the company is said to be building up teams in Shanghai and Taipei to accelerate product development and ship a wider range of devices. The supply managers may be at least partly meant to cope with allegations of labor and safety abuses at supplier factories.
Alleges government failed to invalidate Zhizhen voice recognition patent
Apple has filed a lawsuit against China's State Intellectual Property Office, as well as Shanghai company Zhizhen Network Technology, according to news agencies Xinhua and Agence France-Presse. Zhizhen owns a voice recognition patent which Apple previously asked the SIPO to invalidate. The lawsuit is due to reach the Intermediate People's Court on Thursday.
Rival carriers see stagnation
China Mobile added 14 million more high-speed data subscribers in January, a growth faster than at any other time in its history, according to data from Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White. The 7.4 percent increase is attributed mainly to the iPhone, which Mobile started selling on January 17th. In December, by contrast, Mobile's high-speed base grew by less than 6 percent.
Recent release of iPhone 5 lineup prompts one percent rise
Apple is now the fifth-largest cellphone maker in China, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal based on numbers from analyst firm IDC. The iPhone maker leapt a full percentage point in the last quarter of 2013 on the strength of its iPhone 5s and 5c, and the report does not even include sales from China Mobile, with which Apple finally inked a deal in December. The surge in sales moved the iPhone into a seven percent share of the smartphone market.
Sony shifts 5.3M PlayStation 4 consoles, beats recent Xbox sales figures
Sony has sold over 5.3 million PlayStation 4 game consoles globally as of February 8th, the company has revealed. The news comes just days before the company launches the console in its native Japan on February 22nd. In comparison, Microsoft's January financial results toward the end of January showed it sold 3.9 million competing Xbox One consoles and 3.5 million of the Xbox 360.
HTC Desire 8 launching in China this month
HTC has confirmed the existence of its upcoming Desire 8 smartphone, via a teaser on the company's Weibo account, at the same time as a separate leak shows the apparently-metallic appearance to the HTC M8. The Desire 8 image states there will be a launch on February 24th in Beijing, China for the phablet, which is currently believed to have a 5.5-inch display, with the launch date hinting at a dual launch at the same time as the opening day of Mobile World Congress.
Fixes problems with Chinese cellular networks
Apple is now seeding a rare iPhone-only iOS update, v7.0.5. The release is intended exclusively for the iPhone 5s and 5c, and deals with unspecified "network provisioning" problems on some Chinese models. For people who already have iOS 7.0.4 installed, the download is just 35.4MB when fetched via Software Update.
Growth of iPads strong; iPhone sales more dependent on LTE network expansion
China sales more than offset the one percent drop in iPhone revenue in the Americas, but CEO Tim Cook told investment analysts that the expected "tailwind" from China smartphone growth is likely to expand as the year progresses. Sales in "greater China" (which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong) were up nearly 30 percent year-over-year to $8.84 billion, with iPad sales up 64 percent year-over-year and iPhone sales up 24 percent year-over-year.
iPod numbers half those shipped last year
In addition to its public announcement, Apple has also published a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its first-quarter results. Significantly, revenue from the Americas actually declined one percent year-over-year to $20.098 billion. This was compensated for by growth in other regions; Europe and Japan were up five and 11 percent (respectively), while "greater" China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) leapt ahead 29 percent to $8.844 billion. The growth was likely spurred by sales of new iPhones and iPads, since mainland China was made a first-tier launch country for the first time in 2013.
Emerging middle class shows strength; now 417 million 3G users in China
Apple's timing on its years-in-the-making deal with China Mobile may turn out to have been prescient: the country's middle class is expanding rapidly, and with it the ability to enjoy services such as 3G and now LTE smartphone service. According to a new report from Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White, the country grew its 3G-using cellphone subscriber base by 79 percent in 2013, to a total of 417 million users.
Ascend P6S thickens casing, upgrades processor of Ascend P6
Huawei has launched its update to the Ascend P6, at the same time as new rumors surface mentioning a new flagship device. Launched quietly in China, the Ascend P6S features a number of minor improvements from the Ascend P6, while the Ascend SX will apparently merge together the design of the P-series devices with the performance of D-series smartphones.
Ten customers win iPhones signed by Apple CEO, China Mobile Chair
Apple's iPhones have formally arrived on China Mobile, the world's largest carrier and China's largest provider. The iPhone went on sale Friday morning in Beijing and other locations, with stores fulfilling long-awaited pre-orders of the iPhone (the 5s in particular) that have been gathered since mid-December. Foxconn is said to have delivered approximately 1.4 million iPhone 5s units to China Mobile recently, possibly an indication of strong pre-orders.
Claims independent development of COS increases security
A mobile operating system approved by the Chinese government has launched, in what it hopes use in its fight against the use of foreign-developed operating systems in devices and infrastructure. COS, the "China Operating System," has been developed by the ISCAS, the government, and Shanghai Liantong, though reports in August suggested that HTC was also involved in some way.
CEO drumming up shareholder interest in US
Apple CEO Tim Cook made a rare TV appearance on Wednesday in order to discuss the company's impending launch of the iPhone on China Mobile. Cook sat alongside Mobile chairman Xi Guohua during an interview with CNBC. The former called the deal a "watershed day," and claimed that Mobile has a "very fast network." He also spoke of "deep respect" for the carrier, adding that he's been "incredibly impressed" so far.
China Mobile adds 3,000 outlets for iPhone 5s, 5c sales in China
Apple CEO Tim Cook is said to be "incredibly optimistic" over the multi-year agreement the company made with China Mobile last month. Ahead of the impending launch of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on the mobile phone network on January 17th, Cook hinted that there could be more collaboration between the carrier and Apple in the future.
Large battery on Huawei B199 could be used to charge other devices
Huawei has launched a successor to last year's A199 smartphone in China. The B199 sports a similar external design to the original, though the back is made of metal and the 720p display has been increased to 5.5-inches compared to the 5-inch version used in the A199, with Huawei's numerous internal improvements including an upgrade from a 2,150mAh battery to a 3,000mAh model capable of charging another device using an accompanying cable
iPhone discounts extremely rare
Apple's planned Lunar New Year sale has already begun in east Asia, carrying with it some rare discounts. Above all are price drops on the iPhone, something the company almost never does. In Hong Kong, the iPhone 5s, 5c, and 4S have all been marked down by HK$ 390, for example bringing the price of a 16GB 5s down to HK$ 5,198 ($670 US).
Foreign consoles to go on sale in China for first tie in 14 years
China is allowing the sale of foreign game consoles in the country for the first time in over a decade. The country's government temporarily lifted the ban on Monday, opening the door to sales of recent game consoles such as Microsoft's Xbox One, the Sony PlayStation 4, and the Nintendo Wii U to its citizens, though it is not clear how long sales will be permitted for.
High-end Android phone for Asian markets
Although Lenovo is known in the US as a computer brand, the company has continued to release smartphones in China and other Asian markets. One of the latest devices, the Vibe Z, continues the company's move into the high-end phone market, with a 5.5-inch display and 13-megapixel camera. Wondering if the company may be closer to considering a US launch, we checked out the Z at CES to see how it stacks up against the global competition.
Third-party storefront only sells new items, will participate in 'Red Friday'
Further expanding its reach in China, Apple has formally launched an unusual second online storefront in China. The new online site is part of "Tmall," a virtual mall with thousands of official retail outlets for various brands. Apple will continue to operate its own apple.cn website, but is evidently willing to go where the customers are in an effort to sell new products, particularly iPhones, to Chinese customers. Millions of Chinese users use the Tmall concept as a one-stop site for online shopping.
'Red Friday' event coming to China, Hong Kong, Thailand, more
Apple is celebrating the Lunar New Year in select Asian countries with a one-day sales event dubbed "Red Friday." The sale will take place in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand on Friday, January 10. Both the physical stores as well as the online and iOS App Stores for those countries will offer sale prices on various items, including both Mac and iOS hardware as well as Apple and perhaps third-party accessories.
Promotional version of Oppo N1 available only through competitions
Oppo has launched another mid-range smartphone in China, while another recent release has been spotted flying another company's colors. The Oppo N1 has been photographed with Pepsi branding as a promotional limited-edition device, and the Oppo R1 offers a 5-inch IPS display, a resolution of 720x1280, and a thickness of just 7.1mm.
Apple Japan expected to launch 'Lucky Bag' sale starting January 2
Apple may be planning to celebrate the Japanese New Year with offerings of fukubukoro, or "lucky bags" beginning at 8AM local time on Thursday, January 2, two hours earlier than the usual opening time, according to an item on Japanese Mac fan site Otakara. Along with most other retailers, Japan's Apple Stores will offer a "lucky bag" at a present price that contains mystery items worth more than the asking price. In some cases, buyers have received a MacBook Air or an iPad.
Unofficial app store's pirated content creates firestorm
Chinese company Taig paid evad3rs $1 million to include its third-party app store for Chinese users of the evasi0n jailbreak for iOS 7, rumors claim. The store appeared only for Chinese users of the jailbreak, in place of the distribution platform offered elsewhere, Cydia; it has since been removed as an option. Taig's offering has been controversial, since it hosts a number of apps pirated from Apple's official App Store.
Formal announcement expected soon
China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua has downplayed rumors that his company has already finalized a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone. Speaking to journalists during a conference in Guanzhou, the executive claimed that the Chinese carrier has no announcement to make and is still in talks with Apple, according to a Reuters report.
Numbers considered conservative, could go as high as 23 million
A new survey of Chinese consumers -- including those not yet on smartphones but planning to move to them -- predicts that a China Mobile deal that appears to be happening in spite of a lack of official announcements could result in an additional 12 million to 23 million iPhones sold in the first year. Though Apple already sells iPhones in China (including the latest models), the unveiling of a national LTE network for China and a deal with its largest carrier promises to boost the company's fortunes substantially.
Faces matched to ID photos
Following criticism surrounding several worker deaths, Apple supplier Pegatron has reportedly implemented facial-recognition technology to screen for underage workers. The technology, which is said to have been introduced earlier this year, uses computers to help verify that workers are not using borrowed identification cards, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Company criticized for bowing to government pressure
Apple has reportedly pulled a censorship-circumventing app from the Chinese iOS App Store. The app, titled FreeWeibo and developed through collaboration with Radio Netherlands Worldwide, is said to have worked around the government's censorship filters for content posted on the Chinese microblogging service Sina Weibo.
Chance to pre-order new iPhones on China Mobile may be just hours away
An official China Mobile page which lets Beijing-based users make reservations for its new "4G" LTE service features a graphic of the iPhone 5s and (on a different page) a jewel-encrusted golden apple -- which both confirms that the world's largest cellular carrier will be including the iPhone at long last, and hints that pre-orders for it could begin as early as late Thursday. China Mobile is the last of China's major cellular providers to carry the iPhone, the result of nearly six years of negotiations.
Massive sales surge comes ahead of deal with giant China Mobile
Even before an expected debut on the world's largest cellular provider, China Mobile, is announced, Apple's new iPhone models have led to a surprising surge in Chinese sales, vaulting the company from sixth place in marketshare to third place since it debuted its latest models. The popularity of the iPhone 5s and 5c have been such that the company tripled its marketshare in a single month, according to a report from market researchers Counterpoint.
December 13 date of device sale, December 18 date of 4G rollout
Potentially dispelling the rumors and false starts, China Mobile is taking preorders for iPhones on Thursday in Shanghai, according to an advertisement that briefly appeared on its website and in a call placed to customer service. Using the slogan "4G is here!" the ad not only announced the opening date of iPhone sales, but also suggests phones from other vendors such as Sony, Samsung, and HTC, that all support the new 4G network that the carrier has been building out for the last two years.
Carrier maintains position despite rumors of imminent launch
The world's biggest cellphone carrier, China Mobile, says it is still discussing an iPhone deal with Apple, according to a Reuters report. "We are still negotiating with Apple, but for now we have nothing new to announce," comments Mobile spokeswoman Rainie Lei. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal claimed that a deal had been signed, supporting rumors that Mobile might start selling iPhones as soon as December 18th.
Agreement would increase iPad sales opportunities, lift Apple revenues
Assuming that the latest iPhones (and possibly iPads) debut in China and on China Mobile as expected on December 18, Apple will have just two weeks of sales there to record before the close of the company's fiscal Q1 for 2014. In a testament the sheer scale of both China's overall economy and China Mobile's subscriber base are, those few days might be enough to materially affect Apple's overall earnings for the period, says Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
Potential for money laundering, tricky regulation causes China Bitcoin setback
The Bitcoin virtual currency has received a setback on its path to widespread use, after China's central bank advised against its use by the country's investors and banks. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) warned financial institutions that they should not trade in Bitcoins due to the potential risks associated with the currency.
Report hinges on single, unnamed source, but signs are there
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a formal agreement between Apple and the world's largest -- and up till recently, the biggest iPhone holdout -- carrier, China Mobile, has been signed. The story is confirmed only by a single, unnamed source -- normally a violation of journalistic standards -- but other evidence to support the contention has appeared, including a pre-order site connected to China Mobile serving a wealthy Shanghai suburb and state media announcements.
Issued licenses allow for 4G LTE cellular usage in China
The three major carriers in China have been issued licenses to operate TD-LTE networks in the country. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has provided the licenses to China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom today, which opens the door to Chinese mobile users being able to use faster mobile connections in the future.
First acknowledgement of deal between Apple and world's largest carrier
A website owned by a subsidiary of China Mobile has begun taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, the first time any site affiliated with China's (and the world's) largest carrier has done so. The move signals a formal deal between Apple and the carrier, which has taken some six years to put together -- and marks the opportunity of a lifetime for Apple to make more serious inroads in China's expanding smartphone market.
Demographic skews older, and with more buyers under median income
"Almost half" of the people who bought the iPhone 5c in September and October were people switching from Android phones, particularly ones by Samsung and LG, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. By comparison, some 80 percent of iPhone 5s purchases were by people upgrading from a previous iPhone. Kantar also notes that over 40 percent of 5c buyers were earning less than $49,000 per year, versus roughly 20 percent for the 5s. 5c buyers also tended to skew older, with an average age of 38 instead of the 5s' 34.
Skype traffic in China flows directly through Microsoft servers
Microsoft has moved to a new partner for providing Skype in China, one that could help improve privacy in the region. The messaging service will now be operated by Guangming Founder instead of TOM Online, with some reports suggesting that the move could potentially offer greater protections to users in China from monitoring by the country's government.
Second smartphone from Huawei with eight-core chip teased this week
More details about another Huawei smartphone with eight-core chip have surfaced, including an image showing part of the device. Teased by Huawei CEO Richard Yu last week as forming part of the Ascend P6S, the same MediaTek MT6592 octa-core processor will apparently be appearing in the Huawei Glory 4 sometime in the future.
Carrier still waiting on 4G license from Chinese government
China Mobile is planning to introduce a new brand for its mobile services on December 18th, something that could hint at the iPhone finally arriving on the carrier, says the Wall Street Journal. The brand announcement is expected to take place during Mobile's 4G global partners conference in Guangzhou. The carrier has said it's ready to start 4G services; although it must still wait for the Chinese government to issue 4G licenses, local media has indicated that may happen as soon as next week.
Both ZTE Nubia Z5S devices have 13-megapixel camera, LTE options
ZTE has launched a pair of updates to last year's Nubia Z5, with both smartphones to shop with LTE and 3G options, depending on carrier and region. The Nubia Z5S will have a five-inch 1080p IGZO display, while the smaller Nubia Z5S mini opts for a lower-resolution 720o, 4.7-inch display, and a drop in specification when compared to its full-sized counterpart.
Android vendors other than Samsung see single-digit share
A report from Chinese business data pollsters Analysys combined with shipment reports compiled by DigiTimes indicates that in the fledgling Chinese tablet market, Apple is the surprise winner - dominating sales by a long way over rival Samsung, the only other vendor to achieve double-digit sales. According to the figures, Apple has 51.7 percent of the market, followed by Samsung at 13 percent, with Lenovo at 9.1 percent.