Effort still in earliest stages
For Apple, getting Apple Pay working in China is a major priority, CEO Tim Cook tells China's state-run Xinhua news agency. "China is a really key market for us," he says. "Everything we do, we are going to work it here. Apple Pay is on the top of the list." He adds, however, that the company still has to learn the steps needed to bring Apple Pay to China, and has yet to meet with local banks, merchants, and carriers.
Move comes as the company looks to strengthen services on a global scale
Xiaomi announced this week that it's taking steps to strengthen its services across the globe after an expanded server infrastructure effort started earlier in the year. As a part of the server expansion, the company said that data from international users of Xiaomi products is being transferred out of the central data centers in Beijing.
Factory will require government investment
Apple's chief assembly partner, Foxconn, is hoping to gain orders for iPhone displays by building a new factory in Zhengzhou, China, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The company is allegedly in talks with Zhengzhou's government about getting financial help for the factory, which could cost up to 35 billion yuan, or about $5.7 billion. One of the topics under discussion is how much money local government would have to invest in the project.
Argues China will become company's biggest market
As part of his trip to China, Apple CEO Tim Cook has told local media that the company is planning to open 25 stores in Greater China during the next two years. "Greater" China includes not just mainland China but Hong Kong and Taiwan. So far there are no Apple Stores in Taiwan, but there are three in Hong Kong and a dozen on the mainland, most of those being split between Beijing and Shanghai.
CEO as already met with Vice Premier Ma Kai over China iCloud attacks
Apple CEO Tim Cook has posted a picture from his latest trip to China on Twitter, showing him sharing a laugh with a factory worker named Zhang Fan, who helps assemble the iPhone 6 at a factory in Zhengzhou. While Foxconn's factories manufacture equipment for a wide variety of technology firms including Google, Microsoft and others, Cook is the only CEO to routinely visit the facilities and personally investigate conditions and safety at the plants. He called the meeting with Zhang "an early highlight" of the trip.
Chinese government so far denying involvement
Apple CEO Tim Cook met with China's Vice Premier Ma Kai in Beijing on Wednesday to discuss man-in-the-middle attacks against iCloud users, according to Reuters and China's state-run Xinhua news agency. Reuters notes that the Chinese government has so far denied allegations of involvement, which in particular tied the attacks to the state firewall used to censor Internet access in the country. As for the meeting, Xinhua says only that the pair shared views on "protection of users' information" and "strengthening cooperation and in information and communication fields."
Involvement of Chinese government uncertain
Apple is aware of "intermittent organized network attacks" against people trying to sign into iCloud.com, says Dow Jones. It insists, however, that iCloud servers haven't been breached, and that people using iOS or the latest version of OS X -- Yosemite -- should be unaffected. The company doesn't specifically mention China, which is where the browser hijacks are taking place.
Chinese launch weighting phone's demand
Apple may, for a second time, have to adjust the ratios of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus production to more equally favor the Plus, sources tell Digitimes. Earlier this month, the company is said to have noticed that global demand for the Plus was stronger than expected, and adjusted accordingly. After last weekend's launch in China, though, the company is said to have discovered strong demand there, too. Chinese buyers wanting a regular iPhone 6 can reportedly buy one without much trouble, but face a long wait if they opt for the bigger phone.
Emerging markets, price cuts, back to school seen as key factors
In what CEO Tim Cook called the "best ever" quarter for the Mac, Apple's Mac lineup overall jumped a remarkable 25 percent in a single quarter to 5.52 million units. Making the event more noteworthy is the fact that the growth was achieved prior to any notable refreshes. Instead, what appears to be driving the increase in Mac sales is volume in emerging markets, such as China - where Macs were up 54 percent year-over-year. Price cuts and great back-to-school sales also contributed to the jump.
Company's performance generally healthy
In the wake of its official announcement, Apple has posted a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its Q4 financial results. On a regional basis the company did well in most cases, for instance increasing Americans revenue 17 percent year-over-year to $16.247 billion, and European revenue 19 percent to $9.535 billion. "Greater" China -- including Hong Kong and Taiwan -- advanced 1 percent to $5.778 billion, and Japan was up 5 percent to $3.507 billion. Only the rest of the Asia Pacific region saw problems, with revenue dipping 3 percent to $1.923 billion. Global retail sales rose 15 percent to $5.133 billion.
Users being redirected to dummy sites
China's state firewall is currently hijacking attempts to visit iCloud.com or Microsoft's login gateway, login.live.com, redirecting people to dummy websites, reports say. People visiting iCloud.com through Firefox or Chrome will see a warning page, but visitors with Qihoo -- the most popular browser in China -- are being forwarded directly to a dummy site with no obvious signs it isn't Apple's. It's believed that the Chinese government may be trying to harvest iCloud and Microsoft logins.
Hardware appeared to be sourced from Alibaba, software straight OpenWRT
Following allegations casting doubt on the project, the TOR-based Anonabox Kickstarter project has been terminated. Since the launch of the security-minded Anonabox, and nearly instant completion of funding goals, commenters and other figures questioned the source of the hardware, the actual security of the device, and criticized the lack of a promised and complete open-sourcing of the code.
Preorder system, midnight carrier debuts credited
The Sanlitun Apple Store in Beijing, one of the company's most important in China, was witness to a "low-key" iPhone 6 launch Friday morning, says the Wall Street Journal. As close as an hour before store opening, just a handful of people had lined up, even less than the 24 security guards Apple had on site. The line grew to around 100 people by launch, but composed entirely of preorder customers with assigned pickup times. People without preorder reservations simply waited for their turn to get in line.
New company to launch under new brand in 2015, focus on Internet-based sales
Lenovo is taking a new approach to its mobile strategy ,according to a statement it released today. The PC and mobile communications company has indicated that it is creating a new device company and brand for the emerging market in China. The unnamed company will operate separately from Lenovo, focusing on Internet-based sales. The new brand is being positioned as a direct competitor for Xiaomi, a startup that has rapidly grown its market share since its entry into the device market in 2010.
One week prior to official roll-out, China carriers seeing US-like levels of demand
Official pre-orders for the iPhone 6 finally went live in China early Friday morning, with more than a million orders being taken in the first six hours of availability. The new pre-orders would be different from the more than nine million "reservations" taken by other carriers and resellers, meaning that opening weekend sales -- which are scheduled to open in China on October 17 -- could easily surpass the combined first-weekend sales of the nine countries the iPhone 6 line debuted to in September.
Variant of HTC One M8 has higher-resolution rear camera, retains other specifications
A version of the HTC One M8 spotted before the launch of the Desire Eye will be going on sale in China this month. The HTC One M8 Eye is effectively the same as the original smartphone, except the rear 4-megapixel Ultrapixel camera has been replaced by a larger 13-megapixel sensor, though it still retains the Duo Camera system and associated depth-related functionality.
6 Plus proving unusually popular
Chinese reservations for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are already over the four million mark, reports Tencent. The devices hit the 2 million mark just a few hours after reservations opened and have now doubled after a full day. The new data is said to have been culled directly from companies processing the reservations for carriers and retailers.
Most shoppers going for 64GB models
Carriers and retailers have booked over two million reservations for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, in just the first six hours of the option becoming available, according to local news sources ITHome and Sina. Most of the initial reservations are said to be for 64GB models of the phones, even though both are far more expensive than their counterparts in the US. A 64GB iPhone 6 in China costs the equivalent of $991, while a 64GB 6 Plus is $1,122. In the US -- without a contract -- the same hardware is $749 and $849.
Holdup revealed to be privacy concerns by regulators, October 10 still rumored debut
[Update: Apple official announcement reveals China debut of iPhone 6, 6 Plus on October 17] The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have now finally been cleared by the country's regulatory agency for sale in China, and will formally debut on October 17, Apple says. According to Bloomberg, the holdup was apparently over some privacy concerns brought up by Chinese authorities. The company agreed to make some changes, which may or may not be included in the forthcoming iOS 8.1 beta, and received the clearance to use Chinese LTE and 3G networks.
Long-delayed device hampered by regulatory approval process
While it is currently possible to legally buy an iPhone 6 in some parts of the regional "Greater China" area (such as Hong Kong or Taiwan) the country of China itself -- which manufactures and assembles the new iPhones - ironically does not yet offer them for sale, due to a cumbersome regulatory process. This may finally be changing, as various reports out of the region indicated that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will finally debut in China on Friday, October 10.
'Bendghazi' controversy not phasing sales, swift refutation by Apple credited
After falling four percent on Thursday, Apple's stock closed out the week by bouncing back and regaining more than half the drop as Wall Street reacted positively to the company's refutation of the "bending" controversy. Some new questions are being raised about the original video that started the kerfuffle, as careful observation reveals that the video was edited (and the reported noted in the video that his iPhone 6 was already slightly bent before demonstrating the flaw). Investment firms Stifel Nicolaus and BMO Capital Markets have both raised their target prices for AAPL.
Small delay keeps console on track to be first console since ban lift, 1,300 units sold in Japan
The delay of the Xbox One's release in China appears to only be a small hiccup for Microsoft. Reuters reports that the console will be going on sale on September 29, pushing the console back less than a week from its initial launch date of September 23. Meanwhile, sales of the console in Japan have sunk even lower, hitting approximately 1,300 units sold in its third week on the market.
News already driving down black market prices
The Chinese government has said it is close to certifying the iPhone 6 for sale in the country, according to CNBC's Eunice Yoon. The reporter adds that the news is already resulting in lower black market prices, given views that official sales through Apple and local carriers could begin soon. At the moment, the base model of the iPhone 6 is selling for about $1,900, while the 6 Plus is valued at roughly $3,250. The most popular colors are said to be gold and space gray, which can fetch a premium as high as $500.
DuckDuckGo unavailable in China since start of month
The privacy-centric search engine DuckDuckGo is unable to be used in China. Selling itself as a service which does not collect personal information about its users, DuckDuckGo has been inaccessible in the country since earlier this month, and though there is no official explanation from any party, it is believed to be an act of censorship by the Chinese government.
Microsoft says it needs more time to ready 'the best experiences possible'
The Xbox One has hit a snag, just as it was readying for a September 23 release of the console in China. Only disclosing that it was seeking to create a better experience, Microsoft announced that the console wouldn't release until later this year. In January, the Chinese government lifted the ban on the sale of foreign video game consoles, positioning Microsoft to sell the first legal console in the country since the ban was implemented in 2000.
iPhones 'still made in sweatshops,' group says
The launch of the iPhone 6 at Apple's Hong Kong store has been tumultuous, accounts say. Police were brought in to disperse people waiting in line without reservations, and a regional activist group -- Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, or SACOM -- took advantage of the event to protest what it says are ongoing abuses by Apple suppliers. The group unfurled a large banner over the store reading "iSlave 6, Harsher than harsher, Still made in sweatshops," and published a new document about a nearly year-long investigation into one of Apple's most important suppliers, Pegatron.
Official states charges are 'groundless,' believes US should focus on upholding security
In a press conference today, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei responded to the government sponsored hacking allegations from the United States. In an unclassified report from the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the body accused the Chinese military of being responsible for at least 20 successful attacks on US Transportation Command (Transcom) contractors.
Handset can't go on sale until both given, reason for delay unknown
Apple has obtained one approval in the process of bringing the new line of iPhones in China, moving closer to being able to sell the coveted device in the market. Another critical approval for network access is still needed, which led to concerns last week about the handset not being available for some time in the country. China was originally planned to be in the first wave of countries receiving the iPhone 6.
Police largely silent during pre-announcement era
Chinese police have arrested a 40-year-old Foxconn worker, identified only by the surname Qiao, for stealing iPhone 6 shells from a factory in Jincheng, according to the state-run Taihang Daily. The person was detained on September 4, and is specifically accused of selling six of the shells for 6,000 yuan (about $960) to a gadget market in Shenzhen, where a number of electronics makers are located.
Exact sources of leaks unclear
Photos from websites in China and Vietnam show what are claimed to be completed iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units, even though the products are only officially shipping on Friday. In Vietnam, the devices are said to have been spotted in a Red River restaurant by an Associated Press reporter. To gauge their authenticity, the reporter tested apps like Messages and Siri. Chinese images of the phones stem from people on MacX's forums.
Timing of Chinese launch uncertain
Apple Pay will at some point make it to China by way of China UnionPay, a source tells Caixin. UnionPay is a state-supported bank card company, and has reportedly reached a deal with Apple that will allow Apple Pay to link to its cards. It's not clear though when the platform will reach China, or even when the iPhone 6/6 Plus will ship to the country.
Qualcomm 'nearly done,' Microsoft well underway
Following international criticism, China's antitrust regulators vigorously defended ongoing antitrust actions. With concern from other nations growing over 30 multinational firms coming under fire for alleged anti-trust activity, the three heads of China's anti-trust regulatory agencies stood fast with their convictions that what they are doing is being accomplished "legally, transparently and fairly," according to China's Premier Li Keqiang.
No replacement launch date indicated, could be tied to lack of government approval
The New York Times reported today that Apple has informed the big three carriers and retail stores in China that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will not be launched in the country on the September 19 release date. Executives at the carriers said that the manufacturer didn't inform them why the phones were delayed, but it came to shock -- as advertising campaigns were put in place touting the same release date as the United States.
Source of specs presumably only rumors
Carrier China Telecom has launched a preorder page for the iPhone 6 -- despite the device being unannounced, reports note. The page uses rendered mockups of the device, and makes claims about specifications. While three of these are generally considered certain -- a 4.7-inch screen, an A8 processor, and a Touch ID sensor -- Telecom is also asserting that it will have a 416ppi resolution, a 2,100mAh battery, and a three-megapixel front-facing camera.
Violations include excessive overtime, lack of protective gear
Another Apple supplier, Catcher Technology, is being accused of violating labor and safety standards, according to The New York Times. The paper says that two groups -- Green America, an environmental non-profit, and China Labor Watch -- have found that workers at a Catcher-owned factory in Suqian, China are being forced to work excessive overtime and in unsafe conditions. Although Catcher has contracts with other electronics firms, Apple is a major client, for whom it produces metal iPad and MacBook shells.
World's largest carrier inadvertently confirms 4.7- and 5.5-inch models
China Mobile, the top carrier in China with over 800 million subscribers (and more than 20 million LTE users), opened pre-orders for the iPhone 6 to Beijing customers on Tuesday. Surprisingly, the carrier has seemingly confirmed the existence of two models, at 4.7 and 5.5 inches, and reported over 33,000 preorders in the first few hours. Customers can also save a place in line for the (unrevealed) debut date through the company's website.
Weibo posting about Windows 9 Start Menu quickly pulled from view
Microsoft's Chinese business arm may have jumped the gun, by mistakenly promoting Windows 9 too early. The company's regional Weibo account reportedly put an image up promoting the next iteration of Microsoft's operating system along with a question hinting at the Start Menu, a posting which has since been removed from view.
Latest remarks give Microsoft 20 days to respond to anti-trust complaints
China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has questioned Microsoft Vice President Chen Shi regarding allegations of abuse of Microsoft's monopoly on operating systems, productivity software, and browsers in the country. As part of the questioning, Microsoft has been given 20 days to respond to complaints alleging that Microsoft's use of serialization of software may have violated China's anti-monopoly laws.
Chinese MSN Messenger service closure marks end of app's 15-year life
Microsoft is ready to close the last remnants of MSN Messenger, also known as Windows Live Messenger, on October 31st. Chinese users have reportedly received a notification of its shutdown via e-mail, encouraging users to migrate over to Microsoft's other messaging service, Skype, before the service is terminated in the country.
Microsoft, SAIC refuse comment on reports of executive's travel
Sources close to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella claim that the executive is slated to visit China in late September. While the visit is scheduled, and has been for at least two weeks, unclear is whether Nadella will visit the Chinese government, or attempt to clear up any issues related to the China State Administration for Industry and Commerce's (SAIC) antitrust examination of the software giant.
Apple tries to assuage privacy concerns
Apple is now hosting Chinese iCloud content on a mainland datacenter operated by China Telecom, the company has confirmed to Reuters. Questions were raised when the city of Fuzhou posted a notice on its website confirming the transfer of content to the datacenter, but then retracted the statement. The message indicated that Apple actually began the project 15 months ago, but only finished it on August 8th.
First quarter results from reveal boost in movile devices, desktop computers
Device maker Lenovo has released its financials for the first quarter ending June 30, revealing revenues of $10.4 billion. While the company posted a year-over-year increase in overall revenues, figures from the smartphone sales shows a more revealing number, with sales tallying more than 15.8 million units, an increase of 39 percent. Income increased to $214 million, a 22 percent increase, while earnings grew 23 percent to $214 million. Gross profit increased 13 percent, to $1.3 billion.
Executive outlines technology tied to server reporting, changes including ability to opt-in
Since last month, Chinese phone and tablet manufacturer Xiaomi has been under suspicion of data practices that could be considered harmful to its user base, including the discovery of spyware installed in the Star N9500. Recent reports, and testing by a security firm, indicates that Xiaomi's smart phones, including the RedMi 1S, are reporting information back to servers in China.
Internal memo says Apple is donating to relief charities
(Updated with precise donation figure) Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued an internal memo expressing "deepest sympathies" to the victims of this weekend's earthquake in Yunnan, China, and promoting the company's related charity efforts. "Our deepest sympathies go out to the people of China's Yunnan Province, which was struck by a devastating 6.5-magnitude earthquake over the weekend," he writes. "Nearly 600 people died and over 2400 were injured in the worst earthquake to hit the region in 100 years. Rescuers have evacuated 230,000 people who are now displaced from their homes. The road to Longtoushan Township, the epicenter of the quake, has been blocked by landslides, making the rescue effort there even more challenging.
Apple never applied to be on energy-saving list, all parties say
The Chinese Central Government Procurement Center -- as well as the Finance Ministry, and Apple itself -- have all denied a recent Bloomberg report claiming that Apple had been deliberately excluded from procurement lists for security reasons, according to Reuters. It had been said that Chinese government agencies were newly banned from buying devices like iPads and MacBooks. All three parties involved now say, however, that Apple never applied to be on the list in question to begin with.
Former employees get a $162 phone if they leave, but limited to 300 offers a day
It seems that Microsoft is trying to sweeten the pot to get workers to leave the Nokia factory and research and design center in Beijing. The software company is offering any of the former employees at the Nokia locations a free phone if they voluntarily split from the company. The offer is part of Microsoft's plans to eliminate about 4,700 jobs in the Beijing locations.
Cites security concerns
[Updated with Chinese government denial] The Chinese government has excluded 10 Apple products from its latest procurement list dictating which products can be bought using public funds, according to officials cited by Bloomberg. Among the banned products are all variations of the MacBook and the iPad, but not the iPhone or other Mac models. The products were on a June version of the list, but are said to have been left out as of July due to security worries, though another report quotes government officials as denying this.
Raids focusing on financial data, other marketing information about Windows
New raids by the Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce against Microsoft have taken place, related to the ongoing antitrust investigation against the software giant. Raids on Microsoft took place yesterday in Beijing, Liaoning, Fujian, and Hubei, with a related event happening at Microsoft's financial firm Accenture in Dalian.
Firm states that Chinese company overtook Samsung on weak shipment quarter
Research firm Canalys ushered in some less-than-welcome news for Samsung this week, as the firm indicates that the Korean electronics manufacturer has lost the leading smartphone spot in China. Xiaomi, a Chinese manufacturer that has rapidly risen in popularity, has claimed the top spot for market share in the country, dethroning Samsung on the back of weak quarterly results.
Kaspersky, Symantec said to be excluded from procurement lists, could be due to security concerns
One of China's state-sponsored media channels is indicating that the government has removed all foreign-made software from its list of approved security software purchases. Newspaper The People's Daily posted on Twitter yesterday, indicating that Kaspersky and Symantec are now excluded from the country's government procurement channels.