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'China' Articles

Foxconn Planning New Facility to Help Apple Build Prototypes of New Products

Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn is planning to build a new facility next to the iPhone maker's upcoming research and development center in Shenzhen, China, according to Nikkei Asian Review. The report cites an unnamed source who claims the facility will enable Foxconn to "better help Apple create prototypes of new products in this new campus," set to open in 2017. Apple's own facility in Shenzhen, along with plans for another R&D center in Beijing, will allow it to collaborate more closely with Foxconn. Foxconn has two existing large campuses in Shenzhen, where it has reportedly already been developing and testing new products. Most recently, the report claims Foxconn has been trying to build the wireless charging module for next-generation iPhone models expected to launch later this year. iPhones will remain manufactured in the central Chinese city of

Apple Planning to Open Flagship Store in Milan, Italy

Apple is planning to open a flagship retail store underneath Piazza del Liberty, or Liberty Square, in Milan, the most populous metropolitan area in Italy, according to preliminary guidelines approved by the city's planning department last month. Render of planned flagship Apple Store in Milan, Italy The retail store will be developed by architecture firm Foster and Partners, who have partnered with Apple for several of its flagship retail stores around the world and its upcoming Campus 2 headquarters in Cupertino, California. The location is expected to be "one of the most innovative and technological Apple Stores in the world," and it will include an above-ground amphitheater where Apple plans to host at least eight public events of cultural significance per year. The amphitheater will "represent the heart of the square," with steps leading to an intermediate level between the square and the underlying store. An elevator will be included at the plaza level to ensure the store is fully accessible. A large glass screen made from a waterfall will mark the entrance to the store, which will take over the space currently occupied by Apollo Spazio Cinema. No timeline was outlined for completion of the project. Apple's upcoming store in Kunming, China In related news, Apple today announced it will open its next store in Kunming, China on January 21 at 10:00 a.m. local time. (Thanks, setteBIT and Storeteller!)

WeChat Launches Cloud-Based, iMessage App Store-Like 'Mini Program'

Popular Chinese mobile app company WeChat [Direct Link] congratulated Apple on ten years of the iPhone earlier this morning, with founder Allan Zhang posting photos online from the iPhone's unveiling in January 2007. Simultaneously, WeChat parent company Tencent Holdings launched a suite of cloud-based smartphone apps that analysts believe suggests WeChat intends to "play a leading role in the next decade" of the smartphone software business (via The Wall Street Journal). The new platform is called "Mini Program" and is made up of a collection of apps, all stored in the cloud, that users can access without downloading or requiring storage space on their smartphone. Although seemingly a direct counterpart to the iOS App Store and Google Play Store, a Tencent spokeswoman speaking with The Wall Street Journal said that the company "maintained regular dialogue with Apple" throughout the development of Mini Program. WeChat also deliberately avoids calling it an "app store." The company has taken care not to describe Mini Program as an app store, saying it doesn’t have a central location to distribute applications. Apple doesn’t allow third-party app stores in its iOS App Store. Tencent also dropped plans to include the word “app” in its name, calling the features “programs” instead. “Apple won’t let us call it App Accounts, which might turn out to be a good thing,” Tencent Chairman Pony Ma wrote on his WeChat account in September, as Mini Program began beta testing. Although Mini Program provides experiences and programs similar to iOS apps, none are located in a

New Report Delves Into Inner Workings of Foxconn's Zhengzhou iPhone Plant

In a lengthy new article posted online today, The New York Times has delved into the inner workings of Foxconn's major iPhone manufacturing plant in Zhengzhou, China, referred to locally as "iPhone City." The article describes how the facility became one of Apple's major global manufacturing plants, as well as the "hidden bounty of perks, tax breaks, and subsidies" uncovered behind the scenes of Foxconn's operations -- negotiations Apple said it is "not a party to." Looking at the origins of Apple's move to production overseas, the article first details Steve Jobs' decision to manufacture the Macintosh in its facilities in Texas and California in the mid-1980s. Following the company's financial slump in the 1990s, Jobs upon his return made the decision to outsource production in places like China. Partnerships with the likes of Foxconn provided Apple with the "heft and expertise" to create products, including the original iPod, on a massive scale. Workers leaving the Foxconn factory When Apple’s sales took off after the introduction of the iPod in 2001, Foxconn had the heft and expertise to meet the demand that accompanied each hit product. Foxconn’s factories could quickly produce prototypes, increase production and, during peak periods, hire hundreds of thousands of workers. “They have brilliant tooling engineers, and they were willing to invest a lot to keep pace with Apple’s growth,” said Joe O’Sullivan, a former Apple executive who worked in Asia. As the launch of the iPhone approached, Foxconn began scouting locations for a new facility around China and

Apple Enters Agreement With World's Largest Wind Turbine Maker for Clean Energy Projects

Apple recently struck a deal with Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology, known as the world's largest wind turbine maker, which will bring clean energy into the production processes and manufacturing plants of Apple's partner facilities in China (via South China Morning Post). Specifically, Goldwind's wholly-owned subsidiary Beijing Tianrun New Energy Investment will transfer a 30 percent stake each in four project companies to Apple. The subsidiary of Goldwind is focused on the construction and operation of wind power farms and will likely assist Apple in providing clean energy to its many iPhone manufacturing facilities in the region, potentially including well-known assemblers Foxconn and Pegatron. “Apple is committed to powering all of its facilities around the world with 100 per cent renewable energy, and is now working with its suppliers to power Apple’s product manufacturing with renewable energy,” Goldwind said. The details of exactly which supplier, and how much money Apple will spend on the project, were left undisclosed. In the filing sent to the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday by Goldwind, which revealed its partnership with Apple, it was also mentioned that each of the projects will be "cooperative joint ventures" that won't be consolidated solely in Goldwind's financial statements. Both Goldwind and Apple will have more of an equal presence, "since important matters will require unanimous approval by their directors." Apple has always been a proponent of clean energy and general environmental friendliness, this year joining global renewable

Chinese Consumer Group Complains of Spontaneous iPhone 6 Fires, but Apple Blames 'Physical Damage'

As Apple's iPhone 6s is facing scrutiny in China over a battery issue that causes unexpected shutdowns, a Chinese consumer group has complained of a separate problem with the iPhone 6 - spontaneous battery fires. According to the The Wall Street Journal, the Shanghai Consumer Council says it received eight reports from Chinese users claiming their smartphones spontaneously caught on fire, but Apple inspected the devices and says "external physical damage" is to blame. Apple said it analyzed the affected phones and found that the fires followed "external physical damage." The company encouraged customers with issues to visit an Apple store or contact company support. "We appreciate that customers are more concerned than ever about the performance and safety of batteries in their mobile devices," Apple said in a statement.Given that the iPhone 6 has been available since 2014 and there have been a limited number of report about device fires, Apple's physical damage explanation rings true. With the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which had a true faulty part leading to fires, reports from around the world started flooding in just weeks after the device was released. Complaints from Chinese consumer groups over iPhone 6s battery problems led Apple to introduce a repair program for iPhone 6s devices that unexpectedly shut down, and Apple has gone out of its way in China to explain the issue and assure customers that it is not safety related. Apple's repair program will see it providing new batteries to customers with iPhone 6s devices primarily manufactured between

Apple's Next Store Opens in Shanghai on December 10

Apple has announced it will be opening a new retail store at Vanke Mall in Qibao, an ancient town and popular tourist destination in the suburbs of Shanghai, China, on Saturday, December 10 at 10:00 a.m. local time. The location will become Apple's seventh retail store in Shanghai and its 489th store overall. Apple is closing in on 500 retail stores worldwide following the grand openings of its Marché Saint-Germain location in Paris, France and Zhujiang New Town location in Guangzhou, China earlier this month. Apple has opened 20 new retail stores in 2016, excluding the upcoming Shanghai

Apple Hires Former WSJ Reporter as Public Relations Director in China

Apple has hired a former reporter and columnist for The Wall Street Journal, Wei Gu, to its public relations department in Shanghai, China. Gu's role, per LinkedIn (via TechCrunch) will be PR Director, which she began this month. Gu's professional history spans 18 years and includes jobs at CNN and Reuters, working as a video journalist and reporter to break news regarding technology companies based out of the United States. She left The Wall Street Journal in August -- where her work included a focus on a weekly finance column -- and had since been writing and editing a personal blog before joining Apple this month. As Apple continues to boost its presence in China, it makes sense for the company to begin expanding and improving its talent pool in regards to China-based public relations. Just this year, Apple faced issues with Chinese regulators regarding a controversial independent movie which led to the shut down of iTunes and iBooks in the country. Although China has lost ground to Europe and is now Apple's third most profitable market, the company continues to expand its influence within the country, with CEO Tim Cook remaining steadily "optimistic" about Apple's presence in China, recently saying that "China is not as weak as has been talked

iPhone Sales Could Face Major Setback in China if Trump Enacts Trade War

A collection of companies based in the United States could face "impaired" blowback if President-elect Donald Trump follows through with his campaign plan of imposing a 45 percent tariff on imports from China, as well as considering China "a currency manipulator." According to Chinese newspaper Global Times, these actions will not only negatively affect China's reputation, but "the trade atmosphere between China and the US will become more tense" (via The Guardian). In retaliation for the potential trade war, Global Times said that China "will take a tit-for-tat approach," and singled out the airline, automobile, and smartphone industries as some of the first potential targets of the tense relationship between the two countries if Trump decides to commit to his trade plan. Specifically, in regards to Apple and the iPhone, the newspaper said that China will cut iPhone sales in the country and subsequently the device "will suffer a setback" if all of this goes through. China will take a tit-for-tat approach then. A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus. US auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and US soybean and maize imports will be halted. China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the US. Trump cannot change the pattern of interests between China and the US. The gigantic China-US trade is based on mutual benefits and a win-win situation. Even as president, Trump can exert limited influence on it. Despite the potential for such a disruption, Global Sun thinks there's a possibility that the 45 percent tariff on

Xiaomi Unveils 'World's First' 6.4-inch Phone With Edgeless Display

Xiaomi surprised at its Beijing event today by announcing the Mi Mix, the "world's first edgeless display" phone, alongside the company's new Mi Note 2. Designed by French designer Philippe Starck, the Mi Mix is a 6.4-inch device that features a 2040x1080 pixel, 17:9 aspect ratio borderless display that takes up 91.3 percent of the front of the handset. The only significant bezel sits at the bottom of the screen, but it doesn't have a physical button, with all the controls existing onscreen. The all-ceramic phone uses a piezoelectric ceramic driver for the earpiece which uses the metal frame to generate sound, while the proximity sensor has been replaced by ultrasound. Both innovations are hidden under the display. The design also uses a mortise and tenon joint for attaching the display to the body, rather than glue or other adhesives. Powering the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, with 4GB RAM for the 128GB capacity model and 6GB RAM for the 256GB model, which also features gold trim, with 18K gold accents on the camera lens and fingerprint sensor on the back. The rear camera boasts a 16-megapixel resolution and 4K video, while the front camera is 5 megapixels. The phone is also said to have dual SIM connectivity and a 4,400mAh battery with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 support. #MiMIX Edgeless display (world’s 1st), 93% screen-body ratio, piezoelectric ceramic earpiece speaker, behind-display ultrasonic proc sensor pic.twitter.com/33dywzDxKG— Hugo Barra (@hbarra) October 25, 2016 Depicting the Mi Mix in promotional videos reminiscent of the

Xiaomi Seeks to Impress in Premium Space With 5.7-inch 'Mi Note 2' Phone

Xiaomi unveiled its latest phablet phone, the Mi Note 2, at an event in Beijing today, with the clear intention of filling the void left by the ill-fated Samsung Galaxy Note 7. The Note 2 is the newest model in Xiaomi's premium Mi line and features a 5.7-inch flexible OLED display that sits under a panel of wraparound glass and curves around the sides of the handset. On the rear is a 22.56-megapixel camera with support for 4K video, backed up by a dedicated 3-axis gyroscope to enhance image stabilization. An 8-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture features on the front. The Note 2 is powered by a 2.35GHz Snapdragon 821 processor and comes with up to 6GB RAM and 128GB storage capacity. There's also a 4,070mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0 support, plus cellular support for 37 bands worldwide. The Mi Note 2 starts at 2799 yuan ($413) for 64GB storage/4GB RAM, going up to 3499 yuan ($516) with 128GB storage/6GB RAM, and will be available in China first before hitting other Asian markets and presumably other parts of the world. #MiNote2 - front & back 3D curved glass, 5.7” flexible OLED display, SD821 2.35GHz, 37 global bands, 22.56MP camera, RMB3499 pic.twitter.com/4kfCR6ELjx— Hugo Barra (@hbarra) October 25, 2016 Xiaomi's focus on its premium range of phones comes on the back of a shift in consumer interest away from discount devices in the Chinese smartphone market, with buyers seeking out high end phones that can go toe to toe with models from the likes of Apple and Samsung instead. Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo are three Chinese brands that all offer

China 'Shatters' Records and Overtakes U.S. in App Store Revenue by 15% Margin

China has "shattered" records with the highest iOS revenue quarter reported to date, for any country that has been tracked by app intelligence firm App Annie. In total, the country is now the number one largest market in the world for App Store revenue on Apple's iPhone and iPad devices, with its record-breaking number sitting at $1.7 billion for Q3 2016. China is now 15 percent ahead of the U.S. in terms of iOS App Store revenue, with the U.S. sitting just below $1.5 billion on the charts. The U.S. had been the number one market in iOS revenue since 2010. App Annie's report notes that Chinese iOS users spent five times more in applications on iPhone and iPad than they did just two years prior. Much of China's growth is estimated to be on the back of the Games category, a section it also bested the U.S. in during Q2 2016. Much of that is attributed to the worldwide success of Pokémon Go, which is described in the report as achieving "unprecedented global revenue." Besides gaming, popular categories in the iOS App Store in China are Entertainment, Social Networking, Books, and Photo and Video apps. Each category has seen impressive growth from the year-ago quarter, with Entertainment apps increasing 3.5 times from its Q3 2015 revenue and all of the top categories more than tripling in revenue year over year. App Annie predicts that iOS revenue for China will continue to grow, and the country will eventually "drive the largest absolute revenue growth for any country by 2020." Elsewhere in Apple's presence in China, the company recently announced plans to

Apple Announces New R&D Center in Shenzhen, China to Attract Software Developers

Apple announced tonight that it would open a new research and development center in Shenzhen, China, continuing attempts to boost its presence in the country, reports Reuters. The move comes a couple weeks after Apple opened a Beijing R&D center, which was announced in August. Shenzhen's High-Tech Industrial Park, >Photo by Brucke Osteuropa Cook announced the new Shenzhen plan during a meeting with officials from the city. The Apple CEO is reportedly attending a "nation-wide innovation" event. "We are excited to be opening a new Research and Development center here next year so our engineering team can work even more closely and collaboratively with our manufacturing partners," Cupertino-based Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock said in emailed comments.Apple is interested in attracting talented software developers in Shenzhen to its platform. The Cupertino company told Reuters that the new Shenzhen and Beijing centers are aimed at "strengthening relationships" with local partners and universities across the country. The new centers are also seen as the company's response to concern about its future in China, where consumers are opting for low-cost alternatives to the iPhone. Additionally, Apple has experienced a number of road blocks in its China plans, including the closure of the iTunes and iBooks stores. Apple has also set up R&D centers in Japan, Israel and the U.K, and is reportedly planning similar centers in Canada, India, Vietnam and

Apple Opening R&D Center in Zhongguancun, China's 'Silicon Valley'

Apple has set up its first research and development center in China in Zhongguancun Science Park, according to a statement released by the Zhongguancun Park Management Committee (via DigiTimes). Zhongguancun is a technology hub situated in the Haidian District in northwestern Beijing and is very well known in China. Often referred to as "China's Silicon Valley", the area has gathered nearly 20,000 technology enterprises since its emergence in the 1950s. The hub has many local prestigious academy affiliations, and is home to research centers for several global tech companies, including Google, Intel, AMD, Sony, and Microsoft. Zhongguancun main street and plaza in northwestern Beijing, China. . Apple's new R&D center in Zhongguancun has reportedly registered a capital of $15 million, with total investment likely to reach $45 million in the future, according to the park's press release. The center will employ a total of 500 staff and focus on the development of "computer software and hardware products, communication, audio and video devices, as well as advanced technologies for consumer electronics products and the information industry". The R&D facility is expected to complete in 2016 and to be used to integrate Apple's engineering and business teams to increase regional sales and services, according to media reports in China. The news comes on the heels of Apple CEO Tim Cook's announcement last month during a visit to China that an R&D center would be coming to the country "by the end of the year". The move has been seen as a response to the iPhone's

Supplier Lens Technology Commits to 100 Percent Renewable Energy for Apple Manufacturing

Apple today announced that Lens Technology, one of its major suppliers in China, has committed to power all its glass production for Apple with 100 percent renewable energy by 2018. The commitment is a large step in Apple's efforts to help manufacturers lower their carbon footprint in China. Lens Technology has committed to power all of its glass production for Apple with 100 percent renewable energy by the end of 2018, as part of Apple’s industry-leading supply chain clean energy program announced last year. Lens is the first supplier to make a clean energy commitment for all of its Apple production, and will meet its goal through an unprecedented power purchase agreement with local wind projects.The Cupertino company also announced that all 14 of its final assembly sites in the country are now compliant with UL's Zero Waste to Landfill validation. The standard, which started in January 2015, certifies that all manufacturing waste is reused, recycled, composted, or converted into energy (when necessary). Since the program began, nearly, 140,000 metric tons of waste have been diverted from landfills. "We want to show the world that you can manufacture responsibly and we're working alongside our suppliers to help them lower their environment impact in China," Lisa Jackson, Apple's VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives said in a statement. "We congratulate Lens for their bold step, and hope by sharing the lessons we've learned in our transition to renewable energy, our suppliers will continue to access clean power projects, moving China closer to its green

Tim Cook Announces R&D Center to Be Built in China 'By the End of the Year'

Apple is planning an all-new research and development center in China, attempting to boost its presence and market share in the country following multiple reports of the iPhone's dwindling returns as users flock towards low-cost alternatives. The R&D center, said "to be built by the end of the year," will mark Apple's first location of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region (via Reuters). The announcement comes from Apple CEO Tim Cook, on a visit in China this week, who spoke with Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli on Tuesday and detailed the company's plans for the center. Those details weren't specifically disclosed to the public, so it's still unclear where the new R&D center will be located, or how many employees it might house. Apple's new research and development center will be built by the end of the year, Cook told Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, one of China's most senior officials, according to the official Chinese state broadcaster. The pledge comes after the head of China's industry and technology regulator in May told Cook he hoped Apple could deepen its cooperation with the country in research and development and stressed information security. Cook's August trip marks his second visit to China this year, following a tour of Beijing in May where he met with App Store developers and Didi Chuxing president Jean Liu. Although once Apple's second largest market in the world, the company announced during last month's earnings report that its revenue in China dropped 33 percent year-over-year, ultimately allowing Europe to overtake China as its second biggest market, following

Low-Cost Devices Fuel China's Smartphone Market as iPhone Sales Dip

In China, low-cost smartphones have brought an overall uptick in sales in the second quarter of 2016, while high-end devices -- from companies like Apple and Samsung -- continue to face declining sales numbers in the country (via DigiTimes). Local vendors in China are said to be "focused on promoting entry-level and mid-range 4G models," instead of trying to convince the Chinese public that Apple or Samsung's smartphones are worth the higher price points. Specifically, smartphone shipments totaled 149 million units in Q2 2016, increasing 2.7 percent from Q1 2016 and 14.3 percent from the year-ago quarter. This surge comes from China's top-selling smartphone companies (in order of smartphone market share in China): Huawei (14 percent), Oppo (12.7 percent), Vivo (11.2 percent), and Xiaomi (10.4 percent). Apple comes in fifth place, "with its market share falling into a single-digit range," although the specific number wasn't disclosed. Sales of high-end models from Apple and Samsung Electronics continued to suffer declines in the second quarter as local smartphone vendors focused on promoting entry-level and mid-range 4G models capitalizing on subsidies offered by the top-three telecom operators, Digitimes Research noted. The double-digit shipment growth rates enjoyed by China-based smartphone vendors in the first two quarters of 2016 were higher than the growth rates of smartphones shipped to consumers from retail channel operators, resulting in an increasing pile-up of inventories at channels. As it was reported earlier in the summer, low-cost devices that are

Apple's Huge Investment in Didi Chuxing Was Behind Uber China Deal

Over the weekend we reported that Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing had agreed to acquire the Chinese operations of rival Uber in a deal worth $35 billion. In a Reuters story filed yesterday, sources close to both companies revealed that Apple's $1 billion investment in Didi Chuxing was the driving factor in Uber's decision to agree to the deal, in return for a one-fifth stake in a bigger Didi. "The Apple investment is one of the factors that influenced the decision," a person close to the companies told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "Both sides raised enormous amounts of capital. They were probably thinking this was going to escalate to nuclear warfare, which raised the question: do we really want to assure mutual destruction?"According to the sources, Didi raised far more money than Uber China, which was forced to subsidize its operations in the country using profits it had made in the U.S., Canada, and about 100 cities elsewhere. The company's relinquishment of its independence in China marks the first failure in Uber's strategy of outspending its biggest competitors. In June, Didi secured $7.3 billion in funding from investors including Apple, China Life Insurance Co Ltd, Ant Financial and other new shareholders, giving the company a $28 billion valuation that made it the world's third highest-valued start-up. The company says it now has $10.5 billion in available funds, thanks to backing from Chinese Internet giants Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings. "Apple's investment in Didi likely spurred Uber to think harder about doing

Xiaomi Surprises With MacBook Lookalike 'Mi Notebook Air'

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi had a surprise in store for attendees of its new Redmi Pro smartphone launch event today, unveiling its first ever PC laptop, named the "Mi Notebook Air". The familiar-named $750 aluminum notebook closely resembles a MacBook and features a 13.3-inch 1080p display, up to 2.7GHz Intel Core i5-6200U processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB solid-state storage, and a discrete Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics card. Connectivity-wise, there's a USB-C port included for charging, 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x HDMI, and a headphone jack. Xiaomi claimed a 9.5 hour battery life for the notebook, which weighs 2.82 pounds. The company also announced a smaller 12.5-inch (2.36 pounds) model with an Intel Core M3 CPU, 4GB RAM, a 128GB SSD, and integrated graphics, costing $540 in total. Both laptops have a full-size backlit keyboard. The Windows-installed machines will be available in China from August 2, but no details regarding global availability have been given. According to CNET, Xiaomi partner Tian Mi will manufacture the Mi Notebook Air. Rumors that the smartphone maker was seeking to enter the PC laptop market have been bubbling for a while, and its unapologetically titled debut offering leaves no doubt the company is seeking to emulate – not to mention compete against – Apple in the Chinese market, albeit in the form of a more budget-conscious package. Xiaomi saw flat revenues last year, with the struggling smartphone sector making up 90 percent of its sales. The move shows the company sees untapped potential in the Chinese consumer notebook

Apple's Q3 2016 Revenue Drops 33% in Greater China as Europe Regains Position as Second Biggest Market

In today's third quarter earnings report, Apple revealed a significant drop in revenue from Greater China, which is down 33 percent year over year. Revenue from China was at $8.9 billion in Q3 2016, down from $13 billion in Q3 2015. During the followup earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company continues to be encouraged about growth in the country despite the decline in revenue and remains "very optimistic about growth opportunities." He said Apple's underlying business is stronger in China than the results imply, with the iPhone install base in the country up 34 percent year over year. Cook cited statistics from China Mobile, one of the largest carriers in the country, which says it sells more iPhones than any other smartphone. According to Cook, channel inventory reduction and currency headwinds have impacted business in the region and presented some significant economic challenges. Despite this, Cook continues to feel "really good" about Apple's business in China, pointing towards the opening of the 41st retail store in Greater China and a recent $1 billion investment in Didi Chuxing. With revenue in China down 33 percent, Europe has regained its position as Apple's second biggest market after the United States, bringing in $9.6 billion in revenue during the