Beijing Stories November 23, 2015

joy-city

Apple is making good progress with its aim of having 40 retail stores open in China by next October, announcing that the 27th store will be opening on Saturday in the Chaoyang Joy City shopping mall, Beijing. It will be the fifth Apple Store to open in China’s capital city.

Apple has doubled its year-on-year revenue from China for two quarters running, with the country already representing a larger market than Europe and on track to become a bigger one that the USA …  expand full story

Beijing Stories October 22, 2015

cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is currently visiting China, has told the official Xinhua news agency that nothing has changed Apple’s view of the country.

I know some people are worried about the economy. We’ll continue to invest. China is a superb place to be. Nothing has changed that … 

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Beijing Stories July 27, 2015

fake-iphone6

Beijing police have raided and closed down a factory which employed hundreds of workers on six production lines to make more than 41,000 counterfeit iPhones – some of which made it to the United States, reports Reuters. The total value of the fake phones was estimated at 120M Yuan ($19M). While the raid took place in May, Chinese authorities only shared details yesterday.

Police arrested nine people, including a married couple who led the operation, after a raid in May on the factory, run under the guise of a gadget maintenance shop on the northern outskirts of the Chinese capital.

The investigation was prompted by a tip-off from U.S. authorities after some of the fake phones made it to the USA …  expand full story

Beijing Stories June 1, 2015

Screenshot 2015-06-01 10.22.19

Jay Blahnik, one of the lead directors behind the health and fitness functionality in iOS 8 and the Apple Watch, is continuing to host events at Apple Stores. At the end of April, Blahnik held an interview with Christy Turlington Burns at an Apple Store in the United Kingdom, and now Blahnik is making his way to Australia and Asia. Late last week, Blahnik held a Q/A session in Australia with personal trainer Michelle Bridges. Here are videos of Blahnik discussing the importance of walking along with other health tips with Bridges:

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Beijing Stories November 12, 2014

President Obama and President Xi Jinping in Beijing (photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

President Obama and President Xi Jinping in Beijing (photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

A trade agreement reached between the U.S. and China looks set to reduce Apple’s manufacturing costs by removing import tariffs on components imported into the country.

Apple uses components from a number of countries around the world, notably Korea and Japan, which are imported into China for the assembly of iPhones, iPads and Macs. China currently imposes import tariffs on these components. The new deal would allow companies like Apple, Microsoft and HP to bring components into China free from these charges …  expand full story

Beijing Stories November 3, 2014

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Tim Cook speaking at a conference in China

Apple is seeking to cement its business position in China for the long-term with an expansion of its Cupertino-based Apple University program to the region, according to a person with knowledge of the plans. Apple Vice President and Dean of Apple University Joel Podolny is currently interviewing candidates for a new Dean of Apple University position for China, according to the source.

Started in 2008, Apple University is an extensive and growing program within corporate Apple that trains mid-level employees and managers on the decisions made by Steve Jobs and other key executives throughout the company’s resurgence. Jobs created the program alongside former Yale School of Business Dean Podolny in order to keep the culture of Apple alive well beyond the lifetime of executives key to Apple’s early success.

The expansion of Apple University to China will mark a key step in Apple’s history as a global company. It will be the first time Apple has fully expanded the exclusive program to another region, indicating that it wants to extend its presence in China beyond mostly just sales and operations, like it has done in the United States. Apple has previously offered a minimal amount of courses in other regions and has flown-in professors. With many Apple suppliers headquartered in China, it is likely that a notable portion of the Apple University classes in China will be geared toward product engineering and manufacturing matters…

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Beijing Stories October 23, 2014

shanghai-apple-store

Tim Cook noted during Monday’s earnings call that Apple was “investing like crazy” in China, but he took the opportunity of his current visit to the country to put a specific number on the company’s retail expansion plans: it will open 25 new Apple Stores in Greater China within the next two years. Greater China includes both Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Speaking to local media, Cook also said that China would in time become Apple’s biggest market, reports the WSJ …  expand full story

Beijing Stories October 22, 2014

tim-cook-china

Two days after evidence emerged of a phishing attack on iCloud, allegedly due to the Chinese government firewall redirecting traffic to a fake login page, the Chinese state news agency Xinhuanet is reporting a meeting in Beijing between Tim Cook and Chinese vice premier Ma Kai.

Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai and Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday exchanged views on protection of users’ information during their meeting in Zhongnanhai, the central authority’s seat. They also exchanged views on strengthening cooperation in information and communication fields.

The Chinese government censors access to the Internet by deploying a country-wide firewall which blocks certain sites and which can redirect traffic from sites the government dislikes to officially-sanctioned ones … expand full story

Beijing Stories October 17, 2014

china

The iPhone 6/Plus finally went on sale in China this morning after regulatory delays, in contrast to last year’s launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c in China on the same day as the US …  expand full story

Beijing Stories September 16, 2014

iphone-colors

Bloomberg is quoting a report from the major Chinese business paper 21st Century Business Herald that the iPhone 6 may not go on sale in China this year due to regulatory delays. Apple was unable to confirm a launch date in the country.

Apple may have to wait until next year to get approval for new iPhones in China after failing to reach agreement with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology this month, the 21st Century Business Herald reported today, citing an unidentified person close to Apple.

Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based spokeswoman for Apple, said she couldn’t provide a date for the China release. “China is a key market for us and we will get here as soon as possible,” Wu said in an e-mail today …

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Beijing Stories July 9, 2014

Court rejects Apple’s attempt to dismiss claim that Siri infringes Chinese patent

Reuters reports that a Chinese court has rejected Apple’s attempt to dismiss a claim by local company Zhizhen Internet Technology that Siri infringed its speech-recognition patent.

Zhizhen Internet Technology first alleged in 2012 that Apple’s Siri technology copied parts of its Xiao i Robot software, with pre-trial proceedings taking place last year. Apple said that it had not been aware of the patent when work began on Siri, and asked China’s State Intellectual Property Office to declare the patent invalid.

The Chinese patent office declined Apple’s request, leading Apple to file suit against it. It is this suit that has been rejected, leaving Zhizhen free to pursue its case against Apple.

Apple has said it intends to appeal to the Beijing Higher People’s Court, but suggested that a settlement might be reached by adding that “we remain open to reasonable discussions with Zhizhen.”

The backend for Siri was originally developed by Nuance, the company behind Dragon Dictate, though there have been persistent rumors that Apple plans to replace this with its own technology.

Image credit: forbes.com

Beijing Stories March 20, 2014

A man holds a new Apple iPhone 5S next to his iPhone 5 at an Apple Store at Tokyo's Ginza shopping district

Photo: readwrite.com

China Mobile announced that it sold 1.34M 4G handsets in February and that “most of them” were iPhones. China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua was relatively non-committal on the numbers.

It’s just been getting started for one or two months. So far it’s hard to tell how that will affect our business […]

We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities.

Analyst estimates of likely sales had varied widely. Most had predicted at least 15-17M sales a year in China as a whole, however, suggesting that 1M in a month on what is by far the country’s largest carrier may be somewhat lower than anticipated …  expand full story

Beijing Stories January 15, 2013

Report: Apple plans to open R&D center in Beijing

According to a report from Chinese news portal Tencent Tech (via MacRumors), Apple CEO Tim Cook’s recent trip to China included talks regarding a new R&D center in Beijing. The report also claimed Cook said Apple will “move a certain amount of its servers for App Store and iTunes to China in order to improve the downloading speed for users in China.”

The servers could point to Apple’s new Hong Kong data center, but the report also noted Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province, or Inner Mongolia as potential locations for a new data center.

At a meeting with Beijing’s acting mayor Wang Anshun on January 8, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company plans to set up an R&D center in Beijing, an unnamed insider source told Tencent Tech today. Cook also noted that Apple will move a certain amount of its servers for App Store and iTunes to China in order to improve the downloading speed for users in China.

Beijing Stories November 16, 2012

Desperate Chinese housewives on trial for iPad and iPhone-smuggling

The grey market for iPhones in China is no secret, with thousands of the devices smuggled from places like Hong Kong and the U.S. back into Mainland China for sale by scalpers. Today, Reuters reported that 26 suppliers of one of China’s largest online grey market iPhone dealers, Lanyou Shuma.com, are currently on trial in a Shenzhen court. According to local reports, many of the suppliers accused in the case are “described as housewives who frequently travel to Hong Kong.” Citing various local newspapers, Reuters said the housewives were usually paid 20 Yuan to 30 Yuan for each phone smuggled back to China, with 25 of the defendants accused of smuggling both iPads and iPhones:

On Wednesday, 26 suppliers of Lanyou Shuma.com were tried in a Shenzhen court as part of five rings that smuggled more than 162,000 mobile phones worth over 500 million yuan ($80 million) from Hong Kong over the past two years, the Beijing News said.

Half of the suspects are described as housewives who frequently travel to Hong Kong, according to another newspaper, the Southern Metropolis Daily, adding that they were paid 20 to 30 yuan in commission for each phone they brought back to the mainland

The Lanyou Shuma.com digital store, once one of the largest on China’s Taobao Marketplace, was forced to close in April by Taobao after Hong Kong authorities launched an investigation on possible smuggling of the iPhone 4S, the Beijing News said.

Beijing Stories October 18, 2012

We told you a couple weeks back that Apple plans to open its third retail store in Beijing on Oct. 20. The new Wangfujing Street store will open at 9 a.m., but Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail John Browett today gave press in Beijing a preview of the three-story location that happens to be Apple’s biggest retail store in Asia. Browett also confirmed Apple will open another store in Shenzhen.

Below, we get some shots of the new store’s 360-degree Genius Bars, three-story glass staircase, and more (courtesy of M.I.C Gadget): expand full story

Beijing Stories October 14, 2012

Apple will occupy the bottom of this building

Apple’s retail store expansion continues in China, as the company confirmed this evening that its third Apple Store in Beijing, China is opening Oct. 20. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company confirmed the news on its website, letting customers know the Wangfuijing store’s doors will open at 10 a.m. IfoAppleStore described the location:

Wangfujing Street, a mile-long, pedestrian-only collection of over 200 shops that include Chinese and international brands. The street’s retail history dates back to 1200, and it is now a major destination for locals and tourists. The existing Xidan Joy City Apple store is about a mile west of Tianman Square, while the Wangfujing location will be east of the square. The country’s first Apple store at Sanlitun is about 3½ miles northeast.

China has proved to be a big growth market for Apple. The company has positioned itself aggressively there with additional retail openings. Most recently, Hong Kong’s second Apple Store opened in Kowloon Tong in the Festival Walk shopping center in September. In the summer, we also reported another store is rumored for Hysan Place in Causeway Bay.

Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated China’s importance several times on company earnings calls. Apple will also open a massive data center in Hong Kong, breaking ground in Q1 2013, our sources told us. expand full story

Beijing Stories May 10, 2012

Apple reportedly offers Proview $16M for Chinese iPad trademark

A judge in the United States dismissed Proview’s suit two days ago against Apple in the U.S., and it seems the dispute may be wrapping up soon, because the companies have been discussing a settlement amount.

A report by Sina (via the Beijing Times/TNW) claims that Apple offered $16 million as a settlement for the iPad trademark in China, which Apple was duped out of prior to the product’s 2010 launch. Apple bought the Chinese trademark using secret subsidiary IPAD, but the Taiwanese arm of Proview had no right to sell it, because it was a separate entity from the Chinese company that owned rights to “IPAD” in China.

Proview China is now in bankruptcy to the tune of $63 million to Chinese banks and others; so $16 million is a long way from bringing it back from the dead. However, the creditors may choose to take what they can get.

By the way, the new iPad is conspicuously late to China—with some even wondering if it is because of the trademark dispute.

Beijing Stories March 28, 2012

We knew earlier this week that Tim Cook had “great meetings with Chinese officials” during his first trip to China as chief executive officer of Apple, but today a report from Bloomberg gives us new details about exactly who he met in China. According to the report, Cook met Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who could replace Wen Jiabao as Premier of the country’s government in 2013. Cook also met with Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong a day before. Apple spokesperson Carolyn Wu told Bloomberg that Li and Cook had a “great meeting,” but she declined to talk about the specifics.

However, a report from The Wall Street Journal cited local media reports and claimed Cook and Li were discussing “intellectual-property issues and greater cooperation.”

According to representatives for the creditors of Shenzhen-based Proview, the company Apple is in a dispute with over the iPad trademark, Cook is on a “political public relations campaign” regarding the legal disputes. Li Su, president of Hejun Vanguard Group who represents Proview’s creditors, made the remarks. When Apple’s spokesperson Carolyn Wu asked about Li’s comment, she said the following:

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Beijing Stories March 26, 2012

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Earlier this month, we told you Apple awarded a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card to Chunli Fu of Qingdao, China for downloading the 25 billionth app from the App Store. As part of her prize, Apple flew Fu to Apple headquarters in Beijing for a visit to the corporate offices and then the Sanlitun retail store to collect her prize at a press event and award ceremony. Several local reports from qdqss.cn and elsewhere were summed up in a story over on MIC Gadget.

According to the report, Fu was an iPhone user for only a month before being contacted by Apple about the contest:

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Beijing Stories February 13, 2012

The Economic Times of India, Penn Olson, Ifeng.com, DigiCha and China.com.cn are all reporting that Chinese authorities in Shijiazhuang are confiscating iPads because of an ongoing Proview trademark litigation. Proview, you will recall, is suing Apple over its I-PAD trademark and hopes to receive up to $1.5 billion for the name.

As Penn Olson pointed out, the confiscations are in one city and so far just on third-party retailers. However, the action forced other retailers to take iPads off the shelves, though they can still be purchased if asked for. However, this latest action might be a sign of things to come…

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Beijing Stories February 3, 2012

Last week we told you about a new online lottery system for reservations that Apple setup for iPhone 4S sales through its Hong Kong stores to combat scalpers after it was forced to suspend sales of the device in various locations throughout Mainland China. Unfortunately, until this week, Apple’s online store for China has been out of stock since the overwhelming launch.

After implementing the new reservation policies on Tuesday, and in Beijing on Wednesday, Apple has now resumed online sales of the device with shipments arriving to customers no later than March 2, reported ChinaDaily. Apple’s online store for Mainland China now lists the iPhone 4S with an expected delivery time of “February.” Customers are limited to two devices with all three models currently available in both black and white. An Apple employee confirmed the March 2 date to ChinaDaily:

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Beijing Stories January 30, 2012

Earlier this month, we reported that China Telecom earned the necessary approvals to launch the iPhone 4S on China’s third-largest carrier. Today, the China Telecom subsidiary Beijing Telecom issued a press release (via China Daily) and said the Beijing-based company will launch the iPhone 4S as early as the end of February or beginning of March.

A CDMA version of the iPhone 4S will launch on the network. The press release gave no word on pricing for the device, but it will likely fall in line with the other networks.

China Telecom currently boasts 36.3 million 3G subscribers, while in comparison the nation’s largest carrier China Mobile Ltd., boasts 51.2 million 3G subscribers. Obviously, the launch of the iPhone 4S brings a lot of excitement in China, and it gives Apple the chance to add new customers. Moreover, launching on China Mobile would add an abundance of new customers, but that does not look to be happening anytime soon.

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Beijing Stories January 13, 2012

Yesterday’s eagerly awaited iPhone 4S launch in China quickly turned into chaos as an ugly brawl between gangs of professional scalpers grew out of control. Beijing SWAT teams intervened to calm down hundreds of angry customers and tame the rowdy lines. The New York Times explained that scalpers hired migrant workers to stand in the line and buy the phone. As Apple said it would not open the store, those individuals, identifiable by matching armbands or hats, got angry because they were not going to be paid.

An Apple spokeswoman issued the  following statement following the incident (via Reuters):

Unfortunately, we were unable to open our store at Sanlitun due to the large crowd. And to ensure the safety of our customers and our employees, iPhones will not be available in our retails stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being.

Instead, Apple noted, customers could order the iPhone 4S on the online Apple store or through one of the many China Unicom retail outlets, the country’s exclusive iPhone carrier. However, the iconic smartphone was out of stock on the Chinese online Apple Store at the time of this writing.

As you know, Apple rarely goes on the record unless absolutely necessary, so the statement is an indication of how the launch spiraled out of control. Moreover, the egg-throwing incident inspired funny remarks on Twitter. Really, who goes to buy a new iPhone with a pocket full of eggs? Let’s just hope this situation won’t snowball into a public relations nightmare and become a theme for another anti-Apple advert by Samsung.

In the meantime, one analyst pointed out that Apple must learn from this turmoil and consider launching its products in China and United States simultaneously. Another incredible riot clip, egg throwing video and additional tidbits are displayed after the break.

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Beijing Stories January 12, 2012

Breaking out of Beijing right now: The flagship Apple Store cancelled selling the iPhone 4S after a fight broke out between scalpers (via Mic Gadget). Beijing’s SWAT team is on the scene right now to help tame the rowdy lines. Bloomberg said the angry crowd eager to get the iPhone 4S is pelting the store with eggs.

The Store was set to open at 7 a.m. local time to begin selling the iPhone 4S on China’s second largest carrier China Unicom. We showed you the large lines earlier today as customers gathered. What most people do not know, however, is that the majority of the people in line are scalpers looking sell the devices on the street. Scalpers reportedly started the fight in Beijing, according to MIC Gadget:

There are over thousands of people at the scene and seems like 99% of them are scalpers, according to local media reports. And according to our tipster, the scalpers are well organized, and they are divided into hundreds of teams, just like military forces. Each team includes 10-20 scalpers. Some of them even threw eggs at the glass door of the Apple store, while others threatened to assault the police.

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