HongKong 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.

HongKong Stories September 28, 2012

HongKong Stories August 28, 2012

Germany’s ninth Apple store to open in Rhein-Center mall, Hong Kong eyes second store in Festival Walk mall

Apple recently unveiled Germany’s ninth Apple Store on its website (translated). The latest shop will open Sept. 1 at 10 a.m. in Cologne’s Rhein-Center shopping mall. It is located on the top floor next to Zara and across from Lush. According to German news blog iFun (translated), those who wait in line to gain entrance will receive a limited number of T-shirts.

In related news, Apple’s signage now covers a second spot in Hong Kong. The gray, simple look indicates a new retail store is coming to the Festival Walk mall in the Kowloon Tong area, according to Engadget China (translated), which also posted a few pictures, as seen below. The report said the store could open in September, but the date is not confirmed.

HongKong Stories July 5, 2012

iTunes Store launch in Hong Kong plagued with translation issues

Apple officially opened up the iTunes Store and iTunes Match in 12 new Asian countries late last month, bringing the total to 155 countries worldwide. Perhaps the most notable addition was Hong Kong. Apple said at the time that the local stores would include “an incredible selection of local and international music from all the major labels and thousands of independent labels,” but many Chinese users are disgruntled with the method Apple is using to translate the titles and descriptions of some content in the store. The Wall Street Journal published a story today highlighting the problem with translations in the Hong Kong store:

On accessing the iTunes store for the first time, some Hong Kong users were irritated to find that the store was listing a number of song titles by the city’s popstars in Mandarin pinyin, a system that transcribes Chinese characters into phonetic Latin script, instead of displaying titles transliterated for the Cantonese language, which is spoken by the majority of the population.

For example, the popular Cantonese pop song titled “Autumn Wind, Autumn Rain” would be written and pronounced as qiu feng qiu yu using Mandarin pinyin. Though there is no broadly accepted official system for rendering Cantonese using the Roman alphabet, a transliteration for Cantonese speakers would be closer to cou feng cou yu.

“Those are CANTO pop [songs],” wrote one Hong Kong-based user on Twitter. “Use cantonese [sic] phonetics.”

In other Chinese Apple news, Bloomberg reported today that Apple is using China-based AutoNavi to power its new iOS 6 Maps app in China. Apple is already confirmed to be using TomTom and various other sources for map data in the United States and elsewhere, and Bloomberg noted today that AutoNavi signed a joint venture with TomTom in China in 2010.

HongKong Stories June 26, 2012

Apple to launch iTunes Store in 7 Asian regions (Update: Apple confirms 12 new countries)

Update: Apple confirmed with an official press release (below) the store is launching in not only seven, but  twelve new countries including: Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

A new rumor claims Apple will host an event tomorrow for the launch of iTunes Store content in seven Asian regions.

e27 just published a report, which cited a “trusted source in the industry,” about Apple planning to host a launch event in Hong Kong for iTunes Store video content going live in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. While the current location is not confirmed, it is “close to the airport,” and the publication previously noted Apple invited Asian music label reps to Hong Kong for an unspecified June 27 launch event. Another report from Philippine-based blog Mister JonJon claimed access to movies, music, books, and movie rentals has already gone live for some.

According to MacRumors:

A review of the localized iTunes Stores for the various countries reveals that movie listings have already gone live, and the navigation bars also contain listings for music, although the are not yet functional. TV shows are not listed as an option in the navigation bar, so it appears that they may not be included in the launch.

Movies and music in Apple’s iTunes Store are available in over 50 countries, with the most recent addition including Latin American countries in December, while App Store apps expanded just last week to 32 new territories.

HongKong Stories September 26, 2011

Chestnut St Apple Store, San Francisco. Thanks John!

Closeup below: expand full story

HongKong Stories September 23, 2011

Apple’s flagship Store in Hong Kong just opened in the IFC Center this morning (Hong Kong time). The new Store certainly seems like a pretty big deal to the locals who’ve been lined up for days.

Early this week we published pictures of the beautiful architecture at this new Store. Below, you’ll find some of the videos uploaded around the web showing the excitement in the air at launch:

expand full story

HongKong Stories September 4, 2011

We’re hearing it is perhaps weeks from being open but this evening you are seeing the enormity of this store in Hong Kong’s IFC shopping complex.  That is a four story tall red Apple which spans three lanes of traffic for those measuring at home.

Update: Reader Joe send in this shot from inside:

Update 2: Engadget has nabbed some higher-resolution pictures. They also say the store opens September 24th!

HongKong Stories August 13, 2011

(Thanks Brian Fu)

As five Apple Stores open up today including Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall (Anchorage, Alaska), Fashion Place (Murray, Utah), Southland (Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia), Conestoga: (RIM HQ Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) I Gigli: (Florence, Italy), the biggest store of the quarter and possibly the most expensive Apple Store in history is getting its wraps taken off in Hong Kong’s IFC this week.

Apple COO Tim Cook mentioned that the Hong Kong Store was set to open this quarter, along with 30 others in the Earnings Call last month.

Thanks Tom Read

We’ve heard from two sources, one a credit fulfillment processor, that the grand opening is set for September 24th.  It spans six lanes of traffic and three-plus floors of Hong Kong’s IFC building.

Update: Richard Lai got some pictures inside this-a-way.

Another monster Hong Kong Apple Store is set to open in Causeway Bay later this year.  Another shot below (Readers, please send more!): expand full story

HongKong Stories August 8, 2011

MICGadget reports that some industrious Chinese smugglers devised an elaborate system to get iPads and iPhones across the border into the country where they were once built:

Hong Kong and Chinese customs have cracked an audacious smuggling operation that saw Apple goods ferried along a long cable straddling the border. The iPad and iPhones were transported over a small river that separates the booming city of Shenzhen from the rural northern part of Hong Kong using an elaborate pulley system. The cable was shot across the border using a crossbow [Batman?] and the Apple products were flying across at night, which store in black nylon bags. The cable was suspended to a high-rise building in the Chinese border town of Shenzhen, and goods were moved several hundred meters from a small village house located in Hong Kong

6 smugglers were arrested in the operation, 50’s iPad 2 and 50’s iPhone 4, which worth about three hundred thousand yuan (US$46,583) were seized.

It is startling that Chinese taxes make operations like this necessary, especially in the place where these things are actually produced! expand full story

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