The Nanfang / Blog

Slick New App Gives You Pollution Data With a Bit of Attitude

Posted: 05/21/2014 5:40 pm

In most parts of the world, people check the weather before they go outside. That may happen in China too, but the more important question is, “What is today’s PM2.5?”

The fact we even know what that means is a sad commentary on the times we live in. While most of us (though not all) have clearly made peace with China’s lung-blackening pollution levels, we still want to know when it makes more sense to watch a movie rather than go for a run. To help with that, a slick new iOS app called Airpocalypse has been released detailing pollution levels in 16 Chinese cities, including Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong (Zhuhai clearly not needing it).

There are many apps out there already, but this one adds the current temperature, forecast and the pollution report, and does it all with a bit of ‘tude. The app’s slogan? “The air in China sucks. We hate it too.”

You can download it here (iOS only at this point). Check out the screenshots below.


You’re in Luck: Guangzhou Public Bathroom App Streaming Online

Posted: 05/14/2014 4:52 pm

The constant sound of rain falling upon Shenzhen has been too much for one male commuter who was photographed performing nature’s business at what appears to be Laojie Station in full view of an apathetic public.

Taken on the evening of May 12 by a Weibo user named MRxHarveyyyy, the pictures dampened the mood of dismayed netizens who expressed their outrage at this ill-mannered man who didn’t have the foresight to pee across the border in Hong Kong so that he could be defended with nationalistic fervor.

We’ve seen worse things happen on the Shenzhen Metro. And, we do appreciate this guy’s technique of splaying his feet in order to dig deep into the recesses of that corner. However, as had been brought up during online debate, the issue remains: where are all those public bathrooms? Why can’t I find a bathroom when I really need to use one?

guangzhou bathroom public app android

You’re in luck. Never again will you have to worry about who’s number one.

Over in nearby Guangzhou on May 12, the local chengguan showed off their proud new development, a bathroom-locater app. The app works by using your phone’s GPS and comparing the user’s position to a map of public bathrooms

The app is currently available for all Android models and can be accessed using the displayed QR code at the bottom of the page.

Finally: an app that tells you were to go so that you can sit down and use your phone some more. However, we do find that there to be a glaring flaw with this well-intentioned plan: that people are more prone to taking than giving—in this case, the object in question is “a crap”.

All the same, we can’t fault this idealistic plan. We hope many users will use this app so that more people will be able to use the filthy gutter toilets of public restrooms rather than the convenience of a nice, clean subway platform.

Or, if you don’t want to pay the fare to gain access to this Shenzhen station bathroom, you can always take your business outside.shenzhen subway bathroom

ExploreMetro Officially Launches Map for Shenzhen Subway
Explosion on Shenzhen Metro Caused by External Smartphone Battery
New Shenzhen “Pee Straight” Funnels Aim to Help You Avoid Costly Fine 

Photos: Shenzhen City Coast Society via Weibo, Yangcheng Evening Report via Weibo, Nandu via Weibo

guangzhou bathroom public app android


ExploreMetro Officially Launches Map for Shenzhen Subway

Posted: 05/12/2014 3:51 pm

shenzhen exploremetro subway map app onlineExploreMetro has officially launched its online maps for the Shenzhen subway system.

An easy-to-use map that has been available for other major Chinese cities that include Guangzhou and Hong Kong, ExploreMetro maps have long been a favorite of ours for its simple interface and neat features.

Want to know how long it takes to get from the border at Futian Checkpoint all the way to Airport East Station? Connecting a starting point with an end destination tells us the length and cost for a journey: in this case, it takes 62 minutes by train at a cost of RMB 8.

Clicking upon a station (the bubble) and then clicking upon the appearing window will bring up additional information like maps of the local area and station exits, first and last trains, and details and photos of the surrounding area.

Available in both English and Chinese Mandarin, the ExploreMetro Shenzhen map is available online for web browsers and as a downloadable app for persuasions both Apple and Android.

We can’t wait to see what the subway make will look like when the Dongguan Metro will connect to both the cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen. We suppose it will make for a lot of scrolling.

Shenzhen Metro to Connect with Dongguan and Huizhou
Shenzhen Metro to Introduce In-Train WiFi in June
Explosion on Shenzhen Metro Line 4 Caused by External Smartphone Battery
Guangzhou Subway Station Toilet Directory

Photo: ExploreMetro


Rent-a-ride app Uber launches in Shenzhen

Posted: 12/3/2013 11:00 am

Popular mobile app Uber has launched in Shenzhen, its second city in China after Shanghai.

Uber allows users of Android and iOS to request a car pick them up and confirm the fare, which is paid for via credit card through the mobile device. It’s become quite popular in the United States, so Uber has been expanding quickly in Asia.

Tech In Asia reports the launch in Shenzhen is expected to be low key, at least in the beginning:

As is Uber’s usual strategy, this is a limited, “secret Uber” roll-out that serves as a testing phase, probably for a couple of months. Uber’s blog post on this topic (via TheNextWeb) notes that Uber’s limos will be available around the Nanshan, Futian and Luohu neighborhoods of Shenzhen, but might be in short supply for now.

Uber’s minimum fare in Shenzhen is RMB 40 ($6.50), which is more than three times the starting rate of a local taxi.

Uber’s blog post on the launch in Shenzhen explains how the service works:

Download the Uber app on your iPhone or Android device and register with your credit card. Pinpoint your location and within minutes of requesting, a professional driver will appear with a luxurious Audi A6L stocked with Wi-Fi, water and chargers. Your private driver will be ready to take you wherever you want – whether you are crossing the HK Border, strolling the OCT Loft, or dining at your favorite spot in CoCo Park.

New to Uber? Use the promo code “SecretSZ” for one free ride up to RMB 200.

Uber is something we’ll definitely try out at least once (especially during rush hour when taxis are hard to find). It’s interesting that Uber picked Shenzhen as an early launch city, even beating out Beijing and Guangzhou. It speaks to the city’s cutting-edge and tech-friendly image.

(h/t @lantaumama)


Visual translation app Waygo now helps with Chinese pronunciation

Posted: 11/13/2013 10:00 am

The smartphone app market is full of Chinese translation apps, but not all of them do it well — and not all of them offer a differentiating feature that stands out from the crowd.

Now Waygo, a freemium iOS app on the iPhone, has added a useful new feature with its 3.0 update (along with a design overhaul). As well as translating Chinese characters when you hover your smartphone above them, Wagyo will now also show you the pinyin to help with pronunciation.

Waygo secured $900,000 in funding in July to launch an Android app and continue building out its product. Before that, in June, it won the “Most Promising Startup” award at Echelon in Singapore. It certainly looks like one to keep an eye on if you’re living in China.

You can trial Waygo for free on a basis of 10 translation per day, but if you want to do more than that you’re going to have to pay $6.99. However, with of so many free high-quality translation apps available, would you hand over your hard-earned cash for this feature? Let us know in the comments.

In other Chinese language app news, highly-regarded Pleco has recently updated its iOS app. It’s a complete revamp, and also includes optical character recognition.

At the end of October, The Nanfang reported on a pair of augmented reality glasses that can translate a Chinese menu into English.

Photo credit: Lee Yiu Tung
Story via: TheNextWeb 


New Dongguan “massage” iPhone app gives new meaning to FaceTime

Posted: 03/20/2012 6:06 pm

(Photo from Shanghaiist)

Our good friends up in Shanghai have broken a story regarding a new iPhone app that gives users information about massage parlors in Dongguan.

It’s common knowledge that the vast expanse of land between Shenzhen and Guangzhou is known as a sex capital in China.  Hong Kong and Taiwanese businessmen frequent the area, and it’s popular with foreigners as well.  How Dongguan developed this industry (and its accompanying reputation) would make a good article for another day.

But if it was popular before, it could shoot through the stratosphere based on the press it will soon get, courtesy of an iPhone app.  Shanghai Daily has stumbled across an app which provides detailed information about massage parlors in the city.  It surprisingly passed Apple’s normally strict app approval process:

“With only a taxi price (30 yuan), you can know details of clubs and services,” Peng Lizhang, the app’s developer, says in its description.

Using the app, people can find the names and locations of the massage clubs, the number of women in each and the number of those women who are “specially recommended.” Users can call the clubs directly through the application.

That Apple has approved such an application with such obvious pornographic content reflects badly on its examination team, according to TechWeb, an IT forum and information website.

The app, called Dongguan Massage Guide, is in Chinese only and organizes the parlors by district.

The minor scandal here isn’t that such an app exists, it’s that Apple approved it.  Either they weren’t aware of what the app does, or let it pass as it contains no pornographic images.  While it officially is designed to help ‘tourists’ find ‘spas’ for a ‘massage’, anybody who’s lived in China long enough knows that those words are euphemisms for.

It will be interesting to see how, or whether, Apple responds.

 (h/t Shanghaiist)

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