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Chinese Government Says “No” to Samsung Phones

Posted: 10/8/2014 9:49 am

samsung phoneChina smartphone maker Huawei looks to become the official phone of China as first Apple, and now Samsung, have been banned for use by government officials.

Like Apple’s iPhone that was banned last August, the Chinese government is citing security concerns with Samsung phones, reports Phone Arena. The ban gives a boost to local phone makers such as Huawei and Xiaomi.

Long accused of spying for the Chinese government, Huawei has also been the victim of spying from the US National Security Association (NSA). The details were revealed by former NSA contractor and whistle-blower Edward Snowden, reported PC World.

Meanwhile, Taiwan is considering banning Xiaomi phones after a Finnish security company showed the company’s phones were surreptitiously collecting and sending address book contacts, reported Reuters. Xiaomi has also been accused by the Hong Kong media of sending copies of text messages to the mainland, an accusation it denies.

A shift away from Western-developed technology seems to be widening in China. The ban on Apple and Samsung smartphones for official use follows the ban on Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system at a time when China is busy developing its own Linux-based operating system.

Photo: Candou


Shenzhen: The Cradle of the iPhone, and Also its Huge Resale Market

Posted: 09/18/2014 6:22 pm

huaqiang bei iphone resell market greyThe heavily-anticipated iPhone 6, Apple’s newest smartphone, goes on sale today (September 19) in Hong Kong, but not Mainland China. That means demand for the smartphone has increased substantially, with smuggled versions already being listed for RMB 10,000 and up.

But you don’t have to pay that if you don’t need the latest and greatest Apple gadget. Shenzhen houses the massive Foxconn factories where Apple products are produced, but it’s also home to a thriving marketplace that sells these same phones, albeit several models behind.

The arrival of the iPhone 6 has dropped the price of the iPhone 4 down to RMB 1,500 at this market, and budget-conscious consumers are flocking to Open World Communication City in Shenzhen’s Huaqiang North District to purchase refurbished phones.

Older models like the iPhone 4 are popular among many Chinese because they are still Apple phones, but they are cheap.

READ: Taiwan TV: “Chinese Blue Collar Workers Can’t Afford Home Computers”

Huaqiang North District has become an extremely popular place to purchase cheap and fake (shanzhai) electronics after a resurgence in 2010. It has now become a ”barometer” of the electronics economy.

Open World Communication City is full of stalls packed with old iPhones in various conditions, some with cracked screens, and others held together by rubber bands. The mall is equally full of shops that offer repair services for cracked screens and destroyed casing for those who want a fixer-upper.

A seller named Lu sells refurbished iPhone 4′s in bulk at RMB 1,000 each (US $160). Another offers re-polished displays for the iPhone 5 at RMB 170 (US $28).

READ: Unreleased Hong Kong and US Versions of iPhone 6 Already on Sale in Beijing for US$4,500

However, many of the clients that frequent Open World Communication City aren’t individual consumers, but sellers hoping to resell a refurbished phone at a profit. As sellers sell to sellers, the origin of many of these old phones gets lost in the shuffle and dealers won’t disclose where they get their stock from.

US versions of iPhones going on resale in China may come from any number of sources, such as online reseller Gazelle, which revealed that half of its iPhone stock is resold to “emerging markets”.

huaqiang bei iphone resell market grey

As nebulous as the source from which old iPhones are gathered, the products and services offered at the mall and throughout Huaqiang North District are even more suspect. A photo BBS post depicts the method by which an iPhone 5 can be altered to resemble an iPhone 5s, all while emphasizing that it is taking place in Huaqiang North (seen above).

Even though Chinese conservative values emphasize the importance of relationships through business and blood, the social value of owning a status symbol like an iPhone—no matter the model—make it more valuable than diamonds.


Photos:  Qiyexun, Baidu Tieba


Woman Claims iPhone 5s Burned Her Face, And Has Photos to Prove It

Posted: 08/21/2014 11:23 am

zhuzhou iphone burn woman apple electricWe all know cell phones can heat up if used consistently over a long period of time, but how hot can they get? And are they safe?

One woman in Hunan doesn’t think so. She claims her iPhone 5s got so hot it burned her face. Doctors at the Zhuzhou People’s Hospital say the burn marks are indeed the result of “electric radiation burn”.

It all happened in July, when Su Jing from Zhuzhou, Henan was having a long talk on her iPhone 5s. During the call, Su felt her phone getting hot, so she switched to speaker phone. After the call she noticed a burning sensation on the left side of her face, but didn’t think anything of it.

Su only discovered the mark when she went to work the next day. She then went to a clinic, but was redirected to a hospital where she received her diagnosis. Su has reported the case to Apple, the manufacturer of the iPhone 5s, but has not received any answers so far.

She first went to an authorized Apple re-seller, but was told they wouldn’t be responsible for any injuries. When Su called the Apple customer service hotline, she was told she would first need to return the phone before Apple could make any kind of decision. However, Su said she’s unwilling courier the phone as nobody would be responsible for it if something happened to it in transit.

Su went back to the re-seller, which called Apple to verify if it can accept the phone on Apple’s behalf. However, there has been no reply. Su said she was told by Apple a month ago that the company would look into it, but she still hasn’t received a response.

A report in the Chinese media decided to test how hot cell phones can get during continuous use. Three phones were used in the experiement: an iPhone 5S, a Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and a Huawei G700.

After one hour of continuous use an infrared thermometer showed that screens on two of the phones reached a temperature of 40 degree Celsius. After 90 minutes, they reached temperatures of 49 degrees Celsius. The report didn’t say which two phones heated up the most.

Photo: XXCB



Massive Recruitment Drive Underway in China To Build Apple’s Next iPhone

Posted: 07/25/2014 9:16 am

Foxconn is planning to hire at least 100,000 workers at its manufacturing bases in Shenzhen, Henan and Hebei Provinces to produce the latest version of Apple’s iPhone. The iPhone 6 is expected to launch in the third quarter of this year, reported Tencent News.

Jiao Jinmiao, head of the Henan Commerce Department, confirmed that Foxconn, the largest contract manufacturer of Apple products in the world, plans to hire another 100,000 workers in that particular province alone after the new iPhone 6 production equipment is put in place.

Workers in Foxconn’s Shenzhen manufacturing plant lines up for hiring.

Foxconn’s manufacturing factory in Zhengzhou, Henan has been hiring every day since June 26. In addition to the massive recruitment in Henan, its manufacturing plants in Langfang, Hebei Province, Yantai, Shandong Province, and Shenzhen have all started hiring new personnel.

The new iPhone 6 is rumored to have two versions, namely a 4.7-inch version and a 5.5-inch version, with at least one model having a sapphire screen. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Apple has ordered its manufacturing suppliers to produce 60 million to 70 million iPhone 6 units, the highest production volume of any iPhone model in the company’s history.

Foxconn has been producing iPhone 6 since March this year.

Due to the large orders of the new iPhones, workers in Foxconn’s Shenzhen manufacturing plant are requested to work day and night, according to one person who claimed to be in charge of hiring in Shenzhen when interviewed by Tencent.

Foxconn also rolled out several financial incentives to stimulate work production. Workers who chose to work overtime can get up to twice their salary. Any worker who brought in a new recruit who stays with the company for three months can also get a RMB 300 reward, according to the report.

Foxconn has previously experienced problems with its workforce. In 2012, the company was embroiled in a scandal when many of its workers committed suicide, leading to the installment of nets to catch them and the signing of a “no suicide” pact.


Photos: T3/Screenshot; Tencent 


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 


Apple’s head of retail confirms Shenzhen store in visit to Beijing

Posted: 10/19/2012 9:00 am

(Photo from

There has been a lot of speculation over a future Apple Store in Shenzhen.  We confirmed in June that Apple had applied to the Shenzhen government to open a store in the posh Holiday Plaza Mall in Nanshan, and photos there certainly indicate an Apple store is on the way.

But until today, Apple had kept quiet about it.  John Browett, who is the company’s head of retail, is in Beijing to open the capital’s third Apple store in Wang Fu Jin and confirmed to journalists that the Shenzhen store is coming.

For those who just can’t wait, there’s now a second Apple store location in Hong Kong, conveniently located on the East Rail Line which connects the Lo Wu border crossing with downtown.  The store is in Festival Walk at Kowloon Tong station, which is about 35 minutes from the boundary.

Sadly for the iPhanatics in the Guangdong capital, no word yet of a Guangzhou store.



Another suicide at Foxconn? Employee jumps off 9th floor after slitting wrists

Posted: 09/17/2012 3:59 pm

The Foxconn factory in Guanlan

Foxconn, the manufacturer of iDevices, Kindles, Samsung phones, tablets, e-readers and more, is coming under the gun once again after another of its young employees was found dead last Wednesday in Guanlan, very close to Shenzhen.

Reports say the man worked at one of Foxconn’s factories in Shenzhen.  He jumped off the 9th floor of an apartment complex – a private building unrelated to Foxconn – after slitting his wrists, according to IDG News which cited local media.  Other reports confirmed the man died and worked at Foxconn, but it’s not clear that he committed suicide as a result of his work.

Foxconn, which employees hundreds of thousands of people in Shenzhen, has come under fire in recent years after several of its employees committed suicide at its factories. PC World says the company is trying to improve, however:

Earlier this year, Apple announced the Fair Labor Association (FLA) would conduct audits of Foxconn factories, including one at Guanlan, which employs more than 70,000 workers.

In the FLA’s latest audit of Foxconn, the group said the company was steadily making improvements in conditions at its factory. Foxconn has also said the company is committed to worker safety, and has been making changes including raising wages and limiting workers’ overtime.

The company has however recently come under scrutiny for allegedly forcing vocational students to work at its factories, as part of its internship program. Foxconn denies the allegation, and has stated the workers are free to leave the program at anytime.

You can learn more about life in factories in the PRD in the latest edition of Nanfang TV.



Fake Hermes factory busted, ring leader given life in prison

Posted: 08/30/2012 7:00 am

Even though China is slowly making the transition from specializing in cheap knock-off products to producing its own high-level brands, “made in China” is still synonymous with shoddy goods.

A few days ago, according to Yangcheng Evening News, a gang making fake Hermes totaling over RMB100 million was busted and the court sentenced its leader to life in prison on August 6. Other members were given sentences ranging from seven to ten years and some received fines.

An investigation found the leader of the gang, Xiao, rented a 500 square meter room in a factory in Heyuan last year and ran his counterfeiting business there. Xiao bought the tools and raw materials for bags from Dongguan and Guangzhou. The fake Hermes were sold in Guangzhou.

Xiao has been targeted since February this year when he was first caught by Heyuan’s Administration of Industry and Commerce. After that, the case was transferred to the local public security organs on file. However, driven by huge profits, Xiao continued his counterfeiting activities and rented another 350 square meters of factory space after the first was closed down.

Xiao and his fellow gang members refused to comment on whether they would appeal the sentence.

Guangdong, a thriving manufacturing hub where many manufacturers and exporters are located, has had regular problems with fake and counterfeit goods flooding the market. These goods are known in Chinese as shanzhai. Phones, especially iPhones and iPads, and other shanzhai brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior and Swatch have proved popular.

The good news is for global brands, however, is Guangdong’s is making progress on cracking down on fake goods.  Related news reports indicate nearly 20,000 similar cases have been busted and 2,950 dens destroyed.


New, unreleased iPhone floating around Shenzhen if you have a spare RMB50k

Posted: 08/22/2012 10:29 am

The suspense is building for the release of Apple’s next iPhone, but leaked photos indicate the phone — or a version of it — is already all over Shenzhen, where the device is expected to be manufactured.

Several tech websites are reporting that the case of the new iPhone has been circulating in the city for quite sometime, which helps manufacturers prepare new cases and bumpers in time for launch.  It’s believed Apple will unveil the newest iPhone, which some people are calling the iPhone 5, on September 12.

The leaked case shows a much longer device, but the width appears the same, which will continue to allow one-handed typing.

While parts of the new phone may be circulating around Huaqiangbei, the cost of borrowing (that’s right, they’re not for sale as far as we know) the components for 24 hours equals the price of more than three new Retina Macbook Pros: RMB50,000.  Worth it?

One wonders what the deposit will be, if the borrowing cost is RMB50k.

Photos below.



Confirmed: Apple Store coming to Shenzhen

Posted: 06/6/2012 2:56 pm

Apple has been on a roll lately in China.  The company’s iDevices are so popular riots have broken out in Beijing.  We know Apple builds nearly all of its tech gadgets in China – and most here in the PRD – but sales to Chinese consumers are becoming equally important.  Apple’s quarterly results nearly doubled recently, largely thanks to iPhone sales here in China.

While Macs, iPhones and iPads are popular, it hasn’t been so easy to get your hands on any of them.  They are sold at re-sellers and computer markets around the PRD, but often at inflated prices.  If you really need your Apple fix, the only option has been to cross the border into Hong Kong and shop at the flagship Apple store inside IFC.

That’s all about to change, however, according to a report from Reuters:

Apple submitted documents on Monday to the Shenzhen government to open a store in Holiday Plaza, an upscale mall in the Nanshan district, according to an official with the Market Supervision Administration who would only give his last name as Ni.

“Apple is in the final stage and only needs to submit an environmental permit in order to gain approval,” he said.

This is all great news for Apple fans, and it could get better.  The company has indicated it would like to open several new stores in China – aside from those in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong – with several of those to be based right here in the PRD.

After Shenzhen’s store, the company’s next plan is to open in Chengdu.  One Chinese report said Shenzhen and Chengdu were both chosen because Foxconn, which makes many of Apple’s products, has factories in those two cities.

There has been a lot of demand for Apple stores in China, with some cities offering tax incentives to Apple.  However, reports say the Shenzhen government didn’t offer the computer-maker any special terms to encourage it to open a store here.


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