As Hong Kong’s Occupy Central protests continue to gather momentum and attention, Hong Kong’s denizens are sharing photos of the moment on social media. But apparently , photos of the protests posted to WeChat by Hong Kong-based users are being censored, and are not visible for WeChat users in mainland China. For example, Hong Kong-based blogger Cam MacMurchy shared the screenshots below with Tech in Asia. On the left is an image from Hong Kong he posted to WeChat on September 30th.
Many observers of the ongoing demonstrations in Hong Kong have noted how the protests remain extremely well-organized despite lacking centralized leadership. Supplies are well-distributed, rest areas are abundant, and protestors have even coordinated recycling initiatives. The movement’s efficient logistics are in no small part due to its leaders’ use of internet-enabled technology. But protestors are going beyond Facebook groups, WhatsApp conversations, and Twitter feeds in their efforts.
Lenovo has become the biggest x86 server provider in China as its acquisition of IBM’s x86 server business completes. IDC said it believes this acquisition will enrich Lenovo’s x86 server portfolio and strengthen its products and channels. IDC’s latest data on China x86 server market shows, Lenovo shipped 99,101 units in the first half of 2014 and ranked fourth among all vendors in the same category. Combining IBM and Lenovo’s shipments in the period would make Lenovo the biggest vendor in China’s x86 server market with a market share of 23.9%.
After visiting China’s smartphone industry in August and September, Digitimes Research found that demand for 4G smartphones in China did not rise as expected and most vendors’ domestic shipments did not achieve any growth. Digitimes Research estimates that even if China’s top-three telecom carriers strengthen their promotions for the fourth quarter, vendors that focus mainly on domestic shipments such as CoolPad, Lenovo and Xiaomi, are still unlikely to achieve their shipment targets for 2014.
Protests in Hong Kong intensified on Sunday as young people flooded the streets to demand democracy reform, free from the shackles of mainland China. According to Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), those protests have so far generated over 1.3 million tweets from participants, eyewitnesses, and supporters from around the globe. As seen in the interactive chart created by Twitter’s number-crunchers (embedded below), things reached a peak around 11:30 PM local time on Sunday as Hong Kong police responded with tear gas to the peaceful crowd of tens of thousands of protestors at several points across the city. That peaked at a flow of 735 tweets per minute related to the Hong Kong protests.
WeChat gets a v6.0 update today – only on iOS so far – that adds in two useful new features. But, as often happens with WeChat, one of these is restricted to its China-based users. The new WeChat feature open to everyone is Vine-like short videos called Sight. This is available in both personal messages and the more public WeChat Moments. In either case, you’re limited to a six-second video. If it’s sent as a message, it autoplays rather like a Vine video or a GIF. It looks like this:
BEIJING: China’s censors, who have barred most online discussion of the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, have so far not blocked searches for the movement’s “Umbrella Revolution” nickname, although it may not survive much longer. Chinese Internet users were still able to post under the hashtag “Umbrella Revolution” in Chinese and English on Sina Weibo, China’s popular Twitter-like microblogging service, on Monday and Tuesday.
Intel has signed a contract with China-based Tsinghua Unigroup and will invest CNY9 billion (US$1.5 billion) in the company. Sources from PC players believe China is looking to acquire some of Intel’s technologies through the cooperation and will use these technologies to improve its China-designed processors, while Intel is looking to expand its presence in the China market. Digitimes Research previously estimated that if Spreadtrum enters the x86 ecosystem, the vendor may outsource its chip manufacturing to Intel.
Weeks after the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus first went on sale, Apple’s newest phones finally have full approval from China’s regulators. The last remaining rubber stamp comes from MIIT , which has approved the devices after analyzing both the hardware and iOS 8. (Update 3 hours after publishing: Apple has just confirmed its China launch for October 17 for both iPhone 6 variants, arriving on all three Chinese telcos. That’s the same date as for India. Online pre-orders in China begin October 10. We’ve updated the article’s headline with this new information.)
Chinese telecom device maker Huawei acquired Neul, a Britain-headquartered Internet of Things technology provider, for USD25 million. As a company focusing on the research and development of Internet of Things technologies and products, Neul is known for its “Weightless” platform, which offers super-low energy consumption air interfaces for products like smart testers and street lights. It is a new wide-area wireless networking technology designed specifically for the Internet of Things, achieving coverage, battery life, module cost and efficiency goals that far out-reach today’s GPRS, 3G, CDMA and LTE WAN solutions.
In the China market, China-based vendors have a significant advantage in pricing for TD-LTE smartphones compared with international vendors and therefore are seeing combined shipments that soon stand a chance of exceeding international vendors, according to China-based handset supply chain makers. Qualcomm, Marvell, Taiwan-based MediaTek and China-based Spreadtrum Communications have offered multi-mode and multi-band TD-LTE chips solutions in hot price competition, the sources said.
China’s InnoLight Technology announced today via a press release that it has closed a US$38 million round of Series C funding led by Google Capital and Lightspeed China Partners. “We are very excited to have world class investors like Google Capital and Lightspeed China Partners,” said InnoLight board chair Dr. Hsing Kung. “We look forward to working with them closely to [help] InnoLight to become a world class optical component company.”
Surprisingly, as activists prepared to gather, a mobile app that that first caught the attention of the media last spring resurfaced among participants. FireChat, available for iOS and Android, is a mass chatroom app that lets communicate with one another over wi-fi and cellular networks, along with Bluetooth and Apple’s Multipeer Connectivity Framework. The latter two features means that users can, in theory, chat “off-the-grid.” In anticipation of poor cellular network connectivity (and perhaps a deliberate network shutdown), student activist leader Joshua Wong posted a message urging people to download FireChat.
Despite having strong performance thanks to iPhone sales, Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) has been aggressively helping its China-based smartphone clients such as Xiaomi, Meitu, Oppo and Meizu boost their sales and is looking to increase the revenue contribution from non-Apple players, according to sources from the upstream supply chain. Since most of these vendors are mainly selling their smartphones domestically, helping them to sell their products to non-China markets has become a new business direction that Foxconn is looking to expand in the future, the sources noted.
China-based foundry houses, including Shanghai Huali Microelectronics, XMC and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), have stepped up efforts to solicit foundry orders from Taiwan-based IC design houses, according to industry sources. Shanghai Huali, which focuses on specialty processes, reportedly has teamed up with MediaTek and now aims to land orders from Taiwan-based LCD driver IC and flash chip vendors, said the sources.
With Google planning to release its Android L OS soon, which supports 64-bit processors, Android-based smartphone vendors will speed up their migration to the 64-bit architecture, making 64-bit CPUs mainstream technology for smartphones in the second half of 2015, according to industry sources. Qualcomm has led rival suppliers to release its 64-bit-enabled Snapdragon 610/614/410 chips, which have won design-ins from China-based Lenovo, K-Touch, Huawei and Vivo as well as Taiwan-based HTC, said the sources.
Google Capital and Lightspeed China Partners have led the charge to invest in Cloud computing optical transceiver company InnoLight. The company has just closed a series C investment of $38 million. Google Capital general partner, Gene Frantz, said InnoLight’s technology was uniquely suited for next generation datacentre environments, and its vision and execution have been excellent.
(UPDATED on September 29: Tencent has just bought US$100 million in extra shares in 58.com, which effectively takes its stake to 24 percent from the previous 19.9 percent. The article’s title and timestamp is updated also. The original article was published on June 27.) Chinese web giant Tencent (HKG:0700) – now best known as being the maker of WeChat – announced today that it’s paying US$736 million for a 19.9 percent stake in 58.com (NYSE:WUBA), which is China’s answer to Craigslist.
We’re seeing reports from users on Twitter that Instagram has been blocked in mainland China. It’s likely due to the protests happening in Hong Kong. Citizens in Hong Kong are protesting the government in Beijing to allow them to practice “full democracy.” If Instagram is blocked in China as the Twitter reports indicate, it’s likely to keep images of the protest, which include police firing tear gas at demonstrators, from spreading.
China in recent days has busted a slew of smugglers bringing Apple iPhone 6 models into the country ahead of their official release here, with officials on Sunday reporting the latest seizure of 453 smartphones in Shanghai. Hundreds more were seized during three separate busts Thursday through Saturday in Hong Kong, including from men with a speedboat who were loading contraband onto a wooden sampan-style boat in a mangrove, the official Xinhua News Agency said.