NewsWrap brings you the latest today in Tech News from China and the world at large. Today we look at Apple’s efforts in China, Best Buy returning to China, Facebook at F8, Pandora moving to China, and Jiepang partnering with YiHaoDian.
Apple Makes Slow Inroads into Chinese Market
This past weekend Apple opened up two new retail stores, one in Hong Kong and a third store in Shanghai. This makes a grand total of six retail stores in the Greater China area. It’s not enough to meet consumer demands but it has been suggested that the stores are more important for marketing than in terms of sales. Experts say the store in Hong Kong is particularly important given Hong Kong’s image in Mainland China. Gabriel Chan, retail analyst at Credit Suisse said, “The mainland Chinese have the idea that things sold in Hong Kong are of higher quality, and trendier and fashionable.”
Best Buy Returns to China
The massive flagship Shanghai store is set to reopen sometime in December after closing all nine stores in defeat last February. The company’s VP, Wang Jian, told a Chinese reporter that Best Buy would be back under its original logo and same brand name, Baisimai, which literally means, “to buy after thinking 100 times.” The company will apparently “seek quality instead of quantity.” How this relates to their reopening versus their closing is unclear. Quality wasn’t what drove them from China in February but poor relations with suppliers and a business model that wasn’t adapted for the Chinese market.
Zuckerberg Announces Major Changes to Facebook at F8
At the beginning of his keynote presentation at F8 Mark Zuckerberg noted that, in the beginning, the goal of social networking was getting people signed up and connected. However the next step, according to Zuckerberg, is about social apps and other products. This will inevitably lead to Facebook sharing even more of your personal information both with companies and with your Facebook friends.
Other changes include:
- Timelines, say goodbye to your profile page. Timelines serves a similar function as your old profile but with the addition of more up to the minute information on what you’re doing. It is a visual version of your profile showing all of your updates, posts, and whatever lightweight updates you allow on a continuously scrolling page.
- New partnerships with multiple music and online video companies like Hulu, Spotify, Rhapsody, and turntable.fm
- New partnerships with publishers like the Gaurdian, digg, The Daily, Slate, TPM, and Yahoo allowing simpler ways of sharing.
Pandora Moves into China
There’s no set time frame in place as of yet but the music streaming service in is the process of headhunting a China-area CEO. Assuming that Pandora will be paid-for service, it will be interesting to see how Pandora approaches China’s Internet users in light of Apple’s iTunes failure in finding an easy payment method. Pandora would be competing with well-established local Chinese companies like Baidu Ting and Douban.
Jiepang Partners with YiHaoDian’s Virtual Subway Supermarkets
The joint promo allows Jiepang users to use YiHaoDian discounts, when issued a badge, on their QR-powered purchases in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou. Badges are given when users check-in at the subway-based stores and then tweeted on Sina Weibo. The ‘stores’ are ingeniously designed as simple posters with images of the products, prices and QR codes. The promo hasn’t been met with great success yet with only 68 check-ins so far, but this number isn’t necessarily representative of the number of customers.