China Watch: Top Business News From the World's Second Largest
) made waves this week in the tech world with the introduction of
its new iOS 7 software, which has garnered some
But it appears that Cupertino had China firmly in its sight with
iOS 7. The latest version of Apple's operating system is said to be
better integrated with leading Chinese applications, such as
Tencent Holdings Ltd's
(HKG:0700) popular micro-blogging service, Weibo.
iOS 7 also features a Chinese-English bilingual dictionary and
upgraded Chinese language input that offers handwriting recognition
for Chinese characters.
"I think Chinese consumers will like iOS 7," Ben Bajarin, the
director of consumer technology research at market intelligence
firm Creative Strategies, told the
South China Morning Post
. "Apple's commitment to focus on China-specific innovations in
software and services will continue to help drive stickiness [to
its mobile platform]."
Apple had begun offering support to Chinese apps and websites
beginning with iOS 6, which featured integration with
) Weibo ,
Youku Tudou Inc
Mobile Debuts Skype Challenger
Earlier this month,
China Mobile Ltd.
) introduced its new voice-calling app, Jego, which appears to be
aimed at expanding the brand's global appeal.
Jego allows users from outside the mainland to call China landline
and mobile numbers for free, thus possibly serving as a challenge
to Skype's dominance in the free voice-calling arena.
Jego is already available for download on
(GOOG) Play, and more notably, on Apple's iTunes store as well.
Given that China Mobile's talks with Apple to carry the iPhone had
reached a stalemate, the fact that Apple is willing to offer Jego
on iTunes portends a possible iPhone agreement on the horizon, says
"The move to offer Jego in the iTunes store shows the two sides are
beginning to cooperate and may even be a subtle hint they have come
to a tentative agreement on the widely anticipated mid-priced
iPhone that Apple may roll out this summer," the
cites Bill Fan, technology and telecoms analyst at Guosen
Securities in Hong Kong, as saying.
Renault Ponders Electric Car Production in China
To further penetrate the China market, French car maker
(RNO) has proposed a $1.2 billion joint venture with China's
Dongfeng Motor Group Co. Ltd
(HKG:0489) . As part of the JV, Renault may produce electric
vehicles in China.
The JV, now awaiting approval from Chinese authorities, will
produce some 150,000 passenger vehicles each year, including sport
utility and multi-purpose vehicles.
"It was for us a competitive advantage and very nice coincidence
that the Chinese authorities request that we bring EV technology to
the JV we have with Dongfeng," Renault COO Carlos Tavares told the
Wall Street Journal
, adding that his company "is the only car maker in the world with
four electric vehicles on sale" - the new Zoe, the Twizy, Kangoo,
Honda Motor Co Ltd
(HMC) said this week that it will postpone production of
gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles in China in an attempt to source
cheaper components from Chinese suppliers. Honda's announcement
(TM) said in May that it was also sourcing parts in China to bring
down the price of hybrid vehicles.
Hong Kong Company Granted Right to Build Long-Envisioned
Hong Kong company HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co.,
known as HKND Group, was granted the right by Nicaraguan lawmakers
to build a $40 billion interoceanic canal.
The project was long been a subject of discussion for Nicaragua,
with opinions sharply divided over it.
"The whole history of Nicaragua revolves around this," said Paul
Oquist, President Daniel Ortega's private secretary for national
policy, according to the
Wall Street Journal
. "We see the project taking the country out of poverty and
On the other hand, critics of the project say that it will end up a
white elephant, as it is unclear if the canal can beat out stiff
competition for traffic from the Panama Canal and road and rail
transport in the US. Additionally, environmentalists say that the
canal would destroy the fresh waters of Lake Nicaragua.
The renewable 50-year concession signed by HKND and Nicaragua sees
the company paying the country up to $10 million each year. After
10 years, Nicaragua will own 10% of the firm and can take control
of it completely in another 90 years.
HKND is solely owned by 40-year-old Beijing-based entrepreneur Wang
Jing, who will foot the bill for the project's feasibility study
and who will find sources for funding when work begins.