China

There is something peculiarly impressive about the video below of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, talking in Mandarin to students at Tsinghua University in Beijing. If nothing else, it shows a dedication to the country’s customs that very few foreign business leaders can match.

Mr Zuckerberg clearly has business motives for making the effort, in addition to his personal connections – Priscilla Chan, his wife, comes from a Chinese family and her mother speaks mostly Mandarin. Facebook is blocked in mainland China, along with other US internet companies, and wants restrictions to be loosened. 

Barely two months after Apple admitted it was storing users’ data online in mainland China, reports emerged that hackers have tried breaking into its iCloud data.

Apple representatives in China declined to comment on the reports of the hacking attack, which were posted on GreatFire.org, a group that conducts research on Chinese internet censorship.

The revelations, if true, would be little surprise to China observers. But it would be a comeuppance for Apple whose decision to store users’ data in mainland servers underlined the tenuous balance that foreign tech companies must strike between commitment to customer security and the realities of the Chinese market. 

Just four years old, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has shot up sales rankings to become the top smartphone seller in China, the world’s largest smartphone market, according to data by Canalys, the technology research company.

In a report released this week the company said Xiaomi’s shipments in China grew 240 percent year on year, to 15.1m in the second quarter, write Charles Clover. 

Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, admitted on Sunday that he had never once used Taobao, the ebay-like flagship website for the ecommerce company he will be taking public later this year, writes Charles Clover and Ma Fangjing.

The odd sounding admission came in the middle of a rambling commencement speech to graduates of Tsinghua University on Sunday, in which he highlighted his humble origins and lack of professional experience. He needs to keep his emotional distance from his products, he said, so that he can make decisions about them objectively. And that apparently means not knowing how they work. 

Sarah Mishkin

After the correction in tech stocks in recent weeks, investors would be forgiven for being surprised by the performance of two tech IPOs in New York this week. 

Sarah Mishkin

Alibaba, which filed for its US IPO on Tuesday, is frequently called the Amazon or eBay of China. But while there may be similarities in their business model, the online shopping experience for customers can be quite different indeed.

Here, a look at some of the things one finds on Alibaba’s various shopping platforms, how they differ from each other, and some of the ways in which they are vastly different from their western counterparts. 

Sarah Mishkin

Alibaba’s shareholder list contains some well-known names from around the globe — from China and Japan to Singapore, Silicon Valley and Russia. Here is a breakdown and guide to the biggest names to profit from the listing. 

A man looks at the screen of his mobile phone at Pudong financial district in ShanghaiA new war is brewing between China’s three internet giants, known collectively as BAT – short for Baidu, the dominant search engine, Alibaba, which controls 80 per cent of China’s ecommerce, and Tencent, the gaming and social media juggernaut with a market capitalisation of $132bn. For Wang Ran, a blogger and founder of China eCapital, an investment bank, the competition between Didi Dache [“Honk Honk Taxi”], a Tencent taxi-hailing app, and Alibaba’s Kuadi Dache [“Fast taxi”] is “the first battle in the first world war of the internet”.

 

Hannah Kuchler

The one big US social network not blocked in China launches its new site there in beta today – as part of a Chinese push previously reported by the Financial Times

The rollout of Apple’s iPhone by China Mobile to 300 cities this year is going to be slower than many analysts expected – contributing to its outlook disappointing on Monday and its shares falling more than 7 per cent at the open today.

But new estimates for the rollout of 4G services promise rich pickings for Apple later in 2014 and beyond.