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. Read more

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, 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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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”.

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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 TimesRead more

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. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

China’s mountainous Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has little of the wealth and fast development of the places in China foreigners have already heard of, but on one key measure of economic development, Guangxi is winning — the growth rate of spending online.

Online shopping throughout China is expanding fast – far faster than the US and Europe – but it’s growing particularly fast in China’s poorer regions like Guangxi, where malls are sparser and the number of people getting online for the first time is greater. Read more

Shares in Hong Kong-traded Chinese electronics giant Haier are soaring, thanks to Alibaba.

FastFT reports that Haier said earlier Monday it had teamed up with Alibaba to develop its logistics business. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

A Beijing customer buys two new iPhone 5s

A customer celebrates buying two new iPhone 5s at the Wangfujing flagship store in Beijing

When Xiaomi, a popular Chinese smartphone maker, overtook Apple’s market share in China the second quarter, the shift prompted a double take by consumers and investors who had never heard of the small but growing brand.

The ascent was short-lived. Apple’s two new iPhones have proved popular in China, enabling the US company to shoulder past Xiaomi in the market share rankings for the three months ended in September.

But Apple and everyone else are still miles behind the clear market leader — Samsung, which now has a fifth of China’s smartphone market, up from 14 per cent in the third quarter of last year. Read more

There is more than one way to lead in the smartphone industry, and China is at work on all of them.

No longer content to copy foreign products. China is developing brands to compete with Apple and Samsung. Xiaomi is known as its answer to Apple, and Huawei and ZTE, the equipment companies, have moved into handsets.

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According to media reports this week, HTC is developing an operating system for Chinese mobile phone users. The company has now issued a statement – but it makes for a pretty unconvincing denial.

HTC says it is in conversations with the Chinese government and telephone operators. But the troubled Taiwanese company did so, i) without denying the OS exists, and ii) in a way that suggests it isn’t in charge of its own destiny. Read more

It’s not just Apple that can generate sales buzz in China for new devices. A couple of weeks on from Amazon’s Kindle launch in China, and the new e-reading devices are becoming hot properties.

The company told beyondbrics in an email that the two Kindle tablets were sold out “almost immediately” and customers are leaving their contact information for the waiting list to be next in line for new stocks.

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Shares in Sina Corp, the Nasdaq-listed Chinese online media group, rose nearly 21 per cent during trading on Monday after the company said it had agreed to sell 18 per cent of Weibo, its Twitter-like micro-blogging service, to Alibaba Group for $586m. The two came close to a similar deal five months ago. Now they have tied the knot.

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Having now read Tim Cook’s letter of apology to Chinese consumers, I think the Apple chief executive has rather deftly achieved his objective – a public act of contrition – without admitting that his company did anything wrong.

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A web games company is about to test the appetite for Chinese floats in the US in one of the first such deals since the accounting scandals that rocked many Chinese companies in 2011. is the games subsidiary of, a Chinese online game developer that in turn is majority-owned by Nasdaq-listed

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It’s hard to know which was worse: Nokia‘s third quarter overall, or its results in China. Let’s say… China.

Why? Well, the Finnish mobile company has made a big effort in the country, but it’s Q3 results show that it’s far from paying off.

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