China

Common wisdom has it that when it comes to the web, China goes its own way. For big western sites there are China equivalents: for Google, there’s Baidu. For Facebook there’s Renren. For eBay, there’s Alibaba. And for Twitter, there’s Sina Weibo. Isn’t there?

In terms of numbers, yes. China has over 300m users on the Sina Weibo service – Twitter is banned in China. But hang on. According to a recent report, the most active users of Twitter worldwide are in… China. Not the US. How come?

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These are not happy days for Apple in China. The iconic American brand, outpaced by Samsung in its appeal among Chinese consumers since last year, is now also losing out to other smartphone competitors.

According to IDC, Apple’s share of the Chinese smartphone market by shipments fell by nearly half to 10 per cent in the second quarter from three months earlier. The company came fourth in a ranking topped by Samsung and Lenovo, the Chinese company that is also the world’s second-largest PC vendor.

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Richard Waters

Make no mistake: Apple will end up eating the higher costs that supplier Foxconn will incur to end excessive overtime and improve working conditions at its plants. But, as we suggested earlier this year, it will be Apple’s rivals that will end up suffering mostRead more

Tech news from around the web:

China has overtaken the US as the world’s biggest smartphone market by volume in the third quarter, Reuters reports. According to research company Strategy Analytics, smartphone shipments grew 58% to reach 23.9m units in China during the quarter, while US shipments fell 7% from the second quarter to reach 23.3m devices. Read more

Joseph Menn

The two-day London Cyber Conference wrapped up Thursday with a remarkable lack of unity for such a carefully staged, invite-only event for world political and technology leadersRead more

Joseph Menn

Ebay chief executive John Donahoe said the Chinese government  won’t let foreign-owned  internet companies win in that country, but added PayPal will nonetheless bend to fit new rules and stay in the market. Read more

When Robin Li, Baidu’s chief executive, gave an interview to the Financial Times in March, he made some enigmatic remarks, writes Kathrin Hille in Beijing.

Asked about what he intended to do to make sure Baidu, China’s largest online search engine, would not lose out in the rapid rise of the microblogs in China, he said: “Baidu is not in the social media business.” Read more

To outside observers of China, the country’s internet seems to be powered by copies of Western online services – Baidu is known in the West as ‘China’s Google’, Renren is ‘the Chinese Facebook’ and Sina Weibo is a ‘Chinese Twitter clone’, writes Kathrin Hille in Beijing.

But those using and watching the Chinese internet know that many of the web platforms in the country with the world’s largest online population have little in common with the Western pioneers they borrowed the initial idea from. Now, a solid piece of research shows just how little. Read more

Google logoAct one of Google’s spat with the Chinese authorities over censorship and government-backed hacking closed last year with Google partially retreating from the world’s most populous nation.

There was, however, still the unresolved issue of Google Maps, and act two of Google versus China may now be beginning with Google having submitted an application to Beijing to allow the service to remain in China. Read more

Joseph Menn

Alibaba Group chief executive Jack Ma said on Wednesday that he expected his fight with the company’s largest shareholders, Yahoo and Softbank, would end with an amicable resolution despite what he said were complex “peace talks.” Read more