Xiaomi’s wearable device partner Huami raises $110M in NYSE IPO

 China’s top wearable firm Huami has raised $110 million after it listed on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.
Fresh from launching iits Apple Watch-like Amazfit Blip this week, Huami sold 10 million shares at $11 a pop, the mid-point of its price range. The company joined the NYSE under the ‘HMI’ ticker symbol. It potentially raised up to $16.5 million more if… Read More

Media Watchdog Advises Journalists in China to Avoid Using iCloud Accounts, Citing Privacy Fears

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RWB/RSF) has urged journalists using iCloud in China to migrate away from Apple’s cloud service this month, before control of their data is handed over to a Chinese company (via Hong Kong Free Press).

Beginning February 28, Apple’s iCloud services in mainland China will be operated by Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data (GCBD), which is owned by the Guizhou provincial government in southern China.



The firm is set to manage Apple’s new $1 billion data center, which opened in the region last year. The operational change was agreed between Apple and the Chinese government, bringing the tech giant into compliance with the country’s new cloud computing regulations.

Apple says the partnership with GCBD will improve the speed and reliability of iCloud services and products, and has assured iCloud customers that no backdoors had been created into any of its systems. However, press freedom advocates fear that user data will become accessible to the Chinese state as a result of the switch. Earlier this week, RWB/RSF explicitly criticized Apple’s “readiness to accommodate China’s authoritarian regime”.

“Apple promises that it will never give governments a backdoor to content, but there is no way of being sure about this,” Head of RSF’s East Asia bureau Cédric Alviani said.

“Knowing the Chinese government’s determination and the extent of the means of pressure at its disposal, it will end up getting its way sooner or later, if it hasn’t already.”

Last month, Apple contacted and advised customers in China to examine new terms and conditions, which include a clause that both Apple and the Chinese firm will have access to all data stored on iCloud servers. Customers who did not want to use iCloud operated by GCBD were also given the option to terminate their account before the February 28 switch.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: China

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Chinese police are using smart glasses to identify potential suspects

 China already operates the world’s largest surveillance state with some 170 CCTV cameras at work, but its line of sight is about to get a new angle thanks to new smart eyewear that is being piloted by police officers. The smart specs look a lot like Google Glass, but they are used for identifying potential suspects. The device connects to a feed which taps into China’s state… Read More

Apple Retail Stores in China to Accept Alipay Mobile Payments

Alipay, the mobile payment system offered by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, will soon be accepted in Apple retail stores across China, making it the first third-party mobile payment system to be accepted at brick-and-mortar Apple stores anywhere in the world (via Reuters).



The partnership with Apple was announced in a statement on Wednesday by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, which runs Alipay. Apple’s regional China website, iTunes Store, and App Store have accepted Alipay for over a year, but Apple has now agreed to accept Alipay payments across all of its 41 local retail stores in the country, where Apple Pay has thus far received a lukewarm reception.

Alipay is China’s most used mobile payment platform, but Alibaba is looking to keep one step ahead of Tencent Holdings’ rival digital payment system, which is integrated into hugely popular chat app WeChat.

Reports of discussions about a potential partnership between Apple and Alibaba date back to November 2014, when the idea of integrating Alibaba’s Alipay with Apple Pay was first considered as a more comprehensive mobile payments solution for the Chinese market.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Apple Plans Second Data Center for iCloud Services in China

Apple is planning to build a second data center in China, with an operation date set for 2020 and location in Ulanqab City, according to a report today by Xinhua Net (via Reuters).

Located in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the second center is said to provide various iCloud services for users on the Chinese mainland. Plans are for the center to run on 100 percent renewable energy sources, similar to other data centers built by Apple.

Apple Inc., the United States tech giant, will build a data center in Ulanqab City in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, after its first data center in southwestern Guizhou Province, the local government has announced.

The Ulanqab City data center will be Apple’s second in China, following an announcement last summer for its first China-based data center located in the southern province of Guizhou. The first center was set up in partnership with data management firm Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry and in accordance with the country’s new cybersecurity laws.

At the time, Reuters reported that Apple was the first foreign tech firm to announce amendments to its data storage arrangements in China to comply with a new cybersecurity law that was implemented in June, requiring foreign firms to store data within the country. While concerns about surveillance and data security were brought up, Apple assured reporters it had strong privacy and security protections in place, stating that “No backdoors will be created into any of our systems.”

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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China launches salvo against “network navy” of trolls who spread fake news

While Facebook and Twitter have been fighting the scourge of organized efforts to use social media to misinform and use their platforms as part of “influence campaigns,” China is battling its own Internet troll and “fake news” problem, according to a report from Liu Yi Zhan of China’s Xinhua News Agency. But while Facebook and Twitter can only ban accounts, Chinese officials can throw those who participate in “illegal Internet speculation” in jail.

Since last May, more than 200 people in China have been arrested, and thousands of others have found themselves confronted by police. Social media accounts and “illegal” websites have been seized as part of a campaign against organizations literally called “wǎngluò shuǐjūn,” or Network Navy (網絡水軍—literally, “network water army”).These Internet sailors have plied the websites, forums, and social media services of China for the last decade, running public relations and marketing campaigns in support or in opposition to one entity or another. For the most part, these operations have been on behalf of Chinese companies trying to promote themselves—or make their competitors look bad.

Network navies are loose organizations of hundreds or thousands of people recruited through sites targeted at “leisure workers”—people seeking extra money by doing tasks similar to Mechanical Turk jobs in their spare time. The organizers of these groups have typically marketed the services of their workers to companies looking for “grassroots” marketing help—or, more accurately, fake grassroots (“astroturf”) campaigns—on social media services such as WeChat, the Weibo micro-blogging site (China’s answer to Twitter), Dianping (like Yelp), and RenRen (a Chinese Facebook clone). But according to officials at China’s Ministry of Public Security, they have also engaged in the creation of spam email campaigns. fraudulent news sites, and social media trolling campaigns to shape public opinion and punish individuals who have run afoul of whomever pays them.

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Sure looks like China has a ship-mounted railgun

 Ever since Eraser, everyone wants a railgun. Turns out China is no exception. Some photos posted by Dafeng Cao, a Twitter user who keeps close tabs on Chinese military developments, show a ship-mounted gun that could very well be the country’s very own homegrown electromagnetically propelled mass driver. Read More

A traveling frog exposes the fake app problem in Apple’s Chinese App Store

 An app about a frog that likes to travel has exposed worrying signs that Apple isn’t doing enough to prevent fake apps from entering its App Store in China, the world’s largest smartphone market and Apple’s single largest country for app revenue.
The story centers around ‘Tabi Kaeru’ — or ‘Travel Frog’ — a Japanese app that has become an… Read More