8 Must-Read Tech Stories in China This Week


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You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that. So said the playwright Samuel Beckett in an apt observation for a week in which we were notably not wiped off the face of the earth. But he also said we’re all born mad, so he’s not exactly the kind of dude who made chicken soup for the soul. Which brings us to…

1. Web of failure: How China’s internet policies have doomed Chinese soft power

China wants to be seen as a dynamic and creative force in the world, but Chinese authorities’ myopic and paranoid approach to the web and social media leave the world unconvinced. We delve into what China’s trying to do, and how it’s spectacularly screwing up.

2. Tencent: WeChat app set to surpass 300 million users next month

Indeed, one China-made app that could be good for the country’s ‘soft power’ and image across the world is WeChat. It launched globally in April of this year, and we graphed the messaging app’s progress to its next major milestone.

3. This is how luxury Western brands do awesome social media marketing in China in 2012

The superb Digital IQ Index for 2012 is out, giving a detailed look at how major brands are committing to the web and social media to woo China’s wealthier consumers. Check out which brand is doing the best job this year, and which social media platforms in China are the hottest for marketing.

4. The top 10 Chinese searches on Baidu in 2012 (hint: there’s a lot about corruption)

Looking over at Baidu, China’s top search engine, it was also in an end-of-year mood with this neat list of the most popular topical searches made by its users. It was certainly a year of plenty of scandal.

5. Welcome to purgatory: Sina Weibo now delaying mentions of ‘sensitive’ words by 7 days

Equally scandalous is this astonishing new censorship ploy from Sina Weibo, which is the country’s top Twitter-esque service. It sort of means that Weibo is not really fully real-time anymore…

6. Xiaomi’s sales experiment on Sina Weibo yields 1.3 million reservations for just 50,000 phones

…But Sina Weibo was having less trouble with this interesting social commerce try-out in conjunction with the popular phone-maker.

7. Chinese mobile phones hold a big chunk of East African market, but that’s not a good thing

Getting back onto the topic of soft power (see #1), Chinese-made shanzhai phones seem to be doing more harm than good in several nations across Africa.

8. Tencent: Our video site is now China’s biggest, ready to charge for Hollywood movies

Forget about being “China’s YouTube,” there’s tons of competition to be “China’s Hulu.” We talked to the head of Tencent Video who says that the web giant is taking streaming video seriously as it opens up a section for new Hollywood blockbusters.

That’s all for this week, folks! For our full spread of China coverage, you might like to subscribe to our China RSS feed.

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