8 Must-Read Tech Stories in China This Week


This week’s China tech scene saw a high-profile e-commerce failure, an upstart social commerce success, some free wifi news, and a fascinating infographic on the rise of the Chinese language on the web. And, as ever, there were more mysteries and shenanigans on Sina Weibo, the country’s hottest Twitter-like site.

1. Rakuten to close its China e-commerce venture with Baidu

In a major embarrassment to Chinese search engine Baidu, its joint-venture e-commerce effort with Japan’s Rakuten has officially failed. It has been announced that the ‘Lekutian’ site will be shuttered in a few days’ time.

2. Mogujie: China’s biggest Pinterest clone is a social commerce money machine

The Chinese startup Mogujie this week claimed that its users are making 60,000 purchases every single day on the e-commerce site Taobao.

3. The average Chinese smartphone user makes $12,698 per year

Some interesting insights from a new ProsperChina survey on China’s “middle-income” iPhone buyers.

4. Free wi-fi coming to Beijing buses

Who here likes good news? Everyone? Good news, everyone! You’ll soon be able to access free wi-fi on Beijing’s city buses, presuming your arms aren’t pinned to your sides.

5. Rumor: Baidu in talks with Foxconn, perhaps for a Baidu-branded smartphone

Getting back on the subject of Baidu, we heard that it’s tapping Foxconn, the OEM assemblers of the iPad and hundreds of other gadgets, to make a Baidu-branded phone that’s almost certainly running its Android-based ‘Yi’ OS.

6. Did Sina just introduce – and then kill – an anonymous news reporting platform

Chinese authorities are not fans of real-time info or activism, so it was a surprise when Sina seemed to launch a platform for citizen journalists that had both those qualities. But the plot thickened when the new service very quickly vanished, likely never to be seen again.

7. Why I think ‘real name’ registration hasn’t really affected Sina Weibo

After jokingly writing much of the impending Weipocalypse when ‘real name’ sign-up became mandatory on Chinese microblogs like Sina Weibo, we decided to track the popularity of trending topics over the course of two months – and made some surprising discoveries.

8. 24% of web content is now in Chinese, will soon surpass English [Infographic]

A new infographic shows that Chinese will soon overtake English as the dominant language online. But, despite that, the web is still too monolingual.

That’s all for this week, folks! For our full, all-you-can-eat banquet of China coverage, you can click here or subscribe to our China RSS.

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