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February 27 2014

February 26 2014

February 25 2014

February 12 2014

Is Bing Censoring Chinese Search Results in the U.S.?

Microsoft's search engine Bing may be censoring some search results in Chinese — even when the searcher is in the United States.

When searching for a term that's controversial in China, like the Dalai Lama, Bing displays very different results if you search in Chinese than in English. The filtered searches were first noticed by activists at GreatFire, an anti-censorship group in China, and first reported by The Guardian.

If you search for the Dalai Lama in English, the first results are his official site and Wikipedia pages about the Tibetan Buddhist leader. If you search in Chinese though, the first results are entries from Baidu Baike, a Chinese Wikipedia-like encyclopedia run by the country's own search giant Baidu, and a Chinese state TV documentary on the spiritual leader. Read more...

More about China, Censorship, Bing, Government Censorship, and Internet Freedom

February 06 2014

Fossils From China Reveal Giant New Titanosaur

Welcome Yongjinglong datangi — a long-necked, plant-eating sauropod dinosaur found in northwestern China — to the list of gigantic creatures that called Earth home.

A team led by University of Pennsylvania paleontologists Liguo Li and Peter Dodson have characterized the fossil remains of a sauropod found in the Lanzhou Basin of Gansu province in 2008. The scientists found multiple bones that belonged to the sauropod that roamed the earth during the Early Cretaceous period — more than 100 million years ago — including teeth and vertebrae.

More about China, News, World, U.S., and Dinosaurs

February 04 2014

13.6 Billion Chinese New Year Messages Sent in One Day

While everyone's talking about WeChat, it's easy to forget that Tencent makes another social network that's even more popular. It's called QQ. Today, Tencent revealed that QQ's users sent a total of 13.6 billion QQ chats on the instant messaging service during Chinese New Year's Eve, the busiest and most raucously celebrated day of the year.

At the high tide of the messaging flood there were 32.7 million QQ messages sent in one minute. That dwarfs the number of friendly missives fired on the same day on WeChat, which reached 10 million in one minute.

Tencent revealed its numbers today on Sina Weibo, and also produced a Chinese-language infographic containing more data. In addition to details about geography, it shows that 16 million users made a video call on QQ during Chinese New Year's Eve. Read more...

More about China, Social Network, Video Web Chat, Whatsapp, and Tech
China Is Dominating Global Ecommerce Sales, Study Says

China's ecommerce sales are set to grow nearly 64% in 2014 — leaps and bounds higher than any other country in the world.

Global business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce sales will hit $1.5 trillion this year, which is a 20.1% increase from 2013, according to eMarketer's latest forecast.

Created by Statista, the following chart shows 10 selected countries and their ecommerce sales growth. It shows that China's sales are expected to grow twice as much as India, and more than five times as much as the U.S.

China Ecommerce Sales Growth

Image: Statista

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more...

More about China, Business, Ecommerce, Sales, and World

January 31 2014

15 Mesmerizing Moments From Chinese New Year Celebrations

After days of preparation, the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations kicked off on Thursday in China and across Asia

The date of the Chinese New Year, which is celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar, indicates both the moon phase and the time of the solar year. That's why the Chinese New Year always falls on different dates in the Western calendar, which is Gregorian.

Celebrations for the Year of the Horse included fireworks, firecrackers, masks, costumes, prayers and colorful light displays. But this year's celebrations were partly dampened by pollution Read more...

More about China, Celebration, Us World, World, and Travel Leisure

January 30 2014

Alibaba Adds Payment Option for Mobile Cab Rides

Alibaba, China's leading e-commerce firm, has introduced a new feature in its Alipay Wallet mobile e-wallet app that lets users hail taxis on Kuaidi Dache, the Hangzhou-based on-demand transportation app.

The feature, which was first spotted by Marbridge Daily, is accessible when users press the "Explore" tab in the Alipay Wallet app's dock. At the bottom, a bar bearing a yellow taxi icon appears. Pressing the bar lets users input their location, intended destination, and call for a cab.

Alipay Wallet previously included a feature that let users pay for cabs hailed on Kuaidi Dache's standalone app. Recently, however, that put Alibaba a few steps behind rival firm Tencent, which introduced taxi booking and payment through its behemoth WeChat messaging app. Read more...

More about China, Apps, Taxis, E Commerce, and Alibaba
This Is the World's Top-Earning App

Line's active user count might be an enigma, but the latest edition of the App Annie Index shows outside of games, Line was the top earning app and publisher in the world in 2013.

Line ranked ninth in the list of most downloaded publishers in the world. It's the sixth most-downloaded app outside of games.

According to the report, Japan surpassed the US as the top country in terms of app revenue, driven largely by games on Google Play. That means Line's home market likely helped push it to the top of the highest earners list.

Within Japan, Line's game lineup took seven of the top ten highest earning mobile game spots, beaten only by fellow Japanese game Puzzles and Dragons. Line and Line Camera are the two most-downloaded apps in the country outside of games. Read more...

More about Games, China, Downloads, Apps, and Revenue

January 29 2014

Heat Map Shows Most Popular Chinese New Year Destinations

Baidu has launched a heat map of where Chinese travelers are heading to, coming from, and which routes are most popular during Chinese New Year, the country's largest national holiday.

It's a time when most Chinese either return home to their families or go on vacation, and it's the largest annual mammalian migration on Earth. During the 40-day holiday period — which is called Spring Festival in Chinese — 3.6 billion passenger trips will be made across all modes of transportation (Note: most people only get eight days off).

Baidu gathers data from smartphones with Baidu Maps and other apps using its location-based platform to create the heat map. Baidu Maps alone has more than 200 million registered users and receives 3.5 million position requests every day. Read more...

More about China, Baidu, Mobile, Us World, and World

January 28 2014

Dying in Beijing May Be Pricier Than Living There

Rents are rising for the departed in Beijing. Living in China's capital city may be more affordable than being buried there, according to a new report.

Getting a plot in one of Beijing's more popular cemeteries can cost as much as $60,000 to $70,000 per square meter, TIME magazine reported, citing state-run newspaper Legal Weekly. What's more, Beijing's famous Babaoshan Cemetery charges the dead $165,000 for entry.

In comparison, a single grave site, which holds up to three burials, at the Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y., costs between $12,000 and $14,000.

China outlawed burials to conserve much-needed space in the country’s crowded metropolises. Chinese residents must settle for a plot to inter ashes, but even the costs of those plots have increased by more than 30% a year, according to Legal Weekly. Read more...

More about China, Beijing, Death, Us World, and World
Apple: 130,000 iOS Apps Are From Chinese Developers

There are 130,000 apps from Chinese developers in Apple's App Store, according to numbers released Monday during the company's Q1 earnings call.

To put that in context, the App Store had more than one million apps in total as of last October.

The number of apps coming out of China will likely continue to rise, as Apple broadens its reach in the country

Expansion in Asia was a big topic during Monday's call. Overall growth in China is up 20%, and revenue grew 31% during Q1.

Earlier this month, Apple partnered with China Mobile, the country's largest wireless carrier, to begin selling the iPhone 5S and 5C. Read more...

More about China, Apple, Earnings, Ios, and Tech

January 25 2014

Chinese Banknotes Stamped With QR Codes Breach Great Firewall

Centuries of invaders couldn't break the Great Wall of China, but a Chinese yuan can. Well, the "Great Firewall,” at least

A series of one yuan banknotes became a whole lot more valuable after being stamped with a quick response (QR) code — a type of matrix barcode that, when scanned by a smartphone, sends a user to a website stored in the code — that circumvents the infamous firewall.

Beneath the stamped QR codes are the words: “Scan and download software to break the Internet firewall.” Doing so leads to an Amazon cloud link that hosts downloadable software to get around the firewall.

More about China, News, World, Censorship, and Qr Codes

January 23 2014

China's Pollution Is Creating Dangerous Smog in the U.S.

The Pacific Ocean's breeze carries more to the U.S. than surfing waves and warm weather. China's carbon emissions shore up, too.

A new study published this week claims that China's air pollution blows across the ocean and increases smog on the West Coast

Steady increases in Chinese manufacturing coupled with the country's low environmental standards contribute to pollution in California, Oregon and Washington. China's nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide gases attribute to at least one extra day of smog per year in Los Angeles, according to the study. The Chinese pollution reaching the West Coast exceeds federal ozone standards, according to Bloomberg. Read more...

More about China, Pollution, Us World, Us, and World
Why Did China's Internet Traffic Get Misdirected to Wyoming?

As much as three-quarters of China's more than 500 million Internet users experienced some sort of service outage Tuesday.

The outage itself isn't strange — it's where the traffic was redirectedAccording to the The New York Times, traffic from roughly 75% of China's various DNS servers were redirected to a business based in Cheyenne, Wyo.

At around 3:15 p.m. local time Tuesday, Internet traffic throughout China — including traffic to large sites such as Sina Weibo — began to be redirected to a DNS address for a server in Wyoming, GreatFire.org, a website that monitors web censorship in China, reported. The problem spread to other major sites, impacting a significant portion of all Internet traffic. Read more...

More about China, Internet, Great Firewall Of China, Us World, and World

January 21 2014

Lady Gaga No Longer Blacklisted in China

For Lady Gaga fans in China, some applause is in order.

Chinese citizens are now legally allowed to listen to the pop star's latest album, ARTPOP, after she was removed from the nation's blacklist for the first time since 2011. But that lift comes with some caveats: The album cover, which features an all-but-naked Gaga, won't appear that way in China. Instead, the cover will show Gaga sporting a pair of black tights, and her waist will be obscured by a larger version of the bright blue ball that appears between her legs on the American album. Chinese Culture Ministry officials have also altered one song title, according to CNN, changing "Sexxx Dreams" to "X Dreams." Read more...

More about Music, China, Lady Gaga, Blacklist, and Us World

January 20 2014

Beijing Is Not Really Televising the Sunrise Because of Pollution

Over the weekend, a story that originated in the UK-based Daily Mail went viral among major media outlets across the worldTime, CBS, and the Huffington Post were among the dozens of online news media who published stories about Beijing residents flocking to giant TV screens to see fake sunrises during heavy pollution last week. Most of these stories were accompanied by the same photo of a massive TV screen in Tiananmen Square with a sunrise appearing on it.

In truth, that sunrise was probably on the screen for less than 10 seconds at a time, as it was part of an ad for tourism in China's Shandong province. The ad plays every day throughout the day all year round no matter how bad the pollution is. The photographer simply snapped the photo at the moment when the sunrise appeared. Look closely, and you can even see the Shandong tourism logo in the bottom right corner. The photo was credited to ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images, so a Daily Mail reporter did not take it. Read more...

More about China, Tiananmen Square, Pollution, Us World, and World
Chinese Factory Mass Produces Cloned Pigs

As if glowing green pigs from China weren't odd enough, now a Chinese cloning facility that produces 500 cloned pigs a year is proving that science fiction is becoming ever more real.

The UK's BBC recently went on a tour of the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI), the world’s largest center for pig cloning. Revealed in the televised report are scores of sheds, sometimes up to 90 in a row, housing normal-looking pigs that have been cloned at the facility.

“We can do cloning on a very large scale,” Dr. Yutao Du told the BBC. “30-50 people [clone] so that we can make a cloning factory here.” Read more...

More about China, News, World, Clone, and Science

January 17 2014

Meet COS, The Chinese Government's Contender To Battle iOS & Android

The government of China is not too fond of foreign mobile operating systems like iOS and Android, so the country cooked up its own homegrown solution: A Linux-based, open-source operating system called the COS, or China Operating System.

According to People's Daily, a government-run news organization in China, COS is a joint effort between the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS) and a company called Shanghai Liantong, which develops software and communication technology. According to China’s dedicated website, the COS was designed for smartphones, PCs, smart appliances and set-top boxes, and is “intended to break the foreign monopoly in the field of infrastructure software.”

At a launch event Wednesday, the head of the ISCAS took the first steps in denigrating the so-called foreign mobile “monopoly” and promoting China’s own COS. According to Engadget Chinese, the ISCAS chief “criticized iOS for being a closed ecosystem,” mentioned Android’s “infamous fragmentation problem,” and added that both Android and Windows Phone OS are “let down by poor security.” 

Many Chinese consumers are skeptical of COS in its early going. According to Quartz’ Jennifer Chiu, Chinese smartphone users took to Sina Weibo in droves to critique COS after its unveiling this week, poking fun at its name—“What does COS stand for? COPY ANOTHER SYSTEM?”—and sarcastically proposing that Communist Party “members, cadres, and leaders throw away their iPhones [first] and have them replayed by our superb homemade operating system!”

Justifiably Suspicious

Consumers have every right to be skeptical of its own government’s second attempt at a mobile operating system. That's right—second attempt.

China once tried to create its own Linux-based, open mobile ecosystem in the past, but the OPhone or OMS (Open Mobile System), fell flat after its 2009 release. The OPhone, though believed to be discontinued in 2010, is still alive today with a meager 600 available applications.

With COS, China is taking advantage of the recent NSA scandal in the U.S. to push its own product; and yet, a government-approved mobile operating system, especially in China of all places, reeks of its own backdoor exploits for governmental spying.

China, which has notably heavy restrictions against sociopolitical freedoms like access to the Internet, the right to assemble or practice religion, and even the right to bear children, has many times been accused of spying on (and censoring) its own citizens. More recently, Chinese officials have begun wiretapping each other’s bedrooms and showers out of distrust. Even China’s president was wiretapped by a member of the country’s own Communist Party. 

Before it can go mainstream, COS will need to win support from a number of local carriers and handset makers, including ZTE, Lenovo and Huawei Technologies, the largest telecom equipment maker in the world, which was also accused of cyberspying in the U.S. and criticized for its ties to the Chinese military.

Lead image via Shutterstock; right images via China-COS

Tags: China
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