While Uber, Didi and China’s ride-hailing market were all the talk in 2014 and 2015, it is all about Ofo, Mobike, Bluegogo and China’s bike-sharing market in 2016 and 2017.
With approximately 819 million people living in China’s cities, the urban transportation market is one of many opportunities and ample rivalry.
Bicycles have always been a major part of Chinese traffic, but now the streets of cities such as Shanghai and Beijing are flooded with bicycles more than ever due to the explosive popularity of bike sharing startups.
These bikes are unlocked and tracked using smartphone apps and can be rented for around 1 RMB (±0.15$) per hour or per half hour.
Although the main players are ofo, Mobike, and Bluegogo, there are also many other Chinese bike sharing companies such as Hello Bike, Youon or Coolqi. Some information about the big three:
Ofo (ofo共享单车) (backed by Xiaomi and Didi):
– Company founded in 2014
– First bike-sharing service provider in China.
– Started by students from Beijing University, led by Dai Wei.
– Services first launched in Beijing in 2015.
– Trial launch in Cambridge in April 2017.
– 128950 followers on Weibo.
Mobike (摩拜单车) (backed by Tencent):
– Founded in 2014 by CEO Wang Xiaofeng.
– First trial period in December 2015 in Shanghai.
– Officially launched in Shanghai on April 22, 2016.
– Beijing launch: September 1st, 2016.
– Now available in, amongst others, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and also in Singapore.
– 65346 followers on Weibo.
– Founded in 2016.
– Headquartered in Tianjin, CEO is Gang Li (李刚).
– Also launched in San Francisco.
– 76705 fans on Weibo
Bike sharing is easy, cheap and convenient, but it also has its downsides as the streets of cities like Beijing are cluttered with bicycles, often hindering pedestrians and cars.
The city government has therefore proposed new regulations in order to combat the chaos caused by the booming bike-sharing market.
See our latest Weivlog about this topic here (turn on English subtitles) :
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6 Things to Know about the iPhone XS Launch in China
Noteworthy facts about the latest iPhone release in the PRC.
On September 21st, Apple began selling its latest iPhone series to fans and customers across the globe.
The phones released are the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. The iPhone XS Max is the company’s biggest phone yet and boasts features like Face ID 2 for extra security, and up to 512Gb storage. But it is also the company’s most expensive iPhone yet.
Over the past days, topics relating to the latest iPhone are popping up on China’s online hot search lists, with the hashtag “New iPhone Release” (#新iPhone发布#) receiving 1,45 billion views, the hashtag #iPhone XS# receiving 320 million views on Weibo.
Here are six noteworthy facts to know about the iPhone XS in China:
1. Its front-facing selfie camera has a ‘Pitu’ effect
At time of writing, the phone’s front-facing “selfie” camera (#iPhone XS前置摄像头#), with more than 21 million views, is one of the most-searched topics on Weibo.
The camera is different from the cameras in earlier iPhone models in how it seems to add a filter to people’s skin. Although American media have reported that people complain about the “over-smoothing” of the skin because it makes them look “fake,” the great majority of Weibo commenters, on the contrary, like the function, and say it is welcomed in China.
TV presenter Liu Ye (@懂小姐刘烨) writes on Weibo: “About that pretty face result of the iPhone front-facing camera; now I even dare to post my photos without editing them in Pitu!” Pitu is a popular Chinese picture editing app.
Some netizens comment that the beautifying camera is much less controversial in China than abroad because Chinese people are already used to editing and photoshopping their photos by whitening the skin or making the eyes look bigger.
“This iPhone was actually designed for the female consumers in the Chinese and South Korean market, but accidentally ended up in the US,” one netizen jokingly says.
An older meme posted by commenter Lao Xu (@老徐时评) pokes fun at different smartphone cameras and how they make people look.”Perhaps foreigners like the reality more than we do,” other commenters suggested.
2. It’s even more expensive in China
The price of the latest iPhone is one of the biggest topics surrounding its launch. Although the phone already is very expensive in the US, its prices in China are even higher. While the iPhone XS 64 GB version is priced at $1099 in the US, the official online Apple store for China lists the same phone for RMB8,699 (±$1,270).
The most expensive model, the iPhone XS Max, costs a staggering RMB12,799 (±$1,860) for the 512Gb version. By comparison, the iPhone X which launched in 2017 cost $1,149 for the most expensive model in the US.
Beijing News points out on Weibo that the RMB12,799 model is 1,5 times the average monthly wage of Beijingers. “If I had the money, I’d buy it,” some people comment.
3. People are not going too crazy about its release
Although previous years have seen people getting up early and waiting in line for the latest iPhone models, this time, many people shared photos on Weibo of empty queues outside Apple retailers and launch events in China.
Responding to the question ‘Why wouldn’t you buy the iPhone XS?”, most netizens mention the phone’s high price: “I’m too poor to buy it.”
4. The first person to own the iPhone XS was Mr. Wang from Hangzhou
TMall, Apple’s official online retailer in China, ran a promotional campaign to be the first person to own an iPhone XS, using the hashtag “The First iPhoneXS Person” (#iPhoneXS第一人#), which briefly went trending on the day of the launch.
The first person to own Apple’s latest offering turned out to be a certain Mr. Wang from Hangzhou, who bought the phone one minute after it went on sale. The ‘news’ was met with skepticism by netizens. “What’s the point of this story?”, was the most liked comment on Weibo.
5. It’s the first-ever iPhone to have dual sim slots (but only in China)
The Chinese version of the iPhone XS comes with a tray that can hold 2 sim cards, while the version sold outside of China has only got one sim card slot (allowing the creation of virtual SIMs).
The Chinese government controls and tracks sim cards and requires them to be registered to a user’s ID number, which might have to do with Apple’s decision to add an extra sim slot in the Chinese version. eSIMs allow people to connect to mobile networks without a physical sim card, making it easier, in theory, to create fake or untraceable accounts linked to the number. This could bypass controls on mobile phone networks and has been banned by Beijing.
6. The launch sparked controversy for listing Taiwan and HK as separate regions
Apple’s iPhone presentation earlier in September caused outrage and online debate in China, when Phil Schiller, the head of marketing, showed a slide where Taiwan and Hong Kong were listed as separate regions or countries from China.
CCTV soon called on the company to change its naming practices, and web users flooded the company’s official Weibo blog with complaints. Apple has not responded to the controversy yet. The official website still lists the two regions separately.
Also read our article on the most popular smartphones in China (2018).
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Despite China’s ‘Broadcast Ban’ on eSports, Netizens Go Crazy for National Team’s Asian Games Success
Clumsy display of nationalism during China’s glorious esports win goes viral.
The 18th edition of the Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia, has come to an end. With 2,3 billion views on Weibo alone (#2018亚军会#), the Asian Games are a hit on Chinese social media.
The Asian Games marked the first time for esports (electronic sports) to be included in a major international comprehensive sports event.
On the 26th of August, the first day of the esports event, the Chinese team won their first gold medal after winning the game Arena of Valor aka AoV (王者荣耀). The second day, they won the silver medal with the game Clash Royale (皇室战争), ending just behind the Indonesian team.
But the most significant success was celebrated on the 29th of August. After a 3-day battle, the Chinese team won their second gold medal for their performance in the game League of Legends (英雄联盟). Their victory came as a surprise to many, since it was the South Korean team that had defeated China twice during the group phase. But this time it was the Chinese team that celebrated a three-to-one victory over the South Koreans.
Despite the national teams’ successes, TV-watching audiences on mainland China were not able to witness these important moments in sport; CCTV5, the state television’s national sports channel, did not broadcast any of the esports events. Much to the annoyance of many netizens, CCTV5 also did not allow any other platform the right to broadcast any esports events.
The reason for CCTV not broadcasting online computer games is because it is banned. In the ‘Notice on the prohibition of broadcasting online computer game programs‘ (关于禁止播出电脑网络游戏类节目的通知) issued by the National Radio and television Administration in 2004, it says that “radio and television broadcasting organizations at all levels shall not open to computer network games, and may not broadcast online computer game programs.”
That same notice also states that “online computer games have adversely affected the healthy growth of minors.”
On CCTV5’s official Weibo account, many netizens called for the broadcasting of the esports games last week, and vented their dissatisfaction towards state media for banning the broadcast.
One Weibo user wrote: “CCTV spends state money to get a monopoly on the broadcasting rights, and then they choose not to broadcast. It is a waste of the state’s money and disrespectful to the people who do want to see esports!” Some posts scolding the CCTV received thousands of likes.
Except for CCTV, Party newspaper People’s Daily (人民日报), also received many negative social media comments after thy published an article on the victory of the national team. In the comment section, readers wrote comments such as: ‘Now you want to congratulate? Weren’t you the one that didn’t want to broadcast live?’ and ‘I’ve been thinking, isn’t it time that CCTV gets its own E-sports channel?’.
Clumsy Display of Nationalism: ‘Handshake with the National Flag’
Despite China’s ‘ban’ on esports, the country’s esports athletes showed much patriotism during the Asian Games.
In an interview with Tencent Sports, one the players of the Chinese team, Jian Zihao (简自豪), who goes by the online-ID ‘Uzi,’ expressed his love and gratitude for China, saying: “It’s the first time the national esports team officially represents the country. We wear the national [sports]uniform from head to toe, with the five-star red flag printed on the left side of our chest and ‘CHINA’ in capitals on our back. […] we live in the same village as the other athletes. I never thought that this would happen to me.’
The team also had a noteworthy patriotic moment during the so-called ‘handshake with national flag incident’. After winning their second gold medal, the Chinese team gained much attention online when they somewhat clumsily kept on holding onto their national flag while shaking hands with the silver and bronze medal winners (video link).
After the award ceremony, the hashtag ‘Handshake with the national Flag’ (#举着国籍握手#) became a hot search on Weibo, with more than 27 million views.
The athletes later said that nobody dared to put the flag down, so they held it up while shaking hands. They reportedly said: ‘The national flag is the most sacred thing, we didn’t dare to make any mistakes.’
A Weibo post publishing about the moment titled the incident ‘Sorry, It’s the first time I won the Asian Games Championship, [I have] no experience.’ (‘对不起，第一次拿亚运冠军，没经验.’); it was shared over 98 thousand times and liked more than 124 thousand times. Many netizens found it very amusing, calling the athletes ‘clumsy,’ ‘cute’ and ‘adorable.’
Whether the positive image of the athletes will be enough to lift the ban on broadcasting online gaming is not clear. Neither the CCTV nor People’s Daily have yet officially responded to the complaints. But as the next Asian Games are to be held in Hangzhou, China, in 2022, many are hopeful that the ban will be lifted by then. One thing is sure: their team is ready for it.
By Gabi Verberg
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