Old Cadres Go Viral With Lady Gaga Cover

Posted November 17th, 2011 at 10:37 pm (UTC+0)

A video of the Hunan (湖南) provincial TV station’s Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) gala featured  a team of retired officials covering Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” In China, singing and dancing groups formed by former government officials are the norm.

However, this video, with the enthusiastic singers and currently shared on You Tube, has been viewed more than 850,000 times. A blogger has even translated their lyrics into English.

A copy video that can be played easily on the mainland can be found on Tudou, the video sharing site.

Western net users, by and large, consider this video to be funny. What do you think?

China’s Largest Telecoms Probed by Anti-Monopoly Investigation

Posted November 16th, 2011 at 10:15 pm (UTC+0)
1 comment

China’s two biggest telecom companies are being probed by an anti-monopoly (反垄断) investigation that is being publicized in the state media.

China Telecom (中国电信) and China Unicom (中国联通) are suspected of using their domination of the broadband market to charge higher prices to consumers. The two companies control well over half of the country’s broadband market.

A villager walks past a billboard for China Telecom

A villager walks past a billboard for China Telecom, near Xiushui, in China's southwest Sichuan province. (AP File Photo/Greg Baker)

The National Development and  Reform Commission (NDRC) (发展和改革委员会) has opened up an investigation of the companies, the first big test of anti-monopoly legislation introduced in 2008.

The China Central Television (CCTV) News 30  (央视《新闻30分》节目) program on the State-owned network has been publicizing the investigation with high-profile reports on TV.

The investigation has sparked discussion on forums dedicated to State policies.

Bbs.cntv.cn, the online forum for CNTV, the internet channel for CCTV, has been buzzing about the topic. One poster, FishInWater, posted about the People’s Daily editorial explaining the situation.

The anti-monopoly investigation is directed at the direct line that the internet service providers has in the market. It looks like a competition between the companies for their interest, but in reality it has a lot to do with ordinary users.

On the one hand, the existence of the monopoly is not good for money payers who want to experience lower rates and better service. According the initial assessment, if there was effective competition in the market, then in the next five years the pay rate for going online could lower 27%-38%, and will save 10 to 15 billion yuan.

A commenter Qingzheng, replied

This problem has existed for dozens of years! Why is it being doubted just before the re-election?! They are using the monopoly to ruin the Chinese telecom industry!

Even though the commenter is crowing about a “conspiracy” to overthrow the Chinese people, they do have a good point. Just before the ascension of the next government elite in 2012, it could be a moment for certain politicians to gain power and influence by pointing out State monopolies.

The telecom companies put forward their side in a front-page article in the industry newspaper, China Post and Telecom Daily, which said CCTV “misled the public.”

China Unicom said it “operates its Internet access business pursuant to the license for operating basic telecommunications business in” China, and that it is “in the process of providing the NDRC with the pricing, volume, turnover and other relevant information.”

Li Qing, deputy director of the price supervision and anti-monopoly department of China’s National Development and Reform Commission said, according to the same article, “After the investigation, if the facts are verified and the ruling is proved accurate, they’ll be fined.”

Massive Lines for Debut of Apple iPhone 4S in Hong Kong

Posted November 13th, 2011 at 8:07 pm (UTC+0)

The Apple iPhone 4S debuted in Hong Kong (香港) on Friday, setting off a scramble as thousands lined up to get their hands on one of the devices.

The 16G iPhone4S was sold at HK$5,088 (US$ 654) and the 32G iPhone4S at HK$5,888 (US$ 757).

At its store in the IFC mall, 1,200 people lined up just in the morning alone. Take a look at the crazy lines in this video we found on YouTube.

Each person was only allowed to buy five iPhones. But that didn’t stop the scalpers. A gray market was quickly set up inside the mall as some who were lucky enough to get their hands on an iPhone 4S started selling them.

The Hong Kong tech blog MIC Gadget says at least one incident of robbery occurred in the mall. They also produced a fun video of the action, which they gave us permission to post, or you can see their entire story here.

Ynet.com, the website for Beijing Youth Daily, published an article on the police reinforcements in Hong Kong, stationed to stop scalper activity. There were reports that scalpers had lined up outside stores offering HK$ 1,000-2,000 or more for an new iPhone.

An account called the Apple Report (苹果报道) on the Sina microblog (新浪微博) quoted a student who had lined up to buy the product in order to resell it.

The first person to buy an iPhone4S on the first day of sale in Hong Kong’s Apple Store was a student with the surname of Xie. He bought five phones and admitted that he will go on to sell these at the profit of HK$ 1,500-2,000 each. The student had waited in line for four days, and stood in line with seven other friends.

On Sina microblog, the user KawingKwok complained that her dad bought her a Samsung Galaxy instead of what she really wanted – the iPhone4S.

Also on Sina microblog, people were talking about being trendy after getting the phone. “I have an iPhone 4S. I am now fashionable,” said Sir Wang (王Sir).

On the digital products forum eprice.com.cn, pictures were posted from the opening for  sales in stores like CSL 1010, One2Free, 3 Hong Kong and SmarTone, which garnered many views. Commenters talked about the number of mainlanders who were lining up, as well as enthusiasm for the product.

adeam: Let’s go, put up a tent and bring over the chairs. I need to buy an iPhone even if I don’t go to school or work.

!v!: 70% of those in line are from the mainland, the mainland market has already started peddling Hong Kong iphones

Although the phone hasn’t yet premiered on the Chinese mainland, smuggled goods have already appeared. Sohu reports that the Hong Kong edition of the phones have started to appear in Beijing’s electronics retail market, Zhongguancun (中关村).

However, at 6000 yuan (US$945) very few people are buying. Once stock from Hong Kong gets in, however, prices are expected to drop. The iPhone 4S will officially arrive in China within a year, experts say.

So will you be going for an iPhone 4S or one of the new Android phones that we wrote about last month?

Edison Chen at It Again

Posted November 11th, 2011 at 2:16 am (UTC+0)

Photos that have caused a minor scandal showing Hong Kong star Edison Chen kissing teen model Cammi Xie

This time, A-list celebrities like Cecilia Cheung (张柏芝) are not featured. Instead, the photos are supposedly taken from the phone of an unknown 16-year-old model, Cammi Xie (谢芷蕙), who dated Chen for six months before their split after the scandal broke.

After the photos were posted online, they went viral and Xie, a member of the band Fantasy and a high school student, has been followed ever since by the Hong Kong media. Although not as raw as the photos from 2008, Chen, 32 has become the staple of gossip magazines once again.

In 2008, he was seen as a predator, and the women as victims.

This time, however, some say Xie is at least at much at fault.

Southern Entertainment Weekly (南都娱乐周刊), an authoritative magazine on the entertainment industry, ran an editorial by Liu Tong saying that this was Cammi Xie’s way of turning publicity on herself.

The tables have turned this time. The mastermind was no longer Edison Chen. The young model took photos herself and on purpose, with Edison Chen playing the supporting role.

We might think that there are shadows in his life about this sort of thing, but from the peachy and sunny smile on his face, we realize that he just needs to give the girl in his arms a basic responsibility.

Men and women who have lived in certain closed environments [i.e. the entertainment industry], need not communicate about certain rules. Many keen hunters like to keep a photo of themselves shouldering their guns with their prey under their feet, with a dirty smile on their faces.

I make the evil guess that many many girls similar to this young model also like to keep a photo like this as hidden proof that they hunted down their prey.

This is a speculation that many netizens have also made.

On bbs.heze.cn, a post on the entertainment industry and celebrities using each other garnered over 2000 views and over 50 replies. Some of the users reacted to the scandal driven entertainment industry, some skeptically.

ViewFromHigh: Edison was the one being used for self-promotion this time

登高望远2011 冠希这次是被炒作了

NewWillow: The people in entertainment circles are really filthy

新柳: 娱乐圈太脏

TenderFingertips: So many scandals in the entertainment industry

指尖温柔: 娱乐圈里绯闻多。

Bai Yangqing: The entertainment world really is a big pool of dye…

白杨青 文艺界真是个大染缸…

What are your views on these types of scandals and the general cult of celebrity we see so much of on the web.  Let us know in the comments.

O-pen Magazine Closed

Posted November 7th, 2011 at 6:11 am (UTC+0)
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O-pen magazine (大方) was set up in March 2011 by Annie Baby (安妮宝贝), a popular novelist who got her start on the Internet.  On November 1, however, she announced on her Sina microblog that they had received a notice to stop publishing.

The first issue of O-pen is the beginning, the second is the end. The third was going to include poetry and special features. It won’t be unveiled, though. Even though a time is set for a goodbye, the collaboration between colleagues, the searching around to establish a magazine and the support from readers, these have all been valuable gifts. We tried our best. This is something in itself. Thanks again for your support.

In China, magazines need a national periodical registration number, which is a way for the government to control magazine output. Just like other magazines that never got a registration number, Annie Baby opted for an ISBN from a publishing house.

O-pen did not publish anything considered controversial in its first two issues and many of the writers were western or Japanese authors. But some are speculating on the government having other motives for shutting Annie Baby down.

Over the past week, The Beijing News took the view that shutting down Annie Baby’s magazine because she had the wrong registration code was only a pretext.

Its not the first time an online magazine has been shutdown.  China’s No. 1 blogger Han Han (韩寒), also a novelist, launched Party in June 2010. But it was shut down after only one issue.

On November 2, Han Han wrote a blog post that was later taken down by the authorities. However, University of Hong Kong’s China Media Project were quick enough with a translation.

I’ve been involved in this work of writing for around 13 years now, and I now understand just how powerless and of no account cultural workers really are. Owing to a richness of restrictions, people in this line of work are unable to produce anything truly special.

He added:

Only if you obtain a book license can you publish, only publishing houses can issue book licenses, only the authorities can operate publishing houses, and so from the very fountainhead publishing freely is impossible.

Baidu Profits From Google Retreat

Posted November 1st, 2011 at 8:03 pm (UTC+0)

Baidu (百度), the search engine giant in China, has pulled even farther ahead of Google (谷歌) in their battle for user preference.

According to market research firm Analysys International, Baidu gained in market share in the third quarter of this year and now gets almost 80% of all search traffic in China, compared to about 18% for Google.

The extra traffic is also helping Baidu’s bottom line. In the third quarter, Baidu’s profits rose 80%, while Google’s only rose 12%.  Baidu’s annual net income came in at 1.88 billion yuan ($296 million), reports Bloomberg.

Google still leads other Chinese search engines, such as the one run by the Chinese company Tencent (腾讯). But it appears Google is not really a major competitor for Baidu at present.

Google was forced to shut off their servers in mainland China in 2009 and move searches to Hong Kong. Even though their ICP license was renewed this year, showing the government they are committed to their Google.cn homepage, searches are directed to Hong Kong.

Without Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, Google searches often time out because the connection is bad or there is content that cannot be found within what is considered “legal” in China.

In an internet media chatroom, I asked people if they used Baidu or Google. At least two people mentioned the need for VPNs in order to go on Google, so it was no contest. Others specifically preferred Baidu.

“For searching in Chinese, I like Baidu. It’s  better for Chinese search terms – you get better results,” said Mr. Sun, an ad worker in Beijing.

However, Haining Wang, an employee for a Chinese-language website, had a different view. Wang, who does not use Baidu, told me “There are too many ads on Baidu. If I am searching for something, the first few pages of results aren’t the ones I want to look at, because they’re probably there because they gave money to Baidu.”

Han Cheng, another media worker, said “The graphics [for Google] are beautiful, and the search function is smart.”

However, for searching in Chinese, Baidu really is a lot smarter than Google and for people who are good at Chinese, they want better Chinese results. For many, it’s easy to look past adverts and censored results.

Game On: Angry Birds Maker Coming to China

Posted October 28th, 2011 at 1:15 am (UTC+0)

Angry Birds (愤怒的小鸟), the infamous computer game, is coming to China.

The game, of course, is already here, with nearly 40 million downloads so far. But the company behind the game, Rovio, is now setting up a center for animation in Shanghai.  The company told the China Daily that it wants to focus on the neglected feature phone market. More than 85% of China’s one-billion mobile phone users have a feature phone, like the Nokia S 40 line, as opposed to smart phones like the iPhone.

The Wall Street Journal reports Beijing’s chairman of VoDone, also collaborating with Rovio, said:30 million new handsets every year will come with the game already installed after VoDone puts the game on its platform.”

As I said, the game has already become quite popular in China, sparking a flood of plush toys that look like the birds and pigs, as well as an unauthorized Angry Birds theme park in central Hunan Province (watch the video above).

Fruit Ninja is one of the more popular game apps in China.

Fruit Ninja is one of the more popular game apps in China.

Forums have been discussing various products on Angry Birds, such as this post on Sina’s games bbs about a new iPod stereo shaped like the famous animal.

Gaming forums have also devoted pages to the technique of playing Angry Birds on the phone as well as playing it online.

App games are big part of the mobile phone experience for many. China is already proving to have a huge market for games.

China Wangre asked some game enthusiasts and saw that their interests lay with lots of different games.

Bi Tao, Sales Manager, 30 said, “The APP games that I like are “Plant & Zombies,” “Let’s Golf,” “Angry Birds” and other simple and fun games with good looking graphics. The reason I like them is because it kills time, and it’s simple and fun. My favorite is “Plants Vs Zombies.”

Paddy, a 28-year-old engineer, 28 says he’s into games with a harder edge. “I like Call Of Duty6, because I like war games. I only play big games that is bigger than 10 Gig. I don’t play smaller games,” he said.

Whereas Ray Yu, Investment Analyst manager, says he’s more interested in soccer games. “I only like car racing games and role playing games. I also like soccer games, because it’s complex enough for me. This kind of game has mobile phone APP versions like 9mm, PES2011, Need for Speed. The smallest needs 500m,” he said.

Do you play? What games are your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

Gadhafi Death Sparks Online Opinions in China

Posted October 25th, 2011 at 1:24 am (UTC+0)

A man reads a local newspaper's story on the spread pages featuring a photo of Moammar Gadhafi

A man reads a local newspaper's story on the spread pages featuring a photo of Moammar Gadhafi at a private securities company in Shanghai, China, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. (AP)

Moammar Gadhafi’s (卡扎菲) death on Thursday shocked the Chinese nation, where attitudes toward the former Libyan (利比亚) leader are changing.

There was a time when China described the former Libyan leader as “strongman” in the middle east.  But recently, State-owned media like Xinhua and People.net have referred to him as a “madman.”

On Sina Weibo, there is a page devoted to Gadhafi’s death, and a microblog about the moving of Gadhafi’s body to a secret resting place was re-posted over 2,000 times.

It seemed that public opinion was turning on the newly dead dictator.

Simanan (司马南), a critic who appears on TV and was named one of 10 Most Influential People in Cities by Southern Weekly in 2003, was very vocal about the reasons why Gadhafi is not a friend of the Chinese people.

First, he said:

Reason number one It’s apparently been said that Gadhafi once trained at the anti-Communist training camp in Taiwan. Even though China and Libya established diplomatic relations in 1978,  the Taiwan diplomatic organization in Libya still had the crowned title of the Republic of China until 1997. This was a rare thing to happen with countries that have diplomatic relations with China.

In a separate post, Simanan said:

Reason number two Gadhafi doesn’t dare tear up the contract between the oil companies of the West and Libya, but they didn’t explain at all when they canceled the 2 million barrels of oil that China provided them. The reason might be the vote that China cast for the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970. China cannot get one discounted project in Libya, but only the manual labor jobs building houses and roads and picking up jobs that other people don’t want, even with this Gadhafi was still blamed China for plundering Africa.

Together, the two posts have been re-posted more than 400 times with more than 200 comments.

Toddler Death Sparks Outcry Over Morality in China

Posted October 23rd, 2011 at 9:05 pm (UTC+0)
1 comment


In a picture taken on October 16, 2011, two-year-old girl nicknamed Yue Yue is treated at a hospital in Guangzhou

In a picture taken on October 16, 2011, two-year-old girl nicknamed Yue Yue is treated at a hospital in Guangzhou. A Chinese toddler who was ignored by 18 passers-by as she lay critically injured in the street after being run over by two vehicles has died, the hospital treating her said October 21. (AFP)

Yueyue (悦悦), the toddler who was run over in Foshan, Guangdong province (广东佛山) and left to die by many passing adults, has sparked an outcry over morality in China.

The toddler, whose parents were working nearby, died early in the morning on October 21.

When the incident occurred last week, video footage of the event made its way onto the internet and became viral. Commenters railed against cold passersbys, more than a dozen people who left the child dying before an elderly lady, Chen Xianmei (陈贤妹) alerted the authorities.

Now, it emerges that the 16th passerby, according to the security cameras, had gone to the hotel where Yueyue’s parents were staying to apologize, saying: “I definitely didn’t see her, if I did I would have called an ambulance.” “我绝对没有看到,看到了会打110.”

This video, posted on Youku on Saturday morning, attracted the comment: “I believe him. Let’s have some more trust.” 我信他..多一点信任

However, many online forums and microblogs are still trying to present the case as related to the morality of their Chinese countrymen.

For example, the famous director Feng Xiaogang (冯小刚) said in an interview “A lot of people are discussing if this is a coldness, and just a violent act that caused people to bristle with anger. But really it was because communication was difficult in the past [so no-one knew about these events]. In reality the coldness is in our race, and has a long history.”

Sina weibo (新浪微博) is abuzz with comments to Yueyue, including a page devoted to her passing yesterday.

Even though the moral outrage has been over the people who left her to die, a survey taken about the incident on Sina weibo showed that 60 per cent of voters thought the two drivers responsible for the incident were to blame, followed by her parents who let her roam.

Well known commentators were split into two camps, with some believing that neglecting to act was in human nature. The Sanlian Life Weekly journalist Yuan Yue posted:

Immusoul: The parents of Yueyue were careless, but which parents don’t make mistakes? In a normal society, this carelessness will not be punished like this. Perhaps the hit and run was an accident, but  the things that happened after the hit and run cannot be excused. It is to do with human nature, and not related to the law or regulations. PS: The cold-blooded comments after the incident will hurt Yueyue’s parents once more.

However, the founder of Umiwi.com, Wang Lifen, pointed to Yueyue as a sacrificial item for the economically driven and socially cold China of today:

Yueyue and Yiyi [a young victim of the July 23 Wenzhou rail crash] are both sacrificial victims of our generation, the most hurtful thing is using children as sacrificial victims, which is really too cruel. The twentieth year of the 20th century, the era will remember these two children and a blind man [Chen Guangcheng]. They are amongst the weak groups of this society.

“Ice Cream Sandwich” Comes to China in Hong Kong Debut

Posted October 19th, 2011 at 7:06 pm (UTC+0)

The newest Android phone has been unveiled right here in China and I have to say, it looks pretty sweet.

In Hong Kong Wednesday, Google (谷歌) and Samsung (三星) showed off the newest Nexus phone, which runs the brand new Android OS called “Ice Cream Sandwich”.

The phone, official called the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, will be available in November in the U.S., Europe and Asia, including China. But the carriers for the phone have not been announced yet.

It looks to be rather big, featuring a display of 11.81 cm and a 1280×720 resolution.  It also has a lightening fast 2 GHz dual-core processor and shoots video in 1080p.

However, the 5-megapixel rear facing camera and 1.3 megapixel front facing camera may disappoint some.

After the death of Apple’s Steve Jobs (史蒂夫·乔布斯), we talked about how popular Apple (苹果) products are in China. By the way, the unveiling of the Galaxy Nexus was delayed out of respect for the passing of Jobs.

Will you be looking at getting one of these or one of the just released iPhone 4S? Maybe something else? Tell us in the comments.

Here’s a first look review of by CNet Asia.

Here is what some others are saying about the new phone on Weibo.

Flatfish: I anticipate the new Android Nexus Prime, I heard that the level of clarity of the screen is roughly the same as the Retina Display of the iPhone.

GeorgesChen: Today really seems to be the “New Phone Sales and Promotion Day.” Samsung and Google unveiled the new Android system operated “ice-cream sandwich” phone. They want to become a real “iPhone killer.” At the same time, Motorola is promoted the Droid Razr, an international super thin smart phone. I heard that “It can’t get any sharper, any sharper and it can kill people!”   With the Apple iPhone 4S, which one will you choose?

Watch this video of the new phone’s features:



China Wangre (中国网热) is a wide-ranging look at the latest digital news and trends from the world’s largest online population.

Beijing native Alice Liu follows what’s hot and how people in China are using mobile devices, traditional websites and social media to connect with each other and the rest of the world.

Fluent in Mandarin and English, Alice has written on technology issues in China for publications such as “The Guardian”, “The Huffington Post” and “Danwei.org”.

Wangre means “Net Hot” in Mandarin and was picked to convey our commitment to bring the latest developments from digital China.