Tech

Tech

China’s substantial short-video population
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 773 million: the number of people using short-video apps in China.  The popularity of Chinese short-video platforms such as Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, has grown rapidly over the past five years.  The craze over seconds-long videos has turned farmers and delivery drivers into influencers and given rise to two Chinese unicorns.  China had more than 773 million short-video app users by March 2020, according to the official China Internet Network Information Center [Report in Chinese]. Douyin, the mainland China version of the TikTok, has the largest user population. The
China’s super-sized mobile app market
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 3.67 million: how many mobile apps are available in the Chinese market. Chinese app stores featured 3.67 million mobile apps as of December 2019, according to the state-run China Internet Network Information Center.  Games accounted for a quarter of the products, while apps that served as everyday tools made up 14% and e-commerce apps comprised 10% of the market, the data shows. This massive app economy is supported by the world’s biggest internet population – 904 million people in China regularly access the internet, mostly using their phones. But China’s internet is a walle
Convenient or exploitative? Behind China’s food delivery boom
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. Cheap and quick food delivery was popular in China even before widespread travel restrictions turned it into an essential part of urban life for many globally. But as demand for the service has risen in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, public scrutiny is putting pressure on China’s tech giants to show consideration for the workers who risk their lives to hit the tight deadlines set by the services’ algorithms. How popular is food delivery in China? Getting food delivered to one’s doorstep is much more affordable in China than in wealthier countries. Tha
Huawei hopes to find Harmony in a new operating system
Huawei Technologies, currently the world’s biggest smartphone maker, said it is preparing to switch from Google’s widely-used Android operating system to its own Harmony OS.  It is a pivotal move for the world’s largest smartphone maker as it seeks to remain competitive after the US moved to blocked its access to US-origin technology. In May last year, Huawei’s addition to the US entity list barred Google from providing technical support for new Huawei phone models using Android. It effectively cuts Huawei off from Google-made apps like the Gmail, Google Drive and the Play app store.  The Android operating system powers the millions of smartphones that the Shenzhen-based company ships each
Made in China, banned in India
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 177: the number of apps with links to China that are banned in India. India has banned 177 apps with links to China, including hit mobile games and payment services, as part of its retaliation against Beijing following a border stand-off. The latest ban of 118 apps, announced on September 2, covers some of the most used Chinese apps in the country, including Tencent’s smash-hit game PUBG and Alibaba affiliate Ant Group’s payment app Alipay. Alibaba’s online marketplace Taobao, NetEase’s popular game MARVEL Super War, video platform Youku and dating app Tantan are also among t
China is racing to build the world’s fastest train
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 373mph: the speed of the maglev train China is trying to build. The Chinese government is building high-speed maglev trains that can run at a speed of 373mph (600km/h) – approaching the record speed set by a train in Japan. Unlike conventional trains, which run on steel wheels on metal tracks, maglev trains hover above the track and are propelled forward by powerful electromagnets. The current world speed record was set by a Japan Railway maglev train that hit 375mph (603km/h) on a test track in 2015. The train covered 1.1 miles (1.8km) in 10.8 seconds. China has spent billi
TikTok’s challenge to Trump will not be easy
Many analysts think TikTok is unlikely to win its challenge to Donald Trump’s order banning the popular video-sharing app if it does not sell to a US company. The US president signed an executive order on August 6 banning TikTok within 45 days unless it is sold to US owners, citing national security concerns. Trump made the order under a 1977 law that lets the president block transactions and seize assets in response to an “unusual and extraordinary threat.” Trump issued another order a week later giving ByteDance, its Chinese owner, 90 days to divest its US operations, including all data gathered in the United States. The lawsuit, to be filed by TikTok on Monday, challenges the August 6 ex
Apple and Huawei are winners of the pandemic
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features one important number about China to give you insight into the rising power. 32%: The increase in iPhone sales in China between April and June in 2020 compared to the same period last year. Huawei was the only other brand that saw smartphone sales rise, enjoying a 14% increase over those three months. The success of Huawei did not funnel to other China brands, which saw a significant drop in sales. Oppo’s smartphone sale lost 31% while Vivo was down 29%. Overall smartphone sales in China declined by 17%, according to market research firm Counterpoint. Apple’s impressive turnaround in China has much to do with its latest low price strategy. 
What next for Huawei after yet more US tech sanctions?
After the United States further tightened its restrictions on Chinese telecoms maker Huawei on Monday, analysts had only one word to describe the situation facing the company: impossible. In what has become a major battleground in the growing US-China tech rivalry, the Trump administration – which claims Huawei products could be used to facilitate spying by the Chinese government – has blacklisted a further 38 Huawei affiliates from buying US products. It aims to strangle the Chinese company by cutting off its ability to buy semiconductors produced using American technology. Since May, foreign chip makers using US technology have been required to apply for a license to sell chips to Huawei.
The potential TikTok sale is a herculean task
ByteDance has been forced into a corner by the Trump administration, which now says it must sell the US version of its global short video hit TikTok within 90 days if the app wants to stay in business. Analysts say pulling off a sale is easier said than done due to a complex array of legal and technical obstacles. Plus, TikTok, and Bytedance, have too much at stake in the US market to simply leave.  “There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” Trump said in the order announced on Friday. Trump originally signed an executive order on August 6 that would prohibit certain transactio