Apple’s iPhone 12 event absent from Chinese social media platforms

  • Apple’s livestream of its iPhone 12 launch event on Tuesday was not available to watch on top Chinese social media platforms.
  • Tencent Video, iQiyi, Bilibili, and Weibo didn’t stream the event.
  • Bloomberg reported that the platforms canceled coverage without explanation.
  • The event garnered massive interest in China, Apple’s second-largest market by revenue, and the iPhone 12 was the top topic on Weibo.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Top Chinese social media platforms reportedly pulled their planned coverage of Apple’s iPhone 12 livestream on Tuesday, despite massive interest in the event.

When Apple revealed the iPhone 12, its first 5G phone, video platforms such as Tencent Video, iQiyi, Bilibili, and Weibo didn’t carry the event, despite originally planning to, Bloomberg reported.

The report said the platforms gave no explanation for not showing the event in China, Apple’s second-largest market by revenue.

The iPhone 12 was later ranked the top topic on Weibo, with users posting photos of the new phone.

Bloomberg reporter Yuan Gao said in a tweet that the platforms usually hire translators and commentators to ensure the event is covered late into the night.

 

In an analyst note, financial services and investment firm Wedbush said the news “speaks to the ongoing ‘cold tech war’ tensions between the US and China.”

It estimated that around 20% of iPhone upgrades in the coming year will come from China. 

Representatives of Tencent Holdings, iQiyi, Weibo, and Bilibili didn’t respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comments.

During the event, Apple revealed four new 5G phones, starting at $699. 

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App Allowing Chinese Citizens Access to Global Internet Quickly Disappears | Voice of America

WASHINGTON – A mobile app launched last week in China that many there hoped would allow access to long banned Western social media sites abruptly disappeared from Chinese app stores a day after its unveiling.

Tuber, an Andriod app backed by Chinese cyber security software giant Qihoo 360, first appeared to be officially available last Friday. It offered Chinese citizens limited access to websites such as YouTube, Facebook and Google, and it facilitated some 5 million downloads following its debut.

Yet a day later, the Tuber app disappeared from mobile app stores, including one run by Huawei Technologies Co. A search for the app’s website yielded no results when VOA checked Monday. It’s unclear whether the government ordered the takedown of the app.

Experts told VOA that such ventures are sometimes designed to create the illusion of choice to users eager to gain access to the global internet, but these circumvention tools are sometimes deleted if they are deemed by the Chinese government to be too popular with consumers.

FILE PHOTO: The messenger app WeChat is seen next to its logo in this illustration picture taken Aug. 7, 2020.

Short-lived frenzy

Chinese users hailed their newfound ability to visit long banned websites before the app was removed last Saturday.

Several now banned articles introducing Tuber went viral Friday on China’s super app WeChat and seem to have contributed to Tuber’s overnight success.

Sporting a logo similar to that of YouTube, Tuber’s main page offered a feed of YouTube videos, while another tab allowed users go to Western websites banned in China.

A reporter at Chinese state media Global Times tweeted that the move is “good for China’s stability and it’s a great step for China’s opening up.”

Chinese city launches cryptocurrency lottery, gives away digital coins to promote adoption

The Chinese city of Shenzhen will become a testing ground for a new sovereign cryptocurrency with residents issued millions in the digital coin for free. 

As reported by the South China Morning Post, citizens have been able to enter a lottery to receive the digital funds, of which coins worth 10 million yuan ($1.47 million) will be awarded to promote their use in roughly 3,400 designated stores in the Luohu district. 

The 50,000 “red packets” will each contain roughly $30 in cryptocurrency. Chinese citizens living in Shenzhen have been able to apply via iShenzhen, a blockchain-based and government-operated network that backs the new sovereign asset. 

See also: IRS offers grants for software to trace privacy-focused cryptocurrency trades

Digital Renminbi, an official state app, can be used to create an e-wallet to store and exchange the cryptocurrency. The gift amounts can only be used until October 18 and cannot be transferred to traditional bank accounts. If the coins are not used, they will be taken back. 

The scheme is considered a pilot for the digital yuan, also known as Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP). 

CNET: Huawei ban timeline: UK says there’s ‘clear evidence of collusion’ between Huawei and China

By airdropping this vast amount and encouraging residents to spend their funds in a short time, China will be able to test the transactional capacity and reliability of the DCEP system, while also isolating the trial from traditional payment methods and accounts. 

Many cryptocurrencies currently in circulation are decentralized, which means that there is no central backing — loosening control in comparison to traditional fiat currency, but also increasing the likelihood of market fluctuations. 

However, China’s sovereign virtual coin is backed by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), which means the coin should be considered less of a standard cryptocurrency, and more

An app that let Chinese users bypass the Great Firewall and access Google, Facebook has disappeared

  • A web browser called Tuber, backed by Qihoo 360, allowed Chinese users to access foreign websites such as YouTube and Facebook.
  • Google, Facebook and Twitter are all blocked in China due to the country’s Great Firewall. They can usually only be accessed via virtual private networks or VPNs.
  • The Tuber browser has now disappeared from app stores and its website no longer works.



a close up of a sign: In this photo illustration a logo of the American multinational technology company and search engine Google is seen on an Android mobile device with People's Republic of China flag in the background.


© Provided by CNBC
In this photo illustration a logo of the American multinational technology company and search engine Google is seen on an Android mobile device with People’s Republic of China flag in the background.

GUANGZHOU, China — An app that briefly gave Chinese internet users access to foreign websites such as YouTube and Facebook — services that have long been blocked — has now disappeared.

The web browser called Tuber was backed by Qihoo 360, a Chinese cybersecurity giant. On Oct. 9, a journalist at the state-backed tabloid the Global Times

about its launch.

China’s so-called Great Firewall blocks websites such as Facebook and its services like Instagram as well as Google and Twitter. Content on Chinese websites is also heavily censored, particularly if it is deemed politically sensitive by Beijing.

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A virtual private network or VPN is required to access any blocked sites in China. But the Tuber app allowed users to access these services without a VPN.

There were some caveats to the Tuber app however. Users had to register with their identity card information and phone number, according to Reuters and TechCrunch, which both tested the app.

Search results on YouTube for politically sensitive phrases such as “Tiananmen” and “Xi Jinping” returned no results on the Tuber app, according to TechCrunch.

The Tuber app was available on the Huawei app store but was no longer there when CNBC checked

Chinese App Helps Users Bypass Great Firewall

(Bloomberg) — One Chinese app briefly gave the country’s internet users access to long-banned websites like Facebook Inc. and Google, setting off speculation about the future of Beijing’s censorship practices.



a close up of a light: Green lights illuminate cable terminals on the Sberbank and SberCloud Christofari supercomputer during an event to mark its launch into commercial operation inside the Sberbank PJSC data processing center (DPC) at the Skolkovo Innovation Center in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. As Sberbank expands its technology offerings, the Kremlin is backing legislation aimed at keeping the country's largest internet companies under local control by limiting foreign ownership.


© Bloomberg
Green lights illuminate cable terminals on the Sberbank and SberCloud Christofari supercomputer during an event to mark its launch into commercial operation inside the Sberbank PJSC data processing center (DPC) at the Skolkovo Innovation Center in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, Dec. 16, 2019. As Sberbank expands its technology offerings, the Kremlin is backing legislation aimed at keeping the country’s largest internet companies under local control by limiting foreign ownership.

The Tuber browser, backed by Chinese cybersecurity giant 360 Security Technology Inc., appeared to provide the nation’s 904 million online users the ability to legally visit overseas websites and browse foreign social media. Chinese users hailed their newfound ability to peruse content from Youtube videos to Instagram photos without an illegal virtual private network, or VPN.

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But the browser stopped functioning Saturday and disappeared from the mobile app store run by Huawei Technologies Co. It’s unclear whether a government agency had ordered its removal.

“Presumably the government heard about it and asked the stores to take it down,” said Rich Bishop, chief executive officer of AppInChina, a publisher of international apps in the Chinese market.

Tuber’s removal may have ended what many Chinese users saw as a state-sanctioned window to the wider internet arena. Beijing maintains rigid control over its internet sphere, requiring companies from Tencent Holdings Ltd. to TikTok-owner ByteDance Ltd. to censor and scrub content critical of the government or its policies.

Read more: WeChat and TikTok Taking China Censorship Global, Study Says

Tuber’s browser required mobile number registration, giving developers the ability to track activity because all smartphone numbers in the country are linked