The Creamcast, Ep.19: Tech In China (Bookworm Literary Festival)

BJC The Creamcast logo 250x250
On March 21 as part of the Bookworm Literary Festival, Mark Natkin (founder and managing director of Marbridge Consulting), Kaiser Kuo (director of international relations at Baidu), and Josh Gartner (senior director of international relations at JD.com) sat down with Eric Jou for a panel discussion called Tech in China. They spoke on artificial intelligence, O2O, censorship, the market, and woolly mammoths -- all of which you can listen to in this week's episode.

Highlights From ChinaJoy 2013

China Joy 2013k
Games and cosplay in China meet every year around this time during the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference in Shanghai, aka ChinaJoy. First started in 2004, this expo is ostensibly all about showcasing the best in the gaming community, but, well, it's the girls who steal the show, because nothing quite represents undersexed geekdom than scantily clad women. The wings and makeup are gratuitous.

Look Who Endorses WeChat: Why, Just The Best Footballer In The World

Messi endorses WeChat
Lionel Messi endorses WeChat, i.e. Weixin, i.e. the next Sina Weibo, as some people have called it on account of its functionality and interstellar growth. You can send texts for free (pending Internet connection), start group chats, and deliver photos and voice messages. And as Messi demonstrates in the above 30-second ad, you can communicate via video, too -- Instagram, Sina Weibo, and Vine all in one.

Chinese State-Owned Telecoms Feel Threatened By WeChat, Call Upon Powerful Ministry To Weaken It

China gives Tencent Weixin WeChat the boot
In China, if you can’t beat them, call upon your buddies in a high-ranking ministry to bring them down to your level. China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile, three state-owned telecom enterprises, apparently feel so threatened by Tencent’s free Weixin (WeChat) program — specifically its ability to allow users to text and send voice... Read more »

Skype In China Might Not Offer Privacy, But Why Would You Expect It To?

Skype for China
I ran across this piece on a blog for the Heritage Foundation in which the author tries to connect the recent accusations from Mandiant about hacking from China (still without conclusive evidence) and TOM1-Skype’s censoring: Chinese hackers have infiltrated the popular Internet messaging service Skype. The hackers have modified the operation of Skype so that the... Read more »

Malware In China, Part 2: iOS Users Are Vulnerable, Too

Apple malware
Before Spring Festival, we warned Beijing Cream readers about some of the dangers of using Android, how a specific type of malware works, and what users can do to protect themselves. As mentioned in that post, it’s not just Android users who should beware, but also those using the iOS platform in its many physical... Read more »

In New Book, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt Says China’s Hacking Culture Could Give It A Strategic Advantage

Eric Schmidt
Google chairman Eric Schmidt has a new book ready to debut in April, The Digital Age, co-written by Jared Cohen, formerly of the State Department. As the Wall Street Journal puts it succinctly, the book is clear about one thing: “China is the most dangerous superpower on Earth.” Specifically, Schmidt writes that China’s hacking culture —... Read more »

On Botnets, Spam, Trojans, And Other Malware In China: How Vulnerable Are We?

Adjacking
On January 15, BBC News ran a report about a Trojan virus affecting millions of users in China. According to undisclosed security firms, there now exists a botnet on these millions of devices capable of “being used for fraudulent purposes,” including DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks and spam email campaigns. Of course, this does sound scary, and botnets (in any form) are becoming more and more prevalent and thus increasingly worrisome.

GitHub Has Been Unblocked, Maybe

GitHub unblocked?
The social coding website GitHub, which fell on the wrong side of the Great Firewall on Monday, has apparently been restored on the mainland, though as you can see from the above via GreatFire.org, tests have yielded contradictory results. According to Global Times: Lee Kai-fu, a prominent Internet figure and former vice president of Google,... Read more »

GitHub Blocked In China Thanks To The Railway Ministry’s Crappy Ticketing Site [UPDATE]

Ministry of Railway image
The Golden Shield Project (aka Great Firewall of China) has decided GitHub no longer conforms with Chinese notions of harmony, as first noticed Monday by GreatFire.org and reported on The Next Web. The block comes on the heels of the Ministry of Railways's unsuccessful attempt to convince Chinese browser-makers to stop providing a plugin that helps users purchase train tickets off MOR's website.

iPhones For Everyone! Apple Opens Payment Plan Option For China Customers In Push For Market Share

Apple in China
MacRumors (via Bloomberg) is reporting that Apple has introduced a payment plan allowing buyers to purchase Apple products on three-month to two-year plans on products that cost between 300 and 30,000 RMB (basically everything). At this point, looking at the plan, it seems that one must have a Merchants Bank credit card to take advantage... Read more »

Chinese Tech Companies Have Come A Long Way, But Have Further To Go, If Their Performance At This Year’s CES Is Any Indication

Hisense at CES 2013
I’ll be honest, I joined the “Consumer-Electronics-Show-is-irrelevant” bandwagon after so many years of really cool but never released gadgets in technology. That said, there have been a few interesting stories to come out of this year’s four-day CES in Las Vegas, which ended January 13: 4K TV sets (aka UltraHD), 50 Cent trying to capitalize on... Read more »

Huawei Steps Up Into The Big Leagues With 6.1-Inch Smartphone (Emphasis On Big)

Huawei new smartphone
Ever since I realized that Huawei doesn’t just make cheap phones, I’ve found them to be a fascinating company. They certainly have PR and political problems, but they’re one of the only Chinese tech companies that’s competitive globally. And what they’ve been doing with telecoms equipment, they’re now looking to do with smartphones.