Copying Apple is following the trends

Digital Trends reported that Android Phone Makers Embracing the Notch.

“Some people will say it’s copying Apple, but we cannot get away from what users want,” Marcel Campos, head of global marketing operations at Asus, suggested in a pre-briefing. “You have to follow the trends.”

It’s like saying that some people will say it is copying when you refer to your classmate’s answers for an assignment or an examination.

Spring Festival data shows just how much Chinese love their smartphones

TechNode reported that Spring Festival data shows just how much Chinese love their smartphones..

For Chinese people, Spring Festival is all about seeing family and celebrating the new year, but it’s also the optimal time for using screens. Have you ever been on a train for 20+ hours? In China you’ll find, from little kids to 60-year-olds, everyone is using their smartphones. Surely, to kill time, content is king in China.

During the Spring Festival, from February 15th to 21st, the number of app users in three segments—mobile games, photo app, and mobile video app—increased significantly, according to QuestMobile’s “2018 Spring Festival Entertainment Insights Report,” Chinese media CSDN is reporting.

The report pointed out that Chinese people have both online and offline ways to enjoy Spring Festival. Online was mobile games and video; offline was watching movies.

Apps also run campaigns, contests, and other events during this period to draw users to use the app.

Top 20 apps that showed the biggest DAU increase during the Spring Festival included: Mini World that showed whopping 116% increase in DAU, Douyin short video (78%), Honour of Kings (76%), Faceu (69%), and Wuta Cam (64%).

The article got the figures wrong though. The daily active users count in the chart is in ten thousands (万 wàn). So the following figures are missing four zeros at the back.

  1. Kuaishou (快手) users opened the app 161,929 times on February 16th, and Douyin (抖音) users opened the app 134,253 times on February 14th.

  2. Faceu recorded the most DAU with 2,892 DAU at its peak, followed by Meitu Xiuxiu’s DAU of 2,622.

A bike-sharing startup just quit France after the ‘mass destruction’ of its fleet

Digital Trends reported that bike-sharing startup Gobee just quit France after the mass destruction of its fleet.

Its decision to exit Paris comes just over a month after it ended operations in the French cities of Lille and Reims, and also the Belgian capital, Brussels, where Gobee said up to 90 percent of its bikes had been stolen or damaged. The company no longer has any schemes operating in Europe.

What does a society require in order for people to have a greater sense of communal goodwill?

When I was back in Singapore last December, I saw many bikes that were randomly abandoned without consideration for pedestrians and road users. Individuals were more concerned about their own convenience than the next person who would use the bike.

It is a stark contrast to what I see in Shenzhen where the bikes are parked in an orderly manner at designated areas. Sure, there were the odd bikes that were stopped elsewhere but these were also parked at where people would leave their electric bikes, so they weren’t a nuisance to other road users.

In a blog post (translated), Gobee said that destroying the bikes had apparently become “the new hobby of individuals, mostly minors, encouraged by content widely distributed and shared on social networks.”

This case in France is more drastic because the bikes were removed from the public pool by selfish individuals, either for personal use or by damaging the bikes.

Do you witness similar incidents for bike sharing where you live? Or are people there more civic-minded?

The Smartphone Endgame: Who wins once shipment volumes peak?

AppleInsider wrote about The Smartphone Endgame: Who wins once shipment volumes peak?.

For decades, market research firms have been confidently asserting that the “winners” in PCs, tablets, smartphones and other consumer electronics are not firms that are profitable or even sustainable, but merely those shipping the largest volumes at any given time. This has enabled them to crown a successive line of failed players, then rapidly move on to a new “winner,” often within the same year.

[…]

How excited would you be if you were named ’employee of the year’ twice in a row, while a fellow employee earned more than 45 times your salary while working smarter, not harder? Would you feel like a winner, or would you feel like you needed a new strategy, with less pats on the back and more money in the bank?

Now imagine its 2018, and you’re not even employee of the year anymore, and you’re still not making enough money to pay rent, let alone plan for the future in a very competitive market. How do you feel about your life now? Feel like a “winner,” coasting on your past performance headlines and dusty employee of the year plaques?

An even better question: does IDC, Strategy Analytics, Tech Crunch and virtually every other tech journalist and researcher on the planet really think that the key to winning in smartphones is to be hailed as turning in the most shipments and the greatest percentage of shipment growth for a limited period of time, while earning virtually nothing to show for it?

I would say it is fair to pursue market share in the first few years but work to translate that into decent profit. But it is not always that easy. Once consumers are used to seeing the brand as a cheap option, they would be not be that likely to switch to a high end model of that same brand.

Let’s say you have a Toyota Vios. Would you choose to upgrade to a high end Toyota model or would you swap for an Audi, BMW, Mercedes or even a Lamborghini or Ferrari, assuming that all costs involved in that upgrade are equal?

The costs of brand image and marketing do bring in value, both tangible and intangible. Instead of trying to capture more market share through making a loss or breaking even, selling premium models with decent margins result in profits that can be used to build up a better brand reputation.

Market share will increase while there is still a market for new phone users, but that is on the decline and new markets start to decrease. It doesn’t help that there will be competitors entering the market to fight for their own market share in a saturated market.

This reminds me of the old adage about winning the battle and losing the war.

Apple sold less iPhones but generated more revenue

Jason Snell charted the Apple Q1 2018 earnings.

Clickbait articles will make a fuss about less iPhones sold. And many people will think it’s a sign that the iPhone X was a flop.

Let’s look at the figures. Year-over-year iPhone unit sales decreased by around 1% but revenue increased 6%. Doesn’t that mean that the iPhone X was the right move?

Operations of Apple’s iCloud services in China are about to be transferred to a company in Guizhou

TechNode reported that operations of Apple’s iCloud services in China are about to be transferred to a company in Guizhou.

In November, Apple has been accused of relying on students working illegal overtime to build the iPhone X, through Foxconn, which manufactures the devices in Zhengzhou.

This is completely unrelated to the transfer of iCloud’s service but the author chose to plug it at the end of the article to bait clicks.

JD.com launches supermarket chain to compete with rival Alibaba

E27 reported that JD.com launched its supermarket chain to compete with rival Alibaba.

Beyond that 7Fresh will also provide shoppers with the option of having their groceries delivered to their homes within 30 minutes.

This is an extension of the company’s emphasis on their delivery service. JD.com, or Jingdong as we call it in China, leads the Chinese market in terms of delivery speeds and service. Order before 10 am and JD promises same day delivery. Order before 11 pm and they deliver the next day.

And most of the products, with the exception of perishable or sensitive items, you get 7 days return period. Don’t like what you bought? Return it with no questions asked and the delivery guy will come to your doorstep to collect the item. No need to box the item and ship it back yourself.

Walmart delivers groceries in the same day, provided it is not too late in the day, else it would be a delivered the following morning. I’m curious what the delivery terms are for 7Fresh. Walmart delivers within 3 kilometres for orders above RMB 100.

There’s a Hema nearby but I’ve only been there once.

Sheer scale of the staggering size of the Chinese market

Tech in Asia reported that Singapore’s oBike reaches 10m rides but lags far behind rivals.

OBike, a bike-sharing startup founded in Singapore, has just reached 10 million rides since it was founded in January 2017. However, the homegrown company is still lagging behind Ofo and Mobike, its far-larger rivals from China.

Ofo, backed by Alibaba, announced in December last year that it saw 32 million rides a day. Meanwhile, Mobike clocked 20 million daily rides as of April 2017 and has Tencent in its corner.

A lot of people have a hard time grasping the staggering scale in China. The daily rides for Ofo and Mobike are several times that of what OBike manages in a year. Wrap your head around that.

Alipay and WeChat Pay could be affected by PBOC’s QR code standards

E27 reported that Alipay and WeChat Pay could be affected by PBOC’s QR code standards.

Safety issues have emerged over barcode payments, particularly over fixed codes typically seen at restaurant counters. These are sometimes swapped by criminals who intercept payments. Setups that create a new code for each transaction are more secure.

Alipay and WeChat Pay QR codes stickers are more common at convenience stores and smaller businesses. Many restaurants and stores have switched to new POS systems that uses a handheld to scan the customer’s QR code, such as the one seen in the article’s featured photo.

Dear Singapore govt, please remember the stragglers in the tech revolution

E27 wrote a piece about the seed of the tech revolution.

They are going to ask what the hell a “QR code” is, to which either a customer and or store owner will painstakingly but patiently (good luck finding that) guide them through the steps of downloading the app, linking up their bank accounts, hope to God the phone doesn’t malfunction.

That is the crux of the problem. Are there stragglers in China too? It’s a definite yes. The big difference is how willing people are to help one another in China. Strangers will gladly show you how to operate the apps, not to mention trained staff. They even help others to utilise the apps to make use of vouchers or claim promotions through Alipay or WeChat Pay.

It is not the speed of change. It is how people adapt to change.