Posts tagged ‘WeChat’

02/11/2016

China’s Alibaba in ‘flying pig’ controversy – BBC News

A Chinese Muslim‘s call for e-commerce giant Alibaba to rename one of its services because it uses the word “pig” has sparked a backlash in China.

It all began when Alibaba changed the name of its popular travel booking app from Alitrip to one that means “Flying Pig” in Chinese. Its English name is Fliggy.

Over the weekend, Uighur businessman Adil Memettur criticised this decision on popular microblogging network Sina Weibo, where he has hundreds of thousands of followers.

He noted that the app is popular among minorities because it lets people whose names have unusual spellings make bookings.

“But now that Alitrip has changed its name to Flying Pig, I can only uninstall it, and maybe all my Muslim friends too, because the word “pig” is taboo to Muslims all over the world. Alibaba is an international corporation, could it take Muslim taboos into consideration?” he said.

Image copyrightSINA WEIBO / ADIL MEMETTUR. Mr Memettur is an Uighur Chinese who runs a cake business

His post quickly sparked condemnation and ridicule from other Chinese online, with some asking if this meant China had to expunge all references to pigs in popular culture and literature.

“We each have our own way of life; we do not force you to live according to our rules, but you cannot force us to change the law,” said Weibo user Fireflyinred.

Mr Memettur quickly took down the post and on Sunday night he posted an apology.

Alibaba told the BBC that they decided to rebrand the app to appeal to a younger demographic. “We embrace diversity and respect all creeds and religions. The name change is meant to reflect the demographic’s aspirations to pursue dreams, sit back and enjoy life,” said the spokesman.

The visceral pushback stems from the fact that the pig occupies an important place in Chinese culture.

Pork is not only a staple of Chinese cuisine – the government keeps a national reserve of pork in case of market shortages – but the pig is also celebrated in folklore and the Chinese zodiac.

Online, the reaction to Mr Memettur has been intense, often descending into derogatory comments and insulting jokes about Muslims and Uighur culture.

It has also highlighted how gaps in understanding between Muslim minorities and the Han Chinese majority can arise.

Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES – The Uighurs are one of China’s biggest Muslim minorities

Because of their relatively small numbers, concentrated mostly in the West, Muslims still do not figure largely in Chinese public discourse.

China’s 21 million Muslims, comprising minority ethnic groups such as the Huis and Uighurs, make up only 1.6% of the population, with the rest from the Han ethnic majority and they have mostly co-existed peacefully.

The western province of Xinjiang, home to many Chinese Uighurs, has seen unrest with residents saying they have been economically and culturally displaced by a growing influx of Han migrants. Violence there has been attributed by the authorities to Islamist militants and separatists – rights groups point to increasingly tight control by Beijing.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES- Xinjiang cities like Kashgar are home to Muslim minorities such as the Uighurs

In this instance some online, like blogger Han Dongyan, have called for respect and calm.”Don’t extend this to all Muslims… (Mr Memettur) has made a mistake and he can be criticised, but don’t respond to an extreme with another extreme and tar them all with the same brush, this is wrong too!” he wrote in one popular post.

Source: China’s Alibaba in ‘flying pig’ controversy – BBC News

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08/09/2016

A 16-year-old British girl earns £48,000 helping Chinese people name their babies – BBC Newsbeat

Beau Jessup, a British A-level student from Gloucestershire, came up with the idea after a family visit to China.

They were out for a meal with friends when she was asked to give an English name to a newborn baby.

In China it is considered important to have an English name for future study or business with the UK.

‘Special Name’ requires the user to pick five of the 12 personality traits which they most hope their baby will grow into

In China they name their child based on the elements and Beau wanted a similarity between how they pick their Chinese name and how they pick their English name.

And she does this by assigning personality traits to each English name.

They also select the gender of the baby and pay the equivalent of 60p.

The three chosen names are then shared with family and friends on We-Chat, China’s WhatsApp equivalent, to help make the final decision.

Each suggestion is printed on a certificate with its meaning and an example of a famous person with that name.

Beau says that when she was first asked to name her father’s friend’s baby, she was surprised.

“I’m not really qualified or relevant enough in that baby’s life to be the person to give it a name.

“But after hearing of some of the “embarrassing” names, Beau decided she needed to act.

There was someone called Rolex

“There are quite a few examples where people have gotten the names wrong.”

Beau explains that the Chinese are fascinated by western culture but their access to it is restricted by the government in China.There isn’t open access to the internet so they can’t use standard baby naming websites that people may use in the UK.

“Being exposed to luxury items and things like Harry Potter, Disney films and Lord of the Rings means they use those for reference.

“I once heard of someone called Gandalf and another called Cinderella.”

Amelia and Oliver were the most popular baby names in England and Wales in 2015

That’s according to the Office for National Statistics which released the complete set of data last week.

But Beau doesn’t know which names are the most popular on her website, and she’s “happy about that”.

“It is called ‘special name’ and it’s based on individual preference and what they personally want their child to be.”

Beau says it’s quite strange to know she’s named more than 200,000 babies

“It’s nice to be a part of such a happy experience and be a part of those young stages in a baby’s life.”The site’s success has been a pleasant surprise.

“I wanted to do it just to see if an idea could turn into more than just simply an idea.”

And I never expected it to become more than just a small project because I never really considered myself very academic.

“It is obviously a nice surprise, but it is definitely a surprise.”

Source: A 16-year-old British girl earns £48,000 helping Chinese people name their babies – BBC Newsbeat

16/06/2016

In China, One Nail House Doesn’t Get Hammered – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Standoffs between developers and property owners in China are usually grim affairs almost always ending the same way: demolition. One holdout in the southern city Shenzhen is scoring a rare–but perhaps mixed–victory after fending off the bulldozers for more than a dozen years.

Developer Shenzhen Xiafeilong Real Estate has given up knocking down a three-story building belonging to unidentified owners in the city’s Luohu district, according to state-owned China News Service.

Photographs online show the water-stained facade of the three-story building, juxtaposed against newer high-rise apartments that are more than 20-stories high.

Resistance by homeowners to development usually draws sympathy from ordinary Chinese, who often complain that local governments in their zeal for growth and revenues favor developers and ignore property rights. Holdouts like the Shenzhen building have become popular symbols of resistance, known as “nail houses”  because they stick out like nails from a flat surface, such as a razed construction site for example.

“The fact that the government decides you’re going to move and the price you’re going to accept as compensation results in nail houses. It’s a form of negotiation tactic, or sometimes, an act of civil disobedience,” said Michael Cole, a property market observer and founder of real estate website Mingtiandi.com.

Xiafeilong, the developer, couldn’t be reached for comment, nor could the owner or owners of the nail house, who weren’t identified in media reports or in a government statement on the matter.

The three-story building appears to be mostly for residential use, with a computer repair shop at a corner storefront, according to photos and media accounts. A female employee answering the phone at the computer repair shop said she wasn’t aware of any demolition plans or faced any pressure to move.

China News Service said the landlord and the developer spent years on legal battles after they couldn’t agree on compensation for the demolition in 2000.

Xiafeilong initially wanted to build a high-rise apartment and offered the owner an apartment in the new development as compensation, according to Shenzhen Business News. The owner demurred as he wanted cash compensation or another home in a nearby complex, the Shenzhen Business News said in a 2014 article.

In 2013, the space around the nail house became a car park for residents in the surrounding residential towers, China News Service said. The Shenzhen government’s Internet Information Office, in a posting on its official social media account, said the developer realized that the nail house “did not impact its main development, so it simply stopped asking.

”Unlike previous nail-house standoffs, support online was more mixed. Some praised the outcome. “This shows that Shenzhen is civilized, unlike other places,” said a web user on the comments section following pictures of the nail house hosted by Tencent Holdings.

Others, however, saw it as an example of the landlord’s bad timing or greed. Prices for apartments and land in Shenzhen have soared by more than 60% on a year-over-year basis in recent months.

“The nail-house owner has a heart which not content like a snake that wants to swallow an elephant,” said another web-user. “Why could other parties come to an agreement but not you?

”A hotpot restaurant owner in a nearby building said it’s a blow to the neighborhood. “It would be better to demolish the building and build something modern so that it can drive more economic development in the area. Right now it’s an eyesore,” said the shop owner, who declined to give his name.

The government’s Internet Information Office gave its own assessment, citing an unidentified–and perhaps fictitious–web user: “The owner of the nail-house weeps in the toilet.”

Source: In China, One Nail House Doesn’t Get Hammered – China Real Time Report – WSJ

10/02/2014

THE WORLD’S TOP 10 MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES IN CHINA

From: http://www.fastcompany.com/most-innovative-companies/2014/industry/china

THERE’S A STUBBORN MEME THAT CLAIMS CHINA HAS NO CULTURE OF INNOVATION. IN ACTUALITY, IT’S SHAPING GLOBAL BUSINESS TRENDS, MOST NOTABLY IN SOCIAL MEDIA. MAMMOTH NETWORKS SUCH AS TENCENT‘S WECHAT, FOR EXAMPLE, ARE NOT SIMPLY FACEBOOK COPYCATS–THEY’VE SPARKED THE MESSAGING WARS OCCURRING ON AMERICAN SOIL AMONG APPS LIKE SNAPCHAT AND KIK, AND CONTRIBUTE BILLIONS TO THE WORLD’S RICHEST COUNTRY.

BY FAST COMPANY STAFF

1. XIAOMI

For launching low-cost, high-quality smart TVs and -phones to steal market share from industry stalwarts.

2. BEIJING GENOMICS INSTITUTE

For making DNA sequencing mass-market.

3. CHINA’S LUXURY BRANDS

For greeting its booming middle and upper classes with distinctly native offerings.

4. HAIER

For letting its 80,000 employees self-organize and oust ineffective leaders—a bold approach to innovating the fridge and microwave business.

5. TENCENT

For pummeling the Chinese social-networking competition and sending chills through Silicon Valley with a 10-terabyte storage offer.

6. GEAK

For making wearable tech closer to vogue with a ring that syncs to phones and shares contacts via fist bump.

7. PHANTOM

For clearing the air in Beijing homes with the app-controlled EcoTower. .

8. BAIDU

For moving from search to smart cameras, giving users their own Internet-enabled monitoring devices.

9. YY

For letting anyone become a star in the world’s most-crowded country.

10. COOTEK

For tapping into user demand for faster typing.

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18/01/2014

The internet: From Weibo to WeChat | The Economist

WHEN Luo Changping, an investigative journalist, tried on November 22nd to post the latest chapter of his big scoop on WeChat, a popular Chinese mobile messaging service, censors blocked it. But he was able to work round them. In a follow-up message he told his subscribers they could send him the words “Chapter Seventeen”; users who did so automatically received the post on their mobile phones, uncensored.

WeChat, or Weixin in Chinese, is known mostly for private chatting and innocuous photo-sharing among small circles of friends. With more than 270m active users, it has become the star product from Tencent, an internet conglomerate. Some have compared it to WhatsApp, an American messaging service. More quietly, it has become the preferred medium for provocative online discussion—the latest move in China’s cat-and-mouse game of internet expression and censorship.

 

Mr Luo began posting his serialised stories on WeChat in May. They related how he had exposed the alleged corruption of Liu Tienan, a senior economic official. He had tried tweeting them on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblog on which he had accused Mr Liu of corruption months earlier, but internet censors blocked him from doing so: hence his switch to WeChat. Though his initial attempts there were also blocked, the loophole that enabled him to send out the file is typical of WeChat’s more relaxed approach to censorship.

A WeChat account works much less publicly than accounts on microblogs (of which Sina Weibo is the most prominent). Anyone using Sina Weibo can see almost anyone else’s tweets and forward them on, meaning a single tweet can spread very quickly. On WeChat, it is usually only subscribers to a public account who will see a post (though such posts may also be viewed on a separate web page), and if a subscriber forwards a post, only that subscriber’s circle of friends see it. Its non-public accounts are even less open. Information on WeChat spreads at such a slow burn that authorities feel they have more control over it. Also in contrast to microblogs, many types of public account (like Mr Luo’s) can send out only one post to subscribers a day, making them much easier for authorities to monitor.

Mr Luo does not always have problems sending out his stories on WeChat and, since switching to the service, he has posted the equivalent of a blog post every week or two, and built a following of more than 60,000—“higher than the actual subscription figure of many Chinese magazines”, he says. WeChat is now his prime delivery platform for newsy titbits, including sensitive information that would be censored more rigorously on microblogs. (He has not published for Caijing magazine, his former employer, since being transferred in November to a non-reporting position at an affiliated research institute.) Meanwhile, he makes much less use of his Sina Weibo account, even though it has more than four times as many followers: “The ground for public opinion has begun to shift toward WeChat,” he says.

The rise of WeChat is a business phenomenon in its own right (see article). But it is also a measure of how adaptive and resilient China’s political and social discourse has become—almost as adaptive as the censorship regime that seeks to contain it. Recently a number of public intellectuals have lamented the decline of meaningful discussion on weibo. The microblogs were full of user-led activism in 2012 but, starting in 2013, officials have dramatically escalated their efforts to control them. Propaganda outlets have intensified attacks on the spread of rumours online, authorities browbeat online celebrities to be “more responsible” (at least two have been arrested on unrelated charges), and microbloggers can now be jailed for up to three years for tweeting false information that is forwarded 500 times or viewed 5,000 times. President Xi Jinping, in a speech to party leaders in August, said that the internet was the prime battleground in the fight over public opinion, and that officials must seize control of it.

via The internet: From Weibo to WeChat | The Economist.

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