The Chinese government is getting ready to launch a new national campaign aimed at cracking down on violations of intellectual property rights and the production and distribution of pirated and counterfeit software and movies, the Xinhua News Agency reports.
According to the report, the campaign will last about six months and target pirated publications, software products, DVDs, designs, and other copyrighted products, both at the production and distribution levels.
The Chinese government vowed to "mete out stern punishment to businesses involved in the import and export of such goods," though didn't elaborate what exactly that punishment might be.
While Google-China ties have devolved into what is effectively a glacial impasse, Android continues to move briskly in that country. It is fast catching on as the operating system of choice among Chinese manufacturers eager to enter the tablet market. Now, ZTE has chosen the open source platform for its maiden tablet. The ZTE Light is a 7-inch device that weighs around 400gm and supports both GSM and WCDMA standards. Although the Light's price still remains a mystery, it is expected to be an affordable alternative to tablets like the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab.
If you're the type to fret over data security and government censorship, Google has your back with their new Transparency Report. The report is likely a response to the search giant's recent run-ins with the likes of China over blocking services and requesting user information. The Transparency Report is broken down into two sections, Government Requests, and Traffic.
The Government Requests section offers an interactive Google Map with flags in each country that data is available for. By zooming in, we can see the number of requests for each country, as well as various court orders for removal of content. The data on the map is currently only from the last year, but more could be added as time goes on.
The Traffic section consists of a graph showing the amount of data passed through Google over time. Users can choose the country and Google service to view in the drop downs. The idea is that by looking for large drop-offs in traffic, users will be able to tell when the free flow of information has been interrupted. Do you think this kind of transparency will make governments think twice about limiting freedom online?
Lenovo is constantly eyeing new device segments, as is evident from its recent foray into the smartphone market and avowed interest in tablets. It has now emerged that the company is working on a video game console called the eBox.
The console is being developed by Beijing Eedoo Technology Ltd., a subsidiary Lenovo established in July. According to Eeedoo's website, the eBox features a Kinect-esque control mechanism. Lenovo hopes to launch the controller-free game console in China before the end of this year. Plans of an overseas launch are also on the cards.
Even though game consoles like the Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 are yet to be released in China, they are still available through the gray market. Besides, the Chinese market is awash with locally manufactured knockoffs of popular consoles.
There has been an addition to the list of upcoming autostereoscopic (glasses-free 3D) devices. The latest addition is of the portable variety. Supernova X1 is a 3D-capable tablet prototype that does not rely on 3D glasses for its mojo. Engadget's Chinese site was the first to get a glimpse of this tablet prototype from China's Rockchip.
However, not a lot is known about the Supernova X1 at this point in time apart from the fact that the glasses-free 3D effect can be adjusted (or even disabled) in much the same way as the Nintendo 3DS. Rockchip will unveil this tablet at the upcoming IFA 2010 event in Germany.
The world's appetite for gadgets is apparently growing ever more insatiable. Chinese manufacturer Foxconn is looking to hire as many as 400,000 Chinese workers in the coming year. Many of the new recruits will be working at factories built nearer to their homes, instead of Foxconn's massive Shenzhen facility. This is seen as a way to combat the frequent suicides at the plant over the last year.
This move would leave Foxconn with about 1.2 million employees building products for Apple and Dell. The company could certainly afford it after seeing a doubling of revenue in the first half of 2010. This won't be the end of the Shenzhen plant though. Foxconn plans to reduce the work force there only slightly, from 900,000 to about 730,000 over five years.
It's unclear if Foxconn would be making these changes had the suicide story not have hit the western media so hard. The manufacturer has also been increasing wages for workers. When you buy gadgets, do you wonder where, and how it is made?
Traditionally, phones running Google's Android operating system have relied on Google's search engine out of the box. But China's homegrown search engine, Baidu, is trying to get several Chinese manufacturers to build their service into the phones. Baidu wants a Baidu search widget prominently displayed on Android phones. These models would only be sold in China.
Android is still a small part of the Chinese smartphone market. Last year, only 0.4% of phones sold in the country ran Android. Baidu wants to get a part of the market before Android starts taking off. They want people to associate Android phones with their search engine, which holds the vast majority of the search market in China.
Baidu would not disclose which manufacturers they were in discussions with, but we imagine big names like Lenovo and Huawei are on the list. We saw the Moto Backflip stateside with Yahoo search instead of Google, so apparently anything is possible.
A scientific study in the late 90’s had concluded that the average mainland Chinese mind lacks the mental faculty necessary to fully comprehend the concept of intellectual property. Well, all right, I just made it all up to highlight the extreme level of piracy in China, something that has been done ad nauseam.
But the Chinese government’s latest anti-piracy initiative is a step in the right direction. According to reports in the local media, authorities in Beijing have begun cracking down on internet cafes suspected of video piracy, with over a third of the city’s 1500 registered cyber cafes on their radar.
According to a news report on InformationWeek.com, around 30% of all internet cafe customers come to watch movies, even though more than 60% of China’s 130,000 registered cyber cafes have never sought any video distribution licenses.
Back in 2008, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) commissioned the development of a content filtering software. Beijing Dazheng Human Language Technology Academy and Zhengzhou Jinhui Computer System Engineering were the two companies tasked with the development of the Green Dam Youth Escort content-filtering software.
According to local media reports, the lack of funds has forced one of the developers, Beijing Dazheng Human Language Technology Academy, out of the project. "We indeed lack funds. We cannot keep on operating any more after a one-year bitter struggle," Chen Xiaomeng, the general manager of Dazheng, told ChinaDaily.com. The other company is also unlikely to continue working on the project if the current situation persists.
iSuppli, the market research firm who seems to know a little bit about everything, has been studying the gray-market cell phone business. The bad news? Business is booming. But on the bright side, a recent crackdown by China officials was more than just a little bit effective.
"Recent developments indicate that the China government is beginning to take seriously the long-festering problem of smuggled handsets and counterfeit handsets, a thorny issue that not only undercuts tax revenues but also tarnishes China's image abroad," said Kevin Wang, director of China Research at iSuppli. "As a result, iSuppli believes that the gray handset market will be greatly affected by the government investigation."
The effect can already be felt in gray market circles, in which the total number of shipments fell by 25 percent in June compared to May. Still, the war is far from won. Looking ahead, iSuppli predicts gray market cell phone shipments to reach 172 million in 2010, up from 145 million in 2009.