Apple releases Chinese tweaks to iOS – China’s latest business and technology news

Business & Technology

A summary of the top news in Chinese business and technology for June 6, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "'Now China leads.'"

This picture taken on August 26, 2016 shows a driver uses his smartphone to pay the highway toll by way of Alipay, an app of Alibaba's online payment service, at Pengbu toll station on the Hangzhou-Ningbo Expressway in Hangzhou in Zhejiang province on September 21, 2016.

At an event for developers of software for Apple products on Monday, Apple previewed the new mobile operating system iOS 11 set for release to iPhone and iPad this fall. Apple says that Siri is to get new male and female voices that “are more natural and expressive, adjusting intonation, pitch, emphasis and tempo while speaking, and can translate English words and phrases into Chinese.” TechNode notes that Apple “completely glossed over…some very interesting feature additions…for Chinese customers,” such as:

  • Traffic camera alerts: This feature is very popular in China, and it exists in almost all Chinese map and navigation tools.
  • Phone number as Apple ID: Due to the popularity of WeChat, many Chinese people don’t use email as much as Americans do. In China, people can use phone numbers to register for almost any online service and also to verify accounts, for both registration and security.
  • Shanghainese dictation: Voice recognition now works for Shanghai dialect as well as Mandarin and Cantonese.
  • QR code support: The barcode-like images you can scan to create a WeChat connection or visit a website are very popular in China.

Will these Chinese tweaks help restore Apple’s sales to health in China after the company’s revenue fell 14 percent year-on-year to $10.7 billion in the March quarter? Apple CEO, Tim Cook, said, perhaps predictably, that the company is still “very enthusiastic” about the opportunity in the world’s largest smartphone market.

See the Society and Culture section below for more Apple news from China.

  • Aging China sees direct-sales health-product sector boom amid regulatory uncertainty / Caixin (paywall)
    Several “major companies” that sell health and diet supplements are “reporting that at least 20% of their incomes were generated” in China. However, many of them depend on direct and online selling, which Caixin says “Chinese regulators have deemed prone to abuse.”
  • P2P lenders to face tighter disclosure rules / Caixin
    “Efforts to clean up China’s scandal-plagued peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector are taking another step forward with a pilot program that imposes tighter information disclosure requirements to protect customers from being swindled.”
  • China’s Twitter comes back from the dead / Bloomberg
    “Unlike Twitter, which is valued at $13 billion, Weibo is profitable; its share price is hovering around $75, more than quadruple the IPO price.”