This past Saturday (September 25, 08:00 China Standard Time) we saw the official release of the iPhone 4 in mainland China. It was welcomed by thousands of Chinese Apple fans, who camped out at the 3 Apple Stores in Beijing and Shanghai respectively. The actual launch had the fanfare of launches in New York City, London and Tokyo. This is even with gray-market iPhone 4's from Hong Kong and other countries sold in mainland China since it the initial launch in the US.

China Unicom said over 200,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4 were received since September 17 but only 60,000 of these customers received their phones on the weekend. China Unicom had since stopped taking pre-orders due to the demand. The high demand at China Unicom outlets occurred even though the iPhone 4 sold through, Apple's only official mainland China carrier, comes with a 2-year contract.

Contrary to the iPhone 4 sold through Apple Stores in Beijing and Shanghai which are contract free. Apple have not released any sales figures for the weekend, but we can see from the lines of people waiting outside Apple Stores, many do not want to be locked into contracts. The Apple list prices of RMB4999.00 and RMB5999.00 for the 16GB and 32GB respectively contract-free iPhone 4 are quite high given the average monthly income in China, then again China is a country with the most millionaires, so only time will tell.

So far reports indicate that not only China Unicom outlets are sold out of iPhone 4, the four Apple Stores are also sold out.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesiphone

I am now stuck in Beijing Airport. Air China has decided to cancel my flight to Shanghai, without giving any reasons. There were just over 100 passengers for the original flight of a Boeing 777 aircraft, they probably thought it wasn't worth it to operate such a large aircraft with so few passengers.

Canceling a flight because there are not enough passengers is something typical of US and "mainland" Chinese airlines, but not for Cathay and Dragonair or most large international airlines in Asia.

Another reasons may be because this is a domestic flight and they just don't have a small aircraft available.

Will this happen to these large International airlines if they too operates short domestic flights like this one?

I guess we will never know.

[Update: Sep. 17, 2008 20:30] It turns out the new gate is way on the opposite end of this huge airport terminal. We ended up having to take a bus to the plane. It was way out, parked in an area where they store planes that are used for flights on following day. The aircraft finally used was a Boeing 747-400 Combi.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesopinion

It is surprising how difficult to find the latest official updates of medal counts from the Beijing 2008 Olympic. After a Google search and ignoring all the scammers who try to make AdSense income, I finally found a list at Yahoo Sports, but the one that is most up-to-date is the 2008 Olympic Medal Count on Wikipedia. This further proves that people-power on the Internet is much faster and better, and Crowdsourcing is a practical and achievable future for project development.

As of 15:30 (HKT GMT+08:00), China is currently leading the medal count.

2008 Olympic Medal Count

Just heard from the evening news that China is spying on guest at various mainland China hotels. The British government is advising all British athletes to avoid using their regular mobile phones while in China. They suggest all British citizens to use disposal cell phones while in China and not to refill these cell phones after the stored value is exhausted. They also told British athletes to expect all their conversations will be monitored by third party while in mainland China.

The prime minister of China came out to address the press today, saying that all visitors are welcome to visit the sites of China, but all members of the media must abide by China laws and regulations. He also added that no one should politicalize the Olympic games.

There are still various western Internet web sites blocked by the Chinese government, such that press members working from the Olympic venue Media Center will be restricted from freely accessing information on the Internet.

The Chinese government claims that the blocking of certain Internet web sites are for the security and well being of Chinese citizens and has no way related to the Olympic events, or intentionally restrict members of the press from accessing information. The Chinese government even say that they will up hold the privacy and individual rights of all citizens and visitors.

I believe the problem is "black & white". What we in the "free" world considered common sense does not apply to China and no matter what the Chinese government say or promise, the freedom of the press or visitors to Beijing next week will not be what we will expect. Just look at my other article about the rules and regulations that the Beijing Olympic Committee released for the attendees of the Olympic Games.

So, may be it is not China that needs to learn to do things differently, it may be us, the "western world" learn that we cannot trust what China promise.

If you're going to attend one of the 2008 Olympic event venue (in Beijing, assuming this also applies to venues in Hong Kong and Qingdao), be sure you are familiar with all the regulations that Beijing Olympic Committee has issued to the public.  

You can see these regulations below:

Restricted articles include hard-packed drink and food; fragile articles; musical instruments; carry-on bags, suitcases and handbags which are too big to carry to the seats; flags of countries and regions not participating either in the Beijing Olympic Games or Paralympic Games and other flags over two meters in length or over one meter in width; flag poles of over one meter in length; banners, leaflets, or posters; unauthorized professional videotaping equipments; knives, bats, long-handle umbrellas, long poles, sharp-ended stands for cameras and video cameras, and other objects that may cause harm and injury to people; animals (with the exception of guide dogs); vehicles (except for strollers and wheelchairs); unauthorized walky-talkies, loudspeakers, radios, laser devices or wireless devices that interfere with the electronic signals of the Olympic Games.

The rule deemed the following behavior as inappropriate: smoking at a non-smoking area; crossing over the guardrail; using umbrellas or standing up for a long period of time in the seating area, thus obstructing the field of vision of other spectators; and flash photography.

The rule banned weapons and equipment including guns, ammunition, crossbows, and daggers; fireworks, firecrackers and other flammable materials; corrosive chemicals and radioactive materials.

Posted
AuthorVinko
CategoriesObservation

This Olympic torch relay around the world has now become such a controversy that the International Olympic Asscociation is considering terminating the relay. If this decision is final, it will become the first world record obtained by China in this year's Olympic. The people at "Torch Relay Beijing 2008" has created an animation to show their disguss of the recent events.

Please enable Javascript in your browser if you want to see the animated image here.

So far most sites who had talked about this or mentioned Tibet has been banned from China. I suppose mentioning these facts will also cause my site to be banned from China. After over 16 years of Internet presence for my site, I have finally dragged myself into a political topic that will cause me to loose the readership of fellow Chinese in China.

Hopefully, the well informed any Internet savy readers will find the usual techniques to circumvent the Chinese government's censorship.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesopinion