Chinese iPhone apps expand as Apple seeks deal

The apps for Chinese iPhone users have appeared even though the smartphone remains illegal

A growing number of Chinese iPhone applications let users trawl through maps, look up English words and check stock quotes, even though the smartphone has not been approved for use in China by the country's telecommunications regulatory authority.

Both Chinese and foreign firms have released apps targeting China's iPhone users, who carry the phones back from trips abroad or buy smuggled versions.

Users have flocked to download apps like Chinese-English dictionaries and map services that give traffic updates and directions for Chinese cities. Programs that stream Chinese news or let users update their blogs are available in the iPhone App Store from Sina, a Chinese Web portal. And also on offer is the dominant Chinese messaging client QQ, which had 890 million registered users at the end of last year, according to owner Tencent.

There are already over 1 million iPhones in China, telecom consultancy Ovum estimates.

That number could rise if Apple completes talks with carrier China Unicom to launch an official iPhone 3G in China, where high-end users see the smartphone as fashionable. Apple hopes to start iPhone sales in China in the next year, it said last month.

Developers seem to be counting on the deal. One firm, Vuclip, has teamed up with state-run broadcaster CCTV on an iPhone video app it plans to launch this month, said a company spokeswoman in Beijing. The firm's parent company, California-based XinLab, already offers a Chinese app that lets users search streaming video Web sites for downloads and converts HD clips so they can play on a handset.

Hundreds of thousands of users have downloaded the Chinese video search app, Vuclip estimates. The firm is working on other mobile entertainment apps, the spokeswoman said.

An official iPhone launch in China could boost app downloads, said a spokesman for AutoNavi Information Technology, which offers a Chinese iPhone app called MiniMap. The app offers bus route planning and weather forecasts on top of map and address search services.

But a rise in iPhone users could also draw greater competition from other map program developers, the spokesman said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags AppleiPhoneapp store

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Owen Fletcher

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?