China Unicom iPad 3G To Start Selling In China

China has been one of Apple’s important markets outside North America. However, stringent government regulations had meant the company was not allowed to sell the 3G variant of the iPad in the country – until now. An Apple spokesperson has confirmed that his company has managed to seek Chinese government approval to sell iPad 3G in the country. Like with the iPhone, China Unicom will be in charge of distributing and marketing the iPad 3G in the country. Chinese customers already have access to the WLAN variant of the iPad which is simply the domestic Wi-Fi equivalent.

Although clearances have been given, Apple has not given us an exact date when the device will actually become available on the stores. We will update you about that when we get to hear more about this.

Facebook Entering China As Game Developer

There were speculations earlier this week that Facebook could be entering the Chinese market soon via an M&A or a Joint Venture. It now appears that Facebook may be looking at China as more of a development center for the West rather than as a market opportunity.

A new report from Marbridge Consulting suggests that the world’s largest social networking site may be looking at establishing a gaming development center in China that will develop high quality games for the western market. It is being reported that Facebook makes very little from the sale of virtual goods from third party developers like Zynga who are behind the popular Facebook game, Farmville. By instituting their own social games, Facebook may be cashing in on the highly lucrative social gaming market.

Does that mean the 56,000 Chinese users in Facebook will remain friendless as always?

[via Marbridge Consulting]

Chinese Facebook Launching This Year

The world’s largest social networking service, Facebook is known to be contemplating a Chinese launch later this year. According to reports published on the Chinese publication, Global Times, the company may do so either via a joint venture or through a merger or acquisition.

Despite growing to over 400 million users, Facebook has been pretty invisible in mainland China with only close to 56,000 users in this country. However, the company has its task cut out. A majority of local players have been successful merely by copying the features from Facebook. By entering the market late, Facebook may have to struggle to survive among its own clones.

Facebook registered its .CN domain name back in 2007 and launched a Chinese version back in 2008. But ever since there has not been any significant effort to popularize the service in the country. It will be interesting to see how the world’s biggest social network manages to penetrate the great wall.

[via Global Times]

Microsoft Seeing China Opportunity Post-Google Exit?

Google has called upon the human rights violations and censorship laws in China as the reason to quit the operations in China. While there have been lots of conspiracy theories woven to understand the exact reason for Google’s withdrawal from one of the major internet markets, the Mountain View based company has nevertheless earned its brownie-points for having taken the decision.

But will this push other American companies to pull out of China? At least Microsoft appears to be taking Google’s pull out as an opportunity to increase the company’s market share for Bing. A company spokesman said,

“We appreciate that different companies may make different decisions based on their own experiences and views. At Microsoft we remain committed to advancing free expression through active engagement in over 100 countries, even as we comply with the laws in every country in which we operate.”

Microsoft’s position is undersandable. Even if Redmond decides to take the courageous step, Google will forever remain in the limelight for having taken the lead in standing against censorship. As in the search engine market, here too, Microsoft would be seen as a company playing second, or perhaps the third fiddle. Besides, there is a lot of opportunity in China that Microsoft is still lured by. All these factors makes Microsoft’s position in China all the more understandable.

[via CNN]

Dell Moving Out Of China?

Dell has recently started its operations at its new India plant. On the sidelines of it, Indian Prime Minister hinted at Dell’s statements that implied that the popular hardware manufacturer could be pulling out of China owing to legal and political uncertainties.

Mr. Singh is quoted as saying,

“This morning I met the chairman of Dell Corporation. He informed me that they are buying equipment and parts worth $25 billion from China. They would like to shift to safer environment with climate conducive to enterprise with security of legal system.”

While a statement from the Indian Prime Minister cannot be taken at face value to gauge Dell’s business strategies, the move however could be interesting considering that Google and now GoDaddy have decided to cease their China operations.

[via Engadget]