Permalink 10:04:25 am, by dacare, 719 words, 22 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Sony lines up new games for Chinese gamers

Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony's Worldwide Studios for SCE introduces Project Morpheus HMD, the company's latest virtual reality (VR) gear, during a press event held on July 29, 2015 in Shanghai.

A series of new games for Sony's PlayStation 4, PS Vita and virtual reality device Project Morpheus debuted Wednesday at ChinaJoy 2015 in Shanghai.

More than 70 new games will be launched in the Chinese market for PS 4 video game consoles in the coming month, Sony announced.

ChinaJoy, or China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference, is the largest gaming and digital entertainment exhibition held in the Chinese mainland.

Sony debuted its game console PlayStation 4 in 2013, and started selling the Chinese version on March 20 this year.

Priced at 2,899 yuan ($468) for the basic package and 3,299 yuan for a console plus a camera, the PlayStation Eye, the products are available at Sony Store, Tmall.com and JD.com.

It is the second foreign console allowed to enter the Chinese market after Microsoft launched its Xbox One in late September.

A new rule that allows both foreign and domestic gaming console makers to manufacture and sell their devices anywhere in the country was announced last week, according to a statement from the Ministry of Culture.

Due to government officials' concern over objectionable content, China in 2000 banned gaming consoles via a moratorium. As a result, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony, three of the world's largest video game console makers, were shut out of China's lucrative video game industry.

In 2014, the country limited foreign console makers to operations within the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in 2014.

Industrial insiders believe that such series of progressive policies could shake up the domestic gaming sector.

According to the working committee of China's audiovisual, digital publishing and game publishing association, in 2014, the sales volume of China's gaming market reached 114.48 billion yuan, up 37.7 percent year-on-year.

In the first half of 2015, the number reached 60.51 billion yuan, up 21.9 percent year-on-year. Since last year, overseas sales volume reached 1.76 billion yuan, reflecting a rapid growth of 121.4 percent.

A model poses with Project Morpheus HMD, Sony's latest virtual reality (VR) gear, during a press event held on July 29, 2015 in Shanghai.

Project Morpheus head-mounted display (HMD)

Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony's Worldwide Studios, brought Project Morpheus HMD, the company's latest virtual reality (VR) gear, to the press event to demonstrate their Chinese strategies.

VR, also known as computer-simulated life, first appeared in science fiction in the1950's, and was developed for medical use, pilot simulation and military training in the 1990's.

The entire industry began to draw the public's attention as a developer kit named Oculus Rift, which was the first truly immersive VR headset for video games. It was initially mooted on the US crowd-funding platform Kickstarter by 9,522 backers who pledged more than $2 million.

Sony unveiled their bold VR gamble to the world at the Game Developers Conference in March 2014.

During the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, held in Los Angeles this year, more than 20 demos designed for Project Morpheus were unveiled to the public.

"Summer Lesson", "The Deep", "The Playroom VR" and "Hatsune Miku Expo" will be demonstrated at the ChinaJoy PlayStation booth and visitors will have the chance to experience the Project Morpheus on the spot.

"Many people think that Project Morpheus is an accessory to PS4; the truth is that Project Morpheus is a new system, and both happen to work well together," Yoshida said during a group interview after the press event.

"Project Morpheus is still at version one, Sony is trying its best to bring the product to the fans, we are testing internationally, to make sure the product is improving," he said.

Sony announced at Game Developers Conference 2015 that Morpheus' consumer VR headset is due to ship in Q1 2016.

Yoshida said that the global launch time will the same, but he didn't give a specific date and he also mentioned that the device's price has not been confirmed.

According to Yoshida, PC games can be migrated to Project Morpheus. He noted one example, saying that after refined and optimized the code, a user migrated Oculus games to Project Morpheus within just two days.

Sony London Studios' Director Dave Ranyard, whose team is working heavily with the PS VR headset Project Morpheus, believes that VR HMDs could become the 'technological icon of the age', similar to Sony's Walkman in the 1980's and smartphones in today.

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Permalink 10:59:12 am, by dacare, 120 words, 239 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Comp, Salary & Benefit

Lenovo leads salary list

Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Hong Kong-listed Chinese computer technology company Lenovo Group, topped the 2015 Chinese Hong Kong company CEO salary list released by Forbes China, the daily newspaper Beijing Times reported on Wednesday.

Yang was the richest CEO in 2014 with an annual salary of 119 million yuan ($19 million), putting him in first place for the third consecutive year, according to the report.

This year's list included 334 CEOs of companies from the Chinese mainland that are listed in Hong Kong whose annual salaries exceeded 1 million yuan, up 107 from the previous ranking.

Forbes also released a 2015 Chinese A-share company CEO salary list, on which Ma Mingzhe, chairman of Ping An Insurance Co, was in first place with an annual salary of 109 million yuan.

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Permalink 12:02:33 pm, by dacare, 177 words, 79 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

China LinkedIn users top 10 million

The number of LinkedIn users in China has topped 10 million, a year and a half after the world's largest professional network launched a Chinese version of its online services.

Founded in 2003 in the United States, LinkedIn has more than 300 million users. Before tapping into the Chinese market in February 2014, the company had just 4 million users from China, who registered on its global website.

LinkedIn China chief Derek Shen told reporters Tuesday that measures to boost its presence have included incorporating Twitter-like services Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo into its platform and allowing users to bind their LinkedIn accounts with those on Chinese mobile app WeChat.

"We published more than 20 reports on the job market in China, which provided career advice for job-hunters," Shen said. He added that helping companies like PC maker Lenovo and telecom equipment maker Huawei recruit talent also enhanced its influence.

LinkedIn hopes to further tap growth by launching a job-hunting application for Chinese graduates, many of whom are struggling as a record number of young people search for jobs amid a slowing economy.

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Permalink 11:59:30 am, by dacare, 230 words, 84 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Volkswagen China car sales hit by slowdown

China, the world's biggest auto market currently in the throes of slowdown, has become a drag for Volkswagen, which had set a target to outsell Toyota, the world's biggest carmaker by sales volume.

In the first half of this year, Volkswagen's global deliveries shrank 0.5 percent from a year earlier to 5.04 million units as performance in China, its largest sales contributor, fell 3.9 percent to 1.74 million units, the company said yesterday.

That lagged the Chinese market's 1 percent growth in general, which is itself in a dramatic slump from a compound average growth of 16.6 percent from 2005 to 2014.

A 48 percent surge in SUV sales in China was the only bright spot in the first half of this year. And with just one localized SUV in its Volkswagen brand's portfolio here, the wheels of fortune have been on downward spiral for the company.

Sourcing about 30 percent of its sales from China, Volkswagen has a bigger risk exposure from the economic slowdown than its biggest rival Toyota, which accounts for only 10 percent of its sales in China.

Carmakers and dealers are trying to sail through the market downturn together. Volkswagen's Audi brand has set aside a 1.2 billion yuan ($193 million) subsidy plan for its cash-tight dealerships.

Earlier this month, BMW announced up to 2 billion yuan reward package for sales achieved by dealers in the second quarter. That was on top of the 15 percent quarterly sales target reduction.

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Permalink 10:07:31 am, by dacare, 855 words, 97 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Price war looms as smartphone market booms

Domestic mobile phone makers demonstrate the selfie functions of their products at a smartphone expo in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province. Major Chinese players are gearing up for a price war in the high-end smartphone sector.

China's big players are gearing up for a price war in the high-end smartphone sector, and the only big winner will be the consumer.

Xiaomi Corp, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp's Nubia have all rolled out new products in what has been dubbed the "Godzilla" handset business, as they battle to wrestle away more market share from South Korean-based giant Samsung.

"By introducing premium devices, the average price of high-end smartphones will be dragged down," Antonio Wang, an analyst with the United States-based market research company IDC in Beijing, said. "This will benefit consumers."

It will also create more problems for Samsung, which has already been badly mauled by the aggressive tactics of China's big three.

Earlier this month, the world's largest smartphone manufacturer reported that its second quarter operating profit would probably fall by 4 percent to 6.9 trillion won ($6 billion) because of poor sales of its new Galaxy S6, particularly in China.

As the brand loses its mass appeal here, consumers are switching to cutting-edge domestic products from Xiaomi, Huawei and Nubia.

"Chinese smartphone companies are now more willing to invest in innovation by putting state-of-the-art technology into their devices," Xiang Ligang, an independent analyst and founder of telecom website cctime.com, said.

"They know the 'low performance for low price' strategy does not work in today's market. Cheap devices will never make big profit margins," Xiang said.

The rise of China's smartphone companies from low-cost labels to upmarket brands has been meteoric.

Xiaomi shipped out 34.7 million smartphones in the first half of this year compared to 26 million during the same period in 2014 without revealing detailed financial figures.

Huawei announced shipments of 31 million units during the same period, a 40 percent increase compared to last year, without revealing detailed financial numbers. Nubia has yet to report its shipment figures in China.

For Samsung, the data are depressing. In the first quarter of this year, its shipments to the Chinese mainland were 9.6 million devices compared to 20 million during the same period in 2014, according to IDC. That left it in fourth spot behind Apple, Xiaomi, and Huawei in China's smartphone market, which is still the biggest in the world with estimated annual sales of about 400 million handsets.

"It (the fall in Samsung shipments) highlights the volatility of Chinese consumers' brand preferences," Wang, of IDC, said.

And there could be more pain on way for the South Korean company, analysts point out.

Xiaomi, Huawei and Nubia have launched models that target the 3,000-yuan ($480) price range, which used to be Samsung's territory.

The Mi Note Pro from Xiaomi retails at 2,999 yuan, with the company reporting 1 million pre-orders before it hit the stores in May.

The P8 from Huawei came out in April and costs 2,888 yuan, while the Z9 from Nubia is more expensive at $3,499 yuan.

"These new products illustrate that consumers are shifting to devices that provide better user experience," Wang Jingwen, an analyst at Canalys China in Shanghai, said. "They are going up upmarket (which is where Apple and Samsung are)."

At the top of that pyramid is Apple, the iconic iPhone brand. Despite the high cost and high rental fees charged by telecommunication providers to use their networks, the iPhone dwarfs its rivals.

At the start of the year, Apple consolidated its No 1 position in China by introducing a trade-in program, which saw a jaw-dropping 14.5 million smartphones delivered to the Chinese mainland in the first quarter. That was 1 million more units than Xiaomi in No 2 spot, according to IDC.

Since iPhone models retail at around 4,000 yuan, the gap in revenue with Xiaomi was stretched even further. To eventually challenge Apple, China's leading companies will have to come up with better products and better deals.

"Apple's trade-in initiative attracted more mid-end Chinese buyers and further increased the distance between local players," Wang, of IDC, said.

Apart from having Apple and Samsung in their sights, China's big three will have to keep a close eye on a new wave of domestic rivals. "Bringing down prices will be part of their strategy as other players enter the market," Wang said.

Weeks after LeTV Holdings Co Ltd, an online video company, unveiled a large screen Android device, known as Le Max, in April, Xiaomi cut the price of its flagship Note Pro device by 300 yuan.

Motorola Mobility, now a Lenovo subsidiary, also followed suit by announcing a 300 yuan discount on its latest high-end Motorla X series model in a move to target young buyers.

Joining them will be a new smartphone launched by Zhou Hongyi, an Internet tycoon who owns the nation's largest online security company Qihoo 360 Holdings Ltd.

Qihoo has linked up with Dongguan-based budget contract phone maker Coolpad Group to produce the Qiku range in the fall. Prices are believed to be around 3,000 yuan.

"The competition will be extremely fierce this year for Chinese vendors, especially for those who are moving up to high-end segment," Zhou said. "But there will be winners."

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Permalink 10:05:58 am, by dacare, 164 words, 148 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

30% of global duty-free shopping driven by Chinese travelers

Chinese shoppers drove 30 percent of all global duty-free sales in 2014. They have contributed the most to duty-free sales since 2009, and growth in duty-free spending outstrips local retail-sales expansion, said Catherine Lim, senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

The number of outbound Chinese tourists will surge 19 percent to 139 million this year and rise to 164 million in 2016, which will boost global duty-free and travel-related retail sales, Lim said.

Last year, Chinese tourists spent more than $163 billion on overseas shopping.

Chinese spending on tax-free shopping could hurt the country's retail sales, Lim said. Last year, Chinese duty-free spending grew 18 percent, faster than the 12 percent rise in domestic retail sales, based on Bloomberg Intelligence.

Chinese visitors to Japan surged 113 percent from a year ago in April, the 19th straight month of more than 40 percent growth as weaker yen fell against Chinese currency, data from Bloomberg Intelligence.

With South Korea grappling with MERS and other countries easing visa restrictions, Japan and other nations will draw more Chinese visitors, Lim said.

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