China

Microsoft China posted an update on popular social network Sina weibo earlier today that Surface Pro, the Surface tablet/ultrabook that's built on Intel's desktop processor, will be available on 9:00pm, April 2nd (Beijing time). Microsoft announced on its official blog that Surface computers will be available in more markets in 2013, and China will be the first new market for Surface Pro.

The Chinese version of Surface Pro will be sold through Suning, the partner who was partly responsible for the lackluster sales of Surface RT in that region. But this time Microsoft isn't giving anyone "exclusive dealership" any more, for it has established its own Microsoft Store (online only) in China, and built an official store on Tmall.com, China's largest B2C e-commerce platform ever.

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Yesterday Nokia announced Lumia 520 and 720 for the Chinese market in a theme park in Beijing. We have reported the estimated date of availability as well as the retail price, so there's nothing really new here. One little thing about the announcement caught our attention: Lumia 720, the Lumia 720T customized for China Mobile's TD-SCDMA network, will come with a CMMB mobile TV module.

China Multimedia Mobile Broadcasting (CMMB) is a mobile television standard, mostly supported by China Mobile as a "killer feature" that defines the cellular carrier from its competitors. A phone with built-in CMMB reception module could snatch broadcasted TV programs over the air, without generating any data fee. Nokia has done various kinds of localization to adap to local markets. But adding a new hardware module to an existing phone model just for one carrier? I reckon that's something never happened before.

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As one of the emerging markets, and a terribly big one for that matter, China just can't be overlooked on Nokia's strategic roadmap, especially the entry and middle segments of the market. Now the company is busy preparing for the release of both Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 in China.

The entry-level Lumia 520 will be available "by the end of March", which translates into some time close to NOW. The retail price is about CNY 1,299 (US$ 210), which would be cheaper than the HKD 1,788 (US$ 231) standard in Hong Kong.

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Since launched, the Surface RT tablet has always been sold only through two channels in China: Microsoft's freshly established online store, and Suning (a chain store for electronics, much like Best Buy). Now Microsoft is looking into extending the Surface RT distribution network, as the exclusive dealership with Suning expired in February 2013.

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With Nokia making a large deal to sell numerous Lumia Windows Phones on China Mobile, starting with the Lumia 920 and including the popular Lumia 620, speculation and curiosity about sales numbers have piqued interest from observers.

This morning, a questionable story on WinP.cn started to make the rounds complete with photos, that reportedly showed the Nokia team “celebrating 2 million sales (or activations)” in that massive country. We’ve been in indirect contact with Nokia China and are hearing that the story is in fact not accurate.

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The Chinese side of the Windows Phone Store has had a bumpy time lately. For the last a few days, Chinese users have been experiencing problems when trying to purchase apps. Many found it impossible to download any paid app; you go through the payment process only to get an error message. The money gets accepted by the Windows Phone Store well enough, but the app license never comes. Some fairly persistent folks have tried repeatedly, paying $3 for Angry Bird Seasons in three shots. Yet they still failed to get the app at the end of the day.

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Samsung ATIV S is one curious case.

It was the first ever Windows Phone 8 device ever shown to the consumers, yet probably the last one to get onto the shelves. Today, even the extremely late-coming Huawei Ascend W1 has probably better availability than ATIV S. According to the latest rumor, the mysterious will land in China on March 8. However, the final retail price is said to be "undecided yet".

Apparently Samsung is trying to pitch the ATIV S against HTC 8X and Lumia 920, and looking for more leverage on pricing.

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As we've mentioned before, the People Hub has always been a pain for Chinese Windows Phone devices, because what's called "People Hub" in the Chinese version of the OS simply doesn't have any social functions. To put it mildly, the module has been nothing but an unnecessarily complicated phone book. The reason for this is quite simple: Microsoft yanked out all the social services blocked by China's national Great Firewall (Twitter, Facebook), and removed the ones that practically have no user at all in China (LinkedIn), without giving any replacements. Finally this is going to change, today.

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Even though Microsoft wasn’t exhibiting at CES this year, doesn’t mean they haven’t been present. From Steven Ballmer taking to the stage at the Qualcomm keynote to some surprise Xbox 360 demos, it’s been busy.

The folks at Computer World caught up with Greg Sullivan. senior product manager for Windows Phone. Seems Greg was eager to share the good news about Windows Phone sales in China and also led some to speculate on a Windows Phone in the pipeline that uses an Intel CPU.

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Microsoft has previously confirmed it was looking to introduce Sina Weibo connectivity to China for use with its platforms. The micro-blogging service is a must-have for the array of products the company now has on offer. With popular social networks already available through Microsoft Accounts, it's only right that Chinese consumers be able to achieve the same level of integration.

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As Chinese stores are beginning to get the new generation of Lumia devices in tiny, tiny trickles, consumers who are lucky enough to secure a phone or two in the extremely limited supply have found a pleasant surprise: the phones are coming with a much called for feature, which is call & SMS blocker.

The stealing and selling of private information has always been a big problem in China. It's developed into a full fledged industry. Occasionally even employees of ISPs, mobile carriers and banks are caught selling their customer information in bulks. What follows immediately is spamming, quite precisely targeted, coming through all sorts of channels in bulks.

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Nokia's plan to tackle the Chinese market by launching the Lumia 920T on China Mobile and tap into its 700 million customers was just the first step it seems, according to reports that both companies plan to offer the Windows Phone for just 1 Yuan. The fantastic deal for those who are looking to pick up the flagship smartphone on a 2-year contract will surely attract bargain hunters. Nokia surely plans to push hard.

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Good news has come out of China yet again for Nokia. Photos of a crowd gathering inside and around the Nokia Shangai store in the country has been published online that reveal a high interest in the latest flagship Windows Phone. As well as visual popularity with high numbers turning out, the handset also sold out in just two hours, according to IThome.

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The Samsung ATIV S may be the next Windows Phone 8 device to hit the shelves in China.

The Chinese Ministry of Industry has certified it to receive a network license, green-lighting it for release. There's no official word yet on when the ATIV S may make it's way there or even what carriers may offer it. CNMO, the site who reported on this, believes that when it finally does arrive it will fetch around 4,000 yuan ($642). This is a bit cheaper than Nokia's recently-released Lumia 920T, a rebranded Lumia 920 designed to run on China Mobile's TD-SCDMA network.

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HTC mainland stores in China have started to take preorders for the 8X and 8S. The devices are on China Unicom and the 8X is available in black and red variants for 3999 RMB ($640), while the 8S can be purchased for 1999 RMB ($320) in blue and black & white. The company is clearly targeting low price points to battle Nokia in the Windows Phone ecosystem.

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