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AppAdvice International: China's App Store, China Mobile, Qatar, Costa Rica

AppAdvice International: China's App Store, China Mobile, Qatar, Costa Rica

December 17, 2013

For this week's edition of AppAdvice International, we'll be discussing some interesting goings-on in China, the launch of a new App Store Games category in Qatar and Costa Rica, a brand new application for British sports fans, and more.

Another anti-censorship app removed from China

In a move purportedly made to protect its interests in the country, Apple has removed another anti-censorship application from the Chinese App Store.

The app, called FreeWeibo (pictured above), provided iDevice users in the People's Republic of China with a means of circumventing government restrictions placed on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like microblogging service. In a report from Agence France-Presse, the application's co-founder associated the decision with Apple's “big business interests” in China, which offers the world's largest smartphone market.

FreeWeibo's co-founder added: “Apple's image of being a hip and trendy company is eroding – the brand will hold little cachet for the consumer because of actions like these and in the long run that means less Apple devices will be sold.”

Our report noted:

In a statement from the app's developer, Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), it's claimed that Apple confirmed the removal was instigated by Beijing, “because [the app] goes against local laws.” The statement continued: “Apple makes it impossible for apps concerned with issues such as free speech or human rights to find a home in the Chinese App Store.”

China offers the world's largest smartphone market; it's no surprise Apple is treading carefully in the nation, since its recently announced China Mobile iPhone deal could score the company an additional $10 billion in revenue during its first year alone.

China Mobile handing ad space to iOS

It looks like those reports predicting mind-bending sales for the China Mobile iPhone could turn out to be true. Because over in China, the biggest carrier in the world's largest smartphone market has handed almost all of its in-store ad space over to the iPhone and iPad.

As our report noted, there are ads on the walls and on the floors, there are sample iDevices on table tops, and a digital banner is advertising live prices for the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, and iPad. The news reached us from PRC and Me, which added:

Not only were there Apple advertisements all over the place, but even Phil Schiller was present, his A7 chip announcement playing on a flatscreen TV. A majority of the ad and display space in the store had been dedicated to Apple. If this is any indication, China Mobile is planning to aggressively promote their new Apple partnership in the hopes of blunting any advances from China Unicom and Telecom.

Preorders for the handset have launched and Apple's iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are expected to reach China Mobile subscribers later this month.

Brits can enjoy BBC Sport for iPad

It's not often that we discuss iOS app releases here, but this week a new application launched for British iDevice users that makes it possible to check on the BBC's Sport coverage using an iPad. The app, BBC Sport, can be downloaded in the App Store free of charge.

As a reminder, the application allows British sport fans to watch football (soccer), Formula 1, cricket, Rugby Union, Rugby League, tennis, and golf using an iDevice; both live and on-demand content is made available in BBC Sport, and each sport type has its own dedicated page in the app.

It's also possible to access news stories and fixtures from within BBC Sport, and to share these to a number of different social networks. Users can tune into BBC Radio 5 for even more sport-related programming, too.

Features include:

  • Home screen displaying the top stories across the world of sport
  • A page for Football, Formula 1, Cricket, Rugby Union, Rugby League, Tennis, Golf
  • A page for all the other main sports, plus major events
  • Daily live text commentaries from BBC journalists
  • Detailed football live scores, match stats and text commentaries
  • A page for football teams and competitions including the Premier League
  • A full season’s football fixtures and results searchable by day
  • Football tables
  • Customise the app with quick links to your favourite sport
  • Share stories and results by email and on social networks
  • Links to the BBC mobile site for stats pages for other sports, and league news. These will become available in the app in a future release

BBC Sport is available in the App Store free of charge, and is optimized for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Games for Qatar, Costa Rica

It's been a long time coming, but this week Apple launched iOS games in its Qatari and Costa Rican App Stores. The news comes following a similar move made earlier this year, when Apple launched iOS games in the South African App Store. Now, iDevice users in Costa Rica and Qatar can enjoy browsing through a new selection of iOS games in their local App Stores, too.

Our original article explained:

For iOS developers, games will appear by default in the Costa Rican and Qatari App Stores, provided their applications have been approved for sale in each country.

Both the Qatari and Costa Rican App Stores are now advertising popular recent games including Angry Birds Go!, Assassin's Creed Pirates, and Clumsy Ninja.

Apple's marketshare in China

Early on in the week we heard that even though Apple's iPhone hasn't yet launched with China Mobile, the company has nevertheless secured a bigger share of China's valuable smartphone market thanks to the handset's availability with China Unicom and China Telecom.

The news comes from Counterpoint Research, which explains that out of China's “Top Six” smartphone manufacturers Apple jumped from an unimpressive sixth-place all the way up to third-place. The change coincides with the launch of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on Sept. 20, and Apple's share of China's smartphone market continued to grow at a huge pace throughout the subsequent month of October.

As of this writing, in China the No. 1 position is taken by Samsung, and the No. 2 position is held by Lenovo. Apple takes third place, while the fourth, fifth, and sixth places are respectively occupied by Coolpad, Huawei, and ZTE.

Of course, with a China Mobile iPhone deal already inked, the launch of the handset with China's biggest carrier is expected to further propel Apple's share of the country's smartphone market.

That's all for this week's edition of AppAdvice International. Check back with us next week on the same day, at the same time (Tuesday, 10 a.m. GMT) for another dose of international-related news.

See also: Facebook To Begin Showing Auto-Playing Video Ads Later This Week, Says WSJ, Unearth The Original Tomb Raider Game With Square Enix's Latest iOS Release, and Velocity Speed-Reading App Gains Readability Support And Source Management.