Upcoming 14-inch MacBook Air may help Apple’s position in China

By on February 29, 2012 at 8:25 AM.

Upcoming 14-inch MacBook Air may help Apple’s position in China

Apple is said to currently be considering the launch of a new MacBook Air notebook PC with a 14-inch display. Citing unnamed sources within Apple’s supply chain, DigiTimes on Wednesday reported that Apple is considering a 14-inch ultra-slim laptop computer to better address consumers in China, where 14-inch models have between 35% and 40% of the portable computer market. The site had previously reported that Apple is working on a 15-inch MacBook Air model, a claim that a number of other reports have mirrored. DigiTimes first reported that Apple will launch the 15-inch Air in the second quarter this year, but then issued a new report two weeks later stating that the 15-inch model was slated to launch in the first quarter of 2012 alongside new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models. It is unclear if DigiTimes is now suggesting that Apple will launch a 14-inch model in China and a 15-inch model for the rest of the world, or if the company is considering replacing the previously-rumored 15-inch model with a slightly smaller laptop. More →

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Handset makers pessimistic about Windows Phone Tango’s chances in China

By on February 29, 2012 at 7:30 AM.

Handset makers pessimistic about Windows Phone Tango’s chances in China

Microsoft plans to roll out its Windows Phone “Tango” update for its mobile platform in China some time this year. While the new version of Microsoft’s OS will allow Windows Phones to hit lower price points, Chinese manufacturers are pessimistic about the plan and believe the operating system may not achieve enough success, according to DigiTimes. Android-based smartphones are believed to continue to dominate the Chinese market due to the aggressive marketing of low-end devices from local vendors such as ZTE, Huawei, Coolpad and Xiaomi Technology, and the ease of developing applications through the open-source operating system. Despite unfavorable market conditions, Nokia will lead the charge into China with devices set to launch in the first half of 2012. The publication’s sources also believe Huawei will release several Windows Phones din the second quarter, with Microsoft also looking to partner with Lenovo and ZTE to launch devices in the Chinese market. More →

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Apple defends rights to iPad name in Shanghai court

By on February 22, 2012 at 9:35 AM.

Apple defends rights to iPad name in Shanghai court

Apple on Wednesday defended itself in a Shanghai court against Proview International, which claims Apple is violating a trademark it holds on the “iPad” name, the New York Times reported. Proview’s allegations have prevented the Cupertino-based company from selling its popular tablet in numerous smaller Chinese cities, however Apple Stores in Beijing and Shanghai continue to sell the device. The four-hour session at the Pudong New Area People’s Court ended without any ruling from the district judge, though both sides reportedly presented new evidence in the case. Apple claims it acquired the iPad trademark from Proview in 2009. “We bought Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago,” the company said in a statement. “Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter. Our case is still pending in mainland China.” Proview claims that Apple is using the iPad name illegally, however, as the subsidiary that licensed the trademark to Apple was not authorized to do so. More →

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Foxconn accused of hiding underage factory workers before FLA inspection

By on February 22, 2012 at 8:50 AM.

Foxconn accused of hiding underage factory workers before FLA inspection

Foxconn workers claim the manufacturer transferred underage employees to other departments or did not schedule them to work overtime in an effort to avoid discovery during the Fair Labor Association’s investigation of its facilities, reports AppleInsider. Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) project officer Debby Sze Wan Chan was told by two Foxconn employees that the manufacturer “prepared for the inspection” by hiding the child laborers. “All underage workers, between 16-17 years old, were not assigned any overtime work and some of them were even sent to other departments,” Chan reportedly said. Another Foxconn worker said she had recently been allowed three breaks a day during the audit, an increase from one. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that the company “cares about every worker in our supply chain,” however many workers don’t feel the care that the CEO talks about. “Most of the time, the workers are aware of the presence of Apple’s representatives inside the factories,” said Chan. “It is not the problem that Apple doesn’t know the real problems at their suppliers. They know, but it is only because they do not care.” More →

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Chinese court orders ban on Apple’s iPad

By on February 20, 2012 at 9:05 AM.

Chinese court orders ban on Apple’s iPad

A lawyer representing Proview International on Monday announced that the Intermediate People’s Court in Huizhou, a city in southern China, ruled on Friday that distributors should stop selling iPads in China, Associated Press reports. Proview has claimed ownership of the “iPad” name in China and it says Apple is violating its trademark. “We bought Proview’s worldwide rights to the iPad trademark in 10 different countries several years ago. Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China and a Hong Kong court has sided with Apple in this matter,” Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said earlier in response to the lawsuits. Proview is looking to prevent Apple from importing or exporting the popular tablet in China and may sue the Cupertino-based company for as much as $2 billion in the United States. At least 45 iPads had been pulled from store shelves in various Chinese cities last week, however Apple’s tablets were still being sold at numerous retail locations across the country. More →

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Apple device manufacturer Foxconn increases wages for workers

By on February 17, 2012 at 10:10 PM.

Apple device manufacturer Foxconn increases wages for workers

Foxconn confirmed on Friday that it has raised wages for its factory workers by 16% to 25%, Reuters reports. The original device manufacturer, which is the No.1 maker of Apple’s iPhones and iPads, has raised wages to 1,800 yuan ($285) per month and may again raise them above 2,200 yuan ($349) for workers who pass a technical examination. In comparison, pay three years ago was 900 yuan ($143) per month. “As a top manufacturing company in China, the basic salary of junior workers in all of Foxconn’s China factories is already far higher than the minimum wage set by all local governments,” the company said in a statement. Foxconn has come under fire on numerous occasions due to allegations of poor working conditions, however the company is working to improve. “We will provide more training opportunities and learning time, and will continuously enhance technology, efficiency and salary, so as to set a good example for the Chinese manufacturing industry,” a company spokesperson said. Foxconn’s announcement comes on the heel of the Fair Labor Association’s preliminary assessment of the company’s plants, which are said to have conditions that are better than most.

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Fair Labor Association: Foxconn factory has ‘tons of issues’

By on February 17, 2012 at 6:30 PM.

Fair Labor Association: Foxconn factory has ‘tons of issues’

The Fair Labor Association has uncovered a number of issues that need to be addressed at a Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory, reports Bloomberg. “We’re finding tons of issues,” FLA chief executive officer Auret van Heerden said after a multi-day inspection of the plant. “I believe we’re going to see some very significant announcements in the near future.” On Wednesday, however, the FLA’s preliminary assessment stated that the company’s plants had conditions that were better than most. “The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm,” van Heerden previously said. “I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory. So the problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. It’s more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps.” The FLA plans to release more information regarding its inspection in the coming weeks. More →

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Chinese firm may sue Apple for $2 billion in U.S. over iPad name

By on February 17, 2012 at 9:05 AM.

Chinese firm may sue Apple for $2 billion in U.S. over iPad name

On Friday, the Chinese company that claims to hold the trademark on the “iPad” name, threatened to sue Apple in the U.S. for $2 billion dollars, reports the AFP. Proview Technology claims it owns the Chinese rights to the iPad name and the company’s lawyers are looking to prevent Apple from importing or exporting the popular tablet in China. “Right now we are selecting from three American law firms to sue Apple in the United States for $2 billion in compensation,” said the chairman of Hejun Vanguard Group, a company working with creditors to restructure Proview. Proview’s chief executive Yang Rongshan has repeatedly denied allegations that the company is extorting Apple in order to pay off its debt.”We own [the iPad trademark] in China,” Rongshan said. “If you were in my position… you would try to protect your rights.” Apple has said that it previously licensed the iPad trademark and Proview is failing to honor its earlier agreement. More →

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iPad trademark battle heats up as more Apple tablets seized

By on February 16, 2012 at 11:15 AM.

iPad trademark battle heats up as more Apple tablets seized

Chinese authorities have seized iPad tablets in at least two more cities as the battle over the “iPad” name rages in the East. Officials seized a small number of iPads earlier this week related to a complaint filed by Proview Technology, the China-based owner of the iPad trademark. Proview is seeking to block sales of Apple’s iPad and to stop the wildly popular tablet from being exported from China. Now, an unknown quantity of iPads has been seized by authorities in Zhengzhou and Qingdao, China according to Reuters, which citing a website belonging to the China Business News newspaper. Proview says it has asked regulators in more than 40 cities across China to investigate Apple’s alleged trademark violation, while Apple argued earlier that it had reached an agreement to license the iPad name. “Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China,” an Apple spokeswoman said this past Tuesday. “Our case is still pending in mainland China.” More →

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Fair Labor Association: Foxconn’s plant conditions are better than most

By on February 15, 2012 at 12:10 PM.

Fair Labor Association: Foxconn’s plant conditions are better than most

On Monday, Apple announced that the Fair Labor Association would be conducting audits of facilities managed by its Chinese suppliers. Foxconn Technology Group, whose factories manufacture the iPad, has come under fire after a rash of worker suicides, fatal explosions and allegations of poor working conditions. Working conditions at Foxconn, however, were found to be far better than other facilities throughout the country, reported Reuters. “The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm,” said FLA president Auret van Heerden. “I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory. So the problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. It’s more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps.” Roughly 30 FLA staff members will be visiting two Foxconn factories in southern China and one in the central city of Chengdu. Over the course of three weeks, the FLA will conduct anonymous interviews with 35,000 workers who will be questioned about pay, living conditions, emotional condition and management. In addition to Foxconn, the FLA will investigate facilities belonging to Quanta Computer, Pegatron and Wintek. More →

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Apple’s iPad 2 pulled from Amazon China as lawsuit looms

By on February 15, 2012 at 8:10 AM.

Apple’s iPad 2 pulled from Amazon China as lawsuit looms

Apple’s class-leading iPad 2 tablet has been pulled from Amazon’s website in China following a lawsuit filed by Chinese firm Proview International. Proview recently filed suit against Apple for using its trademarked “iPad” name, seeking to ban sales of the iPad in China and abroad. Apple contends that it licensed the name from Proview, which has now unlawfully reneged on its deal. “Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China,” and Apple spokesperson said on Tuesday. “Our case is still pending in mainland China.” While no ruling has been made, Chinese officials reportedly seized a number of Apple tablets earlier this week and now Amazon has pulled the iPad from its website, as has rival Chinese retailer Suning. It is not currently clear if the sales halts are court-ordered. More →

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Chinese firm looks to block iPad sales across the globe

By on February 14, 2012 at 4:40 PM.

Chinese firm looks to block iPad sales across the globe

On Monday, Chinese officials seized 45 iPads in response to a trademark complaint from Proview International, the owner of the “iPad” name in China. Proview has now asked the Chinese government to block the import and export of the popular tablet, reports Bloomberg. “We are applying to customs to stop any trademark- infringing products from imports to China and also for exports,” said Roger Xie, a lawyer representing Proview. “Apple wants to postpone and continue infringement of the iPad in China.” Apple maintains that it has purchased rights to the iPad name in 10 countries from Proview, including in China. “Proview refuses to honor their agreement with Apple in China,” said Carolyn Wu, Apple’s Beijing-based spokeswoman. “Our case is still pending in mainland China.” The iPad is manufactured by Foxconn in Brazil and in China, so an export ban on the popular tablet would have significant ramifications for Apple. More →

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Chinese authorities seize iPads over trademark infringement

By on February 13, 2012 at 7:35 PM.

Chinese authorities seize iPads over trademark infringement

Chinese officials seized 45 iPads in response to a trademark complaint filed recently by Proview International Holdings over the iPad name, reports the Hebei Youth Daily. The tablets were seized from store locations within Shijiazhuang, the capital of the Hebei province in northern China. In April 2010, Apple sued Proview claiming ownership of the iPad trademark in China. On November 17th, however, the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court rejected Apple’s claims, leading the Cupertino-based company to appeal the ruling to the Higher People’s Court of Guangdong province. Proview registered the iPad trademark in various countries as early as 2000, with the the Shenzhen-based unit having registered the trademark in China in 2001. Apple began selling the iPad in China in 2010. More →

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