Singapore: Tweet for Treasure

One friend invited me to this very interesting Twitter activity started by StarHub, the second largest broadband company in Singapore. The activity is called ‘Great Singapore treasure hunt’. Although the participation of this activity involves both getting clues online and “hunting for treasure” offline in the city of Singapore, I found this activity a very successful case for the broadband company to engage its current and potential customers via social media.

 

Basically the website releases a new round of task every one or two days via Twitter, the task includes the hunting for “treasure” within CBD of Singapore, and  the details of the instructions and clues will be only tweeted to people who joined the twitter group. It usually requires the participants to solve the riddles online with the help of tools such as Google, Flickr, YouTube and Windows Live Messenger. The first person who solve the riddles (by tweeting the answer back) and get to the location where treasure is placed can win a cheque for S$10,000. The “treasure hunt” actually emphasizes the importance of the speed, which is an important part of the brand image of StarHub broadband.

 

The fans of the activity also have a Facebook group, which is said to have amassing over 25,000 fans in a three-week period and became Singapore’s largest Facebook fan group.

(Pic Source:tweet a treasure in Twitter)

Iphone Asia

Iphone has started its expansion of Asia market since 2008, while it seems that there are a number of complex issues they need to take care of at the same time of the launch of this world’s revolutionary smartphone in Asia. 

Japan— Aggressive Competitors
Release date: July 11, 2008

( Source: NY Times)

Japan is one of the earliest Asian market targeted by Apple, while its selling in Japan hasn’t been very good compared with other smartphones produced by companies like NEC, SHARP, and PANASONIC. Acccording to a report in 2008, iPhone only made up a tiny portion of Japan’s 115 million cell-phone market. Takeshi Natsuno, the Japan smartphone pioneer who developed Japan’s first Internet-linking cell phone service “i-mode” in 1999, said “smartphone has already reached a very mature market in Japan, so Apple might need to struggle a bit to reach its expected share of Japanese market.”

 

China – Priracy, better choice?
Relase date: Oct 30, 2009 

It is said that the largest ratio of pirated digital application is found in China (37%). Like some people commented, “Chinese don’t wait for Apple launch to get ‘iPhone’ ”. Actually the pirated version usually share a very similar looking of iphone, but integrates with a more local smartphone features such as handy Chinese typing applications, more compatible hardwares, and functions that help to speed up its internet speed under the Chinese telecom network…..and more importantly, their price is usually stunningly low.

 

(Source:www.iphonasia.com)

 

South Korea — in the shadow of battery meltdown

Release date: possibly November/December 2009

 

One of the main reason for the delay of the launch of Iphone in South Korea is related to Apple’s recall of 1st generation iPod nanos in South Korea happened early this year. Since December 2008, four users filed complaints with the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards over bugged iPod Nanos — three of them were for battery meltdowns while recharging. The issue was reported by mainstream Korean media and the pictures of melting Nanos have been circulating on the internet. In June 2009, Apple apologized for their neglect in selling the problem products and issued the recall and later released a statement reassuring owners of current-model Nanos. This incident generates pretty negative brand image and reputation for Apple Korea. As a result, South Korea’s telecommunications regulatory body has not given approval for iPhone to be sold in the country until 23 September 2009, and the actual launch date is still not known.

 

 

(Source: http://www.cultofmac.com)

YouTube Korea: Social Responsibility or User Right?

On April 1st, 2009, South Korea’s telecommunication authority deployed an act which obligates the Internet user to publish his/her real name when uploading a video or leaving a comment on large social networking sites as in Korea, increasing rate of crimes and suicide cases have been caused by slanderous messages posted on social websites. YouTube was also specified as one of the websites to which the act should be applied. However, after discussing with Google World Headquarters, Google Korea (who owns YouTube Korea) refused the authority’s request on the grounds that anonymity is essential to guarantee freedom of expression on YouTube, and the company disabled any video uploading and commenting instead. YouTube customers in South Korea can only use these features by changing the current region in their personal settings into country other than South Korea.


(Source: Asiajin/Korea)

It was highly anticipated that users would eventually leave YouTube in favor of local competitors Like Pandora.tv after YouTube’s decision. Surprisingly, it was not the case. According to a survey by Korean Times in June 2009, for the first time since its launch in Korea in 2008, YouTube became the number one video portal in terms of overall usage time with a 42.79% market share. It shows that Google’s move of disabling the uploading and commenting system does not influence people’s use of the YouTube website. People believe that YouTube’s features like quick registration process, the possibility to embed videos on Cyworld (first social network in Korea), as well as the amount and diversity of content made available from its worldwide user base are all reasons they decide to stick to YouTube.

It was commonly known that it is important for global websites such as YouTube to tailor to the specific local market so as to localize its brand image, this involves operating with respect for local morals and ethics. The response by YouTube Korea here seems to strike a balance between its social responsibility and the protection of its users’ right. It is obvious an excellent way of building a strong position in the Korean market and at the same time casts no negative effect on the corporate’s business.

Australian Pavilion for 2010 Shanghai World Expo Homepage

As a local Shanghainese, I pay particular attention to Shanghai World Expo, which is to be held between May and October 2010.

The website for Australian Pavilion was launched in early 2009, it provides very detailed information about the Pavilion itself including its construction process and the series of events to be held in the Pavilion. It also contains a significant proportion of content in promoting the national image of Australia and the country’s culture. Besides, there is also a page devoted particularly to Australia-China relationship.

 

I guess the presence of Australian Pavilion in Shanghai World Expo is a good chance to tighten the cultural ties between the two countries, which would be beneficial to the business development for both. This seems to be even more important especially after the wide media coverage about the incidents that caused fluctuations in the relationship, such as the Rio Tinto case as well as the issue related to Rebiya Kadeer.

The theme of the Pavilion is positioned as ImagiNation.

And the  mascot is one cheeky kookaburra named “Peng Peng”.

(Source: http://www.australianpavilion.com/en/default.aspx)

The death of “Web 2.0” and Why Asia

The impact of term Web 2.0 is shrinking? According to this article, the author drew this conclusion based on the Google trend analysis retrieved early this year, which shows a significant decrease in the search for term Web 2.0 since 2007.

In my mind, Web 2.0 equals interactive web media based on user-generated content. However, with the stabilization and maturation of the technology related to Web 2.0, various forms of Web 2.0 services tend to generate very distinct user experiences and it seems that people don’t normally treat them as the same things. For instance, Google’s search engine and people’s personal blogs are all interactive media based on “Web 2.0” technology that surpasses web 1.0’s passively viewing experience and non-interactive homepage, but rarely do people consider these two things as the same thing simply because the experience associated with these two platforms are so different. It is same with Wikipedia and Facebook. As a result, people are more willing to consider these Web 2.0 services separately as search engines, blogs, wikipedia sites and social-networking sites instead of broadly referring them as Web 2.0 sites. So I guess maybe that’s one of the factors that contribute to the fading impact of the term Web 2.0.

Another interesting thing noted in the article is that when looking at the geographic regions that have generated the highest volumes of worldwide search traffic for the term over the years – it’s Asia, with the top 5 regions being India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia (in that order). This piece of fact demonstrates the particular significance of Web 2.0 for Asia. I think this is largely related to the great opportunities and business potentials brought about by Web 2.0 framework to Asia. Take Facebook for an example: in many other Capitalist market of the world such as Europe and America, Facebook takes a very significant share of the market as a social networking website. While in Asia, Facebook is more a type of inspiration, and a basic model for many local reconstructed or “clone” sites such as CyWorld (Korea), and Fropper (India), Renren (China), Mixi (Japan). These localized versions all occupy more share of the market than Facebook in their specific regions. So maybe it explains the popularity of terms of Web 2.0 in Asia, as the term signifies undeveloped potential for localization and endless space for innovation.

(Pic Source: Google Trend)

Rebiya Kadeer & Melbourne International Film Festival

8th August’s protest before Melbourne Town hall against the screening of the Film “Ten Conditions of Love” brought the whole Rebiya Kadeer movie controversy to another climax. For me, witnessing this kind of conflict actually evokes more complex feelings and thoughts than if I heard or read about them in China.

The MIFF’s attitude is clear that they do not want to threaten the independency of the film festival, and especially when it comes to a film made by an Australian director.

According to Richard Moore, the executive of the MIFF,

“On Friday I received a call from Ms Chen, who is based here in Melbourne at the Chinese consulate. She told me that she was ringing to urge me to withdraw the particular film Ten Conditions Of Love from the festival. I said I had no reason to withdraw the film from the festival and she then proceeded to tell me that I had to justify my decision to include the film in the festival. I said ‘Well, I’m very sorry but I didn’t have any reason to justify the inclusion of the film in the festival.’ So she then proceeded to … list Rebiya Kadeer’s crimes. I have to say to you after about five minutes I blanked out………She plainly wasn’t happy [the festival will continue as planned] and as I said before, she just went on to list Rebiya Kadeer’s crimes and unfortunately I had to tell her that I could no longer continue the conversation because I’d already expressed my opinion, so I politely hung up.”

It is easy for me to image how Ms Chen, as a representative of Chinese governemnt, used the authoritative tones (just like these TV propaganda shown on major Chinese TVs) to list Rebiya’s crimes such as the terrorist riots she incited in Western China (which Rebiya denied ). This might be a persuasive discourse in China where the dominant ideology of the society is constantly produced and constructed by the Chinese Communist Party. But within the context of Australia, the executive of MIFF obvious sounds “confused” or a little “annoyed”…… Obviously, there is nothing wrong with showing a documentary regarding the spiritual leader of an ethnic group in the Film Festival, and it is also supposed to be a natural thing for giving her the freedom of expressing issues about her ethnicity.

 

I had once thought that the controversy would over after three Chinese filmmakers withdrew their films from Film Festival in protest against the screening of “Ten Conditions of Love”, but, things gotten more ridiculous…..

It is said that

“The hackers broke into the festival’s website, just hours after Premier John Brumby officially opened the 2009 festival at the Arts Centre.

The hackers replaced festival information with the Chinese flag and anti-Kadeer slogans and were last night continuing to disrupt the site by spamming.

“We like film but we hate Rebiya Kadeer,” one message says and calls for an apology to the Chinese people.”

However, the hacking definitely didn’t change the minds of the MIFF organizers, who told ABC:

How could we change our mind now?” said Richard Moore.

“It just makes our position even, even stronger and we may even consider programming more sessions of 10 Conditions of Love.”

Apparently, Chinese netizens were quite furious about MIFF’s disrespect to Chinese government’s suggestion, and it seemed that MIFF’s insistence did  hurt Chinese people’s feelings. So, after the decision of more session of “Ten Conditions of Love” to be shown, four more Chinese-language films were withdrawn, and a long-term Hong Kong-based sponsor  pulled out of the event.

The situation is complex, and I guess each side would always provide their own version of the justification. I’m just thinking of what such not-so-pleasant consequences might imply….. It is obviously a very poor strategy for Chinese government to try to make the rest of the world to see the events through the same lens they use. As is shown here, this would probably only result in more confusion and misunderstanding between China and other countries. On the other hand, MIFF also seems to be facing a dilemma of choosing between its independency and its credibility of “an International Film Festival”.

Another blog place

I was initially going to Wordpress. org and all it asked me to do was to download a software, which I did and found it quite confusing…. anyway It took me quite a few more minutes until I finally come to WordPress. com and started my account. Guess Wordpress could make this more easier by putting a link or something on the “WordPress.org” page.

First impression, this is a blog spot that is quite different from other blogs I encountered before, like Windows Space or Bloggers. The frontpage looks nice and friendly, and i was surprised that there is not much eye-crossing ads popping in front of me.  This also seems to be a blog place where every blogs are clearly tagged and well-organized, and i have to say that most blogs are well-written with some extent of depth and professional attitude, rather than simply daily bitchings and gossips, it’s like everybody is trying to “publish” something that is worth reading and sharing.

Besides, it  seems to have a very good connections with other social network websites like Facebook and Twitters.

I also find the multi-language supportive web framework very intriguing. It provides a quite smooth experience e to search and read blogs other than English, which is a really cool thing for multi-language users like me.

Havn’t tried all the features in the right column, but will definitely do…..