Meet Taobao: China’s bigger faster version of Amazon

Taoboa is China's version of Amazon, but much faster: products are sometimes delivered in minutes, not days.
Taoboa is China's version of Amazon, but much faster: products are sometimes delivered in minutes, not days.
Photo: Virginia Werner/Cult of Mac

Made_in_china_bugMainland China is Apple’s second biggest market, and will one day be its first. Apple is making a big push on the mainland, opening new stores and investing in home-grown companies. Why the interest? Because China is the new Japan — it’s where the future is happening. All this week we take a look at the cutting-edge apps that define mobile life on the mainland.

China’s Amazon: Taobao


App name: Taobao
What it is: Amazon, but bigger and faster
Owned by: Alibaba Group, one of China’s biggest Internet companies
What it does: A combination of eBay and Amazon, Taobao sells 800 million items, including Vietnamese brides
Special sauce: The express service can have goods to your door in 15 minutes

SHANGHAI CITY, China — Imagine a website where the all the millions of “made in China” products are at your fingertips . Taobao delivers just that, and the app has completely revolutionized online shopping here in China.

Made in China: These apps are killing it on iPhone

Everywhere you look in China, young people are tapping away at apps.
Everywhere you look in China, young people are tapping away at apps.
Photo: Virginia Werner/Cult of Mac

Made_in_china_bugMainland China is Apple’s second biggest market, and will one day be its first. The company is making a big push on the mainland, opening new stores and investing in home-grown companies. Why the interest? Because China is the new Japan — it’s where the future is happening. All this week we take a look at the cutting-edge apps that define mobile life on the mainland.

SHANGHAI CITY, China — Just like their U.S. counterparts, Chinese youth obsess over their smartphones. But while the phones they use look the same, the apps are quite different: China has its own must-have apps that keep users’ eyes glued to screens at all hours of the day.

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Some Chinese apps seem quite similar to their Western counterparts, but others boast innovative and intriguing features. Apple’s clearly interested: While slowing growth in China put a dent in APPL stock, Cupertino recently made a strategic $1 billion investment in Chinese Uber rival Didi Chuxing.

What other apps in China might grab Apple’s attention? Tim Cook could start his due diligence with this list of powerhouse Chinese iPhone apps. The country’s young people use these apps to listen to music, make purchases, get around town, interact with others and maintain their online identities.

These Chinese apps are impressive and convenient, and they are showing us the future of mobile: a world where everything is at our fingertips.

Is it time for Apple to ditch the MacBook Air? [Friday Night Fights]

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Isn't the MacBook Air too good to go?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple could be about to kill its most popular notebook. According to reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the company is planning to ditch the MacBook Air and add a 13-inch MacBook to its lineup as a replacement.

FNF-bugThe original ultraportable is starting to look a little long in the tooth. Having gone without an update for over a year, it is Apple’s only laptop without a Retina display, a Force Touch trackpad, and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.

But is it really time to let it go, or does it just need a refresh? Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight as we battle it out over whether the MacBook Air has a place in Apple’s future.