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.

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.

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.

Selfie stick iPhone case gets counterfeited before it even exists

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Stikbox selfie stick case CES 2016
Stikbox founder Yekutiel Sherman shows off his only working prototype of the selfie stick iPhone case.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac CES 2016 full coverage LAS VEGAS — You know your product’s hot when Chinese ripoff artists start selling knockoffs before your first unit rolls off the production line.

That’s the “flattering” situation the makers of Stikbox, the world’s “first” selfie stick case for iPhone and Samsung, find themselves in as they demo their only aluminum prototype on the CES show floor here. Stikbox’s Kickstarter campaign launched just two weeks ago, and the unique case hasn’t even been officially manufactured, yet already dozens of clones have popped up online.

“It just goes on,” Stikbox founder Yekutiel Sherman said as he scrolled through listing after listing of Chinese manufacturers selling Stikbox clones on Taobao, an e-commerce site owned by Alibaba Group. “Endless, endless,” he said, a mix of shock and dismay in his voice.

Alibaba one-ups Amazon with drone-delivered tea

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The Alibaba Group began testing drone delivery through its e-commerce site Taobao, bring tea to 450 doorsteps within an hour. Photo: Taobao.com
The Alibaba Group began testing drone delivery through its e-commerce site Taobao, bring tea to 450 doorsteps within an hour. Photo: Taobao.com

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is redefining high tea.

Drones are taking to the skies in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to deliver tea to a test group of 450 shoppers using Alibaba’s website Taobao. The three-day trial of drone delivery service in the Chinese cities ends Friday as Alibaba continues to push its might across the globe.

Chinese Retailers Are Already Selling The iPhone 5, But It’ll Cost You $8,600

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iPhone-5-for-sale-China
I wouldn't pay $8,600 for an iPhone if it was delivered by Tim Cook himself.

We’re still a few months away from Apple’s new iPhone unveiling, but that hasn’t stopped a number of Chinese retailers from selling the device in advance. They’re using the mockup pictures that have been circulating for weeks to make a quick buck from the hotly-anticipated handset, with some asking for as much as $8,600 a piece.