Apple Core


Does Mountain Lion signal a monumental shift in the exposure of Chinese social networks in the West?


From what I've read so far, both in press articles and comments, it seems not too many people are giving much attention to the broad updates in 10.8 focused on the Chinese market (thank you Nilay for at least devoting a separate paragraph to these changes).

This is obviously understandable as 99.9% of the people on this site don't live in China and/or don't have to type in Chinese. I'm an American living in China, so of course these changes mean more to me personally than most (any other expats or Chinese people out there? 你好)

But I do think it's a situation worth noting and signals a very important change within Apple that could spread to the tech community as a whole in the next few years.

You may correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing the implementation of systemwide integration with Chinese social networks, email services, and video sites is the most Apple has ever done to support any single population of users outside of the US. And this integration will not just be viewable by those in China. It seems both Western and Chinese social networks have been given equal placement in the OS and any Westerner sharing links/videos or setting up an email box will see these Chinese offerings alongside Western ones.

That's huge. HUGE. Chinese, especially those of the younger generation, have always been exposed to and known about the largest American/Western web companies such as Google, Facebook, MSN, Youtube, and Twitter (even if some of these services are 'officially' blocked). But have Americans ever been exposed to Chinese offerings? Do any Americans know of QQ, Youku, Weibo, or Tudou? Do many Americans know anything about China for that matter, other than it has a lot of people and is communist? Well China's main web companies are about to get a lot of first-time exposure in the US. And this is just the beginning.

This fundamental strategy shift shows not only that the Mac's position in China is just as important to Apple as that of the iPhone's and iPad's, but that China's importance to Apple as a business is almost equal (or possible already equal) to that of the US market. Apple could have simply made updates to the Chinese keyboards and called it a day. Or made Chinese social integration updates that would have only been visible to costumers in China. Instead, many Americans will now be reminded on a daily basis of Apple's push into China.

This is an important turning point in Apple's global focus and will be directly visible to all of Apple's American consumers. No longer are Western web properties such as YouTube, Twitter, or Flickr the sole social gateways built into our technology. Get ready to see a lot of QQ and Youku in the very near future.


Now with that out of the way, who's crazy excited that as of this summer they don't have to switch between Chinese and English keyboards to write English words??? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

[Note - The above was written with the assumption that integration with Chinese social sites will indeed be visible to all customers no matter the country of purchase.]