Saturday 23 Feb 2019 | 09:18 | SYDNEY
Saturday 23 Feb 2019 | 09:18 | SYDNEY

Digital Asia links (China special!): WeChat, intelligence wars, Taylor Swift, Spartan models and more



24 July 2015 12:47

The Asia Pacific is the most dynamic digital landscape in the world, home to the fastest adopters of new technologies and the largest concentration of mobile and social media users. An escalation in online activism, changing cyber dynamics, developments in digital diplomacy and the exploitation of big data are shaping the region's engagement with the world.

  • Chinese social media is buzzing after a horde of Western models scantily clad as Spartans and delivering salad as a publicity stunt for a Beijing restaurant were accosted and detained by police for disturbing public order.
  • This analysis balances up China's cyber and human collection capabilities in the country's new intelligence war against the US.
  • New research by Citizen Lab has found  about 1.5% of all WeChat posts are censored, including many which are harmless and contain 'outright falsehoods, tabloid gossip, and sensationalism'.
  • China's cost-conscious netizens are more likely to jump on Baidu and search for the price of a Toyota Corolla  or a crossbow than a smartphone.
  • While Uber and Didi Kuaidi battle it out for China's ride-sharing app market, reports claim Uber is struggling to find Chinese investors and expects to lose US$3 billion in the next three years. 
  • BBC's Travel Show sends a host (with no Mandarin) to navigate his way around China's tourist hot spots using only local social media networks and mobile apps.
  • China's first gay web series is attracting attention with 24 million- views since its 2014 release. The show's producer is also the founder of Zank, one of many gay social apps fighting for supremacy in China's dating app market. (H/t Asia Digital Life Project.)
  • The Chinese Government has blocked encrypted mobile messaging app Telegram amid accusations the app aided the work of Chinese human-rights lawyers.
  • Many are watching for reactions to pop star Taylor Swift's August clothing line launch in China. The collection is peppered with 'T.S 1989' Swift's initials and album title (her year of birth), posing an awkward conundrum for state censors who have scrubbed China's internet of all references to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
  • Some insist commerce will reign over censorship when it comes to Swift's 1989 merchandise; others have turned straight to memes (h/t @fryan): 

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