Entries Tagged as 'China'

How Japanese Over Thirty Feel NEC’s Joint Venture With Lenovo

A week ago, China’s Lenovo and Japan’s top-shared PC vendor NEC announced to merge their PC business and to establish a joint venture company.

Lenovo and NEC say they will create a joint venture to form the largest PC business in Japan.

The new entity, NEC Lenovo Group Japan, brings together Japan’s top PC company with China’s Lenovo, one of the biggest PC makers in the world.

Under the deal, Lenovo will own 51 percent of the joint venture, and NEC Corp. will hold 49 percent.

Businessweek

The news itself was widely covered on Chinese and English media, so I won’t repeat details here.

Coverage on Japanese media are even bigger. The reason is that NEC’s PC business has special meanings to Japanese personal computer users who began their computer lives in 80′s to early ’90s.

NEC dominated Japanese PC market in BASIC and MS-DOS era. First by PC-8001/8801, 8-bit computer which should match with Commodore 64 in West,

pc-8001

then by PC-9801, 16 bit personal computer series established its kingdom, defended domestic market against badly-localized PC/AT and its compatibles.

NEC PC-9801UV2

They had, like IBM compatibles, Microsoft BASIC and DOS. At the end of PC-9801, when PC/AT became to be able to handle Japanese text in software level, they even had MS-Windows for PC-9801.

After Windows 95, they could not keep selling their original personal computers, however, were able to let their loyal customers switch to PC/AT-based “NEC”. They are not “dominant” anymore but are competing top share in Japan.

NEC’s PC-9801 was one of the first looser against global de facto on Japanese personal computing, which is followed by Ichitaro (against MS-Word), Kiri (MS-Access), Hanako (Illustrator), Just Windows (MS-Windows), Oyayubi Shift (Qwerty and Japanese input method environment), ODiN/Senrigan (Yahoo!), goo (Google) and Mixi (could be Facebook, in the long run).

So, like IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo, this news is symbolic for Japanese.

“Zombie Japanese” – Chinese Derogatory Term Referring Japan Anthropomorphized

Riben Guizi

(Contest winning design by a project wiki)

Like as “Jap” in some English countries, there are Chinese words for insulting Japan/Japanese. One of the popular words is Riben Guizi(日本鬼子), which means “Zombie Japanese” in Chinese (“Devil’s Children Japanese” in Japanese, slightly different). The word is often used to talk about Imperial Japan’s army during WWII, but still seen on Chinese web especially when some conflict happens between the two countries.

Because of the recent territorial dispute around Senkaku islands(Diaoyu Islands from China), the word is appearing more in Chinese web and that is reported on Japanese media.

October 18th, one guy (anonymous of course) started a new discussion thread [J] on 2-channel, Japan’s largest bulletin board service. The thread named “Let’s make moe character of Riben Guizi to make derogatory Chinese moe pig”. (“moe” means cute, kawaii, etc. please check moe on English Wikipedia)

He/she suggested Japanese people who might have gotten offended by seeing the word Riben Guizi, to give positive meanings and a cute character. Then the offensive word will not be really offensive. The letter “子”(Child) in the word is often used for Japanese girls’ name, it was natural to give it a girl’s character.

That idea immediately attracted many people and they discussed what characteristics, appearance, cloths, etc. the girl character must have. Many amateur cartoonists followed and uploaded their drawings.

On social drawing community Pixiv, there are 831 pictures of Riben Guizi girl,

Another image uploading bbs made for Riben Guizi girls,

This movie shows Japanese discussions and cartoons drawn.

Taiwanese Newspaper The Liberty Times and TV reported [Chinese] this strange counterplay,

Taiwan is also involved with the territorial dispute so people should have interests. Most understand Chinese and some are keen on Japanese culture.

When 2-channel got DoS attack from Korean web users around winter Olympic medal in March 2010, 2-channellers ran a project to donate for Chilean earthquake victims to “revenge” against those attacking Korean. The total amount of the donation reported on the campaign page [J] was about 2 million yen.

Some categories on 2-channel, there is a cynical attitude to think that anyone getting upset are uncool. And sometimes such attitude creates this kind of strange “counterattack”.

See Also:

Wiki rounding up the Riben Guizi girl information [J]

Report Of Asiajin Shanghai Meetup

This is a report of Asiajin Shanghai Meetup which was held on July 24th. The meetup was held at Sunstyle showroom in Shanghai Sculpture Space. Thank you so much to Gang Lu and George Godula for securing a venue.

More than 20 people have gathered to the event on this very hot day in Shanghai.

Five people have talked about country situation and their startup experiences.

  • Situation of Japanese startups by Shunichi Arai (me)
  • Online collaborative drawing tool ‘Cacoo‘ by Shinsuke Tabata.
  • What’s happening in China by Gang Lu.
  • Social game ‘Happy Tower’ for Mixi platform by Yong Zhao.
  • His entrepreneur experiences and his new startup by Mike Cai.
Situation and recent trends of web startups in Japan @ Asiajin Shanghai meetup

I talked about the Japanese situations and trends, but I’ve quite surprised by that many attendees already know about Japanese Web industry quite well. So, we could do a very detailed discussion.

We have a few Chinese speakers to compare and discuss the industry between Japan and China. Gang Lu, the founder of OpenWebAsia workgroup, gave a great talk about Chinese Web industry. Unfortunately I was not good at time management, so we had not many time to discuss about that.

Yong Zhao is a long-time reader of Asiajin, and he has kindly invited me to his company called ‘Kingnet’.

Kingnet is a company providing social games to many platforms including Mixi platform. Their game called ‘Happy Tower’ is very successful in many platforms.

Baidu’s Popular Service Tieba Comes To Baidu Japan

Tieba Japan logo

Baidu Tieba(“Paste Bar” in English) [Zh] is an ultra popular community service run by the world second largest search engine Baidu [Zh].

Original Chinese version of Baidu Tieba logo

The uniqueness of Tieba is that it combined search engine and forum, by guiding search results to related discussion boards. If the searched word did not have a counterpart forum, users are suggested to create one.

On July 27th 2010, Baidu Japan [J] launched the Japanese localized version of Baidu Tieba under Baidu Japan, which entered into the market in 2007.

The new Japanese version has the same subdomain Tieba so that the URL is http://tieba.baidu.jp/ [J]. Interestingly, Baidu expect users pronounce “Tieba” as “te ieba” in Japanese, which means “speaking of (noun)”. The same sounds, different but well explaining the service’s characteristic on where users enjoy association of words.

贴吧(Tieba, Chinese) -> てぃえば(Tieba, Japanese)

Baidu Tieba Japanese version top page screenshot

Tieba was one of the Baidu’s driving force to thrive in Chinese web. As there are no direct competitors in Japanese web, bringing it may have some possibility to change the game for developing Baidu Japan.

See Also:

Baidu Japan’s Release [J]

Rakuten Announced Its Chinese Brand Name

Japanese e-shopping mall colossus Rakuten, who are cooperating with China No.1 Search Engine Baidu to open joint e-mall in Chinese web, disclosed their Chinese name [J].

The three Chinese letters, pronounced the same “Rakuten” are consist of original “Rakuten” in Japanese two letters and a new letter at the middle of original two.

The first letter may look very different, it was simplified in mainland China, and means enjoyable in Japanese.

The second letter newly added in Chinese one means “cruel” in Japanese but Rakuten explains that the letter means “cool” in China.

The original Japanese version letters have been used in China by South Korean-Japanese food and shopping conglomerate Lotte. So there are localization conflict of brands. Interestingly, both Rakuten and Lotte own a baseball team in the same league (Pacific league) in Japan.