Apple has officially opened doors to the public at its Westlake store in Hangzhou, China. The Westlake Apple Store is one of five retail stores opening in the country before the Chinese New Year, which falls on February 19. Apple has promoted the launch of the store – which is the largest Apple Store in Asia – with a mural by famed calligrapher Wang Dongling.
Apple will reportedly allow the Chinese government to conduct security inspections of the products the company sells in China. The inspections would be a way to curb worries that other governments are using Apple products for surveillance against China. The vast majority of Apple's products (with the exception of the Mac Pro) are manufactured in China.
Apple plans to open four more new retail stores in China in the next several weeks, according to the company's retail head Angela Ahrendts. Apple opened a new store location in the city of Zhengzhou last week.
It appears that Gmail service has been partially restored in China. It was reported yesterday that the Chinese government was blocking access to the service through third-party apps, while the Gmail website has been blocked for years. While many are reporting that service has been restored, others are still experiencing delays or outages.
Access to the Gmail website has been blocked for some time in China, but now the Chinese government is also blocking access to Gmail through apps. The block affects not just the official Gmail apps, but also accessing Gmail through third-party apps.
Apple recently responded to a BBC report on working conditions in factories that produce its products, and now it looks like the manufacturer in question, Pegatron, has something to say as well. In its response, Pegatron says that it will be looking into the negative claims made in the BBC piece.
Apple is not happy about the recent report from the BBC alleging worker mistreatment at factories assembling Apple's devices. The report alleged, for instance, that workers fell asleep during their long shifts on iPhone 6 production lines, or were made to work several days in a row without a day off. Apple SVP of Operations Jeff Williams told employees in the UK that no other company is doing as much for workers.
Apple has announced that its latest tablets will be available with cellular wireless connectivity starting this week in China. The company will be debuting the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 with support for TD-LTE and FDD-LTE standards, as well as TD-SCDMA, DC-HSDPA, and HSPA+ in a single model that will work on various cellular data networks in China and around the world for globetrotting roamers.
While iPhone owners in China may not yet have access to Apple Pay, it looks like they can still look forward to using Touch ID with their mobile payments. Alipay, a mobile payments platform run by Alibaba in China, was updated Tuesday with support for Touch ID verification.
Apple CEO Tim Cook met with the Lu Wei, the head of China's internet regulator, on Wei's recent visit to the United States. While specific details of the meeting haven't been disclosed, it does appear that Cook showed Wei the Apple Watch: