The iOS7 jailbreak just released by Evad3rs would surface a Chinese-language App Store, called TaiG Assistant, if you change the iOS system language into Chinese. Negative rumors and findings about the store emerged soon after the release that include 1) the store includes pirated apps, 2) it has software built in to deter users from uninstalling it, and 3) Evad3rs received some one million dollars from the Chinese company for doing so.
An open letter Evad3rs published later confirmed the partnership with TaiG, saying they believe it is”suited to meet the needs of users for the Chinese market” and it can be removed. When it comes to piracy, Evad3rs claims they “contractually bind them to not have piracy in their store” and “TaiG will be pulled from the jailbreak if it (piracy) cannot be resolved”. (Update: A tweet by a member of Evad3rs @pog2g reads that they decided to “remotely disable the default installation of TaiG in China for further investigations on the piracy issue.”)
Evad3rs said the reason why they’d release the jailbreak before Cydia and MobileSubstrate were updated for iOS7 was that they found that Cydia developer SaurikIT, who had been in talks with Chinese companies for potential partnerships too, partnered with a third party and was about to release a jailbreak ahead of Evad3rs.
Which Chinese Companies are Behind?
It turns out that Kuaiyong Apple Assistant, an iOS app download and management service, is the company behind TaiG. It held a press conference this afternoon to announce the launch of it.
It is reported that Kuaiyong is venture backed by Qihoo and Sequoia China. Being the leading security and Internet service provider in China, Qihoo now is also one of the biggest Android app distributors.
Earlier report said that Qihoo also invested in another similar service PP Assistant, whose parent company was recently acquired by UCWeb, the Chinese mobile browser and service provider.
iOS App Distribution is the Next Battlefield for Chinese Internet Companies.
No matter who is backing TaiG or who are the other Chinese companies that were in talks with SaurikIT, Chinese tech industry are not surprised that Chinese companies tried to reach partnership with jailbreaks.
App distribution is the battle Chinese Internet companies, big or small, have been fighting in the last couple of years. Big players, such as Baidu, Qihoo, Tencent and UC Web, have had their own realms when it comes to Android app distribution. Wandoujia is among the few worth-mentioning independent Android app distributors.
Piracy never was a problem or a concern with the dozens of Android app stores in China market, as there was no partnership like this one with Evad3rs is needed on the Android platform. It’s hard to know how TaiG would respond to Evad3rs’ request of removing pirated apps.
91 Wireless, the app distributor Baidu acquired for $1.85 billion earlier this year, started as an iOS app distributor like Kuaiyong. It was full of piracy back then, too. As Android smartphone share grew much faster than that of iPhones’, the company added Android distribution platform then.
UC Web made it clear that the acquisition of Teiron was for iOS App distribution. Since the land-grabbing war on Android app distribution is ending in China, the next battle must be about iOS apps.