Bai, the three-months old SNS operated by one of the largest portals Sohu is now available on iPhone (link to App Store). I tried it, not good as Facebook’s iPhone application yet, but it is neat and has all the basic features I need on mobile: life stream, user profile, friends list, message, photo sharing, comments etc. I do like it!

We have spent so much time on the mobile world this week talking about iPhone, still there are some big questions need the answers: Is the contract signed between Apple and China Unicom exclusive or non-exclusive? What does that mean if it’s a non-exclusive one? What’s the price plan? How will China Unicom run the App Store? Well, hope we can find out soon in near future. What drew my attention lately is: how will the Chinese social networks respond to 3G wonderworld. The competition for Chinese SNSs in ‘wired’ network is still tough, but the new battle already started, and now it is on the ‘Wireless’ network, and I do smell it:

Bai is not the first Chinese SNS on iPhone. Xiaonei (now Renren) released its first iPhone application (link to App Store) two months ago. I also talked to its team, and they said its new version had been developed and would be released when the time is ready (I guess they are waiting for the sell of iPhone?). And may I remind you that Xiaonei’s service is rumored to be bundled with Motorola’s Android phone.

Another interesting story I heard is that Sohu is talking to the iPhone’s Jailbreak/Unlock market and wants to pre-install its Bai application into the firmware, i.e. if you get your iPhone jailbreak/unlocked in street shop, you will be lucky to have Bai installed too. It might be just a joke, but quite a good idea, isn’t?

So where is Kaixin001, QZone (by QQ), Taojianghui (by Taobao) and many other SNSs? I am sure that they are all thirsty for the mobile market. If Chinese version of App Store is up, which one do you think will Apple or China Unicom feature it?

The new battle for Chinese SNSs is on, even if it is not, but it will be in very near future, and definitely it will be on Mobile!

Dr. Gang Lu - Founder of TechNode. He's a Blogger, a Geek, a PhD and a Speaker, with passion in Tech, Internet and R'N'R. More by Gang Lu

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17 Comments

  1. Apple has confirmed that the deal with China Unicom is non-exclusive. Apple and China Mobile have re-engaged in talks. All Things D has a post on this > http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20090901/app…Netease claims to have a source who has seen the China iPhone prototype (likely model A1324). This source says that this iPhone has a disabled WiFi chip however it can be reactivated (enabled) via a software hack http://is.gd/2KXRv China Unicom denies this reports and says that WiFi has been hardware disabled on the iPhone. I think it is important to note that there are two iPhones in the works for China Unicom -Model A1324 – based on iPhone 3G likely with WAPI – network access license issuedModel A1325 – based on iPhone 3GS likely with WAPI/WiFi stack – network access license pending successful CTTL tests. Bottom line … it is likely that the iPhone (at least one model) for China will have WiFi without the need for a hack.Regarding rate plans, subsidies and control of the App Store in China. This is still closely held information. I wrote a post on Sunday that discuss this >http://iphonasia.com/?p=6387

  2. Just my guess that 2G (EDGE) might be the right fit for Apple and China Mobile. In my opinion, the only way Apple would consider a TDSCDMA 3G iPhone is if China Mobile would agree to a truly massive pre-purchase. More than 5 million units. I believe China Mobile is planning to move to TD LTE 4G as soon as possible (no later than 2011). TDSCDMA acceptance has also been tepid. Hence it would be risky for Apple to build a TDSCDMA iPhone without a major pre-order guaranteed. Given China Mobile's move with OPhones, I don't think they would give Apple a 5 million + preorder. But they might be interested in a 2G model. IMO Apple is more comfortable with EDGE 2G than with TDSCDMA. Apple would likely be more comfortable with TD LTE 4G but that's a few years down the road.Another notion is Apple launching iTablet device supporting China Mobile's TD LTE 4G … again a few years away.

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