If you’re a telecoms or online firm that’s been itching to invest in China, now’s your chance – as long as you’re happy to set up shop in the new Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ), a kind of sandbox lab for Chinese market liberalization. On Tuesday state-owned outlets CRI and Xinhua reported that foreign investors will be able to own up to 55 percent of the e-commerce operations of “data-processing companies”, and as much as they like of app store, home internet access and “multi-party communications” companies. Most services can be offered country-wide, though foreign-owned ISPs will only be allowed to operate in the FTZ for now.
The British carrier EE, which got a headstart on its rivals in offering high-speed 4G/LTE mobile broadband, said on Tuesday that it now has over 2 million 4G subscribers. What’s more, takeup seems to be accelerating – it took 10 months to score a million, and only 4 months to score the second million – and EE claimed it has the fastest 4G sign-up rate outside South Korea. The company, a joint venture of Deutsche Telekom and Orange, also said its LTE services would cover 70 percent of the UK population by the end of this month.
Mobile shopping app maker inMarket has rolled out Apple’s iBeacon technology in Safeway and Giant Eagle grocery stores, allowing customers with iPhones and other Bluetooth Low Energy smartphones to use their handsets as proximity-based shopping aides as they peruse the produce. The iBeacons detect where a customer is in a particular store, sending them coupons, alerts and other informational and promotional updates based on that location. inMarket is starting in San Francisco, Seattle and Cleveland, but will expand to grocery stores in other cities in the coming weeks. Shopkick announced a similar initiative with Macy’s last year.