China (as well as neighboring Taiwan) may have emerged as the world’s most preferred manufacturing zone, though ironically not all of what they produce end up being seen on the domestic markets. Take the instance of Kindle which has a store presence in most regions of the world but that’s not applicable for the world’s most populous country. The Kindle remains off bound for the average Chinese in spite of the device having a dedicated fan following in that country. Kindle devices too are sold in droves though via the back door which presents the problem of there being not enough content in native language.
There is nothing to despair though as a Chinese startup has come up with just the right solution in the form of iKindle. It is a subscriptions based service which will enable Kindle users in China to subscribe to a number of Chinese language publications. On offer are a few publications such as The Financial Times and a few online news sources which, it must be said are technology oriented. Rates too are extremely pocket friendly and begins with a free plans which will allow subscribing to two news sources. The first slab thereafter comprise of a 3 RMB ($0.47) a month plan which offers subscription to 4 news sources. For 4 RMB ($0.63) a month, users will be able to subscribe to 6 news sources while there also is an unlimited subscriptions plan that costs 6 RMB ($0.95) per month.
The costs are low though that also leads to something that is as important as the need for easy availability of quality content in Chinese language on the Kindle — piracy and legal implications. What is almost a surety is that the iKindle team in very unlikely to be paying anything to those from whom the content is being drawn while iKindle itself is selling the stuff for a price. What should also irk the news providers is that iKindle subscribers won’t be visiting the original site anymore once users start getting all the news they want via iKindle itself, which in turn means substantial loss in advertisement revenue for the websites. This unless iKindle has forged partnerships with the sources from which it draws its news from. In fact, the naming convention itself is too Apple like what with the ‘i’ prefix.
These apart, the iKindle is quite easy to set up on Kindle devices sold in the gray markets in China. What also can be said is that iKindle has come to fill a void created by Amazon and will remain relevant until Amazon launches its own Kindle Store in that country. Also, even with a Chinese Kindle Store, prices are not likely to be as low as iKindle is charging. What remains to be seen if iKindle remains in vogue long enough.