Flipboard Relaunches in China, Anxious for International Growth

Back in May, Flipboard, a social magazine application for iPads, was banned in China but the tables have since turned.  Today, a blog post on Flipboard’s site stated that the app is once again available in the iTunes China App Store.

“Starting today, Chinese readers get their very own edition of Flipboard. It’s the first international edition of Flipboard to launch, and it’s in collaboration with Sina, China’s largest Web portal and owner of Sina Weibo (新浪微博), and Renren (人人网), one of China’s most popular social networks.”

“Of course, you can already search for and add content in any language to Flipboard. What’s different about the Chinese edition is the fact that the entire Flipboard experience is in the local language, including a curated Content Guide with regionally-relevant content and the inclusion of popular local social networks Sina Weibo and Renren.”

“Flipboard’s Chinese edition is free and only available in theiTunes China App Store. Once you’ve installed it, tap on the red ribbon to connect to your Weibo, Renren, LinkedIn, Google Reader and Instagram accounts to it, and begin customizing your Flipboard with your favorite sources. Go deeper into the Content Guide for recommendations of some of the best Chinese news, business, tech, design, photography, entertainment and fashion feeds, picked by local curators.”

Mike McCue, Flipboard’s chief executive, said that China was chosen to launch their first international edition because they saw “a unique opportunity to create an amazing experience with Sina and Renren.”  That China has the second largest Apple App Store in the world, and the fastest growing market for the iPad, were also important factors considered in the international launch.

Digital publishing on the move

Apps akin to Flipboard are also making waves.  Pulse, the free news reading app that originally launched on iPhones and iPads, spread the love to Android tablets as the Kindle Fire launched bundled with the Pulse app.

“Our servers are definitely getting strained (by Kindle Fire users) but we’re very pleased with the way things are going so far,” said Akshay Kothari, co-founder of Pulse.

Zite, a personalized magazine app, challenges Flipboard by learning your behavior for better content recommendations.  It works by taking note of your interests and then filters the articles, bringing only the things that interests you.

While Evri, another news app contender, takes on both Flipboard and Zite, as it broadens your reading choice with related articles.  It also has a fresh user interface that looks more like a scrapbook than a traditional magazine or newspaper.  The only downside to this app is that it doesn’t automatically update.

And Zinio, the digital magazine app for all devices, recently raised $20 million in a round of funding though no details were released as to who led the funding.  The app was also made available to the Kindle Fire when it launched in the market.  And the latest update for Zinio is the automatic download.  The update eliminates manually downloading your subscriptions as long as you are connected to a Wi-Fi network and the app is running.  Also, bookmarking across multiple devices is now possible on iOS devices via the iCloud.