Bloomberg News

Hutchison Says Apple’s Siri Boosts Usage Even Without Chinese

January 12, 2012

Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings Ltd. said Apple Inc.’s Siri technology has helped boost data usage among subscribers, even before the rollout of a Chinese-language version of the voice-recognition software.

“You can’t give commands in Chinese at the moment, so the user experience with Siri is not 100 percent,” Amy Lung, chief operating officer at Hutchison’s mobile division, said at a briefing in Hong Kong yesterday. She said she couldn’t specify the increase in data usage due to the voice technology.

Siri, introduced by Apple in October, has prompted owners of the iPhone 4S to use almost twice as much data compared with the handset’s predecessor, according to network firm Arieso. The software allows iPhone users to schedule appointments, write text messages, and check the weather with voice commands.

“There is some impact, but not as significant as in some European markets,” Lung said.

Siri supports English, French and German, and will add languages including Chinese and Japanese this year, according to Apple’s website. Carolyn Wu, a spokeswoman at Apple in Beijing, declined to elaborate.

Billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison had 3.35 million mobile-phone users in Hong Kong and Macau as of June 30, according to the company’s first-half report in August.

Separately, Hutchison’s partnership with Vodafone Group Plc will help lower mobile roaming costs for users, Lung said. In September, Vodafone and Hutchison agreed to work jointly on services in Hong Kong, after the British carrier ended a seven- year tie-up with SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Ltd.

--With assistance from Jonathan Browning in London. Editors: Suresh Seshadri, Joshua Fellman

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Lee in Hong Kong at wlee37@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net


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