Earlier this month Tech in Asia looked at KuaiYong, a rogue app store that allows iPhone and iPad users to install pirated apps without needing a jailbreak. Far from being shut down by Apple, the KuaiYong team has announced that it’s going global and will soon launch its knock-off iTunes replacement app in English.
We contacted KuaiYong both via email and their Sina Weibo page last week, and have yet to receive a response.
KuaiYong’s announcement also spells out its raison d’etre, saying that with its PC app it’s trying to solve the issue of many people, especially in China, being “not very familiar with the iTunes system and how to effectively manage it.” Without saying the word “piracy” at any point, the team adds:
In order for Chinese Apple fans to download applications securely, KuaiYong developed its own method of giving users access to thousands of free apps without having to jailbreak their devices. KuaiYong offers detailed descriptions of apps, free app download trial, iOS device management, and visual and audio file backup system. iOS system backup and recovery features will also be released in the very near future.
Our goal has always been about bringing Chinese Apple users with quick, convenient and pleasant iOS experience. Since the introduce of KuaiYong, the proportion of jailbreak in China has declined dramatically from 60 percent to around 30 percent. KuaiYong will hold on to this goal in the future and we would like to see more support for Apple as well as KuaiYong.
Of course, that decline in jailbreaking is not entirely down to KuaiYong. Perhaps more consumers in China are purchasing apps legitimately, and the increasing difficulty in finding iOS 6.0 jailbreaks is pushing people away from a jailbreak as an option. Maybe some of those are sick of not being able to customize their phones and have switched to Android. It’s hard to tell.
Whatever the reason, KuaiYong is intent on taking its piracy-oriented app worldwide, setting itself up for an inevitable clash, at some point, with Apple.
The iTunes App store supports payments in the local currency in China, and makes it easy to do so by supporting an array of local bank cards. If someone doesn’t fancy using the iTunes app on their PC, they could still use a replacement syncing app — such as Tencent’s ‘App Assistant for iPhone’ — and continue to purchase paid iOS apps on their phone. So KuaiYong is trying to legitimize itself by appearing to be solving a major problem, when there are already a number of adequate solutions out there already.