A newly-launched app of the world’s most used dictionary has aroused disputes among Chinese app users for the price it charges, reports the Beijing Youth Daily.
The app users can look up a Chinese character by its pinyin, the official romanization system for Chinese language, or by its radical or the stroke of the character or the character itself by handwriting, voice and camera. It also features the pronunciation of the characters read by Li Ruiying, a former news presenter of Xinwen Lianbo, the most-watched TV news program in China.
The app has been downloaded numerous times in the four days since its launch on July 11, 2017. However, the rating is just two stars, and the comments from the app users are polarizing.
Many users complain the app only offers free searches for two characters per day, and are also critical of the price charged for more services.
Users need to pay 40 yuan (around 6 US dollars) to get the full edition of the dictionary, higher than its paper edition, which costs 24.9 yuan.
For additional functions such as online learning games, there are payment options ranging from 88 yuan to 488 yuan.
Some have also defended the app.
One user noted that Xinhua Dictionary is his favorite book and has accompanied him since his childhood. “The official app has integrated the paper version with more services. It is worth paying for a masterpiece,” wrote the user.
Others are also calling on those who criticize to abandon their “obsolete” notion of getting things online for free.
“Good services do not always come out for free, and you have to grow up to adapt to that,” one user wrote.
The app’s developer, a firm based in Shanghai, said the price was set by taking the copyright and the developing costs into account.
A director from the Commercial Press, the publisher of the Xinhua Dictionary, noted it’s more than a dictionary. “By updating it in a timely manner and according to the users’ requirements, we hope to make it into a comprehensive learning tool,” said the director.
However, the complaints have prompted changes. The developer has announced that it had suspended the payment options higher than 100 yuan. However, future value-added services may require additional payments, said the developer.
The app’s developer is also fixing certain bugs in the programming. A new version is due out within days.
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