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Print 22 comment(s) - last by GeorgeOu.. on Nov 6 at 12:30 PM

Sales of the official iPhone in China are far from robust

When the deal with Apple and China Unicom first came to light, many expected big things from the two companies launching the iPhone officially in one of the biggest mobile phone markets in the world. The catch was that the iPhone was already available in China through the grey market.

The grey market iPhones had been in China for about a year when the deal was confirmed for Q4 and offered more features, namely WiFi, than the official iPhone for China that China Unicom was offering. AppleInsider reports that the reception for the official iPhone in China was very subdued. Attendance at iPhone launch parties was good, but sales did not reflect strong demand for the device in China.

According to a report, "At the Apple store in Beijing, the company's only location in China, the crowd seemed less enthusiastic. Employees cheered anyone who came in with chants of 'iPhone! iPhone!' But there were no lines for the stacks of new iPhones."

The iPhone debuted in China officially at 6,999 yuan, equivalent to $1,024 here in America for the iPhone 3GS with no service contract and minus WiFi. WiFi was left out of the official iPhone because the Chinese government had banned the feature in favor of a competing Chinese standard. China Unicom reportedly hopes to have WiFi in its official iPhone next year.

AppleInsider reports in a follow-up that the sales numbers for the iPhone were a mere 5,000 units compared to 1 million users that have signed up to use the company's new 3G network with other devices. The wireless carrier still expects that the iPhone will add to its Q4 profits. Grey market iPhones in Hong Kong sell for about $800 and include WiFi. The deal between Apple and China Unicom reportedly had a minimum order threshold with at least one to two million iPhones ordered per year.



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By Brandon Hill (blog) on 11/3/2009 9:41:18 AM , Rating: 5
1) $1,000
2) No WiFi
3) Cheaper "grey market" iPhone that isn't gimped is available for less and has WiFi.

Yeah, that sounds like a real winner...




By Fracture on 11/3/2009 9:46:04 AM , Rating: 3
A fine example of China's protectionist policies at work. This is how they maintain their comfortable trade surplus with the US.


By carniver on 11/3/2009 12:11:42 PM , Rating: 2
How can China allow WiFi enabled iPhones to be imported when their "jPhone" doesn't support it?


By lightfoot on 11/3/2009 3:59:03 PM , Rating: 2
China doesn't "allow" iPhones to be imported in the same way that the US doesn't "allow" undocumented workers.

It happens outside of the law and the government is virtually powerless (or unwilling) to stop it.


By rudy on 11/3/2009 5:56:00 PM , Rating: 3
Quite often government officials whom are suppose to be stopping it are being bribed to ignore it.


By PandaBear on 11/3/2009 7:07:13 PM , Rating: 2
Smuggling business is huge in China if you know the people and have a triad behind you.


By Motoman on 11/3/2009 4:24:39 PM , Rating: 2
...I'm pretty sure their trade surplus is secure due to their labor costs. If the USA could make consumer goods with labor rates the same as China, we wouldn't buy anything from them.

As it stands, if the iPhone went to China in the same exact form it is in the USA, the fact still remains that virtually no Chinese citizen could afford it. Granted how little they get paid for their labor.


By rudy on 11/3/2009 6:04:14 PM , Rating: 2
That is not the only reason like most things in life the there are many effects. Cost of labor is one but China also has lots of laws and policies that make it easy to put money in the country and nearly impossible to pull it out. They make it easy to invest in Chinese companies but unlikely you will get a ROI while in China.


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 11/3/2009 9:52:16 AM , Rating: 3
I think you left out communism ;)


By michael2k on 11/3/2009 10:17:06 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like Apple wins either way!


By Motoman on 11/3/2009 11:11:44 AM , Rating: 5
...is there a chance that Chinese consumers aren't willing to pay exhorbitant amounts of money for shiny fruit-themed gadgets that lack obvious functionality (like WiFi) the way us 'Murcans are?

How can that be? Haven't they seen the commercials?


By kattanna on 11/3/2009 11:41:48 AM , Rating: 4
http://www.chinasavvy.com/services/china-facts.php

quote:
Average Annual Income The average annual income per capita differs enormously between urban and rural areas. For 2003 the urban figure was RMB 8,472 (US$ 1,058) while the same figure for rural areas was RMB 2,622 (US$ 328)


so.. the phone costs the yearly wages for an average city dweller in china, admittedly in 2003, but still.

i cant imagine WHY its not selling better


Price...HAHAHA
By The0ne on 11/3/2009 1:29:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The iPhone debuted in China officially at 6,999 yuan, equivalent to $1,024


Way too hilarious to even bother to comment. I can see the program manager making 4000yuan jumping on the bandwagon right now. Oh wait, let the factory worker on their $50 monthly income buy it instead.

HAHAHAHAHAH




By GeorgeOu on 11/6/2009 12:30:01 PM , Rating: 2
$1000 is about as much as many people make in a year in the rural areas. They might do double or triple that in the big cities if they have a decent job, but imagine having to spend 3 months salary on a phone.




Isn't it iPhones?
By corduroygt on 11/3/2009 10:29:41 AM , Rating: 1
As in plural? The omission of the s is peculiar since the article is about china, and it's common for the Chinese to omit the plurals when speaking English.

Now please excuse me while I order my chicken fryry.




Who Is John Galt
By hiscross on 11/3/09, Rating: -1
RE: Who Is John Galt
By meepstone on 11/3/2009 12:17:51 PM , Rating: 1
You do realize Congress runs things not the President... Get a grip.


RE: Who Is John Galt
By lightfoot on 11/3/2009 3:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...Congress ruins things...

Fixed.


RE: Who Is John Galt
By hiscross on 11/3/2009 6:52:46 PM , Rating: 2
"You do realize Congress runs things not the President... Get a grip." You have no idea who runs thing, especially this country. Shortly you will.


RE: Who Is John Galt
By aj28 on 11/3/2009 9:08:23 PM , Rating: 1
I hope you feel like the extremist jackass that you are when 2012 rolls around and every one of your predictions about Obama, socialism and all of that bullshit turn out to be completely false.

China's government is teeming with corruption, and it's completely unchecked. If no one else, you and your right-wing lackeys ought to keep ours in line with your guns and your accompanying penchant for irrational violence.


RE: Who Is John Galt
By hiscross on 11/3/2009 9:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
Right wing? Please, let's be clear, I don't give a hoot about politics. Its people who believe politics will make their lives better are the real tragedy. They have lost or given away their ability to Think. Producers are the engine that makes things work. Once the producers stop producing, the non-thinkers will have to produce. It will become clear at the point, they can’t. Once that happens then you will know ‘Who is John Galt”.


"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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