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
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.