An Epic Fail: Only 5 iPhones Sold in Two Weeks by China's Largest E-Tailer
December 3, 2009 1:45 PM
comment(s) - last by
China Unicom's e-commerce partner Taobao.com has only been able to sell 5 iPhones since launch.
(Source: China Unicom)
To say that the iPhone is a flop in China is to put it mildly
China is arguably the world's biggest potential electronics market. If you can make a product that's a big hit with Chinese consumers it's almost as big a deal as a hit product in the U.S. -- and China's buying power is expected to only grow even more in the near future. Thus optimism was high when the
iPhone finally launched in China
However, in the time since, the iPhone has proved an epic flop in China even as Chinese telecoms try to defend their weak sales. China Unicom, the phone's carrier
only managed to sell 5,000 handsets
in the phone's first few days, far less than at equivalent launches in the U.S., UK, France, and Germany. While the telecom says it is satisfied with the phone's sales performance, the numbers are disappointing for a phone that has burned up international sales charts.
One major problem is price. The phone is available in China for 6,999 yuan, or $1,024 without a contract, but can be purchased much cheaper in Hong Kong's so-called "grey market". The grey market cost in Hong Kong is approximately $800. Sales were also hindered by the
exclusion of Wi-Fi from the phone
, following China's ban on the standard, which it was trying to replace with its own standard. Since May China has begun reallowing Wi-Fi, but new Wi-Fi-ready models still aren't available yet in China.
The epic failure of the phone in terms of sales is epitomized by the
sales figures just released
by Taobao.com, the nation's leading e-tailer and only firm besides China Unicom authorized to sell iPhones inside China. According to
IDG News Service
, since the phone launched on the site on November 22, only two 8 GB models were sold, three 16 GB, and no 32 GB models. That's right -- in an increasingly prosperous and tech-hungry nation of over 1 billion, the country's largest E-Tailer has only been able to sell
In its report
says that difficulties with the app store may also be partially to blame for the phone's dismal sales. Explains the report, "Credit cards are increasingly common in China, but their holders rarely use them to make small payments via mobile phone, local consultancy Analysys International said in a research note. Credit card penetration also remains low among young people of the sort that would like the App Store, it said. Many Chinese make payments via mobile phone but do so with prepaid cards sold by local carriers. The App Store will need to add new payment options and more localized content to win more users in China."
China Unicom still hasn't given up on the struggling phone. The company just launched 3G services last month and currently has around 1 million total subscribers. The company hopes that the iPhone will help drive over
1 million new subscribers per month
to the next-generation network service. Currently the company has over 150 million subscribers on its older networks. The company is aiming for 10 percent of its 3G subscriptions to be iPhones by three years from now.
In South Korea the iPhone enjoyed a much more enthusiastic launch last week with 60,000 online orders. That number looks especially pretty when compared to the Chinese total of 5 orders.
Earlier this year, before the launch of the phone, the iPhone made headlines in China for a far different reason. An employee at Foxconn, a hardware partner of Apple's, reportedly was
beaten and tormented
by company security officers after loosing a prototype of a next-generation iPhone. After the ordeal the employee committed suicide. The company has since
paid the family of the victim $52,000
and dismissed several employees.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Maybe because...
12/3/2009 3:25:01 PM
Or maybe they're more intelligent than the average American?
Hong Kong ranks #1, and China ranks quite a bit higher than America.
RE: Maybe because...
12/3/2009 10:23:05 PM
I wonder if Hong Kong's rank in intelligence has any relation to it's #1 rank in economic freedom? Hmmm...
RE: Maybe because...
12/8/2009 8:13:31 PM
Yes, #1 in economic freedom even though the government technically owns all land, they have universal healthcare that is highly regulated, and they have only public universities
Maybe it has more to do with the fact that small differences in IQ have more to do with random variation and test-retest reliability than anything else
RE: Maybe because...
12/6/2009 3:34:57 PM
Get your wang out of my face.
"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
China Unicom Sold 5,000 iPhones Since Launch
November 3, 2009, 9:39 AM
China Unicom Confirms iPhone Deal for Q4
August 28, 2009, 12:03 PM
China Unicom Getting iPhone Minus WiFi Functionality
July 31, 2009, 12:16 PM
Foxconn Pays iPhone Suicide Victim's Family $52,000
July 28, 2009, 2:18 PM
Update: Chinese Worker Commits Suicide After iPhone Prototype Disappears
July 21, 2009, 2:39 PM
Verizon Wireless Unlimited LTE Customers Rejoice; Throttling Campaign Canceled
October 1, 2014, 4:57 PM
Quick Note: Apple's iPhone 6 Billboards are Ironically Bent
October 1, 2014, 4:55 PM
Now Verizon Wireless is Jumping on the "Double Data" Bandwagon
October 1, 2014, 2:50 PM
Sprint Counters AT&T’s Double Data Promotion, Offers Even Larger Data Pools
October 1, 2014, 1:38 PM
Report: Microsoft’s Lumia 530 to Hit T-Mobile This Month for $69 Off-contract
October 1, 2014, 9:10 AM
Quick Note: Pebble, Pebble Steel Smartwatches Reduced to $99, $199 Respectively
September 30, 2014, 3:59 PM
Most Popular Articles
New AT&T Mobile Share Value "Double Data" Promotion Lasts Through October
September 28, 2014, 8:32 AM
Update: Apple Releases iOS 8.0.2 Update to Make Up for Botched 8.0.1 Release
September 25, 2014, 8:19 PM
Appalling Negligence: Decade-Old Windows XPe Holes Led to Home Depot Hack
September 8, 2014, 8:58 PM
TiVo Mega Features 24TB of Storage, Can Record Three Years* Worth of TV Content
September 8, 2014, 8:45 AM
FBI Outraged That Apple, Google are Adopting Digital "Locks" to Protect Users
September 26, 2014, 1:00 PM
Latest Blog Posts
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information