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...
12/4/2009 2:36:54 AM
I'm in Taiwan for a 3 week trip, and I would say that my iPhone is still a lot better all the phones the locals are using. I've compared feature sdirectly with people I'm working with. Their phones technically have a lot of features, but they are hard to use, or just plain suck. And they don't have the useful apps - there are a lot of crap apps for the iPhone, but there are a lot of good ones as well. Maybe gthe average Asian phone has more features than the average american phone, but the iPhone holds it own.
RE: Maybe because...
12/4/2009 7:07:26 AM
Completely agreed, I observed the same thing when I was in Tokyo last year.
Lots of features, horrible interfaces, and more focused on form than anything. In a nutshell, phones with many hard to use and poorly implemented features with crap UIs on top in dozens and dozens of colors to mix and match with your clothing, that's my impression of phones in Japan.
"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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
Finished Apple Watch Expected to be Showcased at"Spring Forward" Mar. 9 Event
February 26, 2015, 12:17 PM
Google Preps Pixel 2 ChromeBook, New X Server Replacement "Freon"
February 24, 2015, 11:12 PM
Report: Samsung Semiconductor Bounces Back w/ iPhone SoC and Memory Orders
February 24, 2015, 1:40 PM
Comcast Borrows Apple's Branding Flourishes for Its Remotes
February 24, 2015, 11:32 AM
NVIDIA Bows to Outraged Overclockers, Will Restore Feature in Upcoming Driver
February 23, 2015, 12:30 PM
BlackBerry Wages Legal War Against Ryan Seacrest's Typo 2 iPhone Keyboard
February 18, 2015, 5:24 PM
Most Popular Articles
Outbreak of Deadly Superbug at Californian Hospital Kills 2
February 20, 2015, 2:11 AM
Modern Glass (Windows 7 Aero Glass + Modern UI) Style is Coming to Windows 10
February 19, 2015, 1:05 PM
EDITORIAL: Board Wants to Anoint America World Police w/ Global Warrant Power
February 20, 2015, 9:10 AM
Quick Note: Microsoft Gives Dropbox Users Extra 100 GB of Free OneDrive Storage
February 20, 2015, 9:48 AM
DARPA Awards Boeing Contract to Test Jet Based Satellite Launches
February 19, 2015, 11:30 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
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
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information