iPhone doing poorly in China

By Justin Mann on November 3, 2009, 12:18 PM
The iPhone may be a record breaker around the world, but there is at least one region where Apple isn't having stunning successes. One of Apple's newest endeavors, the launch of the iPhone in China through China Unicom, has met with relative failure. Since the official launch of the iPhone in China last week, Unicom has managed to snag only a meager 5,000 sales. For a company with over 140 million customers, that's not even a drop in the bucket.

Concerns over the cost of the iPhone and lack of certain functionality (such as Wi-Fi) were cited as potential reasons. China's largest phone company, China Mobile, relies heavily on people who pre-pay for their phones -- a situation that doesn't mesh well with the iPhone, which requires a constant Internet connection. Inclusion of Wi-Fi down the road might help Unicom out.

Current sales may be low, but prospects and hopes are still high. Both Apple and Unicom expect the current situation to change. Some analysts feel that over the course of the next year, China will account for a massive 15 to 20% of all iPhone shipments, totaling around seven million devices. They'd better hope their first week is a fluke, or I don't see that happening.

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