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.




User Comments: 24

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slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The Chinese market already has lots of iPhones on the grey market which have wifi. Also nobody is going to pay a relatively extortionate monthly fee for a non-existent 3G network.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

iPhone was the first of its kind a long time ago, and entering it as a new product in a hundred million wide customer service that offers more functions at a lesser price makes it a big waste of money.

We even see the chinesse shock series celulars here in Chile (South America), although they don't have much power they do have tv capabilities, multi sim active at once, a lot of memory storage, and so on which makes this very atractive phones.

elroacho72 said:

That's because China's government made them take out the WiFi element and anything else that would be considered cool, so what's the point in having an iphone if you don't have WiFi. or anything else? Just makes it another phone. I like living in the USA.

buttus said:

I would agree that there have been iPhone knockoffs widely available in China for a long time. More then long enough to take the sheen of the iPhone as an innovative product away. Cost is also a huge stumbling block as Apple refuses to compete on price in any market segment.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

To be fair, these iPhone knockoffs everyone is talking about look pretty bad. LOL. The hardware looks OK, but the software.. Geez.

[link]

PUTALE said:

heheh, it's probably because of a lot knock off version is already tehre .

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

Even tho China has a huge market to get, with all those knockoffs (which are popular) im not suprised business is doing poorly. The economy is bad everywhere, including China, they among many other cant afford the steep overprice of the iphone.

MBK MBK said:

No Wi-Fi? Cheap alternatives (alright, knock-offs, but if they work the same then who cares...)? I'm not surprised the actual things arn't selling.

I'm also quite happy to see Apple taking a kick...I should really hold back on my Apple-hating, cudos to their marketing guy, but I loathe apple fan-boys (and girls).

Shalimar said:

No shock since China now only ahs hacked iphones available for a long time now they have tons of clones etc.. for far less $. I say Google Android 2 FTW and Apple sux.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Doesn't exactly surprise me. The average Chinese citizen most likely can't afford one to begin with, coupled with the fact that there's no Wi-Fi seriously the iPhone over there.

JudaZ said:

what i understand the iPhone wasnt a big hit in asia in general. Maybe because they have far more advanced devices than an iphone, built on old tech.

zaidpirwani said:

China's market is quite big as compared to US or other countries where Iphone is making a killing, but Chinese market is something where people have very low per month salaries and they work all day, so why would one want to spend his savings of the last whole year on a device which doesn't even has Wifi.

Also the Chinese market is filled with Iphone knockoffs and other similar devices which offer similar and sometimes more functionality then the Iphone.

SinOfDeath said:

Im surprised iphones are doing porly, i mean China is basically built AROUNF phones, and i thought the iPhone was for everything!

Puiu Puiu said:

I'm a bit surprised to see the IPhone selling only 5k units in an country that large, even with it doesn't have wifi. It's an apple product we're talking about (not an apple fan). they need a better marketing strategy there. Maybe some new good CM's will boost the sale a bit.

Razerblade said:

The problem is China have a lot of the latest technology so there are other phones which probably match the iPhone and probably cost much less!

waterytowers said:

I think Apple products are a waste of money, and I think Chinese people realise that. Westerners don't seem to understand that a phone should not cost that much! I would rather spend my money on a decent portable laptop. The only thing I like about the iPhone is it is a good photo viewer and I am not going to spend that much money so I can show off my photos.

psycholexx said:

The Cina market is suffocated with local made electronic junk. The Chinese are able to imitate almost any gadget, and sometime the resulted products are in some ways better than the original if you don't mind the crappy finish. Also these chinese clones are a lot cheaper than the originals. That's why Apple can't make a point there...

Guest said:

pointless having WIFI in china since they have adopted a different wireless standard which apple didnt elect to support.

aceofspaids222 said:

Why buy an iPhone when you can get a cheaper knockoff that has more capabilities? It seems pretty pointless to me. Apple might not be able to make a profit there.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

That's what Apple gets for doing business with the pinko's in China in the first place. The Chinese are notorious for counterfeiting electronics and other media, so why buy something 5 times more expensive that looks the same and has less features? Hell, when I lived out there, I had someone trying to sell me an iPod or iPhone on almost every corner. It's almost like going to Washington, D.C. and having someone try to sell you a "Rollex" (Rolex) watch.You have to fight them off with a stick.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

so why buy something 5 times more expensive that looks the same and has less features?.

I think you missed my link.

[link]

:-)

alexandrionel said:

My guess would be that they can't afford it. That s**t is expensive.

frienley said:

iPhone is more expensive in China than in the USA.If they cooperated with china mobile,maybe they will have better sales.

Guest said:

Do not buy this product! Caveat Emptor! As a long time Mac user I mistakenly believed that the 3Gs I bought 2 days ago from China Unicom would fulfill all of the Mac promoted functions. It falls far short in many respects. Do not repeat my mistake. Better to consider purchasing from other source with all basic functions included.

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