iPhone iPhlops: 5 Sales in China

By Published December 05, 2009 at 10:40 am

You didn't read that wrong: the iPhone's launch in China faces criticism for selling an amount to be counted on one hand.

Apple released the iPhone to the world's largest concentration of people: China. To say the phone flopped is an understatement though.

China's buying power is unlimited, with so many people and an expanding market, it's nearly impossible to have a product that fails entirely. In the time since the iPhone's release in China, carrier of the phone China Unicom has tried to defend poor sales. China Unicom sold 5,000 handsets in the phone's first days, substantially less than sales in the UK, US, France, and Germany.

If you want to get the phone in China, it can be had at 6,999 Yuan ($1,024) before contract. Hong Kong's grey market is disposing of the phone for $800, still a solid hit to anyone's bank. Sales were hamstrung by the lack of Wi-Fi on the iPhone, as per China's ban on the standard.  

Apple's epic failure is grounded in the sales figures released by Taobao.com, China's leading e-tailer and only distributor next to China Unicom.  According to IDG News Service, since the phone launched on the site on November 22, only two 8GB models were sold, three 16GB models, and no 32GB versions of the phone. For a country so tech-hungry with over 1 billion residents, the nation's largest e-tailer sold 5 iPhones.

IDG says difficults can be blamed on the lack of Wi-Fi and the app store, which appeals to a small audience given the population's reluctancy to use credit cards in small transactions via mobile phone, as noted by Analysys International.  China Unicom hasn't given up yet, though. 3G services went live last month with around 1 million subscribers. China Unicom hopes that the iPhone leads over 1 million new subscribers per month to next-gen service.  They aim for 10% of its 3G subscriptions to be iPhone within 3 years from now.

In other news, South Korea's iPhone launch saw as much as 60,000 online orders, a staggering success against China's 5 sales.


Last modified on December 05, 2009 at 10:40 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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