Apple iPhone goes on sale in China

2014-01-17 13:16
The latest iPhone has been launched in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

The latest iPhone has been launched in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Shanghai - China Mobile, the country's biggest services provider, on Friday started selling Apple's iPhone to its millions of customers nationwide, ending a six-year wait in a key market for the US technology giant.

The combination of China Mobile's existing base of 760 million customers and its plans to roll out the world's largest 4G (fourth generation) network have the firm and Apple forecasting a fruitful union - after a long engagement.

China Mobile has priced the iPhone 5s roughly the same as competitor China Unicom, while at official Apple stores prices for iPhones compatible with each of the country's networks are identical.

At a China Mobile branch in downtown Shanghai, university student Jiang Yong picked up a silver iPhone 5s he had pre-ordered.

"The price does feel a bit high at first sight but it is the most advanced iPhone so far, equipped with the most up to date network, which is exciting and irresistible," he said.


In the eastern city of Nanjing, more than 200 people lined up at a China Mobile office from early morning to buy iPhones with the queue stretching 40m, according to a micro-blog posting.

Although analysts see China Mobile gaining new customers and Apple adding market share in China's highly competitive smartphone market, they caution that the US company trails South Korea's Samsung as well as Chinese competitors offering cheaper phones.

Samsung commanded more than an 18% share of China's smartphone market as of the third quarter last year, according to Chinese consultancy Analysys International, while Apple sat in eighth place with a 3.5% share.

But Apple cannot afford to ignore the world's most populous country, which Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook has forecast will overtake the US to be the firm's biggest market in future.

The iPhone is already sold through China's two other major telecom firms, 10 Apple stores in mainland China and a new online store on Taobao Mall - the leading business-to-consumer marketplace operated by Alibaba Group.

Smuggled iPhones are also widely available in China, carried back from overseas where they are cheaper, sold openly online and through small electronics shops.

"China Mobile and Apple are newly wedded after six years of courtship," the Chinese firm's chair Xi Guohua told a media briefing in Beijing on Wednesday, according to a statement.


"What this partnership does is, it allows us to take the iPhone to a different level in China, to marry it with the fastest network," Cook told the briefing, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

"I see a huge barrier being removed, because there are lots of people that love China Mobile's network and love iPhones and those two spheres are finally coming together."

The launch of the high-end iPhone 5s and slightly less expensive 5c in September helped propel Apple sales in Greater China - which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan - to a "record" last quarter, Cook said, though he gave no figures.

Apple's iPhones and iPads are popular in China but recent product launches have been calmer than one in early 2012, when customers desperate to get their hands on the iPhone 4s fought with security guards and threw eggs at a Beijing store.
Read more on:    apple  |  china  |  iphone  |  mobile

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.