China Mobile sold over 1M iPhones last month, chairman non-committal about the numbers

A man holds a new Apple iPhone 5S next to his iPhone 5 at an Apple Store at Tokyo's Ginza shopping district


China Mobile announced that it sold 1.34M 4G handsets in February and that “most of them” were iPhones. China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua was relatively non-committal on the numbers.

It’s just been getting started for one or two months. So far it’s hard to tell how that will affect our business […]

We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities.

Analyst estimates of likely sales had varied widely. Most had predicted at least 15-17M sales a year in China as a whole, however, suggesting that 1M in a month on what is by far the country’s largest carrier may be somewhat lower than anticipated … 

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There was, however, no reaction from the market in pre-market trading in AAPL, the 0.27 percent dip in the stock price well within normal variation.

China Mobile reported its first annual drop in profits in 14 years, which has been attributed to a mix of infrastructure investment in 4G, loss of SMS revenue from other messaging services and handset subsidies to meet fierce price competition from other outlets. The company is hoping that data revenues from iPhone users will help drive profitability through the year.

Analytics data suggests that the iPhone 5S has around a 12 percent share of iOS devices in China, while the 5c has just two percent – older iPhones and iPads making up the balance.

Morgan Stanley yesterday said that it expected Apple to announce worldwide Q2 sales of 42M, a 4.5M year-on-year rise.

Via the WSJ and Reuters

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  1. themis333 - 9 years ago

    Reblogged this on Taste of Apple and commented:
    Interesting considering the interest in getting iPhone on their network.

  2. Jan Souček (@jansoucek) - 9 years ago

    Ok, so out of 1.34M sold smartphones over 1M were iPhones and Apple’s stock is the one which takes the dip? Just because it was lower number than expected by some “Apple analysts”? We all know how wrong these analysts are in 95/100 cases… What is wrong with these wall street people?

  3. Drew Bear - 9 years ago

    4G is available in relatively few cities right now. IIRC China Mobile plans to increase availability to 300 cities by the end of 2014. It’s foolish to conclude that iPhone sales will continue at 1 million/month as network availability grows. The iPhone 6 later this year will definitely goose sales for the final months of ’14.

    Also remember that the iPhone also works on 3G. It’s not clear whether they’re only talking about 4G handsets activated on their 4G network. Much can be lost in translation.

    The main conclusion from this announcement is that the iPhone is trouncing the 4G/LTE (mostly high-end devices?) phone competition.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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