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China finally overtakes U.S. in iPhone sales, Chinese revenue up 71%

Hangzhou Opens Second Apple Store

Pundits have been predicting for several successive quarters that iPhone sales in China would outstrip those in the U.S., and Q2 2015 was when it finally happened, reports Reuters.

Apple […] sold more iPhones in China than the United States for the first time […] increasing its revenue in the country 71 percent to $16.8 billion, although that was helped by gift-buying for Chinese New Year.

Tim Cook said that the iPhone was responsible for the bulk of Apple’s revenue in China, though he did also note that Mac sales were “unbelievable,” up 31% year-on-year. As with other markets, the iPhone is usually the first Apple product people buy, but that brings them into the ecosystem and boosts sales of other products … 

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Apple’s market share in China started climbing even before China Mobile deal; Russian sales double

Photo: readwrite.com

Photo: readwrite.com

While smartphone growth is slowing in China, Apple managed to increase its market share from 6 to 7 percent in the final quarter of 2013, even before the China Mobile deal was struck. IDC figures reported by the WSJ show that Apple is now the fifth largest smartphone seller in the country, behind Samsung, Lenovo, Coolpad and Huawei. Xiaomi sits just behind Apple at 6 percent.

Apple’s share is likely to increase significantly in the current quarter, thanks to finally being sold through China’s largest carrier, China Mobile. The carrier has more than 760M subscribers, and analysts have estimated that the deal will generate between 15M and 30M additional iPhone sales in the course of 2014.

iPhone sales in Russia, meantime, doubled to 1.57M units with a total value of $1B, reports Bloomberg. Apple had struggled to persuade Russian carriers to sell the iPhone due to its high price and laws that forbid carriers from discounting up-front prices in return for signing up to lengthy contracts. After selling through electronics stores, however, three Russian carriers resumed selling iPhones within the past few months.

The so-called BRIC markets – Brazil, Russia, India and China – are of huge importance to Apple now that the U.S. and Europe have reached saturation point. While Apple will never compete in market share with the low-end Android handsets available in these markets, there is still significant growth potential at the high end. In an earlier WSJ interview, Tim Cook said:

I look at the mobile phone market as having three kinds of phones: feature phones, smartphones that function as or are used as feature phones, and real smartphones. I do care about the market share of the last category and you want to be relevant.

The importance of the BRIC markets was illustrated when it was revealed that Apple’s Asian sales had outstripped those of Europe even by Q1 of last year. Next quarter’s China numbers are going to make very interesting reading.

China Mobile iPhone launch could lead to subsidy wars, say analysts

Image: thenextweb.com

Image: thenextweb.com

Analysts say that the official launch of the iPhone on China Mobile could lead to subsidy wars as Chinese carriers compete to attract buyers. The predictions, quoted by Business Insider, follow price cuts by rival carriers China Unicom and China Telecom as China Mobile reports 1.2 million pre-orders.

China Mobile is currently offering the iPhone 5s free with a 24-month contract costing the equivalent of $98 a month. A 30-month contract on China Unicom costs $63 a month.

I do think you’re going to see a subsidy war coming,” said Michael Clendenin, managing director of Shanghai-based RedTech Advisors. “China Mobile, if they’re not making their targets on sales for these phones, they’re going to increase the subsidies […] It’s like airlines: the other guys will fall like dominoes, so China Unicom will do it and China Telecom will do it” … 

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In rare TV interview, Tim Cook says he is ‘honored’ to be doing business with China Mobile

In a rare TV interview, Tim Cook described this week’s launch of the iPhone on China Mobile as “a watershed day” for the company. While the soft-spoken Apple CEO is noted for the humbleness with which he speaks, it’s hard to imagine him describing Apple as being “honored” to do business with many other companies.

I’m so honored to be doing business with … China Mobile. It’s a huge announcement…we’re incredibly impressed with them, we have deep respect for them, and have had from the very first discussion that we’ve had together” … 

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AAPL stock more than 3 percent up on China Mobile news

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After the fall in Apple’s stock value when the China Mobile failed to materialise as expected on 18th December, yesterday’s news that the deal had finally been concluded sent the stock shooting back up again, having climbed more than 3 percent at the time of writing (it was up 4% in pre-market trading but has settled).

With the WSJ having reported that 18th December was the day, the market was clearly jittery when nothing materialized. Everything had appeared to be in place: regulatory approval, Apple putting the handsets on sale in China on the opening weekend, China Mobile posters, a pre-order website, in-store displays – and 4G service up-and-running on schedule … 

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China Mobile subsidiary briefly accepting pre-orders for iPhones in possible soft launch

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With the iPhone launch on the biggest carrier in the world’s most populated market confirmed for 18th DecemberFortune spotted what appears to have been a soft launch in the city of Suzhou. The city is one of the richest in China, so would be a logical place for an early launch.

The attached screen grab comes from a website owned by a subsidiary of China Mobile Limited in Suzhou, a city of 5 million just west of Shanghai.

The site went live late Monday local time, when it began taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C … 

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China Mobile launch for iPhone as good as confirmed for 18th December [Update: It’s official]

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Image: appadvice.com

Update: The Chinese government has now confirmed this date.

The iPhone looks set to be launched by China Mobile – the biggest carrier in the world’s biggest country – on Wednesday 18th December, reports the WSJ. While neither the carrier nor Apple have made a definitive announcement, China Mobile has said this is the date it will “introduce a new brand.”

The launch is expected during the company’s 4G global partners conference in Guangzhou, according to China Mobile’s website. An executive at the world’s largest mobile operator has said it is ready to start fourth-generation mobile services, though China has yet to issue 4G licenses. In September, China’s Telecom Equipment Certification Center gave Apple Inc.the final license necessary for the iPhone to run on China Mobile’s network … 

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Tim Cook forges closer ties to China by joining board of prestigious Beijing university

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In a move likely aimed at fostering high-level networking opportunities in China, Apple CEO Tim Cook has joined the advisory board of Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management (SEM), according to its website (via TechCrunch).

The board includes several key politicians, including Wang Qishan, the Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist party’s anti-corruption body; Chen Yuan, the Vice Chairperson of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC); Ma Kai, one of China’s fourth vice premiers; and Zhou Xiaochuan, the Vice Chairman of the 12th National Committee of the CPPCC.

Tim Cook has described China as a “hyper-market” for Apple, with the iPhone 5c reportedly developed largely with developing markets like China in mind, and the gold model of the iPhone 5s designed in part to appeal to Chinese buyers.

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$0 down on both 5c and 5s in China, but high monthly cost and 3-year lock-in

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TechInAsia reports that Chinese buyers are buying from China Unicom rather than Apple as the carrier offers both iPhone 5c and 5s with no up-front cost.

The catch? Monthly costs higher than in the USA, and contracts that run for either 30 or 36 months. Those monthly costs are massive in a country where the average monthly salary is around $800, and a 36-month contract means that buying an iPhone 5c or 5s today will see you sitting out the iPhone 6 and 6s/c/whoknowswhat.

It’s estimated that China already had 42M iPhone users before the launch of the new phones, and before they were officially supported by any of the local carriers.

Full comparison of U.S. and China Unicom costs below … 

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China Mobile already has 42M iPhone users ahead of anticipated Apple deal, says Chinese tech site

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Image: Forbes.com

There were already 42M iPhones in use on China Mobile‘s network even before Apple’s anticipated deal with the carrier to offer the handset officially, claims Chinese site SinaTech.

Up to now, China Mobile iPhone users in the network has reached 42 million, which has exceeded the U.S. AT & T and Verizon combined sales of the two operators …

42 million is a huge number, especially when you consider that none of them were subsidised: all had to have been purchased at full price. If true, you can see why the potential for subsidised handsets in China is massive … 

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Survey suggests iPhone 5C could make Apple the top-seller in the world’s largest market – China

alphawise

If the iPhone 5C is launched in China at $400, and Apple’s partnership with China Mobile for a TDD-LTE version of the handset proceeds as expected, Apple’s market share in China could jump by a massive 19.3 percent – enough to make Apple the number one seller.

The prediction, reported in Fortune, was made by Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty on the back of an AlphaWise survey of 2,000 mobile phone owners in China. Full details below … 

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Apple under fire again from Chinese government – this time it’s a porn investigation

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Photo: tabtimes.com

Apple’s rather bumpy ride in China continues with the state-run People’s Daily including the company’s App Store in a list of online stores and websites investigated for ‘providing pornographic content’ in China.

It’s an ironic charge for a company with a well-known opposition to pornography. Apple does not allow pornographic content in its App Store, and has a record of removing apps which are found to be in breach of this term …



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