There is a huge appetite for mobile phones in a country which reportedly boasts over 600 million mobile subscribers. China is widely regarded the world’s biggest market for counterfeit and unlocked iPhones.
China Mobile plans to build its 3G infrastructure on the homegrown TD-SCDMA standard, which is incompatible with iPhone’s 3G WCDMA standard. In the meantime, smuggled and unlocked iPhones have been selling fast in China. AFP reported that at least half a million iPhones or “nearly a tenth of the phone’s global shipments of 5.2 million from June 2007 through March 2008″ were sold in China. On the other hand, as many as 40 percent of all counterfeited and unlocked iPhones are located in China. Possibly by now, over one million iPhones are already in use in China, but more conservative figures place that number to 800,000.
China Mobile and Apple have already been negotiating for a year now. “Steve Jobs and I hope the iPhone will enter China as soon as possible,” said Wang Jianzhou, China Mobile’s CEO, on the sidelines of the ITU Telecom Asia 2008 exhibition in Bangkok Tuesday. “We are discussing this issue but we do not have an agreement.”
Even when Apple does officially start selling the iPhone in China, the black market alternative might be more attractive.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has asked Apple to de-activate the wireless Internet function on all handsets it sells in China, BDA said.
The longer the delays, the more the black market eats away at the high-end customers Apple needs.
Apple also has to fend off Chinese iPhone clones, such as Meizu Technology Co's M8 MiniOne device. The Guangdong-based company exhibited the 200 dollar iPhone look-alike at Germany's CeBit fair in Hanover -- until it was confiscated.
Apple, china, iPhone, News
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Posted by Baktou at 11:09 AM