iPhones are coming to China Mobile. On January 17,2013, China Mobile publicly announced that it would carry Apple’s iPhone products. Being that China has the greatest population in the world, this is going to bring Apple a lot of business.
Timothy D. Cook, top executive, said that the deal is very important to the business and presents a big opportunity. Cook stated that Apple would struggle to acquire the same kind of attention iPhones get in America in China. Google’s Android system is much more popular in China than anything else, opposed to Apple’s dominating operating system in America. The leading reason that the Android operating system is so popular is its relatively cheap price.
Some Android cell phones are available for less than $100 in China, while a new iPhone 5C runs at about $740. Apple will be releasing their China Mobile iPhone prices on a later date once iPhones come to China Mobile.
Another reason Androids seem to be more prominent in China than iPhones is that there are a lot more applications available for the operating system. Although the Google Play store is not used in China, there are many other options for collecting these apps.
Some analysts say that Apple could sell upwards of 30 million phones in 2014 alone. Others are not so sure.
Toni Sacconaghi, analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein Research, believes Apple will only sell about half that number. Last year, Apple sold around 23 million iPhones through other network providers.
Apple has had China Mobile’s attention for only a short while. Once China Mobile saw customers turn away time and time again for a network provider that carried iPhones, they were a bit keener on partnering with Apple. Both China Unicom and China Telecom, much smaller than China Mobile, have had long-term agreements with Apple.
On the other hand, Apple had been anticipating this for some time. Knowing that China Mobile is the biggest mobile phone network provider in China, Apple’s intrigue was not recently sparked.
Experts anticipate the majority of the smartphone expansion in China to appear at the lower side of the market, as the cellphones become more available to consumers with lower-incomes in rural areas and smaller cities. Consumers are expected to be more interested in the lower-cost smartphones.
Analysts were surprised with Apple’s strategic pricing when the iPhone 5C was released. The iPhone 5C costs less than its counterpart iPhone 5S, and had fewer features, even though the two were introduced at the same time. Apple was expected to appeal to their Chinese customers with a less expensive product, but the company introduced the 5C at a higher level then anticipated.
Analysts report Apple may have to reduce the price, or replace the phone with another model that is less expensive if it wants to expand it market in China.
The partnership between Apple and China Mobile has been anticipated for quite some time and eager customers are already lining up for the iPhone. The lines are growing longer as customer flock to get on board because iPhones are coming to China Mobile.
By Deborah Baran