China's largest e-commerce site sells 5 iPhones in 2 weeks

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 2014
Just five official China Unicom iPhones have been reported sold through Taobao.com, the eBay of China, in its first two weeks of availability on the Web site.



According to IDG News Service, the site has sold just two of the 8GB iPhone 3G, and three of the 16 GB iPhone 3GS. It does not mention any sales of the 32GB iPhone 3GS.



China Unicom opened its official iPhone store on Taobao.com on Nov. 22. It is the only Web site, aside form the official China Unicom one, where customers can buy official handsets. All purchases are said to be activated before they are shipped.



When the iPhone launched on China Unicom in early November, it sold just 5,000 handsets in its first few days. However, the wireless carrier has said it is satisfied with the device's performance thus far.



The biggest issue for official iPhones in China is said to be the nation's gray market. While the high-end iPhone 3GS carries a relatively high price of 6,999 yuan, or $1,024, without a contract, the same handset can be purchased on the gray market in Hong Kong for about $800.



The level of enthusiasm in the nation of over one billion has also been restrained by the lack of Wi-Fi in the official China Unicom iPhone. The feature was left out because the Chinese government temporarily banned the wireless standard in favor of a rival Chinese offering. The ban was relaxed in May, after manufacturing of the phone began, and China Unicom officials expect to have a new Wi-Fi-equipped phone available soon.



Difficulty using the App Store may also play a part, IDG News Service added.



"Credit cards are increasingly common in China, but their holders rarely use them to make small payments via mobile phone, local consultancy Analysys International said in a research note," the report said. "Credit card penetration also remains low among young people of the sort that would like the App Store, it said. Many Chinese make payments via mobile phone but do so with prepaid cards sold by local carriers. The App Store will need to add new payment options and more localized content to win more users in China."



In contrast, since the iPhone launched in South Korea last week, it has reportedly sold more than 60,000 through online orders.



Despite its slow start, China Unicom officials have said they expect 10 percent of 3G users on its network to be using the iPhone within three years. The company's chairman has also predicted that Apple's handset will become the best-selling smartphone in all of China.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 76
    Yeah... Thanx to the outrageous price and the lack of wifi
  • Reply 2 of 76
    And the recent relaxation of the WiFi ban, which means everyone knows the next update will have it.
  • Reply 3 of 76
    WOW, they are really flying off the shelves!



    Read an interesting article yesterday about Apple underestimating Chinese customers' preferences and thus being the reason for complete failure in the market
  • Reply 4 of 76
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,720member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post


    Yeah... Thanx to the outrageous price and the lack of wifi



    'Zactly.
  • Reply 5 of 76
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Vulcan1 View Post


    WOW, they are really flying off the shelves!



    Read an interesting article yesterday about Apple underestimating Chinese customers' preferences and thus being the reason for complete failure in the market



    What are they? They prefer buttons? Don't like fart apps?
  • Reply 6 of 76
    ruel24ruel24 Posts: 432member
    Does it have anything to do with the fact that the average worker doesn't make much money? It's not like here in the US or Europe where people make a decent living.
  • Reply 7 of 76
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Roc Ingersol View Post


    And the recent relaxation of the WiFi ban, which means everyone knows the next update will have it.



    Does anyone know if the chip was simply not enabled in the software?
  • Reply 8 of 76
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ruel24 View Post


    Does it have anything to do with the fact that the average worker doesn't make much money? It's not like here in the US or Europe where people make a decent living.



    To a point, but I don't think that's enough of a reason to explain such low numbers, there are a lot of people with money in China.
  • Reply 9 of 76
    Probably all five people who bought iPhones are counterfeiters who plan to take them apart and make cheaper knockoffs, which is what most of China will actually buy.



    I'm kidding, but only kind of.
  • Reply 10 of 76
    dluxdlux Posts: 666member
    Until the Wifi-enabled models arrives in China, there will be countless stories about poor iPhone sales. Of course this first batch of castrated phones is going to be unwanted. It's a shame that Apple got caught up in this bad timing, but if they delayed indefinitely there would be a different group of people labeling their launch a failure. Sometimes you can't win...
  • Reply 11 of 76
    rokkenrokken Posts: 236member
    Why buy it from Unicom when you can get one off cheaper while having more capability?
  • Reply 12 of 76
    Wow, they really are starting from scratch. You have to ask is that market quite as savvy as analysts predict.
  • Reply 13 of 76
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dlux View Post


    Until the Wifi-enabled models arrives in China, there will be countless stories about poor iPhone sales. Of course this first batch of castrated phones is going to be unwanted. It's a shame that Apple got caught up in this bad timing, but if they delayed indefinitely there would be a different group of people labeling their launch a failure. Sometimes you can't win...



    Well we have castrated iPhones here- no tethering, yet they sell.
  • Reply 14 of 76
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ruel24 View Post


    Does it have anything to do with the fact that the average worker doesn't make much money? It's not like here in the US or Europe where people make a decent living.



    How in the world does Apple justify such a high price, shame on them. The iPhone is made in China for crying out loud!



    I honestly don't see how the iPhone has any chance to take off in China, restrictions are too stifling, you pretty much can't use any of the features that make the iPhone such a great product.



    Also, why buy a legit iPhone when you can buy a black market hacked phone that isn't restricted for much less money, I suspect a lot of people do just that.
  • Reply 15 of 76
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,215member
    wow now we know what it feels like to be a Zune Fanboy!
  • Reply 16 of 76
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    What are they? They prefer buttons? Don't like fart apps?



    Their "Commies"! You know, "We will bury you!" Nikita Khrushchev RED!



    Don't know true Captialism or Freedom and still have a high anxiety level of fear and distrust. Talk about your PTSD!



    Ever see one's reaction to a news camera. Here in the US everryone hogs in front of a news camera for their 15 seconds of fame. Over there, especially the old times but the next generation as well, have a look in their faces, that being seen on camera will come back to haunt them from their leadership. Glad I don't live in a place that is so suppressing that it would make me feel that way. And so much for the iPhone 3Gs it has a camera and can take video!!! Those poor Chinese people!



    Fart app humor?! Think they know humor??? I'd like to see their version of Jay Leno or Johnny Carson making jokes about their president, In the land of no dissent!



    But give it time... Maybe the iPhone can bring World Peace?! Hell Obama was nominated for Nobel Peace prize while only being in office for a month and he won, so stranger things have happened!
  • Reply 17 of 76
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Vulcan1 View Post


    WOW, they are really flying off the shelves!



    Read an interesting article yesterday about Apple underestimating Chinese customers' preferences and thus being the reason for complete failure in the market



    Interesting. So why keep it a secret?
  • Reply 18 of 76
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    To a point, but I don't think that's enough of a reason to explain such low numbers, there are a lot of people with money in China.



    Wrong. The average salary in China is like 2k. That means an iPhone costs nearly half their yearly salary.
  • Reply 19 of 76
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lunga View Post


    Wrong. The average salary in China is like 2k. That means an iPhone costs nearly half their yearly salary.



    That's a lot of bok choy.
  • Reply 20 of 76
    This outcome is no surprise. What a waste (it'll end up in landfills).



    The only surprise with this is why Apple even bothered. Weird.
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