So Much For Those Rumors About Poor Chinese iPhone Sales...
Posted 12/10/2009 at 2:32pm | by J.R. Bookwalter
Word on the street is that Apple’s iPhone is something of a failure in China after moving a mere 5,000 devices at the official launch in late October. But the “little phone that could” has now topped 100,000 units in the weeks since that launch.
Even with sluggish device sales in China, the iPhone could hardly be called a failure at any rate, but the Dow Jones Newswire is now reporting that the device has continued selling steadily since its October launch and has now racked up 100,000 official units sold.
Of course, with every piece of good news comes a wet blanket to dampen it. According to AppleInsider, analysts point out that official carrier China Unicom already has 144 million wireless subscribers, so 100,000 iPhone users will hardly add much to their lofty bottom line. The original iPhone debuted in 2007 and moved 270,000 units in the U.S. alone, compared to the June, 2009 debut of the iPhone 3GS which racked up more than one million devices at launch.
China Unicom seems satisfied with the numbers, especially considering they are using the iPhone to market its brand-new 3G network which launched at the same time. The company is hoping to add more than 1 million 3G users each month and already met that goal for October.
Among the many problems that plagued the iPhone’s launch in China are the proliferation of gray market, unlocked iPhones from abroad, which can be purchased cheaper than the official devices. Given that China Unicom is the country’s sole 3G network, those gray market users have no compelling reason to pay more for an officially sanctioned handset, especially when the official device lacks any Wi-Fi capability.
Apple sold 60,000 iPhones at the launch in nearby South Korea, which already represents 15% of the total market.