Last modified on Friday, 28 August 2009 20:20
morning, Apple scored a deal
with government-owned telecommunications operator China Unicom to allow two
versions of the iPhone to officially be sold in the country beginning in Q4
later this year.
The deal was signed to last three
years inclusively, but China Unicom did not specify the cost of the phones or
the cost of service plans. It mentioned that subsidies would be offered, but
revenue would not be shared with Apple as most operators do. Unicom hopes that
the iPhone will attract high-spending customers in better off financial situations.
On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal speculated
that a Chinese version of the iPhone was imminent. David Wolf, Chief Executive
of the Wolf Group Asia marketing strategy firm in Beijing noted that by the
end of this year, China "will be a very different competitive environment
than [Apple] would have faced a year ago, or even six months ago.”
Not surprisingly, the Chinese iPhone
will be packaged and shipped with the integrated Wi-Fi function disabled in
order to comply with government regulations. However, we are confident that a
group of intelligent Chinese hackers have already gathered to discuss plans for
a day-zero exploit. Ms. Wei, a brand manager of a technology firm in
Beijing, said the disabled Wi-Fi greatly reduces the phone's appeal, but that she
would still prefer getting one through Unicom because it's "genuine."
Again, there are several revenue outcomes for Unicom in this scenario, and we
would say it largely depends between the superficiality of high-spending consumers
who prefer “genuine” feature-lacking devices and the massive pool of
possibilities that the gray market has to offer.