Published in Mobiles

iPhone to be officially sold in China

by on28 August 2009


With Wi-Fi disabled

This 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.

Last modified on 28 August 2009
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