Apple is gung ho on China and for a reason. Apple, which has recently opened its mega retail store in China, has just officially launched its iPhone 4S in the recent weeks, but release is postponed until Apple can meet demand. If it wasn’t for the ruckus that followed the launch, millions of iPhones would have been flying off shelves already. As per recent estimates, Apple will sell 40 million iPhones in China alone in 2013.
There are 150 million high-end subscribers on China Unicom and as per research by Morgan Stanley, Apple will convert at least 10% of them. That is a neat 15 million iPhones for just China Unicom subscribers alone. Then there is China Mobile (which has 120 million high-end users) and China Telecom. Between these three telecom operators Apple will really tap the iPhone’s market potential. With carriers willing to subsidize the iPhone , Apple is set for a windfall of profits.
Here’s a graphic representation of iPhone subscribers and high-end users. The iPhone 4S will slowly creep into the high-end segment of the market either this year or in early 2013, as 40% of the respondents to a survey had iPhone as their 3G ready smartphone.
Unofficially, China Mobile already has 10 million iPhone users. When the sluice gates to the retail consumption open, this can stretch up to 24 million iPhone users.
Apple’s iPhone is already the top smartphone brand in China, already surpassing Nokia. This is in spite of all the Android madness and the plethora of Android devices released by the major brands. Until the iPhone officially arrives in China though, Meizu continues to enjoy a cult status. That might soon change.
Apple is also trying hard to resolve the egg pelting madness that happened few weeks back. It has thrown in a reservation system, which requires registering with a government ID to reduce the rush, and sieve out genuine buyers from the scalpers. If you are a genuine buyer you can check out Apple’s China buying guide for more details.
When China or a part of China gets on to the iPhone bandwagon, the Android versus iPhone battle will intensify. Apple is clearly leading the revenue charts. When Apple makes inroads into the Chinese market, it will lead the sheer-number-of-activations charts, too. Is it game over for Google and Android?
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