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A million iPhones sold by China Mobile up until now, far from predicted amounts

Posted: , by Peter K.

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A million iPhones sold by China Mobile up until now, far from predicted amounts
China Mobile today announced that it has sold roughly 1.3 million 4G-enabled smartphones since mid-January. The largest mobile carrier in the world said that most of these, roughly a million, were iPhones. However, Apple might be somewhat far from its goal of selling between 15 and 16 million iPhones in China this year. As you might remember, China Mobile sells iPhones as a result of the deal, signed with the Cupertino company back in December 2013.

With roughly 775 million subscribers, China Mobile is Apple's perfect partner for expansion on the local market. However, the 4G network coverage across China is limited to the major cities. This might be one of the main reasons for the not-so-great sales of the Apple-branded smartphones. According to some analysts, only 12% of the iOS devices in China are Apple iPhone 5s ones, whereas the more "affordable" iPhone 5c accounts for just 2% of all Apple-branded devices in the country.

"We added 1.34 million new 4G users in February and most of them are iPhone users. We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities," said Xi Gouhua, current Chairman of China Mobile.

China Mobile also announced that its overall earnings have dropped for the first time in a decade. One of the reasons for this decline is the increasing usage of free messaging services, such as WeChat, which are very popular among the Chinese population.

iPhone adoption rate in China

iPhone adoption rate in China


source: Wall Street Journal, Reuters via 9to5Mac (1), (2)

24 Comments
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posted on 20 Mar 2014, 10:52 9

1. eN16HTMAR3 (Posts: 116; Member since: 08 Oct 2013)


Why would they want Apple iPhones at such a high price when you can get all those dirt cheap, super powerful Androids for next to nothing. If it's not the best, then whatever. Just throw it in a drawer and go get the next big thing there.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 12:04 1

8. Martin_Cooper (Posts: 527; Member since: 30 Jul 2013)


All those super dirty cheap androids that you say have from none up to mediocre support from their manufacturers. For example oppo is launching the new flagship with HEAVILY modified 4.3 android. Not to mention that s**tty support they have generally for updating their phones. Plus China is a big country with lots of rich people compared to how many rich there are in smaller countries.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 12:09 5

9. PBXtech (Posts: 980; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


I'd have to hear from people who actually live in China in regards to their phones getting support. I know MIUI gets updates more than any phone on the planet.

Not so sure about China having a lot of rich people either like you make it out to be, you have a demographic link you can provide?

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 12:40 4

13. JerryTime (Posts: 468; Member since: 09 Nov 2013)


http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2011/02/17/china-is-richer-but-most-chinese-are-still-poor/

http://treeofmamre.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/china-may-be-rich-but-the-chinese-people-are-very-poor/

Talking out of his @$$ like he was on the S5 pricing article. Blind hate is about as bad as an iPhoner's blind following.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 12:42 4

14. PBXtech (Posts: 980; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


Thanks, that's exactly what I thought.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 13:38 1

18. JerryTime (Posts: 468; Member since: 09 Nov 2013)


No problem.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 10:54

2. Cicero (Posts: 428; Member since: 22 Jan 2014)


So the paysans from China's country are not buying iPhone 5s LTE because of the not LTE coverage? LOL

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 12:09

10. Finalflash (Posts: 1860; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


Yea, everyone in remote villages wants an iPhone 5s but since there is no LTE they can't buy it.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 11:01

3. PBXtech (Posts: 980; Member since: 21 Oct 2013)


It's still possible, there's a lot left to this year. I'd bet slow implementation is due to pricing more than 4G though.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 11:02

4. mr.techdude (Posts: 554; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


What an utter ridiculous excuse, "......lack of 4g in major cities" oh please PA, Chinese aren't brainwashed, they buy those Chinese phones or just greater competition. That's it

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 11:06 3

5. cse.vicky (Posts: 107; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)


Android as many fans it has, still has some problems, I have Iphone 5s and nexus 5.
I am not biased but my nexus does sure has some problems ( camera and battery not included, only talking about software) Applications open late (tried ART also), sometimes crash, they do lag (I have used 2 nexus 5 and 1 nexus 4 ). iOS is very smooth, indeed, never had a single failure yet (I have only one Iphone).
Not bashing android, android has such a good third party support, which i find lacking in iOS.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 11:25 5

6. Heatfan316 (Posts: 445; Member since: 21 Aug 2011)


I think you are biased and thought of a good lie before the drivel you just posted, good one bro!

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 17:36

24. cse.vicky (Posts: 107; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)


Hehe, may be but I have used android from 2.1. So not sure.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 11:42 3

7. ePoch270 (Posts: 100; Member since: 26 Sep 2013)


Huh, that's funny. I have a Note 3 and it rarely has problems. Never reboots or freezes. Super fast and smooth. Now my iPad 4 and my wifes iPhone 4s, those have problems. Apps crashing. Camera takes poor low light and fast action photos. System freeze forcing reboots. Cannot open more than 2 browser tabs in Safari without crash. Poor connectivity between wifi-cell transfer. System Update slowed overall use and no ability to revert to lower os. Not bashing Apple. I'm just holding it wrong I guess.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 12:14 4

11. Finalflash (Posts: 1860; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


You definitely are holding it wrong. You have to hold it out in front of you towards the merchandise returns staff to fix that problem.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 17:35

23. cse.vicky (Posts: 107; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)


I have only used iPhone 5s, experience with that has been good for me !

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 12:23 7

12. AfterShock (Posts: 2862; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


Bs, there is zero lag on N5.
Even stock on stock kernel.

Not one single crash or f/c on any of the Nexi in my house, all are daily drivers.
Of which there is four.
So yeah, BS.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 17:34

22. cse.vicky (Posts: 107; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)


N5 is an excellent device. I am not bashing it. Sorry if the post looked like so, I am saying sometimes, some apps lag. Hope you get the point.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 13:16 3

15. Tones (Posts: 52; Member since: 23 Aug 2012)


You need to return it then as my Nexus 5 is flawless, as is my girlfriends.

Not sure why you would want an iPhone 5 in China when you could get something like a Xaomi phone for a fraction of the price.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 17:33

21. cse.vicky (Posts: 107; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)


I did return mine.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 13:33 1

16. networkdood (Posts: 6298; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Nexus 5 slow??? Lol..good one...

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 17:32

20. cse.vicky (Posts: 107; Member since: 10 Dec 2010)


Nexus 5 as a system with Kitkat is not slow. I specifically said it is an excellent device. Some apps :)

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 13:34

17. networkdood (Posts: 6298; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


I got a coolpad 9976a ...a man's phone..on the way

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 14:35 1

19. Harold1066 (Posts: 17; Member since: 01 Jun 2012)


There is strong desire among many consumers in China for an iPhone not for the phone's capabilities but rather for the product's effect as a status symbol. The phone is so expensive that most people could not afford it. There is a growing middle-class who are reasonably well off but even most of them would have to spend the equivalent of 2 to 4 months salary to afford such a device.

The domestic brands with their significantly lower prices provide a far more affordable option for the massive consumer base that Apple hopes to tap into. Apple's approach of premium pricing for admittedly quality product will only lead to limited market penetration and they don't have anywhere near the same kind of leverage over Chinese carriers to get more subsidies. Too much pressure and Apple could find itself kicked out of the Chinese market altogether.

The iPhone 5C was not a bad idea in concept but was a disaster in implementation. The "budget" device needs to be priced at or near the same levels of the phones it is intended to compete with. Apple's continued refusal to do so is foolish in the extreme as was their decision to kill off the iPhone 5 when that phone would have been a far better option to sell as a discounted device. But Apple's institutional refusal to relinquish their high margins has bit them on the ass this time.

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