“The Beijing Olympics begin in two weeks. But for Apple, the China games have already begun. The company opened a shiny new Apple store in Beijing Saturday — the ‘first of many’ in China, according to an Apple official. The race is on,” Mike Elgan writes for Datamation. “But is this an event Apple can win?”
“China is a coveted market. But so far, things aren’t going well. Apple has less than 8 percent market share in China for media players, and far less than 1 percent of either PC or cell phone market share,” Elgan writes. “Although Apple has successfully launched the iPhone in more than 70 countries, China isn’t one of them. The company has not yet been able to reach a deal with any Chinese carrier.”
“Apple’s second biggest hit in China, the iPhone, isn’t authorized. One Chinese analyst estimates that some 1 million Apple iPhones are currently operating on just one Chinese carrier — China Mobile — with a smaller number on other carriers. Most Apple ‘Authorized Resellers’ in China sell black-market iPhones, and many even offer illegal cracking services — a process that reportedly takes less time than activating an iPhone 3G in California,” Elgan writes.
“Apple’s struggle to sell iPhones legitimately in China is part of a larger problem: China is simply incompatible with Apple,” Elgan writes. “Here’s why.”
• Apple is a mass-market luxury brand
• China has an authoritarian government
• There is no Chinese iTunes Store
• China is number one in intellectual property theft
Elgan writes, “Yes, Apple must and will do business in China. But the company’s pristine new Apple store masks the very messy reality of a company like Apple trying to do business in a country like China.”
More in the full article, with discussion of the four bullet points listed above – recommended – here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]
“The last I heard, there are 3.3 million people who own a car in Beijing. If you can afford a car, I think you can afford an iPod or a Mac.” – – Ron Johnson, Apple’s senior vice-president for retail, July 23, 2008