New York Times attempts to characterize millions of China Mobile iPhone pre-orders as ‘weak response’

“Apple has been counting on a long-awaited agreement with China Mobile, the world’s largest cellular operator, to reverse its fortunes in China,” Eric Pfanner reports for The New York Times. “If the muted reception Friday, when customers were finally able to buy iPhones from China Mobile, is any indication, the companies may have to work harder to whip up enthusiasm.”

“Instead of the round-the-block lines that have greeted Apple product introductions in China and other countries in the past, only about a dozen customers showed up to buy iPhones at the opening of a store in Beijing — despite the presence of a special guest, the Apple chief executive, Timothy D. Cook,” Pfanner reports. “Apple was once an iconic brand in China, where its phones have been sold for years by the second- and third-largest mobile operators, China Unicom and China Telecom. But it has lost ground to the market leader in smartphones, Samsung Electronics, and cut-price domestic rivals. Its market share has fallen into the single digits.”

“The state-run CCTV has broadcast a series of exposés of supposed quality or ethics lapses by Western brands, including Apple,” Pfanner reports. “In one of the most recent examples, Walmart this month recalled donkey meat that it was selling at several outlets after it was found to have been tainted with fox meat.”

MacDailyNews Take: That one was particularly ham-handed, Eric, you disinformationist.

“‘Apple used to be the must-have, aspirational brand for all wealthy and middle-class Chinese consumers,’ said Shaun Rein, the managing director of CMR, a market research firm, and the author of ‘The End of Cheap China.’ ‘But over the last year, there has been a real deterioration of the Apple brand,'” Pfanner reports. “So far, China Mobile is being has been less aggressive on pricing than some analysts had expected. It is offering the unsubsidized, unlocked version of the iPhone 5S at 5,288 renminbi, or $874, the same price that Apple charges in its own stores in China. China Mobile customers can get the phone for free — but only if they commit to a two-year contract at 588 renminbi per month, or almost $100. China Unicom and China Telecom have made only modest price cuts on their competing iPhone packages since China Mobile announced its Apple agreement in December.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: China Mobile has already reported “millions” of pre-orders.

China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua said that millions of Apple’s iPhones already have been ordered by its customers.The Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2014

People who pre-order iPhones do not line up to buy them on launch day. China Mobile is late to the game; the new iPhones have already been out for months. People do not line up for new iPhones four months after they’ve debuted. Apple does not compete in overall marketshare. Apple competes – and owns – the top end of the smartphone market in which it competes. The only way to make Apple look like they’re losing is to concoct races in which they are not running. The New York Times is a slanted, failing rag.

As for CMR, their website lists clients in an anonymous fashion. For example:

Top 3 Largest Korean Conglomerate: Our client is one of Korea’s largest conglomerates, already selling over $10 billion USD worth of electronic items such as mobile phones, flat screen televisions, washing machines and refrigerators into the China market every year.

Draw your own conclusions.

Related articles:
China Mobile stores mobbed for iPhone launch; subsidized units require $97 per month plan – January 16, 2014

38 Comments

        1. I say Apple should take the company private… there… no more serving stockholders… Of course, i say that being that i no longer have a position on AAPL.

          But all this negative press and manipulating is tiresome. Samsung will find out that China will have two main players Xiomi (to represent Asia) and Apple (the choice of a western name brand). Time will tell…

          In other news, Apple is not sitting still, but rather building more devices that Samsung, et al will copy. At least the China’s OEM’s dont claim to be more innovative than Apple, they just steal it… and there is nothing Apple can do about it (in China)

    1. Raymond, I think you rate him to highly. LOL

      I read his article. It had ZERO research and mostly came from blog headings. Just junk piled around an Apple hit piece title.

      It has no comment space and it actually deserves none.

      Just saying.

  1. Over-reacting much, MDN?

    I would agree with this response as lack-luster, especially with a population of almost 1.4 billion. If there had been lines around the block, I wouldn’t have been surprised, and MDN would have been all about it. If the iPhone 5s had been released 3 months earlier in China than in the US, I suspect there would have been long lines here, too.

    I see nothing wrong with the author’s take on the topic, but I do get tired of the thin skin of Apple apologists, sometimes (although not as much as I weary of the Apple persecutors).

    Hate away.

    1. “Hate away”

      Really…. really?

      You are the apple hater who comes to a Apple news site to post trolls and you tell others to “hate away”.

      Dude far from hating, at this point I just feel embarrassed and sorry for you.

    2. You missed the fact that iPhones are already a huge hit in China and are as popular as ever. China Mobile is late to the game much like tmobile was in the U.S. Lines arround the block have been a major problem in China and are pretty much not allowed anymore.

      The New York Times is anti-Apple much like a lot of the media is today where they emphasize a false negative report a try to sour a good report when it deals with Apple. Success is success and Apple’s success continues to be phenomenal. Perhaps that’s why Apple is hated and why Apple loyalists are hated. We get it. We aren’t haters but we will put trolls and doubters in their place.

  2. The 5s and 5c have been out for months.

    China Mobile used a reservation system.

    China Mobile has 3000 outlets.

    Considering the above, and looking at photos from various CM store locations , I think it looks pretty good.

    NYT:
    “All the slanted news, all the time”

  3. I was rather certain that the Chinese consumers wanted more Apple retail stores throughout the country, so I didn’t realize the Apple brand had suddenly fallen out of favor. I can understand if the average Chinese consumer can’t afford iPhones but that doesn’t mean they no longer aspire to Apple’s brand.

    I wasn’t expecting a large Apple share price boost from today, but I certainly wasn’t expecting the stock to plummet, either. Nothing Apple does puts shareholder value into the company, so I guess this China Mobile deal is no different from anything else. Apple still remains a tainted investment.

  4. What is the size of the Chinese middle class ? For India the usual estimate is 70-80 million so even if China is larger it is still only about the total population of Germany. It is not as if the Chinese have not had access to Apple product in the past.

    This is the first step in expanding their general presence in China.

    1. China’s middle class this year will tip over 300 million.

      When you work, live in China and ride the subways everyday you see EASILY over half of smart phone holders holding Apple iPhones. Of course Samsung is increasingly common but lacks the brand recognition of Apple. As my local friends tell me: Samsung is for people who cannot afford or have the taste for top market products; they are not cheap but less expensive than Apple.

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