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