High Price Tests China's Appetite for iPhone

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is a master at creating buzz around its product launches. But as the popular iPhone approaches its official debut in China–the world’s largest mobile-phone market–consumers here seem anything but excited.

The buzz-killer is price. China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd., which will start selling the device Friday, is offering a version of the 32-gigabyte iPhone 3GS for 6,999 yuan ($1,024) without a service contract, which is the most popular way for people to purchase phones in mainland China. That compares with about the $800 consumers pay for the same product in nearby Hong Kong, which has different wireless carriers.

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