Year of the iPhone Officially Added to Chinese Lunar Calendar
Apple’s iPhone finally arrived at market in China today and is evidently selling fairly well, despite wallet-emptying prices. ChinaNews.com found about 300 people queued up to buy the device at China Unicom’s flagship store in Beijing. That’s far fewer than you’d find at an Apple (AAPL) launch event in the U.S., but as I’ve noted, the Chinese version of the iPhone is quite spendy, with prices ranging from 4,999 yuan ($730) and 6,999 yuan (about $1,025).
In any event, those higher prices and the device’s lack of built-in Wi-Fi don’t seem to be as much of a barrier as you might think. And if those issues do end up tempering sales a bit, well, perhaps China Unicom can make them up by poaching iPhone users from rival China Mobile. As iPhonAsia’s Dan Butterfield reported earlier this week, China Unicom is offering an amnesty to users of gray-market iPhones.
“This amnesty program is designed to entice some 1.5 million grey-market iPhone owners in China to sign a contract and pop in a Unicom 3G sim card to take advantage of WCDMA 3G speeds and a variety of new ‘Wo’ 3G services,” Butterfield writes. “The ‘upgrade to 3G’ program is no doubt aimed squarely at the approximate 1,000,000+ iPhones now running on China Mobile’s EDGE 2G network.”
[Image credit: CCID]