iPhone 5, iPad Mini Headed to China in December
With the required regulatory approvals in hand, Apple has moved quickly to bring the iPhone 5 to China. On Friday morning, the company set a date to bring the latest iteration of the iPhone to the worlds most populous country: Dec. 14.
The iPhone 5’s Chinese debut will be preceded by the launch of the Wi-Fi versions of the iPad mini and the fourth-generation iPad, which will go on sale in the country on Dec. 7.
The launch of all three devices, particularly the iPhone 5, can’t come soon enough for Apple. China is increasingly one of the company’s most important markets, offering a growth opportunity that’s pretty much unsurpassed. But while the iPhone has historically sold quite well in China, it has yet to crack the country’s Top 5 smartphones. In China, the iPhone has claimed about 7.5 percent of the smartphone market, compared to rival Samsung, which has captured more than 20 percent, according to IHS iSuppli. Despite its popularity in the country, the iPhone is still ranked seventh there.
Apple has been working hard to change that. The company has added to iOS a number of new features for Chinese consumers — Baidu as a new built-in search option in Safari, support for video-sharing sites Youku and Tudou and microblogging service Sina Weibo, and an update to Siri that allows it to understand Mandarin and Cantonese. All these additions should help the iPhone gain even more traction in China. But to really increase penetration in the country, Apple needs to bring the device to China Mobile. Doing that would expand its addressable market by 688 million subscribers in one fell swoop.