iPhone in China Not Selling So Well... Official Version at Least

iPhone 3G Bruce Lee

No big sales in China, it seems, and no big surprise given the low initial numbers we saw, and the prevalence -- and huge pre-existing install base -- of black and gray-market iPhones (with wifi!) smuggled into the country. And if that sounds apologist'ic, yeah, sorry. But iLounge is reporting:

Taobao.com, the largest Chinese e-commerce web site reports that it has sold only two 8GB iPhones and three 16GB iPhones since it began selling them on Nov 22nd.

So, sky fallen for the iPhone in China? Still fall

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPhone in China Not Selling So Well... Official Version at Least


Allegedly, the wifi restriction was supposed to be withdrawn at the end of this year, which would make these phones white elephants instantly.
Everyone is smart enough to wait.
The carrier is going to take it in the shorts, because I highly doubt Apple will take these crippled phones back, at least not anywhere near the price paid. There is simply no market for these. They will all have to be re-worked to restore wifi.
If Apple did their homework, this is simply a software reload, and the physical chipset inside is capable of Wifi.

probably because the majority were bought here and shipped back. i saw that with my own eyes. asian guy signed up five iphones. started screaming at the at&t rep because she started opening the iphone box. "don't open! don't open! no! dont break plastic! just give me sim! i call and activate!". funny thing is they let him go without activating in the store.

Maybe Apple should cut a deal with China Telecom and Verizon at the same time. Maybe then a CDMA version might be worth it. There obviously aren't any gray market iPhones on their network. Aren't they the same CDMA as Verizon or am I mistaken? I'm not sure.

I think it's just because they aren't really to interested. Flat out. And that's not to say that the other platforms are this and that. Just point blank...any phone from US.
Simply because, the things we are just now experiencing, the Eastern group has had for ages. We're behind and they know it.
Or it could be because everyone has one illegally. But I highly doubt that.


Simply because, the things we are just now experiencing, the Eastern group has had for ages. We’re behind and they know it.

Yeah? Name one "eastern group" phone sold in china that comes close to the iPhone.
Easy to paint the grass greener somewhere else. A lot harder to come up with facts.

All iPhone enthusiasts should know it's not about specs, but actual functions.
Spec wise, yeah...they might not have the equivalent of the iPhone (in fact I've never seen the specs of an Asian phone besides the LG, Samsung, etc).
But feature wise...they've had DMB tuners for ages, America just now got into it when? 3G...behind. Phones that can start cars, open doors, make purchases.
That's all been done before over there. The only thing new to China is the App Store (which isn't necessarily new, but the way it is handled by Apple is, so hey...it's new everywhere).
This isn't an iPhone shot, this is an American technology shot. You might do yourself some good looking up Sharp, Panasonic, etc. Non-existent round these parks. But abundant over there...and have features that we would and could only wait and dream about.

Well said iDavey. Convincing everyday Americans that we pay waaaay too much for dated technology is no easy feat. We pay $40/month for 10mb broadband and they're connecting at ridiculous speeds in the east for that dollar equivalent or little more little less.
We stopped demanding better products and services a long time ago and this is the result...dated tech for insane prices.

That is true. I find it insane that for signing their contract they get phones completely free. We're paying hundreds of dollars for LAST YEAR'S model. That's ridiculous.
T-Mobile is SORT OF heading in the right direction with installments. But it's still not free upon signature. And that's what I'm looking for.
As far as the speeds, I can understand...they say it's cuz the infrastructure here is much larger and widespread then elsewhere. But after so long...you would think it would be better (looking at you AT&T).

And disclaimer: Clearly by saying "last year's model" I was being sarcastic. We normally get them months later...after the next iteration has been introduced.

Can you blame the Chinese? With all the iPhones smuggled in, as we've seen in pictures, they are probably able to pay bottom dollar to get one. Why bother signing a contract to get one, or paying retail value when perfectly legit iPhones are available at pennies to the dollar.