quest means business

Your truly was invited on CNN International's Quest Means Business to talk iPhone in China. No video updates on their page yet, but here's the transcript:

QUEST: So this latest ambitious chapter in the tale of iPhone's global success, what, of course, the Chinese launch could mean for the worldwide phenomenon that is the iPhone. And actually, of course, there's an interesting question to Rene Ritchie, the editor of The iPhone Blog, a news and review site, who joins me from Montreal.

Good evening. The decision to sell without the Wi-Fi capability, which, of course, is what is demanded in China, is that a big problem, do you think, for the iPhone user?

RENE RITCHIE, EDITOR, THEIPHONEBLOG.COM: I think it's a temporary problem at launch, because China did change that rule so the next generation of Chinese iPhones will have Wi-Fi. But to compete against the imports, the ones from Hong Kong that are unlocked, or Taiwan that are unlocked, without Wi-Fi and a higher price, that's a significant challenge.

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QUEST: How important is China? I mean, because they have domestic competition in terms of -- for the iPhone, does Apple need to be there, if you like, for this particular product, do you think?

RITCHIE: Yes, absolutely. I mean, it's the world's biggest cell phone market. It's a $1 billion market. China Unicom is a secondary player, it has got about 150 million users as opposed to 500 million for China Mobile. But Apple is not even in the game there officially. And I think this is not about selling a lot of units, but just getting their foot in that massive door.

QUEST: You see, that's the interesting thing, because over in the West people will be familiar with the variety of Apple products that they can -- the cachet of the cool, et cetera and et cetera. From your experience and from what you know, has that translated into China?

RITCHIE: You mean, it started? It started with the Chinese Olympics. They put a beautiful Apple store right in the middle of Beijing. But it's definitely not the kind of brand or, you know, the quote-unquote "cult of personality" following they have in the U.S. yet.

QUEST: And the counterfeit iPhones, I mean, we know counterfeits appear just about everywhere, would you put your money on a counterfeit?

RITCHIE: No. It wouldn't have the user experience. I mean, the iPhone, even before the app store, it sold based on that user experience, which is a very easy phone to use. And the counterfeits might look on the surface like an iPhone, but they won't work like an iPhone. So I don't think that will be as big a difference as just the gray market ones.

QUEST: Rene, like life itself, be wary of it just looks good, wait until you try it out firstly. Rene Ritchie, joining us this Friday night, from Montreal.

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