As Apple (AAPL) prepares to launch its iPhone 5 in China on Dec. 14, the nation’s second largest carrier announced on Monday (via Apple Insider [AI]) that pre-sale orders for Apple’s newest handset now stand at over 300,000 units less than a week after initiating reservations.
Last Monday, Apple’s largest partner carrier in the country, China Unicom (CHU) began online pre-orders for the device. In a post to its official Sina Weibo microblog, the telecom said that by 4 p.m. local time that day, it took in more than 100,000 online reservations, which means the world’s third largest mobile provider added some 200,000 iPhone 5 units to the 100,000 recorded a day after reservations went live.
Following a promise that it would offer Apple’s latest smartphone to its subscribers by year’s end, China Unicom is expected to price the 16 gigabyte [GB] edition of the iPhone 5 at 5,288 yuan ($850) ; roughly 300 yuan more ($48) than when the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S was first launched in China. According to AI, the 16GB model seems to be the favorite among pre-order customers with 85% preferring the most economical version, while the 32 GB and 64 GB profiles accounted for 12, and 3% percent, respectively. A breakdown of where the iPhone reservations came from in the country, saw Beijing racking up the most orders, followed by Guangdong and Shandong provinces, and then the city of Shanghai.
China Unicom joins China Telecom as the second Chinese carrier to sell the iPhone 5. But a deal with the nation’s biggest carrier, China Mobile (CHL), that has reportedly been pushing Apple to give it a piece of the App Store revenue in exchange for selling the 5th-gen iPhone, remains elusive until Cupertino can work out a deal with the carrier.
“The business model and benefit sharing still need further discussion,” China Mobile CEO Li was quoted as saying to Bloomberg’s Businessweek on Dec. 5.
The launch of the iPhone 5 occurs two years after the launch of the iPhone 4 in China, and is part of the fastest rollout in Apple’s history.
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300,000 pre-orders. Looks an impressive number doesn’t it?….Until you consider that there are 120 million customers between these two telcos, so 300,000 pre-orders represents just 0.025%. Not so impressive. You will also notice that there are no subsidies as China doesnt do subsidies ( the Apple version ), so given that an iphone represents as much as 16 – 20 times the average monthly salary, I think Apple’s sales will be a lot less than analysts are predicting.