Crazy Demand For iPhone 4 In China
Apple launched the new iPhone 4 in China last weekend and according to reports, China Unicom, Apple’s exclusive carrier partner in China has sold out more than 100,000 units in the first four days.
This is in sharp contrast to the launch of iPhone 3GS last year when China Unicom took over a month to announce the sale of 100,000 units.
To put the numbers in perspective, China Unicom has said that the carrier has only fulfilled half of the 200,000 pre-orders made until now. The massive demand has forced the carrier to suspend online reservations temporarily and customers are instead asked to sign up for a device directly at one of the retail stores.
The sale of 100,000 iPhone 4s inside the first four days may not be huge in comparison to the over 1.7 million iPhone 4s that were sold in the US and four other countries during the launch weekend in June. However, it may be worth noting that 3G usage is still emerging in China with less than 10 million of the over 160 million China Unicom subscribers owning phones that are 3G-enabled. So the adoption of smartphones like the iPhone 4 is seen as one of the primary factors that will help in driving the growth of 3G networks.
The popularity of the new iPhone 4 is also evident from reports on the Wall Street Journal about the massive number of scalpers in cities like Beijing who have been selling their stocks of iPhone 4 outside the Apple stores to customers who are willing to pay a premium:
"Working in groups, the scalpers lead willing customers to an empty stairway in the same mall, where their cohorts keep stacks of iPhone 4s in the original packaging. One scalper was offering the 16-gigabyte version of the device for 5,400 yuan, or about 795 dollars, a 10-percent mark-up over the sticker price."
A flare up between scalpers and a number of customers is also reported to have created a lot of chaos that forced one of the stores to shut down briefly. Apple Stores are now reported to be asking customers for their identification proof besides restricting the sale to two-per-customer.
With the rise in popularity of the iPhone in China, do you think the country will be the next big market for Apple? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.
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