Long lines mark the iPhone 4 launch in China today

Image showing the backside of an Apple iPhone 4

iPhone 4 launch in China

The iPhone 4 went on sale today in China and the launch was greeted with an enthusiastic crowd of Apple customers. Large crowds and long lines converged upon Apple locations in the Asian country, including the new stores in Beijing and Shanghai. The 32GB iPhone 4 is available from Apple without a contract for 5,999 yuan ($893), while the 16GB model is available for 4,999 yuan ($744). Apple’s latest smartphone will also be sold with a contract at a subsidized price set by China Unicom, the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in China.

Sales of the handset are expected to outpace its predecessor, the iPhone 3GS, which launched last November with disappointing results. In contrast to other countries which reportedly sold millions of units within 24 hours, sales of the 3GS in China reached a disappointing 5,000 units within three days. These lagging sales resulted from an extraordinarily high price tag ($1,025) and the lack of WiFi, which Apple crippled to meet government mandates requiring devices with WiFi to support the WAPI standard.

Thus far, the iPhone 4 has grabbed the hearts and the pocket books of the Chinese people. China Unicom estimates that pre-orders for Apple’s smartphone topped out at 50,000 and thousands of people reportedly waited in line for up to two days to buy this hot, new handset. Adding to its popularity, this latest model fro China comes in with a lower price tag and offers full WiFi, thanks to less stringent government standards that were loosened earlier this year. While we wait for the actual sales number to come out early next week, we all can enjoy a quick video of the Chinese iPhone launch courtesy of IDG.

[Via Fortune]

  • Paul Johnson

    You are wrong that the new model supports “full WiFi” and that the Chinese government “loosened its stringent standards.” Apple prepared a model that uses WAPI (as did Dell, and thus got approval from the Chinese government. Google “WAPI” and “iPhone” for the stories from last April.

  • bbcallpzx

    iphone 4’s price is quite steep in China compared to U.S.,Chinese right now are so rich.

  • Phil

    Clearly they don’t have many Android Phones in China yet.

    • darrell

      phil, i’ve never seen a line for any android product. i had heard there were 15 people waiting for a DroidX near my verizon store, but when i drove by the line was gone.

      not saying android isn’t exciting, but they are all over the place, and not just in one phone a year.

  • Krzysztof Werkun

    The key feature in the market here is prevalence of parallel imports – that’s why 3GS was so disappointing. By the time it launched, it was available in retail for over 6 months (and by retail I mean retail – not only small corner shops). On top of that the official prices in Apple official retail are quite high and do not compare well with parallel imports from Hong Kong (where Apple sells unlocked phones). The only thing that could change this dynamic are the subsidies from Unicom as data is very expensive here (so they clearly have room to subsidize smartphones).

    Oh, btw, Android phones are very big here with Taiwanese makers and Lenovo very popular – HTC, Dopod and O-PHONE etc. It’s just the demographic is different – Android phones tend to do well with more tech-centric ppl etc, while apple products tend to be more popular with fashion-conscious, business crowd (Blackberry is quite rare) and media crowd. In any case, the market here with 800m subs is big enough for everyone.

  • Pax

    @Phil and Paul… sorry, you are both wrong. I live in China, and the iPhone 4 here DOES have WIFI capabilities. This restriction of mobile phones was lifted several months ago by the Central Government. Last April is not recent. Also, the story is misleading. Although huge lines did occur at the several Chinese Apple stores, 50,000 pre-sales in a country of 1.4 billion people is NOT a success, and the launch has been largely considered underwhelming here.

    As for Android, you can find Android everywhere in the markets, in dozens maybe hundreds of different phone and tablet models.

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