China is the world’s largest mobile phone market. Even with crappy sales of iPhones, you’d think the sheer size of the Chinese market was enough to move some serious iPhone volume. And, you’d be wrong. The iPhone went live on China Unicom’s network last week, but has reportedly only sold a disappointing 5,000 iPhones to date. China Unicom lacks WiFi support in order to comply with China’s asinine censorship policies, which could be affecting sales – there’s a healthy iPhone grey market in China, where iPhones roam free with WiFi radios in tow.
China Unicom Chairman Chang Xiobing says that his company is satisfied with iPhone sales so far, and expects to see an additional 1 million 3G subscribers signing up every month as the carrier expands their 3G network. For China Unicom’s sake, we hope the boost in 3G subscribers translates to a boost in iPhone subscribers. They’ve got a ton of iPhones to sell.