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Analyst: Competition for Chinese iPhone continues

updated 11:05 am EDT, Mon July 6, 2009

Chinese iPhone war

In spite of a recent Merrill Lynch report, no deal has been finalized for a Chinese iPhone, claims Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu. While China Unicom is still considered the frontrunner for a distribution agreement with Apple, the only alternative carrier in the region -- China Mobile -- is said by industry sources to be persisting in negotiations. The company has the distinct advantage of a larger subscriber base, at 488 million.

By contrast, Unicom has only 133 million; this is thought to be an incentive for greater compromise with Apple however, as a means of gaining a competitive edge. Unicom is specifically said to be offering larger subsidies, as well as more control over content and sales. It is also the only carrier with an iPhone-compatible 3G network, as Mobile depends on the China-exclusive TD-SCDMA format. A version of the device for Mobile would either have to operate without 3G, or rely on revised hardware.

Wu notes that due to ongoing talks, he is not factoring a Chinese iPhone into sales predictions. Some 20 million phones are forecast to be sold in 2009, with another 26 million coming in 2010. Many of these may make their way into China regardless, as some 1 to 1.5 million iPhones are believed to be in use there already, as a result of jailbreaking and unlocking.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. VinitaBoy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Well, That Finalizes It!

    If Shaw Woo-Hoo (Woo-WHO?) says it, it must be so. After all, his track record analyzing Apple and APPL is "so" stellar. (Sarcasm heavily applied.)

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Not sure I know who

    to believe anymore. At one point China Unicom had the iPhone advertised on their site until it was pulled. Some person came on the news saying that the China Unicom deal was already done a few months ago. Merrill Lynch made an announcement that the iPhone would be announced in China in October. Foxconn was supposedly building iPhone applications for Apple. This speculation is getting fairly annoying and I'm going to have to start ignoring anything I read about Apple, China and iPhone.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Filibustering . . .

    Of course, it could be that China have zero interest, whatsoever, in letting an American product/platform become established in their market (particularly one whose operating system cannot be easily stolen and installed on a clone device).

    Not that I'm cynical . . . (but you have to think twice about a country pursuing it's own incompatible video format and mobile networking standards to avoid licencing).

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Re: Filibustering

    Why, exactly, would one have to think twice about pursuing formats that don't require licensing? Maybe if Apple, et. al. worked more at using and creating OPEN standards, and not just open in the sense that anyone can license them, all products would work together, and be a lot cheaper.

    Because, and let's be honest, the only reason there were two HD DVD formats out there was because the winner would see large cash coming in from licensing the technology.

  1. tortenteufel

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    the Chinese

    are still working on a filter app for the Iphone. Something like, Ishutup....

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Re: Filiburstering

    While the sentiment that China has a right to choose open standards as opposed to licensing for financial reasons may seem noble, the reality is China has a long record of ignoring patents and product licenses while manufacturing products based on cheap materials & labor that are knock offs of other's successful ideas. They have no interest whatsoever in open standards other than it allows them to make their rip-offs even cheaper.

    While it might be nice to see this as a Robin Hood scenario, to most it's just plain stealing.

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