updated 01:50 pm EST, Thu December 3, 2009
Hints at persistently low iPhone sales
An official China Unicom online auction has so far yielded extremely poor iPhone sales, according to IDG News. The carrier recently opened an iPhone storefront at Taobao.com, a site described as a Chinese equivalent of eBay. Within its first two weeks the storefront is noted to have sold just five iPhones, including two 8GB 3G models and three 16GB 3GS editions.
While Chinese iPhone sales are otherwise uncertain -- Unicom avoids listing figures on its own website -- the Taobao numbers may indicate continuing problems. A mere 5,000 phones are reported to have been bought on launch weekend, in contrast to neighboring countries like South Korea, which saw some 65,000 in pre-orders alone. Cost is believed to be a primary problem, as the device is cheaper in surrounding countries, making the gray market far more appealing to many buyers.
The Unicom iPhone also lacks Wi-Fi at the moment, and credit cards are said to be either rare or scarcely used amongst target demographics, leaving little interest in the App Store. Unicom has nevertheless attempted to put a positive spin on trends, projecting that the iPhone will eventually represent 10 percent of all 3G devices in China. 3G is a new phenomenon in the country, having only become an option this summer.