updated 09:40 am EST, Tue December 7, 2010
iPad, MacBook Air also in demand
The iPhone 4 is perhaps the most difficult Apple product to find in China, claims a Ticonderoga Securities analyst, Brian White. Continuing a tour of the country, White notes that local wait times for the iPhone 4 are now closer to two months; he suggests that official carrier China Unicom is unable to fill roughly a third of pre-orders. Unmentioned by the analyst is the effect of scalping, since it's believed that many of the iPhones being sold are being picked up for resale with a markup.
He does however comment that many iPhones are showing up on China Mobile, which is not an official partner with Apple. About 2 million iPhones are estimated to be on the Mobile network, and the carrier is actually helping some people to make the transition through a website, which shows how to trim a SIM card to fit the iPhone 4's micro SIM slot. White says he has been told by Mobile that the carrier is planning to make a natively compatible SIM.
Two other products -- the iPad and the 11-inch MacBook Air -- are also noted to be selling well in China, though they're not in as much demand as the iPhone. Cost is likely a factor, as even the iPhone hardware can be extremely expensive relative to the average Chinese worker's salary. The iPad and the Air could in some cases serve as primary home computers.