China's Largest E-Commerce Store Has Sold Only Five iPhones

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Apr 12, 2001
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IDG News Service reports that a China Unicom store on Taobao.com, China's largest e-commerce site, has sold only five iPhones in the two weeks since it began offering the device's for sale. Taobao.com is similar to eBay in that it serves as an online auction site but also connects other sellers such as retailers and wholesalers with customers.
An official iPhone store on Taobao.com, the biggest Chinese e-commerce Web site similar to eBay, has sold just two 8GB iPhones and three 16GB iPhones, according to figures on the site. The store launched in the middle of last month, a few weeks after China Unicom began offering the first official iPhones in China.
The news follows reports of very meager sales of the iPhone in its initial launch weekend on China Unicom. Factors cited in the slow sales include competition from unlocked iPhones from other countries that, unlike the current Chinese versions, offer Wi-Fi connectivity, and a lack of widespread credit card usage, a necessity for App Store purchases.

Article Link: China's Largest E-Commerce Store Has Sold Only Five iPhones
 

iOrlando

macrumors 68000
Jul 20, 2008
1,811
1
according to schiller: that figure shows the amazing growth we are seeing when we compare those sales to last years numbers.

according to steve: 5 is alot better than 0.
 

bradl

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2008
4,023
11,939
Take note, people who want/claim that the iPhone is going to Verizon...

This is what happens when you sell a very crippled phone, as what VZW would do (granted, VZW would probably not do something like kill WiFi). I also find it rather interesting that these people are part of that huge 500 million group of people using CDMA. Yet, unlocked/GSM phones are the big factor and possibly is outselling the crippled iPhone.

Lots of interesting points to take from this one...

BL.
 

reckless2k2

macrumors 6502a
Jul 10, 2008
525
0
It's amazing that the phone is wildly overpriced in the same country that makes the phone. The government's forced stripping of certain functions doesn't help either.
 

jayducharme

macrumors 68040
Jun 22, 2006
3,470
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The thick of it
It's an interesting chess game, isn't it? Apple wants to tap the huge number of potential sales in China, and the government wants to keep their control over data flow. Apple agrees to release a crippled iPhone, and next to no one buys it. Apple can say, "I told you so," which might pressure the Chinese government into relaxing its rules. Or China can simply say, "Too bad for you" and not change a thing.

China has a burgeoning affluent consumer market, and China can't keep a lid on that forever. People like their toys, no matter what country they're from.
 

MacFly123

macrumors 68020
Dec 25, 2006
2,340
0
It's amazing that the phone is wildly overpriced in the same country that makes the phone. The government's forced stripping of certain functions doesn't help either.
I know lol, isn't it ironic?! That would piss me off so bad if I lived there lol!

I think sales will go up a LOT when they get it with wifi this month sometime! I think people are waiting for that and know. I would be pissed at the Chinese government if I were Apple lol! :rolleyes:
 

kas23

macrumors 603
Oct 28, 2007
5,627
291
It's an interesting chess game, isn't it? Apple wants to tap the huge number of potential sales in China, and the government wants to keep their control over data flow. Apple agrees to release a crippled iPhone, and next to no one buys it. Apple can say, "I told you so," which might pressure the Chinese government into relaxing its rules. Or China can simply say, "Too bad for you" and not change a thing.

China has a burgeoning affluent consumer market, and China can't keep a lid on that forever. People like their toys, no matter what country they're from.
The government has already changed its stance on this issue. There will be a WiFi enabled iPhone sold in China in the next few months and this is the reason it is not selling.

http://www.fonearena.com/blog/2009/10/30/apple-finally-releases-the-iphone-in-china-wifi-less.html
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,605
4,082
I'm curious how many of these crippled iPhones Apple actually manufactured and how much money was lost manufacturing all the unsold iPhones.
 

Kaibelf

Suspended
Apr 29, 2009
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Silicon Valley, CA
I'm curious how many of these crippled iPhones Apple actually manufactured and how much money was lost manufacturing all the unsold iPhones.
The question is, can the unsold ones easily be repurposed to include wi-fi? If so, it might be a drop in the bucket. At minimum, it's very embarrassing for china.
 

djdole

macrumors regular
Aug 21, 2007
162
0
Apple & AT&T....

Apple & AT&T take note!
Prime example of how intentionally gimping features can kill sales.
 

stagi

macrumors 65816
Feb 18, 2006
1,125
0
Wow, that really sucks for Apple. The largest market and only 5 phones, huge fail. Hopefully with the next version there they can turn it around.
 

Consultant

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,293
15
People who wants an iPhone have already bought it from the US and elsewhere.

Estimated to be 1.5 million unlocked gray market iPhone in China already
http://iphonasia.com/?p=7510

I see some people failing to comprehend that people already bought iPhones in China.
 

ts1973

macrumors 6502
Nov 11, 2002
292
15
Belgium
Who cares, leaves more to distribute for the rest of us :p

Seriously, didn't they do any market analysis ? I think there's much more going on than we know...
 

kate-willbury

macrumors 6502a
Feb 14, 2009
684
0
Apple & AT&T take note!
Prime example of how intentionally gimping features can kill sales.
hardly. the iphone has always been gimped on features. didn't seem to bother north americans that much. its also a cultural difference of needs. the only people who buy the iphone now are generally ones with low standards in technology. this is why the iphone continues to fail in japan as well (who have much higher tech standards).

not to mention the moronic price tag! and this is china. no one there gives a crap about the official app store.
 

iphones4evry1

macrumors 65816
Nov 26, 2008
1,197
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California, USA
It's amazing that the phone is wildly overpriced in the same country that makes the phone. The government's forced stripping of certain functions doesn't help either.
Good Point! The people that make the phone have to pay for an overpriced, stripped down version - wtf ? :eek:
Slavery in the United States may have ended in 1860, but apparently it still goes on today in China.

I'm sure there are probably a million iPhones being sold on the black market in China for every one store-bought iPhone in China.
 

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
37,679
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Think how cool that makes those five people! :cool:

But I'll bet this is little lower than the China Unicom sales projections.
 

sjo

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2005
510
0
People who wants an iPhone have already bought it from the US and elsewhere.

Estimated to be 1.5 million unlocked gray market iPhone in China already
http://iphonasia.com/?p=7510

I see some people failing to comprehend that people already bought iPhones in China.
and i see people failing to comprehend that people already not bought those iphones elsewhere. if 1.5m iphones were sold to china, then 1.5 less iphones were sold for the us (and rest of the world).

what was expected, if you read any of the numerous rumors about iphone sales starting in china, was that this would wildly increase the total sales. now if the total sales already included the phones sold to china, then surprisingly enough making iphone available in china doesn't improve the sales at all.

isn't the total sales the thing to watch? not the sales in china?
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,605
4,082
The question is, can the unsold ones easily be repurposed to include wi-fi? If so, it might be a drop in the bucket. At minimum, it's very embarrassing for china.
I imagine they left the internal design the same, just without the Wi-Fi hardware. So it would depend on how much disassembling is required to reach the spot where the Wi-Fi goes, right? IDK how the inside of my iPhone looks, I'm more interested in designing software than hardware, but it seems like it'd be more cost effective than scrapping them altogether. After that you just update the software to reenable Wi-Fi (or did they even modify the software to disable Wi-Fi and not show references to it?)
 
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