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iPhone 5S demand in China ‘disappointing’

An analyst claims vendors and carriers are seeing weak demand for the iPhone 5S, and that customers can simply opting for other devices.


Last last year two new iPhones were unveiled: the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. For the time time ever Apple launched both smartphones in China on the very day that they went on sale in major global markets, including the U.S. Moreover, the company’s deal with China Mobile was expected to do wonders for the iPhone’s market share.

Initially it was believed that the iPhone 5C would play a major part in this, but it didn’t. Time and again there have been countless reports of iPhone 5C’s disappointing performance, particularly in emerging markets like China and India where it was expected to perform well. On the other hand the iPhone 5S did well in the global market, and was just as appealing in China, but perhaps its simply not different enough from its predecessor to attract more potential customers.

Brian White, an  analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald has spoken with various vendors and carriers in China and has come to the conclusion that iPhone 5S demand in China is relatively weak. Instead demand is rising for locally produced smartphones from popular brands like Xiaomi. Price plays a major part here; iPhone 5S is sold off contract in China, and it costs more there than it does for an unlocked variant in the U.S. This puts it well beyond the monthly salaries of many Chinese customers, so its not surprising to see them turn towards local manufacturers who are aggressively competing on price.

White says that vendors in China express great enthusiasm around the potential for Apple to launch an iPhone with a larger display this year. The analyst believe that such an iPhone can meaningfully accelerate Apple’s growth trajectory in the country, or else it would have a hard time fighting off local manufacturers.

Adrian Fonseca
Adrian Fonseca keeps a close eye on all Apple news, rumors, leaks and developments. In his spare time, he likes to read books.

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