Apple have recently revealed two new phones that will be sold in both the US and China. But they have taken a different approach from past launches. How so? Read on…

Apple iPhones advertised at a mobile phone shop in Beijing

What they have done right:

-Apple held a near simultaneous launch with the US and Beijing, with the new models going on sale in both markets the same day. This showed the importance of the Chinese market and Apple’s respect for it. On a practical level, it will also limit the black market sales that have always been inevitable before the phone is officially released in China.

-Considering demand from the market and local competition, Apple worked to get their system functioning with other carriers, opening the market of customers they could serve. They also lowered the cost from past models.

Where they missed the mark:

-Many people were disappointed with the inventiveness of the new models. Not much has been changed and as a company known for innovation, many loyal fans were disappointed.

-A fatal flaw in the iphone is that it is hard to type Chinese characters on the smaller screen, many locals prefer the samsung note which has a screen almost double the size. Also, Apple tried to make it more playful with a colourful plastic case, but that contradicted the elegance that Apple is so well known for in China.

-Apple has self-appointed this model as a “low cost” version of the iphone. But at 4,488 renminbi, or $733, it is a far cry from what most Chinese would call budget.  In addition, Chinese carriers don’t generally subsidize the handset price for consumers as they often do in the US, so customers are having to pay the full sticker price. Apple needs to consider local wages and expendable income and tailor their pricing strategy to fit, not the other way.

Read more about Apple in China from the NY Times here.

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